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Google Updates and SERP Changes - April 2010

 4:48 am on Apr 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

< continued from [webmasterworld.com...] >

We are in the same situation, since March 15, 2010 our traffic is continuously declining with the average of 6% every week. In current week it gets worst, approx. 15% decline!

Overall, 30% to 35% traffic has been reduced compare to peak week of January 2010.

"site:" is also showing huge drop in index pages, though it only provide the avg. not actual.

Don't know what's going on, Is it really the effect of Caffeine roll-out?

[edited by: tedster at 9:46 pm (utc) on Apr 1, 2010]



 10:29 am on Apr 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Well I think Google wins - this thread is DEAD.

That doesn't make any sense. As long as there is a ranking algorithm there are things you can do to rank.

When organic results are 100% controlled by user actions rather than site content and backlinks there are still important things for SEOs to do.

If our names were Keyword Stuffers then yes, crawl away and die. I'm a Search Engine Optimizer. There are still search engines.


 10:51 am on Apr 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

I haven't added to this thread simply because I really don't know what is going on. I have a hunch that (the assumed) caffeine is being rolled out more across the UK, since I'm noticing bigger gains in those SERPs, but it's not correlating the traffic I'd expect, leading me to think it's not being served to so many users now.

The (assumed) caffeine rankings are largely the same. It's based so much on assumptions and hunches though. I'm just going to sit this one out and engage in casually moaning to myself :)


 12:37 pm on Apr 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Well I think Google wins - this thread is DEAD. SEO's, gone on to work on other projects.

Over my dead body :)

Caff is out, but barely getting any live action as far as I can tell.


 1:09 pm on Apr 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Food for thought here...
If I owned Google what would I do to increase revenue?
I would continue to work the serps to allow more and more sites into the results. I have seen Google doing this now for a couple years. It use to be 9 sites would control the top spots in many areas of the search. Google figured out a long time ago this only limited the cash flow.
We all know you can't live on adwords alone (well maybe some can but the vast majority of us can't) so Google set out several years ago to figure a way to open the serps up to more and more site. Be it single or long tail more and more sites are sharing the volume of traffic into Google.

I would have done this myself it is only smart business to expand the customer base.

Think about it. Some sites are just so strong they arn't effected the content or incoming links are so good they are given a special status within the algo, but for the vast majority of us we are pretty much equal with links, content, and SEO so we are spread out within our nitch to share the wealth, and hopefully enough organic traffic to buy into adwords to increase our revenue and Googles.

SEO is far from dead and those that think that are in the wrong business.


 1:34 pm on Apr 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Just typed in the name of one of our competitors, a major site you would all know by name.

PR 9 alexa 100 range. First page of results had 3 scraped results which had what seems to be internal search results spammed with snippets on pr 1-2 alexa 5 million sites.

What the hell is going on here!


 1:37 pm on Apr 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

I don't think there's old and new datasets being shown. I'm seeing a mix, with some of the sites that ranked on the first page returning to the first page, but still some of the new sites (and some of the scraper and MFA sites).

A couple of the niche phrases I've been watching had big shakeups yesterday. It will be interesting to see what the results are today.


 6:57 pm on Apr 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

What the hell is going on here!

I've got a theory that Google has switched off their filtering processes whilst they roll out and test Caffeine.

Sadly, all sites/pages penalised BEFORE the Caffeine roll out still have their penalties firmly in place.

Keep downing the Caffeine spammers, you haven't got long ... only another six months ...


 8:31 pm on Apr 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Does not look like caf will be rolled out proper until after the "layoffs" if this rock-and-roll continues rather than the holidays!

Yes, some major shake-ups going on. I guess if G* was not the dominant SE (for the moment), they won't have taken this live testing and mixing risk. On some searches, it actually looks like my adolescent grand child built and designed this SE and its algo, an example is searching for a similar query as "webmaster world" and you get a few weeks old five page teenager's site about templates for webmasters ranking on top of WebmasterWorld and the site as big as WebmasterWorld on the 4th page.

What I can deduct from this is, I am 100% sure it's temporary, for how long more though, that will only be known by their engineers (hope they will know soon), but I hope is only days!


 9:58 pm on Apr 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing alot of very odd things the last couple of days, not only with the serps, but also in WMT. We've had sitemaps since they were first available.

Today I logged in and half our sitemaps say 0 indexed urls, after closer inspection, they were virtually the same feeds we submitted to google base/merchant center.

I did some searches for phrases on those pages that WMT says are not indexed and they are able to be found in google. What the heck...


 10:28 pm on Apr 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

My site finally hit pr 5. It was stuck at 4 for over 2 years.

Does it help more if a high pr site link your site on their homepage compared to the other pages on the site (assuming the homepage has a higher pr)?

Also, is a pr of 6 considered "elite" nowadays?


 11:45 pm on Apr 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

PR is an unreliable matrix or platform on which to measure any site by, one could link to a useless and only slightly related site from one's own network of P5/6/7 sites and that site will gain PR5/6 in few months*** even if it has hardly any content to write home about. However, PR7 upwards is considered "elite" and are more likely to justify their rank and their traffic which also is usually consistently high, so is their backline profile. Some but not all PR5/6 sites maybe the same. Having said that, there are many sites that are PR4 that are more successful than PR7s and have more authority and traffic than them on various niches, depending on how highly sought after the content / information is.

I came across many PR5/PR6 sites, their PR was bogus, if I were to fall for the trap of saying wow a PR6 site for sale, I would've spent $$$$$s IN A TEMPLATE site linked to through temp or permanent high PR OEN SITES redirects just to give it that PR to achieve high return in selling it, then the redirect is pulled down and put on another site and so on, many do it as a lucrative quick money making scheme. The conclusion is PR alone is complementary to other factors that are easily measurable, solid themed organic backlinks, traffic over time, age of site and its content, membership and circulation etc.

There is one plus though, if the backlinks to the site were organic and were not from your own sites, it is a step in right direction to stepping up the ranking ladder, you must be providing something worthwhile people want to bookmark it and link to it, so keep it up!

*** this will usually result in a filter or penalty in the end in my experience and that of others, and is discouraged, seen as excessive and unwarranted cross-linking to manipulate rank which G* frowns upon.

OK, let's keep this thread about updates and SERP changes, which by the way there are SERP changes and peculiar updates in the last few days.

I have a feeling most caffeine DCs are turned off and the old DCs were put in place, the problem is the old DCs are lacking most of the index count it seems. As though most database records were moved to the new infrastructure, which explains the SERP links count when doing the site: operator, only 20-30% are present on the old databases, the rest is on caf DCs. Either G* has a massive problem rolling Caffeine altogether or we are just about to witness the much anticipated Roll out. We've seen this kind of behavior pre Florida and pre Bid Daddy amongst other major updates, total chaos, the calm before the storm, then the colossus twister! If I am right, a press release or blog post is likely imminent in the next few says from G*!


 11:54 pm on Apr 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Also, is a pr of 6 considered "elite" nowadays?

Nah. I can get a 5 within four weeks. 6 is "established" in my eyes. 7 at least to get an "ooooh!" out of me though ...


 6:20 am on Apr 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

@internetheaven will you please put some light on how to get PR 5 within 4 weeks :)


 6:30 am on Apr 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Year, this would be a nice excursus from all the caffeine-stuff - and I have to admit that I don't understand PR-inheritance (at least TBPR) any more...


 9:59 am on Apr 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

To get PR 5 overnight, link to it from your -related- network. I have a handful of those, PR is useless. Eyeballs is what matters.


 10:23 am on Apr 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

@caribguy well said :P
i have some websites that will definitely like 5 PR.
So why don't we do an experiment and put my websites on your network to get them PR5.. What you say :P


 10:28 am on Apr 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

caribguy: You mean trying to get links for the sites which G shows in related:example.com?!


 11:35 am on Apr 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

I wish I knew what I was looking at ... Monday was great! 30% rise in traffic ... but was it regular results (just updated), Caffeine, Caffeine without filters, regular results without filters ... does anyone know what results the majority of UK users might have been seeing on Monday between ... oh forget it, no-one has a clue right now, do they?


 11:50 am on Apr 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

I've noticed Mondays seem to be much better traffic wise in the UK, for what reason, I've no idea. Maybe as much as 20% for me.

No sign of things stabilising at all, probably still on a slightly downward trend compared to the beginning of April.

Overall, I would say that my traffic is down to around 50% of what it was this time last year.

TBH I can't even tell what's Caffeine and what's not. Is there a distinguishing feature of Caff so I can tell when I am seeing it?


 12:13 pm on Apr 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

I can't even tell what's Caffeine and what's not. Is there a distinguishing feature of Caff

If you can follow the Caffeine comments in this thread from the beginning (and that's quite a job), you'll find that most people who are sure they are seeing Caffeine have been tracking certain tell-tale markers that they noticed for their keywords -- beginning late last fall when there was a guaranteed testbed URL for Caffeine results.

Caffeine is not an algorithm change, it's a complete infrastructure change. Google hoped to make any ranking impacts as small as possible, but certain shifts were going to happen given the depth of this change in Google's underlying technology.

So the answer is pretty much no. Unless you've been tracking your own Caff and de-Caff rankings for the past few months, there's really no other distinguishing feature anyone could give you.

That said, Caffeine now does seem quite widely rolled out. But in the mix is the usual amount of small to medium algorithm change, too - those continue all the time, no matter what infrastructure is kicking out the results. Makes it even more difficult to keep things sorted.


 6:46 pm on Apr 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Cangoo, I meant sites that are under your control.

Specific case I experienced: new directory site (in-depth info, unique content) launched 2 years ago. Shopped around a bit for links from other sites in its niche and placed a sitewide from a PR4 related website. PR went to 2 in May, 3 in August, 4 in October, and 5 in Feb 2009.

That site has virtually no external links. One run of site in the masthead to its "parent" (the tool that the website was made with) - that site was launched in August 2008 and went straight to 5 in October of that year.

A third site, its blog, hosted on Blogspot. Handful of inbounds, mostly from the two other sites, hit 1 briefly in Oct 2008, dropped to 0 and jumped up to 5 in January 2010.

Dusky already said it best:

The conclusion is PR alone is complementary to other factors that are easily measurable, solid themed organic backlinks, traffic over time, age of site and its content, membership and circulation etc.

TBPR in itself is not a measure of success. Traffic -converting to clicks or sales - is the only metric that matters.


 7:57 pm on Apr 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

caff has invaded India, its on google.com
But seeing it a little less on US proxies...


 2:22 am on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

when is the next update?


 2:41 am on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Welcome to the forums, mtpub. The Google ranking algorithm updates about once a day. Some updates are minor and some are major -- and there's usually no predicting when the major updates are going to happen.

Here is a recent video about the frequency of changes today: How many search algorithm changes were made in 2009? [youtube.com]


 6:02 am on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

we noticed significant drop from US on our canadian site.


 7:39 am on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Cangoo, I meant sites that are under your control.

caribguy, thanks. The problem is that Google is really good now in detecting such networks - I shoot pages into penalties by doing exactly this.


 8:09 am on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have noticed that all of a sudden my rankings are back to when caffine done it's first roll out. It was temporary but this time I have noticed that big sites have dropped as well but in other industries. The .co.uk rankings are very similar to .com. Anyone else see this?


 9:57 am on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

not sure what they have done today in the UK but my traffic on one site has gone crazy, i hope they dont turn it back


 10:40 am on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have just aquired the new google skin along with a drop in rankings. I really do hope it is temporary, as different dc's are showing different things, but traffic is starting to pick up but nothing like before.


 11:12 am on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

The .co.uk rankings are very similar to .com. Anyone else see this?

This happens from time to time. It's like the UK filter is turned off for a bit. Worst still is the AU infiltration! Every so often the UK Google results are crammed with AU results - now that's always a dark day for us ...


 11:26 am on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Switch back to dataset no2 (Caffeine?) in Germany.

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