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Google MAYDAY Update - SERP Changes May 2010
pontifex

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4125460 posted 12:53 pm on May 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

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

Now, as the dust settles from the last days and my panic is under control :->, I thought I share some ideas here.

Basic infos:

1. Nature of site: eCommerce

2. Type of link building: across the board
specialties: our sellers get subdomains, minimal link buying, majorly press, partners, etc.

3. Pages on domain: somewhere around 3 Mio. pages,
majorly product details and listing pages of products


History: Until Tuesday we ramped in around 200k Uniques a day - very strong long tail traffic, 65% of the landing pages are the product details.

What happened: First the site lost one PR point from 6 to 5 in the last update. Traffic went up, so I did not care at all, but maybe it completes the picture.

Tuesday, April 27th: solid and good traffic, but slightly lower than last week.

Wednesday, April 28th: first noticeable drop of around 10%

Thursday: 25% loss of traffic to Tuesday

Yesterday: 27% loss of traffic to Tuesday

Think this is the current status: Lost around 25% of power/traffic somehow.

--------------------------------------------

What happened?

Hard to say really, but here are some cents for the collective thought pool:

a) Keywords I monitor are still where they were, but these (around 20) keywords are not really LONG TAIL

b) Some merchants selling strong in the past weeks dropped out of the sky and vanished from our top sellers list: that could be the reason.

I looked here in this senseless long thread :-) and found the following quotes spark a clue:

I think the loss of long tail is more to do with Google's incredible improvements in Adwords relevance matching. - internetheaven


Well, my loss in traffic is majorly long tail - so that area fits at least.

Long tail traffic in most cases relies on internal link juice, this is how it works. - SEOPTI


There is so much insight in that one sentence, I love it!

And I can relate to it in my case:

The few top sellers vanishing from the list are providing thousands of niche products for very specific purposes. They lost the traffic and that whole picture falls in to place:

If this is the Caffeine update, IMHO the following happens while we type:

Deep content is gathered from domains not crawled so deep before. The amount of pages with long tail keywords doubles, tripples or just magnifolds and changes the game as a whole.

If internal link juice is now weaker or stronger: Link building has now a different meaning.

Link juice must be handled under a differen perspective.

Even if we can build up 1,000 named backlinks to a page, it looses its power on 3 Mio. children quite quickly.

If there are major authority sites unlocked by Caffeine with "before 100,000 pages" and after "10,000,000 deep pages" we have now

9,900,000 new enemies in the long tail....

That would explain a lot to me and I wonder what you think?

P!

< the active thread for this discussion is here: [webmasterworld.com...] >

[edited by: tedster at 7:44 pm (utc) on May 22, 2010]

 

mikeclover

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4125460 posted 6:51 pm on May 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

Agree, I noticed that my CTR is 1%, I am typiaclly at position 8 and 9. Of course this is normal for being that low on the page. This is defenitely a good find Tedster.

internetheaven

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4125460 posted 7:42 pm on May 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

Even keywords that rank #1 a good bit of the time are also showing impressions from 8 or 10 other positions, including page 2 or 3.


I don't know tedster, couldn't a lot of that be the position on different Google searches e.g. Google.com, Google.co.uk, Google.ie, Google.ca?

The stats are organised by geo-location, not which search facility was used aren't they? i.e. switching to United Kingdom stats show clicks/views from the UK, not your rankings in Google.co.uk?

Hissingsid

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4125460 posted 7:42 pm on May 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

Could some of what we are seeing just be people playing with wonder wheel simply because it is new. Once they have got bored with the thing they will go back to clicking near the top of the first SERPS in many cases.

Cheers

Sid

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4125460 posted 7:49 pm on May 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

That would imply a lot of title optimization ... argl!

And meta descriptions... and page content, too.

Google does a good bit of snippet optimization for you - ignoring the meta description that you provide if their algorithm indicates that it doesn't work well for a specific query.

Same thing applies to title rewriting. Although titles are certainly "adapted" for a specific query a lot less frequently than snippets are, we are seeing more of that in recent times, too. And especially when it comes to snippets, the on-page content is frequently used as the raw material.

It seems to me that monitoring the in-depth WMT reports for your high traffic queries has become a mission-critical task. However, when it comes to user-generated content, especially paginated discussions of almost any kind, it's probably better to let the description selection up to Google and just focus on that title.

Karma

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4125460 posted 11:45 pm on May 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

Each day since 28th April my traffic is reducing compared to the same day the week before - and I'm really starting to panic now.

How am I supposed to know if this is the new algo change or the new layout? At least if I can narrow it down I may be able to do something about it :/

Reno

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4125460 posted 1:02 am on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

How am I supposed to know if this is the new algo change or the new layout? At least if I can narrow it down I may be able to do something about it

Because everyone here is a professional webmaster and thus most of us work on our sites just about every day, your question is one we all face when there is a drop in Google traffic. Did we do something that triggered alarm bells? Is it because people are working on their yards or going to their children's soccer games, rather than surfing the web? Is it something with Google that is completely out of our hands?

We all wonder about these things because in large part many of us work in an isolated environment.

In this particular case, my own traffic dropped off practically to the hour that the new format rolled out. So even though I was working on my sites that day -- as I do almost every day -- nothing I did was black-hat so I have to think it's them, not me. And when I see SO many other people (including Brett) reporting the same thing, the evidence points to Google.

Some of the posters here are postulating that filters may be askew -- if that's the case, then we need to give their engineers the time to tweak them back into position.

So sometimes the best thing to do is to do nothing for awhile, and see how this settles out. If a number of webmasters start reporting a return to normal traffic and you remain way down, then further investigation may be necessary. But for now, it's possible you could do more damage than good if you start shuffling content around, so if you can hang in there, you may see more clearly what is going on in a week or two. That's my own plan, for now at least.

........................

BillyS

WebmasterWorld Senior Member billys us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4125460 posted 1:44 am on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

The most compelling evidence I've seen comes from pontifex. I've stared at our data for years now and the change patterns are pretty clear.

Unfortunately, as was pointed out by Reno I've got some seasonality at play too. Our traffic normally drops after the tax season is over in the US, and continues to degrade through the summer months.

WMT is a great resource, especially slicing the information by date (April versus May). I do see a lot of shifts, but not nearly as bad as someone like pontifex is likely seeing.

Caper



 
Msg#: 4125460 posted 1:57 am on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

One of my sites went down from 700 uu-1.8 uu a day to 100 uu a day. It looks like it might be slowly getting google traffic back. Next couple of weeks will be crucial if traffic does not comeback that will blow:( Means starting from scratch again.

carfac

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4125460 posted 2:24 am on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Here are some more of my thoughts- not tha I have any particular insight or anything...

1) There are a LOT more people coming here with problems and posting than who are uneffected or benefiting. The people suffering all seem to be white hat, so I think we can rule out penalty. California did not fall into the ocean following an earthquake, so there is no real reason for a decrease in people on the web. There are not hundreds or thousands of new websites that are experts in all our respective fields that suddenly appeared April 28TH. The problem is squarely, 100% at Google. End of story.

We have seen screwed up SERPS before... Google does not seem to be able to build an entirely new DB -AND- Filter the results -AND- keep the old results up while working in the new results at the same time. They need to spider us all with the new algo in the spiders to build the new database (which is why we good, white hat, authority sites are being spidered so hard recently). So I am thinking we should get back to normal... or the new normal- soon, a couple more days I bet. They need to bget the new, clean data inhouse, then filter it, then get it out live.

This current situation is hurting Goog, too. How much has your adsense revenue dropped? Timews that drop by thousands if not millions, and that is what Google is loosing in adwords revenue... we don't make money, they don't make money (in much larger quantities).

I think it is telling that the G engineers have not spent any time commenting on this- they are all probably very busy right now.

So I just think it sucks to be us right now.... but it will work out. If you have a good, honest site and do not pull any fast ones, the searches will be back by mid-month...the 28th at the latest...

Caper



 
Msg#: 4125460 posted 2:45 am on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

This current situation is hurting Goog, too. How much has your adsense revenue dropped? Timews that drop by thousands if not millions, and that is what Google is loosing in adwords revenue... we don't make money, they don't make money (in much larger quantities).

>>> very true

>> You make them money Google returns a bit love your way.

Revenue dropped to almost 0 so am assuming it is the same in a millions of smaller/bigger sites.


In my opinion they did either clean house on their Db's or rewrote everything and re-indexing everything now. Time will tell.

Or PLan B

How about if google decides to direct traffic from them only to adwords advertisers and only sites they own (youtube...) and do a big dump on rest of us that rely on search traffic:(

[edited by: tedster at 4:07 am (utc) on May 11, 2010]
[edit reason] quote box added [/edit]

cien

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4125460 posted 3:19 am on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

I was tempted to do some in-house cleaning but like Reno pointed out, probably I'll do more damage than good to my site. Been over a month already that my site is floating dead on the water. I'll wait a few more weeks.

kurzo

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4125460 posted 3:58 am on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Add my site to the list.

Every week for the past 4-5 weeks I have seen G traffic go down 10% based on the previous week's traffic. Currently, I am seeing a 40% loss. As with everyone else in this thread, I am hoping there will be a reversal.

walkman



 
Msg#: 4125460 posted 5:08 am on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have to go with the 'data is all over the place so wait.' In the past 2 weeks my traffic went down by a lot but then Gbot is going crazy and at times I get some referrals that signify much better positions in another data-set. Maybe the improvement is caffeine, now in .ca, and very different from what I see on Google.com locations

Karma

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4125460 posted 8:35 am on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

WMT is a great resource, especially slicing the information by date (April versus May).


Assuming you're to 'Google Webmaster Tools' and not analytics, how do you split this down by date?

internetheaven

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4125460 posted 8:46 am on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

I am seeing a 40% loss

There are a LOT more people coming here with problems and posting than who are uneffected or benefiting

I think we need to confirm something: are all these people saying they've lost traffic ranking in the top of the SERPs for Google, Yahoo AND Bing?

Surely one possible theory is that Google have completely blown their foot off this time and people (unable to find what they want within 1-2 searches) are going elsewhere?

Can someone with a top 3 ranking on Google, Yahoo AND Bing for all their keywords come forward and state that they have lost 40%-90% traffic?

Have we got any search market share data for April yet? (Although, as people will still be doing their first search before moving on, the data might be a bit funny.)

Could be barking up the wrong tree, but it seems most are barking at the moon right now which isn't much use either ... this traffic loss coincides with some big advertising spends from Bing and Yahoo doesn't it?

I'm not saying that everyone's traffic loss is because they don't rank on other search engines that might be tried. Obviously the sudden drops and recoveries for many are obviously algorithm related. But could a lot of people complaining on this board have lost traffic for other reasons? Especially the 5%-10% loss complainers?

anand84

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4125460 posted 8:55 am on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Have we got any search market share data for April yet? (Although, as people will still be doing their first search before moving on, the data might be a bit funny.)

You can find them here [businessinsider.com], though the changes seem to be more so because of UI changes at Yahoo

As I think about it, I have seen one more change in my Google results since the time I lost traffic. My domain name example1.com is a derivative of a popular website that goes by the name example.com. Earlier searches for "example1" on Google used to point to my website as the #1 result. Since the drop in Mid-March, I had started noticing results being pointed to example.com with Google displaying the familiar 'Showing results for example. Show results for example1' text.

However, the trust factor does not seem to have been affected. My site still used to show the sitelinks (that I believe is only shown for trusted sites) even though it lost in the rankings.

graeme_p

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4125460 posted 10:00 am on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have never got accurate page speed times, they were always too high. They are getting slightly more accurate as they have dropped, but they are far too high - unless they are counting the time it takes adsense etc. to load, which is far longer than my page takes.

OddDog

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4125460 posted 10:19 am on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have a question for all those that have seen there long tail traffic drop of.

What is your inbound link profile like?

Was it particularly home page heavy, or was there a real mix of front page and deep links coming into your site?

Hissingsid

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4125460 posted 10:23 am on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

unless they are counting the time it takes adsense etc. to load, which is far longer than my page takes.


The bl**ding obvious starts to appear through the mist.

I'd get Firebug Pagespeed installed and click on some of those recommendations after you "Analyze Performance".

Cheers

Sid

BillyS

WebmasterWorld Senior Member billys us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4125460 posted 10:27 am on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Assuming you're to 'Google Webmaster Tools' and not analytics, how do you split this down by date?


It's right on the Search Queries page. At the top it has a From and To date.

dickbaker

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4125460 posted 12:58 pm on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Have folks here who are losing Adsense revenue looked at the sites that have taken their positions to see if those sites are running Adsense as well? I've seen many sites come from nowhere to be on the first page that are nothing but MFA.

MacSeth



 
Msg#: 4125460 posted 1:32 pm on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

As a webmaster I really understand (and feel!) the stress a dropdown of this magnitude can cause.
I can say we encounter the same problems as some webmasters here. In my opinion the main reason for the dropdown can be found in Google's update/new layout.

However there may be some other reasons for the drop (in the Netherlands there is a holiday period the first two weeks of May... I do not know if the same can be said of the United States?!?) which may cause a "extra damage". When this period is over we may see a (small) rise.

Is google taking speed into bigger account? Even after optimizing our website for speed it is quite hard to compete to niches with just a small amount of pages when you yourself have a directory with millions of pages...

We just don't know what is causing this all .. it may be a combination of different factors and the problem is we may never know. What I do know is that if you do NOT know what is happening, it may be wisest to stay whereever you are at this moment. Do not change a quality website because of fear...

To all fellow webmasters who are having this problem right now: good luck and keep the faith. Our sites did not become leading without reason before... we will become leading again (in the future).

gford

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4125460 posted 1:42 pm on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

I am still seeing things get worse and for us it started March 15th and just progressively worse every week.

My only ray of hope for this site (all other sites of mine are fine) is that I am seeing so many others (you all!) with the same problem. Heck, WebmasterWorld has seen google referrals drop bad, while bad news for WebmasterWorld is the first domain name I know of beyond my own that is a legit site and getting creamed by this..

bwnbwn

WebmasterWorld Senior Member bwnbwn us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4125460 posted 2:27 pm on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

internetheaven to answer your question. Not all keywords just don't have time to qualify this but a vast majority including long tale.
Can someone with a top 3 ranking on Google, Yahoo AND Bing for all their keywords come forward and state that they have lost 40%-90% traffic?


From the recent changes our sites positions have actually improved very much. The strange part is first is was Google then Bing and now Yahoo it is almost like the SE's are spidering themselves to compare, but I know that isn't the case. It is just wierd how it has worked out.
57.44% www.google.com Google use to be 65% or greater
17.88% www.bing.com use to be 2-3%
12.34% search.yahoo.com use to be 21-25%

Yahoo use to be were Bing is but in the last year positions have changed.

Now I am in a industry that suffered much from the recession and by that jobs millions were lost for 2 years so using my data can be unstable.

We have not lost traffic but we have not gained it either. You would think that in the last month getting top positions or top 3 would open the flood gates, not the case here. We have actually just continued to run about the same numbers give or take a small %.

What does this mean? I relly feel the improving economy has taken the people outta the house and back to work and the pool of searchers in my nitch has dropped big time.

There are so many things going on right now but we must not forget the economy can play a huge role in the traffic volume, and with the multiple fronts we are facing right now it is really hard to try to narrow down a specific reason.

I feel there are multiple causes and will just continue what I am doing and ride it out.

I really do feel the pain and pressure with loss of positions been there. I just never quit what I have learned over the years and suggest you guys continue what worked in the past and sit tight.

garyl2k



 
Msg#: 4125460 posted 2:39 pm on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Well for me, here is a little update on rankings.

Traffic is improving a tad but not by much, I thought I'd do a few changes to site, nothing major just adding RSS feed on main page etc and also a new fresh template which is still using same style.

I also removed some link exhanges which wasnt linking back, I have new backlinks from relevant sites which have some decent PR link juice.

Change in rankings?

Well it's been almost 48 hours since these changes and nothing has moved from any of the top 15 sites, only movement has been the displaying of two different search results where in one of them I end up on the first page at the bottom.

Just to let you guys who don't know my previous story, my site ranked 2nd for almost 3 years for a two worded keyword. Since April 26th I have had up and down results but the last week I have lost roughly 75% of my traffic and dropped a lot in the SERPS for my major keywords.

I will keep fingers cross to see if the changes I made and fresh backlinks will at least move me up a few places at the least...

maximillianos

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4125460 posted 2:48 pm on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

We are still bleeding our G referrals slowly each week. I was hoping to see it stable by now, but it is still dropping. Since this started in April we've now reached about a 12-15% drop in traffic.

Like others have said, there are so many other factors to consider that it is really hard to pinpoint (as always).

We have:

- Caffeine rollout and some apparent re-indexing
- New look SERPs
- Spring time and nice weather
- Every other random thing we deal with each day... =)

I share the mindset of a few others that say don't make any big changes yet. Let the dust settle and then see where you stand. Right now it is a moving target. Almost impossible to track the success of any changes.

Let's just hope it finds stable ground by the end of the month... and we are all left standing still. =)

curioustoddler



 
Msg#: 4125460 posted 3:18 pm on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

"I noticed that google.ca has caffeine"
Walkman mentione this.
This is very important for me. Because my new site is ranking very well in google.ca. Site is almost 9 months old but in a very competitive trade. Should i hope that these google.ca results will appear at google.com later or sooner?

walkman



 
Msg#: 4125460 posted 3:33 pm on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

"This is very important for me. Because my new site is ranking very well in google.ca. Site is almost 9 months old but in a very competitive trade. Should i hope that these google.ca results will appear at google.com later or sooner? "


IMO yes, that's the trend but it's taking way too long. Scroll up to see US based IP like this [209.85.225.103...] with caffeine to get a better view, .ca serps are probably with a local Canadian filter

curioustoddler



 
Msg#: 4125460 posted 3:56 pm on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thanks a lot.
I have been checking results at that IP. I know it is testing our patience but these results at google.ca are so great that i dont mind waiting for another few months.

pontifex

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4125460 posted 4:00 pm on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Here is one for the "G spiders everything fresh now" theory: just search in the "Last 24 hrs"...

vodafone - 64 Million new results in the last 24 hrs

mercedes - 51 Million

ipad - 107 Million new results

Sorry, but I do not believe that 107 Million new pages about the iPad were created in the last 24 hrs!

:-)

P!

TheMadScientist

WebmasterWorld Senior Member themadscientist us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4125460 posted 4:03 pm on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Sorry, but I do not believe that 107 Million new pages about the iPad were created in the last 24 hrs!

You mean 1,238.43 new pages per second for 24 hours straight seems a bit high for some reason?

Of course, maybe they count each instance of 'twitter spam' as a new page now, which makes the number seem more plausible to me. LOL

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