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Google Referrals Way Down Since the SERP LayOut Change?
this is not about the algo update - this is about the design update
Brett_Tabke




msg:4129696
 12:18 pm on May 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

The last week was the biggest single change in our referral profile graph since florida 2004.

Anyone else seeing major changes in referral numbers since the new serp layout last week?

(this is not about the algo update, but specifically with the new serp layout)

 

graeme_p




msg:4131049
 8:28 pm on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

@physics: disallow it using the noarchive meta tag

Bing do it for all searches, Google do it when requested.

[edited by: graeme_p at 9:01 pm (utc) on May 11, 2010]

bwnbwn




msg:4131053
 8:35 pm on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

I am getting mixed signals here guys, the update caffeen wasn't suppose to be an algo change but now I am seeing walkman
Brett how do we know Google didn't change something else in the algo too at the same time?
Brett said
this is not about the algo update
so please lets not confuse would be readers referring to an algo change but stick with the layout only.
wanderingmind




msg:4131056
 8:40 pm on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

No change at all for me on a 40k google visitors site. Nothing noticeable at all.

Nobias




msg:4131063
 8:57 pm on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

It could be "personalized search" in the works.

Google has been intentionally turning ON the personalized search even if it was turned off before.

freejung




msg:4131067
 9:03 pm on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Rock steady for me as well. I'm seeing no changes outside normal variation, either in aggregate or on a keyword-by-keyword basis.

Edit: for reference, my main site gets about 6-7k visitors/day. I'm also seeing no significant variation on several lower-traffic sites.

maximillianos




msg:4131079
 9:30 pm on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

so please lets not confuse would be readers referring to an algo change but stick with the layout only.


Tough to distinguish what is related to the layout versus other changes that are going on. I for one cannot say with any certainty that my data from the last week is related to the new layout, it could be, but it could also be 3-4 other things going on right now.

Unfortunately for me, it is impossible to say what is related to my recent drop in traffic.

Chrispcritters




msg:4131088
 9:50 pm on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Looking at the results with the page preview turned on I can't really read anything. I would expect that it could reduce CTR rates from people who would have otherwise bounced. There are times that I remembered the search phrase I used to find a site, but not which one I found my answer on. I can usually visually remember what the general layout of the site way. With the page preview turned on I wouldn't need to click each result till found the one I remember. I suspect this would lead to a reduced bounce rate along with a lower CTR.

tedster




msg:4131089
 9:53 pm on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Seems to me that the new Google Interface became universal on May 5 [googleblog.blogspot.com], Cinqo de Mayo. The algo changes hit heavily on May 1, Mayday.

So you've got a 5 day period of algo effects before the interface effects kicked in. It's not a lot of time, but it's what we've got to sort out the difference between the two.

So when did traffic changes first kick in for you? If it was May 1, you're in the wrong thread. This thread's discussion is about Google traffic changes beginning on May 5, when the new layout kicked in.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4131096
 10:11 pm on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Up 1% since the change, everything has remained stable on my site for a long time now.

Lorel




msg:4131132
 12:50 am on May 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

My traffic is only slighly down.

I noticed one odd thing when viewing a search result where I usually rank #1 or #2. The other site is currently #2 but when I choose Preview my site pops up to #1. Maybe because the other site doesn't display an image.

the thumbnail of my site is ok.

I don't see an option for "latest".

ken_b




msg:4131140
 1:30 am on May 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

> Page Previews

The preview images seem to be cut off at about 640 pixels wide, which works fine for my site, but some of the others I saw looked really odd.

And when you have a double listing in the serp, each image gets its own image. I guess that's ok.

But then the snippets get really long, up to 8 - 9 lines for each listing, PLUS the title line, braed crumbs line, the URL/Cache/Similar line and the More from line. That's a lot of info!

And with up to 9 lines in the "snippet" it looks like there is a good chance G will construct a it so there is no need to click through to the actual page.

OK, it seems like the preview images can vary in how tall they are, and that seems to limit how many lines of text go with the image. But they still pack a lot of query related info into the snippet.

Gotta look at this more, but it sure seems like a drop in CTR is very possible with the preview pages.

staninbrooklyn




msg:4131155
 2:31 am on May 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

I've been shouting to anyone who will listen; for websites that use AdWords and SEO to sell a product or service, this new layout is a complete disaster for us. Why? Formerly a searcher would start with a search for example "dresses" and then continually refine the search: "dresses" "wedding dresses" "white wedding dresses" "plus-size white wedding dresses". AdWords advertisers could tweak their ads and refine their ads to match the search. Now Google has thrown up this giant SHOPPING button on the left column which basically says to searchers "Hey! Ignore those AdWords and click here." And when the searcher clicks that Shopping button, they are greeted with the incredibly dysfunctional Google Merchant Center which works for nobody except Amazon, Buy.com, and a few very large merchants who are always listed at the top. And once the searcher is in the Google Merchant Center, he stays there even if he continually refines his search. And Google is only allowing the top 2 AdWords ads to appear on this page.

In my businesses we sell <...> a whole bunch of products and services. Our CTRs on well-performing keywords are down 30-45% since this new layout. It's been a disaster.

I understand that Google's philosophy has always been to make Google as best to use for the searcher as possible and the advertisers will follow. I would like someone - anyone - to explain to me how the Google Merchant Center is better for searchers than carefully targeted AdWords.

[edited by: tedster at 2:50 am (utc) on May 12, 2010]
[edit reason] specific information removed [/edit]

Reno




msg:4131164
 2:57 am on May 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

"Hey! Ignore those AdWords and click here."

EXACTLY! And, "Ignore all those organic listings too, from which we have gathered the free content that you see in that not-as-relevant-as-it-used-to-be middle section".

When it was a symbiotic relationship, it was great, but now the scales are moving out of balance and helplessly watching this happen from the sidelines is not much fun.

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

lammert




msg:4131177
 3:42 am on May 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have seen an increase in Google referrals the last week. They mainly seem to come for second-choice keywords. The main keywords are slipping a little although not much. No time for definite conclusions yet but these referrals may come from the Something different section in the new Google layout.

@Brett: you have checked that your drop in Google referrals is not caused by members using the new site search functionality instead of Google to search in WebmasterWorld? At least I am not using Google anymore for site:webmasterworld.com searches and others may do the same.

System
redhat



msg:4131269
 4:15 am on May 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

The following 8 messages were cut out to new thread by engine. New thread at: google/4131267.htm [webmasterworld.com]
11:02 am on May 12, 2010 (utc +1)

Rosalind




msg:4131261
 9:36 am on May 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

But how is that any different than 'cached' page.

My noarchive tags are up, and the cached link isn't showing, but the images still appear when I click "page previews". So the noarchive meta tag is ineffective in blocking these images.

pontifex




msg:4131266
 9:47 am on May 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

@Brett:

1 to 1 correlation = causation


agreed - under that perspective I have not seen any change in traffic pattern in the time slot of the 4th to 6th of May.

yet I wonder how the traffic changed for WebmasterWorld - do you see a change in referal keywords?

I still think that the increased use of the "hidden search parameters" as .../#q=term is starting to kick in here...

@Dusky: in this thread [webmasterworld.com...]
way to block this uncalled for


the firefox prefetch option itself is a nice feature if used carefully! If a traffic monster like G implements it, its just a different scale and I agree with you that WMT should have an "opt-out" option. Yet, there is also an upside to this: if they only use it for position #1, your visitors will have a "wow, that was fast" experience when they click you...

P!

[edited by: engine at 10:04 am (utc) on May 12, 2010]
[edit reason] added link to OT thread [/edit]

engine




msg:4131281
 10:39 am on May 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

There's something not working correctly.

I chose to get UK only serps and it's littered with international sites that, in my example, I don't want to see.

It seems clear to me that the traffic will be down because people can't find what they want.

I'm not impressed with this change at all.

graeme_p




msg:4131316
 12:20 pm on May 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

@engine, I am getting more visitors, but a lower proportion from the UK, which fits with that - but thats a ranking issue, not a layout one.

tedster




msg:4131474
 4:47 pm on May 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

When it comes to WebmasterWorld's Google traffic, I wonder about the effect that more widespread time/date stamps can have. This mini-feature seems also to have expanded this month. End users may be more reluctant to click on a clearly historical thread if a more current choice is right there for the clicking.

engine




msg:4131487
 4:56 pm on May 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

@graeme_p You're right, but the two seem hand in hand, to an extent, as the new serps layout option to choose UK only doesn't appear to filter as well as previously. That could, of course, be an additional change Google introduced. Not sure the sites' rankings have changed, more like the unwanted/less relevent results getting through in the first place.

graeme_p




msg:4131533
 5:36 pm on May 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

Change in my case started last month so pre-dates layout change.

Interent Yogi




msg:4131662
 9:41 pm on May 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

The jurys out here. I think that the users at present are confused how to find the local sites as now you need to search internationally(Well the standard geo targeted .co.nz results) before you can filter for local sites. (So Brett it could be good for you on international searches)
We sell products that mostly need( due to time frames and prohibitive air freight costs) to be brought locally. Its not good to have the extra step. Then again I think that it is going to make people start typing .... Keyword.. Country ...

OddDog




msg:4131666
 10:11 pm on May 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

the new google layout offers addicional clicking choices above and beyond the old SERPīs.

In fact, WebmasterWorld may be losing out to a searcher that does a search that before produced a click on WebmasterWorld results, and now clicks on the video filter, or the blog filter.

Seems like a reasonable guess to me.

I personally dont like the new layout, but can see that many normal searchers would like to see blog or video results only.

staninbrooklyn




msg:4131682
 10:55 pm on May 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think that this new layout will affect your traffic much differently depending upon the type of site. For example, if you have a celebrity blog and you're listed high on the "blog" section of the left-side layout, you might find increased traffic because a searcher may now bypass the "shopping" and the "news" section. However, if you are selling movie posters, you may lose a lot of traffic because searchers that previously clicked on your site to look for images, may now just click "images" to the left and never see your site at all. I would wager that "image-heavy" sites are seeing a lot of traffic where searchers view an image file but never view the site at all.

TheMadScientist




msg:4131796
 3:59 am on May 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Interesting little note on this topic... My Google referrals are still down (not as much as I noted earlier, still 30% or so though), but this week they're being fairly well replaced by an increase in Yahoo! referrals. Anyone else seeing a shift in referrals to a different search provider?

Lorel




msg:4131937
 10:55 am on May 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

I only get Google traffic but it seems to be more foreign than .com now, lots of google.co.uk

dickbaker




msg:4131972
 1:00 pm on May 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Interesting little note on this topic... My Google referrals are still down (not as much as I noted earlier, still 30% or so though), but this week they're being fairly well replaced by an increase in Yahoo! referrals. Anyone else seeing a shift in referrals to a different search provider?


As a percentage of all referrals (SE's and direct traffic), Google has gone up 3-5% for me. As a percentage of SE traffic, Google has dropped a couple of points and Yahoo has increased. As I measure it, the increase in Yahoo is the same number of visitors as the decrease in Google.

Near as I can tell, my site ranks very well on Yahoo, but maybe not as well as yours across all the search terms.

aristotle




msg:4131989
 1:44 pm on May 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

When "Preview" is selected, the screen shot images for one of my sites are just blank rectangles, even though the pages are cached. Does anyone know what would cause this?

Note: Surprisingly, despite these blank images, so far the Google traffic for this site hasn't dropped significantly. This suggests that most searchers either don't use the "Preview" option, or else still click despite the blank images. Even so, I would still like to know what is causing the images to be blank.

Shaddows




msg:4132015
 2:21 pm on May 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Even so, I would still like to know what is causing the images to be blank.

Elsewhere, at least 2 people have established poor previews are caused by blocking CSS in robots.txt- the logic being Google cannot create a "snapshot" without the style sheets. I expect image folders and other resources that are sometimes witheld from bots will cause similar problems

aristotle




msg:4132099
 4:39 pm on May 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Elsewhere, at least 2 people have established poor previews are caused by blocking CSS in robots.txt- the logic being Google cannot create a "snapshot" without the style sheets. I expect image folders and other resources that are sometimes witheld from bots will cause similar problems


Thanks for this information. No css for this site is blocked, but I have blocked most of the images to prevent a flood of unwanted traffic from Google Image Search. I may unblock the images for one or two pages as a test to see what happens, although I think I might have to wait a while since Google's image indexing can sometimes be slow .

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