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2: Google MAYDAY Update - SERP Changes May 2010
cangoou




msg:4131672
 10:22 pm on May 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

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

Puh, this is really strange: I still see 2 resultsets - and after 7 days I can say that SERPs #1 are shown from right at 0am to about 5am local time and SERPs #2 the rest of the day. I thought this was some kind of dancing around again but it seems to be quite stable now for 1 week.

Funny thing is: SERPs #1 are better then before, SERPs #2 are worse (in rankings of main keywords).

Google is no longer following my robots.txt file. It has indexed hundreds of pages that I have disallowed.

Same here, got a complete set of new pages with robots=noindex in the index.

Generally it's best to make any changes when SERPs are stable, never within an update due to panic!

In general I would agree, but I haven't seen something like "stable SERPs" since January... This makes it quite hard not to panic ;-)

[edited by: tedster at 7:43 pm (utc) on May 13, 2010]

 

mcdarwin




msg:4132253
 9:21 pm on May 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

My main keyword used to be a stable #1 or #2 - now it changes daily at every position between #2 and #6. But it is the only result with sitelinks when I search for that keyword - looks weird at #6 position...

TheMadScientist




msg:4132261
 9:50 pm on May 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

@ InternetHeaven... Classic!

I felt that way almost every time I searched until I switched my default stereotyper / profiler / categorizer.

I'm seeing some really 'odd' traffic shifts ATM... They're so odd I wonder if they're a reporting issue at times, but have not compared to raw logs yet to try and make a determination.

Google traffic is generally down, but on some days it's 'normal' (fluctuations vary from day to day). Traffic overall, except for a few exceptions, is 'normal'. Traffic on Google 'down' days seems to be filled by Yahoo! Time on site is 'average' (normal). Page view averages are fluctuating like crazy... 'average' is 2, but the way it's been arrived at lately is: 1.2 one day ranging to 3.2 the next? (1.8 to 2.2 is what I'm used to seeing.)

This is a completely odd situation I haven't seen before, because traffic seems normal with some down days if I just look at the visit average and other overall averages, but when I start to dig deeper and look at other variables I'm seeing a really odd traffic pattern.

robdwoods




msg:4132307
 11:42 pm on May 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Does anyone out there have any data on the nature of the long tail keywords themselves where traffic has been dropping? I haven't seen a drop in my long tail traffic but I don't sell recognized brands. My long tail are more of the "large blue widgets" kind than the "Acme Model SX-12345 A/V Receiver" the later is likely to have a lot more direct competition and similar content on other sites. Anyone seeing that type of pattern in the keywords which have lost traffic?

dickbaker




msg:4132359
 2:41 am on May 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have another funny example of the screwiness of the current results. If my posts about these are annoying, please let me know.

I'm watching several niches different from my own to try to see if there's any rhyme or reason to what's going on.

For one particular search phrase--a common consumer household appliance--there's a site that showed up on the first page a couple of weeks ago at #10. It didn't have the strength of the other sites in terms of age, links, size of the site, etc. I figured it would be gone in a day. Instead, it's moved to #1.

Here's the amazing part, though. The URL takes you to a page that has all sorts of semi-hidden keyword text that you can only see if you scroll very far down. If you click on the button to enter the site, you're taken to a completely different site with a completely different URL and title.

So, the #1 result for this somewhat popular and competitive phrase is a cloaked page that uses a sneaky redirect.

TheMadScientist




msg:4132365
 2:55 am on May 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

The more I think about it, the more I think the people at Google are fairly smart and I'm guessing there might be a bit of a method to the seeming madness... Back in the days of 'updates' there were often periods of time with a bunch of 'G is broken' posts, but somehow they seem to have worked things out after each, so my personal guess is there is probably something going on 'behind the scenes' and if tedster's guess is correct, maybe the system is more automated than before and it's expected for 'the wrong site' (or page) to float to the top for a while before being dropped to page 97?

It's tough to tell what's 'better' or 'worse' without a comparison, isn't it? So, if you let sites (pages) float through an automated system 'naturally' you get some comparative data and IMO should be able to make determinations faster as to what pattern (better than or worse than) fits each page or site as the amount of data increases...

IOW: Maybe they need to let things 'run their course' for a bit?

1script




msg:4132374
 3:24 am on May 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

It's tough to tell what's 'better' or 'worse' without a comparison, isn't it?
Yes, if you are just starting out with a new search engine. But Google has 10+ years of data/experience to know at least which (types of) sites they want to suppress. They may not necessarily know which of the first 10 URLs that made the top cut should be #1 since they are supposedly all good pages but to intentionally let scrapers/spam in just to stir things up - that's a stretch. I see how an intentional SERP agitation could be useful to them but not outside the small range around the SERP that the page is ranked for by the algo.

By "algo" I mean the total sum of all the ranking factors at play for the particular search which of course in different combinations can still be responsible for + or - 10 positions on top of the alleged intentional SERP flux.

walkman




msg:4132375
 3:27 am on May 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

The minute the update is over, Gooogle will let us know, so hang tight

I still see different datasets and possibly missing data, link juice or whatever.

Get it done Google!

dickbaker




msg:4132379
 3:49 am on May 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

One other thing I've noticed is that, as sites show up on the first page for a few days and then disappear, many of them disappear completely. They don't go to page #2 or 3 or even 6 or 7. They just go away.

cien




msg:4132421
 4:18 am on May 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

I don't this will ever be over. That's the new algo. Caffeine is here to stay unfortunately.

TheMadScientist




msg:4132474
 4:37 am on May 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

@ 1script

If the system 'learns' like e-mail spam filters do, then it has to 'see' the reactions of visitors to spam to 'learn' anything about spam, doesn't it? IMO It's not a stretch at all to need to 'let the system run' for a while when you first fire up an 'AI type' system like tedster was thinking they might be shifting to.

Good e-mail filters get better over time don't they?
If this shift is to the same type of system IMO they might have to just let it run for a while...

If you think about what they could automate by using a system like this then IMO the changes could be a bit more massive than just installing a new infrastructure... Couldn't they theoretically automate the algo doing the scoring as well? Think about personalization, e-mail spam filtering, an incredible amount of computing power and a whole bunch of really smart people and what they might automate WRT search results, much like some e-mail spam filtering systems. That could well be where they're going, IMO, and would require the letting through of some spam, because unlike e-mail you don't have a spam box for people to check and see if anything got incorrectly filtered from the SERPs.

I guess another version of what I'm trying to say is:
It could be necessary to take what seems like a step or two back in order to make a huge leap forward, couldn't it?

Reno




msg:4132490
 5:04 am on May 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

they might have to just let it run for a while

The question is whether their userbase -- as opposed to the webmaster community -- sees as much junk mixed in as we see. If so, will those people do anything about it, which is to say, move over to Bing/Yahoo? And if Google sees that happening, will THEY do anything about it? I mean, if they're "letting" this happen so their AI can learn, that could be a risky move. They certainly don't want the userbase getting frustrated, and they don't want people to say that "Google is getting junky". And the stockholders won't like that either, so I'm not sure a decision like that could get approved by the powers that be. If it was presented/approved, I'd think the top guns would demand a quick turnaround, but as this plays out, it's getting close to the point where it's not feeling so "quick" anymore.

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

TheMadScientist




msg:4132493
 5:14 am on May 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

I understand your point Reno and think it's a good one with some great questions. We won't know for a while how things are going with this quarter, but almost the entire time they've been switching over people here have been complaining, although the shareholders don't seem to have much need to worry right now... They didn't do anything 'spectacular' but they certainly didn't falter either.

http://www.businessinsider.com/google-earnings-analysis-goog-q1-2010 [businessinsider.com]

Shaddows




msg:4132533
 7:50 am on May 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

1script, that was a good bit of analysis. Thanks for sharing.

I still think that "Trust" has been devalued, or is being rebuilt. It happened during the Halloween update 08, and a couple of times since. In all cases, there were distinct datasets being 'zipped up'. However, in this one, its taken at least 1 week longer, and there are no stable, distinct sets.

I'm hoping that some kind of permutation-based superset is being blended and a stable index will emerge with a comparable Trust calculation working in the background.

Reports of an uptick are good news, so lets start throwing chicken bones. I predict this will be resolved on Friday 28th May- just before the Spring Bank Holiday / Memorial Day.

ohno




msg:4132542
 8:24 am on May 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Guys, our site was stable on page 1 for years, this year we'd have good weeks then a bad week. There is no doubt in my mind this was during Google testing. Now things are dead am i right in thinking there is nothing we can do until the dust settles? It's obvious things are not stable right now so no point in trying anything right? It's just had as we are making next to nothing right now (when we used to make 4 figure sums). I really do wish Google would understand things like this can kill a small business. Has anything official come from Google on this? Thanks

john1975




msg:4132582
 10:23 am on May 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

@ohno... google are trying to expand their search business, hence earning more money! That has and will always remain like that

dickbaker




msg:4132617
 12:28 pm on May 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Taking "a step backwards" didn't really work for the GM automakers in the 1970's, did it? You can't give customers a subpar product thinking that , once you get the product right, the lost customers will come back.

I can't imagine that the folks at Google would take that kind of risk. If I'm right, that can only mean that they can't figure out yet how to fix this.

ohno




msg:4132623
 12:44 pm on May 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

John1975-i can appreciate that, however we sell niche products that people obviously wanted-now they can't find us they can't buy them. How is that a step forward? If Google think this will force us to Adwords they are very much mistaken-we had trailed it many times and saw no increase in revenue what so ever.

From a personal POV-the results in Google are now so junk i will give it one more week then try Bing/Yahoo, hopefully our customers will do the same.

john1975




msg:4132633
 12:53 pm on May 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

@ohno... for you the results may be junk... for us they are good results...

goodluck with you trying to threaten google that your customers would switch :)

Reno




msg:4132648
 1:33 pm on May 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

for you the results may be junk... for us they are good results

I would hope that we all can see that the days of depending on Google for our free traffic in order for our online ventures to prosper are coming to an end. You may be up today, down tomorrow, and who knows where next week. Diversify or perish -- nothing is assured any more.

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

john1975




msg:4132651
 1:44 pm on May 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

@reno... I can't agree more with what you just said.

cien




msg:4132678
 2:23 pm on May 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

"goodluck with you trying to threaten google that your customers would switch :)"

I don't know about that but Google's future is, unfortunately or fortunately maybe, up to the webmasters, web marketers, spammers, blackhaters, link builders, profile spammers, directory submitters, etc. When they see no benefit from Google and start talking about Bing, Yahoo, or any other engine on all "those" forums out there, Google will be history. In case you don't know, those are the people who decide which site will be famous next. The rest of the world will follow them. Facebook, Myspace, Bebo, etc. would have never been what they were/are now if it weren't for these people and their massive, overwhelming spam and marketing. Half of these sites' user base is made of these type of users, fake accounts.

Imagine those forums out there talking about Bing being the best thing for marketing. Bye bye Google.

Andylew




msg:4132694
 2:59 pm on May 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google is just completely broken, both organic and adwords. The more this goes on the more day to day examples I come across without even trying. Todays example - search for 'buy personal pension' my expected result would be a page full of adwords and several big institutions in the oragnics. Instead I get just two adwords and non relevent organics.

The common factor seems to be multiple words, if the search is dropped back to 'personal pension' this is more like I would expect. I wonder whether something has gone worng or not yet been completed with their new more/fewer shopping sites feature? This I would guess have been triggered by putting buy in front of personal pension.

A further test was to put 'buy personal pension' into bing, this presented a page of adverts and associated organics as I would expect. There is no way they can have more advertisers for that term than google so google must be loosing adwords revenue for shopping terms.

This can be replicated by searching for any product then searching for it with 'buy' I tried 'buy green socks', 'buy apple iphone' compare the lack of adverts to bing - no one can tell me that is normal!

**Editor remove if inappropriate**
I actually tried searching for 'buy pink socks' and the first results were, er non child friendly! and had some titles as 'account suspended' (must have been old as they loaded) and wikipedia on prolapse - how are those relevant results for someone clearly wanting to buy some pink socks? That smacks of a lack of filters, i havent seen this since the 90s.

ohno




msg:4132695
 3:01 pm on May 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

"@ohno... for you the results may be junk... for us they are good results...

goodluck with you trying to threaten google that your customers would switch :) "

I do not follow what you mean? Results i am getting for personal searches are junk, which, seeing as our sales have disappeared, suggests what our customers were searching for is now also not giving them what they wanted.

I'm not talking about threatening Google that our customers will switch, Google doesn'r care about us nor you! I'm on about all the people out there who HAVE been affected switching along with all the web surfers who now find Google is not giving them what they once did.

If i needed to find info or a product i'd turn to Google, this week i have spent much longer trying to find what i want because the first few pages are nothing but junk.

ohno




msg:4132696
 3:03 pm on May 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

"I would hope that we all can see that the days of depending on Google for our free traffic in order for our online ventures to prosper are coming to an end. You may be up today, down tomorrow, and who knows where next week. Diversify or perish -- nothing is assured any more. "

Exactly. Now how to we diversify?!

ohno




msg:4132698
 3:05 pm on May 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

"The common factor seems to be multiple words, if the search is dropped back to 'personal pension' this is more like I would expect. I wonder whether something has gone worng or not yet been completed with their new more/fewer shopping sites feature? This I would guess have been triggered by putting buy in front of personal pension."

I would agree with that, clicking on more shopping sites drops the results i would expect! Interesting you use the term "buy" as that has been appearing a lot in out website tracking for serach terms used!

Andylew




msg:4132708
 3:26 pm on May 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

I bet there are some heads on the block at google, the more you look the more it is a complete mess.

For those in the uk (and maybe the us) have you seen the bing advert where someone says something and all the people go off at tangents around them based on that keyword - this is exactly googles results atm. It made me laugh.

Another example, site:amazon.com gives 33.5mil results using the tools hit 'past year' to give 40.8mil results :s if that doesnt amuse enough put a date range in, 01/01/1950 to 14/05/2010 to find 47.2mil results including pages which are dated several years before some of the books were even published :s

Bust, kaput, broken

ohno




msg:4132710
 3:27 pm on May 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Haha, yes Andy-i thought the exact same! Do you sell online? Have you seen the same as us,ie, complete lack of sales this week?

Reno




msg:4132713
 3:31 pm on May 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Exactly. Now how to we diversify

Given the seriousness of the current situation, and the appearance that we are all in the same boat, I'd be hard pressed to think of a more valuable discussion than "how do we diversify".

In the early days of the WWW -- before Google even -- it was very common for sites to trade links. Then when Google came along and thereafter gave the impression that link trading would do nothing to enhance PR (in fact, some people came to the conclusion that too much link trading might trigger a penalty), this sort of cooperation fell out of favor.

But with The "New" Google, and the inclusion of so much junk in the SERPs, it's reasonable to ask whether we should even care what they think about legitimate link partnering. So, maybe it's time to work on that again -- not for PR purposes, but purely for traffic generation (small though it may be).

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

ohno




msg:4132725
 3:47 pm on May 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

One thought, i wonder if Google will see the lost revenue from checkout sites? Although i believe GC doesn't net them mcuh?

Andylew




msg:4132728
 3:49 pm on May 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

There is no 'new' google or 'algo update' or indeed need to diversify. Google is without dobut, question or speculation completely broken. That applies to organics and adwords results. The question is how long will it take them to fix it?

I dont belive there to be any other answer than wait.

ohno




msg:4132734
 3:56 pm on May 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

I hope you are right Andy, i really do.............

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