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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]

 

ohno




msg:4133108
 7:39 am on May 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

I really do not know, all the search terms that used to rank us really well do so sgain, our products are back in the one box results but traffic is still down & zero sales! The only thing is the more shopping sites tab still seems to mess up the SERP's but i would think customers serach like i do-normal search & then if that doesn't reveal what i want click on more shopping sites. For now i'm sitting tight, at least a lot of the junk seems to be filtering out of the top pages(but still multiple links to eBay!). Whatever is happening is certainly not working as it should or is still in progress.

mrez74




msg:4133110
 7:50 am on May 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

Ya I am waiting it out too to see what happens. I'm just hoping that one of these days the traffic will just skyrocket to my sites again which would be in sync with my SERP rankings. Totally weird what is going on right now. Before if I saw a movement of a couple of spots up in the SERPs I would get an influx of traffic.

Now I see sites that have moved up like 5 spots up but nothing. Before when these same sites were like like towards the bottom of page 1 they would get some traffic daily. I would assume that now they have moved up alot that the increase in traffic would follow as well. Something is just not right somewhere.

ohno




msg:4133114
 8:53 am on May 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

Yep, it has made me look at URL names & our sitemaps so have cleaned that up but ranking 1 for lots of search terms for niche products but no traffic does not add up! I'm hopeing this time next week things will be back to normal, if not we have soem work to do before throwing in the towel.

dertyfern




msg:4133124
 9:22 am on May 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

In the UK I'm seeing the old search interface at the moment. Results still appear to be the same however--crap.

ohno




msg:4133127
 9:52 am on May 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

"In the UK I'm seeing the old search interface at the moment. Results still appear to be the same however--crap."

Really? Well i guess that is good news as it explains why we are still quiet. You have no side bar at all? I wonder if they are back on split A/B testing?

dertyfern




msg:4133132
 10:05 am on May 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

ohno, did you clear your cookies/cache?

Interface is switching back and forth for me. I see the old interface for a few minutes then back to the new...and back again.

Reno




msg:4133159
 12:22 pm on May 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

Now I see sites that have moved up like 5 spots up but nothing.

Good news on the ranking, bad news on the traffic. Given your past history (moving up meant more visitors), this current scenario may indicate that people may not be using Google as much. If that's actually the case, it goes to what I said in another posting -- the upper management cannot be pleased and one would think they'd be requiring all the top engineers to work through the weekend to get things back on track.

In the realworld of bricks & mortar, customers vote with their feet; in cyberspace, they vote with their fingers, so if they're voting to try Bing/Yahoo, that's yet one more reason why this update has been a disaster. It's "New Coke" all over again, and if in fact it marks the start of a decline, it will someday be studied in business schools as an example of how technological incompetence can deflate even the mightiest of balloons.

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

tessmac




msg:4133169
 1:34 pm on May 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

Is it possible that for G.co.uk that some pages are not filtering through from the .com.

We have some results that are on .com, but just not showing up on .co.uk.

cien




msg:4133170
 1:50 pm on May 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google is playing a dangerous game. Either that or the Chinese hacked them doing some major wipe out. Coincides with the massive Gbot spidering.

I've been using Yahoo lately for my search as I find more relevant search results. Hope Google gets its act together soon.

ohno




msg:4133179
 2:57 pm on May 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

Still dead as a dodo here for us today, traffic well down but SERP's looking good! Product feeds still showing double customer feedback!

danmayna




msg:4133182
 3:21 pm on May 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

it sounds like pesonalized search is kicking in at Google big time. If your rankings look good but your traffic is not great. Then your rankings is due to your own clickstream behavior.

Kelowna




msg:4133187
 3:34 pm on May 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

it sounds like pesonalized search is kicking in at Google big time.


Do you get the same results if you search with comcast or search.aol.com ?

ohno




msg:4133197
 3:56 pm on May 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

Personalised search would require you to be logged in yes? I get the same results if i'm not logged in.

tedster




msg:4133201
 4:15 pm on May 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

ranking top on page 1 but no traffic

Have you checked the top of the "Queries" report in WebmasterTools? Click on "more" and then click on "+" next to the search phrase in question. You'll see if Google is registering any impressions and what they see for the number of clicks you get.

It sounds like, no matter what you are seeing from your browser, others are either seeing different results or possibly few people are searching that term. Either way, WMT will give you some data that may help you understand the situation.

ohno




msg:4133204
 4:25 pm on May 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

For a search term i know used to be popular it shows :-

search term Impressions-1,000 Clicks-73


Position in search results
2 <10 <10 -
3 260 16 6%
5 110 5 5%
6 to 10 590 58 10%
2nd page 16 <10 -
3rd page + 91 <10 -

cangoou




msg:4133263
 7:45 pm on May 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

Personalised search would require you to be logged in yes?

No. For some time now Google "offers" personalized search even if you are not logged in: Here is how to turn if off: [google.com...]

The default value is always "enabled" (G always knows whats best for you).

ohno




msg:4133272
 8:07 pm on May 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thanks for that info. It was already off so makes things even more puzzling for me. We seem to be seeing better SERP's but still no sales/traffic.

mrez74




msg:4133291
 8:49 pm on May 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

Ya this is very puzzling. Keywords all have better postions, but no increase in traffic whatsoever. In fact traffic is lower than when the keywords were at the lower positions. This is very frustrating to say the least.

dertyfern




msg:4133305
 9:30 pm on May 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

I've seen serps served up in somewhat random order with high frequency as of late.

A simple clearing of all cookies and cache and resubmitting a query is showing results in differing orders.

This seems to apply to three keyword searches and longer. One and two word searches seem to be exempt, which may be one reason why primary positions are still strong but traffic has dropped off.

Reno




msg:4133382
 3:46 am on May 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google is playing a dangerous game.
...
The default value is always "enabled" (G always knows whats best for you).
...
We seem to be seeing better SERP's but still no sales/traffic.

Is this company in meltdown mode? A disastrous new format rollout, crappy SERPs, and now this:
May 15, 2010

"Don't be evil" has gone all 1984 on us. Or so it seems after Google revealed Friday that its Street View cars, in addition to snapping photos of the world's roadways, have also been collecting sensitive personal information from unencrypted wireless networks...

From Google's Wi-Fi Spying: What Were They Thinking? [pcworld.com]


Not a good week at the Plex -- an adult needs to step in and get this train back on track.

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

seolearner




msg:4133425
 5:39 am on May 16, 2010 (gmt 0)


seolearner:
Whenever I check my ranking, I am better positioned but I am not getting the traffic

tedster:
This sounds like you might be getting personalized search results - are you logged into a Google account when you do that search?


Well, I checked results without logging in. I have also disabled the personalized search. Everytime, I make a search I clear all history, cookies, cache everything. And then make a search on G*. I have also checked the results on Comcast & Aol. I have also checked the results using web proxy too. I am on 1st rank for my keyword.

According to Google keyword tool, exact volume for my keyword is 1500/month. And since I am on first result, I am supposed to get atleast 65%-70% of that traffic which around 1000 visitors/month. But I am getting only 8-10 visits/day from that keyword.

There might be a possibility that G* keyword tool is inaccurate. So to know the exact volume, I gave an ad in Adwords and found that I was getting around 50 impression/day for the keyword. So that proves the real volume.

That being said, I am on rank #1 not only in my personalized search but in general. But still in WMT, average position for that keyword is 1.5-2.0.

I am still not able to understand the whole thing, but I am happy as I can see myself on rank #1. I will just wait and watch until G* announces about caffeine being live.

TheMadScientist




msg:4133427
 5:55 am on May 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

Well, I checked results without logging in. I have also disabled the personalized search. Everytime, I make a search I clear all history, cookies, cache everything. And then make a search on G*. I have also checked the results on Comcast & Aol. I have also checked the results using web proxy too. I am on 1st rank for my keyword.

@ seolearner... This is not directed at you specifically, but you gave me a great opportunity to try to make a point I kept trying to make about personalization when it was first introduced, so I'll try one more time for those who read here and think what you did gives them an idea of where their page will appear for other people...

When you're logged in or have personalized results you see your personalized results.
When you delete your cookies, remove personalization, clear cache etc. you see default results (for lack of a better phrase).
What you cannot see unless you're on their computer is the personalized results someone else sees!

You can clear your cache.
You can delete your cookie.
You can use all the proxies you feel like.

You cannot see someone else's personalized results unless you are on their computer and more specifically, their browser... You just can't do it! (Don't get me wrong, I wish you could, but there's no way to know what someone else sees as personalized results unless they tell you or you're looking at their browser.)

I read so many posts here where people seem to think somehow deleting their cache or removing personalization or cookies or whatever they do will tell them what other people see it's amazing.

All that stuff does is tell you what someone else would see as 'default results' if they did the same thing and that's not what most people see, because most people don't have any clue the results are personalized and if they do they don't bother to (or probably even know how) to clear them before they conduct a random search...

Sorry for the mini-rant, but the whole 'I can see where I rank on other people's results by turning personalization off' is a very misleading thought, IMO, and I hope people quit thinking that way and realize just because your results are not personalized for a search doesn't mean no one else's results are personalized for the same search, unless they do the same thing.

To me, it sounds like there is not a very high volume of searches for your term (1500 a month is not too many) and when you combine that with personalized results and the fact not every query generates a click it sounds like you're doing about what you should... Not all clicks go to the top term. The percentages 'top spot' clicks are not always the same. If there are ads on the page, they probably steal a bunch of clicks from your organic result. IMO 300 or so visitors a month out of 1500 searches is not too bad.

Personally, I would try to work on the title or description of the page and see if I could generate more clicks that way or go after another few terms. The title is more risky to change or mess with from a rankings POV, but the description is 'less read' so the choice is yours. It's fairly safe to change the description, so I would probably start there.

ohno




msg:4133442
 7:38 am on May 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

TheMadScientist i hear what you are saying but surely the point is that sites that were doing just fine have suddenly dropped all of their traffic? Was personalised search switched on the same time as the update? In my mind the issue is one or more of the following :-
new design change-i can't see this impacting to this degree?
algo update-not completed yet?

The fact that the feedback for shopping sites is being misreported tells me all is not well at Google right now.

The fact remains that a site that used to take 4 figure sums is now doing zero.
Until we have something official from Google we can't really look at changing our sites?

I seem to remember a certain Mr Cutts saying webmasters do not need to worry about this update, well, a complete lack of revenue is slightly worrying to me!

ohno




msg:4133444
 7:50 am on May 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

Just been looking at logs, Googlebot is visiting about twice a day but only 1 page. I've noticed MSNbot is all over us & looking at 3-4 pages at a time? I've not noticed so much MSNbot activity before but it may be because my logs are so small now!

TheMadScientist




msg:4133446
 7:54 am on May 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

Emphasis Mine:
TheMadScientist i hear what you are saying but surely the point is that sites that were doing just fine have suddenly dropped all of their traffic?

Surely you jest...
Previously in this thread from seolearner: (Emphasis Mine)

Whenever I check my ranking, I am better positioned but I am not getting the traffic I supposed to get from new ranking.

Quite obviously seolearner's posts and my reply to the posts had nothing to do with the sudden drop in rankings others are experiencing... Seolearner's posts were about a new ranking not getting the expected traffic, which is what my post is in reply to.

ohno




msg:4133450
 8:04 am on May 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

Sorry i was refering to my position(& what Andy has experienced).

TheMadScientist




msg:4133453
 8:09 am on May 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

NP... It's probably a good clarification so others aren't confused too. ;)

The infrastructure update had quite a bit to do with speed and storage, so my guess is although personalization was rolled out previously it might be 'more impactful' with a higher speed processing system, and IMO will also be 'more impactful' over time even without a change in the processing system, because as time goes by personalization becomes, well, basically more personalized, because there is more data to use to personalize, so in the first month or so it probably had a minimal impact, but over time, as more data is gathered IMO there will be a wider gap in the results each may see based on the personalization, which not only affects the person searching, but new personalizations based on other similar personalizations.

Think about it for a bit... Personalizing something like search results doesn't happen overnight, but rather over time, and the longer it is in place the more difference I would expect in the personalizations presented to each searcher.

[edited by: TheMadScientist at 8:16 am (utc) on May 16, 2010]

ohno




msg:4133455
 8:13 am on May 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

What i have noticed is pages cached by google on May 14th seem corrupt-images missing & reporting error on page in IE. Pages cached on a different date appear fine. Seems too much of a coincidence to me.

dertyfern




msg:4133456
 8:15 am on May 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

Sorry for the mini-rant, but the whole 'I can see where I rank on other people's results by turning personalization off' is a very misleading thought, IMO, and I hope people quit thinking that way and realize just because your results are not personalized for a search doesn't mean no one else's results are personalized for the same search, unless they do the same thing.

The purpose for clearing out cookies, et al is not with the intention of seeing results others are getting but rather to see if my own rankings have fallen off in 'default' search.

Personalized search was introduced well prior to this traffic nose dive most are seeing and while it may very well have been dialed up I don't believe it to be the primary reason behind the current changes, IMO.

There's so much weird stuff happening (suddenly) it's shocking. I'm seeing referral to sites for searches that have nothing to do with their topic--not even close. You'd think personalized results would be more relevant somehow.

Tons of randomness in results, wrong locations on Google maps, etc.

TheMadScientist




msg:4133458
 8:22 am on May 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

Personally, I think what we're seeing more than personalization right now is a move to more of an AI type system and IMO that's where the 'randomness' is coming from. I posted about it previously, but I think there's a combination of things going on that are going to take some time to sort themselves out, which IMO is good for the competition...

I was replying to a specific 'mindset' some people (not necessarily seolearner) seem to have. It may not be yours, but I wanted to make sure I drew a distinction for people who might think clearing personalization to get 'default results' could possibly tell them anything more than 'you're site is in the default results at N position on the datacenter you happened to hit at the time of the search and that happens to be IP Address independent, because an IP Address can get it's data from a number of different datacenters because of load balancing', so in reality as much as we (I anyway) would like to think it really tells us something, the reality is it does not tell us very much at all, IMO.

If you take the 'greater impact' of personalization over time, throw in a move to an AI type ranking system, a couple different tests on different datacenters that happen to be IP Independent and a few little algo changes here and there for good measure you might appear to have 'randomness' in the results for a period of time, I would think...

dertyfern




msg:4133467
 8:47 am on May 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

That all may very well be TheMadScientist. I'm no expert in AI, load balancing, and all that hyper geeky stuff :)

But what I do know is that the moment I saw the new search interface popping in and out of my browser, traffic to lots of site I own/manage began tanking--many of which have outstanding quality links and good content.

My non-technical take is that between the new interface pushing organic down even further and the introduction of the left margin in search results, a portion of traffic that we'd all otherwise get is making use of ads, maps, and tools (to a larger degree).

Google's just slicing away another layer of organic traffic to monetize.

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