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This 395 message thread spans 14 pages: < < 395 ( 1 2 3 4 5 6 [7] 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 > >     
2: Google MAYDAY Update - SERP Changes May 2010

 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]



 2:06 pm on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think the fact that chrome was giving me the old style on .com earlier(now new sytle) suggests it is still in progress...


 2:14 pm on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

I wonder if Bing's marketshare will increase as a result of this?



 2:26 pm on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

After reading a little bit more and finding googles patent [arnoldit.com...] , i finally found this blog entry Matt Cutts already talked about too [googleblog.blogspot.com...]

In the end, it says "You can also turn off a synonym for a specific term by adding a "+" before it or by putting the words in quotation marks."

Now guess what happens i do that on the terms we have used to rank good.... Yeah, rankings are just like they used to be when switching off their synonym stuff.

In their patent they describe how they insert different synonyms, and that they calculate a number for "how close" the synonym is. However, i can't see the latter in the serps


 2:51 pm on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Brightest minds in the world? That's just a bunch of PR fluff. The same thing used to be said about Microsoft and every other high-tech business at one stage or another. It is a moronically badly designed interface.
Well said, jmccormac. Having PhDs on staff is no guarantee of anything. I used to work for a company that employed Nobel laureates among other doctors in its world-renown research facility. So what? The company was such a mess (textbook bad management) that it's no longer even in existence as a separate entity. I think everybody should keep on the back of their mind that Google is a company run by people - the weakest link in every well designed system.

Getting back to the new interface - I think it's the first big decision they made for purely business reason. As many people pointed out, everything is about keeping the eyeballs on THEIR property - a practice every webmaster is using on a daily basis. The left column pushes the search results 177px to the right and away from the top spot that Google themselves identify as THE best location for attention grabbers in their AdSense help. Depending on how your bookmarks are shown, the actual search results may not even make it into the first left third of the page - a setup that is guaranteed to have lower CTR by design.

I think this may be the first big move they made against the interests of website owners. I may be wrong but everything else I can think of could be explained (at least on the surface) by desire to make search results better or fresher, the latter being a different sort of "better" in some ADD-affected minds. And so this move is an indication that they are either getting cocky with their position in the search market or they see early indications that search is no longer going to carry the day for them. For example - brokering ads may be a more lucrative business. Or web-based applications (G* Docs style) or cloud computing (Amazon style) or mobile device OS or something else we don't yet know about that the PhDs dreamed up.

Anyways, in my previous post here I said "business as usual" going forward. I did not mean that nothing will change - quite the opposite. You are now guaranteed to have less G* traffic to depend on. Your long-tail based SERP will be same or similar but not the resulting traffic.


 3:05 pm on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Depending on how your bookmarks are shown, the actual search results may not even make it into the first left third of the page - a setup that is guaranteed to have lower CTR by design.

This is such an important observation, and goes directly to one of the earlier posts by Tedster in this whole discussion, when he referenced these screenshots [siliconangle.com]. I just don't think we can overestimate the damage this new layout is doing to our traffic. Yes, there are also of course significant changes in the SERPs, but when you are pushed down on a page because so much other stuff is now inserted at the top, that in-and-of-itself goes a LONG way in explaining why visitor numbers have fallen off a cliff -- and the other things going on (as discussed here) make it even worse.



 9:34 pm on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

I don't know what the following has to do with the latest twist in the discussion, but I noticed something with cookies the past couple of days.

As I've been tracking phrases for niches other than mine, I clear my cookies before each search. Last week I'd build up a maximum of 50+ cookies from Google after every other search. This is without going to any of the pages in the results. For example, search #1 would build up 2 or 3 cookies after having been cleared before the search. Then search #2 would build up 50+ cookies, which I'd clear. Search #3 would build up 2 or 3 again.

Over the weekend the maximum number of cookies cleared after every search dropped to 25-30. Today the number is 60+.

I don't know what the extra cookies are doing, but I'd guess they're trying to track something Google wasn't interested in last week.


 12:48 am on May 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Vbulletin with Vbseo plus main site. Massive overnight drop in rankings at the beginning of March. Under site:mysite.com had then 100K+ pages, now close to 20K. 7 year old forum. Traffic had been a joke since then from 1000s/day. Today things appear to be picking back up. I see old time long tail keywords being logged again. Traffic is increasing so is Adsense earnings. Another thing, Cuil has close to 10 bots on my site lately. Had never seen more than one. Bing has been sending a bit of traffic too. Are the other SEs doing a tag team on Google now that it is down? :-)

Yeah most of the traffic is still from Google.

[edited by: cien at 1:25 am (utc) on May 18, 2010]


 1:12 am on May 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

I thought that the new Caffeine infra-structure was supposed to improve the reliability of Google's data handling, so that there would be less chance of anomalies occurring in the SERPs.


 4:53 am on May 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

@Andylew @MacSeth

Re: site:example.com metrics.

For my site WMT is starting to slide down again 5 day gradual decrease - despite the sitemap page count increasing as the community adds new content.

Traffic is _UP_ - but there are a couple of complicating factors not related to mayday/jazz/caffeine - plus the index page is re-indexed every 10 minutes. I think the SERP layout changes (jazz) are helping my traffic - too many complicating factors to be certain.

I've added a couple of control sites over the last few days - I'm observing a similar fall in site: page counts.

Re: AI discussion

We could be seeing either; (or combinations of, plus synonyms etc)

AI training in progress - though how they establish what is a satisfied user (and how much weight is placed on Ad clicks as being good) - is something we cannot know, but with analytics/adsense/toolbar gathering so much information across the entire search/browsing experience.

Or the effects of mass personalization - making my results more like the results someone like me would like to see - regardless of if I am logged into google or not.

Either way - the days of a number 1 search results being something that remain consistent globally and for weeks at a time are gone.


 5:39 am on May 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have some sites but the most affected is the biggest news site, around 1M pages. I think we have two issues here:

  • the new interface; probably we lost some visitors due to the bigger number of links, images and ads available
  • the new caffeine infrastructure and its consequences
    1. websites are full re-spidered and re-ranked thus trust is re-evaluated
    2. synonyms are introduced and mixed with exact-match searches
    3. "uniqueness" of the content gains value so big news sites with agency content or shops with dealer copy (and thus the scrapping websites) received a hard hit


 6:10 am on May 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

I don't know how hopeful I should stay now with 65% traffic off for more than 2 months now..I'm already thinking if I should start looking for a new job! :-/

[edited by: tedster at 6:23 am (utc) on May 18, 2010]


 6:43 am on May 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

@anand84 i know how you feel! @cien-MSNbot has been all over us-i've never seen it on our site like this before. Yesterdays traffic was the higest we have had in a while although no evening sales which we normally get. Something tells me today may be a slow day!..............


 10:02 am on May 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

What I have been thinking about also is the sandbox effect. What if Google got the sandbox out of the filtering... that would absolutely makes sense in some way.
For example: we launched a website in spanish and put it on an .es domain. That site is indexed normally with a top10 rankings. This site has almost no links other then from the main domains which have been there for years.
Strange innit? No authority yet but increasing in traffic. Other sites WITH authority keeps decreasing in pages and visitors.


 10:17 am on May 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

websites are full re-spidered and re-ranked thus trust is re-evaluated

Interesting point! IMO all the links I have gotten in the past 6 months have received zero credit from Google, even though they are legitimate links and from many well known sites. I do get credit in minute spurts but then it goes back. Around April 24th or so I lost about 30% of the traffic I had gained since December.

Something is cooking, but for how long? Maybe redoing the web from scratch and mixing it up according to the google algo does take time.


 11:26 am on May 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Late last year I set up a link to one of the pages on my main site using a unique key word phrase. That key word phrase is not contained in the actual page.

This resulted in the page being listed on the first page on google for that key word phrase. It remained their until I last tested it about 3 months ago, but when I try it now the page is nowhere to be seen.

The site had a 50% drop in traffic as of yesterday. Some parts of it are OK, but other parts have dropped 100 or 200 positions. There seams to be a similar situation with the sites major competitors (though maybe not the same level of drop).

These pages seem to have been replaced by pages that contain the key word being searched for on the page, but are unlikely to have any pages linking to them with those key words.

Is it possible that somehow google has switched off the backlink/Anchor text part of their algo?

Does this mean it is a temporary situation?


 2:55 pm on May 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

IMO all the links I have gotten in the past 6 months have received zero credit from Google, even though they are legitimate links and from many well known sites.

I have the same feeling, though I don't have definitive proof. Changes that I am expecting due to new inbound links and also due to changes in internal link architecture are not forthcoming. New pages with high-quality internal links are not ranking nearly as well as expected compared to older pages with the same link juice. It's as though everything is being freshly indexed, but (Google internal) PR has not updated.

It almost feels like it used to right before the Google Dance.


 3:14 pm on May 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

IMO all the links I have gotten in the past 6 months have received zero credit from Google, even though they are legitimate links and from many well known sites.

One of my sites was launched just a couple of days before New year..And I have managed to get several 6,7,8 PR websites link to the inner pages in this period. Consequently, my site jumped to PR 5 in the first ever update since and I also see good rankings for these pages.

I understand the external PR may not mean anything at all. But what I am trying to say is I have got links from several established websites in my niche which has helped my site rank on Google.


 3:17 pm on May 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

anand84: the question is if you got the links BEFORE a suspected data move... I would time the break at around mid February. All links placed AFTER that, might have not passed juice. (IMHO)

feedback from G: still no joy, right? tomorrow is I/O, hope we will see some updates then!


 3:36 pm on May 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

I noticed that yesterday one google DC had 4x the "normal" results for my site. Are we still playing this "where is caffeine" game?


 5:22 pm on May 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think we are still playing "what on earth is going on"!


 5:32 pm on May 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

OMG there is so much spam in the results today it's unreal!


 7:09 pm on May 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Results seem pretty stable now and here for me in Europe - I think I will try to take it as it is, get over it and do something about it. The big Q is: What did changed?

I still see sites with the good old "one-keyword-in-anchor-text-rules"-optimization ranking better than ever. Okay, the sites are old as well. Any other observations that might help make your sites ranking better?


 7:14 pm on May 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

I wouldn't do a thing just yet.........


 7:18 pm on May 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

I wouldn't do a thing just yet.....

The problem is that people keep saying that since Caffeine was announced and the chaos begun ;-) Oh, is it almost one year now? ;-))


 7:35 pm on May 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Things haven't been 100% right for us for a couple of months, only last week was when things really went wrong. This week has been much better but i'm not convinced the tweeking is over (seeing the old interface on .com only yesterday am!).


 7:38 pm on May 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

So on Wednesday last week all of our traffic returned minus 10-15 percent(we had a 85% drop since 5-28-2010). We had 3 days of almost normal traffic (with about 10-15% less traffic) but our ctr on our rev dollars were up 20% (affiliates, ads, signups). Then on Friday-Sunday we've returned back to 85% less traffic.

Our team is sitting tight because we know it's not us (we made zero changes during outage). We've lost about 2 peoples' salaries so we hope this gets fixed so not to have do layoffs. We are a small biz but such a huge change in rankings. We'd rather see a long decrease then a sudden drop with nothing from google on changes.


 7:41 pm on May 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

I know how you feel, we have lost £thousands but can do nothing as things are so erratic.


 7:45 pm on May 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

I wouldn't do a thing just yet...

There's never a reason to wait on improving content, getting good backlinks, communicating with your market, fixing canonical problems, or upgrading internal link structure where you see it is lacking. I rarely see any site that can't help their traffic in those ways - no matter what the most recent algorithm shuffle is all about.


 7:53 pm on May 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

How can you improve when you do not know what is getting the results?! For our market i see sites that look like they were knocked up in an hour ranking 1st with no evidence of content or links. Last week was like a switch being turned off, this Monday saw a return back to "normal".


 8:03 pm on May 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Well we have seen no problems at all until this monday, when traffic plumeted. Site is over 10 yrs old and has had a stable/rising presence in the ranking for all the time until this monday.

Having spent most of today trying to work out what's going on, I still have little idea apart from the fact that it seems that google are having problems with anchor text.

Looking at a number of searches to see who has replaced us, if I look at the cache, I find that google states that some terms "only appear in links pointing to this page". But the page is only vaguely related to the search so it seems very unlikely that the terms would actually exist in any link to the page.


 8:57 pm on May 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

How can you improve when you do not know what is getting the results?

You do it to improve your visitors' experience, not strategically to fix Google rankings. There's no reason to freeze all activity just because Google traffic took a dive. If you can't figure out Google, then just plain-old build your business - directly.

This 395 message thread spans 14 pages: < < 395 ( 1 2 3 4 5 6 [7] 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 > >
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