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This 293 message thread spans 10 pages: < < 293 ( 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 [8] 9 10 > >     
3: Google Updates and SERP Changes - May 2010

 5:19 pm on May 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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

I have been attempting to follow this thread to the best of my ability but must admit there is information in here that is a little out of my league.

Has anyone been able to do anything to help increase rankings? I lost rankings for 3 my keywords (I am not ranking for a ton of them yet) and these 3 drive a lot of my traffic. I dropped down from the 1 spot to position 5 and 6 for two of the keywords, and from the 3rd spot to the third page for the other major keyword. I am not sure what to do and we are about to enter the "slow months" for my industry and my traffic is dropping every day.

Just thought I would post to see if anyone is having any luck

[edited by: tedster at 7:41 pm (utc) on May 22, 2010]



 5:31 pm on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Caffeine isn't live yet.

Ah, so Matt meant after the MEMORIAL day holiday :)

Thanks for jumping in here Vanessa. Sounds like we have more churn to look forward to/dread.

[edited by: trakkerguy at 5:34 pm (utc) on May 28, 2010]


 5:33 pm on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google is in that position and yet, to the best of my knowledge, we don't even hear the gov implying that maybe the situation needs to be examined. In fact, I have never even seen it discussed outside of the webmaster community.

i think that's probably because they don't really sell stuff. when microsoft had sole control of the only operating system out there, which everyone needed, and had to cough up money for, then that is easy to clamp down on because its been done a million times before. but users do not "need" google in the same sense. and they dont have to pay for it.

of course, the reality is that the control they have is even worse because they can literally bring a business down by dumping them out the serps. microsoft could never do that with windows.


 5:33 pm on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

You say go & get traffic, easier said than done

Unfortuntely, this is the wrong forum for sympathy. Lots of help, but little sympathy. Tried that on my 5th post, and quickly realized, its simply better to just 'get busy'

Sorry for sounding harsh, but this is business, and those you find the will and way to open up their business to many unique diverse channels grow with business and stand a better chance to shield themselves against potential issues in singular channel efforts when those arise.


 5:57 pm on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

wrong forum for sympathy

Sympathy, here or anywhere else, will rarely even get you a cup of coffee. This thread has gone in a lot of directions, which is not a bad thing, and to my eyes they boil down to topics such as these:

- "My traffic has dropped horribly since MayDay." This is valuable information, as it puts our own situations into context. If everyone else was saying "huge increase in position & traffic since MayDay", but my own site had plummeted, then I'd be wondering what did I do. I can see now that this is part of a considerably larger scenario, so maybe I did nothing, and to me, that's important to know;

- "Here's what I think is going on". Again, good speculation, as we cannot fix a problem if we don't know the cause, and with the expertise here there's a better chance of making some sense of it. But again, when world-class webmasters are left scratching their heads, I can't beat myself up too bad for being totally perplexed;

- "Google has become dangerously powerful". If you believe this (as I do), it needs to be said, even when it appears we are preaching to the choir. And we need to tell other people with tech skills so they understand the longterm implications of one company being able to injure (or even bring down) SO many smaller enterprises. Not to mention the privacy issues with Google that are also more & more crossing the line of acceptability. If enough people understand that, then maybe something can be done about it.

So as we go into the Memorial Day Weekend here in the states, and spend time with our friends & families, let's try our best to forget about Google for a day or two, and remember that in the greater scheme of things, playing catch with your kid has it all over Caffeine.



 6:13 pm on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Caffiene not being live yet is a misleading statement.

It most certainly is live and being used. Maybe not 100% of the time, but it's out there and depending on where your at, you may see it more often than others. So, by it not being shown 100% of the time, you can say it's not live yet.

Matt is very good at mis-direction.


 6:20 pm on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

who gained that long-tail traffic

I'm not sure either -- but I have a friend who runs a subdomain on a .edu, and his long-tail traffic has gone up slightly.

Marshall Clark

 6:59 pm on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

"Matt is very good at mis-direction"



 7:32 pm on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

@ CainIV, i'm not after sympathy, i've just signed of ££££ of updates on our sites that should be live in a week or so. I'm a firm believer that situations like this can make you STRONGER. Have a good weekend everyone, it's a long weekend here in the UK, i'll have a few(lots!) beers and start thinking again Tuesday after the break.....stay safe & keep smiling :)


 11:24 pm on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Look, it's not up to Google to make your customers find you.

I would have to disagree with that statement. Isn't that like saying "it's not up to police to stop burglaries, you should have better home security"?

If Google were able to wriggle through red tape to become the monopoly they now are (91% market share in the UK) then they have positioned themselves as "the web" ... they wanted the job, they've got it. And if they fail at it they deserve criticism.

Of course, most of their purchases should never have been allowed in the first place. Pretty anti-capitalist set up we have now in my opinion.

Money is not being "lost". It's being redistributed.

Going to have to disagree with you there too I'm afraid. This update is unique in that the majority of people are not reporting a loss of ranking, they are reporting a change in traffic and a loss of revenue ... unless you're an MFA site (which I have several of as well) and CTR have quadrupled in some cases.

Google are redistributing the wealth back to themselves with this update it seems, in both SERPs and the new layout. Though they've been moving this way slowly for some time. Moving the PPC ads to the top 3 ranking spots ... inserting youtube ... etc.


 12:52 am on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

I manage about 50 sites I have designed or redesigned and none of them have lost a major portion of their traffic. They may be down 10% at the most but that's about all. Most of them would be considered small sites under 100 pages but at least 1 is over 4,000 pages. Maybe if I explain what I have, or have not, done it will help someone.

First off, I follow the Google guidelines to the point of being obcessive, i.e., no buying links, no triangular linking, no blog rolls, I don't even trade links on 90% of the sites I manage.

I always encourage clients to add content that people want to link to on their own and to also participate in forums, blogs, set up a twitter account or facebook, and other social marketing to draw traffic, if not links. And lately since the new Google Layout to add videos so they have a chance of ranking if people stray off into the left side bar.

When designing sites I make sure the clients focus on 2-3 word phrases and interlink those words from within their content to their other pages.

I also take special care with canonical fixes, avoiding duplicate content and too empty pages. And I insist they add a couple paragraphs of unique content to each product page and have more than one page focusing on a product and I keep those pages linked from, and close to, the home (not buried within folders).

Not all of my clients take action on my advice but those that do are doing ok even in this bad economy. One of them said he's had his best year ever, this last year, even with this bad economy.

My own site is so busy I turn down a couple jobs per week and I'm constantly on the verge of burnout (don't have time to read WebmasterWorld much anymore) and I don't even focus on my main keywords. I provide info (articles and tutorials) that helps other website owners and that draws in enough work to keep me busy and I don't have to go searching for links either.

Basically I follow what Matt and Vanessa have been preaching for years.


 1:07 am on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

"Caffeine isn't live yet."

Okay, but while waiting for it to be live, will somebody at Google ever update 301 redirects again?

This really is a question along the lines of, when will Google start acting like a user-friendly search engine again?

It's been more than four months since Google stopped updating 301s it knows have in fact been moved permanently for months. There is all kinds of duplicate cruft that is both cluttering the results, and negatively impacting the ranking of good quality, well-designed websites. This leads to worse Google results, and less user satisfaction.

Why is Google having this problem? Is it caffeine related (though "yes" is obvious)? Is it expected that this will be fixed this year?


 1:58 am on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

In case you were wondering...

How Much is a Google Top Spot Worth?

...Chitika decided to find out what it was worth to them by looking at a sample of traffic coming into its network from Google and broke it down by Google results placement. The top organic position drove 34.35% of all traffic in the sample, almost the combined total of positions 2 through 5 slots, and more than the combined total of traffic to longtail positions, 5 through 20 (the end of page 2)...

The largest behavioral jump, measured as a percentage-change, is from the top of page 2 to the bottom of page 1. Going from the 11th spot to 10th sees a 143% jump in traffic, proving that a very small percentage of users click through to the second page whilst searching online.

It proves, once again, that your website really needs to be on the first page of results to get any real chance of being seen. And to build a successful business online you really need to get your website into positions 1-4 for a variety of terms - those specific Google positions, combined, command a whopping 70% of all traffic to websites!

Read Full Article [blog.searchenginewatch.com]



 2:24 am on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

I started a thread about that study yesterday - actually I linked to the Chitika page itself [chitika.com], but I withdrew it because I don't think this study is about organic cliks at all - I think it's about Adwords.

For the top three positions, Chitika shows this:

#1 - 34%
#2 - 17% (2x less than #1)
#3 - 11% (3x less than #1)

The AOL data from 2006 showed #2 as 3.5x less than #1 and #3 as 4.9x less than #1. Now that's a major shift. It's not impossible, but it's really big so I begin to question the study.

Then I notice that the first twenty positions Chitika reports add up to 8,253,240 - and that's the same exact number as what they report for the total number of impressions in the study.

1) If the report is based on impressions, then total clicks should be LOWER than total impressions.
2) Some people definitely go beyond page two - and that is not represented at all.

The study may be valid, and just not well explained - for example, what does "a sample of traffic coming into our advertising network from Google" mean and how does the fact that this is restricted to Chitika's "network" skew the sample?


 2:30 am on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'd been wondering about to what extent the more MFA type look of some google results pages affects traffic to sites in organic results. Seems this plus algo change makes things muddy.

The Chitika research suggests that if Google can make top sponsored links look not too dissimilar from organic ones (and difference not huge, is it?), and maintain its position as search engine of choice - well, those top adverts could be nice little earner.

Never mind adwords for appearing on some web page or other; how about paying to be in one of the three pseudo-highest search results?

I imagine some discussions in google about such things, w people wanting to maintain excellence in search being countered by those who see dollars, dollars and more dollars mwahahaaha


 3:23 am on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Not to be a smartass, but it seems to me every time someone starts a thread here freaking out about how a Google change kicked them down in the search engines, my sites have either stayed the same or gone UP in the rankings.

I focus purely on internal site content and most of my sites have NO backlinks. No doorway pages, no cloaking, no tricks. Just content.

Would it be safe to assume that Google is moving towards pure content and the value of links will continue to lessen?


 4:01 am on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Anyone finding that the word count on a page is having an effect on rankings?

@tedster - regarding the Chitika study - the author (in the comments) mentioned "we didnít look at sponsored links at all. All traffic in this study is purely organic." One thing that I've thought about is that maybe the drop in % of clicks on the #1 spot in the study, compared to the AOL data (2006), could be due to Wikipedia pages showing up at #1 a lot of the time. I've experienced more than a few complaints about that over the last year - last one was: "if I wanted to read info on Wikipedia's site, I would have gone there first".


 4:36 am on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Anyone finding that the word count on a page is having an effect on rankings?

I have short articles. Would be interesting if we see a pattern here.


 5:02 am on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

people wanting to maintain excellence in search being countered by those who see dollars, dollars and more dollars

I've been thinking about this a lot lately in regards to the New Google -- it feels & seems like the bean counters may have had more influence this time around than the geeks. If that's the case and if it continues, then it's unlikely we'll ever see again the level of excellence in search that made the company great, because history tells us when the accountants start to call the shots, then the soul of a company will have been sold once and for all.



 8:27 am on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

My adsense $ is up dramatically %/wise. Everything else is down.

If someone asked me about this I would say... G's longterm plan is to send the 'info' type searches to 'info' type pages. Perhaps adsense pages that yield $.

The typical e-commerce or affiliate datafeed type sites?, (those with thousands of 'thin' pages)?, well they can pay for their rankings (adwords).

Win-Win for google.


 9:25 am on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

I was just looking at our stats and have one question.
How were the product pages that lost traffic ranking? Were rankings based on unique descriptions, reviews, etc. i.e.: unique content or was it because of decent on-site optimization and incoming links?


 10:32 am on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Just to make our position clear, we havent experienced a rankings change or at least this cant be measured yet. The drop we experienced can be put down solely to a drop in the number of pages google has listed from our site. Basically it looks like they are crawling us from scratch, until they list a similar number of pages as they had in april we cant determine any impact on rankings.

We are not concerned, after all it has been confirmed by google this is a rankings change and not a listings change so we continue to wait for listings to be back to 'normal' before we can assess any ranking change.


 1:23 pm on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

@ohno and others who are sharing his pain. I don't want to be harsh but want to make a point here. I know this feels upsetting and depressing for you but the fact that google has changed doesn't mean it is broken. It might be broken for you but not for everybody and especially google. Please try to analyse how you could improve. It is not easy. Please do not continue to pretend that google owes you the traffic and that it should be back. What I can say is that it will only get back if you do some proper analysis and think about how you can improve. Think outside the box. Consider doing micro sites. If that doesn't work try other things.


 2:26 pm on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

confirmed by google this is a rankings change and not a listings change so we continue to wait for listings to be back to 'normal' before we can assess any ranking change

I thought it was confirmed as an algo change, which to me means both things are possible. Could it just be that with the new algo some pages no longer make the cut?


 4:15 pm on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

>> Anyone finding that the word count on a page is having an effect on rankings?

I suspect it does. Specially on product pages where there is a high amount of dupe fingerprints because of product descriptions. Not a big issue on pages where the dupe content is lower (say category pages for example).


 9:19 pm on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

I thought it was confirmed as an algo change, which to me means both things are possible. Could it just be that with the new algo some pages no longer make the cut?

Sorry I wasnt very clear in my last post - It was confirmed as an algo change that effects rankings not listing of sites, ie large sites can still expect all their pages to be listed but they may appear lower or indeed higher than before. See vanessas article linked earlier in the thread where google confirmed this. What we are experiencing is a re-listing from scratch of our site not a reduced position in the search (others seem to be experiencing the opposite?), until it has been relisted we cant compare rankings to see if we have gone up or down. For a large site (1mil+ pages) it can however take upto 6 months for it to be fully listed. We have no complaints, once the relisting is complete we can take some before and after measurements and adjust seo accordingly. Until then maybe I will sit in the english sunshine! OK thats out the question, more great content it is then!


 9:42 pm on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

I dropped down from the 1 spot to position 5 and 6 for two of the keywords

Don't really understand your complaint. When you go down the rest of us go up.


 10:32 pm on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

"What we are experiencing is a re-listing from scratch of our site not a reduced position in the search (others seem to be experiencing the opposite?),"

Your theory is that Google scratched the listings and is re-indexing your site from scratch? Interesting


 12:13 am on May 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

I withdrew it because I don't think this study is about organic cliks at all - I think it's about Adwords.

No1 in the organic SERP's might follow similar results when there is purely organic results on the page , however , in reality that is rarely the case now in key verticals and the pursuit of No1 is probably a waste of valued effort.

Pursuit of No1 can sometimes lead a webmaster to neglect the quality of the content and relevance signals that Google really wants IMO.


 4:24 am on May 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

As far as word count goes, just watch out for repetition. I think Google sees that as keyword loading, while some might call it depth of content. Read the WMGL's and stick to 'em.


 6:26 am on May 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

301 redirects, too many of them to the same location such as with a sitewide "special offer" to an affiliate program. Affiliate spam is increasing, everywhere including social networks, cut down on the volume you offer and increase the ratio of "no affiliate offers on this one" pages.

Speculation of course but so says my stats. Pages dropped in rank all had the same link to a redirect file, the pages that didn't are still rocking. Mayday is anti affiliate imo. If there's one thing Google loves above all else it's purity.


 6:31 am on May 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

jojy you said...
Since May 17 we lost up to 65% search engine traffic from Google, this is major hit by Google :(

Since EXACTLY may 17 one of my sites has done exactly that. It's not the same on my blog or on my technical guide site, it only happened to my affiliate site. I also noticed that product descriptions show up in Google ONCE for ONE affiliate but all others with that product are supplemental. Google has tightened up the affiliate reigns so to speak, probably in advance of their big announcement entrance into e-commerce next month.

What to do? reduce the number of offers and increase the number of offer free pages.

edit: a side note, many of my affiliate pages on that site have an additional link to the same site which brings visitors to a how to page. The pages without the extra link are all untouched in rank and traffic. Perhaps number of different offers is the key?

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