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Google Updates and SERP Changes - June 2010
Hissingsid




msg:4144803
 9:45 am on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

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

I've been trying to work out what happened on May 17th and May Day. I seem to spend a lot of time analysing on-page factors and back link profiles for my own ranking pages and those of competitors but have fallen into the trap of focusing on a few big traffic volume terms.

Recently I've been looking at some second tier terms and this has been much more enlightening. This has also made sense of what is happening for the big volume terms.

In site linking seems to be out ranking external back links if done in a particular way.

The pattern I'm seeing is this, when all other factors are roughly the same, pages on sites where the site is organised in such a way that there are a large number of back links containing the keywords in anchor text within the site. ie Sites with many pages each page focusing onto one page with the same anchor text and very few back links from external sites are out ranking those that have a better external back link pattern.

So sites that have Javascript or CSS drop down navigation systems with the same links on every single page seem to be doing very well.

The other thing I'm noticing and this may confirm what I'm saying above. I'm seeing SERPS loaded with home pages.

Anyone else noticed similar patterns?

Cheers

Sid

[edited by: tedster at 11:32 am (utc) on Jun 1, 2010]

 

MacSeth




msg:4146758
 7:34 am on Jun 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

@Dusky... I already told you that I really hope you are right ... it is just a big "wake up call" that you should not dance to much with Google.

Shaddows




msg:4146777
 8:31 am on Jun 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

A quick glance at my data says Trust is back.

Over on the Mayday thread, people are noting that traffic is returning to normal levels. I agree, although the landing pages are different.

Internal semantic structure appears to be more important than raw PR, or navigation anchor text. Please note that this is JUST AT FIRST GLANCE, I haven't had time for proper analysis yet.

Anyone else seeing traffic changes since 2nd June, and particularly ove the last 24 hours? Especially those less affected by MayDay.

MacSeth




msg:4146785
 8:54 am on Jun 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

@shaddows... I am still at rockbottom... so there are not many changes here

aparraga




msg:4146793
 9:29 am on Jun 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

Shaddows, did you recovered almost all the traffic that you had before MAYDAY?
Or you are just observing how your traffic is growing since 2nd June?

Hissingsid




msg:4146798
 10:02 am on Jun 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

Shaddows Internal semantic structure


I work with smaller sites with less than 100 pages and this gives a particular perspective

I can confirm that Internal semantic structure is a major issue but I think that it is more specifically focused anchor text to page linking that is doing the trick. In other words if your site is semantically on topic and has many pages each with a link with the target anchor text pointing to a page that you want to rank for the term in the anchor text then it will rank better than a page on a site where that page has more external backlinks with the same anchor text if it is not targeted with as many internal links.

Anchor text repeated on many pages within a site pointing to a page on that specific subject is working very strongly and is outweighing external backlinks.

This may be a coding error as it is just too easy to spam. The webmaster is in total control of the semantic structure of their own site. Currently bigger sites with well structured linking are beating smaller sites that are more focused with the same well structured linking. Highly targeted micro sites with many keyword anchor backlinks are not doing so well.

I wonder if Matt Cutts has finally given up on trying to persuade people from buying backlinks and is just making them worth much less for a while.

Cheers

Sid

Andylew




msg:4146810
 10:41 am on Jun 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

We are seeing massive shifts backwards and forwards, 2nd june was the busiest in terms of traffic for a long while then 3rd june dived to be the worst in the history of the site then today we have seen a recovery likely to match 2nd june.

Although it is reassuring that something is happening it is getting to the point where Ive had enough of the toings and froings and just long for them to get finished whatever they are playing at atm.

Shaddows




msg:4146812
 10:45 am on Jun 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

@aparraga - almost back to normal. Traffic started increasing on the 2nd (and possibly the first, but Holidays are slow anyway), but really picked up on 3rd.

@Hissingsid -
Anchor text repeated on many pages within a site pointing to a page on that specific subject is working very strongly and is outweighing external backlinks
YES! BUT...

...only embedded links (think wikipedia) rather than through navigation. I think this has hurt alot of lontail ecom, because the products are only reached after decending the nav structure, which contain the keywords. Now you need onsite anchors AWAY from nav.

It will be difficult for many automated ecoms to achieve, as the simplest method is to create articles on site. You know, actual unique wordy content, and then point it at products.

I'm not sure it's "too easy to spam". Content is content, and is hard to fake.

Hissingsid




msg:4146816
 11:06 am on Jun 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

YES! BUT...

...only embedded links (think wikipedia) rather than through navigation. I think this has hurt alot of lontail ecom, because the products are only reached after decending the nav structure, which contain the keywords. Now you need onsite anchors AWAY from nav.

It will be difficult for many automated ecoms to achieve, as the simplest method is to create articles on site. You know, actual unique wordy content, and then point it at products.

I'm not sure it's "too easy to spam". Content is content, and is hard to fake.


I disagree re "embedded links". The sites I'm seeing, that have done well out of MayDay, have a panel of links above the footer. In a way the footer is sacrificial and that panel of links is being seen as content.

By too easy to spam. I mean that it is easy to do what Google wants us to do to achieve ranking. Especially if all you need is a div full of links on each page somewhere that Google bot isn't looking to discount.

Cheers

Sid

Shaddows




msg:4146827
 12:05 pm on Jun 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

Ah, I was talking about the recovery. TBH, I saw nothing in the the MAYDAY winners that I would want to emmulate.

In fact, all I was was Trust (being a "Good Domain") being devalued, and a major downgrade of navigation links. Trying to sort out what was being enhanced was a little messy, given the major change of landscape. Now the landscape is recognisable, the differential features can be better analysed.

Hissingsid




msg:4146854
 12:58 pm on Jun 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

Shaddows,

You get my vote for enigmatic post of the day. ;-)

Cheers

Sid

PS I'm not sure I really meant MayDay specifically but rather were we are no following Mayday. If that makes sense.

vandread




msg:4146860
 1:02 pm on Jun 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

Anyone else seeing traffic changes since 2nd June, and particularly ove the last 24 hours? Especially those less affected by MayDay.


One of my sites actually experienced a downwards trend beginning June 1/2 where it lost many of the long tail keyword traffic that it used to get. The site was almost unaffected from the May update, traffic down by about 50% since June 2.

Whitehat site with lots of useful unique content. Not sure what to do right now.

londrum




msg:4146861
 1:04 pm on Jun 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

all this talk about embedded onsite links working well might just be a result of them reindexing everything from scratch.

the first couple of passes all they will have to go on as the onpage stuff -- meaning embedded links will have some benefit, like the old days. but as they pass over the whole lot again and again they can start factoring in which sites are getting all the external links. meaning embedded links will eventually fall in value.

AG4Life




msg:4146947
 2:48 pm on Jun 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

One of my sites that was worst affected by the May 17th event (not so much by MayDay) has recovered (for now) to pre May 17th levels, at least for Google referrals. The recovery started around May 30th. Interestingly, non search engine referrals are still down about 6%, with most referring sites giving less traffic to my website than before May 17th. Maybe this is just a coincidence, or perhaps it's showing that other sites still haven't recovered from whatever it was Google decided to roll out.

TheMadScientist




msg:4147023
 5:25 pm on Jun 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

Over on the Mayday thread, people are noting that traffic is returning to normal levels.

Yeah, I've only got time for a quick post, but I think I posted in the wrong thread when I did before, because I was totally unaffected by the initial Mayday Update (May 1 ish) ... On the 17th though my traffic dropped 20%, but time on site, page views and sales all increased significantly.

On June 1, traffic returned to 'normal', but sales dropped, page views went from 3 to 2, and time on site went from over 2 mins to about 35 seconds.

I haven't looked at it close enough to figure out what the exact difference was, but during the 2 week period of time between the 17th of May and 1st of June something about the way they matched searchers to pages on the site I'm referring to changed and there was a huge difference in the type of searcher viewing the site based on the numbers I've been looking at.

It was a 'slight' change, because most of the referrals were for 'essentially the same' key phrases as they were before the 17th and after the 1st, but something definitely changed on G's end during that period of time, because there were no changes on the site.

Bewenched




msg:4147088
 7:29 pm on Jun 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

Well ... (sigh) traffic was good almost back to normal yesterday.
Today .... it's back to the way it was with this update. This really is starting to hurt.

TheMadScientist




msg:4147096
 7:42 pm on Jun 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

Yeah, I started off the day with pre-17th traffic numbers but right now I'm up to 3+ page views per visitor and my on site average time has moved from 35 seconds or so this am to over 1 min 30 sec for today's average, which means it's significantly higher this afternoon than this am.

Sorry you're not feeling the 'traffic love' Bewenched, and my overall visits are down, but in general I'm liking the change based on the numbers I'm seeing.

Hissingsid




msg:4147102
 7:55 pm on Jun 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

What are you guys measuring your traffic with?

Sid

PhotonLight




msg:4147112
 8:09 pm on Jun 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

Interesting to hear that others saw a noticeable spike on June 2nd. We also saw a pretty good boost in traffic and sales Wednesday, but Thursday was back to the same slow google traffic we've been seeing for months now (our drop started March 4th, so I believe is more connected with the Caffeine reindexing than the more recent mayday issues).

Curiously, for one competitive keyword I've been following, we jumped from position #15 (where it has seemed to be pretty stable at over the past month or so), up to #12 on Tuesday which gave me hope this was just the start of a continued climb back up to it's old page 1 ranking. Unfortunately, yesterday and today it's back down to #17...

I've noticed the impressions/CTR graph in WMT seems to lag a few days and is currently only showing stats up through June 1st. Will be interesting to see what the June 2nd stats actually show for # of impressions.

TheMadScientist




msg:4147120
 8:34 pm on Jun 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

Right now I'm looking at the one I've been talking about with GA.

These are my exact numbers from yesterday and today.
Keep in mind I have changed nothing...

Yesterday:
2.36 Page Views Per Visitor
00:44 Average Time on Site
68.97% Bounce Rate

That's how the am started off...

Today so Far:
3.41 Page Views Per Visitor
01:53 Average Time on Site
44.12% Bounce Rate

My apologies to the people who have stickied me that I haven't had time to reply to yet... I'm only bouncing in and out today, because I'm a bit time challenged with some projects right now. Hopefully I'll have some more time this evening or tomorrow am.

newborn




msg:4147146
 9:37 pm on Jun 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have several mini 5 page sites all keyword rich based on the domain name and they were all around yesterday, some even had #1 rankings. Today they are nowhere to be found, all of them and I mean all. They were based on the long tail searches with good content no duplicates. They were marketed well but all of a sudden they have lost rankings.

They are still indexed but not showing up for well the keyword in the domain. These sites are just a few months old but they were ranking.

Could this be a result of the Mayday update?

metalny




msg:4147152
 10:02 pm on Jun 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

after 9+ yrs with the first year being the slowest, we have not had a sale since 5/21.

we are done.

freejung




msg:4147156
 10:31 pm on Jun 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing exactly what I saw yesterday. If there was a different set of results, I must have missed it, and now it's reverted.

I bet it'll change again over the weekend, and we'll see how that goes...

mantucket




msg:4147219
 3:22 am on Jun 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hi All...

I got hit big time by MayDay and have spent the past month trying to figure out what to do about it, instead of adding to my site, as I would prefer. I've tried to read up on all the MayDay threads here but cannot put all the info together. My traffic/revenue is off by over 80% and has not recovered at all.

At any rate here are a few things I've noticed that I haven't seen mentioned yet, and I'm curious whether anyone else can confirm:

1: The link count (to my subdomain of interest, anyway) got cut almost exactly half around May 1, going from about 280 to 140. I just checked gain and it's now cut again, to 75 - again almost by half!
To my knowledge, none of the links have gone away. I was told by Adam Lasnik (who wrote gwt) that GWT reports all known links. I think GWT was reporting about 2k links to the same page late last year.

2: GWT introduced the 'Top Queries' graph about a month before the Mayday update went out.
After Mayday, I noticed that I was ranking for a new top phrase - "cheap widgets" - one that doesn't appear much on my pages and which I don't target. This top phrase gets 60k impressions vs 9k for the next best phrase - but no clicks.

3: Again using GWT, I see the Impressions count swing wildly on certain days - from 6600 to 29000- but the CTR also drops a lot, so I get fewer clicks on these days which have high Impressions counts.
It's almost as if some adaptive alg is testing my pages by exposing them on certain days, then shutting them down if they don't rank well enough or get clicks.

Anyone else seeing this kind of thing?

anand84




msg:4147248
 5:47 am on Jun 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

My site, along with a few others here, got hit around the March 14 mark. Others around May 1, May 17 and now recently June 2. Are we sure we all have the same issues? TheMadScientist and Backdraft7 seem to have been affected around May 17, and if I am not wrong, both of them have seen improvements now.

Considering that Google approximately makes 1 change in its algo per day, I am starting to think that we all have different issues and though it is clustered the 'MayDay', we have been affected by different algo changes, not just one.

mantucket




msg:4147257
 6:24 am on Jun 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

Even if goog made no alg changes, rankings would still fluctuate day-to-day as
new pages are spidered, links expire, etc.

Given that google makes changes at will with no regard to the massive damage they might cause,
we are in the position of trying to parse out different sets of 'symptoms' by what they have in common, and try to isolate those from overlapping changes.

In addition, we have to consider what impact changes to our sites may have had.
In my case, during March/April I was busily trying to be a good googie and improve page speed,
by migrating site to faster server. I also thought I'd bolster site authority by investing in
several quality directory listings - yahoo, BOTW, etc.

Thing is, it took google over a month to recognize the Yahoo directory link, and gwt never reported finding the links from the other 'quality' directories. Things went downhill quickly after I got those listings and moved servers, in fact.

If 400 of 2000 links suddenly disappear, how do you 'diff' the GWT spreadsheets to identify what's missing?

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 7:29 am (utc) on Jun 5, 2010]

vandread




msg:4147281
 8:07 am on Jun 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

Anyone interested in a support group? Seems a lot of us got hit and everyone has their own theories at this point. My theory at this point is that Google started the update in May for a first batch of sites, it then ran a second batch at the beginning of June.

It would be interesting to know if those webmasters that have been hit in May see any recovery from the hit. Have they changed anything on their sites and did it have an effect?

AG4Life




msg:4147282
 8:10 am on Jun 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

One of my sites that was worst affected by the May 17th event (not so much by MayDay) has recovered (for now) to pre May 17th levels, at least for Google referrals. The recovery started around May 30th. Interestingly, non search engine referrals are still down about 6%, with most referring sites giving less traffic to my website than before May 17th. Maybe this is just a coincidence, or perhaps it's showing that other sites still haven't recovered from whatever it was Google decided to roll out.


The same site that I posted about above seems to have gone back to *post* May 17th numbers again today, ie. the bad set of numbers. No changes have been made to the site throughout May and June.

On an (maybe) unrelated note, one of my forums (vBulletin) has just had a huge Google crawler spike. Up from the usual 6000 per day to 22000. This forum, like many other forums, has seen Google referrals drop through the floor, so I'm not sure whether this signals the start of something better, or the start of something even worse. The "site:" result for this forum recently went from 30000 (steady for the last two month), to 20000 for one day, and then all the way to 44000 now, all in the last week. I did notice that the number of indexed pages listed in GWT dropped from 90000 to 50000 just recently though.

Andylew




msg:4147283
 8:13 am on Jun 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

another day and more of the same. An intereting new theory ive come up with, we know for certain this is an algo update but myself along with many others have reported a substantial loss of indexed pages. What if the current infrastructure doeant have the capacity to fully support the new algo? ie it is an algo built for caffine which has been started on the old infrastructure just to get the ball rolling and its only when they switch across to caffine that the algo will have its full effect returning all indwxed pages but at a lower or indeed higher rank than pre mayday?

So we go back to the question, when will caffine go live.

Andylew




msg:4147288
 8:43 am on Jun 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

Just had stats show up on WMT for 2nd june, note above I reported 2nd june being the busiest day for google referal traffic in quite a while. WMT however reports we had 12 impressions, yes just 12! This is down from tens of thousand pre mayday and ~1000 post that. I get more and more confused the longer this drags on!

AG4Life




msg:4147316
 9:54 am on Jun 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

The WMT reports for 2nd June seems buggy, clicks for me dropped to almost nothing compared to the day before, but there's nothing like that in real traffic for me though.

asusplay




msg:4147322
 11:05 am on Jun 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

One of my sites actually experienced a downwards trend beginning June 1/2 where it lost many of the long tail keyword traffic that it used to get. The site was almost unaffected from the May update, traffic down by about 50% since June 2.

Whitehat site with lots of useful unique content. Not sure what to do right now.


Same thing happened to me. I started to see a slight decline in traffic around the 31st May, but nothing out of the ordinary and in the next 3 days a steady decrease so now it is half what I used to get. I have noticed most of the log tail phrases my site used to get hits for are no longer there in the stats.

No sure what to do now but sit and wait...

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