|Google Updates and SERP Changes - June 2010|
< 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.
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?
[edited by: tedster at 11:32 am (utc) on Jun 1, 2010]
@sean22 - excelent news. We still wait!
Todays interesting developments, as I said earlier our recent sitemap upload hasnt been downloaded yet - now well over 48 hours.
- googlebot activetly has dived to never seen before lows since the start of the month
- we have a new bot, as of today all googlebot activity is coming from a completely new set of ips to anything we have ever seen before
- we have made some massive changes over the past month yet non of these have come through on the serps
We continue to stab in the dark at improvements!
Regarding the mirror, my recommendation is to use the canonical tag, so you don't have to worry never more about google discovering your test environment :)
-My site got hit hard, and lost 75-80% of its traffic for 6 weeks, then rebounded better than ever June 3rd. I listened to the senior members of the forum and made very few changes during this period, and waited it out.
-The same time my site rebounded, a lot of others were negatively affected for the first time. This leads me to believe that G is in fact reindexing, perhaps in 'batches'. The reason for people being negatively affected could be do to incomplete backlink profiles, authority not initially factored, etc.
-The serps are definitely not strong, but that could be expected if a percentage of good sites are constantly going through this cycle.
-WMT and Analytics figures are off
-I still believe CTR is a more heavily weighted factor and G is 'spot showing' pages for KW phrases from time to time to gauge CTR thresholds for various positions and various kw searches.
If you have been recently affected, my advice would be to play it cool for 6 weeks and not do anything too drastic. Keep up on this forum for more insight. I did after my positions returned and that is why I think this is cyclical.
Ultimately, I predict some more shuffling for my site, and hope (but don't expect) my rankings to remain closer to what they are now than what they were.
Hope this helps,
After a brief recovery yesterday, we are back to the same zombie traffic inflicted by MayDay.
aaahh well, we'll see
This is what is so worrying, I'm glad(sorry!) that others are seeing what i do, spikes here there & everywhere! One minute you think "hey, we're back" the next it's like "oh, it was a blip"!. I wish it would either stay quiet so we can work on it or stay busy so we can get rich, sell up & forget about G forever.....
I can dream can't I?
Is anyone else seeing spikes for different times of the day? Sometimes it's like a switch has been flicked for us.........
|imagine if you search for a poem, or a quote from a book. what does it matter how fresh it is? |
It depends on what you're referring to as 'fresh'...
If it's thought 'fresh = new' that's not exactly how it works in the rankings... Freshness 'cascades' much like PR, so an old page can still be fresh even without being updated. It's a bit tough to explain, and probably a different thread, but a 'fresh' link from a 'fresh' page will increase the 'freshness' of the receiving page, even if the page receiving the link has not been recently updated.
Gshaun, 6 weeks starting now or starting May 1?
I've noticed faster spidering of my site in the past few days, and many more Crawl Errors reported, which is good, this is likely due to Caffeine.
I don't understand why google has to be secretive about the basics of a rollout like this, they could tell us to hang tight before concluding whether Mayday or Caffeine is what killed a business. The lack of transparency causes some sites to spend big $$ on diagnosis.
What I really need is a systematic list of potential flags to check as far as MayDay goes. It's been about a month with no income now.
One thing I keep coming back to regarding MayDay is the hint that MC dropped in his video - unfortunately it was a very vague hint as usual. He said if you're impacted you should ensure your site has enough 'unique content'. When I look at my still-ranking competitors, they do generate reams of text description for each product - I assume they pay folks in India pennies to churn this garbage out, but it's 'unique'.
I cringe at the idea of adding this type of thing to my site. My users already know what they seek, they want certain basic info. The Unique content and functionality I provide is price analysis/history, inventory segmentation, alerts - nobody else offers this in my market. Yet the site is thin on human-written editorial and it would degrade the user experience to stuff that in.
Does this resonate with anyone else? I'm thinking of trying an experiment to scrape brief comments like tweets, run my own relevancy/cleanup alg, and attach 'comments from the web' type text to the inventory.
It couldn't possibly hurt traffic :-)
Is there someone at all (like me) who is seeing no blip, no occasional spikes, nothing at all since Mayday happened?
mantucket - 4/22 to 6/3 exactly 6 weeks.
Google made an announcement last night on webmastercentral blog about caffeine being complete. Is this old news?
gshaughn yes caffeine post has been reported.
But oh WAIT - there was also something else I heard: google is opening a 'mayday crisis center' to help get info to businesses who rely on search and whose revenues were impacted by more than 50% drop in google traffic since...
Uh wait a minute. It's daytime... I'm awake now... I guess I must have dreamed that .
Hang on a minute. Are they saying that freshness is an algo factor or that the algo is applied to pages even the most recent ones?
If Caffeine folds in new pages and churns the index more regularly and incorporates new pages applying the same algorithm to old and new alike then that has to be a good thing. What it means is that new pages that deserve to be ranked for a term get ranked almost immediately they don't have to wait for the monthly update to get incorporated.
If they mean that fresher is better and so give fresh pages an extra boost that's just doolally.
|What it means is that new pages that deserve to be ranked for a term get ranked almost immediately |
but how do they rank them? these pages will have next to no backlinks, and there won't be much data from user behaviour either. it will probably just boil down to the old 'authority' thing. the sites at the top of the SERPs will carry on getting their new pages ranked, because they are the ones with authority.
|If Caffeine folds in new pages and churns the index more regularly and incorporates new pages... |
Not just completely new pages, either. As I understand it, the old Big Daddy infrastructure could only integrate and "score" newly crawled data (even for old pages) on a sort of delayed cycle, and in large batches. Caffeine speeds that, allows for the "scoring" meta data to be updated almost continually -- and also opens up the possibility of scoring for even more ranking factors.
|Is there someone at all (like me) who is seeing no blip, no occasional spikes, nothing at all since Mayday happened? |
You are not alone. My site took the dive on June 1/2 and I have not seen any improvement so far. Assuming that the time span of 4-6 weeks is correct I have to wait another 3-5 weeks before I might know if this is temporary or a permanent situation. This is a terrible information policy.
|Martin Ice Web|
that is good news and good for you.
But what about the moments when traffic is back for some minutes. Then they do have the complet index? It conficts with the theory of compiling the index new!
I think their algo does not functioning like they want it to. And when ever did MC say the thruth? If they have problems the least they would make is to admit.
I just got a search where someone looked for 6.3 stereo jack. I looked at the serps and google showed up a site where 6.3 is an enumaration within a HTML-List Tag!
Like 6.2 , 6.3, 6.4 . The site certainly does not have a thing in common with stereo jacks but is within the 10s.
And if someone says the normal users will not realize that, he lives in the basement.
|but how do they rank them? these pages will have next to no backlinks |
That might explain why I'm seeing pages from big sites that have well organised internal linking and anchor text, ranking above pages from smaller sites with more backlinks to the ranking page.
martin - i don't have any answers, just speculation and reporting my experience. I think everyone agrees the serps are weak. I can't imagine G is happy with the results. Whether it is due to problems with the algo, issues of re-indexing, etc. I think it's all speculation.
We noticed a lot of changes early in June. G officially announces 'completion' of caffeine last night. I think they'll be more changes/tweaks affecting the serps, as stated in the G post "So stay tuned, and look for more improvements in the months to come."
I went to ad some more Adword campaigns today and I noticed the prices for keywords have really increased.
Looks like they accomplished what they wanted.
Increased adwords prices, more people clicking the adwords.
That will make for a great quarterly return on their profit statements and keep investors happy which is what Google is all about.
|Is anyone else seeing spikes for different times of the day? Sometimes it's like a switch has been flicked for us......... |
Ohno - YES! It seems we get a few hours of normal, converting traffic, then 6 to 12 hours of nuthin! I used to be able to set my watch by my sales klaxxon (audio confirmation), with roughly one or two sales every hour. Now I'm lucky to get 2 or 3 sales all day. Again, traffic level are identical if not higher than last year this time, but the traffic appears to be highly "un-targeted". I'm on central time US (GMT -6) and the slowest time is from 1pm to 8pm, which up until May 17th, was my busiest hours. I'm trying to remain positive, but it's a real challenge.
|That will make for a great quarterly return on their profit statements and keep investors happy which is what Google is all about. |
It may make for ONE good quarter, but once all our money dries up from our old organic success, then G will see a drastic drop across the board as we all take regular jobs or welfare to survive. BTW, I'm a GOOG stockholder and this does NOT make me particularly happy.
[edited by: backdraft7 at 3:39 pm (utc) on Jun 9, 2010]
|My site took the dive on June 1/2 and I have not seen any improvement so far. Assuming that the time span of 4-6 weeks is correct I have to wait another 3-5 weeks before I might know if this is temporary or a permanent situation. |
My site has been down in traffic since Mar 14. Either the reported time span is not constant, or I am permanently doomed.
|Martin Ice Web|
thatīs corresponding with the invitation from ggole today to join their adwords program. They spend 100 EUR and i will get 400 poeple on my site if PPC is 25 Cent!
backdraft7, we had several threads last year that reported traffic throttling and "dayparting" of traffic. I've seen some of the analytics graphs, and there's no doubt that Google has the technology to pull this off. The question is why do some sites get this treatment - only a very few from what I can tell.
The closest I could tell last year is that it was a kind of backlink profile issue. The sites involved (and some were very big brands) had just done "link building campaigns" that were stuck on just a few types of backlinks - in other words, there was something unnatural about the whole profile. This seemed to be a way that Google said "we don't completely trust these backlink signals, even though the business is essentially sound". That's just educated guesswork, and certainly not a definitive analysis.
In every case I know of the condition did go away - in weeks or in one case after about four months.
"Ohno - YES! It seems we get a few hours of normal, converting traffic, then 6 to 12 hours of nuthin! I used to be able to set my watch by my sales klaxxon (audio confirmation), with roughly one or two sales every hour. Now I'm lucky to get 2 or 3 sales all day. Again, traffic level are identical if not higher than last year this time, but the traffic appears to be highly "un-targeted". I'm on central time US (GMT -6) and the slowest time is from 1pm to 8pm, which up until May 17th, was my busiest hours. I'm trying to remain positive, but it's a real challenge. "
Good grief, that sounds IDENTICAL(even down to the audio alert for a sale!, i have a very satisfying old style cash register noise!). Like you say, it's getting hard now to remain positive, much longer and we will have to look at getting someone in to look at the site, trouble is would it do any good?
They don't seem to get the fact that selling stuff is what pays for everything that's free on t' Web. It's getting a bit like a multi layered protection racket that's gone so far that us mugs can't afford to pay any more.
I guess other mugs might take our place but eventually no one will want to.
Perhaps when all this settles down and they correct all of the cock ups like they did after Florida and the other big changes most of the good guys will rise to the top again.
One thing I've learned over the years is that when there is a big change there are many different ways to react successfully. If you contribute here and get some ideas to help you make a decision on what you are going to do then that's really good. The thing is not to be too afraid of making a decision to either do or not do something. Over the last few weeks I've reorganised the linking structure of my main site with keyword anchor text links in an "Explore" panel above the footer. I'm adding new useful pages as quickly as I can as every one has those anchors in that panel. And I'm getting back links as quick as I can through all sorts of ideas you get when you try hard enough.
What I'm doing may not be the best thing but it is something and I don't see how it can do me any real harm. I've now gone back to #1 for a few of my main high traffic terms. What I don't know is if that would have happened if I'd done nothing.
@tedster and backdraft
We are seeing the same fluctuations which are unnatural. To be honest I dont have a huge problem with it as it's the fair way to spread the wealth. The problem is the traffic we are getting stinks. Looking through the logs all morning from this year to last what we're seeing is much less targeted traffic.
Google doesn't seem to be able to tell the difference any longer between the words someone uses that searching to buy one "yellow widget" with no customizations versus the 300 custom yellow widgets. Up until this algo began rolling out Google was easily able to pick up on this as shown by the conversions and would send us people it understood were looking for bulk customized widgets. Now we are clearly getting traffic from those that want to buy one.
I think that harkens back to the depreceation of the keywords used in titles and headings on the page. We were all told to emphasize what it was we were offering and they then went ahead and depcreciated those efforts.
Benchmark study: on a set of 1500 queries, the first result page shows 17% fewer domains compared to 2008. Wikipedia up to 24.8% on first links.
[edited by: tedster at 7:56 pm (utc) on Jun 9, 2010]
Nice article Jean; it is interesting to look at the organic results as a shrinking set of opportunity.
Knowing that the pie is going to be cut in fewer pieces might initially be alarming, but for those that put in the effort to get recognized as a brand, it could be a net positive.
|"I doubt that any of these behaviors was what Google desired" |
@Robert: That's also what all of us thought at first back in 2003. But as the months progressed, and the SERPs remained unchanged, it eventually became clear to us that the SERPs looked that way, because Google WANTED them that way!
As one member stated, if Google did not like the way the SERPs looked, they could have simply rolled-back Florida at the time.
Something that we reluctantly, eventually came to realize - the Florida algo is more PROFITABLE for Google!
In present day, Google's video that came-out in response to the outcry over THESE SAME EXACT PROBLEMS with the Mayday SERPs, AGAIN makes it clear - GOOGLE LIKE THINGS THE WAY THEY ARE!
|" I just did a webmaster/google related 3 word search that is a VERY common problem. I was absolutely blown away to see the results..." |
@drall: The problems you describe are EXACTLY THE SAME as what we saw in 2003.
And you are correct, this is NOT a "longtail" issue. From what I have seen in the SERPs, I now believe that "longtail" & "quality sites" were just misdirecting FUD, intended to keep us from realizing what was ACTUALLY going on.
As I recall someone commenting about Google & FUD - This is WORSE than releasing no information. With no information, the SEO Community can at least analyze the facts, and draw reasonably logical conclusions from the results.
But you are correct, these severe problems are affecting ALL searches - both long AND short!
|"When I ran this search in November of 2009 it returned 10 unique companies in the top 10 spots. We were not one of them, but they were legitimate competitors." |
@scottsonline: This having most of the legit companies / competitors vaporised from the Top 10 is the EXACT SAME PROBLEM we saw in 2003!
|"It really looks like they are happy with this" |
@ohno: I Agree.
|"But oh WAIT - there was also something else I heard: google is opening a 'mayday crisis center' to help get info to businesses who rely on search and whose revenues were impacted by more than 50% drop in google traffic since... |
Uh wait a minute. It's daytime... I'm awake now... I guess I must have dreamed that . "
@mantucket: Yes, they did - it's called...
(deliberately broke the link with a new protocol, so they don't make $$$ off it!)
|"Assuming that the time span of 4-6 weeks is correct I have to wait another 3-5 weeks before I might know if this is temporary or a permanent situation." |
@vandread: When Florida happened, we waited too. After waiting a very long time, we finally realized nothing was going to happen - so we stood up and took action.
|" I went to ad some more Adword campaigns today and I noticed the prices for keywords have really increased. |
Looks like they accomplished what they wanted.
Increased adwords prices, more people clicking the adwords.
That will make for a great quarterly return on their profit statements and keep investors happy which is what Google is all about."
We have a Winner!
Back in 2003-2004, it took months for many of us here to finally come to the same conclusion.
Even one of the few members who repeatedly SUPPORTED Google during the Florida discussions (so much so, that someone accused him of being a Google employee), stated that increased commercial search relevancy would be unprofitable for Google, as it would decrease AdWords clicks, and that...
|"the optimal profit level for Google may be that commercial SERPs be just marginally relevant.... |
Google is in business. The business of selling Adwords."
|"thatīs corresponding with the invitation from ggole today to join their adwords program." |
@Martin Ice Web: Google is actually taking advantage of the bad SERPs by sending-out AdWords invites right now?
@Robert: After reviewing a MASSIVE # of posts regarding the details of what had happened back in 2003, I came to a startling discovery, which I will be posting in that thread shortly.
Here's a hint...
Perhaps "Mayday" is not the best name?
"May'd a mess day" better?
|Perhaps "Mayday" is not the best name? |