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This 234 message thread spans 8 pages: < < 234 ( 1 [2] 3 4 5 6 7 8 > >     
Google Updates and SERP Changes - July 2010

 12:50 pm on Jul 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

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

@john1975 the search term I posted weeks ago showed how bad Google was messed. For a year or two that search returned a real product, for a few weeks/month it return gibberish. It started to return real results a few days ago and is once again accurate or close to it. My guess is millions of other semi-long terms are now also snapping back into line.

The traffic pattern is evolving back towards normal. Google was up again yesterday but only 8% from a week ago. Bing was up 17% but Yahoo was down 35% which only confirms what the studies show - most people will go to Yahoo 2nd if Google fails. What's so clear to us is that it's that 5%-8% of total clicks that Google had filtered off that were the ones converting at probably 80%. Highly targeted searches by informed consumers that didn't need the magic intervention of Google trying to divine what it was they really wanted.

Thanks to MC and Google for slowly figuring it out. Like everyone else I was a bit harsh at times but it's tough to spend years reading the WMGL, reading everything the people from Google wrote and following it within the rules and then viola a major change happens that devastates our business and pretty much everyone else we knew in favor of spammers, scammers, mirrors, mashups etc. The filters still aren't weeding out those results and I'll say it again instead of trying to tinker with the end result why not hire/invest/spend more time looking at actual spam reports when legitimate sites report the ones running 45 sites selling the same item under different keywords which actually really DOES degrade user experience and user choice?

[edited by: tedster at 5:22 pm (utc) on Jul 1, 2010]



 10:57 pm on Jul 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

Toolbar PR is not worth worrying about.


 2:54 am on Jul 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google doesn't give out a schedule for PR updates, and in fact Matt Cutts once posted that Google considers a PR update to be a "non-event".

Tedster, I'm going to dispute that, but not in the way you were referring. When part of google's pagerank update results in sites that are gaming the system getting pagerank 7 and 8, and then turning around and selling pagerank to the highest bidder (often blatantly), this is most certainly an "event". What is worse is when these sites keep their pagerank intact for an entire cycle, and make thousands of dollars which they then invest in gaming system for the next pagerank update. This has been happening consistently for years, and there are lots of people who made reports about the scamming, and nothing was done for the entire 3 months. I am aware of several sites right now that have been reported and there is no way anyone in their right mind would say anything other than that they were gaming the system.

It is a big event for many. I can remember back in 2001 being the first to report a pagerank update, and the topic I started making to the WebmasterWorld homepage. I was excited. :) Those were the days.


 3:43 am on Jul 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Yes, PR updates do matter for those who making their living selling or trading on the PR marketplace in some way. That marketplace is the dark shadow that Google's PageRank patent cast across the web landscape.


 4:55 am on Jul 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

" Highly targeted searches by informed consumers that didn't need the magic intervention of Google trying to divine what it was they really wanted. "

Excuse me, but I have a serious question -

Google makes a lot of money from selling those ads on the right side of search results. Don't you think that it is in their INTEREST not to show good relevant results? If they show bad results, chances are people will click on the ads.... What do you think?


 5:36 am on Jul 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google makes a lot of money from selling those ads on the right side of search results. Don't you think that it is in their INTEREST not to show good relevant results? If they show bad results, chances are people will click on the ads.... What do you think?

It is obvious their recent changes make ads take up more real estate. The day they make the mistake of having a desire to get more clicks on ads than on organic results is they day they begin a slow decline.

While they are clearly the master of search now, what is takes to create a powerful search engine is become increasingly known and possible. There may not be many strong contenders on the field now, but when other engines start to crop up that provide better results in certain ways, people will choose what works best for them.

Having the ads take more space clearly shows they have a desire to entice more clicks on non-organic results. Will that work long term? Time will tell.


 6:06 am on Jul 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

This topic gets kick around a lot, here and elsewhere. If Google attracts the Adwords clicks via the layout itself, that's what works - and that's what they've been doing, clearly, by moving the ads in from the far right, by making the top position ads look almost like organic results, and moves like that

If they intentionally undermine the quality of organic results it might work over short term, but long term it would kill them. I'm certain they know that - they are a very savvy organization and the history of search since 1993 shows it loud and clear.


 6:41 am on Jul 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Don't panick if you are in the US, here in the UK my traffic continues to recover, stats show all green in GA and our other monitoring tool shows a 300% increase yesterday-best Monday since pre update! Sales were bang on normal for a Monday too. Fingers crossed, if this week is OK that will be two normal weeks.


 12:03 pm on Jul 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

@Ohno: Again I am seeing exactly what you are seeing and I'm located in the US Midwest. Yesterday was the first double digit sales day in well over a month - same traffic levels, just much better conversion which is on track with our previous "normal" pattern. I did however notice that I dropped from #1 to #2 on a few major keywords, having been usurped by an over optimized "duplicate" site from a competitor. I am now wondering if the #2 position isn't more of a sweet spot that #1. Whatever is was, I'll take it! Cheers!


 12:47 pm on Jul 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

That's good to hear!


 1:37 pm on Jul 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

I don't know about serp changes in July yet but I just uploaded some changes to a site and then quite quickly one of the targetted terms came better, and the other went worse! is making me scratch my head that one!


 2:43 pm on Jul 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

It all starts over again... We lost 70% of our traffic on 2 may 2010, after 1.5 months everything returns to normal.

We did not make any changes to our site!

Yesterday 5 july 2010 we again lost all our traffic...

If google do this every month then I will lose our company at the end of this year... Thanks Google!


 2:51 pm on Jul 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

dirkfreak, I assume the thing that is troubling you most is that it is not consistant, one cannot rely on google staying in a particular way.

Can you not use adwords for the time being?


 5:29 pm on Jul 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Sorry Mark_A,

I am not sure what you mean. Do you want me to use adwords? why?


 6:13 pm on Jul 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

I can't speak for Mark, but many businesses that lose significant Google traffic do use Adwords campaigns to support their revenue as tehy wrok to recover from the downtime. It's often not as profitable as organic, but it's a lot better than closing your doors. I often suggest that some funds be set aside for PPC when a major re-design is being planned - and especially a domain migration. But the same principles apply to any loss of income from search traffic.


 6:55 pm on Jul 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

i bet google sit and rub their hands in glee when they hear people talk like that


 7:05 pm on Jul 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

From my contacts with Google people, I don't think that's the way it is. More so than many large successful companies, there is sensitivity to their effect on the smaller businesses who are essentially supported by Google.

For example, for many years there has been a special "Mom & Pop boost" to help small business compete with the big guys. And there's also the "honeymoon period" for many new sites, right when they launch.

Also, I do not suggest ppc as a way to help Google's own income - you can use ANY ppc or ad services you want to drive income during a down time. If you are running a business with many employees, then a loss of revenue can challenge your survival, or at least the welfare of a number employees. In my view, it is only good business planning to have a contingency plan for dealing with this kind of thing.


 7:17 pm on Jul 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

You know guys there are millions of sites that make a great living off PPC only and if it wern't for PPC they wouldn't have a company.

Tedster's advice is sound and one we should really take a good look at as a way to keep income flowing until the organic listings can improve.

Not every site on the web took a hit so why did some and not others? This is a million dollar question that can be figured out with informational post that can help detect a possible problem.

I might suggest a review might be a good way for other eyes to take a look.
I suggest stop every way duplicate content can de displayed especailly example.com/index.htm/aspx/shtml or whatever your site is in being a possible url.
Stop any possible way example.com/?=whatever from showing a page on the site.
What we really need to see are some sites that took the hit and compare those that didn't. Then we can start putting some dots were the ?'s are.


 9:37 pm on Jul 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Not every site on the web took a hit so why did some and not others?

My theory is Google engages in more testing than people imagine. The testing gives the impression to me that many times they go "whoops" that certainly doesn't work and just come to a halt with it. Meanwhile they don't give any thoughts to the damage that might have done and just scurry on to the next project without undoing the damage. I particularly get this impression in the past 4-5 months. Personally I would imagine with a workforce as educated and as diverse as Google's and operating in impoverished areas such as India it is almost impossible to reign in the individual schemes within that company.


 9:56 pm on Jul 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

For example, for many years there has been a special "Mom & Pop boost" to help small business compete with the big guys.

That would have to be insider information because I see nothing to validate that proposition. They might give a boost to Adsense or Adwords if that is what you are you are referring to. In fact it is contradictory to the argument of relevant results and alludes to the possibility Google is deciding your fate outside of the area of content. Then again I never argued the natural results weren’t bought in the first place, in the broad sense. Once Google seeds the first two pages you could mangle the rest of the results and never know the difference. In fact wasn’t it Eric Scmidt who proclaimed “we envision the day when the searcher will never really have to search outside of the first few results to find what they want.” Isn’t that a small business killer to begin with?


 10:12 pm on Jul 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Well, it's not insider information. Matt Cutts mentioned it on his blog. It's organic ranking help of some kind, although Matt wouldn't go into detail about it.

I've noticed this mom and pop boost several times with friends when I helped them put their one-man show on the web. Even their TBPR was soon higher than their few backlinks would seem to justify. I've also posted about it over past years, too.

It's not enough of a boost to knock the big guys out on a big trophy keyword - but it is enough to get some impressions and traffic into a small new site.


 10:32 pm on Jul 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

In the broad sense all web sites are business, mainly small business, unless the owners are just purely altruistic, playing, or are wealthy. How Google would be qualifying small businesses for this boost would raise many eyebrows. Then again you never heard me say that weren’t favoring some in the natural results.


 2:17 am on Jul 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

Has anyone else seen SERP's that match up exactly with the SERP's of Bing and Yahoo (and/or vice versa)? Exact same sites that are showing up in the exact same position for a number of searches that I've performed over the last week. I've never seen this happen before. I know about the coming/in progress Yahoo switch-over to Bing results but found it quite odd that across all three of them, the results were exactly the same.


 5:27 am on Jul 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

It's not a mom and pap boost, it's just that newer fresher content starts high and then goes down as it becomes old... that's it and its pretty logical.


 5:32 am on Jul 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

By the way, June is generally a bad months for business, many people are on vacation, save money for the summer, busy spending money going out etc... some of the drop in sales you see might be seasonal, I see it every year. As far as I remember May and June are always the worse.


 5:37 am on Jul 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

That's more like what I call the honeymoon period that a new site can sometimes enjoy. In fact, spammers have been known to try to exploit it. However, it only happens right after launch, not anytime fresh content is added.

What Matt described as a mom and pop boost is a more lasting effect. So these are two different examples of how Google is not completely numb about the very small business. I'm looking to find the exact quote, but I've been using Google for the search and I can't find it so far ;)


 5:41 am on Jul 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

"mom and pop are not even a mom and pop?!?"


 6:58 am on Jul 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

Did anyone else see a massive spike in traffic Monday which then levelled off to more "normal" levels yesterday?


 8:12 am on Jul 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

i still think that a lot of the ups and downs can be attributed to them creating the index from scratch. which means they had to run through the iterations a few times to weigh all the backlinks in. remember that at the same time all this happened, GMT started showing old data in it's speed tests, old data in its page errors (mine included pages which hadn't existed for months) - and now its showing vastly inflated numbers of backlinks, whatever that means. those errors show that it wasn't simply an algo change. it was something to do with the age of pages it was indexing.

that can maybe explain why so many spam sites got a boost, and quality sites started tanking. because i would imagine that the first few iterations would largely be based on the numbers of links, before subsequent ones discounted them.


 9:59 am on Jul 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

dirkfreak: Sorry Mark_A,

I am not sure what you mean. Do you want me to use adwords? why?

Well we use adwords when we are not at the front of the SERPS for natural listings. It costs more, so we also work on getting natural listings, but in the meantime we still want people to find us and buy our products.


 10:26 am on Jul 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hi guys, thanks for sharing thoughts. Started webmaster life since 6 months ago, just realized that so many "dummy" sites flooding internet, top search result not relevant at all, meaningless, what else we can do ? sighing


 11:00 am on Jul 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

Not every site on the web took a hit so why did some and not others?

As far as I can see, only a small percentage of sites took a hit. For the keywords that I monitor, mostly the same sites are still on the first page of the SERPs as in January.

This 234 message thread spans 8 pages: < < 234 ( 1 [2] 3 4 5 6 7 8 > >
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