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Google Updates and SERP Changes - October 2010

 8:22 pm on Sep 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

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

There are many different kinds of ranking disruptions being reported right now - dropped domain roots, unexplainable traffic spikes and dips. These things often come right before some kind of algo shift. What do you think - is something brewing?

[edited by: tedster at 12:38 pm (utc) on Oct 1, 2010]



 3:28 pm on Oct 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Yes, my site was rocking last month. Rankings actually improved going into October, however, traffic is acting a bit odd. I'm up and down at various hours of the day without any noticeable pattern.

Now, I have noticed something as a bit of a clue to know if your traffic will increase or decrease for the month. Pick 3 of your biggest competitors (do a related:competitorsite.com), from the previous month, if all of your competitors and your site's pages indexed has gone down (site:competitorsite.com, you can expect a decrease of traffic from Google.

I've been tracking this trend since Jan last year and it seems to be the case. Think about it, Google knows what industry and related sites your site falls under, if there is a dip in demand for your industry, hence Google will try to figure out least important pages to filter from its results to balance its query servicing ratio between all important related sites to yours. I think think this is a balancing act to determine also what some terms mean when a user enters them.

Think about it, if you search for something that could have multiple meanings, they will want to serve that content where the intent is along the lines of your site's industry. By industry i mean, information, news, shopping site, niche site, etc...

The whole concept above could just be coincidence on my end, but it hasn't failed me yet.


 3:31 pm on Oct 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

How do folks monitor rankings? I was under the impression this is impossible with personalized search? Proxies do no good.

I cant put in urls as per the rules of this board, do a search for usa proxy. When you find a proxy service, use their site to go to google.com and search for your keywords. I have many of them bookmarked so I can compare rankings, you will find the different set of results that are cuasing you grief. Just make sure the ip of the proxy service is based out of the USA and not some other country so the results make sense.


 3:39 pm on Oct 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

This may not apply to sites that draws attention from a lot of social activity.


 3:40 pm on Oct 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

@Jez123, If the traffic drop was this month (yesterday in particular), it could be due to some glitch with analytics (if you are using it).

I am seeing 20% drop in traffic but a 50 to 70% drop in orders

As you had rightly explained, it depends on the traffic quality...

We could say that Google is showing great organic results, when you see a significant increase in orders, with a small increase in traffic (or sometimes even if the traffic dips a bit but is within the usual limits).


 3:57 pm on Oct 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

@indyank - Mine was at the start of september, the 3rd or the 4th, so I am a bit of a veteran. It seems like they are rolling something out in segments and that's why different sectors are being affected at different times perhaps.


 4:45 pm on Oct 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

I am seeing 2 sets of results when I search for a particular keyword, I get one set of results, then if I clear my cookies and do a search again on that keyword I get a different set of results. Clear cache, repeat and the original results come back. Google appears to be using 2 indexes, could this by why people are seeing a drop in traffic?


 5:26 pm on Oct 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

me too - average of last four tuesdays was 6200 google organic referrals - yesterday was 4200 - over 30% drop

and the traffic is definitely lower quality conversion rate down by 30% also - net is total orders down by over 50%

the serps that i track are the same


 5:32 pm on Oct 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

It's not analytics. It started again an hour ago after another record morning. It's a change to goolge, what's happened is instead of specific product SERPS we are getting users dumped on category pages.
It's exactly what I noticed when searching for medical terms etc weeks earlier it's just been rolled out to our industry. It's exactly what someone else said earlier too, they are funneling us to adwords.

Our adwords cost is way up in the last 24 hours but conversions are at historic lows.

This is all about taking away long tail specific product searches which worked for searchers and stores but not google.


 5:45 pm on Oct 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

i confirmed my traffic loss with other analytic tools - my GA seems to be reporting accurately.

we had a normal morning today, but someone must have pushed the long-tail red button yesterday


 6:07 pm on Oct 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

When I query the data centres with the same phrases - I am seeing my old positions. This appears to be the same as last weeks movements!


 6:09 pm on Oct 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Oct 5 - drop in 16% from expected traffic in GA but impressions are up in CJ control panel they are normal and sales are up. In awstats it shows normal as well.

There seem to be indeed a GA glitch.


 6:10 pm on Oct 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

@Wingslevel ... I'd love a 4200 organic referal hit to my site from G!


 6:28 pm on Oct 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

thks pudders, but, considering we have over 200,000 pages, i'm not doing backflips. in a typical week we are seeing G organic referrals to only about 3% of our pages. really shocking to me. we are throttled and crushed on long-tails.


 7:32 pm on Oct 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Same pattern today, all google traffic ceased around noon, just starting to crawl back now. We had 292 goolge visitors between 11 and 12ish, 3 since.

How in the world is this a good idea? We just had someone call and confirm that the same search term they used to find us at 10am was gone by 1pm. They then found us in bing.

I also need to add there is an analytics problem which we can confirm bit the problem is two fold - drop in real google traffic and a drop in reported traffic during peak hours

[edited by: scottsonline at 7:58 pm (utc) on Oct 6, 2010]


 7:52 pm on Oct 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing the heavy drop again today but it's a google analytics glitch I'm sure. Awstats reports normal activity for yesterday (I forgot I had that installed), ad earnings are normal. I'll be installing another analytics program tonight so that if the dip happens again tomorrow I can confirm for myself it's just an analytics problem.

It's a scary thing for sure to see hourly visits of 1,500 to 3,000 (depending on the hour) drop to 30ish to 50ish, but it's not real. Even if google really did cut my site out for a few hours a day, other search engine traffic, direct visitors, tweets, etc., certainly cover more than 30-50 visits an hour.

It's scary, but not real IMO.


 8:02 pm on Oct 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

It's both.

We see a real and reported drop at the same time. They happen at the same time, it's at the same time, it's plain as day with monitoring software we have running. Lots of ghost terms too, visits of under a second from real users that make us think it's an interface glitch.

Last night i clicked on a serp for a competitor that i know took me to another site almost as if I clicked before instant shuffled the results....could that be happening?


 8:28 pm on Oct 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

This tweet from the GA team may be at least a piece of the puzzle:

We are aware of and investigating the issue of a dip in data from 10 - noon PST yesterday - more updates to follow.



 8:38 pm on Oct 6, 2010 (gmt 0)


Thanks for the heads up tedster, I was sure google would make SOME kind of announcement if it was a problem with their software. Too bad they waited so long, lots of anxiety!


 8:47 pm on Oct 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

The same here...got 20% drop right yesterday...glad I came here to check in .... I have stopped worring. Thanks guys

by the way...yesterday was pretty funny...what made me get suspicious of GA behaviour was my Adsense which reported an increase in the page impressions which didnt match my GA


 8:56 pm on Oct 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Whatever is happening our google traffic collapses at the same time as analytics collapsing especially for the first 60-90 minutes.

I half wonder if instant is being delayed at some dcs. I say this because all of the traffic that is getting through is coming from similar niches. Its way too odd to be a coincidence, we track almost every single visitor and it's like the lights go out just as the analytics stiff crashes.

Edit: at 5pm the switch is thrown and the traffic is back instantly, they're throttling for sure


 9:15 pm on Oct 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Indeed thanks for the update. I confirmed those 3 hours where my traffic was wayyyy out of whack.


 9:52 pm on Oct 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Would love to see another product that competes GA from someone like Bing. I find it a little at odds to get reporting from the same company I am trying to get more traffic from as well as getting reporting about competing search engines.


 10:07 pm on Oct 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Your impulse is a good one. While the free GA data can be useful, there are many other server log tools analysis tools available, and having at least one additional source is a good idea.

Robert Charlton

 11:27 pm on Oct 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

There are several discussions on the Google Analytics Help Forums about data missing for various segments of time, both yesterday and today...

Is there a processing delay today? Visitors and Pageviews not updating
My numbers between 12 Noon and 3PM are messed up (east coast time) with a huge gap.


Data is missing from 6-8pm Oct 5th and 1pm onwards Oct 6th Why?

No mention of time zones on many of the posts. No response on the forums from Google.


 11:27 pm on Oct 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

I suspect we're seeing both a GA glitch _and_ a significant update at the same time, that's why we're getting mixed results. I've seen some results sets flicker in for a few minutes that were distinctly different on normally very stable SERPs.


 11:29 pm on Oct 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

It appears we are seeing several issues, one of which is analytics related, one possibly related to peak hour instant or datacenter issues that occur at the same time, and also traffic throttling. It's impossible for us to say whether the destruction of goolge traffic from lunch until the close of business eastern time is one or the the other by here's a hint:

The moment traffic came thundering back analytics unstuck itself, conversions and traffic went back to normal? Is it possible analytics is part of the throttling equation?


 11:40 pm on Oct 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

The moment traffic came thundering back analytics unstuck itself, conversions and traffic went back to normal? Is it possible analytics is part of the throttling equation?

That freaks me out. My busiest time of day is during the hour of 3 pm ...that's when the traffic came thundering back yesterday (on analytics).

Here's a change:

Yesterday's stats had me anywhere from 30-ish to 50-ish visitors an hour between 12 noon and 3 pm...NOW I login and they show between 600-900ish...which puts me ill at ease because those ARE the numbers I would be getting if google pulled my site from the serps during that time (thru referrals, direct traffic, etc.).

No response on the forums from Google.

When it comes to supporting their products, that's how they roll.

I suspect we're seeing both a GA glitch _and_ a significant update at the same time, that's why we're getting mixed results. I've seen some results sets flicker in for a few minutes that were distinctly different on normally very stable SERPs

I'm beginning to suspect that too.


 12:23 am on Oct 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

This is why I keep awstats on my server.


 1:24 am on Oct 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

This has been the pattern for me for the past 2 days. My main keyword is ok from about 9 pm until 2 pm the next day. Then from 2 to 9 pm it goes up and down like a yo yo. Then its back to normal at 9 pm Needless to say, its unnerved me quite a bit, but I have plenty of link strength, I try to stay calm. I sure do.


 1:27 am on Oct 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

Okay another piece of the puzzle supporting an indexing or algo change:

A term that brought 2-3 clicks a day for a few years and usually a sale a day last produced clicks Monday morning. I just checked it Sunday as it's one of the benchmark terms. We were always first, then there were 50-60 others behind us.

A search for that term tonight produces a huge shift. Not only are we not number one, not one result has anything to do with the product. We are gone so are our competitors. This has happened before and things returned to normal but no doubt this is part of it.
The name of the product has a city in Asia as part of it's name. The dial that controls relevance of that term has decided that I really want travel information instead of the exact match. Ouch!


 1:32 am on Oct 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

A site of mine (yellow page type) got clobbered on Oct 1st. Another one with similar content but many more links didn't.

I can't really complain since I'm not exactly setting the world on fire with them and they are relatively new sites.

This 454 message thread spans 16 pages: < < 454 ( 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 ... 16 > >
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