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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]



 10:11 pm on Sep 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

Here's another suggestive clue:

Kelowna: I use a bunch of proxy services from across the USA as well as aol and comcast to see the serps. Usually they are all the same or very close, over the last while I am seeing two different sets of results that are bouncing around.



 12:21 am on Oct 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have scanned the rankings of my SEO clients in different US Datacenter and they all have 3-5 sets of ranks. It only affects my US clients. This was the case too during the pre caffeine rollout back 5 months ago, so as tedster suggest there could be an algo shift happening soon


 12:37 am on Oct 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Happening soon? how about happening now! We can only imagine the volume of data they are working with, I'm sure it's immense. Having it switch over instantly would seem impossible, so we get these transfer bumps while the new algo is being propagated. Traffic is still switching on and off for us, I just hope it settles out in the ON position. Had a great day of double digit sales yesterday, but a dismal day today.

I am in daily contact with another WebmasterWorld member in the UK and he is able to tell me exactly what to expect with near perfect accuracy. If he has a good sales day, so do I. If he's hearing crickets, I experience the same low sales a few hours later. Coincidence?

I think sites that sell products, either tangible or non tangible are seeing the impact more than MFA sites. So what happened to all that branding & quality stuff that Mayday was supposed to fix?


 2:15 am on Oct 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

This is crazy traffic from Google to one of my popular sites fell from 1300 daily to 627 to 422 up to current time. What gets me is that the keywords that drives the traffic has been cut in 1/2 no oops 1/3. The only notable thing we did was to remove all the broken links on our site and this seemed to have made matters worse.

So much for the gurus and removing broken links....


 2:04 pm on Oct 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Somethings up, usually is when crawling for our biggest site has become a trickle over the last few weeks with unusual spikes.

Searchs I am doing for research are all over the place the last few days. I have felt like something big is coming for a couple weeks now and this one site we have is always a good crystal ball for this.


 2:23 pm on Oct 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

I personally think something big is coming soon, too. There just seems to be a fair amount of non-standard things happening and I agree that these things usually precede a big algo 'update' or something.


 2:25 pm on Oct 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thought I'd share some stats. For privacy issues, I can tell you my site is set at a number beyond 50,000 organic search visitors a month. Comparing the month of Sept to August. My organic search traffic grew by 6%+.

As my site targets visitors world-wide, I grew my targets of Canada and the United Kingdom (Meaning I was doing SEO to grow these countries specifically).

Canada at 12%+
UK at 15%+
US at 5%+

I do have the benefit of not having to compete in the social marketing area to obtain better ranks. My niche does not seem to attract any social activity. I mean someone who buys a network switch doesn't go to twitter about it to all his friends.

I'm sharing since there seems to be an abundance of sites losing traffic. By all means, I am still about 15% away from where I am now to to my high point before the dreaded Mayday update. From this point forward, every month itself will appear to bring a new challenge to the table.


 3:40 pm on Oct 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Is it me, or has there always been a bullet point on a top result with a little blue triangle when doing searches on Google instant? I noticed the little blue triangle is on the first organic result or adwords result.

Are they trying to visually entice people to click the first result with it? Hmmm....


 3:52 pm on Oct 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

That is pretty new - has to do with keyword navigation [webmasterworld.com]


 12:18 pm on Oct 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think google is trying hard to send visitors they think are likely to buy directly to the stores that yield the best user satisfaction. Affiliate sites are being hit hard in terms of traffic loss as of late, well, not counting Google's prominent offers.

Does your site feature a brick and mortar business address prominently displayed on page? It might be good SEO if it did and it would be even better for your products to provide ratings for Google to data-mine from.

Mayday could have been when this was turned on.


 12:39 pm on Oct 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

What do you think - is something brewing?

Standard procedure is to shake up the SERPs in time for holiday shopping season. A little shakedown I suppose to juke revenues.


 1:24 am on Oct 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google's interest are the users, not webmasters.

Users are just a means to an end, with that end being advertising (adwords) paying webmasters.

The day started out great, but died at noon. Nothing but crickets since then.


 3:52 am on Oct 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

How many shakeups can we take?


 7:07 am on Oct 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing a few sites return today that have been awol for a week or so, including the one i mentioned here:


They have come back with the majority of keywords producing a slightly lower listing (up to 4 positions lower). I would say the common feature of these sites is that they have got slightly ropey back link profiles, in terms of being biased towards blogs and forums. I don't mean just blog comments, mainly links in blog posts.


 8:26 am on Oct 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google's interest are the users, not webmasters.

Users are a means to an end and that end is money to improve it's position on wall street.

Of all the things I've seen this looks like it's probably related to how likely to buy a visitor is. During Mayday some sites that lost 5-15% traffic lost 50-60% income which suggests they were not sent the same caliber of traffic, which implies serps are manipulated at least in part by how likely a visitor is to be looking to buy something.

We're seeing more affiliate offers next to a picture under a "shopping results" section of google results for a reason. It's obviously managing to show the right things to the right people, which includes not showing to the wrong people which then trickle down to our sites.

Of course I could be wrong :-)

If I'm not wrong however, how would we take back our earnings from such a setup?


 9:09 am on Oct 3, 2010 (gmt 0)


What really annoys me is that our competitor sites are not as good as ours with regards to fresh content, broken links etc... yet they still seem to stay where they are, never really move and appear above us! Yet it's us that bounce all over the place trying to keep Google friendly and take the right steps!




 10:45 am on Oct 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

Just chiming in here with an observation. Recently received the letter of death from G, i.e., "Google AdSense ad serving has been disabled..."

It was only on one site, but it seems G is trimming low-hanging fruit. I've been with AdSense since 2004, but never a major player, though more than enough traffic, clicks, etc. to earn a decent check every month.

While I have an online store, it's pretty small. My site is mostly informational, so I'm seeing myself and others get the boot, probably more due to some directive than actual content. Lots of smaller sites are having AS disabled, so I am thinking it's part of an overall plan.

How that intersects with this algo change is pretty straightforward: more money for G, better targeting for spenders/stores and spreading the AS wealth among fewer participants.

Makes sense on the surface as G shifts into "holiday mode," chasing the money, as all big corporations must. Considering current and forthcoming economic conditions, I'd expect major changes for all over the next 3-5 years. Nothing is for certain or forever.


 10:53 am on Oct 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

@fearlessrick Ouch, sorry to hear that. Did they give any reason? Also is it your entire account at risk or just that 1 site that is blocked? Also (final question!) you mention that others have been getting the boot recently: is this fairly widespread with 'authority' blogs mentioning it, or mainly just an increased number of people posting in forums about it? Thanks!

I just opened an AdSense account and my income is growing fairly well (considering it's a new site) but it doesn't sound promising if they are triming the smaller players. :/

man in poland

 5:06 pm on Oct 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hi fearlessrick,

Like you, I have been with Adsense for a number of years, and also recently received the same letter (mid-August). After much correspondence and effort, I did manage to get the ads recently re-instated on that one site of mine, but I concur with you that Google seems to be trimming back on the smaller publishers for the reasons you point out. The algo changes are the second part of this two-pronged attack. It's easy for them to claim these changes are done to maintain 'quality' but there is clearly no coincidence that it is happening in the pre-Christmas season.


 6:25 pm on Oct 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

Yes, something is going on and I just don't get it!. My facts:
  • My traffic is organic
  • Traffic suddently cut down to half across all my sites since last week sept 2010
  • Adsense numbers went down almost 50% average since then
  • Oct 1, weird: **earnings up!** but traffic still half of what it used to be. Strange having less traffic but more earnings.

Also, there are sites that I like to visit and read on a daily basis. I've seen some very well positioned websites showing only PSA (adsense, general ads) across their networks for the complete last week of sept.


 7:29 pm on Oct 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

My traffic is down 20% on this time last year and SERPs are the same if not better. I do notice that google seems to be sending more traffic directly to the root rather than to the targetted pages as they were doing.


 9:33 pm on Oct 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google's interest are the users, not webmasters.

This is another one of many statements that perpetually float around that make absolutely no sense.

As many people who are now employed via the internet worldwide the predominant users of Google are likely the webmasters. To simply the largest buying sector is likely webmasters=users.


 12:35 am on Oct 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

I am seeing 8 results on a page in the SERP for some searches that I have done.

Has anyone else seen this?


 1:09 am on Oct 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

As many people who are now employed via the internet worldwide the predominant users of Google are likely the webmasters. To simply the largest buying sector is likely webmasters=users.

If you think that Webmasters represent the largest buying sector, you really need to get out more often.

If the only people who used Google were Webmasters, Google would not exist in it's current form or fortune.

Google does not care about Webmasters becaue they only represent a very minute portion of people clicking ads.

They used to in the beginning because it was Webmasters that made Google go viral, but now they don't need any viral advertising and since most webmasters consider Google a god and blindly give them their content and use their services no matter how bad they are treated in return, do you really thing they give a rats a** about what Webmasters think?


 1:49 am on Oct 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

I do think Google cares about webmasters - but not nearly as much as they care about the average user. There is no way they could do otherwise and be a sane business. Given a choice between pleasing a webmaster and pleasing a big chunk of users, of course they choose the users.

I've noticed many times in the ten plus years of WebmasterWorld how easy it is to become disenchanted. But such a loss of equilibrium undermines the ability to analyze clearly and move on to the next win. Clearly there are always those who are winning at SEO. If anyone has ever been one of the winners, I say they still have what it takes to win again - IF they always remember that it really is up to them.

Many SEOs from the early days were doing things that today would clearly be called "black hat". And as the game evolved, they ALL got burned. There even used to be a saying here that you weren't really an SEO if you didn't have at least one site banned. And today there are many top sites and many strong careers built on a foundation of earlier bans.

The SERPs are changing as I type, and there appears to be an update of some substance in the wind. Google continues to evolve the way that they are picking which sites to offer their users. Whatever Google is doing, the results are always right there for us to see and analyze. So as always, there is a challenge worth our study - and worth maintaining our quality thread here.

So I'm done pontificating. Thanks for obliging me. If you are even reading this thread in the first place, you still have the spark. So let's get out there, be smart, and win ;)

[edited by: tedster at 3:39 am (utc) on Oct 4, 2010]


 2:31 am on Oct 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

Can someone tell me why Google does not detect text links placed in hidden <div> layers? I have found literally dozens of sites ranking right on page #1 for extremely competitive words using hidden DIVs. I will soon be doing the same if nothing happens.. lol


 3:04 am on Oct 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

Best traffic & sales day in over a month - a dramatic difference! Constant flow of traffic for nearly 24 straight hours. Now THIS is more like it! Perhaps the algo update is finally starting to hook up.


 4:10 am on Oct 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

One thing is as certain as the day I started doing this back in 99 when I was targeting Alta Vista and this is things change and you better change with them if you want to survive.

I have done pretty good with all the Google upheavals and sure I lost a few sites but I also gained a few.

I dislike Google because of their uber arrogance and no other reason really.


 5:58 am on Oct 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

Like you Mrguy I don't dislike Google in general but I DO dislike some of their recent choices and I DO dislike them sending such a disproportionate number of visitors when compared to other search engines, I'd like to see the others catch up.

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