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Google Updates and SERP Changes - November 2010
indyank




msg:4224747
 5:50 am on Nov 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

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

Here is alexa's take on the the oct 21-22 debacle..they do see a significant shift...

[blog.alexa.com...]

but wait, there seems to be one more tweak that happened this friday, oct 29. This could either be a reversal or yet another tweak...google is enjoying the tweak game and one thing for sure, they are trying to achieve something for themselves via the tweaks...

[edited by: tedster at 2:18 pm (utc) on Nov 1, 2010]

 

williamfor




msg:4227467
 9:14 am on Nov 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

As yet we have not seen any traffic improvements. We are still 30-40% compared to last month. However, the traffic does seem to be better.

Excluding brand keywords, our bounce rate has dropped by 25% and page views incresed by 30%.

We too have had some annoying canonical issues over last few months so thats hope this was the issue is/was @scottsonline

brinked




msg:4227470
 10:06 am on Nov 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

just seen another update that pushed some sites even farther down the tube. 3 sites that were ranking top 5 now ranking on page 5 for their major terms. They were pushed to pages 2-3 on oct 22. They are really quality sites too. Since they are my competitors I am not going to complain one bit.

One competitor actually reached out to me yesterday. He doesnt really rank for the same keywords, but hes in the same industry and he was very desperate. Hes not a major player or anything, but he says he just makes enough to pay rent and bills and support his family. He pretty much just wanted to know he wasnt alone and some reassurance. Its sad really, I wonder how many people like him this is effecting. It stinks when google just rolls out some update and it effects the lives of so many people for better or worse.

scottsonline




msg:4227506
 1:13 pm on Nov 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Brinked I honestly believe this update will put thousands of businesses under. I think one of the problems - how many googlers in charge of this stuff have ever owned their own businesses? They have no idea what it's like.

A lot of people - this update will be it.

tigger




msg:4227510
 1:31 pm on Nov 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

I can't see G leaving this alone and some more tweaking is going to happen which will hopefully pull quality sites back into the fold and dump the current spam thats ranking

I've got 2 benchmark terms I'm watching one has a framset site with ZERO content on the page other than the frameset code and a title thats the same as the URL - this "site" has ONE page if you can call the frameset code a page and thats ranking 1st! on com

The second site is about as spammy / mass produced / doorways / hidden text black hat as you can get and that popped up on Friday from nowhere and is again ranking for a major term

All the time these sites are ranking I can only assume G is still tweaking - question is will some business be around by the time G gets its act sorted

But I also think this confirms that you shouldn't put all your income/traffic eggs into one site - I've had a couple of sites slip during this but a couple have held as well

williamfor




msg:4227516
 1:49 pm on Nov 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think at these times it's also worth investigating different marketing streams :
ppc - yahoo, bing
shopping comparison engines
affiliates
email
etc

Dont hold all your reliance with google - this update has taught me that!

maximillianos




msg:4227517
 1:53 pm on Nov 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Is everyone filing spam reports for all these cases you are identifying? I think that should be your first priority. Give G the data they need to fix it.

directwheels




msg:4227527
 2:44 pm on Nov 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Not sure what is going on, but one of my sites that's been basically banned or heavily penalized came back yesterday. I was still making good money on Yahoo and Bing and I have started another site to rank in Google long ago. Now they let my old site out of the Google cage, it was really killing it yesterday and is now ranking #4 on a major generic term.

Let's hope it stays there!

indyank




msg:4227538
 3:31 pm on Nov 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Are you hoping to see a banned or heavily penalized site stay afloat?! Have you corrected the reasons for which it was penalized?

Google is continuing to tweak, though a few people believe that wouldn't do much and the updates for the shopping season are almost complete.Some tweaks help a few people while they turn out to be poor for others and this is natural.

Scottsonline, are you affected again with this tweak? I just saw you reporting that things seem to have improved this week.

indyank




msg:4227539
 3:34 pm on Nov 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

I am not sure how effective filing spam reports will be as google knows what it is doing (perpetual tweaking). Even if they act on them, they may not see what you had reported, as things might have changed by then.

maximillianos




msg:4227549
 3:55 pm on Nov 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Well I take the 60 seconds to file the report. It is probably more helpful than posting it here. Google doesn't seem to be to involved in these forums anymore.

Plus Matt Cutts seems to take his job pretty seriously. They do look at those reports. If we all spent more time reporting spam instead of posting complaints about it here I bet the SERPS would improve. Who better to spot the spammers than us webmasters who know te tricks? I think we should all be more proactive since many of us make a living off search engines. Even if the spammer is not directly in your industry it may help google fix a bug that kills off another spammer who is in your niche.

mrguy




msg:4227559
 4:11 pm on Nov 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

They do look at those reports. If we all spent more time reporting spam instead of posting complaints about it here I bet the SERPS would improve. Who better to spot the spammers than us webmasters who know te tricks? I think we should all be more proactive since many of us make a living off search engines.


Not all of us want to to do Googles job for free. If they can't figure out what spam is, then that's there problem.

They make how much money and have how many smart PHD types working there?

If you want to work for free for Google, please continue to do so, but myself and and I'm sure many others have better things to do.

maximillianos




msg:4227562
 4:24 pm on Nov 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

If you have spammers knocking your site out of position, than reporting them is not working for free.

I'm just trying to help. But feel free to let the spammers take over your niche.

Not to mention all that free traffic most of us get. I think of G as a business partner. Not an enemy.

scottsonline




msg:4227567
 4:50 pm on Nov 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

@Indy weekends are slow for us. Per stats it's so far on par with this day last year. Considering the economy I'm fine with that. I won't know until Monday.

@max I agree. If we listed in the phone book we would pay a fee. Google is free. If if if we knew they acted on reports I think they'd get more action. Most view it as a waste of time. What I'd like to see google do is this:

1. They get a bunch of spam reports on a trusted site
2. They look at them and see they are a violation
3. They remove any benefit of the spam
4. They contact the admin via WMT and say "do this again you will get a -50"
5. Actually follow through

Sounds daunting but guess what? Warn 10k sites and 5 million will hear of it within a few days. Penalize some big sites like they once did BMW in Europe and people will be more in line. I'm not talking 180 days in the sandbox, smack them for a few days but tell them.

One of the problems I have with google is guilty until proven innocent but there's no court case. We don't even know if we've been penalized most of the time. Why the mystery? It's no different than having kids, if they don't know what they did wrong how can they avoid doing it again?

tigger




msg:4227568
 4:53 pm on Nov 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

used to fill out spamm reports but they got nowhere. Whilst I don't have a problem in supporting G I do expect a response back rather than an report / email that probably never gets looked let alone actioned - I think the spam report button is there for one reason alone to try and show they care about your views

outland88




msg:4227571
 5:18 pm on Nov 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

You should think of them as "your boss" if the site is largely Adsense. They can fire at will.

I'm just trying to help.


That used to be a worthy goal. Now though since everything is automated they add more and more filters possibly killing your site.

roodle




msg:4227575
 5:37 pm on Nov 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Bounce rate today is 50% what it was this time last week. Best I've seen for this particular site in fact. Visits look like beating last week's too. But tomorrow?...

tigger




msg:4227576
 5:38 pm on Nov 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

sorry when you say bounce rate what do you mean?

imbckagn




msg:4227585
 6:32 pm on Nov 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Sorry when you say bounce rate what do you mean?


The time a person stays on your website. Some people may say their bounce rate is increasing because Google is sending them better targeted traffic.

You can track your bounce rate through Google Analytics.

Mal_Jones




msg:4227591
 7:29 pm on Nov 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Enjoy today's increase in traffic while you can as I expect a major update to roll out very soon. With all the tests going on in google the past few weeks, this would point to a massive update. Google want to control your products and services and really aren't interested if your business goes down the pan. Think Google news,think google maps, think google products, think google places , think google images, think google real estate, do you really think they care about your websites appearing at the top of their results? If they control your products , content or services via the above, they can use this content to further increase their revenue. I believe firmly that this update isn't over yet and when it is , many webmasters will feel it big time unless they offer their sole , service, products and content over to google to control. The positive are there if you look at all this above and plan for the future. The future is IMO Massive free traffic from google is coming to an end for hundreds of thousands of websites. Fill out spam reports ? yea right , your wasting your time.

mrguy




msg:4227597
 7:57 pm on Nov 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think of G as a business partner. Not an enemy.


I used to think that way too, until they started treating us partners like total you know what.

They are the enemy and it's my mission to exploit every singe hole I can find.

And, you can bet I would never post any of those finds in a forum for them to see either.

Over the years, I've seen numerous time where people would post something good about an exploit or a new nugget for a search command and suddenly they would stop working.

If Google wanted to start paying me for finding weakness in the their algo by reporting spam, I'd be more than happy to.

scottsonline




msg:4227598
 8:48 pm on Nov 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think Matt has explained many times before they may not read them but you can bet automated checks are done.

Mal I think this one is done. The beauty of my Corp being hq'd in NYC is Ive got friends in a lot of different industries. This update wreaked havoc with supply chains from about 10/17 thru today. I'm actually shocked at how many differing businesses noticed the faucet was turned off. From retail to all types of b2b things stalled and it is hard to believe the economy backed off so quickly. It makes sense that none of us were seeing good results = widespread issues and lost revenues. Scary really.

I think updates aren't done with a switch. They are rolled through by segment. Yours may not be done while ours went stable a few days ago.

Mal_Jones




msg:4227609
 9:18 pm on Nov 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Sorry I don't understand what you mean by this "and it is hard to believe the economy backed off so quickly." But updates in google don't hurt the economy of any country it just redistributes the sales. For every looser there is a winner..........

roodle




msg:4227610
 9:20 pm on Nov 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Some people may say their bounce rate is increasing because Google is sending them better targeted traffic

I think you mean decreasing...? Lower bounce rate implies better traffic.

Google want to control your products and services and really aren't interested if your business goes down the pan. Think Google news,think google maps, think google products, think google places , think google images, think google real estate, do you really think they care about your websites appearing at the top of their results?

I couldn't agree more. They have noone to answer to. It seems like any business that takes off online has to try and dominate every single aspect of our online experience. Facebook's heading the same way. The thought of being without choice scares me...

scottsonline




msg:4227631
 11:45 pm on Nov 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Mal that's not always true. You are assuming errors in google resulted in just different stores being shown for products when in reality no stores were being shown for thousands, maybe millions of products. Sales slowed sharply in many industries at exactly the same time all this went down and when searches for medical conditions would return poker sites.
It's a zero sum game presuming the index isn't messed like it was. What scares me is that another vector for harming the western world may be as simple as muddying the google index.

Our bing referrals started dropping on a percentage basis as the results improved. That tells me bing was still the 2nd choice. Once google squared away things went back to normal.

Btw, what would keep a third party from providing results from each of the big three as a complete picture of SERPS?

brinked




msg:4227644
 2:10 am on Nov 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

ok to regroup. Here are some observations I have personally witnessed during this change.

1. Google is replacing the homepage with inner pages that either have the same/similar keywords in the title or URL for certain rankings in what seems to be an effort to get users to what they are looking for and not having them taken to an intro or "doorway" page.

2. More sites seem to have mini sitelinks now than before.

3. A lot of lesser quality sites seem to be rising to the top. Perhaps google giving them a chance to see how they will perform and then confirm they are just that: cheap, poor performing sites that will have high bounce rates.

4. sites with the search phrase as the domain name seem to be coming back. Although many have very obvious paid link profiles. This can be related to point #3.

Thoughts: I think google is raising up the poor quality sites so webmasters can report them to google. I dont think its a coincidence that this all happens shortly after google releases the report spam chrome plugin. I think google is essentialls forcing webmasters to report their competition by saying "these crappy competitors will outrank you for your SERP's unless you do something about it"

I am not going to form an opinion of this change because I believe it is not done. I personally love the changes since it benefits most of my sites but I do not believe this will stick. I have already seen some poor quality sites start to drop off and others start to get into the mix.

Google, I sure hope you know what you're doing.

scottsonline




msg:4227651
 3:54 am on Nov 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

Brinked what type of site are you in? This is exactly what we saw 2 weeks ago.

The only thing that really bugs me is multiple storefronts from the same company with the same products with different keywords ranking. That's the most egregious abuse of the guidelines going.

I also agree they are trying to get users to the right page. Our bounce rate was always high. We are in a business which often requires multiple bids. Our traffic is about the same this past week but the bounce rate is down 10-15% in google alone. Visit time is way up.
There's a lot going on clearly.

brinked




msg:4227652
 4:08 am on Nov 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

scott,

My post was in reference to the 3 industries I currently operate in. They are 1 informative blog, and 2 not so typical stores/online shops, but they are, kind of hard to explain.

I also have 4 steady clients who I have been monitoring during this fiasco as well.

I emphasize that this is what I am personally seeing because I can not put a sure conclusion on it like I normally can because I have limited time since my wife gave birth to our baby boy a little over two weeks ago so I have been very strapped for time or I would have really been all over this.

Also, it appears that google may also be boosting up its over optimization filters as well. I am seeing a lot of sites who depend on sitewide links and repetitive anchors really tank.

But at the same time, sites who spam dofollow comments on single pages, varying the anchor seem to be doing well. As well as non sitewide hidden links. This is just based on a short sample, dont hold me to it.

scottsonline




msg:4227654
 4:20 am on Nov 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thanks Brinked. I'm just trying to get a perspective on what's been going on. We know the blog/indexing issue hit around the 18th but I believe it was more than that. Results had started to jump just prior to that, and got much worse right after. They seem to be improving now after hitting all time lows. For about a month bing was pulling huge increases on our site. We noticed improvements in google and bing referrals have steadied.

Algo update, indexing problem, whatever...this was disruptive on a scale I've never seen before as a searcher and web worker. That said if the end result is much lower bounce rates on the same traffic levels bravo.

As I look through the data the keywords are so close but the intent must be understood as different in google somehow through profiling. On the same number of google visits the number of carts Friday went from 107 to 318 YoY.

I think a lot of individual pieces got glued together for this holiday and they just haven't told us yet until it's gone through every part of the index. If this is what all of the turmoil has been about and next week it rides through the web I will tip my cap to mountain view. Cross your fingers let's see how this plays out

micklearn




msg:4227655
 4:36 am on Nov 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think google is raising up the poor quality sites so webmasters can report them to google. I dont think its a coincidence that this all happens shortly after google releases the report spam chrome plugin. I think google is essentially forcing webmasters to report their competition by saying "these crappy competitors will outrank you for your SERP's unless you do something about it"


If this is the case, isn't that an admission of a failure to control spam on their part?

brinked




msg:4227657
 4:51 am on Nov 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

mick, again, I am purely speculating. That to me is the only logical reason I can find why google would rank some of these sites so high. Especially since some of these sites are very obviously spammy ie little to no unique content, lots of ads, poor backlinks profiles etc.

Spencer




msg:4227698
 10:58 am on Nov 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm only talking for our particular marketplace, but I'm seeing high quality top ten listings. Except for the high level of company sites that are going out of business due to the recession, all of the results are both applicable and of high quality.

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