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This 334 message thread spans 12 pages: < < 334 ( 1 [2] 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ... 12 > >     
Google Updates and SERP Changes - December 2010

 5:35 am on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

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

I know tedsters has stressed this but what we see ourselves in the SERPS doesn't always help. We are getting pummeled by traffic on one keyword that is relevant. I can't find it and neither can any friends buts it's converting at a great rate. When I perform that search i get no results. Oh the games....

I'd say 20% is a close number compared to two weeks ago. Google traffic is off 35% over these days last year. Yet business is strong, and the bounce rate is low.

The shopping SERPS are impacting more this year because exact matches are turned down. Theres s bunch of products that we were 1-3 on last year where we are gone and so is everyone else, replaced by unrelated stuff...think:

Product whiplash from Appalachian co

Man falls from tree in appalachians suffering whiplash
Walking the Appalachian trail
Blah bla x 7

The exact match of the product name yields no results in holiday search 2011.

I was laughing tonight when I saw a site on amazon that sells helmets also is selling tools. They rank near the top on many items in google. They have no ratings and appear to just dump feeds. #1 in google, ahead of the manufacturer and a world renowned climbers site. That's the lunacy in all this, amazon isn't an authority on rock climbing helmets, crucial memory, or even sweat socks sold by 3rd parties.

This is as bad as the earlier wiki is 1st which was adjusted out. An unknown third party selling on amazon using content that's identical on 5k websites prior...doesn't make amazon the expert.

Im betting a lot of lost traffic went to amazon. They were up 25% yesterday, a lot of us were down 25%. Thanks google im sure amazon needed that boost.

[edited by: tedster at 6:51 pm (utc) on Dec 1, 2010]



 11:54 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing a massive reduction in link: data for blogs right now. My projected PR programs are predicting huge drops in blog PR.


 1:15 am on Dec 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

Do you really believe that it is possible to generate an entire website with the API full of duplicate content from Amazon and outrank Amazon? I have yet to see a website that is doing this.

Then you haven't looked in the right places. There are several software packages you can buy that will have you setup and running in less than 30 minutes feeding your site with nothing but Amazon stuff. I've done it just to test it out and see what it does.

Most small affiliates don't have the know how to do the caching and in reality they dont' get enough traffic to even worry about it. An average affiliate on Amazon makes less than 50 bucks a month.

I predict, that they will soon change their TOS to dissallow all caching from their API.


 2:38 am on Dec 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

My earlier response is back a few posts I forgot to hit send.

I have used the wrong term with amazon. I am not seeing affiliates. I mean amazon dot com addresses that have the amazon ads ppc. The people selling have the same products on their site. It's a great current way to scam google, figure out which products aren't indexed on your site and load them into amazon. It's cheaper to pay them v adwords and we all know they eat it up.


 3:14 am on Dec 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

But we're here to talk about the SERPs, not the government. I wonder if anyone has seen any unintended fallout from the algo change that just rolled out last night [googleblog.blogspot.com].

Tedster, you want to hear a really funny and true story about this. I was talking to a colleague of mine about this article and I am always trying to think like google, and formulas that google uses or could use to prevent spam from ranking and all sorts of theories. Anyway, I told my friend I hope they dont make a special filter for sites that have bad reputation on the web. I then googled this particular vendor that was featured in the NYT, and we saw a bunch of negative reviews. So we looked at each other and both thought the same exact thing. If google implements a filter for resellers that have extremely poor feedback/reviews then it would open the door for people to sabotage their competitors by outsourcing people to rate, review, blog etc a website negatively. I really hope google made this change air tight because I certainly do not want to think about them opening the door for competitor sabotage. I myself can literally write a formula to detect that this company was a bad business just based on the feedback found in google, and for the sake of many good businesses and legit startup businesses, I hope google does not open the door for this. I am especially involved in this kind of stuff because I deal with very competitive searches and I know first hand that several of the businesses not only do a lot of positive SEO for themselves, but they try to negatively impact the rankings of their competition.


 3:24 am on Dec 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

I certainly agree with you. Google says this change affected only about 100 sites - so it doesn't sound like whatever they did should have widespread effect or open up to many attack vectors.

That's one reason why I wondered if anyone saw this affect their site. We know the date and almost the time of the algo change - that should narrow it down quite nicely.


 3:41 am on Dec 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

tedster, here is my concern. This is supposed to only effect retailers right? So lets say I am in the digital widget industry. I am not an ecommerce site, more like an informative site and I depend on revenue from my ads rather than sales. So lets say a competitor decides to hire someone to go around the popular reseller ratings/reviews sites and bad mouth my company. Being that my company is not a retailer, I would not have any existing reviews, so these new reviews would be 100% negative, and no existing positive reviews to offset these negative reviews. So then if you do a google search for my company, you will get a bunch of results about how we have no satisfied customers.

Being that this only affected 100 or so sites, I sure would hope this would be a manual thing where as their algo can detect a trend and then an actual google employee can review the site in question to make sure they are not ruining a legit business for no reason.


 4:24 am on Dec 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

I've been doing a comparison of query results using Webmaster Tools, and I've found many, many phrases for which I ranked #1 to #5 on Monday, and now rank anywhere from #30 to #150. What changed with the quality of those pages?

I also did a search today for one of my phrases, and found the title of the first search result to be rather amusing. It was "404. Page not found". I kid you not.

Maybe they got Sergey's mom to sew the Google uniforms, and everything is being run from Larry Page's family's barn.


 5:32 am on Dec 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

That's probably because unlike Amazon's team, the Home Depot and Lowes teams haven't really gone for it this Christmas. That's not Google's fault, it's the fault of the webmasters in those companies.

I just received a call from them asking if we wanted to go in their market place. From January they are changing their TOS to require market place member to list a minimum of 400 products. They also said that they are googles biggest spender and plan to have 1 to 3 spots of organic and/or adwords results above the fold (do we still say that) on page 1.

If that is how amazon is doing it, no one else can compete with them...Hope you understand the deal there...

@Scottsonline, I am sure that most here and on the web do see what you see as well (remember a joke on FB that I shared here)...but they are left with no choices...


 5:41 am on Dec 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

Dick I'll post a screenshot in the am of a search I did. 1-4 was a company that is running an XML drop site. 5 was a site that looked ok but throws warnings of malware and is malware. 6th real result, 7th somewhat related it title reads hacked by some group. 8-10 one domain had expired.

Five days ago this returned 10 sites. #*$! did they just do? It's 2011 and malware is still ranking?

There's no amount of content or Seo that we can do to combat this.

Google caffeine was the wrong name. Google slots would have been better. Each day we pull the handle to see it we got lemons or stars. Some days like today we get an elephant, monkey and an amazon.

Btw the whole user intention stuff...if a term drives 2000 clicks a month it wi take a programmer 2 hours to devise a program over a couple of locations to distort the data. These are the ghost clicks we all see.


 9:01 am on Dec 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

PR Update yesterday afternoon guys.


 9:09 am on Dec 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

These are the ghost clicks we all see.

That's lazy analysis. We're still mining the data we have for "ghost" or "zombie" traffic, and its interesting stuff.

We're trying to find a way of monetising it without diluting our offering to our intended users. Not at all easy.


 9:59 am on Dec 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

One other issue that came up with google and I hope they rectify it, is owner information mixups from scraping? sites. So the other day I searched using my domain name, placing it in a phrase like "example.com". So first few pages of results looked normal but then I started seeing the domain name in some of the results with different info.

Indexed pages from other sites were listing the proper domain name but with different telephone and contact emails. And vice versa. So if someone was trying to reach say my contact page by searching for:
contact example.com
or a combination, the chances are another site may popup with different contact info.
And I can see various side-effects about it, in the long run.


 3:51 pm on Dec 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm not having any ranking problems, fortunately. The big site I relaunched in September is getting more and more traffic, and product rankings are climbing. I'm happy enough about that.

However, Google is doing some pretty messed up stuff with my page titles.

This morning, a search for keyword keyword brings up the proper page in second place, with the proper page title (which is not an exact match - they're bringing up the home page for this one)

However, keyword keyword keyword brings up the home page as the #1 result, but with a page title that is taken out of a two word string in an H1 tag that is actually the name associated with an image.

How the heck does THAT happen?


 7:15 pm on Dec 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hi Netmeg,

As Tedster has said ... In Google we Trust !


 8:18 pm on Dec 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

How the heck does THAT happen?

Don't know for sure - but it sounds like one of those "windows", this time into Google's new title re-writing algorithm. How many of the three keywords are actually in the page title? also is there any natural 2-word semantic grouping for those keywords?


 9:31 pm on Dec 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

What's really bugging me is the instant search results and you type and sometimes google doesnt return the search that I typed... I know it has their instant suggestions, but about 1 out of 5 times my search is what I want, but the results page is one of those darn suggestions. I know you can turn that off, however the average joe doesn't know that.

I'm definitely seeing alot of amazon's pages showing up... I'm sure there's a little payola going on between google and amazon.

@brinked .. I hope they have made that air tight... we had a competitor give us a few bad reviews earlier this year... still trying to get yahoo local to remove it. There is so many ways to game them if they just go by any review site. That's actually a very scary thought.


 10:23 pm on Dec 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

How many of the three keywords are actually in the page title? also is there any natural 2-word semantic grouping for those keywords?

ONE of the three keywords is in the actual page title, but not as a word itself - think "widget" but in the page title it says WidgetProducts.com. That's it. And yes, two of the keywords are often grouped together; the third is kind of extraneous, but a lot of people search for the product this way. The extraneous word is the "widget" one that's the partial. It's just plain goofy.


 1:09 am on Dec 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

That's kind of what I was envisioning. Sounds like Google's "title change" algorithm involves some kind of phrase-based indexing keying into the query terms. Is it the same result if you shift the order of the keywords?


 2:12 am on Dec 3, 2010 (gmt 0)


It ain't right though. The string they're substituting is an exceedingly generic one that doesn't answer the specific three word query.


 2:26 am on Dec 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

I agree - this Title Change algorithm is a newborn and it's not even dried off very well. It's pretty much a Siamese twin with the snippet algorithm - but that half seems a bit healthier right now.


 3:06 am on Dec 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

Ive noticed my traffic grow slowly & dropped 3% this week, im not really sure if my site is affected since it is not ecommerce.


 8:32 am on Dec 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

Title Change algorithm is a newborn and it's not even dried off very well

saw that for the first time yesterday on one of my sites - made me look at my title as I knew I hadn't added that keyword ! why in FRIGS name does G just NOT leave alone


 6:14 pm on Dec 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

This week's sales conversions have been phenomenal, yet traffic volume has slowed considerably. It seems quality is up, for which I can't complain....until this morning when the bottom dropped out again. The Google Yo yo continues.


 1:43 am on Dec 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

Backdraft traffic from google is down but as you said conversions were good.

Amazon is not always first on everything. Bing is still steadily increasing still.

The "good" news is I got to see a large vendors traffic stats today. They plunge when we plunge and they have the same bing bounce. So we will hold tight vs make changes.


 2:32 am on Dec 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

Added: very strong evidence today that "who" searches for an item and clicks on your URL is important. Over multiple days it seems if major authorities search and click on a result there's an immediate flood of inquiries on those items.


 2:36 am on Dec 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

scottsonline, that is a very important insight. Given everything Google has recently revealed about the way they use the web's social graph, it lines up perfectly.

Robert Charlton

 9:20 am on Dec 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

"who" searches for an item and clicks on your URL is important

Given everything Google has recently revealed about the way they use the web's social graph, it lines up perfectly.

One manifestation of this....

Google displays Social Sitelinks on searches for social sites
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4238631.htm [webmasterworld.com]


 1:58 pm on Dec 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

I use hitwise and can confirm a huge shift in organic traffic flow with clickstream data. This is the only real way that I can see what's really going on out there. I'm seeing more dissatisfaction with searches in our industry (expressed by upstream short visits / multiple searches). Anyone using compete or comscore [or some other tool] with similar data? Just looking at the SERPs is not a valid measure.


 2:33 pm on Dec 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

I don't know whether this is relevant: it might be, for any of you in the publishing business. But yesterday, when I went to the Technology section of GoOgle Reader, I noticed for the first time that the first two pages of results were GoOgle-related in some way. Certainly a change in search results. Very boring.


 2:36 pm on Dec 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

Dirigo I don't personally have the data but I know in a friends industry where I shared data earlier they are seeing unprecedented shifts. The reason google is making many changes quickly isn't to give us headaches. They see the same data.

I see it manifesting in a continual rise of bing. I see erratic huge shifts in traffic.

Upstream at the supplier level there was an inverse relationship. When reseller traffic dove their traffic was up and vice versa. All related to google tweaks.

Google does have the power to hurt the economy and some of their actions and changes this fall no doubt have has this effect. They know this but how much do they really understand the algo at this point or is this becoming the earlier windows kernels where at some point the process needs to be started from line 1 again?

What people forget is how much etail effects regular commerce. Joe public may use google to check product a for price, availability, specs and then go buy it locally or if they can't find it at all assume it's no longer available. There were thousands of our skus that vanished from the SERPS and were replaced by nonsense. Every company selling these items was gone.

The thought that a few key searches by key players per google can effect traffic....can you say pay per search?


 1:07 am on Dec 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

today my bounce rate is at a ridiculously low 16%. This is the lowest in the 4 years this website has been in business. It is usually at around 20-22% but has never hit the magical teen numbers.

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