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Google Updates and SERP Changes - December 2010
scottsonline




msg:4237241
 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

Returns
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]

 

Spencer




msg:4237244
 6:05 am on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

I can see why Google would make tweaks in favour of the big stores at this time of year, but I'm completely bemused at why they think it necessary to play with the non xmas gift market. I am seeing a huge swing towards directories for local service searches. I can only guess that the two markets are somehow treated the same by Google, maybe an extension to trustrank and maybe this is why we see total devastation at this time of year ... instead of just commercial devastation.

mkassets




msg:4237258
 7:17 am on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hello... Google, are you listening?


oh, yeah ... if this middle finger stuck in your face is an ear, then yes, they are listening

mkassets




msg:4237265
 7:36 am on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)


Everyone is acting as if Amazon, Walmart, BestBuy etc are completely passive in this.


I was talking about the seasonal boost in rankings.

This is true that the large companies are aware and investing in SEO today. I believe they will eventually abuse the "brand power" given to them by Google. At some point they will be tempted to rank (as someone mentioned here) for kidneys and F16 fighters and then we'll see what happens. Hopefully, this kind of abuse will prompt google to change their relevancy algo, but who knows ... the similar abuse of the excessive weight on the domain authority has been going on for a few years now by ehow, associatedcontent and other junk and not much happens.

mkassets




msg:4237271
 8:02 am on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

The shopping SERPS are impacting more this year because exact matches are turned down.


Yes, but it is not a side effect, it is likely that this impact is exactly what Google was trying to achieve.

The exact matches are turned down for the purpose of allowing the giant companies to rank higher :) Less wait on relevancy => more weight on brand power and domain authority and vice versa.

Jez123




msg:4237349
 1:49 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

As predicted, today, not 1 order or enquiry. Couldn't be more opposite than yesterday. Yesterday was high traffic and high orders. Exactly perfectly normal for this time of year. Today, SERPS are exactly the same as far as I can see and nothing is happening at all. Jesus this is frustrating.

networkliquidators




msg:4237377
 2:52 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

I was toying around with an ecommerce platform to sell a specific brand new only and determined the platform did not perform as I liked. My point is I ended the domain over half a year ago and pages are still showing results in Google's index.

?!?

theskunk




msg:4237403
 3:22 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

In regard to amazon - 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. So cleary amazon are on a machine to monopolise online retail in a manner that they have not previously. Incidentally their totally rev share is 7% of the purchase when you are in market place - and that includes transaction costs. I pointe dout that it wasnt a great offer when we sell consumer electronics - many of which are hard pressed to achieve a 10% margin before costs.

scottsonline




msg:4237425
 4:17 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

And amazon will take over those spots even though it's blatant dulicate content. If google referenced the "sold by" they will find the same text for the same products on the sellers site. Is it collusion? No, but it's scary.

Real numbers. Large 57 yr old supplier in our industry with 3200 core resellers. Average daily sales of about 600k of which they guess 60% is touched by online. Someone searches our site, calls up their local guy an orders or just orders online direct but we are all a collective resource. Last cyber Monday they did 2.2m .

They did about 450k on Monday, the worst since 2001. This is where the zero sum fallacy falls flat. I could list 1k of their products where on 10/1 there would be 200 reseller listed where now there are none. Replaced by unrelated garbage on amazon, buy, infomercial pages and expired domains.

It's not a zero sum when they replace 200 product pages from 200 sellers with the wrong product from amazon because they don't like exact matches in 2010.

It IS hurting the economy. This conversation has been repeated three times now, everyone is wondering what happened.

Jez123




msg:4237437
 4:32 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Replaced by unrelated garbage on amazon, buy, infomercial pages and expired domains.


This isn't my experience. My SERPS are strong and there are no crappy sites outranking me or pushing me down (unless for some obscure longtails).

I am getting traffic but only getting normal levels of sales about 1 day per week. Yesterday for instance, was mad. Today for instance could not be more crappy. Yet SERPs remain the same (to me anyway).
I don't see many people experiencing this now, you all seem to have issues with other sites outranking you.

scottsonline




msg:4237454
 5:14 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Jez it's not being outranked. I did a search a few minutes ago for flathead widget. I got a fat head poster site in 1-3. It's yahoo circa 2005. Instead of returning what I looked for, I got 10 listings that had zero relation to the item. Home depot and lowes aren't even on the list after this weekend.

Did google determine that people looking for flathead widgets actually want fat head posters? I think the problem is a distorted trust rank. I still wonder if this is all tied to the hacking last spring when this all started.

They changed something enough that over the weekend even the manufacturers are vanishing. It's a relevancy thing because it's not all items. It again seems tied to geography in the name, or it being common. In the old days exact matches overcame this, not fathead and flathead are the same.

As a billion dollar vendor said this am, each day lost is a day gone. These companies have 30-50 year histories, what happened Monday-tue was way outside the norm. If brand xyz is the only one that sells the item and their sales are way off on precisely the products I saw get wiped from the index...

Everyone just thinks about transactions online but when products vanish from every seller and are replaced with nothing that hurts offline too.

Google can and probably is hurting the economy in ways we are only beginning to understand.

AlyssaS




msg:4237470
 5:42 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

And amazon will take over those spots even though it's blatant dulicate content. If google referenced the "sold by" they will find the same text for the same products on the sellers site. Is it collusion? No, but it's scary.


If there is duplicate content, Google simply returns the site with the most authority - and Amazon's authority probably outstrips the authority of the manufacturer.

I did a search a few minutes ago for flathead widget. I got a fat head poster site in 1-3. It's yahoo circa 2005. Instead of returning what I looked for, I got 10 listings that had zero relation to the item. Home depot and lowes aren't even on the list after this weekend.


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'm not a big Google cheerleader, I wish more people used Bing (especially as Bing traffic converts better in my experience), but we have to deal with the world as it is.

Amazon are clearly an 800 lb gorilla and are determined to dominate as many terms as they can because they know that once they get people onto their site they can funnel them and persuade them to buy other stuff.

Instead of complaining, we really should be examining what Amazon is doing and how they are achieving their success.

scottsonline




msg:4237492
 6:36 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

I don't think people are grasping what is said because I can't post specific examples.

Seo of home depot has nothing to do with it. GOOGLE changed the way matches are handled and tweaked it to the point that flathead and fathead (example) are the same. They removed every product listing for the former in favor of returning the latter. They changed what results were triggered based on the algo. One site didn't jump another, for bunches of products they're ALL gone replaced by a mashup of foreign sites, blogs, etc.

The only way home depot could fix this is to start giving away fat head posters with the flathead widget. You can't Seo for someone typing in precise magical widget Harry and ending up on a Harry potter site because google decided a week ago that Harry potter was what someone wanted, not what they typed in.

The pages are all still there. It's just that google has decided we didn't really want that. Here's the kicker, in my example adwords still spits out the right product. What a coinky dink.

tshirtdeal




msg:4237495
 6:40 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

@Scotts,

"Here's the kicker, in my example adwords still spits out the right product. What a coinky dink."

So do you believe the SERP changes are to increase Adsense revenue?

Joshmc




msg:4237509
 7:03 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

I dont know if this is a dumb question but I am relatively new to the seo game ( little over a year). So this type of change in the rankings is normal during this time of the year (losses in rankings to the big guys)? Does it normally come back in Jan or what?

Rankings are going crazy for me and i am reporting the same types of things you guys are talking about with completly unrelated terms showing up for no reason. I would seem as tshirtdeal said to be more related to trying to make the adwords results look that much better...

tedster




msg:4237522
 7:15 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'd say that these ranking upheavals seem to be more widespread than previous years. During past holiday seasons there would be one big shift right after Halloween and then things would be pretty stable until the New Year.

networkliquidators




msg:4237524
 7:21 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

FOR RANKINGS -

Rankings are incredibly diverse these days. You may be a national seller and have a rank of 5 in the United States but have a rank of 30 in Australia (Even if you are a world-wide seller). Ranks depend on so many factors its best to find articles and posts on the subject. An example, back links from sites outside of your country can influence a rank for a term from that residing country.

The best start is to know where your target audience resides and the best way to reach them. Obviously, if you sell locally, you would optimize locally and can set your location preference in Google's webmaster tools and register with Google Local.

My company sells to prospects all over the world. My site has every language available for a user to interpret information. For me, it's simply a matter of choosing which country I want to focus on that will provide the best return (besides the US).

FOR UNRELATED TERMS
I too am seeing so many junk sites that provide no quality to a visitor whatsoever (just keyword spam sites). What I have noticed for these sites, they are loaded with adsense ads.

I'm thinking, google ran a query in the last few months to SET all websites WHERE adsense is not null = BOOST RANKS

mrguy




msg:4237531
 7:37 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Amazon is getting aggressive at their SEO. Just recently, they introduced API calls limits for affiliates to 2500 per hour and up to 25K per hour based on your performance. However, the way it is structured, you have to be a large earning affiliate to hit that level. 99% of the affiliates will never see that level.

The effect of this is there are many affiliate sites out there using the API to generate entire websites that would in turn out rank Amazon itself. Now, that limit is going to kill those sites because of they are large, when the bots come crawling and get the limit error instead of the page, then they will eventually drop it from the SERPS and guess who moves up a notch for the item?

If I owned the Amazon site, I would own any and every listing I wanted because that site has such authority and it looks like Amazon has figured that out.

Spencer




msg:4237540
 8:02 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

I agree with Tedster, this year does seem to be different, more chaotic I would say. I think that in years to come we will look to this year as the start of Google's start to really milk what they've got ... a monopoly on web search.

Personally I think it's time for Government intervention.

tedster




msg:4237546
 8:13 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Personally I think it's time for Government intervention

That idea scares me much more than Google's current market share.

networkliquidators




msg:4237556
 8:38 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

*** Less government in the private sector please ***

networkliquidators




msg:4237586
 9:55 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

This made me cry a little inside:

I searched for brand + widget that we sell and a authorize only in China site popped up above our company's product listing.

Now they are only authorized to sell in china. However, I am in the USA and we are authorized only to sell in the USA and Canada for this specific product line. These rules are based on your partnership with the manufacturer.

Google location settings are failing. Why would Google even suggest a retail site in China was my best option with so many vendors in the US anyway? My head hurts!

outland88




msg:4237590
 10:00 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Personally I think it's time for Government intervention.


There was a big announcement just this afternoon that Google was going into business with Amazon to open one of the largest bookstores to be found. I guess that pretty well explains a lot of things. Google found a back-door to any government or court decision. The grapevine has it they're going to keep the results as "pure as the driven snow" in your areas though.

What next purchasing all US newspapers via Chinese money. Ah, don't you just love capitalism.

mkassets




msg:4237593
 10:04 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Amazon is getting aggressive at their SEO. Just recently, they introduced API calls limits for affiliates to 2500 per hour and up to 25K per hour based on your performance. However, the way it is structured, you have to be a large earning affiliate to hit that level. 99% of the affiliates will never see that level.


I am an Amazon affiliate and using the API. There are a lot complaints among the affiliates about the new limitations, but the truth is that with the proper implementation (caching, in accordance with the T&C of course) + relevant traffic, there is a zero chance of hitting the new limit. If you make 2500 API calls and haven't made the sales volume they request, you should either have a very inefficient API implementation or very irrelevant traffic.
I don't think this new limit has anything to do with SEO

The effect of this is there are many affiliate sites out there using the API to generate entire websites that would in turn out rank Amazon itself.


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.

I am using the API to list Amazon products and reviews on the content pages wherever appropriate. I do outrank Amazon normally (well, looks like not in the holiday season) but I do NOT outrank them because of anything I receive from them - so why would they obejct providing the API to me? I could easily replace them with any other merchant. But I am using them cause they convert so well. It's a win-win.

Spencer




msg:4237598
 10:08 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'd be interested to know why Tedster. Monopoly is controlled in every other part of business. I feel that they have their eye on news as the next big thing, maybe an instantly updated newspaper, which could crush many industries in one. Things could get very messy if this were to be the case.

tedster




msg:4237605
 10:17 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google is not really a monopoly, as legally defined. But more than that - the government is REALLY BAD at this kind of involvement. Not to take things too far off topic, but the government is supposed to regulate banking. Huge fail on that one.

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].

mkassets




msg:4237620
 10:40 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Why did they use nofollow link to the NYT story, while using dofollow for all other links in the post?

Guess they didn't want to associate the anchor "disturbing story" with the NYT :) lol

tedster




msg:4237623
 10:51 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Well, the NY Times didn't use nofollow, right? If Google allowed their link to pass PR to the Times, then it would roll right through to the dirtbag.

BillyS




msg:4237638
 11:11 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

I wonder if anyone has seen any unintended fallout from the algo change that just rolled out last night.

The article talks about "merchants," I wonder if this was a shopping query onlt tweak. We're definately seeing an increase in traffice from Google (10% increase from two weeks ago). But we normally see an increase from now until May. (And we're not a "merchant.")

scottsonline




msg:4237654
 11:41 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

I heard today that another article is in the works that will cover some of the same topics we have kicked around.

Networkliq, whenever Im logged in google lists my location down to the little hamlet. Yet when I type in mycity plumber of mycity snipe removal service I get google places from Europe! This has gone on for about ten days. The city in Europe is larger than the namesake here, relevancy gone wrong again.

Tedster it's great google took action after an embarrassing article. A dirty business owner knew how to game google for the last two years when all that staff, all their computations and algorithms, all their phd's failed the google customer. I'd be embarrassed too. I guarantee they got a bunch of "spam" reports on this guy and they went right into the google toilet.

The big change for us is that bing and yahoo are converting. Bing continues to grow. Each tweak google makes the more the baseline for bing goes up. Google still dominates but for our b2b it's now consistently under 50% of search traffic from near 70 a year ago.

Facebook drove more conversions today than google.

I'd like to see the government look into the relationship between amazon and google. Maybe we can get the wiki leaks guy to get a few googlers to turn? Ha!

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