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Google Updates and SERP Changes - May 2011
crobb305

WebmasterWorld Senior Member crobb305 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4306638 posted 5:17 pm on May 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

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

I am still seeing VERY wild fluctuations in my WMT data. Despite a 70% traffic recovery, I am still seeing pages drop 300 to 400 positions, then rise. In the past 72 hours, another page just fell about 400. Clearly there is significant instability right now. There is no guarantee that my ranking improvement will stick, although the trend continues upward. This continuous cycle of pages drop 400 then rise 400 is ridiculous.

[edited by: tedster at 8:06 pm (utc) on May 1, 2011]

 

Jessica97

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4306638 posted 3:06 am on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Panda has introduced some fundamental flaws that continue on within search. If I search for information, one moment I could get totally irrelevant results, and have to go to another search engine to find what I need and then hours later, the results for the same search are actually looking better. Is this part of the everflux that is happening? And maybe one reason why some are not finding fault with certain searches whereas others are reporting results that would make even a fledgling search engine look beyond amateurish? The problem that I saw and continue to see with the introduction of Panda is that search results for a particular term may vary widely from one moment to the next. In the new post Panda world the relevancy factor just gets blown so often now with Google's search results. But what I can't figure out is how their algorithm was released with such a high failure rate that even a 6th grader could pick up that there are some major ongoing problems. After 3 months it's hard to imagine that things are not looking much better in search. And yes, a 6th grader I know today couldn't find anything near what they were looking for when searching for info related to a popular sports event. Hours later, I do find appropriate results, but during the day today, nothing close to the proper information was being displayed. This is not an isolated incident, but unless one keeps a printout of the terms, time and date of the search, it is hard to track. Wondering if it could be useful to keep a log of these type of searches. This is not about whether Google is blocking non quality and promoting quality sites. Or whether big brands deserve to be on top or not. Or what the corporate PR "spin" machine says about Panda. This is just looking at the quality or lack thereof of the relevancy of information returned and then noting how what one gets can fluctuate from useful to not even close to the mark. If all the webmasters are taken out of the equation and we are not debating whether certain sites should or should not have triggered the Panda, what we end up with is that search to succeed long term needs to deliver at least a bare minimum of relevant results. That is where I am seeing Google miss the mark with Panda. If it's not ready for Prime Time, then go back and fix it until it is ready for release. In construction we have a saying that if the foundation and bones of a home are poor and in so much disrepair sometimes it is best to start over with a clean slate. Maybe that's what needs to happen with Panda. I'm just writing in frustration after spending a day where I wasn't working on websites, or doing any kind of promotion. Today all I wanted was relevant information and during the afternoon, that was not what I got using Google.

Bewenched

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4306638 posted 1:06 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

@Jessica I feel your pain and I find the same issues too. Even searching for some programming information is popping up with sites that totally wrong.... even when I search in quotes for a very specific "phrase" some of the top sites that come up don't even have that phrase in it even though I put quotes around it when I search.

If I put quotes around my search phrase... I expect it to give me results that are absolutely specific to that exact phrase... not popping up with sites that are close to that phrase.

Sadly I'm finding most of my personal search information on other engines.

superclown2

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4306638 posted 2:41 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

I never believed I would be saying this, but Google is no longer a serious search engine. I used to trust their results before Panda and Ok there were a few spammy sites in there - and I mean a few - but now it's necessary to plough through a whole list of 'brand' sites all carrying the same generic non-information before finding the quality sites with real content that are buried underneath this junk. I use Google now just for looking at the positions of my own sites but for searching I've got into the habit of using Bing. The results are unbiased, uncluttered and I find very little spam (and I like their interface. Cool!).

It's interesting to note that I'm getting good business from sites at the bottom of the first page or even on page two. Pre-panda anything under 6th was pretty well useless but it looks as though a lot of other people are having to search further that they used to, to find what they are looking for.

The problem is that big egos are at stake here. Google, in my opinion, has made the biggest mistake of it's corporate life but to admit this and go back will not only take a lot of courage but it could cost the careers of those responsible.

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4306638 posted 2:50 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

My problem with Bing is that their index is SERIOUSLY smaller than Google's - and if a page isn't even indexed then you'll never find it. For example, [site:microsoft.com] shows 42 million URLs in Google but not even 1/2 million in Bing.

I agree that there are some very real implementation problems with Panda right now, but I think the only way to a fix is forward, not reverse. They did say that expanding their algo to include the quality factor was a year-long focus for them.

learnseo81



 
Msg#: 4306638 posted 4:15 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Very big mistake from Google indeed. Matt cuts says that feedback has been overwhelming and he is a clear liar. Google ego will scupper them and Panda has been a big failure.

When Scrapper sites are ranking above the original (even when they are giving a link back to the original), google should revert the panda because It is of no use. Oh well, google makes big money from MFA sites so obviously they will rank higher. Google is doing this deliberately for their own profit!

- New sites with scrapped content are ranking higher.

- When Google can't determine the original content owner in most cases, then should not atleast apply penalties to anyone because It won't make sense.

- Lots of legitimate sites have been hit badly for no reason. This update is extremely messy with lots and lots of false positives!

Google is doing a BIG partiality!

ckissi

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4306638 posted 4:22 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

I agree with superclown2. Google have to fire these "genius engineers" who made this crap available for public.
Pre Panda it took about 20 seconds for me to find some very specific information pages. Now I have to browse to page 10 (and up) to find what I'm looking for.

So if this is good in google eyes, then it looks like google (notice I wrote it with small "G" ;) ) is probably losing millions of neurons over time and will end up like a new born child.

Somebody should explain them what "improvement" word means.

walkman



 
Msg#: 4306638 posted 4:31 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

I agree that there are some very real implementation problems with Panda right now, but I think the only way to a fix is forward, not reverse. They did say that expanding their algo to include the quality factor was a year-long focus for them.

Good thing they went full throttle, ruin 50%-70% of traffic and income, and din't say a meaningful word for months :). Maybe they'll fix it somewhat when those hurt go out of business.

ckissi

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4306638 posted 4:45 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

I agree that there are some very real implementation problems with Panda right now, but I think the only way to a fix is forward, not reverse. They did say that expanding their algo to include the quality factor was a year-long focus for them.


Absolutely disagree. I cannot see any "quality factor" implemented. Scraped content outranks original even it links back. It says all.
How can anybody say the algo is good if something like that can happen.
Amateur mistake. It's definitely wrong. No doubt.

Overall I see much more crap then ever before, so it was not improvement at all. I think they should make step back and start from scratch with new stuff and ask masses if they're satisfied with results they see.

And of course make deep deep analysis of SERP especially of results on first page.

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4306638 posted 4:45 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Let's not take this thread into editorial criticisms. It's here to track the actual changes in the SERPs. I'm as guilty as anyone on that count, but let's get it back on track now - thanks.

falsepositive



 
Msg#: 4306638 posted 4:57 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

My problem with Bing is that their index is SERIOUSLY smaller than Google's - and if a page isn't even indexed then you'll never find it. For example, [site:microsoft.com] shows 42 million URLs in Google but not even 1/2 million in Bing.


This is Bing's (or any other search engine's) opportunity to steal market share. I just wish these other companies could get their act together and capitalize on the discontent. G keeps saying that users are happier than before. I'm not sure how true that is. As a user, I was hardcore G until recently. Results are not as consistent anymore. My family is turning to other search engines -- maybe not exclusively, but to supplement G searches. Maybe the tide will turn, but who knows how and when.

indyank

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4306638 posted 5:07 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

As for SERP changes, I don't see any movement at all for the keywords and niche I track.

For one or two pages that have recovered and seem to be in a higher ranking position, google is clearly throttling traffic as it is not the same as before.

I do get some hits to some old pages raising suspicion that something is churning but that is all about it and I am not even sure why I get hits to those pages.

walkman



 
Msg#: 4306638 posted 6:49 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

G traffic today is higher than yesterday especially in relation to Bing and MSN. Makes no real difference in $$ but. Same ol few money term pages ranking, many are linked from the homepage. Something there?

Bing can't spend more money until they figure out how to properly sell ads, they are already losing hundreds of million a year. If they had 30% of the ad profit they'd be in heaven, but they don't. And Bing has enough pages for 90% of people so cost /benefit for now favors what Bing is doing.

superclown2

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4306638 posted 6:50 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

My problem with Bing is that their index is SERIOUSLY smaller than Google's - and if a page isn't even indexed then you'll never find it. For example, [site:microsoft.com] shows 42 million URLs in Google but not even 1/2 million in Bing.


Since Google is only interested in pages from the big brands, and most people don't search past the first page, this isn't really important IMO. We want the most relevant sites for our search term on the first page, not several thousands to sort through ourselves with poor quality results at the top. On balance, I will stick to Bing and encourage everyone else I know to do so too.

When I put in a search term it is because I want information about that search term. Ideally, sites that gives me multiple pages exploring the different facets of that search term. Instead G gives me mainly big companies who just happen to have a page 'about' that search term; I say 'about' because the vast majority that I see have nothing more than the same basic info that I can get from hundreds or even thousands of other sites.

Google are extremely lucky that 'googling' is now a generic term and they have a virtual monopoly on search here in Europe but this situation cannot last for ever. If I was a Google shareholder I would now be very worried indeed about a company that was seriously compromising an extremely vulnerable product.

londrum

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4306638 posted 7:47 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

google's index might be getting bigger and bigger, but they're using a smaller and smaller bit of it.

how many people go past the second page? not many. so it doesnt matter if they have another 100 coming after. if bing only has 50, so what? who cares.

how many sites get onto those first two pages? it's getting less and less with every passing month. one site can fill up four of five places now, and some searches only have 8 or 9 listings per page, compared to the standard 10.

if you add up the number of sites that google actually puts in front of its users on the first 2 pages, i would guess that it's a lot lower than Bings.

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4306638 posted 7:56 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

You folks are talking as if there's only one query that ever brings in traffic.

HuskyPup



 
Msg#: 4306638 posted 7:56 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

A few days ago I tweaked a few pages with a very simple inkling I'd had to see what happened and several of those pages are back onto the first page today.

How much that has to do with me and a Google shuffle I have no idea however I'm going to try this on another site section and see what happens.

What is important when checking ranking positions though is to keep the browser cache clear since Google will start to give you the answers you want, not what they're really showing everyone else.

Naughty, naughty Goofle.

superclown2

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4306638 posted 8:20 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)


You folks are talking as if there's only one query that ever brings in traffic.


For many products yes, that's almost correct. One of the products I deal with has two search terms, one three-word and one four-word, that between them bring in well over 50% of the traffic for this important sector. Both dominated now by big brands with thin pages, naturally. Pre-panda 80% of these sites were nowhere, and deservedly so, because they offer almost no value whatsoever to the searcher. Bing on the other hand offers sites with lots of in-depth info on the first page for both of these terms.

Perhaps the bods at Google can read the writing on the wall, but to repeat another hackneyed phrase "there are none so blind as those who will not see".

Panda has been a disaster for thousands of web site owners but it will bite Google too if they continue to follow their mantra, rather than logic.

Whether or not a search engine is effective boils down to a simple formula: does a search produce the most informative sites for the search terms which are entered, or not? The answer for Panda in too many cases is no, it does not, because of the strong "brands" bias. Therefore Google is no longer an effective search engine: QED.

[edited by: superclown2 at 8:32 pm (utc) on May 25, 2011]

internetheaven

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4306638 posted 8:32 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

I agree with superclown2. Google have to fire these "genius engineers" who made this crap available for public.
Pre Panda it took about 20 seconds for me to find some very specific information pages. Now I have to browse to page 10 (and up) to find what I'm looking for.


... ummm ... no you don't HAVE to crawl through to page 10. You can use a different search engine. The ONLY reason Google risks this stuff is because people put up with it and do Google's work for them. Google could take their search engine offline for an entire day and 99% of users would not know what to do ... "how do we find stuff then?"

That's the hold Google have. It gives them the power to be awful and still make billions. Apple should make their own trendy search engine that costs $299 a year to use and has loads of flaws ... that's the only competitor Google could have.

walkman



 
Msg#: 4306638 posted 9:02 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Matt Cutts: [youtube.com...]

Brief summary:

Users need to send Google signals about your content, not sure how much signals and content each weigh but social could mean life or death for some sites. If you improve, you'll move up the next time. But you need enough users /visitors for that first.

Panda has been re-run.

koan

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4306638 posted 9:13 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

so it doesnt matter if they have another 100 coming after. if bing only has 50, so what? who cares.


It's not about having hundreds of pages of results for popular queries, it's about having an index big enough to get decent results for all possible searches, even the least popular.

nickreynolds

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4306638 posted 9:20 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

What is important when checking ranking positions though is to keep the browser cache clear since Google will start to give you the answers you want, not what they're really showing everyone else.

Naughty, naughty Goofle.


That so annoys me! (By the way is Goofle a deliberate typo? - I like it)

Glad you're seeing some improvement though HP - any tips available on what you did?

[edited by: nickreynolds at 9:21 pm (utc) on May 25, 2011]

ErnestHemingway



 
Msg#: 4306638 posted 9:20 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

If anyone thinks that Google's arrogant Phd guys will roll out to old version (pre-panda) then you are day dreaming.

We all know Panda Update was a failure in large, I think they were too confident of our beloved Panda guy that they didn't do sandbox tests before running it live.

Now that it is live, you have to live with it and they are probably tweaking it all the time. There is not much you can do.

Back to the topic, current search results are bouncing all over morning results for my verticals are something and noon are different and night are a mess.

Another funny part is that my site which was ranking #1 for pretty popular term being authority in that niche was ranking 30th then 8th and now I am ranking 2nd.

I didn't lift my finger, didn't listen to Amit or anyone from Google. I just don't buy the idea that this update of Google was great. It was a failure and I will not touch any of my sites and hopefully I will get all of my positions back 1 by 1.

I am so happy that I got 2nd position after 2 weeks of seeing spam for top spot. Fingers crossed that it will maintain the position.

Thanks

johnhh

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4306638 posted 9:47 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Had a better Monday - traffic fell off again on Tuesday
Users need to send Google signals about your content
interesting he said users
If you improve, you'll move up the next time.
would indicate a long wait
But you need enough users /visitors for that first.
So it's catch22 ! if you are buried by Panda you won't get the users and visitors needed to lift you out of Panda- or have they thought of that ...

Had a telephone call from Google adsense team about a UK Google Adsense optimisation conference - gave her an earful which she, to her credit, patiently listened to. Have a feeling the Google conference may get hijacked by Panda issues.

<edit>spelling as usual</edit>

walkman



 
Msg#: 4306638 posted 9:55 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Johnn...these are my words I think, not sure exactly what he said...see the video.

johnhh

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4306638 posted 10:17 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Walkman : Ok I'll check

In a bit of a bad mood - had to lay-off another employee - who happens to be a best friend

balibones



 
Msg#: 4306638 posted 11:10 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Johnhh also see this thread: [webmasterworld.com...] . I'm not sure where I should be posting, here or there.

sailorjwd

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4306638 posted 11:22 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

My theory on search result variability:

I believe G is shuffling the search result on purpose to some degree. How else would they get feed back for search users? It may be similar to adwords where even the worst ad gets played occasionally just to see if it has better response now. Your site would never recover if left in position 50 for ever no matter how many great changes you made to it.

balibones



 
Msg#: 4306638 posted 11:30 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Sailorjwd, possibly, but they could get data from visitors to your site who arrive via other channels, including Bing, Direct, Bookmarks, Email and social media. Also, most sites still have their brand traffic on Google.

Google has access to data from so many sources it's mind-boggling. How many users surf the web constantly logged into their Google accounts? Doesn't Google buy data from Firefox? Didn't they buy Feedburner? Don't they have a pretty good idea of the popular newsletters and emailed links via Gmail? The traffic wouldn't necessarily have to come from Google.

Swanson

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4306638 posted 11:31 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Something has changed/is changing over the past 24 hours.

As I had reported previously my branded, quality sites had lost traffic after Panda and my datafeed (non-unique) sites had gained.

I am seeing a recovery in my branded sites back to almost pre-panda levels. My datafeed sites are reverting to the traffic levels pre-panda.

Anyone seeing changes that are reverting to pre-panda levels?

zeus

WebmasterWorld Senior Member zeus us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4306638 posted 11:43 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

ok new record a 50% loss in traffic that has never happen before in any update since 2002, it slowly started in late april so it must be the Panda update, but I must say this time that the update has not made any improvement on the google search, but I think a lot of people will agree, also when you see sites with a lot of images, google has totally baned those sites, be cause as we say a image says more then words dont count on google only text counts and there are limits what you can add to a image.

Also image search has had a update, but I dont comment on that anymore since they have dropped the split screen view of image and org. site.

Its a shame that google only focus on text in panda update and banners, they must know if some offer photos it costs a lot of bandwidth so those site automatically have more banners as a text focused site.

theskunk

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4306638 posted 8:27 am on May 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think that google has also changed on some very basic levels. I have my internal engineers build search functions for my sites. Usually they start off bad and we make them better. Sometimes they never end up great. It depends on the content being search and the way people think about searching. Ie how the google software deals with what you type in the little box. The results are NOT all about complex algo's, penalties, relevance, speed and quality. It can be more basic stuff.

For years when i searched "MyMyMedia" google wld return my site MyMyMedia.com... guess what, now they dont. To get my site i need to now search the term "MyMy Media" .. now why is that?

If I was developing Google I would consider this a fundamental flaw.

And what of brand ownership. I have done a number of sites for Blu Ray and Sony are #*$! hot on protecting their trademarks. SO why when I search for for both "Blu-Ray" and "BluRay" do i get blu-ray.com (non sony site) with blu-raydisc.com (Sony brand site) in 12th place or something.

My guess is either, Sony and google had a fall out over trademarks and google refused to delist blu-ray infringeing websites... OR

The quality factor totally outweighs the brand ownership factor. Or google doesnt recognise blu-ray as a brand. So how do they detemine brand ownership?

Anyway in my opinion google has changed forwever you can "Play It" I dont think you can understand it, certainly you wont beat it. For now the power of the linking is the strongest factor to elevate your position.. and perhaps some trust.

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