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Google Updates and SERP Changes - May 2011
crobb305




msg:4306561
 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]

 

nadavs




msg:4315303
 2:41 pm on May 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm not following the SERPS beyond the first four pages, and for most phrases, my pages aren't there.

When my rankings came back, it was exactly the same as before. Same keywords, same traffic.

nadavs

learnseo81




msg:4315305
 2:43 pm on May 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the info. I believe Google is playing games with some of us.

HuskyPup




msg:4315331
 3:18 pm on May 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

I believe Google is playing games with some of us.


It's called hide and seek in the UK!

One moment I'm there, the next I'm gone...as a very well-known UK sports comentator would often say "Remarkable, quite remarkable!"

MelissaLB




msg:4315724
 4:01 pm on May 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

We're definately seeing some slow down in google traffic. Starting just over the past 3-4 days there's been a steady decline from google referrals each day.

Two things we've noticed is that our Google Shopping results have taken the same hit that organic has (we've noticed one store in particular that is not dominating the shopping results for almost all of our competitive keywords, in some cases taking ALL spots in the first 3 pages). As well, we've noticed that in google.com (while searching from Canada) there are no underlined titles in the serps anymore, only when you scroll over will you see an underline.

We were never caught in panda, as far as we can tell, as we are an e-commerce site, but we are definitely noticing a shift in they type of traffic we are getting, as in it's NOT converting anymore!

HuskyPup




msg:4315737
 5:26 pm on May 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

I believe Google is playing games with some of us.


Yep, I bounced back again overnight, a right old mixture of good and bad results at the moment.

I'm really perplexed as to how I rank #1 and 2 in Google.com yet in Google.co.uk the same authority pages, as in I own the actual world exclusive product, registered trademark and the keyword domain, rank #9 and 16 and the first result is a 4 year old crap money forum!

And I've got loads more examples like that.

nadavs




msg:4315772
 8:13 pm on May 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Rankings are changing again... One second I'm nowhere to be found, the next I'm #9, and 30 seconds later I'm #11.

Hopefully we're moving back towards normal...

nadavs

peego




msg:4315774
 8:22 pm on May 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

I just hope its not a change for the worse again... seems like google traffic has been down slightly over the past few days

MelissaLB




msg:4315776
 8:27 pm on May 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

One thing I'm noticing when I'm looking at my Year over Year traffic trends is I;m noticing the same decline this May as when we experienced 'May Day' during 2010. Slightly lower traffic, significantly lower conversions, mainly USA and Canada traffic declining, UK and other European traffic at normal levels.

I know its a bit far out there but I feel as though our site is experiencing a May Day effect all over again. After so many man hours and so much budget pushed into marketing and seo its disheartening to say the least

walkman




msg:4315779
 8:48 pm on May 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Today's Google traffic is the same as Bing for me, or a new post-Panda low. Content is absolutely not an issue, at least now, Google not taking it in consideration is.

chrism




msg:4315909
 2:26 pm on May 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

.co.uk results have gone strange again for me just as they did around the 5th - 7th may. Exactly the same domain i referred to earlier in the thread has started returning the 'wrong' pages for searches too - ie search 1 returns the page i'd expect to see returned for search 2 and vice versa. Very strange indeed - if it follows the pattern of last time around it'll be back to normal in 48 hours.

superclown2




msg:4315911
 2:28 pm on May 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm in the UK and today the big brands moved further up into my niche. It wouldn't be so bad if they were good sites packed with information but they are not, just single pages with thin content and in most cases they don't even stock the product anyway. There are some excellent specialist sites (including mine of course) that are offering lots of unique information but we are all losing ground heavily to big brand junk.

If this is a permanent situation then I have to conclude that Google is no longer a search engine in the true sense of the word. A 16 year old kid could write an algo that put the biggest companies at the top and the smallest ones at the bottom, regardless of relevance or quality. No wonder their share price is dropping, this company has seriously lost it's way.

learnseo81




msg:4315915
 2:39 pm on May 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm frustrated with google because my 100% unique content site which was on the top for lots of terms have been lost to page 5-6. It happened on May 13 and site never came back.

The results which Google is serving for my niche are completely junk sites with no content at all, unmasked affiliate links and no backlinks at all. Not sure If Google has forgotten about the core of its algorithm which is backlinks. I've ranked many sites before just with strong backlinks and I don't know why extremely poor sites are outranking me. I'm talking about the sites which are just one month old.

Strange things happening. If I search for a term "abc".

One minute google says 51,30,000 results
second minute google says 50,60,000 results
third minute google says 48,80,000 results.
Then once I saw 1,94,000 results only for the said term.

Though by looking at the huge SERP movement in the Top 10 and #80 result suddenly becoming #1, It sound obvious that Google is testing something. I don't know If Google has just gone mad!

Really frustrated but have not lost hope. I'll not touch my sites for 1 month maximum to see If they return. Very disheartening to see all my efforts going to drain for no reason. Even when I'm following everything what Google says, Google is not following its own words.

tedster




msg:4315921
 3:08 pm on May 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

Neither Google nor Bing is a search engine in the original sense - and neither is Wolfram or Blekko, for that matter. Bing now advertises itself as a "decision engine" to underscore that shift, and their integration with Facebook data makes it even clearer. This is a real sea change, going on for years but now becoming quite visible. Traditional search was not all that useful for the public web - it was too scholarly.

So Google now is just "a Google", whatever that may be or becomes at any particular time. But they still retrieve URLs related to a user's query and they do it with a machine algorithm that we can at least theorize about - even if reverse-engineering in any depth is rapidly vanishing from our grasp.

In many ways, Google is reflecting public preferences and trust "prejudice". This means that the incredibly low cost-of-entry is not so incredibly low anymore. But it's still lower than a physical world start-up would be.

I've also been seeing more big brand dominance in the SERPs, but it's not the only thing going on. Entrepreneurs and small start-ups with a valuable offering of some kind are still ranking. I work with one site that that has lost 21 top-3 rankings this month. They all stayed on page one, but were pushed down by the brands that the site is being a middle man for.

And that's the challenge. Big brands have become more SEO savvy, too - at the same time that Google realizes that much of the public prefers to see those sites. This landscape does mean it's a lot harder to compete.

londrum




msg:4315924
 3:16 pm on May 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

maybe there's no real demand for a proper search engine.

its a bit like books. bookshops only stock the good stuff, because that's what 99% of the people want. if people want to search out every little thing then they can go to the library.

all of us webmasters want google to be more like the library -- because even the little guys can get their book in the library. when realistically, as a commercial company, they are always going to end up as the bookshop.

with the way it's going at the moment, it looks like if your website's not a bestseller, then you're going to be stuck with the slim pickings at the library.

learnseo81




msg:4315929
 3:26 pm on May 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

I've no idea about how SERPs are reacting at the moment and what Google is doing. I don't know If highly jumping SERPs indicate that some sort of test is going on or its just my delusion and SERPs are going to stay this way. Fingers crossed.

I've even tried backlinking my stuff a little bit but right now It seems like there is some sort of "roof" for the site and no result can go beyond above that for the moment. I'm not giving up anytime soon.

learnseo81




msg:4315948
 4:36 pm on May 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

@nadavs
@HuskyPup

Any updates? Your rankings are back? No comeback here so far. It has been 9 days today and pages are still bouncing wildly between page 5 and 7.

tedster




msg:4315952
 4:40 pm on May 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

Are you checking rankings manually or with an automated checker? I'm curious because some suspect Google sends bogus data when it identifies an automated rank checker.

learnseo81




msg:4315955
 4:44 pm on May 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm doing it manually.

browsee




msg:4315961
 5:17 pm on May 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

Very disheartening to see all my efforts going to drain for no reason. Even when I'm following everything what Google says, Google is not following its own words.

You are not alone! We are also feeling the pain. I think Google traffic is down for all the Pandalized sites. Just checked HubPages, Suite101 and WrongDiagnosis in Quantcast, traffic is at its worst since Panda.

[edited by: browsee at 5:41 pm (utc) on May 22, 2011]

HuskyPup




msg:4315964
 5:40 pm on May 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

Any updates?


I've pages seemingly bouncing in and out, up and down, nothing consistent however today's traffic seems very, very low so far yet checking logs all queries are perfectly valid.

I am definitely getting higher than usual searches from Bing/Yahoo/Ask/DDG.

I'm puzzled as to why G is delivering so many old forum board posts as the most relevant results? Do they consider half a dozen posts as a socially good sign even though the information is totally incorrect?

sailorjwd




msg:4315967
 6:05 pm on May 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

Did they rerun it yet... did they? Did they? tell me tell me!
My home equity loan is getting as shallow as some of my pages. They better rerun it soon.

Just checked my favorite 18 key phrase canaries and result is average position of 2.5 on bing / yahoo and average of 14 on Google.

And that is all I'm going to say about that.

HuskyPup




msg:4315978
 7:13 pm on May 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

Either they've re-run it and decided to smash my image galleries further apart or nearly everyone has died!

From my logs and statcounter, page views and uniques are not even at 50% of normal...not at all pretty and neither are the SERPs.

superclown2




msg:4315982
 7:25 pm on May 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

I am past retirement age now and working online is just a hobby so whether my sites make money or not doesn't really affect me a great deal. However; it saddens me to see how a medium that used to provide instant, unbiased information has now been transformed into a cynically commercial venture because of the activities of one company that showed such great promise, and generated such an enormous amount of trust when it was first launched.

Traditional search was not all that useful for the public web - it was too scholarly.


Some of us are "scholars" in that we are looking for information, not the rehashed marketing tosh that a big brand wants to give us. Sadly, to find real information we have to visit page 2 at least, at a time when most searchers rarely go past position 5 after which many give up through sheer boredom.

So Google now is just "a Google", whatever that may be or becomes at any particular time.


Yep. I "hoover" my carpet with a Dyson, stick an Elastoplast "bandaid" on my cut finger and "google" on Bing.

And that's the challenge. Big brands have become more SEO savvy, too - at the same time that Google realizes that much of the public prefers to see those sites.

Do they really? Then best do away with the SERPs completely and just show Google ads. The big brands are the ones that can afford to rise to the top in most cases.

The web is a fickle beast, and today's heroes can be tomorrow's losers. There are a lot of online opinion formers who do not like what's going on and I would not be surprised to see Google reduced to a shadow of it's former self in a few years to come, because of this rejection of the goodwill they used to enjoy from the webmaster community.

I was trading online when Altavista was the undisputed king of search. Something better came along and they disappeared almost overnight. Bing may not be the giant killer, but something else will be.

superclown2




msg:4315986
 7:33 pm on May 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

I am definitely getting higher than usual searches from Bing/Yahoo/Ask/DDG.


Yes, my non-Google traffic has been climbing for the last three months to the extent that I am now seriously thinking of optimising for Bing instead of Google. After all, every time I launch a new site I am having to protect it from spiders in case any other sites link to it, which means an almost immediate penalty from Google. This is just Alice in Wonderland thinking that I'm forced in to; I really can't do with nonsense like this. Time to bite the bullet and move on, I think.

falsepositive




msg:4315987
 7:36 pm on May 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

I did several SERP checks for various keywords in unrelated topics. The #1 result for ALL my SERP checks was wikipedia. I tried some commercial keyword checks, and all were big brands. The first page is just all about big brands now. It's really a sea change. The morsels are thrown to smaller sites and that's what we are all competing for these days. Times have changed in a big way.

walkman




msg:4315992
 7:47 pm on May 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

For the past three days (that I've noticed) Googlebot has sought really, really, old deleted pages. And traffic is useless, I rank for almost zero of the terms I ranked even post-Panda.



Meanwhile Google has started....a new blog! [insidesearch.blogspot.com...] Trying to show us the 'loveable geeks just trying to make the world a better place.' 10 years too late Google, but shows that they are feeling some heat.

superclown2




msg:4316022
 8:56 pm on May 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

Meanwhile Google has started....a new blog! [insidesearch.blogspot.com...] Trying to show us the 'loveable geeks just trying to make the world a better place.' 10 years too late Google, but shows that they are feeling some heat.


Propaganda worked quite well back in the days of steam radio. It's a waste of time in the Internet age, we all have access to much more information now.

superclown2




msg:4316023
 9:06 pm on May 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

I did several SERP checks for various keywords in unrelated topics. The #1 result for ALL my SERP checks was wikipedia. I tried some commercial keyword checks, and all were big brands. The first page is just all about big brands now. It's really a sea change. The morsels are thrown to smaller sites and that's what we are all competing for these days. Times have changed in a big way.


I'm seeing the same thing. I wouldn't mind if the results are good quality ones, competition is a good thing, but the majority of top placings seem to be there because the sites are big brands, period. Any attempt to find the best quality sites seems to have been abandoned.

Are they really such lemmings at the Plex?

I belong to a society for people with high IQs; this is not something to brag about because the majority of us accept the fact that the higher the IQ the lower the common sense. Google is of course staffed with people with IQs the size of Jupiter.

johnhh




msg:4316033
 9:29 pm on May 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

Meanwhile Google has started....a new blog! [insidesearch.blogspot.com...]


I saw that - I just laughed - obvious PR

superclown2 They can't be that clever as I searched for "blue widget" and the same article on different article sites came up twice on the first page, word for word , even the nice embedded affiliate links were the same.

walkman




msg:4316034
 9:30 pm on May 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

"As we're coming up on the 90 day mark, anyone else impacted by Panda 1.0 see this level of crawling? "

Level of crawling is about the same for me (always very high) but I am seeing long ago deleted pages being asked for. Something is up but I no longer expect anything good from Google.

The #1 result for ALL my SERP checks was wikipedia. I tried some commercial keyword checks, and all were big brands. The first page is just all about big brands now. It's really a sea change. The morsels are thrown to smaller sites and that's what we are all competing for these days. Times have changed in a big way.
Noticed this too and the sad part is that even long tail is being given to them now. At least Google should stop pretending. Sending all the traffic to 20-100 sites would save them a lot of money too in engineering. What's the point of indexing stuff not to serve it? So just become the Yahoo of 1990's.
Robert Charlton




msg:4316052
 10:31 pm on May 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing big brands moving into the top spots on some niches where they hadn't ranked before... but the results don't yet seem stable. I'd always (ie, for the last 8 or 9 years) felt that some niches were vulnerable to major brand competition if the major brands intelligently targeted them. In some cases, that now appears to be happening.

The targeting, though, is more than just SEO... the brands are actually paying attention to those niche areas. Sort of like specialized food shops being replaced by expanded deli counters in some savvy supermarkets, or chains created to cover those niches.

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