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Google Updates and SERP Changes - July 2011

 11:14 pm on Jun 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

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

Here's what I am more interested in than anything...

How are all the cosmetic changes Google is making going to affect the traffic driven from Google search?

It definitely seems like Google is de-emphasizing the straight up search aspect of itself more and more and more. They're going out of their way to direct people AWAY from search with every cosmetic change they make.

That has to be having an impact on people who get a lot of traffic from search... I don't know I don't get any search traffic anymore since Panda took it all away.

If you do still get Google search traffic, how is this impacting you?

[edited by: tedster at 3:32 am (utc) on Jul 2, 2011]



 4:25 pm on Jul 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Haha, spot on!


 10:08 am on Jul 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

I also see a lot of Big sites where they maybe have 1-2 pages about the search topic, outrank sites which is just about the users search topic.


 12:01 pm on Jul 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

Shatner I think this is what you are talking about related to the format. Check out this thread.


 3:23 pm on Jul 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

@zeus that's exactly what I'm finding. It's like the specialty shop (site) doesn't really count for much because it's so much smaller and probably updates less than the giant site with pro staff and 2000 pages of content. It's like pick a laptop niche. Well Google say Engadget covers laptops, so therefore they are more deserving to dominate the top rankings. If there is a giant site that is in the same genre, I'm finding results that simply give them free reign over any searches in that genre. It seem to no matter how specific I make my terms, I get the overall best genre site, not the best niche site.


 6:37 pm on Jul 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

@MrSavage I've been seeing what you're describing getting noticeably worse in the last couple of weeks.

It's gotten to the point that I can no longer find my pages in the SERPS even when I type the exact, long, title in with quotes.

I don't know if it's just because I'm Pandalized or if everyone is experiencing it... but I can no longer find that page and instead I get a bunch of garbage results from spammers.

I thought they'd fixed that problem with the last Panda run but now its seems to have regressed and gotten far, far worse.


 9:02 pm on Jul 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

The last update was on June 16th....the next update will probably happen sometime this week.


 12:02 am on Jul 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

even when I type the exact, long, title in with quotes

That's been happening off and on for quite a while. I believe it has to do with the way Google stores web page content. It's not like searching over a large Word document, for example, and finding text matches.

The process starts with "phrase-based indexing" which identifies groups of words that have a semantic meaning AS A GROUP (2-grams, 3-grams, n-grams). It is the presence or absence of n-grams that is the first line of "indexing" - and it takes a lot less space than even compressed versions of the complete text.

This is not the only storage structure in play, but it is the "first line", and it makes retrieving long character strong matches more challenging than we intuitively expect. This is especially true for strings of text that don't contain strong n-grams.


 4:34 am on Jul 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

I've lost count now, of the number of times i've tried to find some useful info on google and it's thrown up completely unrelated content.

Their search is broken for all but brands... it's screwed up...


 4:43 am on Jul 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

I've been wondering but haven't tested it yet, if titles that include, say, a common 3-gram have a better chance of ranking.


 6:22 am on Jul 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

@tedster, what is a "common 3-gram", and are you wondering in regards to pandalized sites or normal sites?


 8:44 am on Jul 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

@tedster, what is a "common 3-gram", and are you wondering in regards to pandalized sites or normal sites?

...and, do you think n-grams include common/stop words or are these removed first?



 11:48 am on Jul 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

A common 3-gram would be some 3-word phrase that is semantically linked: "White House sources" or "4g wireless device". n-grams can include what we think of as a stop word if that word is adding meaning. "King of the hill" is almost definitely a 4-gram, for instance.

I know that few people have an appetite for patents and theory, but I feel the Phrase-based indexing patents [webmasterworld.com] are well worth the effort it takes to wade through.

[edited by: tedster at 1:04 pm (utc) on Jul 11, 2011]


 12:05 pm on Jul 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks Tedster.

Yes, read that one. And, ever since have been sold on the idea that Google is using n-grams and that it's key to Panda.

If we go back to Amit and Matt's sides-of-the-line comment, it seems apparent that n-grams patterns/ matching could help Panda discern:-

- Duplicate content (in terms of scope/ meaning, that isn't neccessarily a fascimile)

- 'Waffle' (shallow content) that, eventhough potentially high on word count, is low on specifics/ relevant phrases compared with corpus.

- Over-optimised content that has an unnatural incidence of related money terms or indeed the same term repeated over again.

Wasn't clear whether they would include commons/stops or not, so thanks for clarifying.

Just doing the analysis on my own pages versus competitors.




 1:07 pm on Jul 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

Good thinking, suggy. There's no doubt in my mind either that phrase-based indexing is important for Panda. It's been important for everything related to keywords for at least five years.

Also, Anna Lynn Patterson, whose name is on the six patents, left Google to start Cuill, but after Cuill went under they welcomed her back. I'd say they value her work!


 3:03 pm on Jul 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

OK, so another thought: what about punctuation?

One assumes fullstops/periods act as terminators? I mean, would it make any sense for an n-gram to span sentences? Surely senseless in a three-gram to take two words from one sentence and one from the next? Ditto paragraphs? How about commas?

Hmmm, not as simple as it first seems?!


 11:34 pm on Jul 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

unbelievable, a site which is only of links and maybe 200 words on the frontpage and when you then go deeper on the page its only links to #*$! sites, so nothing related to the search topic, well haliluja Panda.


 3:30 am on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

left Google to start Cuill, but after Cuill went under they welcomed her back.

A famous Godfather quote comes to mind ;)


 3:03 pm on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hmm... I've just noticed a significant drop in WMT-reported backlinks for one of my sites.

Until recently (possibly as recent as yesterday), WMT was reporting over 200k backlinks for this site. (Digging down further showed significantly fewer links than reported on the overview page, so this clean up may just be WMT getting its act together a bit.[1]) WMT is now reporting about 13K backlinks.

The top linking domain dropped from over 100k links to a mere 9K. That site is something of a searchable directory for the field and the linking pages appear to be their version of SERPs and category pages that have been indexed by Google.

The next few top linking domains were very obviously spammy, MFA sites. Those are gone from the list even though they still link to our site. They're still in the index ("site:example.com"), but they don't appear within the first 5 pages for "example.com". Probably a penalty.

[1] Given the huge difference between the number the overview page reports for a linking domain and the numbers shown when you check out that domain, is it even worth paying attention to backlinks reported by WMT?



 11:53 am on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Something is definitely happening: 164 keywords of the 200 I am monitoring shot up 50 to 150 places in Google today. My rankings are about the way they were pre-Panda, let's hope they stay that way...


 11:56 am on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

it's the other way around here. all the keywords that i monitor dropped today. this after yesterday, when i got a little traffic back.


 2:13 pm on Jul 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

One of my keywords just got a serious bump....up 12 places. Anyone else getting a bump?


 4:39 pm on Jul 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Seeing movement here in the UK... looking good too :-)


 5:29 pm on Jul 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

We've certainly had more traffic over the last two days, been here before though.


 6:55 pm on Jul 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

I wrote:
Hmm... I've just noticed a significant drop in WMT-reported backlinks for one of my sites.

Pff... Scratch that. Numbers are back to what they were before.



 7:40 pm on Jul 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Any views on whether there has been a panda update going on this week?
Our pandalised UK ecommerce site has been showing signs of something since 8th July. We lost half our traffic in April, no further reduction in June but conversion rates fell, and since 8th July conversions have plummeted but again no drop in traffic.

It's like we are getting lower quality traffic which won't produce sales. Over the years the site has converted in line with industry standards but with each panda update it gets worse, but no further reduction in quantity of traffic.

Either the UK economy went rapidly into decline last Friday or google is up to something.


 7:42 pm on Jul 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

The last panda update, 2.2, was on June 16th. It was a thursday also. My best guess, and mind you Im just guessing, but theyre doing panda 2.3 right about now. Lets hope so :D


 6:39 am on Jul 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

Claaarky our sites saw massive drops the weekend before, this week has seen a slight return to normality. We have had LOTS of foreign(junk, usually starts with traffic from India) traffic, this is a sign that Google is up to something in our experience! I'm afraid our experience also shows that any long term stability on Google is gone & has been since May Day. We can can go three months with stability then BAM! The process starts again. Our ecommerce site has always come back though. Things aren't helped by the UK economy that is for sure but we know when Google is up to something, everyone doesn't run out of on the same days! Just remember that Google publically says there will be over 500 updates this year, anyone who thinks a slight tweak that they have done has resulted in a return of sales/traffic I could almost guarantee if you had sat tight the same would have happened.


 7:08 am on Jul 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google SERPS have gone real crazy right now.I am seeing the product manufacturer way down on page 2 for a very popular product.

goodness me, the way they are handling this now, i am not sure where it is going to settle down.


 2:45 pm on Jul 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

Back to junk for us today.


 2:49 pm on Jul 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

it really is all over the place now, longtail nightmare !


 4:27 pm on Jul 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

We have a few aged and trusted hyper-local-city-guides that are simply getting no "local" traffic from Google after the 3-4th of the month.

After looking deeper into it, I am spotting 4-8 word longtail queries now spawning the 7-pack in serps. The same 4 word queries that used to bring up our guides, now bring up the 7-pack, then the guide.

Think of it as "how to change my porch lightbulb" is now bringing up a 7-pack of local handyman results, THEN the first organic. (Purely an example, not an exact)

Must be Goog's way of helping to feed the local economy, creating jobs, and putting people back to work! (it actually makes sense... did I just say that?)

Unfortunately, If I look for website services cityname, or any other phrase that would spawn the 7-pack of local design business, its still not triggered.

- website services cityname = organic results, with historical results from personalized search (not even related to the query)

- business services cityname = 7-pack.

There are some serious SERP changes going on right now...

This 298 message thread spans 10 pages: < < 298 ( 1 2 [3] 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 > >
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