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Google Updates and SERP Changes - Dec 2011

 10:14 am on Nov 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

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

I've noticed a website that got pandalized in July and came back right after the last 3.1 update to prior (if not better) positions. No changes made on site, they only acquired a new domain and 301 the pandalized one to it.

Have you ever noticed something similar happening? Souds like a really short term solution but it's at least something new.

[edited by: tedster at 5:49 pm (utc) on Dec 1, 2011]



 4:37 pm on Dec 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

Currently the results are a mess, its jumping all over, landing pages are ranking better than 10 years old authority sites.

Yep, my widget sector in G.co.uk is atrocious, crap keyword MFAs ripping and spinning my text rule the roost. One of my .co.uk company sites is down 90%, from top of the first page for all its products to oblivion! WTF is going on now?


 4:42 pm on Dec 23, 2011 (gmt 0)


I have got no idea, I hope it is going to settle down. Just cannot believe the current top site. It is ranking for my brand keyword and its a parked/landing page.

Each time I search for our website brand name I see different results so its pretty much all over.

I am not in Google index for my brand name anymore. The homepage has disappeared just shocked.


 4:58 pm on Dec 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

It is ranking for my brand keyword and its a parked/landing page.

That's very interesting, considering this report on November from Google's official Inside Search blog:

New "parked domain" classifier: This is a new algorithm for automatically detecting parked domains. Parked domains are placeholder sites that are seldom useful and often filled with ads. They typically don't have valuable content for our users, so in most cases we prefer not to show them.


Maybe it's a further attempt to fine-tune the classifier and you're seeing the "float to the top and then vanish" style of machine learning that others have observed at times.


 5:33 pm on Dec 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

Looks so to me. Will have to check Monday. I didn't think Google will ruin Christmas like this.


 6:25 pm on Dec 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

Well they ruined my Christmas... Actually they ruined my December, back on the 8th when they decided for all of my useful keywords they'd demote me from near the top of the first page to page 3, 4 or 5. I had been working myself half to death on my website for the entire year and was looking forward to some good December sales and they completely destroyed it. My niche is now covered with shopping sites that offer the same products. In my niche people really need some good solid information about the products before they buy and that is something these shopping websites simply do not provide. I also spend several hours replying to comments, forum threads and emails and I am always, always thanked for the advice I give. They come to me for advice because they consider me an expert in this field. I just hope this all settles down soon and Google realises that they are doing their users a huge disservice by randomly burying high-quality websites for no discernible reason.


 12:51 am on Dec 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

If something shifted on the 19th , it could only have been minor :

@IncrediBILL 23 Dec 11 @rustybrick pretty sure @mattcutts recently posted there would be no updates until after the new year

Matt Cutts @mattcutts @IncrediBILL correct. No large Panda updates on the horizon through the end of the year.


.... and Matt Cutts replies yes that's right, no *large* updates.

Hmmm ... does that mean small or none? Definitely not large ..... i think folks would have posted here if it had been small ... and some did above.


 1:39 am on Dec 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

Whitey - it's not a Panda update. That's actually helpful because it means it's something else! All year G has been slipping other updates in at the same time as Panda and people have been befuddled. At least this time you have clarity.

From other forums, some people are reporting sites are responding to new links, which means the problem must have been link based. So check out your backlinks, are they still indexed, are they still there? (I've been unaffected, so am just throwing out suggestions here).

P.S. I'm pretty sure the previous update (Dec 13th) was to do with duplicate content because my competitor, dropped to page 2 for the first time in months (they had nabbed him in the original duplicate algo back in Feb, but then loosened the criteria and let him back in - part of his content is duplicate, I now need to sit down and work out percentages so I know what amount seems to trigger the drop)


 2:25 am on Dec 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

There have been nine Panda updates that Google authenticated this year - and probably 400 to 600 other search changes, some very minor and others pretty significant. Seems to me like a lot of non-Panda work has been going toward changes in how link power is calculated. Other work goes into changes in how Suggestions work and their semantic engine altogether.

I'm looking forward to the first week of January when their Inside Search Blog summarizes the major changes for December like they did for the month of November [insidesearch.blogspot.com].


 2:54 am on Dec 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks for that link tedster! I'm very interested to see if the original content filter ever starts working. I have a competing site who shadows my content and tries to cover their tracks as he goes. He's recently gone so far as copying the first four "key" words of my title then just rearranged the rest, using the same words. Now that's a lazy, unscrupulous webmaster.


 8:55 am on Dec 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

Will have to check Monday. I didn't think Google will ruin Christmas like this.

I lost any concept of holiday/weekend soon after I entered this business. Frankly, I was expecting an update of some sort, since they're always up to something when people use the internet a bit less (for example holidays). I also do my updates in the hours with the least traffic...


 4:47 pm on Dec 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Haven't seen anything out of the ordinary here; holiday/seasonal stuff went up and B2B dipped (as they usually do this time of year). Just went back and checked, and all quiet on the western front.


 1:23 am on Dec 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

< moved from another location >

I have noticed that the SERP of "red widgets" have changed in Google.co.uk, My website jumped down, So, I want't to know whether Google updated it's algorithm in recent days.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 4:20 am (utc) on Dec 26, 2011]
[edit reason] removed specifics and moved post [/edit]


 6:21 am on Dec 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

Anyone noticed huge movements 25th-26th ?


 3:24 pm on Dec 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google is steadily accumulating more and more data on all websites, especially data on user behavior. For example, if a user bookmarks a site as a favorite, or visits other pages on the same site, these are positive signals. But if a user stays on a site for only a short time, then returns to the SERPs, this is a negative signal.

As Google accumulates more and more data on a site, its rankings may shift up or down depending on the various signals.


 5:04 pm on Dec 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

@Donna - for the past 10 years, Dec 25-26 has marked a huge increase in buying traffic. I don't think it has anything to do with Google though...just holiday money to spend. In my niche, this usually lasts until April 1st. Sales coming in all morning so far. Happy Holidays to everyone at WebmasterWorld!


 5:50 pm on Dec 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

It looks to me that some larger movements in the e-commerce direction took part for this Christmas. Content websites seem to have a significant decrease in traffic in comparison to last year, and e-commerce SERP's increased hugely, at least in my network. Any other observations?


 5:52 pm on Dec 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

@disspy exactly what I meant !


 6:16 pm on Dec 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

Obviously Google is trying directly to boost the US economy, but without content providers ;) Other than that, probably e-commerce websites did much better SEO for this season than for the last one. Probably, Google has a big part of the pie during this session, but hey people are looking to buy for Christmas not to read, right?

Google is just too fast (smart) for FTC and other similar world trade regulation agencies who are trying to trace their operations, but they just don't have the manpower and the sophistication to track all of their SERP's manipulations in real-time.

In between your Christmas gift purchases, here is something to read: [guardian.co.uk...]

Anyway, good or bad, enjoy the holidays people ;)

[edited by: tedster at 6:56 pm (utc) on Dec 26, 2011]
[edit reason] fixed the link [/edit]


 9:06 am on Dec 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

Just to follow up on a previous comment:

a) A huge bias towards exact match domains, or even domains with the keyword plus a few other words.

I would have to say that I have been seeing the opposite. Instead, big name sites are ranking in lieu of exact match domains.

What I am seeing are more and more Amazon information pages (I think they are called amazon answers) in the SERPs for informational queries.


 12:03 pm on Dec 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

For my largest site whatever happened with AdSense earnings on 18/19th seems to have been reversed on Xmas Day and yesterday, same impressions, just a massive increase in clicks and I am not an etailer/ecommerce site.

24th December earnings for this site were 10% of December average, yesterday 138.6%...that's not normal behaviour whatsoever.


 1:37 pm on Dec 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

New "parked domain" classifier: This is a new algorithm for automatically detecting parked domains. Parked domains are placeholder sites that are seldom useful and often filled with ads. They typically don't have valuable content for our users, so in most cases we prefer not to show them.

is it just me or does anyone else see something strange in this? I mean over a decade of algorithm refinement and we are still at the stage where it cant even identify a non-useful parking domain? They need a special classifier for it?


 4:20 pm on Dec 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

I don't see anything all that strange. If you're going to identify parked domains with automation and do it at massive scale, then you need to code some logic. Calling that routine a "classifier" makes sense to me, especially because they need lots of different website classifications. It also makes sense that from time to time they would find ways to improve that code/logic, which they reported doing in November.


 11:04 pm on Dec 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

let me ask another way then. Why are these pages showing up anyway?


 12:53 am on Dec 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Because there is no precise technical signal or definition that differentiates a "parked" domain from any other live one-page domain. It's still a live page served from the domain root with a 200 OK status.


 4:40 am on Dec 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Whew! anyone notice a huge change today, Dec 27? Yesterday was great, now today I am seeing previously demoted sites move from the bottom of page 1 to the #1 position above our site (which was at the #1 position yesterday). Naturally it's a MFA / affiliate site that is giving our content away for free. I thought no more updates this year?


 5:02 am on Dec 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Matt Cutts said no more major Panda updates - that doesn't rule out other updates which happen a lot more often.


 8:16 am on Dec 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

@tedster. What are your signals for a panda update?


 6:21 pm on Dec 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

To date, Google has confirmed each Panda update and that's the main signal I've been looking for. That confirmation has always been coupled with a decent buzz about ranking losses and gains in the webmaster discussions. When a Panda Update is confirmed, I record it here: [webmasterworld.com...]

Several companies that specialize in data about ranking changes (notably Sistrix and SearchMetrics) usually publish their own analysis of winners and losers at the time of a Panda update. It is not an easy job to identify a Panda change without massive amounts of data - a very specialized endeavor - so I follow their articles.

To differentiate the other significant but NON-Panda updates, I watch our own monthly thread - this very one.

In addition, Google has begun to use their Inside Search blog once a month to publis an article about all the changes in the previous month. The first such article was [insidesearch.blogspot.com...] and the second should be coming early in the new year.


 1:49 am on Dec 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

Ok. So basically you look for more or less "official" signals. Personally, i believe they update panda a lot more frequently, but because these updates have a less significant impact, they don't bother announcing them. I don't know why, but every time they officially announce a panda update, i get the feeling they do it against their will. As if the outcome is so significant that they have no choice but to admit they messed around with the algo yet again.

The only reason i look for the confirmation of a panda (or otherwise) update is to eliminate it as the cause, in case i see a huge (unnatural) change (up or down) in traffic.

In my opinion, g is not seeing the big picture. They claim that all this tinkering is meant to get rid of people who try to fool their system. I belive their real problems will begin when people will stop trying to do so ...

Spammers, scrapers and all the other non-values around the web are already at war with search engines, and have been for years. As i see it, g's current (since 24 feb) actions only manage to demote the good guys...


 2:10 am on Dec 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

In my niche, the people who made money THIS year sold text link ads by the ton. There are those who broke 6 figures doing so. The ones who lost out are legitimate businesses in ecommerce and those who engaged in affiliate marketing. So it seems to me that running a business that sold one's own product or that helped others sell is a losing proposition while the new G environment seems to encourage link advertising and gaming links, yet again.


 2:23 am on Dec 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

I appreciate that we all have conjectures, opinions and philosophies about what Google might be up to. However, that kind of discussion will drive this thread off-topic and undermine its present and future value.

Let's keep the focus on what we see happening in the SERPs, please.

This 161 message thread spans 6 pages: < < 161 ( 1 2 3 4 [5] 6 > >
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