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Google Updates and SERP Changes - Mar 2012

 3:39 pm on Mar 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

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

Something very odd just happened. I searched for my top keyword term. We have been at #3 since Panda, previously #1. My listing had disappeared completely, nowhere down to page 10 (in 10s). I did the same search on a different browser with no history on it, same result. Other terms were where I expected them.

Then 2 minutes later I'm back at #3.

What's going on?

Sid (In UK)

[edited by: tedster at 3:28 am (utc) on Mar 2, 2012]



 10:06 am on Mar 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Started the morning great & SERP's looked good. Sales then suddenly went along with ANY traffic, just checked the SERP's & sure enough they have flipped again! No Product Search box & images back at the bottom. It's beyond a joke now how volatile the SERP's are these days.


 10:07 am on Mar 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

& in the time it's taken to write the above they have flipped back AGAIN! I give up with this, I really do.


 10:27 am on Mar 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Looks to me they are split testing,no way the SERP's can change this quickly. Two data sets, one with Product Search results at the top & no images, the other with organic results at the top with image results below the fold. No Product Search one box on the second set. No doubt this will show them how much the Product Search box is worth (at the cost of Adwords!). Wait & see.


 11:16 am on Mar 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Anchor text seems to be giving me a boost in current serps. For example I decided to target a 3 word term on 6th March was #14 now #4 only changes were to in-site anchor text and a few off site that I control. The page that has all of the on-site anchor pointing at it is the one getting the boost. The off site links point to the home page.

Martin Ice Web

 11:21 am on Mar 28, 2012 (gmt 0)


we are seeing the opposite from your observation.
This morning was realy bad, then by 11 am the swtich was turned on. But only for traffic not for conversions. Keywords seems to bounce around like bouncy balls.

But this was always this way after a new panda run...

loc: ecom germany


 11:40 am on Mar 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

I really wonder what this will settle down to or if they'll continually tweak. It's to the point of ridiculous. Had a good adsense day for once yesterday, but today the terms seem completely different with different keywords and different traffic and dreadful adsense earnings.

Edit: looking more thoroughly, looks like some sort of change with long-tail. Getting traffic for terms I never did before. And obviously lost traffic to other terms. Strange again.

Hopefully the traffic picks up, otherwise this will be a horrible day.

[edited by: garyr_h at 11:46 am (utc) on Mar 28, 2012]

Martin Ice Web

 11:45 am on Mar 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

the many tweaks they are doing alludes to the conclusion that they are not pleased with the serps theirself or they are not knowing what they are doing or the algo is doing.....



 1:24 pm on Mar 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

We are fully back into the junk/zombie traffic :( No conversions since this morning and cart adds from INDIA again! Oddly SERP's look settled. I wonder if the traffic will return late like it did yesterday & has done a fair few occasions now? One thing that I've been thinking about, is Google 24hr? Do these updates role out automatically or would the engineers want to monitor as an update roles?


 3:24 pm on Mar 28, 2012 (gmt 0)


We are fully back into the junk/zombie traffic :( No conversions since this morning and cart adds from INDIA again!

Maybe you wish to write a book:

The Secrets Of Zombie Traffic Revealed.... How to sell your products and services to India :-)


 3:36 pm on Mar 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Like I said the other day, my search suggest was going crazy suggesting I look for widgets in India etc.

I suspect either this is happening in the reverse for them or it's like the Google HK results, where UK results are appearing high in their SERPs. Even though I'm pretty much sure someone stated it's only like that if you're looking from the UK.

One thing I've noticed which is quite interesting... people living in the UK from other countries will still use their own countries search for finding websites.

For example I am aware of an Italian man who bought some widgets, but was living in the UK and used Google Italy.


 6:29 pm on Mar 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Besides the USA, India is our 2nd highest country for google referrals. Why couldn't it be the anywhere in Europe or Canada?!?


 7:18 pm on Mar 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

It's probably Indian developers / link builders checking out the competition! The number of requests I get in a week from these companies is crazy.


 8:50 pm on Mar 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Google Zombie traffic!

Google Zombie traffic is a not-converting Google referrals which are originated mostly from India.

I think Google Zombie traffic is a smart algorithmic penalty. It could be some kind of a Google Panda Penalty.


 6:12 am on Mar 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

/\ Not sure about penalty, I think they are sending traffic to sites in the hope that people do not check where this traffic is coming from! I've spoken to others who are seeing the same as us. Surely Google don't think we are this stupid?! Or are we all getting too paranoid & this is an algo fault (much like the GMT language bug!)which they are trying to control? Just checked the SERP's and the data set I see is Product Search one box on top, then Wikipedia then organic. Wonder when this will flip today?!


 6:21 am on Mar 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

I imagine the flip will be within the next few hours, along with some sort of long-tail influence change. There was also a change sometime mid-day with this.

The original rankings I was seeing around the 25th are no longer. Page-category disappeared again and is replaced by an inner-page. Something to do with synonyms I guess. Huge, huge problem and no idea how to fix it. From bottom of page 1/top of page 2 when the page shows up to page 5+ when they show the inner-page. The page is relevant as it gets great views-per-visit when they get there. No idea why G wouldn't like that and show the other page instead.


 7:42 am on Mar 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Seeing a merge of the database sets now. Looks like they were testing something individually and then decided to combine it into the other database. Rankings down for me. Knew it was too good to be true. Still seeing rankings for some terms while other terms are down plus my previous rankings are down.

Seeing the same thing with .uk and .ca. Looks like the sets were merged.

As for .hk they are good again. It looks more like a combination of old and new results. The new rankings + the old rankings for me. Very weird but also very good. Perhaps it's a test for .com results? Seems like some of the results on .com were taken from .hk a few days ago (not all, just some).

Traffic was down from Tuesday to Wednesday. Hopefully .hk results roll out sometime.

As for the page-category I mentioned in the last post. Just saw the page listed but on page 5. Never saw that before. Usually when the page is listed it is page 1 or 2. But now page 5 on .com instead of the inner-page. Weird.


 11:23 am on Mar 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

To me anyway the .hk results remove the duplicate sites from the same companies. As a a result the link juice between the sites depreciates all of their values. It's the world as it would be if google actually followed their WMGL.

It's clear the anti-seo change is coming online. We are selling products that were buried on the site. Content we promoted within our own pages is buried. Featured products got buried. Any products on our site that we promoted on category pages as we had manufacturer support, buried. It seems google now wants to tell us that we should not use our high ranking pages to advertise the products we have on special as that's not just good business but good seo.

I guess maybe good seo to them is buying more Adwords to promote those sales?


 12:33 pm on Mar 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

google is so laser focused on killing spam, over seo'd sites, and possibly seo in general. They are doing this with shotgun, not rifle accuracy. This is coming at great cost to those millions of zombies who are querying every day and getting garbage serps.


 12:56 pm on Mar 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Junk day here yet the SERP's have remained static?


 3:34 pm on Mar 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Long tail SERPS are the worst I have seen this year for the last 48 hours. Overall google organic referral conversion rate is down 50% - us ecom site with 14 yr track record of stable conversion rates, so, this is no statistical anomaly. How are other sites' organic google conversion rates holding up?


 3:43 pm on Mar 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

That would explain our one site being dead, it relies on long tail. Conversions have been poor today and traffic well down. I just honestly can't believe how volatile Google has become, you really do not know what to expect from day to day, hell not even day to day, any 2 hour window!


 4:29 pm on Mar 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

If things hold true to the past few days, the next change will come within the next few hours. Seems to be happening at around noon and midnight California time. I am seeing some change internationally though right now, just not really .com. Watch for it to shift a bit over the next 3 hours.


 5:17 pm on Mar 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

One week tonight was a major shakeup... I'm guessing same again. G has been doing this for weeks.


 8:19 pm on Mar 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Seeing different results to the rest of the day already... think they are older as a lot of my new titles have reverted.

We're off again - I think I feel sick.


 2:23 am on Mar 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Long tail SERPS are the worst I have seen this year for the last 48 hours.

We've been hit with dramatically dropping long-tail traffic as well. Yesterday was 3,300 referrals from Google from 2,000 keywords, compared to 3,700 from 2,700 a month ago. So that's 700 less long-tail searches, but only 400 fewer referrals, mainly because our short-tail traffic/ranking is actually up.

Long-tail traffic seems to get hit pretty badly for us with every update. It's as if Google resets the long-tail results and incrementally rebuilds them over time for each update (except this update seems to have been going on for a month now).


 3:16 am on Mar 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Big drop in traffic here today too. I'm beginning to suspect my entire niche is under fire. If so, well that sucks.


 3:27 am on Mar 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

How can a whole niche be under fire? If some sites go down, other much come up... right?


 5:23 am on Mar 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

@tedster no not the case at all.

I don't have the backdraft competitor level access. Instead I have access to the data from the manufacturer we all buy from in a different 100 billion dollar niche. Today was dead for them and for us. Why? Because amazon ranked first for long tail even romotely related. "widget xyz with blue shielding" will return an amazon page in the top two who's product title is "blue widget with shielding" which is like returning a ford Windstar while searching for a spaceship. We see a reseller who isn't even able to sell a product on their site.....you must call for a quote coming up #1 for terms "buy yellow widget from brand A". They started selling this product march 1 but they are fortune 100 so they MUST be relevant. They spent their entire 40 year history selling popcorn but surely they are experts at selling baseball gloves now. Total misunderstanding of page authority. If CNN started selling jimmies Friday google would rank them first.

What I know is Bing and Non googl traffic went up 4x today coupled with a 2b vendor saying volume plummeted today.

I think it's the seo change not panda. I think google is punishing well organized sites by mistake. Target specific brands? Punished. Target specific categories, punished.

If the ny times featured our site Sunday, we are the model for the wmgl yet the categories and brands we featured onsite only are being slammed? It's the brands we don't care about that are selling Via google. Read this as the ones we didn't update since 2004


 5:33 am on Mar 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Seeing a merge of the database sets now. Looks like they were testing something individually and then decided to combine it into the other database. Rankings down for me.

Gary, see the same thing here. Looked like some kind of test, could have been a suped-up version of Panda along with manual observations and feedback on the result sets for quality.


 5:47 am on Mar 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Traffic for Thursday the exact same for Wednesday. Very weird week!

Sunday AAAA
Monday CCCC
Tuesday FFFF
Wednesday CCCC
Thursday CCCC

With A being lowest traffic, F being highest.

The traffic Monday, Wednesday, Thursday are almost the exact same in total numbers. But the keywords are different.

So total traffic is up between 10-20% depending on the day you choose. Still good, but very puzzling to see this.

Seems that they are still messing with something and again there'll be another change within the next 2 hours. Actually already seeing something, but there should be another shift around midnight!

Edit: Should mention that the change I'm seeing is that even more influence is being put on brands. And, weirdly, even blogspot. So there has to be some sort of change again to take care of that and to go along with the midnight/noon changes.


 6:44 am on Mar 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Site 1 for us, Mon, Wed & Thurs all around the same, traffic spike Tuesday.

Site 2 (relies more on long tail)Mon, Tues & Thurs all around the same, traffic DIP Wed.

Bounce rates on both still a good 10% higher than the long term(years) norm. Last night saw a return of the evening conversions on one site & oddly, & another member on here has been seeing this, sales in the early hours (1am-3pm window). UK ecom who only ships UK.

I haven't seen any flipping of the SERP's as yet & they look the same as yesterday to me thus far.

This 391 message thread spans 14 pages: < < 391 ( 1 ... 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 [12] 13 14 > >
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