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



 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.


 7:25 am on Mar 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

And bang... right back to last Fridays positions on just two brands. Everything else, including other brands are fine! Scary times .

These updates in my eyes seem to really isolated in terms of reach but can be devistating to a % of your search terms overnight. It's certainly not something which affects your entire site.

I knew the cycle would repeat as it always does, which is why I was dreading this morning.

What on earth is going on? This is now a month of chaos


 7:48 am on Mar 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Have Google posted any of their updates? The problem here is we really do not know what is going on. Are they in a mess? They could never admit it. Is all of this intentional? I find it hard to believe. Going forward it's scary how much power they now have, is regulation of the internet the way forward? I really do not know any more but in 10 years I've never known it like this. May Day was bad but passed quickly compared to this! I seem to recall Matt Cutts saying Google would never want another "Florida" update but we seem to have that? (our online presence back then was minimal so I don't know what it was all about, keyword stuffing etc IIRC?)

The cynical side of me wonders why search has gone ebcrypted and now we have this volatile situation!


 7:59 am on Mar 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

.hk results are starting to look ugly again. Basically went from ugly to great to ugly to great and now back to ugly once more. uk, ca, and com are all about the same for me.


 8:00 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?

What I'm seeing is the not so gradual disappearance of the small to medium size sites in my niche in favor of Amazon, Wikipedia, eBay and other mega brands. This post-Panda bias for big business has been voiced by lots of people, I just haven't seen it so prevalent in my niche as I am lately, that's all.


 8:05 am on Mar 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

What we could do with is conversion data, I wonder if the big processors like Pay Pal are seeing wild fluctuations in sales or is it constant for them? Sadly we just don't have the data to work out what is really going on IMO.


 8:36 am on Mar 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

In all other sectors that I work in, you'd be looking at this thread thinking what on earth are they talking about and see little or no change.

I can't believe how isolated this update seems. I've never seen anything like this before, for me it is unexplainable.

Of course I expect the cycle to repeat again this week - its the only thing about this update that I can follow.

Perhaps the future is different data sets for each day. I'm certainly on last Friday's results again here.

< Note - Related Thread here: Google Announces Algo Changes for March 2012 [webmasterworld.com] >

[edited by: tedster at 12:45 pm (utc) on Apr 5, 2012]


 10:58 am on Mar 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

We're fortunate in that Zombie Traffic gets added to our "normal" traffic, rather than replacing it.

I'm seeing a strong trend in the reduction of the superflous Zombies since 21st March, with very little change in underlying traffic. Conversion rate at highest for about 4 months (though actual conversions are slightly down from trend, and flatish YoY).

Could we be seeing the conclusion of an extended period of the intense multi-variate testing hypothesised in the Traffic Shaping Thread [webmasterworld.com]? Has Google been "training" a new system? Is this related to the widespread but undiagnosed devaluations?


 2:32 pm on Mar 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Exact keyword domains (un-hyphenated) that are .com or .org have been given a major boost in my niche's serps today. Two of which I've never seen before, they have come out of nowhere.


 2:41 pm on Mar 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Hissingsid that type of site is doing really well on my affected site's terms. I actually think there's not much wrong with my site now.. other than Google prefers their more targeted topic / brand approach.

Panda definitely rewards the specialist!

I think my next step is to separate all my data out into sub sites. It's the only method I can see lasting long term.

I'm still going to add a lot more content...


 2:57 pm on Mar 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

@petehall Very interesting. Until a week or two ago, in my very specialist niche, bigger less focused sites were doing better. Now the specialist niche sites seem to be coming back up.

Anchor text in backlinks and within the site is more important now. Maybe that's why exact keyword domains are doing well.

Why not try one satellite site with a focused set of data (of course not duplicate). Then you can test your theory before deciding whether to jump in with both feet.


 3:44 pm on Mar 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Hissingsid I had 4 satellite sites, all but one out ranking the main site with very little optimisation, links or content. These were always my test sites... normally when they start ranking I can tell G is broken so I just wait.

But for the past few months they've been doing really well and I've become a bit paranoid about their value so I have currently 301'd them to subfolders of the main site to see if they have any impact.

I never expected them to rank....


 7:05 pm on Mar 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

The fact that I'm now outranked by a Pinterest page for a certain keyword tells me a lot about the quality of Google's algo. Do they actually realize what they are doing in the Plex? Are they serious or just a bunch of grown up kids playing games and hurting businesses? You only need a title and a bunch of stolen photos and you can rank. No need to work on original content. Just steal and rank. Thanks Google!


 10:09 pm on Mar 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Don't usually post in this forum these days - but this is one of the strangest weeks I've seen with Google since the days of waiting for the monthly update, which could make or break a business overnight.

I have seen fluctuations all week - however I have seen conversion rate improving all week on ecom sites although traffic is not changing by more than 10-15%.

On non-ecom sites I have gained traffic on some sites, even on sites I'd pretty much abandoned as having been classed as spam by G.

On the ecom side we had recently updated the entire site to a radical new design for usability purposes and had seen a significant collapse in traffic over the last three months - we were assuming that the update hadn't actually improved any user factors that Google was measuring, even though we were seeing a noticeable improvement in order values and number of line items per order which had offset some of the traffic drop. Now we are just waiting to see how this update pans out.


 3:49 am on Mar 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

Traffic completely different now. Still changes occurring. Getting tiring to monitor all the differences.


 7:13 am on Mar 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

On the ecom side we had recently updated the entire site to a radical new design for usability purposes and had seen a significant collapse in traffic over the last three months - we were assuming that the update hadn't actually improved any user factors that Google was measuring

IanTurner, what usability metrics improved thanks to redesign?


 7:43 am on Mar 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

I was keeping quiet as my site that was hit with what I think is an anchor text oop on 19th February was starting to recover, slightly.

Just checked today and the ranks have fallen right back or worse than they were when it was first hit.

Had no messages in WMT about un-natural links - but I did cut back severely on my adword spend just before being hit. I know... I'm paranoid.


 8:35 am on Mar 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

@wokka how does your site look using the site: command? Mine is all over the place, showing duplicate pages which aren't duplicates. It's almost like G has two versions of my site!

Ive never seen anything like this before and im sure it was one of the many updates planned for this month. I now think it's some kind of error that's affecting people.


 9:06 am on Mar 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

It's a large ecommerce site showing 11,000 pages from the site: command.

Long tails are still appearing on page 1, against none of the targeted anchor texts, that I think triggered the filter.


 9:15 am on Mar 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

Oh, long tails are screwed. I am thinking of removing the thin content long tail pages again (been here before) to clean up the site.

Don't know why I ever let them back in... suppose because they were working again. Time to destroy!


 9:26 am on Mar 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

onebuyone - we have seen number of line items per order and order value increase - which means that users are finding what they want on the site more effectively.

Whether this translates into more page views per visit or less page views per visit is something we need to look at - as it could be either.


 9:38 am on Mar 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

Do these fluctuations seem to be primarily UK only or are people seeing them worldwide?


 9:42 am on Mar 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

One of my sites has been penalised on around the 27th. I don't know why exactly but it appears to be a site wide penalty. Searches where I was found on page 1 are ALL now coming up in the last 4 pages.

Another thing I've noticed with searches in the same industry is that the synonym module appears to have gone haywire. A search for "buy cheap widgets online" is bringing first page results back that have nothing to do with widgets - but instead simply mention a synonym of widget once.

Don't know whether the penalty I've received is part of this update but since the 27th my Google referrals graph has flatlined! Interestingly Bing hits have increased. Here's hoping that this is a sign that users are finally starting to notice Google's awful search results and the other engines can gain some more market share. Without competition Google seem lost.


 9:42 am on Mar 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

It's worldwide Ian, but does appear to be isolated to paticular markets rather than location. Many of my sites aren't aware that anything is going!


 9:43 am on Mar 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

@petehall how are you using the site: command to search for duplicates?


 9:54 am on Mar 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

@garyr_h just as you would normally do it. On the first page I had 2 different versions of the site home page. Not with or without the forward slash, it was the exact same URL!

One of the pages had the sites old meta description and the other had the new one. I've never seen this before, and there were more occurrences of this on subfolders.

None of the pages are experiencing any kind of ranking issue.

(As in the duplication does not appear to directly affect rankings despite there being two versions of the exact same URL)


 11:51 am on Mar 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

All my theories just went out of the window. A site I've never seen before has entered at the top of the most valuable serps in the niche.

Looks like a combination of exact keyword (no hyphens) domain and some other factors like 100 free directory listings is enough to game Google just now.


 12:41 pm on Mar 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

Whatever change happened smacked my website extremely hard. Not ranking #1 for anything now. What I was ranking #3 for now is ranking #9 or lower. What I was ranking top 10 for is now on page 5.

Looks like most pages which jumped in front are blogs.


 12:53 pm on Mar 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

This is the sort of thing that happened to my site - have you checked if your backlink anchor texts appear to be natural.

Ours got smacked, I think, for having one search term anchor being over used and not having enough 'www.mydomain .com' 'click here' type of links.


 1:39 pm on Mar 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

@wokka I don't really see that being the case for me. This is a fairly large site and has been around for 8 years and is often referenced from schools and has been mentioned in magazines. If there is some problem with the anchor text, then it's absolutely nothing I can change. I do very little link building on my own.


 1:54 pm on Mar 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

Yes, I don't think that would be the problem then. Your backlink profile would look totally natural.

I just think the new algo is 'catching' the wrong sites. Surely, google users will notice these crap results and start moving away... soon.

< continued here: [webmasterworld.com...] >

[edited by: tedster at 4:47 am (utc) on Apr 1, 2012]

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