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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]



 1:17 am on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ Bewenched

I never thought of this weeks decline in traffic being related to spring break. Hopefully that's what happened to our money maker site. That's good to hear you have seen improvement though since being hit by Panda!

We've seen a drop of about 10-15% this week and had experienced mostly gains from Feb 2011 through early March 2012 on this particular site. A little bit up and down between, but the trend has been significantly upward overall. I need patience I suppose, hopefully next week it will jump back 20-25% :)


 2:39 am on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

They may think this sounds good on paper but if they kill publishers earnings then the writers just wont write any new or useful content anymore which will eventually lead to a negative experience on the internet.

In a way it almost looks like Google is moving away from search results.

Remember, when yahoo and msn could not provide good search results, people started using Google. Are we gonna see the trend that will lead to more bing users.

Also remember what happened to AOL. No one even thinks about using them anymore.

One fact for sure - The market will react if they screw up and it could lead to their downfall.

I agree with all of your statements on this matter. The new Google will be taking our content, publishing it at the top of their results and place ads next to it. That is exactly the way I see the WSJ article. I hope I am wrong.


 2:57 am on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Please folks - this thread is for discussing actual changes in the SERPs as we notice and analyze them. We need to stay on that topic or thread loses any real value.


Apparently there have recently been some big shifts (for some niches at least), even with two sets of results alternating back an forth. Has anyone else noticed this?


 3:19 am on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Ted. Isn't putting Google's best guess answer above the SERPs a change in the SERPS? Granted, it hasn't happened yet, but IMO it will change the SERPs.

With that said, I don't think our SERP strategy would change. If you want the best rank, don't put ads on your page, provide the best content, and hope it is seen. lol

[edited by: Dan01 at 3:35 am (utc) on Mar 16, 2012]


 3:23 am on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Apparently there have recently been some big shifts (for some niches at least), even with two sets of results alternating back an forth. Has anyone else noticed this?

I have seen some big shifts. I check my Analytics and see how many pages were seen. There have been some drastic shifts, up and then down. I don't think Adsense is paying as well, so the income has dropped despite an increase in traffic (although like I said, the next day there is a huge shift downward in traffic). Up and down and a decrease in revenue.


 4:22 am on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Rustybrick over at SERoundtable pinged Google about these ranking shifts. reference [seroundtable.com] His report: "Google told me there is no Panda update happening right now. Nor is there a data refresh."

So this is not a Panda-related change.

[edited by: tedster at 1:44 pm (utc) on Mar 16, 2012]


 4:55 am on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Whenever I see this shifts, this is the first place I go. I didn't see anyone talking about Panda, so I assumed it wasn't occurring. So.... I wonder if they are tinkering with this new best-guess results thing? I haven't seen it yet.

Today we saw a healthy number of pages seen, but again, Adsense revenue was far below par.


 5:28 am on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

@tedster if you go back and look at the example you permitted from me almost 18 months ago you will see what's changed.

The first 5 results are all the same business running multiple domains under different keywords. They do not try to hide it. The chat and checkout all point to the main site yet google ranks them in the top 5 for all their products on 3 sites because they use different "word brand name product" "different word brand name product" on each site. It's hysterical actually. Google can detect paid text links but they can't figure out ten sites running the same chat link and checkout that dumps to the parent page are all obvious attempts to cheat?

The change in the last week is that the cheaters are back to the top.


 8:12 am on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing the "older" data set this morning so far, deffo different from yesterday PM. This is the first time in quite a while where I can remember the SERP's changing for the terms I check like this. However, despite the SERP's looking good GA shows a massive traffic DROP yesterday! So when the SERP's look good for us we lose traffic! Both sites had just gone green again in GA (JUST!). Bounce rates are still very high.


 8:30 am on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

However, despite the SERP's looking good GA shows a massive traffic DROP yesterday! So when the SERP's look good for us we lose traffic!

Ohno, that is exactly what is happening to me. Google's last earnings report was good, but below analyst expectations. I wonder if their tinkering with Panda has cost them.

Martin Ice Web

 8:42 am on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Big shift in germany today, switch has been turned off.

ohno, confirmed. Serps are ok, but no visitors are coming.


 8:49 am on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Do the SERP's look good for you though Martin? I've checked on various devices/IP's/signed in & out & they look good.

Martin Ice Web

 9:07 am on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)


yes we have serveral 1st place spots,which are converting very good ( normaly ) but now all channels are off.
I think tedster is right, there are two sets of results switching. The actual serps are a big mix for the first keyword, some of the results are only touch the keys. It seems like google ignores one ore more of the asked keywords followed the first one.


 9:45 am on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

The bit I don't get is traffic throttling. I think if you look at GA you have to accept it MUST happen. But how do they tie it in with the SERP's?! It must come down to personal search, like I have said for ages, what YOU see is not what your customer see's in the SERP's. I also think it is this part of the algo that is causing these issues & traffic spurts. When we see big changes in the SERP's god knows what our customers are being served up! Also, I have no click data on product search past the 13th, that ties in with the testing I saw yesterday when the box was in & out of the SERP's?


 10:01 am on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have seen a great roll back in search,results are back to the same as 2 weeks ago, although looking into chrome dev it's still high up.
According to Google Dev is the preview engine which traditionally predicts the way forward.

Anyone else see this?


 11:22 am on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

So weird, Google told me not Panda and hinted that there is nothing going on at Google's end that would be related to these discussions.

Something is weird.

Thinking maybe link penalties ran?


 11:48 am on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

@rustybrick, you have direct contact with Google? I wouldn't trust a word they say, they will hardly admit to an issue will they! Have they posted anything about the language problems in WMT's?


 1:11 pm on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have noticed that some of our serps have been pushed down because of more image results showing up on the top of the page. I am wondering if this is the cause for less clicks.


 1:18 pm on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

I saw that yesterday on .co.uk but today they are gone.


 1:21 pm on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ ohno

Did it stay all day, or flip back and forth?


 1:22 pm on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure what to take on this...just posted by searchengineroundtable...[seroundtable.com ]

Thanks for the info RustyBrick. Doesn't sound good though :(


 1:26 pm on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Forgot to say what it was about!

Cutts: Google To Target Overly SEO'ed Sites Within Weeks [seroundtable.com ]


 1:26 pm on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

It flipped back & forth in the AM but remained static in the PM(no image results PM).


 2:03 pm on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

@SnowMan68 very scary. I wonder what exactly they'll consider over-optimized. Yes, exchanged links and pages with tons of the same repeated words, but they have been doing that already. What could it possibly be? Same keywords in title/h1/elsewhere? I can't possibly think of something positive that will come of this.

And Google saying they aren't making any changes over the past couple of weeks is nonsense!

Having said that, I'm very curious how it'll affect the results. If it's something that'll target SEOs, I have to imagine this will have a Panda-like effect. And that scares me.

[edited by: garyr_h at 2:13 pm (utc) on Mar 16, 2012]


 2:08 pm on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

So what is there idea of overly SEO'ed. This could be good or bad.


 2:14 pm on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Now were all going to start talking about good ole keyword density and such again.

When he mentions link exchange, do you think they will also include too many one way links? Not garbage 3 way stuff, but legitimate one way links from quality sites?


 2:25 pm on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Maybe if there are too many run-of-site links and the like. In-content and freely given one-way links? I can't see that being a negative.


 2:43 pm on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Maybe if there are too many run-of-site links and the like.

I can't wait for the fallout on this one. Are we all going to get rid of breadcrumbs now? WebmasterWorld uses them...

I noticed WebmasterWorld was also a big offender in the above the fold change... but that's since been corrected.

I point this out because WebmasterWorld is a great resource, but has practices that Google may now be targeting. Is that the move to quality?

Back in 2011 or 2010 Matt posted something about mixing up keywords. I took that to heart and try to stay away from repeating keywords. It's not easy, especially when it comes to technical writing.

Unfortunately, there are sites like Wikipedia and About that seem immune to these updates... and they are some of the worst offenders. How many webmasters would dare link the way Wikipedia does?

Welcome to the new web. Google's web. It's going to be full of Big Brands and throw away domains. Goodbye niche players, Google is about to crush you. You're the acceptable collateral damage in Google's sweep of the web.


 2:47 pm on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ tedster

In content...maybe not freely given, but not advertised as paid. These are on quality sites not selling site wide stuff or advertising that they sell links. They look natural, minus the fact the anchor text is optimized. That type of stuff.


 2:59 pm on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

I see big serp changes coming. But who knows maybe some of us will benefit so lets not start jumping to conclusions just yet. But then again there has not been too many that have benefited with changes in the last year, at least that I heard of from reading here. Bottom line is that we dont know until they actually do it.


 3:09 pm on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Are we all going to get rid of breadcrumbs now?

If the breadcrumbs are external links, then I'd be a bit worried. Otherwise, that's not what I mean by ROS links. I'm talking about blogrolls on someone else's site, or someone having a link to your site right in their apparently internal navigation (oh yes, that is being done).

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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