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Google Updates and SERP Changes - Apr 2012
backdraft7




msg:4435783
 4:34 am on Apr 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

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

Going, going, GONE!
After over 10 years of consistently ranking between position #1 and #3 on page one for a single four letter word search term, the month of March (starting on the 10th) has resulted in falling to below the fold, then to page 2, then page 3 and today I have been completely removed for that term.

In place is nothing but garbage. Branding obviously has lost traction. I'm thinking whatever they have done is meant to stick. I checked to see if I had been over optimized for the term, but with a mere 4 occurrences on my page and my need to use that term to describe my product, I really don't know what they want from us anymore...

The effect of lost traffic has set off all the "Big Traffic change for URL" warnings and the anayltics charts have nose dived. Anyone else seeing this type of situation on their long established sites?

Lost income from March updates is just about $1000 / week.

I'd almost guess that Google is just removing older authority sites in favor of nothing but news articles and blogs.

[edited by: tedster at 4:54 am (utc) on Apr 1, 2012]

 

suzukik




msg:4442695
 11:08 pm on Apr 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

Matt Cutts says on Google+ [plus.google.com]:

I saw a recent post where several sites were asking about their search rankings. The short explanation is that it turns out that our classifier for parked domains was reading from a couple files which mistakenly were empty. As a result, we classified some sites as parked when they weren't.

BillyS




msg:4442714
 12:06 am on Apr 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

OMG, these results are worse than I thought. Google has to be in a complete panic right now.

I tried a very competitiv two word term and it looks like Google is loving brands and domain name spam. Embarassing - just wow those results are bad.

garyr_h




msg:4442729
 12:26 am on Apr 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

Another ranking shift, as predicted!

Things went a bit "back to normal" already for my niche.

In the morning it was looking like it was going to be one of the best days in months, now it is looking like just an average day for April.

Edit: by that, I mean the non-English sites are showing up and when searching for United States only sites, AU and UK sites are appearing again. The results look a bit cleaner otherwise, but my site which moved up to the top 10 is now on page 3 once again!

garyr_h




msg:4442800
 5:17 am on Apr 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

Some sort of revert back?

In the morning, my site was getting different keywords than in the afternoon/night. Literally, I stopped receiving traffic almost instantly at noon US eastern time from .com for several terms. Checked the databases, yep, they aren't showing the same thing. And I'm no longer seeing the different databases either.

Was it a momentary glitch? A test?

Very fishy.

jmccormac




msg:4442807
 5:55 am on Apr 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

Google seems to be having problem after problem these days. If it has wrongly classified active sites as being PPCed or holding pages, then it may have lost a major section of its index to this mistake. As for the algorithmic implications, if the ranking is persistent rather than dynamically calculated, then this could require a bit of time to sort out.

Regards...jmcc

scottsonline




msg:4442810
 6:15 am on Apr 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

Applause for Google John and Mr Cutts for admitting and fixing a problem. Let's give them both credit for being honest.

The results are bouncing around. I see some problems being fixed which is good. Let's see if Thursday is rough because of the error fix.

Shaddows




msg:4442854
 8:29 am on Apr 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

Applause for Google John and Mr Cutts for admitting and fixing a problem.


Yeah, but it had "excluded data" written all over it. Affected sites shared similar attributes, were unlikely to be banned, and had totally disappeared.

More interesting was the peek into Google's backend system that this allowed.

garyr_h




msg:4442916
 10:06 am on Apr 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

Still shaking around, it seems. No way to the results stand this way. Top sites I'm seeing are horribly loaded with ads once again...and of course, are blogs.

I think this also has to do with the silly domain name thing. It's almost like all they need to do is have the keyword in their domain, be a blog, and be horribly designed and have tons of ads above the fold and they'll rank high as long as the backlink profile isn't "spammy".

petehall




msg:4442934
 10:58 am on Apr 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

What worries me is it's Thursday night shake up time again. What on earth awaits tomorrow morning... I can hardly wait.

All this uncertainty makes one feel rather ill.

garyr_h




msg:4442950
 12:20 pm on Apr 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

It was a Tuesday peak for me this week. I'm thinking something huge is coming or slowly being shifted out.

Martin Ice Web




msg:4442981
 1:09 pm on Apr 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

THis is rediculous.

Some searches show 4 times the same domain within the first 6 results.

HuskyPup




msg:4442987
 1:24 pm on Apr 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

Some searches show 4 times the same domain within the first 6 results.


Yep and to be honest I've seen my OWN domains appearing there followed by sites that have scraped me or are totally useless mashed-up, rip-off sites!

Bing looks so clean in comparison, Google's really got its knickers in a twist.

petehall




msg:4442991
 2:05 pm on Apr 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

Some searches show 4 times the same domain within the first 6 results.


And quite often two sites with 3 pages each.

petehall




msg:4443004
 2:22 pm on Apr 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

This to me looks like a stage of the update I've already seen... so have we gone backwards or started from a point before the data was lost?

Just looks exactly like it did last week sometime, maybe longer.

mhansen




msg:4443006
 2:29 pm on Apr 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

Makes you wonder which/if other classifiers were updated at the same time, and if this "classifier" update can be looked at as the reason many others have seen recent (from the same timeframe April 14-18th) drops in ranking.

Also, as mentioned, you have to wonder which other classifiers may be getting it wrong. Does anyone have a clue how many classifiers there are in use, or what the signals of each classifier are?

randle




msg:4443011
 2:44 pm on Apr 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

Most users are happy with the SERPs.


Thats true, but thats a function of "most users" don't think along the lines of good or bad results. To them Google is Google just like its always been. Sure, you get the occasional comment from someone who was frustrated finding something, but for Joe surfer its just "Googling" as usual.

The latitude Google has with the product its presents on a daily basis is like no other in the business world. Their committed to producing "quality" results, of that I have no doubt. But its in a context thats a lot more complicated than it was in the old days before they started injecting so many different variables geared toward producing a result thats more and more about the searcher than the actual query.

Long story short; the results are no where near as good as they used to be 6 or 7 years ago, but the average Joe has not noticed this decline, and Google has dramatically changed the relationship they have with the searcher, at the moment the query is made.

Most changes being made these days are more about this cocoon Google wants to wrap the searcher in, than a pure exercise is returning the absolute best possible result for the given query.

When you do a search in Google for a particular key word, and then look at the results, the only question to ask these days is "why does Google want me to be exposed to these results, in the format they presented them to me, under the circumstances that I made the search".

garyr_h




msg:4443015
 3:02 pm on Apr 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

@randle one thing is for sure, the #1 spot isn't worth the same as it was last year or the year before or even 7 years before that. Even though there are more daily searches supposedly, those keywords aren't getting the same amount of clicks because:

1) Increased advertising at the top.

2) Google putting images above the #1 result.

3) The site-links aren't as big as they use to be.

Little by little, they are pushing webpages/sites down the page and simply adding more of their stuff. What was once an occasional image result here or there now consistently shows on page 1, usually within the top 3 results. Then now they add in all the Youtube results which over the past few months have taken over the place.

Finally, they are increasing the amount of information they are stealing from websites and putting above the results, which further pushes down the results.

Frankly, if someone held the exact same results from 2 years ago, and I mean exactly, they very well could be receiving less traffic simply because of what Google is doing with their own results.

garyr_h




msg:4443017
 3:05 pm on Apr 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

On a side note, I'm now seeing result changes within the "search in English" on foreign engines now. Before, the results were exactly (or at least pretty close to) the same as .com, they aren't today.

coachm




msg:4443024
 3:16 pm on Apr 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

the results are no where near as good as they used to be 6 or 7 years ago, but the average Joe has not noticed this decline, and Google has dramatically changed the relationship they have with the searcher, at the moment the query is made.


Randle, I do think more regular folks are noticing -- certainly my wife has commented. If it weren't for the remaining rubble of my Internet based business, I probably wouldn't even use the Internet much anymore, and a lot of that comes down to Google.

Even simple things are painful. Was looking for a local store with a rather unique name. What I got was the first 30 results or so for the terms, "storename city" were to "yellowpage" sites with no info on the store -- essentially empty pages. I finally found THEIR website on the third page or so. It's gotten so painful and pointless overall to use the Internet for something useful, I'd just rather not.

As a webmaster looking at what keywords are being used to find my webpages, it's no wonder our bounce rate is high. I get that it's partly my role to help search engines figure out what my pages are about, but I've done everything white hat I can figure, and it just doesn't work anymore. It used to.

I've said this before but I believe what Google has done is to make their systems so complex, they don't know themselves how to get them to show relevant results. I think Yandex works better, because their systems are simpler. The way google used to be.

I don't think Google is ABLE to fix things, short of rolling all the complex stuff back. And since they are still raking in money, they aren't going to go back.

I use Yandex when I can. It's no wonder people use Facebook and believe it's the Internet.

Bewenched




msg:4443039
 3:40 pm on Apr 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

I don't think Google is ABLE to fix things, short of rolling all the complex stuff back. And since they are still raking in money, they aren't going to go back.


Heck yea they're raking it in... a 24% INCREASE last quarter.... that's insane.

garyr_h




msg:4443041
 3:46 pm on Apr 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Bewenched that's what happens when they force YouTube and G+ down everyones throat. People stay on the site or can't find what they really are looking for and click an ad.

irishsolar




msg:4443050
 4:05 pm on Apr 19, 2012 (gmt 0)


More interesting was the peek into Google's backend system that this allowed.


@Shaddows What did you take away from that peek?

mhansen




msg:4443056
 4:31 pm on Apr 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

I previously mentioned that my sons hobby site with a small amount of affiliate links was devalued in Google serps at some point between Saturday and Tuesday. About 1 hour ago (11:30am et, USA) it is now right back in its original position. (domain name is specific to his hobby, which is all I checked for)

Not sure if this is related to the classifier issue Matt Cutts and John Mu spoke about, but it seems to be following the same type of pattern.

MH

jmccormac




msg:4443060
 4:36 pm on Apr 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

Dear Leader Larry was on about people loving Google but I think that Google might, in some respects, be on the way to becoming a new AOL.

Regards...jmcc

EmptyRoom




msg:4443067
 4:49 pm on Apr 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

After my site got removed from the SERPs yesterday, it came back today, but on the 5th page. It seems like a -50 penalty.

What do you guys know about that? How can I get out of it?

backdraft7




msg:4443087
 5:25 pm on Apr 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hmmm, sounds like the natives are getting restless...where's the mod police to dispense tear gas and delete all the "editorialized" posts?

Hissingsid




msg:4443109
 6:07 pm on Apr 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

After my site got removed from the SERPs yesterday, it came back today, but on the 5th page. It seems like a -50 penalty.


3 steps

1. Work out what you've done.
2. Fix it.
3. Send a re-inclusion request explaining what went wrong, what you have done to fix it and what you will do to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Step 1 is often the most difficult unless you've cocked up your server set up. In which case the whole thing should be reasonably easy to fix. OTOH ...

Good luck

Sid

petehall




msg:4443142
 8:25 pm on Apr 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

I think the Thursday night hell has begun... I am seeing some awfully messed up searches. Long tail taken a nose dive along with it...

onebuyone




msg:4443144
 8:30 pm on Apr 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

would be nice if you could mention what is your website target country/region/timezone etc. Those updates rollouts are still three phased: US, western europe, third world

petehall




msg:4443158
 9:22 pm on Apr 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

Apologies. I'm based in the UK.

I have just witnessed a six word long tail search return five results from a single website in the top ten. The first four of that five all being in a row then the final result at the bottom.

Two other sites have a double listing, meaning only four individual sites are featured in the top ten.

irishsolar




msg:4443186
 10:59 pm on Apr 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

@petehall I can confirm that in the UK.

Strange SERPs...I own the top three spots on the SERPs on page 1 in the UK for a term that I have been completely removed for on .com.

I think this is a complete shake up going on one database at a time.

This 888 message thread spans 30 pages: < < 888 ( 1 ... 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 [13] 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 ... 30 > >
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