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Google Updates and SERP Changes - Apr 2012

 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]



 11:23 pm on Apr 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

Guys, keep in mind that they said "within the next few days". That means that the results are far, far, far from being settled.


 11:28 pm on Apr 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

I hope we are in for a ride.


 11:35 pm on Apr 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

For example, there is a website that allows you to place advertisements for pay. It's ranking in the top 3.

Um, I sell advertising on my sites, and they all rank number one on their niche. There's nothing wrong with selling advertising.


 11:37 pm on Apr 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

Google HK is completely different now as well, and for the most part in our market, mirrors the US results.

We had a few specific pages (landing pages for high volume queries) take a big hit. We're leaning to the de-ranking being related to OOP, based on what we see so far.


 11:53 pm on Apr 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

OK, I figured I'd sit out until I noticed something worth commenting about... I now seem some rather EXCELLENT results in my niche! Dupes sites have vanished, MFA freebie site is gone, more relevant results by far! Just have not recovered my bread & butter high volume single word search term...yet.
So, all in all the serps are looking better, traffic is "normal" but sales conversions still low.
Continuing small quality tweaks to improve the user experience.

If this latest update does what it's supposed to, we may see some light at the end of the tunnel, and maybe earn some love for Google ....LOL....let's not get too excited.


 12:12 am on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

So Panda is bringing the spam to the top then they need another algo to fix it? Good work Google.


 12:14 am on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

Seeing lots of scrapers outranking us when searching some copy from our pages in quotes...

**update** We have a few sites that are affected and others that are not. All the affected sites are being outranked by scrapers whereas unaffected sites are not being outranked by scrapers. I see this with my competition that has been affected and unaffected.

[edited by: textex at 12:26 am (utc) on Apr 25, 2012]


 12:18 am on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

I can't believe the results. Strong site pretty much de-ranked from all main keywords.
Huge update going on right now.


 12:20 am on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

Honestly I think they have finally over engineered their search algo. My top site is not even in the top 10 now. First 8 are tube sites completely unrelated. I really hope they realize they jumped the shark on this one

menntarra 34

 12:32 am on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

i'm having huge changes with one of my sites...
In the last 5 days, one of my sites' traffic has dropped significantly (20-30%). This site of mine is relying heavily on google! I have about 80% of my traffic coming from google. I have other sites on this same server, and none of them were affected. Whatsmore i haven't changed a thing in the last two weeks, which i could point as the casue of the drop.
What is worrying me, is that in the last couple of months i made several changes to this site, i worked a lot with it to keep the best user experience and remove duplicate content. A year ago my site had a lot of duplicate content, and a lot of junk pages. Now i have none.
I implemented a lot of things to abide by the rules of google. i don't have ANY errors in WMT, and do note that my site is HUGE! I have about 2-3 million uniqe content pages, nearly all of them listed on google. Before the cleaning of the duplicate pages, there were time when i had 10-12 million pages listed in google.

I worked A LOT on making these changes, and now my site is only loosing traffic. It is driving me crazy...
The worse day was yesterday (23th April). I hope it WAS the worse.


 12:33 am on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

With so many changes to their algo everyday, bet they dont really know which one messed up. Maybe Microsoft/Yahoo will become the better search engine by default.


 12:48 am on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

I lost 5 websites from top 5 Google AU, for 9 years i worked as a donkey to provide good content, good links , etc...Now i see how all of them are melting ..just speechless..


 12:54 am on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

I lost 5 websites from top 5 Google AU, for 9 years i worked as a donkey to provide good content, good links , etc...Now i see how all of them are melting ..just speechless..

Yes, but...but....build the sites for your user!

/Matt Cutts

I had a colleague say that to me this afternoon. "you can now go back and built a high quality site".

....my site WAS high quality before it got replaced with a site from India ranking for the advertiser's brand name.

The basic takeaway from all these Google updates is this:

The statement "build a high quality site for your users" is a crock of sh--. If you do that, then you won't get any traffic, because all of the traffic on the internet (for the most part) comes from Google (at least the traffic that turns a profit).

So this is why we "built the highest quality site for the Google algorithm".

This is why we see what looks like crappy sites in the rankings.....because Cutts and crew can't get it 100% right.

So we build for Google.

These latest rounds of updates are NEVER going to kill webspam as we know it. Much like Agent Smith in the Matrix movies....it will just keep coming back in form after form after form.

Meanwhile, the honest webmaster pays the highest penalty because Cutts and crew have not solved the problem, only made it worse.

My .02

<<edit>> I'm ----><----- that close to putting my old black hat on again and showing Cutts what spam really is. As Jules would say in the final scene in Pulp Fiction:

"....but I'm trying reaaaal hard to be the Shepard".


 1:01 am on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

This is my first post on the forums. Just wanted to share the weird stuff that we're seeing on our site today.

Today, our site's traffic is down about 25% compared to a normal Tuesday. We have 1400 posts plus a couple hundred category pages, indexes, and so on. On a normal Tuesday, Google Analytics will show around 1200 pages getting at least one hit. Today, only around 800 pages are listed as getting at least one hit. The really interesting thing is that our most popular 25 or so posts are not down at all today. Some are even performing better than normal.

We've yet to look deeper into which posts on our site account for the 25% reduction we're seeing today, but so far this is the craziest one-day traffic shift we've had since starting our site in 2009. We spent much of the day poking around WMT and seeing if there was a problem with our server, and we came up empty there, so we're honestly a little relieved to come here and see we're not alone.


 1:07 am on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

I am seeing the same stuff tonight. A site at number one I've never seen before but it turns out its just a doorway site from a competitor that had always been buried.

The footer is all "red widget". "blue widget" links to their other keyword doorway sites! Simply astounding. The site has had so little previous traffic it doesn't rank anywhere.

Yet in googles eyes it's #1 even though the other 15 sites in the footer all list the same product under different keywords.

They should change the name of this update from "web spam" to "we spam"

It started about 14 hours ago best I can tell.


 1:15 am on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

People in dating area, are seeing big changes the last days? I mean, very big changes, like ranking #7 hours later #90, horas later #15, for many websites and many keywords?


 1:16 am on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

Numerous ecommerce sites that are doing best, that i monitor, in highly competitive verticals have been involved in minimal inbound linking with same or similar anchor text.

Big brands, i notice, have not been spared if they indulged in opposing practices across a series of major verticals.

So watch your links.


 1:21 am on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

Will anyone be responsible for the lost contracts, lost jobs, lost incomes, coming debt.... etc... ? I am sure 1000s or may be more are suffering

Thanks Google


 1:30 am on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm still not seeing any big changes within my top 50 keywords. The biggest changes are the others. Was getting around 2000 keywords per day searched for, now it's around 2500.

Unrelated, but I'm also seeing increased traffic from Bing.

Edit: Should also mention that traffic slowed down a bit since around 4 hours ago. Which is *very* strange since most traffic comes between 6-11pm EST. So a traffic drop around 5pm is...weird

[edited by: garyr_h at 1:32 am (utc) on Apr 25, 2012]


 1:31 am on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

@webdeal where you lose, someone else gains. That's how the search results work. Whoever takes your spot in the search results gets more money.


 1:33 am on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

I personally am not seeing any changes on my sites today, I'm more concerned about the update on April 20/21 - that's what caused us the biggest loss.


 1:43 am on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

@garyr_h true...:)


 1:43 am on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

I just checked another analytics program....that shows me much more detailed info that google analytics (of which I'm seriously considering dropping).

My Bing and Yahoo traffic are through the roof over the past 3-4 weeks.

Anyone else noticing a similar trend? I had no idea how much traffic Bing and Yahoo were driving.

Wow.....how narrow minded could I have been to focus on just Google?


 1:44 am on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

What got sites ranked for the past 6 years is now what's putting them on page 3 and lower.

Sites that were barely SEO-ing are getting crushed. It used to be just the egregious sites that got slapped.

You can't help but look at the SERPs and feel like Google is exacting revenge on people. There is no mercy.


 1:44 am on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm not seeing any changes right now, SERPs still full of junk:

Keyword spam
Obvious gaming of Google+1
No content on pages
Weak backlinks

This is the stuff Google would have banned to page 10 and beyond last year. I hope those guys enjoy the ride because either Google is going to fix this stuff or go by the way of Altavista.


 1:45 am on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)


It's the holocaust. There's no other way to put it....it's the holocaust as of a few hours ago for the niche you're talking about.

It started on April 1st. I have a 10 year old site, and it's taken an unfair beating. 110% white hat, all across the board.

What were you doing? Affiliate marketing or online dating site?


 1:53 am on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

@BaseballGuy thanks for your response. Im into the affiliate marketing.

I agree that is an holocaust, but today results are very very spammy and bad results, videos, artciles, twitter, facebook pages. I see that are not only my sites, there are a lot of sites that change their positions...


 1:56 am on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

I agree Martina...the worst of the worst has risen to the top. This algo update is unfairly going after the small timer white hatters out there.


 2:00 am on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

wow seems like Google undo everything and my Google traffic skyrocketed to 30% more compared to the pre-panda.

Btw my site is a mega-site with millions of pages.


 2:19 am on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

@seoNOOB I wish. My site is still seeing around 70% less traffic than pre-Panda, even after this 16% gain since April 20th.


 2:37 am on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

@garyr_h As you said before.... - That's how the search results work. Whoever takes your spot in the search results gets more money. :)

By the way Australian SERPs are changed too, my sites positions improved a little...

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