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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]

 

bobsc




msg:4436019
 1:10 am on Apr 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

...and what's worse, you can't turn it off.
The average searcher wouldn't turn it off anyway.

My Geographic target is "Unlisted". That's the best that I can do.

I still think this is "April Fools". Let's see what tomorrow brings.

ErnestHemingway




msg:4436040
 2:42 am on Apr 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

Anyone knows if Google plays April fool? The last panda update was good, it cleaned some junk but once again they are all back.

backdraft7




msg:4436041
 2:50 am on Apr 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

Quite frankly, if this is Google's idea of an April Fools joke, then it would demonstrate a blatant disregard for the welfare of their users & customers. Today alone I lost over $300 in income as compared to a typical Sunday. I highly doubt it's an intentional joke...unintentional perhaps. I suspect the "joke" will continue for some time to come.

ohno




msg:4436091
 6:40 am on Apr 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

What a dire weekend, double digit sales gone. Thank God this is a 4 day week as I can't take much more of this. The SERP's look the same as Friday to me which is not good :( Still nothing official from Google I assume? Not that anything they can say would help, it's pretty obvious they are intent on destroying the small players for their own good.

tigger




msg:4436093
 6:43 am on Apr 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

Anyone knows if Google plays April fool? The last panda update was good, it cleaned some junk but once again they are all back.


I've seen past April fools from G and they are amusing ...pigeon rank anyone LOL......but this update is far from a joke and I'm hoping for a refresh soon as clearly something is wrong when spam & newspaper sites rank over sites that have followed guidelines with quality content for years

If G want to turn webmasters over to using black hat methods they are going the right way about it

Web_speed




msg:4436103
 7:35 am on Apr 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

It is so darn quiet lately, absoulotly dead quiet and not only on my own ecom websites.

It is also dead quiet over ebay, Ecrater, Bonnaza and a few more major ecommerce websites i have my products listed on. I could sware it feels like someone has completely turned off the tap, World wide!

Whoever is responsible for this crap at G needs to have their autistic heads stack right up where the sun never shine. Enough destroying lives....enough!

[edited by: Web_speed at 7:44 am (utc) on Apr 2, 2012]

ohno




msg:4436104
 7:44 am on Apr 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

Arhh but it's the economy web_speed! ;) NO, IT ISN'T, a bad economy does not serve up the best sales day in 10 years following days of NOTHING! It's this darn algo & constant tweaking, anyone who believes otherwise is deluding themselves.

Web_speed




msg:4436107
 7:59 am on Apr 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ohno

I never said it is only the economy.

While the bad economy probably doesn't help, i never had a doubt in my mind who are really responsible for this web destruction and always was quite vocal about it. Here and on many other channels, and for a number of years now.

This despicable monster has the world by the balls and are killing the free internet. Absolutely no doubt in my mind mate.

ohno




msg:4436109
 8:02 am on Apr 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

I was being sarcastic ;) I've seen a few comments on here (don't recall by who) trying to blame the chaos on the economy. I agree with your comment 1000%! "They" are killing the internet with their greed driven drive to dominate every sector going.

jmorgan




msg:4436116
 8:48 am on Apr 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

Traffic down. What's going on? Some kind of public holiday somewhere out there?

garyr_h




msg:4436117
 8:58 am on Apr 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

jmorgan if you were talking about April 1, it was Palm Sunday which is celebrated widely depending upon the country/culture/religion. As for April 2, the Qingming Festival (Chinese holiday) starts today and lasts until April 4.

Elsewhere, April 2 isn't really a public holiday unless your visitors are huge fans of peanutbutter and jelly and celebrate National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day.

ohno




msg:4436137
 11:08 am on Apr 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

SERP's are moving again for me, here we go.........

petehall




msg:4436140
 11:25 am on Apr 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm not seeing any movement now. I wonder of the whirlwind that hit me last week is now with you guys.

I just get the feeling that this update is working it's way round slowly and doesn't affect everyone at once.

Web_speed




msg:4436141
 11:33 am on Apr 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

check out the ebay forums. "seller central" & "ebay stores" in particular. So many posts of sales suddenly stopping it is absolutely ridicules...

I'm going to tell them there they need to start a G+ account. G promised better rank if they do.

One must spread the love...

backdraft7




msg:4436157
 12:31 pm on Apr 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

@garyr_h - sorry, but the Palm Sunday theory holds no water. I ran my sales numbers back to 2005 and every Palm Sunday had great sales numbers.

@Web - Yeah, I tried that G+ thing too, nothing like the feeling of being coerced into a service you don't believe in. Google's approach to business has become psychotic. Every time someone comes out with a good idea, Google feels the need to copy it. Their list of products is becoming ridiculous.
See: [en.wikipedia.org ]

What's funny is the number of failed / retired Google products, like Google Checkout...that didn't last long. I'm surprised they didn't just absorb PayPal. Now, as they fail in some areas, they seem intent on just "keeping the man down" by mixing it up. Kinda like that idiot who always has to tip over your air mattress when you are comfortably floating in the lake.

Hey Google - concentrate on a good, stable search product, not a constellation of other people's products that don't quite work.

Not to repeat myself, but, if they continue to try fighting Facebook, and thus create a total cluster **** like we have today, then they will quickly lose their webmaster following and their user following.
I myself am one step away from switching over to BING.

wingslevel




msg:4436160
 12:47 pm on Apr 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

us ecom. last week we had the lowest average conversion rate on our google referrals since i have been tracking this metric - call it 10 years - the quality of google traffic has never been worse - specifically this was tues-saturday - looking at this traffic hourly, we see the good swings (higher converting) were fewer and farther between - then, yesterday, there was a significant change - our google conversion rate almost doubled since those dark 5 days - we are operating with a sampling of 10s of thousands of visitors, so, i don't think this is any anomaly nor does it have to do with issues with our site - we have a long established conversion rate.

i know it sounds like a copout to say "its not us, its google", but it is - they are sending us garbage referrals because their index is in shambles - particularly the longtails

backdraft7




msg:4436161
 12:48 pm on Apr 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

^^^ thumbs up for wingslevel ^^^^ my data shows the same.


One other quick observation / test:
Yesterday at about noon (that's 4/1/2012) in desperation, I changed my site's main page title slightly. The clock is now ticking to see how long it will take for G to update that title. We all know they process at "a stack of paper three miles high per second"....and when they are running stable, that appears to be true. On a good day, I've seen my Blog posts appear in the serps within minutes! At the current state - I'm guessing it will be a few weeks before the title change is reflected in the serps.

I will report on the effect, either positive or negative that this has on my ranking. I guess sometimes you just have to run into the burning building to save others. lol!

ohno




msg:4436162
 12:53 pm on Apr 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ backdraft, I changed the title on one of our sites last Wednesday, it's now showing in the SERP's.wingslevel is spot on, it really IS Google sending junk, what can you do about that as a webmaster?! ps, backdraft, Google Checkout still lives, just! They sent an email out late last year saying it would rebrand to Google Wallet, still nothing as yet. They have their fingers in far too many pies to fully complete any one project it would seem. So far today I've been watching a big fat ZERO in GA live, I've had one cart add.........from INDIA! Arrrghhhh.

petehall




msg:4436163
 12:55 pm on Apr 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

@backdraft7 I think you'll see the change in 2-3 days. Can you keep an eye on your site: command and check to see if you end up with two home pages cached, as this is what happened to me!

(Its back to normal now by the way)

backdraft7




msg:4436165
 12:57 pm on Apr 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

I hate to be a post hog, but one other thought....

As long as Google already has so many "tabs" at the top of the page, why not add one for "WIKI"?
I love Wikipedia, but I don't love seeing it dominate the organic serps. (or did Google buy that too?)

[edited by: backdraft7 at 1:08 pm (utc) on Apr 2, 2012]

ohno




msg:4436166
 1:02 pm on Apr 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

@petehall, was that right at the top of the results list? Or did you ahve to go through all pages to find the duplicate?

Marketing Guy




msg:4436167
 1:06 pm on Apr 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

It's easy to blame Google for bad results in terms of sales, but it could just be the market is changing overall and end users are becoming much more savvy and rather than using Google as a gateway to ecom sites, the average person is using it as a research tool.

That would affect conversion rates in comparison to historical data - similar traffic levels, but people shopping around more compared what they would do 5/10 years ago. Plus with a new generation coming into adult age that have spent their entire lives with access to the web - that's a very different market to the one most of us started out with.

I'd be willing to bet most webmasters spend more time keeping up to date with Google changes compared to the amount of time they spend researching how their customer base has changed.

10 years is a long time - if your product is restricted to a specific age demographic, then you have a whole new customer base to think about compared to a decade ago. Even an established customer base that is monetised through repeat sales has changed and become more used to using the Internet for research. Add to that the impact of social media, price comparison websites, increased competition, shopping sites, voucher sites, etc..

Technical SEO analysis of rankings is one thing - analysing conversion rates based on what is still largely anonymous Internet traffic is a whole other art form. Just because a site was ranked number 1 last year, the year before or whatever, doesn't mean it stood up to the competition in terms of quality, trust, brand, value for money and so on.

Could it be the case what people are seeing isn't just Google issues, but market issues where people becoming more discerning shoppers in a more social age?

petehall




msg:4436173
 1:14 pm on Apr 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ohno it was in the first page of listings! It happened to quite a few pages as they were being picked up.

As if they were new pages but with the same URL.

They still haven't picked up all my title changes as yet, one week on.

wingslevel




msg:4436174
 1:15 pm on Apr 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

10 years is a long time - if your product is restricted to a specific age demographic, then you have a whole new customer base to think about compared to a decade ago.


fair enough, but our conversion rate has been steady for that entire ten year period, then, just last Tuesday, our conversion rate on google organic referrals only falls off a cliff. our conversion rate last week on other referrals was normal. this has nothing to do with any long term trend and everything to do with the quality of google organic referrals.

ohno




msg:4436175
 1:16 pm on Apr 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ marketing guy, they would not explain a week that goes like this for example, Mon-DEAD, Tues-DEAD, Wed-best sales day in 10 years, Thurs-OK, Fri-quiet until late afternoon then turns into one of the best sales days all month, weekend-DEAD. Then you couple these awful days with junk foreign traffic, I'm afraid it all points to Google IMO.

Marketing Guy




msg:4436176
 1:18 pm on Apr 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

Fair enough. :)

Identified the source of the change? I've seen conversion rates halfed on a 3/4k visitor / day site because 1 ranking was lost (happened to be bringing in a load of traffic that was converting well).

Marketing Guy




msg:4436180
 1:20 pm on Apr 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ohno did traffic drop or just conversions?

backdraft7




msg:4436181
 1:20 pm on Apr 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

@MG - While that's is a great theory and generally a good practice to understand your buyers, our data says it's not a change in the buyer, but rather a change in the volume and quality of the buyers.

Mayday was the last update to really pound us into the ground. One day we are clicking along just fine, the next day nothing. That's not buyers suddenly becoming more savvy.

Same case this year, we are clicking along fine from the first of the year right up until Venice is released upon us, then Bam! suddenly sales drop like a rock.

I do agree that buyers are becoming more savvy, but that is evident over a longer time span. In 2008 when the economy was bad, I was doing double the sales on half the traffic. Now I'm at double the traffic of 2008 and half the sales. Buyer savvy accounts for SOME of that, but not all.

The scope of Google's product has become too large and distracting. Now rather than using the search engine to find things, it now leads users away from sites and onto videos and social networking, which by my definition is one of the biggest time wasting networks every devised. However I digress.

You're right though, it's an art form. But right now that art looks like it was made by Koko the Gorilla!


BTW - I also tried to blame it on the recent warm weather, but that doesn't hold either. I ran our past numbers against weather records and warm / cold spells had only a minor effect on sales.

[edited by: backdraft7 at 1:25 pm (utc) on Apr 2, 2012]

bobsc




msg:4436182
 1:21 pm on Apr 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

Could it be the case what people are seeing isn't just Google issues, but market issues where people becoming more discerning shoppers in a more social age?
It's Google issues. Period.
Just look at the SERPs.

ohno




msg:4436183
 1:24 pm on Apr 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

Traffic has been all over the place, as has the quality. Bounce rates shot up last month & have remained there. I've spoken to a few people in different sectors both on here & around the UK, they are seeing the same things! It's Google, have no doubts there. As to what you can do about it, my gut feeling is sweet FA.

backdraft7




msg:4436186
 1:32 pm on Apr 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ohno did traffic drop or just conversions?


I think Ohno may concur on this... Traffic did not drop appreciably, but conversion fell dramatically.
Again, perhaps a little buyer savvy in there, but as of recent, the distracting number of options, tabs, services, social networking attempts and the everloving everflux continually destabilizes the serps.

The Venice update includes 40 individual quality updates? How can you expect stability in the face of that many changes?

It's Google!

[edited by: backdraft7 at 1:38 pm (utc) on Apr 2, 2012]

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