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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]

 

Seb7




msg:4436541
 4:23 am on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Well, after years of google changes hardly having any effect on my websites. I thought I would check again after reading this thread, and wow, things have changed this month, and mainly for the better. Terms that could hardly be found are now on the front page, its almost as if 90% of the competition disappeared.

I dont think its an old/new thing, as my old sites are still good. Some of my sites I could never get ranked for reasons I could never explain, are now working to expectations.

Whats funny is my positions in Google are now looking more like the positions I have in Bing.

I had already noticed sudden traffic changes happening last week, but not as much as I would expect for such position changes, doesnt seem to be local stuff, so I'm a little confused. (Im not logged in to Google)

To me, Google has made a significant change, I'm guessing they have removed a metric that they used to rely heavily on.

ohno




msg:4436551
 5:54 am on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ Seb7, the problem is ranking well does not seem to matter. All the data I have to had suggests we rank well for are usual phrases yet we get the zombie traffic like the others. How can you supposedly rank top 3 page 1 yet go from good to bad conversion rates? All it can be is a screw up on personalised results I think.

tigger




msg:4436553
 6:25 am on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm starting to see some movement - by the looks of things started around 12 last night. Still a lot of spam around but "some" has vanished, they just need to do another sweep

Anyone else see a change around 12 last night?

bluntforce




msg:4436560
 7:07 am on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

April 2nd marked the end of March Madness which is a U.S. based university basketball playoff competition. This year, in March, I've seen my signup demographics switch to more females signing up during March (best guess based on names)rather than males.

I believe in down economic cycles affordable entertainment, such as free university basketball games, generally does well. If the female trend continues in April, then I'll look at design changes to appeal to that market segment.

There have always been times where traffic goes other places. Daily numbers don't mean much, when we move to weeks and months then trends become identifiable.

I really don't see any benefit in trying to follow SERPs/signups on less than a weekly basis.
Why should I follow it closer than that?

Hissingsid




msg:4436563
 7:22 am on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

@smithaa..

Google on the other hand thinks if somebody does a search for 'insects', then an appropriate result would be a site exclusively about grasshoppers or ladybugs...which is nonsense.


I agree. There is something going on related to broad match, phrase match and session based match. Google is trying to guess what you are looking for.

Its a bit like semantics "word association football" (qu Monty Python's).

There's some other semantics stuff going on as well in my niche. The big $ keyword terms serps have been invaded by exact keyword match relatively new sites with 100 backlinks for paid directory networks.

jkdt0077




msg:4436567
 7:45 am on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Tigger, I see another big change happening, starting late last night. The last 2 days I received record G traffic with good conversion too. Today the switch has flipped again and my sited have all but disappeared from the SERPs again.

bluntforce




msg:4436568
 7:49 am on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

"There is something going on related to broad match, phrase match and session based match. Google is trying to guess what you are looking for."

Seriously? Of course that's what they are doing,it's what they are supposed to do.

ohno




msg:4436573
 7:57 am on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

I really don't see any benefit in trying to follow SERPs/signups on less than a weekly basis.
Why should I follow it closer than that?

Because things are changing by the HOUR not days/weeks.

Hissingsid




msg:4436576
 8:19 am on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Seriously? Of course that's what they are doing,it's what they are supposed to do.


The operative word is "trying".

Guessing and failing!

My Adwords spend dropped dramatically when I switched of the Google guessing options like broad match and session based match -- but -- my conversions did not fall. As a result the cost per conversion fell dramatically. If you do Adwords look at your long tail 100% CTR 100% bounce rate search terms and you will see how Google guesses. Its a pile of doo.

Now recently they have done something to change how they are guessing on organic search and it is failing miserably.

Sid

tigger




msg:4436578
 8:32 am on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Tigger, I see another big change happening, starting late last night. The last 2 days I received record G traffic with good conversion too. Today the switch has flipped again and my sited have all but disappeared from the SERPs again.


I've had one site vanish but my main money site increased but I'm still seeing loads of sites that shouldn't be around - I'm betting another tweak is on the way

bluntforce




msg:4436579
 8:35 am on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hourly changes do not matter if you are building for the long term, monthly changes might have significance but shorter term changes are fleeting.

Trying to determine where you should emphasize your efforts based on hourly SERP changes most likely won't result in productive site changes. Take a step back and ask yourself how you can make your site better for one random user.

One happy user leads to more happy users.

ohno




msg:4436581
 8:40 am on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

You miss the point, you can't build any site for Google right now, it's far too volotile. We've always made sites for customers NOT search engines. However if a search engine decides your site is suddenly junk (for whatever reason) your customers can no longer find you. You then have two choices, sit back or try & work out what is going on. Waiting for a week to pass is not an option if you are going to have any hope in understanding what on earth is happening.

Hissingsid




msg:4436583
 8:55 am on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

@bluntforce

This thread is a discussion of Google Updates and SERP changes in April 2012 it is not for general advice on how to build a nice warm and wooly site that your users might like if they can find you.

There are loads of threads and FAQs here on that subject perhaps you will be happier there.

bluntforce




msg:4436585
 9:01 am on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

I thought we were working with the concept of building for users. "You can't build any site for Google right now" is kind of a different issue where I don't normally go.

ohno




msg:4436589
 9:15 am on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

This thread isn't about that, it's about the SERP's which are changing by the hour!

Hissingsid




msg:4436591
 9:17 am on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Don't feed it!

bluntforce




msg:4436593
 9:22 am on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Hissingsid

I'm sorry if I presented things that don't agree with your concept that Google is out to get you.

While I don't care for them as a company, they really aren't out to "get" individuals, it's just computer programs.

Shaddows




msg:4436605
 9:51 am on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

IMHO...

Trends and events, that's what this thread is for. Hourly sales data (or even traffic data) is not particularly useful.

What this thread is NOT, is good business advice. Start other threads for that, or visit another forum on this board.

This thread spotted Caffeine and Mayday. It's commentated on realtime datacentre reboots. It's shown big players pop in and out of SERP existance. It's almost always been the origination point of of all the big side-threads, before they got split away.

None of this happens in monthly data logs, as important as they are to the growth of your business.

Hissingsid




msg:4436618
 10:38 am on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

We were also the first to work out what had happened at the Florida update.

It's really interesting how this thread works. There are periods of apparent randomness then it kind of coalesces into consensus or sometimes two divergent but equally plausible theories.

I'm sure Tedster will be along soon to cut out the irrelevant recent postings, including this one. No doubt I'll have my wrist slapped for reacting but eh such is life ...

SnowMan68




msg:4436629
 11:39 am on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

It definitely feels like another update happened again yesterday. Our site lost another 10% of G referrals. We started 2012 on record referral traffic and now we are back to August-September type referrals. Not sure what is going on here....

wingslevel




msg:4436643
 1:04 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

from mhansen - Looking at a few of the pages where we are seeing a drop in direct long tail traffic from Google, it's obvious to me that the internal anchor text has been discounted, as well as some kind of optimization de-ranking. (or a combination of both)

Formerly top ranked (1-3 serp rank, longtail) internal pages such as [brand widget model] that were linked only internally are no longer ranking in the top 20. The main homepage however, still ranks in the top 5 for the longtail. Since the website homepage still ranks in the top 5, it cannot be an "authority not passing" type issue to me.


I see this a often - we have lots of two word category pages on our ecom site that outrank their specific three word child pages in the serp. So, the query would be 'widget brand model' and the serp would return our 'widget brand' page - this in spite of the fact that we have a 'widget brand model' page which is full of good content about that model. For me, this example strikes to the heart of the longtail problem. As a searcher, when i query 'widget brand model', the specificity is not accidental.

I think it would be great if google, whose engineers spend lots of time trying to divine searcher's intent, could relax some of that functionality on longer queries - i think it would be an easy dial to turn - more weight to on-page signals on progressively longer queries. This way less sophisticated searchers who are typing in single and 2 word keywords would get all of the help they need and people who know what they want won't be frustrated.

Martin Ice Web




msg:4436654
 1:47 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Very, very big shake up. Lost again -20%, conversion is ZERO. I noticed sites that have non context to the query, that we ranking down #8 are now #1. Very poor.

Within most querys I see the #1 and #2 are from the same domain but different subpages.

petehall




msg:4436661
 1:57 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Martin again I see little movement in the niche which was hit hard on the 23rd.

This update is doing the rounds industry by industry, I swear. Or were you hit on the 23rd as well?

SnowMan68




msg:4436666
 2:00 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

@petehall....we were hit in the March 22-23 timeframe. Hit again yesterday.

Martin Ice Web




msg:4436679
 2:15 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

@pete we did not see any movement on 23rd ( just half a day, then it was stable but no lost in conversion/visitors )

But I see now, that the visitors ( the few that are coming ) are coming from second and 3rd result page. That counts for quality.

I would like to see a winner, but I think the winners are not SEO related, I do a webside , Yeah I do have a webside webmasters and will not know WebmasterWorld.

jkdt0077




msg:4436691
 2:35 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Martin Ice Web: "But I see now, that the visitors ( the few that are coming ) are coming from second and 3rd result page. That counts for quality"

I am seeing this too. In fact most of my traffic is now coming from page 5 or 6 even! Users must be getting incredibly frustrated at the quality of the SERPs being shown to them.

BaseballGuy




msg:4436719
 3:33 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)


Tigger, I see another big change happening, starting late last night. The last 2 days I received record G traffic with good conversion too. Today the switch has flipped again and my sited have all but disappeared from the SERPs again.


Yeah, I got hit on April 1st, then later that day everything corrected....now this morning April 3rd, back down the garbage chute.

7 year old white hat site. Not even a smudge of "over SEO".

rlange




msg:4436725
 3:39 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

(This is a tangent, but I don't think that's a good reason to allow misinformation to go uncorrected.)

backdraft7 wrote:
What's funny is the number of failed / retired Google products, like Google Checkout...that didn't last long.

Err... Google Checkout is still around.

I'm surprised they didn't just absorb PayPal.

PayPal was bought by eBay in 2002 for US$1.5 billion. Google couldn't afford that back then.

--
Ryan

ak_web




msg:4436750
 4:37 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

@rlange don't flood with your facts ... we're here to read ohno&Co. hourly sales reports ...

)

graeme_p




msg:4436820
 6:55 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

it's obvious to me that the internal anchor text has been discounted


Consistent with what I have been seeing since mid January.

System
redhat



msg:4436841
 7:44 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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

[edited by: tedster at 2:22 am (utc) on Apr 5, 2012]

This 888 message thread spans 30 pages: < < 888 ( 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 ... 30 > >
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