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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]

 

irishsolar




msg:4437981
 2:39 pm on Apr 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

There are not only weak sites that have come out of nowhere to land high in the SERPs but on one competitive "how to" keyword an extremely weak affiliate site that was first registered on 01/26/2012 is holding a prominent position on page 1.

The number 2 spot is held by another weak affiliate site with no new content added since Nov. 2011 and which has only 136 backlinks.

And guess what? Most of those links are coming from clearly identifiable blog network posts!

Anyone else seeing this type of thing for their keywords?

It is obvious to me that this has something to do with the type of backlinks being built and nothing at all to do with on-page.

I mentioned before in the continuation of this thread (now moved back here) that sites which were relying heavily on spammy blog comments had rose to the top and I thought they would get zapped and that is exactly what I have seen happen in my niches in the last day or two.

Now I think they are doing the same with blog network type links.

These current results must be temporary. I am predicting another round of site zapping!

Taking out BMR and ALN manually was just the start. These recent upheavals are algorithmic and designed to hit sites that are using tried-and-tested SEO methods.

I believe this is the over-optimization penalties Matt Cutts referred to.

I have seen my site go from position 3 to being completely taken out of the SERPs for this "how to" keyword, then re-enter again only to disappear once more. Yesterday it re-entered yet again but this time way down the SERPs on page 10. It quickly rose to the top of page 7 within a few hours them promptly vanished again.

I think everyone should stop panicking and wait until the dust settles to see what real damage has been done.

However, I would be interested in knowing the type of backlink profile that the top sites have in everyone's niche.

What type of backlinks are they relying on? Is their backlink profile clearly fabricated using deceptive tactics such as spammy blog comments, paid links or blog networks?

Come on guess let's stop bitching about big bad google and work out what's going on! :)

reseller




msg:4437985
 3:00 pm on Apr 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

@irishsolar

I have seen my site go from position 3 to being completely taken out of the SERPs for this "how to" keyword, then re-enter again only to disappear once more.


Have you tested your "how to" keyword on Google Hong Kong [google.com.hk...] ? do you like what you see?

BaseballGuy




msg:4437989
 3:06 pm on Apr 6, 2012 (gmt 0)


I mentioned before in the continuation of this thread (now moved back here) that sites which were relying heavily on spammy blog comments had rose to the top and I thought they would get zapped and that is exactly what I have seen happen in my niches in the last day or two.



If it's any consolation, I'm in the same boat as you. Up and down, up and down, up and down.

I'm ranked #4 on my Macbook laptop on Wifi, I'm ranked #15 on my Gateway Desktop (wired), and out where my Dad lives (he's in Midwest, I'm in Cali), I'm not ranked at all.

Meanwhile, exact match domain names once again take up the top spot. Good thing I made a good impression on god many years ago. Even though god got fired and replaced by a nobody.

jkdt0077




msg:4437998
 3:24 pm on Apr 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing changes happening in the last couple of hours. Keywords I've been monitoring for the last few days are returning to something like normal. Hopefully this will filter through to all results over the next day or two.

irishsolar




msg:4438020
 3:52 pm on Apr 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

@reseller the Hong Kong results on page 9 of the SERPs returns an internal page from my site that is neither optimized for the keyword nor is it totally relevant.

I'm noticing some movement on page 1 in HK as well though.

irishsolar




msg:4438023
 3:58 pm on Apr 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

I should add as well that like many people I had a short-lived spike in traffic at one stage that lasted several days.

Traffic is now down significantly but conversion rates are up.

According to my site stats my traffic is still coming from the same keywords mostly via Google (although in smaller numbers) even though I can't find my site anywhere for those searches on 3 different devices here and in 2 different countries.

My sales are coming from all over the USA but in too small numbers to ascertain if they are localised each day.

However, I presume that if personalised or localised results are at play, as mentioned by other members, then they must be rotating them.

George




msg:4438042
 4:29 pm on Apr 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

Another. Not posted here for a year or two, as I have been focussing on improving conversions, more better products, and so it is a shock to fall of the wave, although, I have always known it would happen one day.

Small family ecom site. Been on the web since 1999. Only lost 50% of the traffic, mostly to high street stores.

Suspecting changes to the value of internal anchor text. Many well converting 3-4 word phrases vanished. company "misspelling" vanished (high converting phrase.) Need a few days to work this out.
Possibly loss of value from incoming anchor texts.

Main phrase dropped down front page, but not vanished. It tends to be what people link to us for, not our name, as it is what we do, So I suspect it is held in place by good anchor text. It is as if the site has lost some authority.

Still performing fine if I am logged into Google... Seems odd. Just means you always get what you always got...

onebuyone




msg:4438072
 5:30 pm on Apr 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

Suspecting changes to the value of internal anchor text


Does it mean that we need to make more pages with exact title match?

mh_and




msg:4438138
 8:23 pm on Apr 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

@SnowMan68 well it's almost the same here, but April 5 was still Thursday..

Anyways good to hear some kind of similar stats, after one year of Pandalization and a lot of changes March update seems to be positive and really hope this traffic drop is because of holidays.

Thanks and Happy Easter to all

snickles121




msg:4438139
 8:27 pm on Apr 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

Did Google finally realized they messed things up?

[news.yahoo.com...]

BaseballGuy




msg:4438143
 8:40 pm on Apr 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

Does it mean thatwe need to make more pages with exact title match?


I'm still waiting for Google to ding the exact match domain names....which to me is hugely over-optimization. But apparently not...

My gut feeling is that at most, we will lose 10% of traffic (those of us who were affected on April 1st). I lost 50% for my main keyword yesterday.....up a tick today. Google keeps on slowly tightening the noose around all of the small guy's necks.

epmaniac




msg:4438147
 8:53 pm on Apr 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

my traffic is down 30% since yesterday... is it because of easter?

George




msg:4438164
 9:45 pm on Apr 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

Google keeps on slowly tightening the noose around all of the small guy's necks
.

That is the problem for me. In my niche, the serps look more and more like the high street. Well, sometimes it is nice to have something different. imho.

But then we cannot spend on ads the way the big boys can.

garyr_h




msg:4438186
 11:27 pm on Apr 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

When we say things like "yesterday", I think we should all quantify that by stating exactly which day was yesterday since we are all from different parts of the world. I made the same mistake.

When I stated "yesterday" earlier, I meant Thursday and not Friday.

Traffic was down for Thursday, which is unusual for Easter since it is mostly a regular day around the world.

venti




msg:4438209
 1:54 am on Apr 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

@epmaniac We are observing the same thing.

Bigwebmaster




msg:4438218
 4:51 am on Apr 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

Our traffic is also down quite a bit since Thursday on our main site which for the most part was never affected by any of the algo changes recently including Panda from last year. I compared stats with last year around Easter and the Thursday, the day before Good Friday traffic was also noticeably lower than a week before that. The reason I am posting though is traffic is down considerably more than what it normally goes down around this time of the year. Slightly concerning to me.

chrisv1963




msg:4438225
 7:01 am on Apr 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm still waiting for Google to ding the exact match domain names....which to me is hugely over-optimization. But apparently not...


I agree. I have a domain that I don't use any longer. There's only a white homepage with a title, one phrase and 5 links to direct visitors to pages on my main website. It has been like this for 2 years now.

Guess what ... it ranks. Page one in the serps.

When the keywords are in the domain name, you have a huge chance of getting ranked, even without content. If you do have the content, but no keyword(s) in the domain, then you have a huge disadvantage.

reseller




msg:4438228
 7:40 am on Apr 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

I wouldn't be surprised to read something like the following in a near future Google Search Quality Highlights report:

Tweaks to handling of domain name. [launch codename "Emmy"] This month we turned off a classifier related to domain name. Our experimental data suggested that other methods of domain quality processing had greater success, so turning off this component made our scoring cleaner and more robust.

garyr_h




msg:4438232
 8:36 am on Apr 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

@reseller one can only hope. People try to brand their business, but having a domain name like cheap-widgets-for-her.com|org|net isn't a brand to me, it's just over-optimization. They've been preaching that they want to get rid of over-optimzation, why not take that step? Mom and Pop stores aren't going to have names like that.

Or maybe Google will start to buy up all the domains with "search engine" in them.

bobsc




msg:4438236
 9:07 am on Apr 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have a domain that I don't use any longer. There's only a white homepage with a title, one phrase and 5 links to direct visitors to pages on my main website. It has been like this for 2 years now.

Guess what ... it ranks. Page one in the serps.
Yep, Google "loves" doorway pages.

Pitiful! Does Google's spam team do anything about it? NO

petehall




msg:4438237
 9:12 am on Apr 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

I don't have an issue with the keyword domain names - either as an SEO or user. If I'm looking for something specific I don't really care about the other widgets a company might sell.

With regard to updates, I haven't seen any significant movement in Google SERPs since the end of March. Traffic is now converting much better than before which is good.

Hissingsid




msg:4438240
 9:52 am on Apr 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

Exact keyword domain names have always helped to some extent but this is something else. Could it be that the balance in weighting between internal anchor and external anchor has been turned way over to external and as a result exact keyword domains, where the domain name has been used in anchor text gets a massive boost?

They can't leave it like this it's just too easy to spam. They will end up going the way of Altavista at this rate.

Sid

PS I can't help thinking that a clumsy new Google "engineer" has accidentally knocked the anchor text swingometer way over to the left and no one has noticed because they are all away at Vale getting some late season snow boarding in.

garyr_h




msg:4438263
 12:35 pm on Apr 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

I just noticed something. My site ranks better in every non-English language search. Once I change it to English, the results look basically the same as .com

Something to do with synonyms? Panda?

It does look like slightly less emphasis on domain names. But I really wonder if it is something Panda related.

Edit: The results aren't just because I'm using a non-whatever-language IP. When I use an anonymous proxy from that country I see the same results.

Maybe they aren't using the synonyms because it's not the same language and they don't load multiple language synonyms across the results?

Very confusing.

[edited by: garyr_h at 1:18 pm (utc) on Apr 7, 2012]

chrisv1963




msg:4438265
 12:39 pm on Apr 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

Yep, Google "loves" doorway pages.

Pitiful! Does Google's spam team do anything about it? NO


What really makes me mad is that a lot of good and useful sites got pandalized because "bright" engineers are convinced that you should punish an entire website when a part of it is not of high quality (according to whathever their standard for quality is) and at the same moment Google allows domain name spam.

backdraft7




msg:4438269
 1:20 pm on Apr 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

Ok, guess I can't hold back...hope I don't get censored...

Another bad move in the serps this morning. A site that scrapes our content has now moved to the #1 position for a top search phrase. The #2 site is the same site operator's DUPLICATE content site on a different domain. (same adsense id's) The second also claims "free widget" when it offers no widgets at all, just a rehash of the first site. THIS IS QUALITY?

This not only violates the WMGL's, it violates what the new algo's (from Florida through Venice) are SUPPOSED to detect, but still cannot. Speculate all you want on the technical metrics that Google has tweaked....the bottom line is that Google is still broken. That or sorting blindly.

Oh,and my localization results (for my Midwestern US location) still delivers New York and Los Angles sites than are useless to me search. FUBAR!

George




msg:4438274
 1:47 pm on Apr 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

I seem to remember some time in the past, when for a while doorway pages ranked, but then as it settled down,results got more sensible. This sounds much like a stage of reorganisation, not a final result.

garyr_h




msg:4438283
 3:20 pm on Apr 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

@George seriously hope so, but I won't hold my breath. They already normalized results across their databases, that isn't usually done mid-reorganization. However, it is Easter weekend, which means low traffic. If they are going to make a major change it would be this weekend.

ak_web




msg:4438327
 7:42 pm on Apr 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

re: THIS IS QUALITY?

This is NOTHING.
You found one bad result among billions of not bad. Statistically this is nothing. It will be nothing even you'll find thousands of bad results. There is such science, called Statistics. Try to read at least basics about it to make any conclusions. Seriously, it will save you a lot of time to work on your site instead of finding holes in others work.

Current public <--> Google relations remind me the public <--> Microsoft relations back in the end of the last century. "Windows sucks, Unix forever" ... remember ? 15 years past,but Windows still on the top. And it's still not perfect.

In fact, I'm not about you ... waste your time, as you want. But with such flood you're wasting my time. Unfortunately here is no option to hide posts of some "advanced users".

Right after Panda, I also thought something wrong with G. Then I met a friend of mine. He owned a network of websites with total traffic about 1mio per day, but we didn't see each other for a while. So I asked him how was everything and appeared, that he was not in online business anymore, but was working for a bank as a programmer.
Surpriiiiiise ) He hadn't even heard about Panda !
I was intrigued, because if even SUCH really advanced user have no clue about the latest Google changes, what do we want from an average user ?
The next question I asked him was "And how do you find Google results nowadays ?" I supposed to hear at least "so so" .....
But another surpriiiiiise ... "Awesome",- he said.
"What ? Are you sure ?"
"Absolutely. Everything I need, I can find on the first page. I tried Bing, but no way. Google is the best".
Then I tried to ask him such questions, so he could remember at least some falls. You know, because I couldn't imagine the "awesome" thing )) ... Yes ! He remembered - couple of times he found what he needed on the second page ! ... )) That's it )

And latest market share results confirm - users are still with G. Means you can waste your time, finding holes and reporting them on WW, but users are still with G.
"Windows sucks" ... remember ? )

P.S. I don't expect to stop this "Google sucks" flood, this is simply impossible, but probably at least somebody will find a better way to spend there time and save my time, as this forum reader.
But option to hide some users would be very useful.

irishsolar




msg:4438339
 8:16 pm on Apr 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

ak_web your post strongly resembles the same quality exhibited by many of the top ranking sites that have surfaced in my niches after these latest updates. No wonder you don't see a problem with the Google results!

You cannot seriously not know that these spammy substandard sites are ranking across the board. If you do not know that then you obviously have no idea what you are talking about in regards to your other points.

I agree wholeheartedly with George. I think this is a stage of letting the garbage rise to the top before nuking it. There is no way these results will stay this way or people will just stop using Google.

No-one wants to read substandard English and be subjected to useless information that is, at best lacking and at worst, irrelevant to their query thus leaving them with no option but to click on an advert or the back button!

Things will settle down eventually.

ak_web




msg:4438347
 8:44 pm on Apr 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

irishsolar, I'm not a writer and don't pretend to be )

re " No-one wants to read ..."
This is your thought. Google users disagree with you since during the year after Panda market share didn't move.
You can build your web-property for yourself and enjoy your perfect(?) grammar by yourself. But this has nothing to do with the online business.

Or probably something wrong with your standarts ? )

BaseballGuy




msg:4438349
 8:54 pm on Apr 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have an older affiliate site that pretty much has been collecting dust over the past 5 years. Upload new content a few times a month and that's about it.

It's currently ranking for a keyword or two that it hasn't ranked for in almost 2? years.

However, it's not getting any traffic (as per Google analytics).

My guess is that the current set of search results are only temporary (for the Easter weekend) and come next week it's going to fluctuate yet again.

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