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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]

 

tedster




msg:4435791
 4:52 am on Apr 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

Surely, google users will notice these crap results and start moving away... soon.

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

Hmm... something just doesn't ring true about that. I'd wait a while before making that conclusion.

I think the first quote above (from the March threadO is closer to the situation... unless... Google has decided that ecommerce is not the intention of the great majority of users making that specific query.

If that is the case, and it doesn't switch back soon, then you really do need to diversify your sources for traffic acquisition. I assume you've been re-thinking that already, since you've been in a sort of crisis mode for an extended period.

backdraft7




msg:4435793
 5:09 am on Apr 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm also noticing that localization is either completely broken of being quickly gamed. My search includes results for sites and topics from Los Angeles to New York and all points in between. My location is set to a medium sized Midwestern city. I am also noticing that results include many sites that use only one or two occurrences of my test key word and are so vaguely related that it's not funny.

I agree with your cautionary comment tedster...I usually have that patience, but like I said, this one looks like it could stick. I hope you are correct.

Logged in I'm obviously listed on top (as in the past). I can't see how Google's option of the "personal results" is of any help to the user. That's what bookmarks are for. I know what sites I own. As it is presently, when I'm logged in, the results pages are cluttered with sites I own or I've searched before. That's not what I use search for. I like to find NEW & MOST RELEVANT results. Not stuff I am already familiar with.

Looks like Google also wants to add your bookmarking and personal sites rankings (G+) to your results. DUMB! Too many options, features and settings....Google's attempt to become EVERYTHING & EVERYONE has become a real cluster....

Finally - today has got to be the absolute worst results I've EVER seen in Google's SERPS.
It's GOT to be another sort in progress....and it's costing webmasters around the world their livelihoods.

It's hard to believe we've even survived the past 2 years (Since MayDay).

Google, please! "Don't be evil"! because I think a vote right now would put the evil index quite high. lol!

Zivush




msg:4435798
 6:26 am on Apr 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

Am I the only one who've noticed two small Panda iterations lately?
According to my stats: The first one was between 23 and 24 March and the second update happened on 30 and 31 March.
What I have seen -
My site gained 15% on the first update and another 5% increase on the second update (consequently).
I crossed checked with Bing/Yahoo traffic and there weren't any niche trend at these dates so it's real.

Hissingsid




msg:4435805
 8:13 am on Apr 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

There's something not quite right but it is difficult to put your finger on what disease it is a symptom of. I'm trying to look not at why my main site has dropped for the most important 2 word term in my niche but rather what has caused the sites that have risen to do so.

Newness, exact keyword domain and rapid backlink building (only in 100 or so directories) seems to do the trick. Perhaps there's something deeper we are missing.

In my niche the affected terms all include a word that has a different semantic meaning at each side of the Atlantic. For other terms and other sites I maintain I'm not affected.

tigger




msg:4435807
 8:19 am on Apr 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

Newness, exact keyword domain and rapid backlink building (only in 100 or so directories) seems to do the trick.


I disagree - the reason I know this is within my niche I have two sites that are ranking very high for a single keyword that haven't been touched for 5years! ( they are not my sites)

Looking at the serps they are a mess and I believe if you keep content level high and building solid links your site will recover ...in time! as G will not want to leave the rubbish thats current in place

petehall




msg:4435820
 10:00 am on Apr 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

My affected is now ranking high for sightly different terms. Whilst initially shocked, I've reduced the title tags down and focused on less phrases.

The result is great! 1-3 on most terms as the site updates and the traffic is converting much better.

Reminds me of the old phrase turnover is vanity an profit is sanity. What use were these extra visitors to me... none!

Panic over for the time being - now to improve the site further.Currently busy writing unique product reviews now, but not today as it's Sunday roast time.

Hissingsid




msg:4435828
 10:58 am on Apr 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

@tigger That's interesting. I wonder if this is a specific keyword semantics issue, perhaps anchor text related, then.

tigger




msg:4435831
 11:20 am on Apr 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Hissingsid

right now its switching around so much I don't think you can anallise whats going on - I've been moving from 3rd to 14th for a single word to be replaced by sites that haven't been touched for years ! you figure it. All I'm "trying" to do is keep an eye on the content quality and assume at some stage G will realise this latest panda release is flawed

bobsc




msg:4435835
 11:22 am on Apr 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

Finally - today has got to be the absolute worst results I've EVER seen in Google's SERPS.
I didn't think they could get any worse BUT they have.

Is this Google's April fools day joke?

backdraft7




msg:4435844
 1:18 pm on Apr 1, 2012 (gmt 0)


Is this Google's April fools day joke?

...we can only hope!

I guess you coined the name for this algo update > "April Fools"!

I'm considering doing the unthinkable - changing my home page title for the first time in over 5 years.
Two of my weak minded competitors have copied the first four words of my title verbatim, then just mixed the remaining words up. Now I believe G and customers alike are thoroughly confused.

This update seems to be the same old pattern though of long established sites taking a dive and short lived thin sites rising temporarily to the top...the only difference I see is that the sorts are taking longer than in the past.

mhansen




msg:4435858
 3:24 pm on Apr 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

Yet another negative change to search result quality at Google this week. You have to wonder what effect these lower quality results have on their net income.

We saw several of our high referral terms drop 2-5 positions on a few sites over the last 2-4 days, and they are replaced with sites we consider spam. (re-written lower quality content, hyphenated-keyword-domains, multiple adsense blocks, spammy link profile)

tedster




msg:4435860
 3:39 pm on Apr 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

Am I the only one who've noticed two small Panda iterations lately?
According to my stats: The first one was between 23 and 24 March and the second update happened on 30 and 31 March.

@Zivush, I'm sure that you noticed ranking/traffic changes and some kind of updates - but I think it's very unlikely these were Panda iterations. Panda is extremely computationally intensive and two iterations one week apart is not a practical thing for Google right now.

ErnestHemingway




msg:4435878
 4:11 pm on Apr 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hey Guys!

Is it April Fools at Google today? Search results are a mess right now. Just last week they did a great update which cleaned Spammy Adsense sites however today they did another update and those sites are all back on top.

Hopefully just an April fool and not real update.

garyr_h




msg:4435884
 4:23 pm on Apr 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Zivush, if you read back through the thread a little bit you'll notice that we have been relaying changes virtually every day, especially with long-tail but also some others overall.

If your site relies on long-tail, you'll probably see some huge fluctuations depending on the day. I saw some large change on the 30th and 31st as well, but it wasn't Panda. I believe it is just them pushing buttons like they have been all through March.

EDIT: Definitely seeing a huge mess right now. Is this what G was talking about when mentioning they want non-SEO sites to get more attention? Because it looks like tumblr and other blogs are getting quite a bit. Also, non-US sites showing up all over the place for .com. Never saw it to this extent before. Of course, the ones which are showing up are blogs.

backdraft7




msg:4435887
 4:39 pm on Apr 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

I just published a ton of changes...one thing I had missed is that my BBB (better business bureau) link code had recently changed so it was referring to a dead javascript application. Did a total housecleaning on outdated pages, updated my title (hope that works) and did some minor content tweaks.
Also deleted all non paying / or poor performing affiliate links.

Now, the question is: how long will it take G to digest these updates?
In the past, I've seen my blog pages update within minutes, but the gears must be grinding hard in the GDC.
It can be tough to force myself into making changes on a site that has ranked well for years, but it's gotta be done. Sunday noon, I usually have a dozen sales so far, but today, not a one.

Zivush




msg:4435888
 4:43 pm on Apr 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

If your site relies on long-tail, you'll probably see some huge fluctuations depending on the day.

Yes. My site relies mostly on long tail & it's a wordpress blog.
Panda or not, I hope it will continue.

BaseballGuy




msg:4435898
 5:22 pm on Apr 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

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.


Yeah, I just got hit too, this morning. In place is all garbage and fake information.

Google is destroying the quality of their search results.

Yes, I had an affiliate link or two.....but I also had the best content, from a user perspective. How do I know? I queried my visitors and designed that page to what they told me they were looking for.

"Build for your visitors", my ass!

petehall




msg:4435911
 6:09 pm on Apr 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

I do wonder if what I've been seeing for the last week has now hit you guys as my results look the same now.

There has been little change since, and there's low quality sites everywhere... probably the biggest changes in 5+ years.

Are they doing the rounds sector by sector perhaps?

n00b1




msg:4435914
 6:25 pm on Apr 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

Yeah well done Google. You made it increasingly difficult for people to find solid information in my niche. Now you have made it nearly impossible. Complete disservice to your users and I sincerely hope that the pieces are picked up in the end.

brinked




msg:4435916
 6:41 pm on Apr 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

Yesterday was a huge day for me. One of the industries I am involved in has had a major brand rank for the #1 position for about 3 years straight and in the top 5 results for the last 6+ years. They are one of the top 50 most popular websites on the internet according to alexa and google trends even lists them a lot. They have about 500k fb likes to give an inidication.

They have finally fallen to #4! Not only that, some video page is ranking #4 and not even their home page.

I will be studying their website to see if anything changed that might have caused their drop. I know it cant be their links.

tigger




msg:4435922
 7:25 pm on Apr 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

Yeah well done Google. You made it increasingly difficult for people to find solid information in my niche. Now you have made it nearly impossible. Complete disservice to your users and I sincerely hope that the pieces are picked up in the end.


not if they click on the ads ! G have the market now and by throwing up crap results they are doing just what they want driving everyone into there ads .......lets hope the surfer sees this and looks elsewhere

n00b1




msg:4435923
 7:34 pm on Apr 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

The ads don't really lead to solid information though :D.

n00b1




msg:4435924
 7:37 pm on Apr 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

I should mention - in my niche, anyway.

backdraft7




msg:4435926
 7:41 pm on Apr 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

Anyone hear any scuttlebutt from Matt Cutts or his clones? I'd like to know what they are calling this apparent update - I've got a few choice names for it myself. If it's part of Venice, then it's aptly named cause I'm under water.

Just tried one of the SEO sites Multi DC tools, (not sure if those still work), but if it is working, then my long time single word term is NOT in the top 100. THAT looks like a hard penalty....but for what?

Looks like years of white hat practice won't save us.

You know, if it's just that my site is always a test case, give me a break already! It's somebody else's turn in the barrel.

backdraft7




msg:4435936
 8:07 pm on Apr 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

Ok, so after a few seconds of research it's apparent that this is indeed part of the 40 Venice updates. This is going to absolutely KILL any businesses that rely on nationwide customers when the business operates from a single location.

Correct me if I'm wrong (I usually am) but are they trying to make me a local business ONLY now? It sounds to me that after the dust settles, the only people who will find me are local customers. I have customers around the entire globe!

The way the new strategy sounds is that you need to create a separate page for each location your business covers....ARE YOU KIDDING ME? That would require hundreds if not THOUSANDS of landing pages! Oh wait! Google frowns on landing (doorway) pages!

How about just a site tag that tells Google that your site is regional, nationwide or global?

It's as if they want you to open an office in every city that you intend to do business in, then provide a geographical physical address and site for each business. Who came up with this half baked concept?

Again, it seems Google wants to paint us into a tiny corner. That's not just evil, it's inept!

SnowMan68




msg:4435987
 10:38 pm on Apr 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ backdraft7

Is your product/service something that is readily available in most local markets? I see a lot of big terms showing up for local, but most of the niche stuff isn't typically showing local results for my area...yet

backdraft7




msg:4435990
 11:10 pm on Apr 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

No SnowMan, it is not readily available in any local markets...but pretty soon it won't be available in ANY markets. And yes, the operative word in your comment is "yet"...

The more I read, the more it's sounding like you'll need to "game the system" again to rank nationwide or worldwide. Making thousands of localized pages will most likely get you "Panda slapped". Doing so just seems wrong. What's also wrong is Google trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. You can not say that every business uses the same localized business model. Neither tangible or non tangibles fit their assumed model. Sure, if I'm "Joe the Plumber" in New York, I don't service Los Angeles or Chicago.
Their new model only fits for SOME brick & mortar retail markets.

But what about online retail outlets? They sell worldwide, as do non tangible paid content sites (like my own). Blog operators? forgetaboutit!

If Google is going to geotrack my website, slap it on their little map and then feed me only traffic from within a 100 mile radius, then I might as well fold up shop now.

That's what it's sounding like.

IF they proceed down that slippery slope, then it will not be long before Yahoo, Bing and Dogpile take over the search engine market. My suspicion (and yes , I'm suspicious - lol) is that Google is gunning for Facebook's possible entry into the search engine market. We'll then wind up being nothing more than cannon fodder in the ongoing Google vs. Facebook war.

bobsc




msg:4436014
 12:54 am on Apr 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

If it's part of Venice, then it's aptly named cause I'm under water.

Location detection does seem to be an issue.

Will the average searcher "Change location"? NOT likely.

backdraft7




msg:4436018
 1:03 am on Apr 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

@bob - and what's worse, you can't turn it off. What's worse yet, is that browsers come fully integrated with Google search built in and ready to go, and again, most users won't fight it.

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