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Is there anybody that hasn't been affected by recent updates?
gehrlekrona




msg:4463692
 8:42 pm on Jun 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

I, like a lot of people have been affected by the latest updates by Google. It seems like I have been affected by ALL updates if I go back and look at stats like 2 years ago. From that point it seems like I have lost google visitors but what I am wondering is, is there anybody here that haven't been affected at all or just a little? All I can find is how people like you and me have been negatively affected by the updates but I see in the SERPs other sites that have moved up. Is anyone who ownes these web sites here and just not posting or?
If you haven't been affected, would you mind sharing what you have done or not have done and anything else that can shed a little light. Maybe it is a "business secret" that you don't want to share since we all might learn from it?
Maybe there is a SEO out there reading WW that would like to shed some light?
Here's what I have done so far:
For the first 1-2 years I just sat tight removing a few pages here and there with duplicate texts in some parts.
Looked at my META tags and stripped most of them down to almost nothing.
Removed a lot of internal linking that was unnessesary (spelling?)
Checked my code to see that everything was ok and fixed whatever I needed to.
Downloaded and ran LinkSleuth and found a LOT of errors/dead links/ Page not found so I fixed that
Changed the CSS so the site is totally different and loads a lot faster.

Just a few things and I don't even know if it will help with Google or not. It seems (?!?) to have helped with Bing and Yahoo.

Anyway, I am sure all of us are frantically trying to find THE thing to fix but I think that there are a lot of things we need to "correct" to look good. Mybe try to become a brand? No more small niche sites, or?
SEW: “Regardless, Google favors branded websites, and early reports seem to indicate that those with a good link profile have survived this storm.”

If you haven't been affected, do you have high PR links and/or links from authority sites? If you do have that and have been affected anyway, what else can it be? Anchor texts in links?
Anyone?

 

Andy Langton




msg:4463707
 9:47 pm on Jun 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

Of course, with any update, there must be winners and losers, because there are only so many opportunities for visibility, and lots of competitors :)

I don't think you will find a "secret" as to why some are affected and others are not, because there are very diverse sites in both categories.

Part of the reason for this is that Google's system is by no means perfect. Let's say they aim to target people that run robots to comment spam. They are likely to get some of them, and perhaps even the majority - but that doesn't mean they 100% eliminate comment spam bots. So, there will be some people who use comment spam who benefit.

That said, the more 'edgy' the techniques you use, the more likely you are to see large fluctuations in search results - that's my experience, anyway. If you want long term growth, you need long term techniques and you will be much more immune to update problems. If you want fast growth, then you also need to expect a quick fall.

Sand




msg:4463710
 9:57 pm on Jun 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have about 6 sites that I actively work on, and only one has been hit by anything (the April Panda updates and whatever happened this past Friday). The rest have continued to grow at a steady clip. None of these are anything close to being a brand. All could be described as niche sites.

All of my sites do have many high quality links from some of the strongest domains out there. That's actually one of the criteria I take into account before starting a site -- identifying authority link targets. If I can't find many, I know I'm not taking the right direction and need to either pivot on the idea or scrap it altogether.

None of these sites have any spammy links beyond the ones scrapers create. All have original content and have content that gets shared.

I don't have all the answers (or many at all), but I have learned the hard way that you can paint yourself into a corner by going too niche if there's no active audience that's dying to talk about the topic you're chosen.

Leosghost




msg:4463711
 9:58 pm on Jun 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

Is there anybody that hasn't been affected by recent updates?

Yes..

As to "why"..every niche is different , what applies to mine* might, well not apply to yours..

If, by chance, we were in the same niches, or any reader here was, I'd be a damn fool to go into detail as to why I wasn't affected in my niches..:)

*mine, is plural, in that I have considerably more than one, "niche"

netmeg




msg:4463716
 10:17 pm on Jun 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

No, I haven't been hit. I try not to pay a lot of attention to SEO (while getting all my technical stuff in good order), and I try to pay a lot of attention to users. I'm also working on a multi-year plan - i.e. when I launch a site, I don't expect it to come up to potential for at least two years. I prefer to be the tortoise than the hare.

I also believe - strongly - that most SEO issues start with the business model. So I make sure mine makes sense. I'm never gonna try to compete with Amazon on books.

matrix_jan




msg:4463718
 10:37 pm on Jun 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

If everyone suffered from updates we would see blank results for the first few pages and only then our websites :)

As of the "secret," there is none that "winners" are 100% sure of. As much as "losers" don't know why they are losing, "winners" don't know why they are winning. Of course there are some assumptions, but hey you never know. There is no need to look for hiding webmasters in WW to find the winners and secrets. Just do a regular search and pick top position websites - those are the winners. Analyzing them will give you more idea about winning than expecting to hear a success secret in WW. Because just like I said earlier, even winners don't know why they are winning, so if you find the secret I hope you'll share with us. I have been hit slightly by some updates but overall I'm winning.

gehrlekrona




msg:4463723
 10:48 pm on Jun 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

So I think this is good. It is much more uplifting to try to talk about things that are good and maybe we can help each other to get an understanding of what to do from some of the best there is out there (here).
@sand mentioned quality links and I think that is really important. I thought that they (Google) targeted niche sites and they might have, except that since you have high PR links, you got "spared".
@leosghost, I agree that it might be hard to give up a secret if there might be a competitor here :) I am sure there are a lot of them here and they know all about us too :)
@netmeg, I also think that a lot of people (like me!) tend to listen too all edgy SEO "tricks" that is popular for the moment and then when Google catches up to it, you get hit with an update. I am pretty sure Google check most forums and have probably subscribed to every SEO guru out there. Heck, it seems sometimes that if you followed Google's guidelines way back when and didn't change anything you'd be hit by an update now.
My guess is:
1. Have a great site and get high PR/authority EDITORIAL links

netmeg




msg:4463724
 11:05 pm on Jun 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

Believe me, I have tried every shortcut there is (and spent a lot of time and money on it) They all failed before they even got to a Google update, because the business model was bad. I wasn't doing anything that someone else wasn't already doing better. There was no reason for those sites to succeed with Google or with users. One day I actually wrote down all my various projects I'd tried in two columns - wins and losses. There were two wins, and over a dozen losses. That's when I started selling off sites and domains like crazy.

I found it actually takes more money, time, effort and stress to keep a bunch of churn and burn, shallow, or fad-themed sites up and running than it does to to maintain one or two good (and evergreen) ones. For me, anyway.

Wish I'd realized it about ten years earlier, but if wishes were horses then beggars might ride.

gehrlekrona




msg:4463726
 11:19 pm on Jun 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

@netmeg, I totally agree. I have downsized to where I have only a few sites left and see no reason to have a lot of them anymore. It was fun for a while and it was easy to get a site up and running to see what stuck to the wall, but now it just seems to have been a waste of time, even though a lot of monet came in for a while.
There are no shortcuts but there is no straight road either. I have seen on black hat sites how they have been hit but also how they are reorganizing themselves so why can't we mad-hatters do that too?

kidder




msg:4463732
 12:53 am on Jun 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

My new SEO motto - "cream rises to the top" It appears to be working for us.

Robert Charlton




msg:4463735
 1:14 am on Jun 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

There are no shortcuts but there is no straight road either. I have seen on black hat sites how they have been hit but also how they are reorganizing themselves so why can't we mad-hatters do that too?

Black hatters use throwaway domains that they are willing to lose. They are also increasingly using more extreme tactics, including illegal ones like hacking sites to gain inbound link juice.

They take advantage of temporary openings... the way burglars might take advantage of unlocked doors. They also scrape content. I wouldn't look to black hat regroupings as any suggestion of a viable business model that you can apply to ongoing sites. IMO, it's an entirely different business.

Although there are some overlapping considerations about the algorithm, there's a very different focus, as the timelines are entirely different.

Str82u




msg:4463737
 1:23 am on Jun 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

After Panda beat me down, I did what many of you said, dedicated my efforts in one site mainly and also a couple I love that aren't the same niche. When penguin came into play, the sites were affected positively, but we're talking a slight increase from losing competitors on keywords here and there; you could say they were unaffected.

I wrote a lot more but Leosghost is right, I don't want to give anything away. I will say that a cliche that's stuck in my head while working is "Honesty is the best policy".

gehrlekrona




msg:4463742
 1:37 am on Jun 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

@robert, I do not say that we need to go black hat. On the contrary, but it is interesting to see what they are doing because they find loopholes and use them as much as possible until their sites are sunk, which is fine with me. We all loose when they use that kind of tactics. They do have some smart guys and it's too bad they don't go white hat instead.
A lot of Googles problems are from these guys since Google have to defend themselves every second of the day against attacks from black hatters and we are mainly collateral damage.
I am not looking for a 12 step to gaining #1 position in Google. I know there are a lot of sites and you have of course Google Guidelines but maybe we can come up with some white-hat rules like "Honesty is the best policy"?

AnkitMaheshwari




msg:4463799
 6:10 am on Jun 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

IMO, there are no secrets, it just about the execution and analysis of what your competitors are doing, what is the sentiment in your niche (positive v/s negative for most of the websites ranking in top). I am not saying you have to simply copy everything what competitors are doing instead apply your brain in setting the basics right first and then engaging people, helping/assisting them so they can link and share your stuff in a better way like adding social buttons on site as well as the thank you pages where they can share what they just bought.

HuskyPup




msg:4463830
 9:37 am on Jun 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

Is there anybody that hasn't been affected by recent updates?


My B&M specialist construction products' sites have mostly been unaffected, even though Google has promoted some scrapers using my coding and images, there's not been any growth in them however I put that down to the general worldwide trade malaise therefore I feel I'm doing pretty good in comparison to what I'm hearing through the industry.

My niche industry directory website has definitely been affected, for some reason Google seems to have fallen out of love with my unique Coppermine image gallery:-(

Perversely this is actually quite good for me since it means people are seeing less choice than they normally would therefore are more likely to purchase my products!

jecasc




msg:4463909
 1:38 pm on Jun 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

SEO is like the stock market. You can either SEO your site heavily, jump on every trend, get a higher return in the short run but have a high risk to loose everything in the long run. Or you are in for the long run, build a solid site, wait for links to come in naturally - but the return will come in slower and lower. But less risk. LESS risk mind you. Not NO risk.

atlrus




msg:4463935
 2:46 pm on Jun 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

As of the "secret," there is none that "winners" are 100% sure of. As much as "losers" don't know why they are losing, "winners" don't know why they are winning. Of course there are some assumptions, but hey you never know.


So true.

I think that there are really no "winners", more like "non-losers". The past few Google updates have all been about punishment of one thing or another, thus once Google has identified the "losers" - their place must be re-occupied by someone else. That's in contrast with the Google updates of the distant past, when it was more about rewarding than punishing.

Unlike netmeg and a others - I actually had to increase the number of websites. P&P knocked down a couple of very old and clean websites of mine, while promoting quite a few "questionable" ones (also mine), a perfect indication that the algo is now a throw of the dice. I just can't afford to bet it all on a couple of websites which could become collateral damage in the next update.

Planet13




msg:4463952
 3:17 pm on Jun 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have to admit that the more user-friendly I make my site, the more my rankings seem to drop...

Better photos of products with multiple angle shots, posting user reviews, streamlining checkout, merging pages with overlapping content, adding links to relevant outside content, clarifying the linking structure of the site so that visitors see a smaller number of links that are more closely related to the product / page they are currently viewing...

Conversion rate has gone up somewhat, but not nearly enough to compensate for the overall drop in traffic.

gadget26




msg:4464044
 5:34 pm on Jun 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have a similar experience as planet13. Many user improvements since being hit by the original panda. The better I make the "user experience" and increase the conversion rate, the more my traffic drops.

When I study the sites that outrank me, I'm stunned by how bad many of them are. I have no idea where to go from here.

US, E-Com.

Bill_H




msg:4464049
 5:44 pm on Jun 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

Have to agree with Planet13 and gadget26, the more user friendly we have made our website, the more our traffic drops. Conversion rate is up, traffic off 50% in 90 days. Bewildered...

Bill
US E-commerce

robert76




msg:4464172
 10:36 pm on Jun 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have a similar experience as planet13. Many user improvements since being hit by the original panda. The better I make the "user experience" and increase the conversion rate, the more my traffic drops.

When I study the sites that outrank me, I'm stunned by how bad many of them are. I have no idea where to go from here.

US, E-Com.


Absolutely agree. In our case dozens upon dozens of improvements for something that truly wasn't broken in the first place.

aleksl




msg:4464178
 10:51 pm on Jun 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

I am in weekly contact with about 5 US ecommerce owners that run $1 mln + sites (small businesses with employees). Out of 5, 3 are severely affected (none are out of business, but it did hurt). Two are ok, one doesn't even know what Penguin is but majority of his sales are offline, viral.

I am looking at one of my competitors who doesn't seem to be affected. 1 mln. plus backlinks, and we are talking about ... let's say, plumbing connectors - this is how "exciting" and "viral" his product is i.e. NO WAY, HOSE it is people raving about it. Obviously an SEO job. Clearly not affected.

Several other billion-dollar competitors - don't see them affected.

I own a non-commercial portal, it isn't affected, traffic fluctuations within normal deviation (winter-summer).

Str82u




msg:4464397
 2:37 pm on Jun 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Planet13
gadget26
robert76

This is just a shot in the dark for your situations. gadget26 mentions the competitors are bad, but are they using different techniques or have different features? That includes scrapers of your content, what are they doing with it, the exact same thing you are?

kidder
That's a good motto and analogy.

netmeg




msg:4464401
 2:41 pm on Jun 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

If someone came up behind you and held a gun to your head and told you you have five seconds to name three compelling reasons why you're better than all your competitors, could you do it?

Nichita




msg:4464414
 3:04 pm on Jun 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

I am affected too by these updates. An old site, with multiple improvements seem to drop in rankings with every new update. In the first stage I was thinking that the website has bad backlinks.

The latest week, another website (totally new) was affected by Panda, in a very unusual way. The article pages are not ranking anymore. Instead of the articles, the website is ranking on the 12-15 page with another pages, just because the title of the article is in the blogroll.

Google is not able to see that the article is fully published and believes that a simple blogroll title is more relevant than the entire article. This is the most unusual comportment I've seen in few years of web-development / SEO.

The new website (penalized by Panda too) has 100% natural links, I've didn't any link-building for it, just to see how Google will look at it. In the first weeks the results was interesting (good) but after this update, all the new posts was unable to rank.

I want to identify the factors of Panda but I need your help for that. From my experience, Panda can be determined by:

- a bad architecture of the site;
- possible disturbing ads (small distance between ads and text);
- possible duplicate content, but another type of duplicate content, generated by the rewritten articles (Google can detect which articles are rewritten);
- excessive internal linking;
- multiple articles with the same subject


The latest three points are just my thoughts, I cannot be sure if is something real in these affirmations without the confirmation of other webmasters affected by Panda.

Can you confirm what I believe ?

Str82u




msg:4464431
 3:37 pm on Jun 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

If someone came up behind you and held a gun to your head and told you you have five seconds to name three compelling reasons why you're better than all your competitors, could you do it?
Very Good Point. The answer is Yes, but not for the sites that are falling out of Google.

Anyone think it's a bad sign that the sites that fell from Google are doing better at Bing?

gadget26




msg:4464547
 7:26 pm on Jun 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

gadget26 mentions the competitors are bad, but are they using different techniques or have different features? That includes scrapers of your content, what are they doing with it, the exact same thing you are?


and

If someone came up behind you and held a gun to your head and told you you have five seconds to name three compelling reasons why you're better than all your competitors, could you do it?


In most cases I look at, I have far more trust signals and higher quality and quantity of content than those that rank above me. They just have not been pandalized.

Sure, back in Feb of 2011 my website was a mess. But it worked so well that we were so busy processing orders that I didn't have time to work on it.

My point is that after 16 months of continuous improvements, including using many ideas from this board, and netmeg in particular, all my visitor engagement stats (and conversion rate) are much improved, yet my rankings and traffic continue to dive. Another 10% in this last run.

And, apparently, there's quite a few of us in this boat. Isn't it possible that we ARE doing the right things and it's google that is broken? Not that it changes anything...I just get tired of people assuming that we're not smart enough to break out. What if the truth of the matter is that google has it structured so that it's not even possible (in most cases) to break out of panda?

menntarra 34




msg:4464590
 9:28 pm on Jun 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have the same experience: my site was a mess, i had like 6 million pages in google, and about 4 million were all duplicate pages. My site was loading 3 times slower than now etc etc...
After i first got hit (in October) i worked hard to correct everything. Now i zero duplicates, zero errors in WMT, etc.

And yet a lot of messy sites with millions of duplicates are rising and shining on first page. At some keywords, i even see two duplicate pages from these sites on first page.

And my site hasn't recovered, only lost rankings in April and now in June again resulting in a total 60% loss.

I'm wondering if ANYONE knows a real definite example of panda recovery, cause i doubt it.

bobsc




msg:4464624
 11:26 pm on Jun 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Very Good Point. The answer is Yes, but not for the sites that are falling out of Google.

Isn't 1 reason good enough?
Anyone think it's a bad sign that the sites that fell from Google are doing better at Bing?
Bad for who? Google?
netmeg




msg:4464625
 11:27 pm on Jun 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

In most cases I look at, I have far more trust signals and higher quality and quantity of content than those that rank above me. They just have not been pandalized.


But that's not an argument you can make to a user. They'll just give you a blank look. They want to know what's in it for them.

My point is, your UVP, the benefits YOU bring to the table over all your competitors have to be the first thing off your tongue, and they have to be patently obvious to everyone who visits your site, be it users or search engines.

Otherwise, you're in the 99%. And nobody wants to be there.

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