| 6:09 am on Aug 24, 2012 (gmt 0)|
@ diberry, I've been seeing that for months now. SERP's looks great yet one day can be great with the next very poor. Monitoring the SERP's seems useless these days, yesterday (Thursday) was also very poor for us, one site seem to come back on Wednesday but that was wiped out again yesterday. So far the worse week since 2005/2006.
| 6:18 am on Aug 24, 2012 (gmt 0)|
Yep also seeing a black thursday, traffic dropped through the floor
|Martin Ice Web|
| 7:00 am on Aug 24, 2012 (gmt 0)|
We had the best day yesterday ( thursday ) since a week. Gained a lot of keywords back. But traffic was going in spurts, 1 hour nothing, spurt, 1 hour nothing ....
Some widget keys i am tracking are now #1-#2 nothing but price compare engines.
| 7:00 am on Aug 24, 2012 (gmt 0)|
Yes when I search for news I often get old news reports.
| 10:09 am on Aug 24, 2012 (gmt 0)|
I'm seeing a lot of quite useless foreign sites filtering their way into Google UK, which vanish if you filter UK results only.
Looks really quite messy on some searches... other are absolutely fine.
| 11:31 am on Aug 24, 2012 (gmt 0)|
@diberry, @ohno, I have the same observation. My worst day since way-back-when, I have reported several times that it doesn't make any sense. You look at the SERP and wonder why. Did it show up and people for some reason decided not to go to my site or is it that it wasn't there but when I search it is? I can't figure iy out. Is it throttling? Traffic shaping? Network problems? Localization?
| 11:50 am on Aug 24, 2012 (gmt 0)|
I really don't know. One thing I am SURE of though is it's down to Google. You don't have a 10 year old business doing well one minute yet all but gone 7 days later. Funny how when this happens I ALWAYS see loads of foreign traffic in the logs. Perhaps the algo is out of control? Perhaps the Chinese have hacked them? Perhaps this is exactly what Google want? Who knows but it's like having teath pulled right now. Some say it's the economy, I say stop kidding yourself. We can go for days like this then one day the traffic all comes back and we do a weeks sales in a day. The next day it's back to nothingness.
| 1:29 pm on Aug 24, 2012 (gmt 0)|
@Martin Ice Web - same thing here...best "converting" traffic for the past week. I did throw some fresh meat out there in my blog and I've found that seems to open the quality spigot up for a short period of time. Seeing a little life again this Friday morning. I expect this type of shakeup after an algo announcement, so you'd think I'd be used to it by now, but when the income is stopped, it's usually panic mode. I've still got that classified "jobs" section of the paper on my desk though.
| 1:52 pm on Aug 24, 2012 (gmt 0)|
|Some say it's the economy, I say stop kidding yourself. |
You're right, we are now receiving more Google leads than before the recession hit...
| 1:56 pm on Aug 24, 2012 (gmt 0)|
I'm glad someone is doing well. I wish I could track down where all our traffic went to...
| 2:03 pm on Aug 24, 2012 (gmt 0)|
@onho and @gehrlekrona, should we maybe start a thread on this? Or do you think it fits the zombie traffic thread? (Mods, any input is welcome.)
If I wasn't showing up in the SERPs, the lack of G traffic would make sense. But I am - and I used proxies from around the world to search. Shouldn't that reduce the possibility that Google is showing me a totally different search than anyone else?
| 2:08 pm on Aug 24, 2012 (gmt 0)|
You'd think so wouldn't you? That is what I can't understand. I think the problem is personalised search, what we see is NOT what someone else does. However, how would we always see good SERP's yet have no traffic or conversions? There is no doubt traffic throttling exists, the data is just too uniform for it not to IMO. I think that is where the current problem lies. How do they throttle is the question...
| 2:11 pm on Aug 24, 2012 (gmt 0)|
diberry, how are you doing on long-tails? Could any traffic drop be from there?
|Martin Ice Web|
| 2:27 pm on Aug 24, 2012 (gmt 0)|
A site i am working on ships through panda and penguin without trouble but gains more keys. Itīs now outranink big platforms.
The heck, i donīt know what i did there what the other sites do not have. I think every webmaster has his own coding/onpage style. This style is either good or bad for panda.
| 2:29 pm on Aug 24, 2012 (gmt 0)|
As a side note, anyone seeing less traffic also have issues with GA? Our problems seems to stat before the update announcement from Google on Monday. GART beta is not picking up many visitors tested on many PC's etc. If that data was part of an algo experiment.......
| 2:32 pm on Aug 24, 2012 (gmt 0)|
It would be interesting to know what sort of patterns bricks and mortar retailers see. It could be the economy, I certainly know of offline retailers who are really struggling in the recession and they see spurts of activity like we do, and not necessarily on days they would expect either.
Like you, my gut feeling is it's Google as it's been going since before the recession began (but only slightly before). I think the last time I saw steady predictable traffic/sales was in 2007.
| 2:39 pm on Aug 24, 2012 (gmt 0)|
But what if their spurts of activity were not directly down to Google? This kind of thing filters down. eg, we haven't made a stock order to our suppliers (bricks & mortar) as we have no need to. However the next time Google flick the switch back for us (if they do!) we will have a mad rush for stock again. Now, I've spoken with suppliers before about this and they see a bunch of online retailers wanting stock at the same times, to the point where they get cleared out of stock too. Certainly makes you wonder....
| 2:42 pm on Aug 24, 2012 (gmt 0)|
Ohno - I agree 100%, and yesterday seemed they were throttling my potential hits that could come into my site. Weird yes, Google regulated more, I think they should be.
"I really don't know. One thing I am SURE of though is it's down to Google. You don't have a 10 year old business doing well one minute yet all but gone 7 days later. Funny how when this happens I ALWAYS see loads of foreign traffic in the logs. Perhaps the algo is out of control? Perhaps the Chinese have hacked them? Perhaps this is exactly what Google want? Who knows but it's like having teath pulled right now. Some say it's the economy, I say stop kidding yourself. We can go for days like this then one day the traffic all comes back and we do a weeks sales in a day. The next day it's back to nothingness."
| 2:42 pm on Aug 24, 2012 (gmt 0)|
One observation I have is that when the hourly visits are high, usually in the eve.ings for some reason, it seems to be a different result set. If I click on the seat h in my stat counter, my site doesn't show up which tells me it has changed. Not sure why hits go up in the late evening. Throttling?
| 2:46 pm on Aug 24, 2012 (gmt 0)|
/\ You're not the first person to see that, backdraft at one point was getting sales at silly hours yet dead all day long. Data center churn?
| 3:10 pm on Aug 24, 2012 (gmt 0)|
@gehrlekrona, the Google SERPs have been subject to changes by hour of the day, day of the week and season of the year for several years. In some niches it's almost undetectable but in others it can be dramatic.
| 3:40 pm on Aug 24, 2012 (gmt 0)|
@tedster, I think there is more to it than just a shifting search results but none of us can pinpoint what is going on and why I get all these hits in the middle of the night like some other people here. Google might just be testing different sets
| 3:59 pm on Aug 24, 2012 (gmt 0)|
I have been getting my share of impressions, and they have been consistent for a while now, and all a sudden lastnight they dropped to zero, for the first time ever. Though yesterday I received more organic traffic than i have ever before.
Does anyone know why my impressions would drop to zero like this? what does this mean? I have several other sites that get zero impressions, how do i increase those, if possible? i would really like some info on this.
| 4:25 pm on Aug 24, 2012 (gmt 0)|
It's probably just my hallucination, but it seems that Google is assigning random numbers to generate the serps at any one moment. What used to be the monthly or quarterly everflux, is now the minute by minute everflux. But that's not all, there must be some other weighting stats used in combination with the randoms or just a random time mask on keywords designed to open and close like targets on a shooting range. The purpose of the mask? to possibly force increased Adwords spending? why else? that or to add "diversity" to the serps...but is that quality?
It's evolving every iteration and it's not getting any better for us old stalwort sites.
The normal traffic, lower conversion syndrome:
Traffic level remain "normal" yet quality rises or falls dramatically within obvious time spans.
It seems that the random mask removes the good performing keyphrases which affects targeting & quality. At the same time I see my most obscure pages getting hits. These page are so far outside my sales funnel that even I know they're unlikely to convert. That's how traffic stay even, but conversions drop.
Not the economy:
If I run my numbers back through the years, my traffic levels today might be 1,500 uniques a day with 2 conversions. Four years ago (when the markets really tanked) I was doing the same traffic volume, yet a dozen or more conversions per day. I used to be able to set my watch by my conversion frequency.
Manipulation would not equal love:
The trouble these days is the obvious manipulation that creates these crazy ON / OFF periods.
If it's not manipulation, it's a data churn, but you'd think G's system could keep that straight without throwing us all under the bus...over & over again. I hate to bring up the love letter again, but if they want our love, they might want to show a little in return.
| 4:48 pm on Aug 24, 2012 (gmt 0)|
|diberry, how are you doing on long-tails? Could any traffic drop be from there? |
Long tail is all I have since Penguin, but let me explain more. My stats package tracks my rankings using a number Google puts in the URLs, so I can look at say two days ago and see what phrases I was ranking in the top 3 for. Because this rankings number is the AVERAGE of what position all visitors saw your phrase in, from all their various locations, this is the best stat I know of for assessing where I'm ranking regardless of geographical differences. Not perfect, but best I can find.
So what I did yesterday was look at the phrases for which I had ranked in the top 3 positions the day before, when I got 11 times the visitors I got yesterday. Yesterday and today, I have searched those phrases through various proxies, and they are still consistently in the top three positions, but suddenly sending no traffic.
It's entirely possible there are some hourly shifts I'm missing in the SERPs, but enough to drop my G traffic by 90%? It seems like that big a shift wouldn't be so hard to pin down.
| 5:38 pm on Aug 24, 2012 (gmt 0)|
Backdraft7, you may have hit on something there regarding the normal traffic low conversion syndrome. If you have pages that are so far outside your sales funnel even you know they won't convert, perhaps you should get rid of them?
I don't know the ins and outs of your site but on the face of it, if you remove pages that don't convert then all traffic Google could possibly send you will go to pages that convert well.
If you still see these patterns after removing the dead wood then it must be down to a shift in the quality of the traffic. I always thought it was a traffic quality issue, but I never look at where the traffic goes on a daily basis so that could be why I see a similar thing (I definitely have some dead wood in terms of products that don't sell at all or very infrequently).
| 5:43 pm on Aug 24, 2012 (gmt 0)|
@backdraft7, we are probably on the same drug and like @tedster said, "they have been doing that for years" and we just haven't noticed it like now when we, like me only have 25% left of my traffic not so long ago
| 8:33 pm on Aug 24, 2012 (gmt 0)|
I guess I should clarify...
the pages outside of my direct sales funnel are my blog pages. The path to my order page is a little more convoluted if you come in through the blog.
Oddly this structure has worked fine until just recently. It's as if Google is now shifting focus to my blog, rather than my main site.
This might explain many things, such as my doorbells going silent, yet traffic levels remaining mostly unchanged and conversions dropping. Perhaps it's time to combine the two using a CMS like Joomla and funnel everything smoothly to the payment page. I'm not going to throw this all on Google...they've simply changed the way they look at my site, now I need to update it for better presentation.
Oddly though, my blog is in a sub domain and my server stats do not really support this theory.
Some of these problems could be due to the age of the site and the lack of technology that was available back in 2000. Newer sites appear cleaner and more integrated when using a CMS. My site has pre css html combined with varied forum, blog and gallery scripts and that may be my biggest problem.
The current iteration of Google is like a good friend who had a stoke and no longer remembers me. Now might be the best time to start a redesign and re-teach G about my site. Good move or a shot in the foot? I dunno.
| 8:45 pm on Aug 24, 2012 (gmt 0)|
|I think the problem is personalised search, what we see is NOT what someone else does. |
I've been considering this, too. How can we determine how much of our Google problem is actually with personalized search?
I also wonder how many Google users even know that they are being presented with personalized search and have an option to turn it off?
| 8:54 pm on Aug 24, 2012 (gmt 0)|
For what it's worth I am 100% positive there are at least 2 sets of data (search results) being used. I have been tracking this for a while now and it does NOT change multiple times per day. The "second set of data" usually pops up every 2-3 weeks for about 3-7 days.
For me personally when the "second set of data" is being used conversions and traffic quality go up. This shouldn't be confused with the normal churn of the SERP's which happens on a daily basis with the "first set of data".
| 12:24 am on Aug 25, 2012 (gmt 0)|
Check your SERPs from a number of locations in your country if you can - personalisation and location can affect what you see.