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Google Updates and SERP Changes - September 2012
backdraft7




msg:4490365
 2:06 am on Sep 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

< continued from [webmasterworld.com...] >

Historically we never saw drastic drops due to holidays...except this year, when the now daily everflux drops just happen to coincide with a holiday.

[edited by: tedster at 5:33 am (utc) on Sep 1, 2012]

 

gehrlekrona




msg:4501650
 4:38 pm on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

One of the stats today. Search engine wars: Google 41%, Yahoo 30.3%, Bing 25.8% so even if Google is still the "biggest one" Yahoo and Bing is giving me more hits. Google used to be between 50-60% so it is really low right now.

backdraft7




msg:4501654
 4:48 pm on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Presently observing an incredible "ON" period, between 6 am and 11 am Saturday. Hope it continues throughout the entire day. Something appears to be making up for the horrendous week we had.

Splugged




msg:4501672
 5:47 pm on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Interesting...

Rising in traffic from Yahoo and Bing. +33,8% and +14,4%.
Never had a pike of visits from both like this...

gehrlekrona




msg:4501681
 6:09 pm on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

@splugged, same here (see above) but it mostly means that nor many hits from Google Di their percentage goes up. It dreams though, that they are more on the target. I guess Google is chasing demons as usual....

Bewenched




msg:4501705
 7:14 pm on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Splugged and @gehrlekrona

I'm seeing the same. Big spikes in traffic from both Bing and Yahoo. Are customers getting fed up with google results and looking elsewhere to find what they need?

Interesting in deed.

Hollywood




msg:4501710
 7:27 pm on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Just in my opinion... Google will not be able to compete against Bing, I'll call it now, I see many many reasons why, for just one example Bing has superior and fantastic webmaster tools right off the line and so many other things I see them implimenting that will push Google further and further from the race, and I am very happy about this development.

Elsmarc




msg:4501737
 8:33 pm on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Their original main signal of quality was backlinks. If someone links to your site, at one time that was normally a signal or vote of approval. But because spammers (or linkbuilders) began creating "unnatural" backlinks to game the system, that signal has lost much of its value.

So now Google may have started using other signals of quality in addition to backlinks. For example, if visitors tend to spend a lot of time exploring your site, bookmarking pages, printing out pages, returning for repeat visits, etc, then these are other possible signals of quality that the algorithm can use.
Yes, but backlinks were always problematic, especially for old, long term sites like mine which are about quite a few topics. There are 10's of thousands of backlinks to my main site from all sorts of sites, but having been online since 1996 that's expected. I had an SEO "professional" look at my site when it crashed and he freaked out at the number, and variety, of backlinks. Supposedly he got into the SEO business in 2002 and a client uses him and recommended him. A few days later he called and said he hadn't worked with a site like mine before and that when he took a close look at backlinks of such long time sites the number wasn't unusual. Duh. No kidding... We talked a bit and he said: "You know more about this than you said you do". I told him I never said I didn't understand SEO having to some degree been doing it for 16 years, but I did appreciate "new eyes" to look at the site.

As to other factors such as time on site, bounce rate, pages per visit, new visitors vs. return visits, etc. - They're not new signals. New signals include visits from social sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google+. In fact, Google Analytics recently added "Top Social Traffic" to the "overview" in their "Realtime" screen.

That said, to clarify - The site of mine that crashed is a technical discussion forum, not an e-commerce site so when I look at things I also have to ask myself how Google is using an algorithm to "adjust" for those factors. I do consider myself lucky. I have regained 70% of traffic I lost and each week it keeps "getting better", or at least has so far.

As someone mentioned in a recent post in this thread - Going to Google these days to search is very different than it was even 6 months ago. I find myself going to Bing, Duckduckgo, Dogpile (an oldie but goodie) and other search engines. I don't know what they're doing to their algorithm, but it sure makes search a PITA these days. Up until a couple of months ago I exclusively used Google for searches. These days, not so much.

gehrlekrona




msg:4501738
 8:37 pm on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

First of all I have to apologize for all typing errors in ky posts. I blame it on the phone....
I am not sure there is a spike but it sure looks like it. I made some smaller changes that Bing webmaster tools complained about and it seems Google didn't Luke that but since it was the way headings was used, I thought it couldn't hurt. Well, it did hurt my Google rankings but seemed to have helped Bing and yahoo which has 56% right now of the searches. I could care less if visitors come from Google or other places as long as they come visit. Like I said before, Google us chasing demons and will always have a problem with spammers/scanners and black garters as well as white and grey hatters. They are chasing their tail and will never get it right really. How can they?
Anyway, I am happy Bing and Yahoo is picking up they work for the Slacker....

aristotle




msg:4501742
 8:55 pm on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Elsmarc
Evidently you mis-interpreted what I said.
You had indicated in an earlier post that the only way to assess a site's quality is to have a human reviewer look at it. I merely pointed out that Google doesn't see it that way, and has historically tried to use various signals to assess quality algorithmically.

Elsmarc




msg:4501749
 9:16 pm on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

aristotle

With regard to "quality" of a site, I stand by my statement - An algorithm can not judge the "quality" of a site. I know Google doesn't see it that way which is why, in part, it's a farce for them to say they can. In the early days that did work to some degree. Today, not so much. Too much data and too many "signals". Using a mathematical algorithm, especially with so many factors, is a nice idea but usually backfires. That's why I have no problem with the NSA in the US "recording" everyone's phone calls, email, the web sites they visit, etc., etc. The more data you have, and the more "signals" you try to put in there to watch for, the less significant information you can get. There is simply too much noise. You end up with too many false positives and miss the important stuff in the noise.

But then again, although I retired in 2003 I spent my "working life" as a quality assurance professional and consultant so I will give you the concession of how one defines "quality" is always subjective whether it's a web site, a car, a stereo, the service a plumber gives you, a girl friend (!), or - Well, anything.

[edited by: Elsmarc at 9:31 pm (utc) on Sep 29, 2012]

zeus




msg:4501752
 9:30 pm on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have noticed today that several of my sites have lost 40-50% of there google traffic today, 95% of those sites has never had any link building, just basic seo for sites. Of cause some of them has also been hit by the google image update today, which really is a mess, many sites are missing in the searches and its as if you link to a site or image you get a better rank that the original site, for now that is.

EmptyRoom




msg:4501771
 10:26 pm on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Has anyone had their non-EMD sites completely disappear from the SERPs? This must be an error... One of my sites (which was hit by the April '11 Panda) was delisted for the main terms it ranked for (and it isn't an EMD).

Cutts said their new change "attacks" EMDs, but he obviously lied.

Slashus




msg:4501774
 10:54 pm on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Massive plunge. So... I have to register a new domain that is unrelated to my content now? huh?

Splugged




msg:4501802
 12:03 am on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have good news for Matt ... ehr ... This new tweak works great.

Almost as much as a certain algorithm named as an animal that lives in the cold.

Let's see: my niche, a casual keyphrase...

#1 100% EMD
#2 100% EMD
#3 100% EMD

LoL

Good job, man!

I do not know but ... I have a slight feeling that someone is making fun of ...

gehrlekrona




msg:4501858
 1:55 am on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Looks like GOOG shot themselves in the foot with this one. So yes @slashus, looks like we have to use a site name like Google that doesn;t mean anything for domain names now. There are some sites that should have been caught with this s$$ewup but didn't so I guess it is a selective deletion now. Probably a manual update since they got it totally wrong this time.
Hits from Google are WAY down on all site I manage and all of the are white hat and no spammy domain names. Geez you guys. Stop chasing demons. Not all web masters/doamin are bad. Get a life!

boirun03




msg:4501866
 2:21 am on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Non EMD but use keywords in navigation/page naming for both SEO and to let the user know what the page is about. Since Panda 1.0 I have been cleaning up over SEO, improving quality, getting more social signals, all with no back link spamming (actually never really did that) I do admit to comment posting but never with a bot or automated.

Today worse organic google traffic that I ever had. the very first day the site was live (over 11 years ago) was even better.

Not sure what I need to do Mr. Cutts, been playing the quality card for the past year and this is what happens?

backdraft7




msg:4501878
 2:43 am on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

My site is an EMD, but when I registered it back in 1999, that was pretty much the thing to do. Now over 12 years later it's a no-no? I'm hoping I'm grandfathered in, but I've taken a -3 for the exact term...the same term I ranked #1 for all that time. Make up some more silly rules G.

1script




msg:4501882
 3:12 am on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

OK, guys, suppose I've been hiding under a rock since 1999: what on Earth is EMD?

tedster




msg:4501885
 3:42 am on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

It's an Exact Match Domain - keyword.com in some fashion.

1script




msg:4501886
 3:46 am on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

It's an Exact Match Domain - keyword.com in some fashion
Ah, of course, thanks tedster. Regardless of what Google actually thinks about them now, they must be a breeze to promote either online or off-line. I wish I has one of those :)
tedster




msg:4501887
 3:48 am on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Now over 12 years later it's a no-no

No one said an EMD is a no-no - not at all. In fact, I've just seen some early data that shows only a relatively small number of EMDs took a hit, and some of those domains really should have been hit by Panda, IMO.

If there's a no-no here, it's hoping to rank based only on the domain name instead of the quality of content. The question for me is how does this Update measure quality, and how many false positives has it generated.

gehrlekrona




msg:4501995
 2:00 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have a site that was hit hard yesterday and it looks like most of my sites had a downfall. The thing is that only one site had keywords in it and I am thinking why not? Why can't they have keywords in the name? I can see that names ike keyword-keyword-synonymkeyword.com would get busted because the ones I have seen have been scrapers and MFA sites, sites that are domain parked with Google ads on them. The site that was hit hard has a name that relates to what the site is about. The other ones should have been fine so what was this update really about? We know MC is not telling the truth or at least manipulating the truth so in my eyes this so called update could be about spammy sites, or what GOOG think is spammy. Using keywords in domain name + having the domain name in a back link, spammy?

diberry




msg:4502001
 2:16 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm with Elsmarc. We talked in great detail after Penguin about user metrics, and the problem is getting the algo to understand what the metrics mean. For example, high bounce or exit rate often means the site was disappointing. But it can also mean the site gave the user precisely what they wanted very quickly - like, the overall rating on a product as reviewed by users.

If anyone COULD build an algo that could take ALL the needed variations into account AND recognize which type of site is which and which type of query is which, it would be Google. But can it be done? I don't think so - not at this time, at least.

--How people search is still evolving. Most people are in their infancy with search. Not everything they do indicates something about the SERPs - sometimes it just indicates their own quirks or lack of understanding of how search works.
--Site quality is even more open to interpretation than it used to be. Many years ago, only geeks were interested in the internet, and geeks tend to have a fairly simple definition of quality derived from academic standards. For example, geeks would reject Ehow, but now they're outnumbered by non-geek users who don't know about academic standards and think ehow must be good (although, as we've speculated, there's a feedback: many people see Ehow at the top of the SERPs and assume THAT means it's good and don't even try to evaluate it themselves).

I submit as evidence of this Singhal's assertion that people were searching more with Google, therefore Google was rockin'. We all instantly thought "...or they're not finding what they want, but instead of trying another engine they're trying another query, or six." Maybe that was just spin - I'm sure both possibilities occurred to Google people - but it shows how differently you can interpret the same metric.

Wilburforce




msg:4502077
 6:30 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

it shows how differently you can interpret the same metric


Masses of data and complex formulae do not of themselves increase understanding. What I do not see in MC's statements or current Google results is any evidence of scientific rigour. There is a statistical geographic correlation between Mars Bar sales and road traffic accidents, but an algorithm that targets Mars Bar shops is not addressing the right question. They are shooting from the hip, and - predictably - missing the target and hitting bystanders.

tedster




msg:4502080
 6:42 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

No doubt judging something like "quality" is a huge job, even with the data volume Google has and the time they put into the machine-learning before going live. Panda was 1.5 years in the works.

I have some experience with machine learning in another web-related context, and it took about three years total over a massive data set to get to maybe 90% accuracy - that's with ongoing human feedback, too. A 10% failure rate on Panda's quality scoring would not be close to acceptable, IMO - because that algo has the ability to destroy businesses. I do think Panda is probably much better than a 10% failure rate, but just how much better is a big question.

----

On another note, it seems from comments here that the last three days have seen really major flux in the SERPs. We've got the Exact Match Domain update [webmasterworld.com], the Image Search update [webmasterworld.com] and something else as well - unless it's just fall-out from integrating the EMD quality scores into the rankings.

Bewenched




msg:4502107
 7:12 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

A 10% failure rate on Panda's quality scoring would not be close to acceptable, IMO - because that algo has the ability to destroy businesses. I do think Panda is probably much better than a 10% failure rate, but just how much better is a big question.


But does Google really care about destroying businesses, or is it more concerned about making money for their shareholders? Does Google care about the economic impact they can have on businesses? Do they have to?

Those are the real questions and none of us are likely to like the real answers.

< continued here: [webmasterworld.com...] >

[edited by: tedster at 4:33 am (utc) on Oct 1, 2012]

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