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Google Updates and SERP Changes - October 2012

 7:21 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

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

Hi All - First time poster long time lurker.

The sites I run have been decimated by this last change (or changes). All affiliate sites, many with good articles, great product browsing, responsive design etc. Traffic is down 90% overnight - conversions on whats left are terrible! Never ever seen it this bad. If Google are trying to eliminate affiliate sites they did a pretty good job on mine.

I have lots of EMDs which were hit hard, but also many non EMD sites that were also hit hard.

Almost seems like Google is trying to confuse us by giving us a Panda update 10 or so days ago, closely followed by EMD destruction and Image update... Now its really getting tricky to figure out what actually caused the drop in traffic, let alone recover.

I'm still sorting through the debris trying to figure out why some sites survived and the majority didn't.

[edited by: tedster at 4:37 am (utc) on Oct 1, 2012]



 7:14 pm on Oct 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

I am still trying to figure out what they did Sat oct 20th. One of my new sites got wiped out. I had a couple of nice links and traffic was growing. Then BAM its almost completely gone. I thought it was panda but Google claims no. So I have no idea what it is.


 7:35 pm on Oct 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

@HP - exactly!
If I'm looking for car tires and Google keeps sending me to a page selling cars, that's not very helpful.
Images are definitely getting too much weight. Even my own referrals are coming in more from "G images" that the actual serp listings. I expect a "quality update" to address this issue soon. lol


 7:42 pm on Oct 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

I am still trying to figure out what they did Sat oct 20th.

Ditto. I noticed that one of my sites lost 20% of it's traffic overnight on Oct 18th. This led me to examine its traffic and I realized that for almost a year a page that accounted for 20% of the site's total traffic. This page is in a forum and it holds copies of a widely distributed image for a Facebook campaign.

Its traffic reduced to almost nothing on April, 27th 2012 which happens to correspond with Panda 3.6. The loss of traffic only lasted exactly one month and it was back to normal by May 28th. The exact same thing happened to the same page Oct 18th. Coincidence?


 8:20 pm on Oct 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

I lost like 90% Atomic, I am hoping it was panda because I was kinda expecting it from this new site. Its only 60 pages with maybe a dozen links. I am adding more information hoping it will reverse it. The metrics on the site with so little traffic were awesome.


 10:47 am on Oct 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Ummon was this a relatively new site? If so I have seen this time and time again, what you will probably find is the site returns to that position after the next 1-2 Panda data refreshes.

For some reason newer sites can vanish without warning or a Panda update. It's quite scary but my advice is do not touch it!

All of my new sites bar one have came back after this happening to them. That site seems to be in a lot of trouble and the strange thing is, it's very clean with just a couple of very relevant links... however it was tampered with after the initial drop.


 1:26 pm on Oct 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

Our 15 year old site lost 20% around the 20th. We're ecommerce and it's killing us. We've struggled too long.

Since the first panda didn't roll back and give us our traffic back, I'm finally going to just redesign the site... not changing urls at all, but a really good facelift that I had been afraid would make things worse.

It can't get worse... not really.
Sites with less content, virtually no product images are beating us with full blown hand written content, very nice images etc.

My guess is that Google didn't like the layout. We do have a three column design, one for navigation, one for the body and products and one that displays sales items and our mcafee certification.

The ONLY thing I can think of is that the design which is virtually all tables is something they don't like. Here come the divs.... and css cross browser issues. Joy.


 1:32 pm on Oct 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

@petehall Yes it was about two months old. Your words are encouraging. I am however going to add content. Interesting like Bewenched it is table heavy.


 2:22 pm on Oct 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

@bewenched - I'm ready to do the same. From what I can see, CMS is the way to go. Spam prone hand crafted html is definitely out (using a keyword more than 3 times in html seems to be the threshold of death). A CMS offers it's own type of penalty free spam, when you can assign tags to the same content page, giving you many different titles of the same page, it's spam in my book, but seems to be working for all the sites matriculating to the top.......for now. My fear is that soon G will penalize any CMS that uses a seo plugin. I've spent more time in the last year or two dancing around Google penalties than on improving my product line. That sure obstructs my business!


 4:43 pm on Oct 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

Lose the tables if they're being used for layout! Yes, it's a lot of work, but in my opinion it's absolutely necessary.

I have a site with a lot of tables, but these tables hold tabular data and that's the only way I use them. This site ranks very, very well. But I also have no duplication issues.


 5:16 pm on Oct 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Bewenched I haven't used tables for layout for 5+ years. Strongly recommend you do this... but please don't shy away from using a table where necessary.

In fact tables used correctly can result in rich snippets within your listings; products, prices etc.


 4:10 am on Oct 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Seeing a lot of movement in SERPs starting today at 12.

Specially in long tail keywords, traffic boost is +200 today.


 2:46 pm on Oct 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

One of my sites got about a 30% increase in Google traffic yesterday (the 26th). I made one big positive change on that site recently, so it could be that - or it could be something in the algo. Like sunnyujjawal, most of what I'm seeing is a boost in long tail keyphrases, but some of it's just that I've been bumped up a position or two for some competitive short tail phrases.


 9:20 am on Oct 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm finally seeing a bit if flux across several verticals here in the UK, perhaps we'll get our Panda update next week after all. Here's to hoping...


 2:38 pm on Oct 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

I definitely saw a good drop on my money site yesterday. Anyone else seeing movement. It's the time of the week that they like to run Panda updates.


 4:19 pm on Oct 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

I saw a drop of about 20% started friday (26th) The prior week, we were up by 20%, but now all gone.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 4:33 pm (utc) on Oct 28, 2012]


 6:07 pm on Oct 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

While maintaining great user metrics, I'm seeing new records each week this month. Overall uniques have almost doubled from this time last month.


 6:40 pm on Oct 28, 2012 (gmt 0)


I'm curious as to what metrics you focus on?


 7:39 pm on Oct 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Pjman: Bounce rate is the big one; bounce rate from Google search results themselves is also something I focus on.

Other things are providing very relevant related links to other pages on the site or to other web sites including potential competition.

I try to make it as easy as possible for users to find what they want as fast as possible.


 9:09 pm on Oct 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the clarification. I always focus on the bounce rate as a whole, not just search focused, I guess I should get on that.


 9:43 pm on Oct 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Andem - bounce rate is the big point on Panda I think, I hope to see results this next update, which has still not come this Month. Whats your bounce rate and site category if i may ask.


 9:22 am on Oct 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

I thought google didn't use bounce rate as a signal?


 9:35 am on Oct 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

I thought google didn't use bounce rate as a signal

They have always said it is noisy.

But that doesn't mean they're not using a set of "derivative" metrics such as:
- Fast click-back, click another result (especially if similar page-type)
- Fast click-bad, refine search
- Slow click-back, unrelated search


 12:42 pm on Oct 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Re:the GA anomaly, two domains showing over 100% increase over the last 30 days(+102% & +104%). Yet I've been keeping a written record of visits, sales & revenue for every day since September 9th-it's flat! Probably just another data glitch but really makes you wonder whether the ranking algo has these same glitches!

Well at least they fixed that problem, we now see the true picture & it's RED in a big way.


 1:11 pm on Oct 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Yes, my GA anomaly is also "fixed", went from +150% to -16% overnight. The lower number now matches my graph trend.


 5:05 pm on Oct 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

For whatever it's worth:

Some sites will naturally have a high bounce rate from search results, depending on the nature of the content and the queries driving traffic. I have two informational sites like that, where people are looking for something very specific and are unlikely to stick around. By bounce rate is about 80%.

In those cases, I've implemented adjusted bounce rate in Google Analytics, so that visitors who stick around for 90 seconds are no longer considered a bounce and their time on site is recorded. I feel that implementing adjusted bounce rate gives me a much better idea of user's behavior on my site.

Knowing that 80% of people spend at least 90 seconds on a page is worth a lot more to me than knowing that 80% of people only looked at one page. Plus, I believe that Google is much more likely to evaluate short clicks vs. long clicks than they are raw bounce rate.


 5:39 pm on Oct 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

The bounce rate is for sure also combined, like maybe categories or if the visitor scrolls the page fully down and dont leave after 5 sec.


 7:55 pm on Oct 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

I don't know if this has been mentioned or means anything, the predictive search in .co.uk seems to have been updated to be more the same as .com. Normally diferent, as UK keywords most times slightly differ from US keywords.


 10:46 pm on Oct 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Still no Panda update, are they now just updating every 2 month to see if that would get even more webmaster out of business :)


 6:40 am on Oct 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

^ panda shmanda, penguin smiguin... talk about a company shooting themselves in the legs...

I am noticing much more bing referrals lately across more then 10 sites i currently monitor (for me and for some clients).

Spot on targeted bing traffic in the last few days.... is anyone else noticing this?
Kind of reminds me the days Google used to be a normal search engine dedicated to doing their job and sending effective traffic...

Love bing's referrals...nice effective clean referrer strings too. Goog can take their "keyword not defined" referrer strings and shove them right up where the sun never shines as far as i'm concerned... there is a new serious player in town. Forget the rest!


 7:18 am on Oct 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Love bing's referrals...nice effective clean referrer strings too. Goog can take their "keyword not defined" referrer strings and shove them right up where the sun never shines as far as i'm concerned... there is a new serious player in town. Forget the rest!

While I love this sentiment it is going to take a LONG time for people to start using Bing in a big way I think. Google is just so big & common that many think they ARE the internet & go to them by default. That will be a very hard habit to break, I even find it hard myself!
SERP's have changed since yesterday, I now see loads of eBay ads on the r/h side. Organic is full of Amazon, so much for leveling the playing field Google.


 7:34 am on Oct 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

That will be a very hard habit to break

Not as long as G keeps on firing crappy results at them.

Go G!

This 336 message thread spans 12 pages: < < 336 ( 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 [10] 11 12 > >
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