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Google Updates and SERP Changes - November 2012
xcoder



 
Msg#: 4515090 posted 11:23 pm on Oct 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

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

Today has just been a miserable day.


For us this whole week has been miserable.

Traffic numbers more or less unchanged but hardly any sales, online enquiries or phone calls...(except for loads of spam emails). The only sales we did get came from paid ads.... organic visitors all seem to be dead beats.

It is like someone or something is cheery picking all the buyers and sending our way only the crap. I wounder who it is...

Off to reducing our ad spend again... the till is simply empty!

[edited by: tedster at 4:05 pm (utc) on Nov 2, 2012]

 

SEchecker



 
Msg#: 4515090 posted 2:14 pm on Nov 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

As far as Barry was telling G confirmed a panda update will roll out in 2 days...

so all the flux could be panda related, but I believe there was something going on with Penguin & Black Friday & Cyber Monday related ... something like that...

Also keep in mind if you was hit by an animal and or some of the 500 (rofl) algo tweaks per year affected you, that a traffic flux before is kind of normal... many do see this...

Sgt_Kickaxe

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time



 
Msg#: 4515090 posted 2:48 pm on Nov 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

Specifics please, guesses don't help.

What I can confirm
- Lost 33% of traffic to a subset of pages Nov 16th, it was not site wide. Many pages unaffected.
- Only Google traffic affected, Bing and Yahoo remain stable.
- Traffic from Google to unaffected pages has improved in quality since Nov 16th. I see 22% more page views and a 19% longer time on site although bounce rate remains the same.
- No changes made to site in 9 months, this site was not affected previously by any Panda or Penguin updates.

Analyzing TYPES of pages affected suggests primarily transaction type pages and those with brand names in the title were targeted. Only two informational pages seem to have been affected.

My earnings are down as a result. I'd classify my traffic as almost completely informational now despite having a small store. I don't like it.

Tearabite

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4515090 posted 4:29 pm on Nov 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ Makin, Menntarra, & Sgt_Kickaxe: do you have a high % of ads above the fold vs % of content?
I was also hit ~20%-30% on Nov 16/17, but have gotten back about 80% since after I put more content and less ads above the fold.. of course, could be totally unrelated and coincidental.

diberry

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4515090 posted 5:24 pm on Nov 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing something that reads like they just rolled back the SERPs by a couple of days. I had a site that wasn't in the index at all for a certain query. I changed some things and then it came back over the weekend. Now it's gone again.

menntarra 34



 
Msg#: 4515090 posted 5:57 pm on Nov 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

I don't have any ads above the fold. I once had but i removed it on May 2012, though i did not suffer from the ABOVE THE FOLD algorithm...

gehrlekrona

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4515090 posted 7:24 pm on Nov 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

When searching using [startpage.com...] I get better results.

SevenCubed

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4515090 posted 8:30 pm on Nov 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

You will get better results on Startpage because they feed unfiltered google results.

It's actually a good way of detecting whether or not you have a google penalty as opposed to just a site that the algorithm just doesn't like.

If your position is the same on both then google just has no more love for you (if you are deep in results). Whereas if you are at maybe position 150 on Startpage but position 400 on google for the same term -- the difference is your over-optimization whack-down.

It's just IMHO of course, I don't know that with 100% certainty but the indicators are strong enough to consider it for your own situation, hence worth mentioning here.

gehrlekrona

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4515090 posted 10:06 pm on Nov 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

@SevenCubed, from what I hear is that they are not only unfiltered (but maybe that's what you are saying?) but also not personalized PLUS you don't have Google in bed when you do anything online, which is a HUGE Plus for me.

chalkywhite



 
Msg#: 4515090 posted 10:07 pm on Nov 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

Waited all day to make sure of my stats as the US has been on a long weekend, since the 17th ive had a full week now of Pre panda october 2011 13th traffic.

Organic search is up around 25% across the site, all pages are getting hit with more keywords than ever. Ive compared the previous weeks data and the traffic pattern is the same hourly just increased, its like ive been released.

When I first got hit I tried daily for a year to trying new things, tinkering constantly with ZERO success. Ive did nothing now since july and BAM. Just hoping its not pre panda flux.

Lenny2



 
Msg#: 4515090 posted 10:38 pm on Nov 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

Looking back at last years traffic trends it looks like our 25% traffic increase is counter to what we experienced last year. We also saw a nice little boost before losing 60% of our traffic on Panda 1. It would be nice to have a 25% boost, but until they confirm that it was actually a Panda shift I'd recommend that you don't get too excited... and in fact hold onto your hats because it might be a fast decline coming soon!

Sgt_Kickaxe

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time



 
Msg#: 4515090 posted 10:44 pm on Nov 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ Makin, Menntarra, & Sgt_Kickaxe: do you have a high % of ads above the fold vs % of content?


No I don't. If you're worried about an above the fold penalty switch your big square ad in the top of your content to a 234x60.

More info: This only seems to be affecting my U.S. traffic

I changed some things and then it came back over the weekend. Now it's gone again.

I noticed that too, a lot of my keywords/pages saw a huge traffic spike on the 19th and into the 20th and more importantly it converted at a record rate. That was nice while it lasted.

SevenCubed

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4515090 posted 11:07 pm on Nov 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

@gehrlekrona

Yes I did mean unfiltered but as you said the additional benefit is that it is also non-personalized because Startpage acts as a firewall between us and google.

I use the term unfiltered for what most would refer to as a penalty. I see it as there are 3 ways to SERPs as far as google is concerned.

1) Your regular placement in SERPs irregardless of your site quality or level of optimization (or lack of it). For this you would probably be on same results page on both Startpage and google.

2) Your placement in SERPs when you are over-optimized. It's not really a penalty because the algorithm can still handle it through filters and whack it down -50 -100 -500 or whatever...-950. A characteristic of this instance would be a discrepancy between the two SERPs such as the one I mentioned above -150 vs -400. For this example I think you can climb back up by just getting rid of the over-optimization characteristics the algo is filtering you through. Startpage isn't entitled to use of the filter because it is probably google proprietary technology that's why we see different results.

3) A manual penalty when a site owner got really creative to elude the algorithm and violate guidelines. But, then somehow got caught by someone reporting it or whatever. So the plex people manually intervene to punish them.

So I believe a penalty requires a manual review of your site by someone at the plex. Whereas a -100, or whatever level you are at, you can climb out of yourself by cleaning up your site in so many ways and you eventually become unfiltered. No manual action required and therefore quite correct for the google people to say you have "no penalty" which would leave you scratching your head.

Theories, theories, everyone has them, meeeee too. When we share them out loud sometimes others can see traits that make them go hmmmmmmmmm.

On more than a few times I have seen people post pieces of the puzzle that I was missing that lead me to a more complete understanding of the beast.

Broadway

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4515090 posted 11:52 pm on Nov 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

Chalkywhite,
I seem to be having a similar experience.
I was hit with Panda 2.0.
I had a brief minor recovery earlier this year that was subsequently taken away.
Definitely since Wednesday (Webmastertools suggests as far back as the 19th) I've had a 25% or so recovery.
I don't see any increase in crawl rate shown in WMT.

I was surprised that neither SERoundTable nor SEOMoz reported a Panda update today.

Maybe it is (but hopefully it isn't) just pre-Panda flux.
If it is, it was nice while it lasted.

mhansen



 
Msg#: 4515090 posted 12:20 am on Nov 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

@SevenCubed

I see the same serps in Startpage versus Google itself. I do however see the unfiltered (and non-universal) results at other third-party search engines using Google custom search.

For my search, Startpage shows the same results on Panda/Penguin affected sites. I wonder if there are ways to see which datacenter each custom search engine results come from?

MH

Lenny2



 
Msg#: 4515090 posted 1:39 am on Nov 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Well it is interesting that a lot of people seem to be throwing out the 25% increase. For us it's between 22% - 27% Google traffic improvement for the last 4 days...

Bewenched

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4515090 posted 2:17 am on Nov 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

If Amazon - higher than your site in the SERPS - provides the product I am seeking at a good price, with reliable low-cost delivery, the question to address is: what is it about your site that is more relevant to me?


Amazon is no better than ebay, 90% of the time you're not buying from amazon, it's not supplied by amazon at all. Reliable low cost delivery is sending fedex smart post that's really delivered by USPS. It's the cheapest way to ship and there's no insurance and why you find your precious items dumped on your doorstep.

Also Amazon pays very little in state sales taxes so it's hurting the economy. In fact in the state of Texas they used to have a warehouse and when the state came knocking for payment Amazon packed up and left laying off a lot of people.

The companies that do sell through Amazon are paying Amazon 10% of the total transaction just to have it sold through them. Don't you think you could find a better deal from a real company selling the product, one that can give you real customer support if you need it.

I've seen Amazon selling at a complete loss just to make a sale and put under competitors, I've seen Amazon take sales away from companies selling through their service and start selling the item themselves while bullying the manufacturers to give them deeper discounts.

I've personally vowed not to shop through them at all.
Sorry for the rant.

-----------------------

On the Google side of things, we saw a massive increase in googlebot activity on our site this weekend and today sales were WAY up.. yes it's cybermonday, but we did not advertise sales at all this year. No coupons or free shipping etc..

I hope that this is some kind of recovery and not just a spurt of holiday rush.

SevenCubed

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4515090 posted 2:56 am on Nov 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

@mhansen

Things that make me go hmmmmmmmm. I dunno, it's been consistent for me and I have followed it for a while or I wouldn't have mentioned it here with confidence. SERPs are getting so complex to unravel which I guess is just what G wants. I used to do the same thing using aol(dot)com and aol(dot)ca but I haven't tried them for a while since using Startpage.

klark0



 
Msg#: 4515090 posted 3:49 am on Nov 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Beginning about 15:00 hours, my analytics shows a 70% increase in a Penguin/Panda-hit site.

Yesterday, I moved the site to a faster server and also put all images, css and scripts on a CDN. Might be related.

xcoder



 
Msg#: 4515090 posted 9:03 am on Nov 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

I've seen Amazon selling at a complete loss just to make a sale and put under competitors, I've seen Amazon take sales away from companies selling through their service and start selling the item themselves while bullying the manufacturers to give them deeper discounts.

Amazon are also getting very special treatment on the SERPs. They are quite clearly in bed with Google in some form or another.

By the way try a search for "Jeff Bezos and google"... did you know that in 1998 Bezos invested $250,000 of personal funds into then "start-up Google" in a $1 million follow-on investment round?...

This surly explains a lot of things. I think i know now where all my shoppers are...

Shaddows

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4515090 posted 9:24 am on Nov 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

FWIW, almost everything we sell is available for less on Amazon, and we outrank them on a large proportion of our listed items.

No one here has invested in Google.

xcoder



 
Msg#: 4515090 posted 11:55 am on Nov 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

^ Congratulations! According to this thread and many similar threads on dozens of other webmaster sites you are one in a million.

The fact that some of your products appear above Amazon every other Tuesday sure gives you the authority to debunk any wrong doing by the duo. Ya right...

Check Amazon exponential growth (and compare it to ebay for example) and you may see the light...

[finance.yahoo.com...]

[edited by: xcoder at 12:15 pm (utc) on Nov 27, 2012]

Shaddows

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4515090 posted 12:11 pm on Nov 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

The fact that we are consistantly top 3, all day, every day gives me the perspective to say that Amazon do not have a free pass.

And yes. Quite literally to be in position 1 of a million results would mean we're one in a million.

But to correct a perception, there are loads of us outranking Amazon. Its just many of those with the skills to do so have left the forums due to the massive amount of whinging and whining that goes on since... I was going to say Panda, but in fact it was Mayday.

And on top of the whinging and whining, its the dismissiveness of our acheivements:
The fact that some of your products appear above Amazon every other Tuesday sure gives you the authority to debunk any wrong doing by the duo. Ya right...

xcoder



 
Msg#: 4515090 posted 12:34 pm on Nov 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

The fact that we are consistantly top 3, all day, every day gives me the perspective to say that Amazon do not have a free pass.


The SERPs you see are no longer the SERPs others see. Every beginner SEO can tell you that... in fact a popular complaint around here (made by a growing number of webmasters) is of top SERPs position for top keywords yet dismal traffic numbers and conversions. What you see on the SERPs is NOT what you get... but i have an incline you already know all of this. You wouldn't be here wasting time on this thread otherwise...

[edited by: xcoder at 12:47 pm (utc) on Nov 27, 2012]

mhansen



 
Msg#: 4515090 posted 12:39 pm on Nov 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

I used to do the same thing using aol(dot)com and aol(dot)ca but I haven't tried them for a while since using Startpage.


I see different results at Foxstart(dot)com, but they too are different than what I see at Startpage. G* is definitely working from several sets of data from the way it looks. I have followed the Foxstart differences for a few months in trying to work out a penguin filter, no luck yet though.

Doing a site:example.tdl search for a site we know was affected by Penguin.

G* - 185 pages
Foxstart - 138 pages
Startpage - 145 pages

And for a specific search phrase filtered out in April 2012.

G* - End of results (-950 penalty)
Foxstart - Page 2 (12th)
Startpage - Page 5 (55-ish)

Not sure where the difference comes from... data? Personalization of some kind? Not exactly sure, but very interesting and worth keeping track of in the realm of changes.

Shaddows

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4515090 posted 1:03 pm on Nov 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

You wouldn't be here wasting time on this thread otherwise...

Actually, the monthly thread used to one of the highlights of WebmasterWorld. You know, where we actually talked about what was happening in SERPs.

I still occasionally post here out of what increasingly seems to be misguided optimism that some of that value will eventually return, if only the more overtly incorrect or misguided "theories" are countered where they appear.

And the business that employs me is doing very well, thank you.

I feel uncomfortable posting that all is rosy and bright, when people are clearly struggling. It looks like you are rubbing people's nose in it. I suspect others feel similarly. But the fact is, top rankings are resulting in good traffic, which is currently converting well.

And if it switched off tomorrow, we would still be able to pay our bills because we have used the free traffic to build more reliable traffic. This non-organic traffic is basically break-even only, but it means we do cannot be ruined by the vagaries of Google.

Splugged



 
Msg#: 4515090 posted 4:06 pm on Nov 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

As for now i'm getting hits to newly published pages (1 or 2, max 4 months old) containing "penguinized" keywords.

If I do a search in G like this: blue widget site:www.mydomain.com

I got at spot #1 a new published page.
Old targeted (and "penguinized") pages come in page 2 or more, never in page 1.

diberry

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4515090 posted 4:56 pm on Nov 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

I don't want to drag us further off topic, but even if Amazon is in bed with Google, shouldn't we be trying to figure out how to work around that rather than just debating it?

I mean, in business, you will always have companies that are scratching one another's backs and doing stuff that makes life very tough for you. None of the companies we're talking about invented this problem, and if they all disappeared, you'd just have the same problems with somebody else. It's unfortunately a part of running a small business (I assume most of us here are small) that you have to find ways to work around the super big fish.

So could we focus on SERP changes in here and create separate threads for dealing with the way those changes are threatening our businesses, and how we can thrive despite them?

nickreynolds

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4515090 posted 5:07 pm on Nov 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

I think Shaddows input is helpful.
He is helping us to see:
1. You don't have to undercut Amazon to succeed
2. Although Amazon seem to have a very high profile in serps, it is still possible to outrank them.

Lorel

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4515090 posted 5:25 pm on Nov 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Broadway

>I was hit with Panda 2.0.
>I had a brief minor recovery earlier this year that was >subsequently taken away.
>Definitely since Wednesday (Webmastertools suggests as far >back as the 19th) I've had a 25% or so recovery.

This very closely mirror's my recovery except I was hit with Panda 2.3 in July of 2011 and with subsequent updates I lost 2/3 of my original traffic this last year. Started slowly recuperating in early Sept this year but really took off with the Nov 5 Update so now I'm back to 2/3 of original traffic and growing by leaps and bounds every week.

The changes I made in last year are mostly de-optimizing some of my most important pages with very little social networking and hardly any link gathering.

I suspect I uncrossed an over-optimization filter with the last Panda Update. None of my clients were affected by Panda, just my own site where I was getting too zealous with main keywords.

I've noticed those pages where I copied the title into the H1 tag also didn't recuperate until I changed the words around in the later.

Sand



 
Msg#: 4515090 posted 6:32 pm on Nov 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

I've noticed those pages where I copied the title into the H1 tag also didn't recuperate until I changed the words around in the later.


Are you saying that your document title & H1 for a given page used to be the same, but the rankings recovered once you made them different?

Broadway

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4515090 posted 6:48 pm on Nov 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Lorel,
Congratulations on your recovery. While I've been enjoying my recent surge in traffic, I've been hesitant to say much about because I don't know how lasting it will be.

However, in hopes that it helps someone...

What I've worked toward these last several months is to finally look at my site and pages and ask myself, what's it going to take to satisfy the visitor's questions? What's it going to take to get a person to want to click onto the next page? (I have an informational website.) I can't image why I hadn't asked myself this before.

For my situation, it was:

A) Vastly improving my inter-topic navigation (I ended up with page-top tab navigation). This is the biggest change I've made to my site in the last few months.

Doing this noticeably increased "time on site", "pages per visit," and lowered the bounce rate.

B) To a lesser degree, I've also been de-optimizing keyword use in titles, H tags and text. Improve overall readability. And improving on-page organization and linking from the page top.

Historically, since Panda 2.0, I had been focused on paring (near) duplicate topics and thin content. I'm sure I made some improvements there, but now (these last 4 month) I've concluded that "sticky" content must be the solution I need.

Right now I subscribing to the theory (as mentioned here on WebmasterWorld) that google simply wants to send SERP's traffic to sites that satisfy searchers (as in a "long" click to a site, and no bounce back to the SERP's to click the next one).

I'll also say this. I benefited nicely from Panda 1.0. I got devastated by Panda 2.0. 2.0 was the update that spread Panda tactics to "the long tail."

Before Panda 2.0 something like 1/3 of my search traffic was generated by 20 of my pages or so (these were my big-traffic short-tail pages). The bounce rate on these pages was noticeably lower than my website as a whole.

That to me explains why I passed Panda 1.0 (it only looked at my high volume short-tail traffic pages) and why I flunked Panda 2.0 (that looked at all of the search traffic going to my site, long and short). My higher bounce rate (lack of "stickiness") for lesser, internal pages tipped the scales against me.

Just my impression, don't know that it's right.

By the way, I've do very little social.
It's an adsense site, but not over done. I do however, use a single page-top left-side skyscraper above the fold.
Google categorizes me as a slooow website.
Never really done a link-building campaign.

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