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Google Updates and SERP Changes - November 2012

 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]



 8:48 am on Nov 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

can be (it) a sign of search index update coming?

there's ALWAYS an update coming.

Martin Ice Web

 10:23 am on Nov 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

backdraft has there been one over the weekend? Traffic is very low, conversion Zero, bounce up.
I see a lot of new but spammy ad sites in index.


 10:32 am on Nov 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

there's ALWAYS an update coming.

and then some.... :)

What a scam.


 2:00 pm on Nov 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

@MIW - I haven't noticed any drop in traffic or conversions, in fact I'm seeing some improvement, but I'm on a slippery slope right now. A few weeks ago I started converting my blog from being supplementary content to combining it with main content. I am rolling my old html pages into my blog CMS as static pages and moved my blog posts to a news section.

The result so far is that as my old html pages continue to get slammed and decay, but my new blog pages are doing great. The only problem I see is that these "fresh meat" pages will soon decay along side my old html pages, especially if Google starts to detect dupe content. Google wants fresh meat and that is pretty clear.

One "houze porn" site gathers hundreds of new photos every day and they rank like crazy all over the web for keywords not even related to the photo content, but how would google ever be able to tie a photo description to what is actually seen in a photo? I'm sure they'll claim that ability soon enough.
From my observations, fresh meat keeps you at the top.

I'm working daily to keep 301 redirecting my old html to my new cms pages and hopefully by Christmas, it will all be sorted out. In the end it should all work out for the best....I hope.


 2:02 pm on Nov 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

I saw this the other day...
I don't know if it has been mentioned before.

I cropped the image, so not to disclose the keywords used etc.

When in the SERPS, it appears below the descriptive text. (BTW, it was #1 in the SERPS for this to appear. Other keywords (not #1) only showed the G+ and not the rest, even though it was for the same landing page.)


 2:13 pm on Nov 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Martin, I am not sure why Google would do that what you suggest. Don't get me wrong. I am NOT a G lover. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. I just don't understand why Google would take sites that are borderline Panda penalty sites and drop them down and at the same time raise garbage sites in their place. That has no benefit to Google.
To me, what makes more sense is that these times are times where their AI is learning. It seems to me that in order for an AI to learn, it would have to follow the same process as we do on a smaller scale when we do A/B testing. The baseline is Monday through Thursday afternoon, then it tests a different metric to see what happens to the serps, evaluates that change based on their own on page analytics i.e. immediate bounce backs, how many serps people click before stopping, how many pages deep they go before stopping ect. It goes back and forth in these tests until the Goldilocks AI finds the bed that is just right where there is an improvement over the baseline. Then Google announces another update to their algo named after a black and white furry creature (a skunk by any other name), and webmasters run around crying the sky is falling.
In the end, this all benefits Google. They believe that they will end up with better serp results in their baseline, they limit their corporate liability by being able to blame a computer program rather than direct manipulation to head off lawsuits, and they end up with an algorithm that is not able to be gamed. That I believe is their goal.


 6:34 pm on Nov 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

The SERPs are cluttered with ehow, livestrong and youtube and irrelevant and garbage websites too. Google algorithm is getting more and more dumb. One search I made and I clicked on first result, there is nothing on this page. Need to search deep down in the results. Google has totally lost the plot.


 6:49 pm on Nov 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

One "houze porn" site gathers hundreds of new photos every day and they rank like crazy all over the web for keywords not even related to the photo content

Yep, I have exactly the same issue with this site, I suppose it helps when one is a next door neighbour to Google with USD 13 million in VC funding.

The only good thing at the moment is that it hasn't polluted Bing ... Yet!

Once this site is #1 for every building/construction/renovation term going will everybody in this sector have to pay for advertising there?

I certainly won't!


 6:59 pm on Nov 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm still seeing images from foreign sites. That might be okay, but I can say in the past I never saw this to this extent.

Beyond that, I'm observing that when I searching for something, I can do a firefox "find" for the term and it doesn't even exist on the page I was given in results. If the keyword I typed into Google doesn't appear on the page I'm given, ponder that situation for a moment. This was not just on one result, I clicked a few and still didn't find an instance on the page. Now that's not right. I literally had to put the keyword in quotes to get a search result with a page containing that keyword. That's scary if you consider how we approach building pages and how keywords play a role in how we design our stuff. If Google isn't fetching pages that contain keywords that people are typing in the search box, surely this indicates serious issues.

I hold out hope that this isn't the final brew. I hold out hope that based on what I've seen, that things HAVE to change for the better. Imagine. A search that fetches pages at the top of results that don't contain that keyword. Now that is what I call nuts.


 7:51 pm on Nov 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Little update from my side.
Traffic is up (20%) but visitors from G "deep" pages are increasing.

A good numbers of visits coming from pages 5,7,9,10,15 and record for my site 18 (spot #57,#72, #99#, #105 and #189).


 11:46 pm on Nov 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Imagine. A search that fetches pages at the top of results that don't contain that keyword. Now that is what I call nuts.

You obviously didn't understand the message that Google was sending out about making a good quality website. When they said "write good content that is useful for your visitors" they quite clearly meant "if you run a big site put in a few words about every product under the sun that's remotely connected to your main one" and "otherwise write some junk and buy a copy of Xrumer". Those who followed this wise advice are coining it in this month, at least in certain lucrative UK sectors.


 12:10 am on Nov 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

@superclown2, the trend I reported here months ago was just that fact. It was that big sites could cover the keyword in one article and would rank far and above the niche, specialty, experts who cover that topic exclusively. If it's something deeemed tech, then it's a big wide umbrella for the sites we all know about. The umbrella effect.

The one aspect of results that I see which is still very confusing is the number of foreign results. I can't say for certain if it's specific to my results or if in general other people are finding many more foreign results. I can report that yes, I'm still seeing foreign results in both image and regular search. I've never had to click "show results from" english only. Perhaps this isn't noteworthy?

Martin Ice Web

 8:32 am on Nov 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

taberstruths, because if u measure something u need a leveling point to compare the results, we call it normalize. If u have 3 sites that are "prefered" for a key then a testing can only by sending these pages from the same point.
But what i see is, that the garbage pages that replace the "good" sites have very, very low content, have little html-code and in most cases have nothing to do with the search itself. This sites have no deep interest in giving the reader information but look like "kid"-pages, where someone catched something up in a smalltalk and now writes it down in one sentence. google levels this one with good content sites.( except brand, authority sites ).

This and like backdraft says fresh meat makes the AI high performance super peguin/panda algo produce this silly results.


 5:40 pm on Nov 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

I am seeing TONS of forums and google Groups results where there never used to be. Rankings I've held strong for months and now I'm on page 3-5 for those terms where the rest of the pages are those same forums and google groups.


 6:16 pm on Nov 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

what makes more sense is that these times are times where their AI is learning.

the algo must be a slow learner 'cause this ain't rocket science...or is it?


 7:01 pm on Nov 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

Well I finished checking and the results I'm seeing only seem to affect seo/marketing terms and only in google.ca - US results I monitor are basically the same...


 7:46 pm on Nov 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

the algo must be a slow learner

I absolutely agree!


 9:24 pm on Nov 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

Has something happened in the last couple of days? My Google traffic is heading for a 7-8 month high!


 9:43 pm on Nov 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

the algo must be a slow learner

Yes extremely slow. According to Eric Schmidt they anticipate it will take 300 years as indicated in the book The Shallows that I'm currently reading. You can read the google chapter titled "The Church of Google" from page 149 to 176 thru google books at [books.google.ca...] -- there's a lot of google insight revealed there that I have not read elsewhere. The actual 300 year quote is on page 152.


 12:58 am on Nov 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

Has something happened in the last couple of days?

Forget this question, a fully qualified Richard Cranium from Warrington Pennsylvania obviously likes hammering one specific site ... *u*t


 5:35 pm on Nov 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm noticing a slight improvement in a Penguin-hit site since November 12. I don't know if it suggests an algo update - it could be there was more than Penguin wrong with the site and I've fixed something. The change is (a) that for one short-tail keyphrase I'm inching up position by position, and for a number of very relevant long-tail searches, I'm finally seeing some traffic (meaning, these are phrases that strike me as "that page should ALWAYS have been getting traffic for this phrase; why didn't it until now?")

All good changes IMO, if very modest. Anyone else seeing anything like this, or is it just me?


 6:13 pm on Nov 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm noticing a slight improvement in a Penguin-hit site since November 12.

I am also seeing slight improvements in some .com results which dropped. They were in freefall for 7-10 days now have settled out. Still dropping in .ca however.

In the .com results it was marketing related terms that got hit. Other fitness related ones were fine.

It was also marketing related terms in .ca that took the hit, just a little later. Hope the improvement in .com is reflected in .ca soon.


 8:34 pm on Nov 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

Monday search up 8% Tuesday search up 3% Today search up 23%. Today is a little skewed with the release of an article that is news related that has grass roots momentum but has not yet been covered by major news agencies other than the huff and puff post. Only other change is that a group of websites in our niche started syndicating, by permission, our content with do follow attribution links and a do follow link on the author page back to the site. These sites have PR7, PR5, 2@PR4 and a PR2


 6:08 pm on Nov 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

Pretty quiet in this thread...it must mean "all is well". Things have been running great since Saturday the 10th, at a level I'd call "normal". But as typical for a Thursday, it's been pretty quiet today, traffic wise. Hope they keep their hands off the controls for a while, we have a LOT of catchup to do!


 6:18 pm on Nov 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

Thought I'd add my 2 cents for an update. Thinks are leveling off. Was definitely an update aimed at web design and SEO/SEM related terms (at least that's what i'm seeing). Have many other clients and the only 2 sites seeing declines are in this industry.

I don't think it was necessarily targeting backlinks, but i'm sure that was part of it. That's because 1 phrase I've always ranked top 2 for naturally for months that I've never done linkbuilding for dropped off a cliff as well as terms I did target with links.

Things have stopped dropping and in some cases improved slightly. Still seeing lots of forums and crap directories in the results but less google groups results.

Martin Ice Web

 7:30 pm on Nov 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

backdraft, as on every thursday we are way off (-30%). I have to say that we didnīt see the downs on thursdays for 4 weeks but today is back to september levels.
Although many things that we did seem to work out, we gained a lot of high search volume rankings within page one. The only thing is, no one clicks on the serps. I donīt know how google is doing this.


 4:20 am on Nov 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

The only thing is, no one clicks on the serps. I donīt know how google is doing this.

What you see may not be what others see. Geo location and g services login state play a crucial role.

"Buy intent" is another major part of this puzzle. The SERPs considerably change when they can detect a hint of "Buy intent".

That's how they do it.... and get away with it.

This also explain the reason they now hide the keywords in the referrer strings. They don't want you (or the FTC) to know where the viewer came from so no one are able to follow up on it. You would be able to clearly see the illegal manipulations when the referring keywords & page are supplied and can then be back-tracked.

Martin Ice Web

 7:27 am on Nov 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

xcoder, this goes in the direction google did panda for own benefit. What is IMO, while I donīt hear of any 100% recoveries, a big part of panda.

But the thing with the I see different things that others see, is only half correct. In my last holiday, I checked my rankings and they were the same as i seee them at home! They might be slight different but not that much.

What hurts my rankings is, that google sees "25pole", "25 pole" and "25-pole" as different search strings, prepanda this wasnīt this way. The only site that does show up for all 3 queries, whatever term is one the website, is .... amazon.


 10:59 am on Nov 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Seeing lot's of keywords dropping off the charts this morning (U.S.) across several sites. Seems like keywords that were in the top 5 are holding everything else is completely gone. Hopefully it's just a reporting (software) error.


 2:48 pm on Nov 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

no one else seeing anything? Must be confined to our domains, seem to be getting hit on all domains with the same registration.

Martin Ice Web

 2:53 pm on Nov 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Shepherd, we see the same. Got a big hit -30% since Sunday.
But the german serps are "waste of time" to search something.

This 514 message thread spans 18 pages: < < 514 ( 1 2 3 4 5 6 [7] 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 ... 18 > >
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