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Google Updates and SERP Changes - November 2012
xcoder




msg:4514422
 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]

 

backdraft7




msg:4514476
 2:47 am on Nov 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

Well, October ended with a whimper...last Oct 31st 17 sales. Today 3. What a difference a year makes.
Google's got us down below poverty level. We all expected a recovery after a summer of misery. Patience is at an end and it looks like the garbage we have today is the garbage we'll get tomorrow. Where's my resume? I need to go find a job that doesn't exist.

ehgee




msg:4514517
 6:37 am on Nov 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

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...


Ditto.... simply can't figure why or how; stable rankings (tested across country ips); stable traffic, yet......:(

xcoder




msg:4514520
 6:51 am on Nov 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

Ditto.... simply can't figure why or how; stable rankings (tested across country ips); stable traffic, yet......:(


The time frames of those "weird" non-converting traffic periods always (emphasis on "always") corresponds with some panda/penguin update or some other sorry a...e excuse for throttling our customer base. They bloody go hand in hand, time and time again with no fail... yet ads traffic continue to convert which leads me to one and only conclusion. Our organic traffic is being hand picked and the viewers with a "buy" intent are being sent elsewhere.

Absolutely no doubt in mind anymore as we've seen too much of this... time to call it by its real name...

ohno




msg:4514529
 7:13 am on Nov 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'd have to agree. They are obviously using the data they have on people to direct them to certain sites. Oh & today is Thursday, the joy!

moxie




msg:4514535
 8:12 am on Nov 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

Our organic traffic is being hand picked and the viewers with a "buy" intent are being sent elsewhere.

This just struck a chord in me.

Wilburforce




msg:4514548
 9:21 am on Nov 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

Our organic traffic is being hand picked and the viewers with a "buy" intent are being sent elsewhere.


How would that work? I suppose Google could infer a "buy" intent from the search terms (i.e. demote/penalise terms that showed intent), but the effect of that - if it is happening - would be impossible to differentiate from over-optimisation penalties or similar.

Having returned a result, they can't do much to discourage a searcher from clicking on it unless they are substituting the page description with their own (does this apply? it does, as it happens, to my home page, but their descriptin works for me).

xcoder




msg:4514552
 9:34 am on Nov 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'll bet they probably mark viewers with "buy" intent long before they even reach our sites, based on viewer recent browsing history and search keys (remember they have eyes almost everywhere nowadays).

They then serve SERPs loaded with ads and flooded with goog properties. Viewers with "buy intent" don't get to ever see (or hardly get to see) your page in the SERP unless you are a paid Goog customer...

Something along these lines...

very hard to prove something like that and THEY KNOW THAT. Hence the reason they now omitt the search terms from the referrer string. Only paid customer (adwords) get to see the search terms... cleaver really.

[edited by: xcoder at 9:45 am (utc) on Nov 1, 2012]

Wilburforce




msg:4514556
 9:42 am on Nov 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'll bet they probably mark viewers with "buy" intent long before they even reach our sites


Based on what information?

claaarky




msg:4514560
 9:51 am on Nov 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

Google knows which are the most competitive terms and competition usually means most valuable commercially - Panda ensures only the best quality sites rank and the more competitive a phrase is the more difficult it is for low quality sites to rank (even in the Adwords slots).

I don't think there's any cherry picking going on, it's just the affect of a quality based ranking system (which I'm suffering from as well).

[edited by: claaarky at 9:52 am (utc) on Nov 1, 2012]

xcoder




msg:4514561
 9:51 am on Nov 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

Based on what information?


1) Search history and search phrase structure
2) Adsense on other sites
3) Analytics on other sites
4) Chrom
5) Android
6) Maps
7) gmail
8) G+
9) etc. etc.

Trust me, they have eyes everywhere. It is very easy for them to mark and target viewers actually. Something they increasingly do now! i have no doubt.

[edited by: xcoder at 9:57 am (utc) on Nov 1, 2012]

ehgee




msg:4514562
 9:56 am on Nov 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

Could it be that "returning" visitors (especially google logged in / identified ones) are shown other 'interesting' options (read amazon / google product ads) more prominently or differently.
If buying is the outcome of a multiple visit decision, this theory could be worth examining (or throwing out)?

Whatever be so... the fact is that THIS phenomenon is a definite reality as xcoder highlights and several others on this forum (including us)

Wilburforce




msg:4514567
 10:04 am on Nov 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

@xcoder: I didn't mean information source, I meant information. What information is in my browsing history that would tell Google my next search is for something I want to buy? I very rarely order anything online (if I find a supplier, I phone them: I don't want to buy anything from someone I can't gey hold of if there is a problem).

Search phrases tell them more, but even there they can't always easily tell whether "widgets" means I want to find out about widgets or whether I want to buy one.

It seems far more likely to me that Google are trying more and more radical methods to manage a mountain of content that is growing at an almost (and I am not even sure about almost) unimaginable rate. What concerns me most os that they are getting it wrong, not that there is some sinister intention to destroy my livelihood.

ohno




msg:4514568
 10:15 am on Nov 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

It seems far more likely to me that Google are trying more and more radical methods to manage a mountain of content that is growing at an almost (and I am not even sure about almost) unimaginable rate. What concerns me most os that they are getting it wrong, not that there is some sinister intention to destroy my livelihood.

That is an interesting point. However, there seems to be many examples where Google rank light new content above an established site. In ecom who would you trust? The guy who has been in business over 10 years or the one with the website that popped up yesterday? What's all the foreign junk traffic about? It used to pop up maybe once every few months, back then it used to make me feel sick as I knew 100% that sales would drop off-they always did! Now that has become a daily occurance! I've asked in Google groups, no answer. I've tweeted Matt Cutts, no answer. Others from all over the world see it yet no one has ever got an answer from Google on the matter. Whatever their intent if it carries on like this it will bite them in the ass sooner or later. Amazon & eBay won't keep tgheir revenue lasting forever. In any case just why do they have so many Amazon & eBay results in the SERPs? I mean the top & r/h side are full of ads to these sites & then sometimes all of the organic results! If I want something on eBay I search on eBay, is that their real fear? They will be cut out of the loop? They've failed on social media IMO, Google+ and that stupid +1 button are a complete waste of time. To be honest social media concersn me the most, I just don't get the facination but that is where the buyers of tomorrow will be, I'll bet 100000% FB know that.......

ehgee




msg:4514569
 10:19 am on Nov 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

I meant information. What information is in my browsing history that would tell Google my next search is for something I want to buy?


Several things actually... for example, you visited a webpage of "carved widgets". You read it long enough and even added the item to the cart, but then abandoned it... BINGO, you've left a trace. All of this could be seen for yourself in analytics leave alone by Google. Just one way, among many others I'm sure.

I very rarely order anything online (if I find a supplier, I phone them: I don't want to buy anything from someone I can't gey hold of if there is a problem).


Sure, thats a percentage, Similarly, there's a percentage of online buyers... we're referring to this latter segment

Search phrases tell them more, but even there they can't always easily tell whether "widgets" means I want to find out about widgets or whether I want to buy one.


Again, refer my example above

It seems far more likely to me that Google are trying more and more radical methods to manage a mountain of content that is growing at an almost (and I am not even sure about almost) unimaginable rate.


Yes, but that does not explain stable rankings & traffic..

Wilburforce




msg:4514574
 10:59 am on Nov 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

However, there seems to be many examples where Google rank light new content above an established site.


@ohno I'm with you there: my established site is one of the victims.

If we knew a bit more about the mechanisms they are using it might be more comprehensible, but whatever they are doing they are getting it wrong, (light new content ranking over rich established content being just one of the many aspects of this).

The scale of the problem shouldn't be underestimated, however: my business is in a relatively small niche industry, but searching for what I provide returns over 31 million pages (so random selection would put my home page at the top for about 1 second a year). Clearly Google's current scoring is a lot better than random, but clearly, also, a lot of people are motivated to game the results (whether or not they are providing the most relevant outcome from the searcher's perspective), and Google's wish to manage both true relevance and gaming is more than understandable: for most of us it is desirable. For them, also, anything that comes top in the organics implies to the consumer - whether or not correctly - Google's endorsement. The fact that my page is no longer at the top is collateral damage, not conspiracy.

When and at what point in their hierarchy the current errors currently showing will be addressed is hard to predict, but if I was in control of it (or had a lot of my own money invested in it) I would be worried. As someone affected by it, all I can do is apply best practice (remaining hopeful is more of a challenge), whether or not it works immediately.

xcoder




msg:4514575
 11:01 am on Nov 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

Search phrases tell them more, but even there they can't always easily tell whether "widgets" means I want to find out about widgets or whether I want to buy one.


They have lists of "buy intent" keywords and key-phrases across every imaginable market known to man, put together by you guessed it, adwords advertisers. Who knows better then those advertisers what is a "buy intent" key string and what is not. Especially the top converting advertisers, silly enough to have their Goog analytics tied down to their ad campaigns for conversion tracking.

Guess what google later does with all this information...they use it to filter and distil "buyers" traffic. Guaranteed!

storeowner




msg:4514579
 11:29 am on Nov 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

I had a bit of up-tick in traffic (ecomm US site) since the beginning of September and have been holding steady since.

But the funny thing is I haven't had a conversion from a unique visitor! No one adds things to cart - in the past I get alot of tire-kickers adding things to cart whether they convert or not. The conversions I do have are from the return visitors I've had for years. I just don't understand it.

Anyone know how or what to investigate for this situation? Anything to look for in G analytics?

gehrlekrona




msg:4514580
 11:32 am on Nov 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

I had a HUGE drop the other day in my WMT fo search queries. It went from 4000+ down to 169! Not sure if it is just something they dis-play wrong or for some reason they devalued thousands of search terms people would use to find my site. I am not sure how to use it and read those stats but it seems really weird. They probably allotted these search terms to my site and it won't show for a lot of other valid searches. I also see a lot of sites with location in the domain name. Not only in the domain name but also sub domains (city.domain.com, locationsuperads.net etc) so I guess that is back again when you can do that. I thought maybe that would be an EMD but I guess not. Can't figure anything out anymore....

Wilburforce




msg:4514582
 11:36 am on Nov 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

They have lists of "buy intent" keywords and key-phrases put together by you guessed it, adwords advertisers.


Yes, they can filter results based on search term (I didn't think that realisation was new to any of us here). I don't see any particular cause for concern if results for a "buy" term favour sellers, and in terms of relevance I don't see why big advertisers (showing a clear strong intention to sell) or OEMs and big established brand retailers shouldn't return good results. Apart from anything else, these are probably not inflating the importance of their services by artificial means.

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?

Looking for the answer in evil profit-led consipracies will have no effect on your ranking.

ohno




msg:4514587
 11:39 am on Nov 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

@storeowner, I've seen the same, although yesterday saw a lot of tyre kickers! The only conversions were repeat customers.

nomis5




msg:4514593
 11:54 am on Nov 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

Several things actually... for example, you visited a webpage of "carved widgets". You read it long enough and even added the item to the cart, but then abandoned it... BINGO, you've left a trace.


Very true, some ad servers buy ad slots based on just that premise, I have one company doing exactly that and serving some of the ads on my site. The other ads (the leftovers) are served by Adsense. I don't like the idea but without doubt the eCPM is higher compared to Adsense.

xcoder




msg:4514594
 11:56 am on Nov 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

I don't see any particular cause for concern if results for a "buy" term favour sellers


Favors *PAID* sellers Wilburforce. *Paid sellers*.
Huge difference!


Looking for the answer in evil profit-led consipracies will have no effect on your ranking.


This is no longer about ranking. It is about obstruction of trade to small businesses and illegal conduct by a major monopolistic corporations.

But i don't blame inexperienced professionals for not seeing the obvious. Only people with more than 12+ years of experience in organics and paid online marketing can clearly see what is going on. The rest will call it "conspiracies".

Hopefully the FTC will put an end to it all soon... i'll be more then happy to continue this discussion with you then and say "i told you so"... but on a second thought, maybe you already know that.

[edited by: xcoder at 12:11 pm (utc) on Nov 1, 2012]

ohno




msg:4514596
 12:02 pm on Nov 1, 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?


Because in many cases Amazon is NOT providing the same product-the product description is so spammy it comes up for many search terms.

Wilburforce




msg:4514618
 12:22 pm on Nov 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

Because in many cases Amazon is NOT providing the same product-the product description is so spammy it comes up for many search terms.


A good reason. However, my question was meant on an "all else being equal" basis.

This is no longer about ranking. It is about obstruction of trade to small businesses and illegal conduct by a major monopolistic corporations.


A fundamental difficulty in that argument is whether simply failing to return an unpaid listing at or above a certain position could ever amount to obstruction. The FTC may well offer some clarification of what Google's duties are, and may also rule that some filter methods are illegal (although the second point rests on the first: what duties - if any - does Google have to either webmasters or the public at large to return results in a particular order?).

SnowMan68




msg:4514622
 12:27 pm on Nov 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

All of this conspiracy theory stuff is ridiculous. Maybe you need to make a new thread about it so that everyone else doesn't have to read it.

ohno




msg:4514627
 12:36 pm on Nov 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

You don't have to read it, get over yourself.

chalkywhite




msg:4514628
 12:40 pm on Nov 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

Ive a feeling we have an update in progress, traffic over 2 sites I watch is down roughly 30% and wednessday and tuesday where very good days.

SnowMan68




msg:4514629
 12:41 pm on Nov 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

Get over myself? You don't think I have sites that aren't performing well and that haven't been pegged by an update? The last 30 of your 35 posts are completely useless. All you do is complain on here and are part of the reason why people continue to leave the forums. Look in the mirror and get over yourself.

claaarky




msg:4514630
 12:45 pm on Nov 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

chalkywhite, traffic on my Panda hit site is 40% up today so far, long tail traffic massively improved, conversion yesterday from Google traffic very, very good.

This 514 message thread spans 18 pages: 514 ( [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 ... 18 > >
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