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Google Updates and SERP Changes - December 2012
Wilburforce




msg:4524134
 12:27 pm on Dec 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

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

I had been experiencing gradual recovery since Penguin, with my key term page back at the bottom of page 1, and home page (in top three positions before penguin) up to page 5 for key term.

Today the key term page has dropped back to page 2, but the home page has dropped below page 50 (Startpage finds it on p 47) for key term.

I has all the hallmarks of Penguin 1: exact term and page (e.g. <key term location> is OK).

It might be just a temporary glitch (I hope so!): I can't see what on earth would cause that kind of penalty now.

[edited by: tedster at 2:51 am (utc) on Dec 3, 2012]

 

shanrocks666




msg:4528319
 3:45 am on Dec 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

Yesterday night , i am sure some kind of updates has happened. My year old keyword which was always use to be on 1st page of Google is no where to be found. I have search also 100 result ,but can't find it. Also Lost 20% traffic compared to last week and overall traffic loss of 60% . What a disaster :( . I have to give up blogging and have to look for some kind of jobs :( . No one can please Google,even with Quality article and quality link . I am really sad today.

fom2001uk




msg:4528381
 10:04 am on Dec 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

Big big changes here in the UK. Rankings all over the place, mostly not in a good way for my sites. Hoping things settle down over next few days.

Lenny2




msg:4528383
 10:15 am on Dec 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

Before you guys get too bleary eyed.... Our traffic is soft today also... But keep in mind that we are now 10 days away from xmas and traffic patterns shift wildly around this time, naturally. Check your stats, are you only losing traffic from the big G? For example, our traffic patterns today, 18% soft from yahoo and bing, 15% soft grom g and drum roll pls, 12% soft from CPC... Last i checked panda and penguin doesnt affect their "paying" customers.

So relax, watch your traffic drop between now and xmas (like it does every year) and bounce back in 2013. Merry christmas.

Jez123




msg:4528384
 10:30 am on Dec 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm certainly seeing nothing amazing. My SERP is unaffected apart from 1 new site appearing at the top of page 2. My sites, no change. Still massively penguined for my main site and unable to get off page 2 onto page 1 for any of the others

backdraft7




msg:4528426
 3:10 pm on Dec 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

@lenny2 - I like you optimism, but usually this time of year we are seeing a nice seasonal rise in traffic. Not so this year. Dec 26 is always the KABOOM! day for us, let's see if it happens this year, I'm doubting it will since G has effective stripped all our longtail and shortail. It's enough to drive you to a #*$!tail. (ooops, there's a false positive on profanity, never knew c ocktail was a dirty word.)

BTW - anyone one else see a HUGE increase in bandwidth the last two days? While my traffic is dropping daily, my daily bandwidth DOUBLED the last two days. Usually it's about 1.5 Gb per day, but the last two have been over 3Gb each day. Time to start digging into the logs I guess.

[edited by: backdraft7 at 3:32 pm (utc) on Dec 15, 2012]

SEchecker




msg:4528430
 3:23 pm on Dec 15, 2012 (gmt 0)



@backdraft7

Do you offer downloads on your site? files or documents?

We getting regularly around 500 - 1k fake downloads (form 10 - 15 diffrent IPs) per day.. (approx. 5 GB bandwidth) starting period aprox. 5th month this year (blocking daily IP´s)

We have catches some directories what offer our products and sell ads at the download page.... so was obviously the faked it but that’s maybe 20% of all fake downloads, others are non related IPs what doesn’t make any sense...

backdraft7




msg:4528431
 3:46 pm on Dec 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

@SE - Your situation is very interesting.
Yes, my site offers downloads, but only to registered paid members. Never in the past 12 years have I seen bandwidth that high for the day. What I've found so far is that my eth0 traffic (outgoing) saw a double rise ALL DAY yesterday, not any spikes as you might expect. Surprisingly, this happened on one of the slowest traffic days (real visitors) in months.

I just filed a reinclusion request the day before so perhaps Google was re-indexing me. Doesn't seem like it though, today is deader than it was before. The reinclusion prob backfired. I'll keep digging.

JesterMagic




msg:4528432
 3:48 pm on Dec 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

@backdraft7 If you run a forum it could be some bot net has found your site and is trying to post to it.

In early september our site got hit by a bot net seemingly trying to post messages (they never get past the spam checks). It is driving me nuts since they hit the site thousands of times a day from hundreds of ips (China,Russia,Ukraine). We block the ips but they just keep changing. It has made my bandwidth increase probably by 30-40% and has taxed the proscessing power of the server.

SEchecker




msg:4528434
 3:59 pm on Dec 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ backdraft7

We do not mind much about the fake downloads as we have flat rate bandwidth but I try to figure out what’s the purpose of all this downloads from same IP´s

Martin Ice Web




msg:4528439
 4:22 pm on Dec 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

@backdraft,

While my traffic is dropping daily


if u send my some money, i will click for an hour on your page. Then stats are OK again. But I will not buy anything ( else it wouldn´t be like google zombie traffic )

;-)

Str82u




msg:4528441
 4:28 pm on Dec 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

But keep in mind that we are now 10 days away from xmas and traffic patterns shift wildly around this time, naturally.

That's true for us, especially last night since it was a Friday AND the 15th of the month is today; we aren't an ecom site.

What it doesn't explain are SERPs churning the way they have been. My last post mentions it settling down for us and it seems to have after a full 7 day week. The only major difference in our main 2/3 word keyphrases are that one domain/one-pagename and another domain/another-pagename have switched positions - really weird.

@Tedster - Up until this week the keyword traffic for "(not provided)" has been very close to "Unique Visitors" in % to whatever we are +/- overall when compared to the previous week or more, within a percentage point on a daily basis. I believe, on most days, that's just an reflection of internet activity. This week has been different and "(not provided)" is lower than the overall (or the average of real keyword shortage) but it's such a variance between days that it's hard to say positively if there is a correlation. What we have been experiencing nearly all year is that if "(not provided)" is coming up short through the day, the total uniques will be short. EDIT: the Uniques total will be short by about the same %.

Since I believe most of the "(not provided)" traffic is from custom search box results on other people sites, we're figuring those sites took a hit too and the variance has been the result of other people's fluctuations.
We do not mind much about the fake downloads as we have flat rate bandwidth but I try to figure out what’s the purpose of all this downloads from same IP´s
is someone hotlinking to your files? I get similar traffic from those trying to use our bandwidth thinking it's metered but we don't have anything downloadable.
Andem




msg:4528465
 5:47 pm on Dec 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

My 4 month traffic climb is continuing. I saw another nice bump to daily averages on 13.12.12. Today might be yet another peak.

My user metrics are very impressive and despite adding a very limited number of ads at the beginning of the month, people are still sharing many pages on Facebook and blogs. Social sharing seems to coincide with SERP ranking improvements. I was also able to improve average page loading time by half a second by compressing image sprites even more at the beginning of the month.

JesterMagic




msg:4528487
 7:02 pm on Dec 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

Since I believe most of the "(not provided)" traffic is from custom search box results on other people sites...


((not provided) traffic is traffic from Google where no query string was provided. This is usually due to people using the encrypted version of Google. A recent version of FireFox now defaults your Google searches to https:// which is why (not provided) has been growing lately for everyone and now makes up a large percent (40%+) of most sites traffic.

Interestingly enough if your Direct traffic has been increasing while your organic traffic has been dropping (in roughly equal amounts) this is probably due to Apple's new iOS/browser version (launched in Sept) where it doesn't pass any referrer information from a Google search.

The way things are going this time next year Google Analytics is going to be useless for figuring out what search keywords people are using to find your site ;-)

Str82u




msg:4528533
 10:39 pm on Dec 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Jester, thanks for the clarity. Hadn't thought the https version was interfering... or are you refering to something more encrypted?

EDIT: Chrome won't let us use the http version, redirects to https everytime. "(not provided)" is about 20% of our unique traffic. Coincidentally, Chrome and Firefoc make up 17% of the last 2 months traffic.

TheMadScientist




msg:4528535
 11:02 pm on Dec 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

Not to mention it sounds like we pretty much all can type in keywords for our niche and see blatant violations and/or complete opposites of the holy grail of website standards they have set forth.

I remember when I could search for something and could honestly say the results 'made sense' and now I cannot do that. It's just that more irritating when they push these rules out about how you should do this and that yet now top results are filled with content that completely goes against these rules.

In a machine learning situation you'd have to present multiple groups of alternatives (regardless of 'old ranking signals') to get the user behavior relative to each different type of site/grouping of sites into the system and it would take time (much longer than we would probably think) to get enough data into the system ... I wouldn't be surprised at all if that's what's going on and I would also not be too surprised if 'the rules of the game' drastically change and move away from even what we're looking at as factors now in the not too distant future.

There's more I'm thinking, but I'm going to leave it there at this time.

SeoDorje




msg:4528624
 5:52 am on Dec 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Guys what to do for the recovery? i have tried all the things such as removing bad links, removing duplicate content , making new content for the customers, guest posting and other link building tactics but all in vain.
I was affected by latest penguin update on oct 5 and since then no sign of recoveries . i did also run ppc campaign for some time but no gain.My site was one the best clothing site from nepal and we ranked in top of Google serp for many core and broad keywords but now my some core keywords rank in bottom of first page and the 1st rank is taken by new non authoritative and bad sites with few index and low domian pr and they also exchange links. i don;t know what the hell is going on Google's mind. May god save all Seo's

Sand




msg:4528717
 6:02 pm on Dec 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

It's getting to where I'm just going to ignore Google referrals from Friday - Sunday. The last few weeks, they've mixed things up so much that looking at my analytics does nothing but give me panic attacks. Then by Monday, everything looks good again.

seoskunk




msg:4528743
 8:07 pm on Dec 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Penguin update to happen this month I reckon!

tedster




msg:4528751
 9:35 pm on Dec 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

I was affected by latest penguin update on oct 5 and since then no sign of recoveries

@SeoDorje, you will probably need to wait until the next Penguin Update to see if you've fixed things enough to recover. Unfortunately, that might be a long wait. The last two updates were May 26 and then November 5, and that's a big gap.

I hope for your sake and others that seoskunk is right and we see a Penguin update this month - but I don't see a reason to expect one that soon.

zeus




msg:4528760
 9:49 pm on Dec 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

hmm it looks like they have cut down on this ridiculous domain stuffing, anyone see the same.

neildt




msg:4528910
 9:50 am on Dec 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing changes in SERPs over the weekend. Some of our "hotel name city" have improved up to page 3; where previously were no where to be seen

Sand




msg:4528946
 12:29 pm on Dec 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

For whatever it's worth, I'm seeing two very different (but individually stable) result sets this morning. One has me way up, the other has me down. A little nervous to see how it plays out.

jonnyruss




msg:4528962
 2:03 pm on Dec 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

Personally I've seen positive ranking increases in the past 7 days. Mostly I've seen established brands improve their positions in the SERPS I monitor on Google UK.

MHes




msg:4529007
 4:16 pm on Dec 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

I may be clutching at straws... but since last night I feel I am getting a more broad range of keyword phrases. I was hit last month and lost about 30% of my traffic.

Today so far I may be up 5%..... which is a start! This could be something to do with google doing less domain stuffing in the serps. So I am now 6 or 7th for a load more phrases, whereas I was being pushed down to 15th+.

neildt




msg:4529024
 5:38 pm on Dec 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

There has definitely been a change over the last few days relating to our hotel site. Many of our affected pages on 24th April 2012 appear to be re-ranking around page 3 / page 4.

simonmc




msg:4529043
 6:27 pm on Dec 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ZUES

Are you kidding? Try: florida sport logos Top 4 results are not only stuffed but also an EMD.

Google is not happy to present 10 different results on page 1, because google has been well broken for so long.

stoked82




msg:4529044
 6:29 pm on Dec 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

I am also experiencing a sudden drop in rankings. I noticed a near 40% loss of Google organic traffic on Dec. 14th and it has remained constant since.

My homepage primary keyword is no where to be found in the SERPs. I was listed #7 on page 1. Now I have a less relevant sub page ranking for my homepage primary keyword on page 8. And Google is now ranking spammy or poorly optimized sites ahead of mine which I have been out ranking for over 1 year.

I am also noticing the same issue for some of my high ranking sub pages for their respective primary keywords - less relevant pages are now ranking but at a big decrease in rankings from where the relevant page was last week. But my site has received no unnatural link warnings, it is still #1 for the exact match, and still has #1 rankings for non-competitive keywords. Also, the site was never effected by previous Panda or Penguin updates.

I have no idea what is going on? Anyone else experiencing similar problems? Have you recovered?

backdraft7




msg:4529048
 6:48 pm on Dec 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

because google has been well broken for so long


Bingo!

Too many ingredients spoil(ed) the broth.

diberry




msg:4529064
 7:46 pm on Dec 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

The last two updates were May 26 and then November 5, and that's a big gap.


I thought those were just refreshes and we hadn't actually seen a Penguin update at all yet?

I'm seeing two very different (but individually stable) result sets this morning.


Me, too.

Wilburforce




msg:4529083
 9:13 pm on Dec 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

For no apparent reason, my index page and domain/key-term.htm page have swapped positions (my index page is now on page 2 for key term, and the /key-term page is now on page 46).

There haven't been any significant changes to either page since the index page fell from page 5 to page 47 on 1 December.

I noticed, as I trawled down to page 46, that several of the sites that had incomprehensively risen to page 1 in May have fallen 20+ pages now.

Whatever Google's intention, the outcome of Panda and Penguin - with nonsensical and impermanent penalties and rewards - has been instability that has lasted over six months.

Presumably Google's share price reflects the fact that this is driving more and more of us to adwords, and driving more and more frustrated searchers to click on them.

VMichael




msg:4529104
 10:21 pm on Dec 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

After a full-on audit, I noted two evergreen pages which were previously in the top 3 positions of the serps get kicked down - by new results that were much newer. I looked at the results and it made sense - Google now believes these keywords should be time-sensitive, and I agree.

Good job Google, and thanks for taking away my evergreen traffic.

I also noted EMD/PMD competitors that are edging me out for a few keywords that I've targeted. They must've benefited from the recent test/update.

Last but not least, I also found a cluster of linkable assets within the site that seems to have been devalued, and therefore all associated pages which were written to capture a lot of long-tail traffic now don't capture the long tail as well.

Best of luck everyone, I hope you find your strategies moving forward.

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