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Google Updates and SERP Changes - January 2013

 6:53 am on Jan 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

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

I'm seeing our old zombie traffic since the end of the year. So we'll have a slow week, then like clockwork things will be back to normal next week or so.

[edited by: tedster at 2:11 pm (utc) on Jan 9, 2013]


Robert Charlton

 5:11 am on Jan 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

It's clearly a joke that's achieving fabled status, also applied to "Zebra" updates that would affect Facebook, Pinterest, etc... as if there's something dreadful on the horizon that will end the web as we know it.

I'm expecting a Skunk Update any day now. ;)


 11:04 am on Jan 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm expecting a Skunk Update any day now.

Whatever the animal, it stinks. It could be Penguin again. Nine-month-old fish.


 11:17 am on Jan 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

Definitely something to do with Penguin but whether it's an update or refresh or just another block of concrete tied to my neck, I am not sure. SERPs are very shaken up in my niches and my Penguin hit site has sunk even further for what was it's main SERPS. Longer tail stuff seems to be holding for now though. I am seeing seemingly non penguin affected sites suffering too but no idea why.


 1:02 pm on Jan 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

my Penguin hit site has sunk even further for what was it's main SERPS

Did you remove links to this site?

My guess is G just really turned up the dial on links, which would explain further falls for Penguin hit sites where people have been making effort to remove links.

If that's true I think the next step would be to launch another Penguin update... which might get red of all the cr*p again.


 1:06 pm on Jan 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

Did you remove links to this site?

Yes, I removed some and I have disavowed some too.

If that's true I think the next step would be to launch another Penguin update... which might get red of all the cr*p again.

Yes, you could be right. It does seem Penguin related so maybe it's gearing up for the main event. Fingers are crossed for my site but not really holding out much hope.


 3:09 pm on Jan 28, 2013 (gmt 0)


Did disavowing links have any noticeable effect? I have a block of links from multiple pages of a single site to my Home page (no idea who added them, or why) that are probably not doing any good, and may be causing a problem.


 3:30 pm on Jan 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

A resounding "no". Nothing I have done since Penguin has had any positive effect.


 3:58 pm on Jan 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

How long ago did you remove/disavow the links (and was it all at once, or in batches)?

I blocked a load back in May, and got some sort of normality back (even getting back to page 1 for the main search term - the blocked site's only anchor-text - for almost a whole 48 hours). I've been hovering - mostly between pages 3 and 5 - for quite a while, but dropped so far at the end of last week I haven't yet managed to find my page (I have checked as far as page 50).

That has to be a penalty in anyone's language, but what for? If disavowing the current suspect links will have no effect, I don't really see a way back from here.


 4:26 pm on Jan 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

Side note of interest: this weekend I was searching for info on a common psychological concept (the kind that gets mentioned on talk shows and TV dramas all the time). I tried Bing and got articles that never even mentioned the concept! The Wikipedia entry, which was weak, was the only usable entry on the first page. So I tried Google, and it was no better. A couple of articles mentioned my search term, but nothing gave me the basic comprehensive overview of what it is that you expect when you just type the name of a concept into the search box. Terrible, terrible results - but it's not just Google, so I really wonder what's going on. (I searched some other related concepts and had better results, but not nearly as good as I was getting a few weeks ago from either engine.)

Right after this Panda update rolled out, many results for my Panda'd/Penguin'd site improved... for about 2-3 days. Then then fell right back down to where they had been a week before. This still feels like a rollback to me on MY terms... but those psychology terms I happened to be searching... ugh, I can't believe those SERPs would ever be considered ideal. It wasn't that they were overrun by spam - it was more like the algo had no idea what I was searching for. Very strange.


 5:20 pm on Jan 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

I tried Bing and got articles that never even mentioned the concept!

For some time I have been using Bing for personal searches in preference to Google, and while their results are generally better (though not for all subjects), they too are prone to some pretty dodgy results in some areas. Today I also notice - are they playing Google catch-up on every measure? - only 8 organic results on Bing's page 1.


 5:32 pm on Jan 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

If Bing were to produce results that google was a few years ago they would do much better than they are now IMO. Google are only showing branding it seems. Bing could make a real name by serving more diverse results like google used to - and shouting about the fact that they were. Though it seems they are only interested in treading a path directly in google's footprint.


 4:08 pm on Jan 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

Today My Penguin'd/Panda'd site has been knocked back to its dismal rankings of last August... right after I changed the domain and made a lot of major changes which sunk it even further than Penguin had (figuring I had little to lose, and I'd wanted to make those changes for some time). It really continues to feel like a weird rollback to me. I mean, I don't even consider these rankings I've suddenly gotten back to be strictly Panda/Penguin - I believe they were also deeply impacted by the major changes I made. Yet, they're back.


 4:39 am on Jan 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

My traffic plummeted, a great influence on my website.


 5:28 am on Jan 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Had a personal visit from someone from Mountain View today it seems. That was a little odd.


 9:21 am on Jan 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

I am seeing my pages that were affected last week recovering a bit today. One page that was at the bottom of page 1 moved to page 4 and has come back a bit to the bottom of page 2. Some other pages have returned to pretty much where they were. Is anyone else seeing this? Just to recap on events, this whatevever it was seemed to affect or re affect pages already affected by Penguin.


 9:51 am on Jan 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

seeing a new widget for weather searches in the UK this morning. Feeling sorry for anyone with a vested interest in this information right now, its got pretty comprehensive coverage: county, town part postcode, full postcode its always there, no reason to leave google


 9:57 am on Jan 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Some other pages have returned to pretty much where they were. Is anyone else seeing this?

No. My Home page is still on page 47 for main two-word key term. I noticed, on the way to it, a couple of others that have also fallen a long way (now on pages 30+) from page 1.

Last night I disavowed one site that looks suspect (92 pages linking to my Home page, all with the same anchor-text), but MC's blog states that disavowal will not take effect until the offending pages are next crawled. The last few of a set of similar backlinks I blocked in May were still showing in WMT in November, so this isn't going to be a quick fix (if it fixes anything).

I'm at a loss, generally. I noticed today that one of my technical pages has been knocked off its #1 spot by what might be described as a four-year-old's guide to the subject.


 11:13 am on Jan 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

No. My Home page is still on page 47 for main two-word key term.

Sorry to hear that Wilburforce. Not that it makes an enormous difference to me that fact that some of mine have returned to where they were. In some instances going from page 7 to page 14 back to page 7 did not make one bit of difference to my income. The onne keyword that stood any chance of getting some traffic at the bottom of page one now stands no chance at the bottom of page 2. Hey ho. I'm past caring, google - just mildly interested at the madness of the SERPs.


 1:51 am on Jan 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

are they tightening the knobs again right now? noticing another "big" drop in traffic from goog. "big" in quotes because traffic from them is almost irrelevant now lol...


 5:18 am on Jan 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

Looks Like Theres been another mini update 30th Jan Im in Uk seen a few sites shuffling around again, .co.uk search im seeing news for Atlanta Georgia paying Tax for lease vehicles nothing to do with uk

Last Update 2 weeks ago see what ever Google was rolling out hit the UK first then others around 48 hours later


 5:57 am on Jan 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

At 6:00PM Central time my website started bring in more traffic than normal.. A lot more. Hopefully this carries in to tomorrow.


 7:29 am on Jan 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

I see a drop in the on tuesday and wednesday, for some searches as mytown apartments etc, there are only big international portals on 1st page with there pages such as site/rentals/city/ or even site/rentals/country/city
Only business for the big guys......
I believe the big guys can afford to pay google for ads!


 9:32 am on Jan 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

A major feature this morning is that for some search terms I can't turn off location (so today I get results for Bradford UK, which isn't even my ISP's location, let alone remotely near me). The only option I have is to tell Google where I am (I'm currently staying with someone called Winston Smith, who for some reason is very anxious I don't tell them).

Toggling between Web and Pages from the UK has no effect whatsoever.

The results for my main key term on that basis are nothing like anything I have seen before.

This unwielding preoccupation with location has been intermittent, but I have noticed it alongside a couple of major rollouts in the past, so we may be looking at Skunk after all.


 9:40 am on Jan 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

Well we moved up on the first page for our main key term, however I can never shake the feeling of the hatchet man standing behind me.


 10:46 am on Jan 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

My traffic dropped: 3 days ago -30 %, yesterday -40%, today -45 % ( compared to same days last week(s) ).
Nothing changed from my part. No panda problems in the past.
Sigh... you start wondering why you put all that effort in building up your sites.
Hope it is temporary!


 10:53 am on Jan 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

-> important to tell: I have a big image Gallery, and G Images started with their new layout, where they don't show the original site anymore, when an image is clicked...


 11:00 am on Jan 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

@pixar24 Sorry to hear that. I used to get a lot of traffic from images too. Looks like they found a new way to shaft us. At least with my images the user will still come to the site in some cases as it's not like they are looking to use the image for their own purposes (I imagine anyway). It's utterly wrong that google have done this though. It also smacks of desperation.


 2:55 pm on Jan 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

I have a list of keywords that I always check rankings for on the last day of the month ( as today), and I'm noticing a further big increase in the amount of worthless garbage at the top of Google's SERPs. I know Google's results have been getting worse and worse for a long time, but this is almost beyond belief.


 3:05 pm on Jan 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

@ aristotle, you should see what's at the top of one of my SERP's It's 1 page (2 if you count the contact page) Amazon affiliate site that has three links going to another Amazon affiliate site selling exactly the same products. I could honestly cry.


 3:05 pm on Jan 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

It seems like there are mutiple sets of search results and they go in cycles. Seems maybe like an past, present and future set. They come and last for a week or 2 and then switch and then they gradually keep changing. It seems like recently it is looking for some of the pages from a few years ago so maybe we are in a past cycle now. That is maybe why we all seem to shooting at a moving target. I still think we are part of a test group though because it looks like only select sites are affected.


 3:39 pm on Jan 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

Something major was released about 3 days ago here too...traffic has dropped like a rock. My site used to "wake up" around 4am with plenty of visitors, today it's been at 0 visitors for hours (now 10am). I run a dedicated server but now I'm wondering why? I could handle this traffic with a free hosting account. Google continues to cherry pick keywords for their own interests. No government agency will ever find them at fault of having a conflict of interest though since they ARE the government.

This is typically our busiest season, but it's already lower than our lowest period in July.
Trickle down economics will soon choke off one of their best income sources....us.

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