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Google Updates and SERP Changes - March 2013

 5:18 am on Mar 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

< continued from [webmasterworld.com...]

I'm seeing daily switching between 2-3 datasets across around 600 keywords. Seeing roughly 10-20 keywords swapping in & out of positions.

[edited by: tedster at 2:47 pm (utc) on Mar 1, 2013]



 3:39 pm on Mar 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

@ScubaAddict none ! took me over 10 years to build an array of businesses ranging from ecommerce ( with warehouse ) to country specific info websites often in different languages. Re-invested every penny I made. mistake...

edit - 11 years !


 3:59 pm on Mar 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

lol @ scubaAddict
i had never employed a blackhat tactic,.. rules of the games had changed so many times in last 5 years and especially in last 2 years, and I always complied with google guidelines


I have been in this business for many years now. I had many websites, some informational, some transactional...

I had employed, sales staff, support staff, 2 highly skilled programmers, website designer, content creators, 10 writers...

My latest website to suffer was also my main website, it was operating in a micro-niche and was selling a product... it was not an EMD but a brand in that niche, now my website is totally gone because of March 6th 2013 update... a scrapper had scrapped my website's titles a month ago and set up multiple sites, that scrapper has vanished to somewhat (but not to a degree that I have vanished)

now query to my micro-niche product is giving totally garbage and irrelevant results... seems like google has killed that micro niche which I had discovered, now I am getting totally irrelevant results in SERP from irrelevant big brands like amazon and scribd


 4:12 pm on Mar 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Well, did you ever think to yourself - "hrm, I should probably stop deceiving the Almighty Go..oogle and and remove this trash content and put up stuff that people actually want to see?"

I mean surely God.. er.. Google had a good reason to strip you and your employees of their livelyhoods. Maybe you are terrorists? Torture women? Or you simply burn down schools? That's it right? You burn down schools?

I mean - what exactly did they tell you did wrong before they tried to kill you off? Surely with that info you could have stopped it. Any decent organization would tell a good loyal hard-working employee how to stop the bleeding...I mean, you read the bibl.. er .. Google's guide to building high quality sites. Right? That should have fixed it right up. Maybe if you read that you could have stopped this destruction. Really it's all your fault, spewing that spammy crap.


 4:27 pm on Mar 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Really it's all your fault, spewing that spammy crap.

Might be time to step away from the keyboard...you're getting a little too personal here.

And in any event, he is right that the rules have changed many times over the years. It can be hard for older sites to stay on the right side of things. To put it simply: It used to be that you had to worry only about adding value to your site. Now, you need to worry about adding value to the internet. If your site is not adding value to the internet, you shouldn't expect to last anymore.

I have no insight into whether he was spamming or not. But I can tell you from working with clients that there are many people out there who made sure they were on the straight and narrow when they setup their site, but the rules have since changed, putting them in a really tough spot.


 4:36 pm on Mar 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Might be time to step away from the keyboard...you're getting a little too personal here.

He's just being very facetious to get his point across that it's not what these members are doing wrong -- it's about google's total lack of transparency.


 4:38 pm on Mar 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

I thought maybe that was the case, but I honestly couldn't tell.


 4:40 pm on Mar 17, 2013 (gmt 0)


Have you ever made 5 million dollars in one year? I have! and my sites continue to get repeat sales even though google is not ranking me to my previous positions!///

No spammer can make this much amount of money in one year, so better should know what you are talking about before spewing crap!... I clearly said that my website was inventor of that micro-niche and was a brand (in that niche atleast)...

I was here to discuss how a scrapper affected my rankings and here this guy is telling me that whatever I have learned about online business in last 10-15 years is all wrong... Google has not killed off my business, surely I am not making as much money as I was previously, but repeat sales from my previous customers can keep me afloat.. this forum is getting as bad as google forums


 4:51 pm on Mar 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

The whole point is that after reading the guidelines... After reviewing the site content.... Employing professionals.... The algorithm is so sophisticated only the panda really knows what is considered "spam" and what is not. And for anyone who hasnt gone through it... The day of reckoning will eventually get there. You have to build your site as if goog traffic doesnt exist is my advice. If you get goog traffic... Great. But dont count on it. Count on your other forms of traffic and exploit those opportunities.

It takes a lot of either wisdom or discipline to completely ignore the biggest elephant in the room... But its the only way to build a stable biz.


 4:58 pm on Mar 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

For two ecommerce sites, I:

- Gained positions almost across the board. Some significant, like from #10 to #4, #12->#2, etc. Checked across various data centers, and seems consistent
- Traffic, however, is flat to slightly down (-3% or so)
- Conversions are WAY down

For one of the sites, I can see why. Big G seems to have assigned "commercial intent" to some of the keywords we rank for. This means the SERPS now have local listings, and prettier ads. So, even though I gained positions, I lost searches to the local listings and more enticing ads.

On the other site, I don't see anything like this. SERP results look pretty much the same, but my conversions are in the toilet. Nothing changed on the site, no errors, etc.

I think others had referred to this as "zombie traffic". Seems I've been afflicted.

Hopefully all of this settles down once the update rolls out completely. I'm unclear if this is the Panda update that was supposed to start Friday or Monday, or if there was some other update that started Wed/Thurs. We started seeing the changes Thursday.


 5:19 pm on Mar 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

It's not enough to follow the rules anymore. It just isn't.


 5:21 pm on Mar 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

You are so funny. NOT.


 5:46 pm on Mar 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

totally irrelevant results

IMHO This is actually the key to what happened in the last 2 years.

What you ask is not what you get. What you get is what Google thinks you want, then mix in personalisation and locations, and stir in Google's fall back sites, the big brands and wikipedia.

You could have the best website in the world on a subject and still 'fail'.

Compare that with Bing who has a simpler algo. You get more of a mix of sites, and is, in our niche, more precise.


 5:50 pm on Mar 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Exactly Johnhh,

My website is specifically adding value to that niche, I dont know why amazon, scribd and even cisco's website is ranking... just because they have that term on title of some page....

This is insane


 6:10 pm on Mar 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

I wonder if scubaaddict has got the bends.

Back on topic; here in the UK in my niches things have been churning since Thursday and still doing so. Overall SERPs are looking better at the moment, still loads of brandspam but we're all used to that now.


 6:50 pm on Mar 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

"brandspam"...never heard that term before but that is a really good way of describing what google has allowed its top results to be full of. Doesn't matter how good your info sites are these days, big brands will outdo you with worse content. Sickening as both a website creator and a searcher.


 10:45 pm on Mar 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Super slow day - March Madness perhaps?


 11:16 pm on Mar 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

it is technically a holiday here in the states, st pattys day, not march madness...


 11:35 pm on Mar 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

ohh its just horror the rankings, still a lot of domain stuffing and a example which i think is ok - links website, then you get a jewelry site it can not get more wrong. Im so happy that im slowly getting out of this business, but of cause I will still follow a little.


 4:08 am on Mar 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

I saw an increase in impression of 300% on Mar 16. Right back sown to nothing now. They were all for very random terms that I was not really looking for.


 4:22 am on Mar 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

If this post has been unable to solve your issues, please refer to my post above - it provides valuable insight into why you may not be as important to me as you might think.

The Human Importance Quality Team

lol you mad brah?

It seems as if you think you run the Internet and if we don't conform to your rules and ideas you won't consider our value as people nearly as highly as we think you should, and in some cases, you may not even deem our importance as people as highly as we think you should even if we play by your rules, so my question is: Why should we play by your rules rather than getting the most attention we can right now by thinking for ourselves and seeing what's working rather than giving a flying f*** about you or your rules or even what most people might say your rules are based on poor interpretations and what your rules were 5 years ago?

My guess is in many cases the determination of importance and relevance has changed so much over the last year or two even (never mind the last 5) most of what's "deemed and touted as important by the masses" has actually dwindled and changed greatly, so there is a whole new way not known to many to "gain importance" in your way of thinking.


 5:02 am on Mar 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

Guess if we don't see any Panda signs in the next 24 hours or so then 6th of March could have been it.


 6:04 am on Mar 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

Seeing partial recovery Sunday 3/17 up 20% over the average of the last 2 months

Changes made;
Moved evergreen lists of references to my niche to a subdomain with related 2 keywords. Used canonical link to subdomain and no indexed them on the main site
Moved commentary on other articles that included quotes from article that was commented on from my niche to subdomain with 1 keyword. Used canonical link to subdomain and no indexed them on the main site
Removed 301 redirects from old url structure of 1 year ago
Subdomains have links to main domain in footer navigation bar
Made the entire site no follow on all outbound links.
Created new domain in same niche but totally a social network using buddypress. Footer links stating that "new domain" is part of the "penalized domain" family of websites. 1200 members in 2 months.

My reasoning for doing all of this.

1. If the lists of references on different subjects was considered duplicate content across the internet, then moving to subdomain would remove penalty.
2. If the quotes from other articles in the commentary was considered duplicate content then again moving them would remove the penalty.
3. If there were too many 301 redirects and they cause a penalty then removing them would end the penalty. If there were
4. Both removing the 301 redirects and using a canonical link and a no index would break any negative links that might be pointing to the pages that have been penalized.
5. Placing no follow links on every outbound link would eliminate any appearance of selling links.
6. Creating a new site in the same niche but with a different purpose would cause a larger footprint in the niche, show that the old domain was part of a larger and more authoritative group of websites, and create links that were natural for a sister website to produce. Every big brand has links in the footer to it's other websites.
7. The social network for our niche causes us to have a way to keep and cultivate return visitors and produce visitor loyalty not only to the social network but to the old domain which is informational as well. So far since Jan 21st, it has an average of 8 pages per visit, 70% return visitor per day, less than 30% bounce rate and 12 plus minutes per visit. I believe it will be viewed as quality linking to quality.

Martin Ice Web

 9:09 am on Mar 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

Guess if we don't see any Panda signs in the next 24 hours or so then 6th of March could have been it.

I think it you are right and it went through a languages till 14 march. That was they day it arrived in germany and hit us again. As it said before there have been two datasets, one good, one bad, unfurtunatelly the panda update was the bad one. they do not switch to the good one back. Shame.

So far since Jan 21st, it has an average of 8 pages per visit, 70% return visitor per day, less than 30% bounce rate and 12 plus minutes per visit. I believe it will be viewed as quality linking to quality.

taberstruths, that means nothing to google. We did work hard om our site and users fetched a lot of pages in a row, frequently coming back visitors and a all time low bounce rate. I thought it would now be the beginning of panda release cause we gained traffic every day. But all went down again on 14 march. Back to panda november hit. The only thing that google is intersted in is how to make money out of your site. Today a had a adwords ad in my letterbox that i should use adwords to GAIN more potential visitors to my site!
This is a nice hit between my legs. Googlers if you read this: If i get back my rankings i could effort adwrods but with panda i was forced to shut it down! You kill your own customers!


 11:39 am on Mar 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

@TOI - I think Scuba Addict's tongue-in-cheek response, while crazy yes, is an attempt to look like the boiler plate replies we tend to get from that search giant we all know and....love?

Looks like today is the day I finally pick up the Sunday paper and start combing the jobs section. It was a nice 12 year run, but there seems to be nothing we can do to halt the rapid decline of our traffic.
Anyone interested in buying a "once very successful" website?

SERPS still look ok, but traffic is suddenly just flat & non-interactive...again.


 11:59 am on Mar 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing flux in the UK on my main keyphrase. A couple of sites I've never seen before are bashing in and out of the top ten. One site that has appeared rock solid at #3 is now in the wilderness. No improvement yet for me...

Martin Ice Web

 12:06 pm on Mar 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

backdraft, i think about following. When g* does anyway show amazon for every query in frist 3 positons, why not advertise on amazon dirclectly, instead doing adwords with google? You know all traffic goes this way from g*, so why use g* as a third party tool, when we can have the first party tool? 10 million real buyers instead of g* manipulated personal search zombies ! I think about it and will probably give it a try.


 12:12 pm on Mar 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

@MIW - that would work...until next week when they change up the serps again. ;^)

Just another observation...mornings on GART used to show 10+ in the site at 7am, consistently. As of the last 2 iterations of whatever they are sending down has limited that traffic to a consistent 4 or less on the site. This morning it's 2 or less. Every iteration delivers a little less.

Looks like I could dump the dedicated server at any time and host my site on one of those free hosting plans.


 12:29 pm on Mar 18, 2013 (gmt 0)


The site with those numbers is absolutely not Google dependant. It has grown from advertising on the first site, blog advertising in my niche, and from my FB fan page. So I don't care if G likes it or not. If people do and I capture a percentage of my niche who come daily, then I have a targeted and specific audience available for my info site under no one's control but mine.

Martin Ice Web

 12:38 pm on Mar 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

@taberstruths, if u are realy get there, then congrats. I just where refering your post to the last sentence.
I believe it will be viewed as quality linking to quality.


 12:45 pm on Mar 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

Well I believe that on page metrics are a part in what is taken into consideration when G determines quality. I am not sure if this is relevant or not, but 2 weeks after the site went up, it was given a PR2 rank. There had been no linking done at all yet to the site.


 12:52 pm on Mar 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

"FB fan page" a bit out of topic, but I have seen "FB fan pages" with hundreds of thousands of fans where the admin posts every minute a new article from his garbage website, and I wonder does this guy cares for any algorithmic updates or serps in Google, Bing , Yahoo ....?

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