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This 679 message thread spans 23 pages: < < 679 ( 1 ... 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 [19] 20 21 22 23 > >     
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]



 1:59 pm on Mar 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

what the hell is going on, would a mod delete the last three pages of arguing and complaining. this is supposed to be about ranking. post in the right thread. took me 20 mins to read through all this garbage i almost didnt want to come here again.


 2:02 pm on Mar 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

as of Monday I noticed some of my single word rankings dropped. initially 10 spots. now 15. i see empty blogs ranking due to keyword match names. or it could be links, my majesticseo account expired.

i think this might be inline with someone else a few pages back before all this childish bickering about on Monday they started seeing pre march 6th traffic and rank return. maybe a slight reversal or possibily another tweak to the algo?


 7:48 pm on Mar 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

The "childish bickering" was about what impacts the SERPs today, what is ranking well right now and some of the different factors that seem to be in play today (like ranking without inbound links).

Where exactly should we have put it besides the most current SERPs thread since the SERPs right now and what seems to impact them are exactly what we're talking about?

In looking back through it, the discussions over the last 3 pages seem very relevant to what is having an impact or possibly causing changes in the SERPs today.

Sorry you didn't get as much out of it as if we'd just posted things like I have been for most of the last two weeks, but I'll leave this one that way.

Seeing indications of multiple result sets. Slow indexing. Not seeing major changes or moves in either direction. Have seen some minor flux.


 9:03 pm on Mar 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

The biggest German computer magazine, wrote today :

Google WAS a great search engine, but now Google dont want to deliver the best search results anymore, they want to dominate the internet. "Computer Bild"


 12:22 am on Mar 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

Computer Bild congrats for the bold statement......... off to sell any shares I have in "Computer Bild" as junk shares......


 1:05 am on Mar 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

Finally able to log back in.

I use Google only to test searches and I use it incognito. I recently did a search for "cat ears" and only ONE result on the first page actually related to feline ears. Everything else was about brainwave cat ears, whatever they are. Google has become an absolute sham.

As for my own site, a competitor now has the top result, which is fair enough. But, not only that, they also have the same result twice in the top five.

This has so far cost us our health insurance, we are about to sell a car & will default on the mortgage within a month. It's been an absolute disaster. I had hoped Panda 25 would improve results but numbers continue to decline, despite having added 90 articles this year, and they're good articles. But Google has decided that even ehow & squidoo should outrank my site.

It's absolutely financially devastated us. I am pretty bitter about it as I have worked hard for 11 years to build an authority site and we've lost everything.


 1:28 am on Mar 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

Try looking/searching for cats ears ( ears belonging to felines..you can search with or without the "possessive apostrophe" ) and you'll find there is variety..


 1:38 am on Mar 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

Yep, much better search results typing "cats ears". When I use Bing to search for "cat ears" I get accurate results.

I refuse to use Google search for anything other than testing purposes anymore.

I find it ironic that they're trying to stamp out duplicate content yet my competitor gets two spots in the top five for the same topic.

Another big bugbear of mine is how they are supposedly hitting you site wide for poor content. So, take my site for example, with probably 500+ articles. Let's say that 15 of those articles aren't as good as they could be, Google will penalise the remaining 485 articles, even though they're exceptional. How is that actually improving search results for users? Why not just penalise the 15 weak ones? I try my very best to engage with my audience, and write the best quality articles I possibly can. I have NEVER written for search engines, concentrating on delivering good content for my visitors (if they don't like what they read, they will leave, and I miss out & lose my reputation). None of it makes sense. I have found that Bing produces much better search results. I don't always come no. 1 with Bing either, nor do I expect to.


 1:48 am on Mar 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

If there is a product called cat ( singular ) ears,( which apparently there is ) I would posit that Bing's results are less accurate if you search using the singular..
You may well have a point with regard to some of your other comments..but your specific example "cat ears" ( with or without quotes but in singular ) is flawed..

If I typed ford ( I would expect to get the product/brand ..and not the shallow crossing of a stream )..or at least the "product", would outweigh the shallow crossing of a stream by 10 to 1 on the first page of SERPs..


 2:07 am on Mar 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

Funny that I just searched for "cat ears", but anyways....I am seeing 6 of 10 results showing for actual feline ears. The image results sit pretty high on the page and it's a bunch of feline ears. Not bad results honestly.


 2:08 am on Mar 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

Something seemed to have rolled out Friday here in the USA. Seemed like everything finally settled Wed night and Thursday. Tons of flux hit again on Friday night. Not sure if anyone else noticed this.


 2:15 am on Mar 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

I have NEVER written for search engines,

So, take my site for example, with probably 500+ articles.

That you mention you have 500 articles ..would lead one to suppose that your site is not ecommerce..?
Thus one could ( correct me if I'm wrong ) suppose that you derive your income from advertising on your site ..would that be adsense ? ..if so..? you most definitely do "write for search engines", ( and Google in particular )..because, if Google did not exist ..neither would adwords..nor would adsense..and, nor would your site exist..?

If Google folded tomorrow..would your site still exist..? would you still have an income..? would you still have a business..?


 2:24 am on Mar 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

Yes, my income is via Adsense (as well as other sources), however I didn't actually start to monetise the site until 2007, which was 2 years after the site was established.

My site would still exist if Google folded tomorrow, I just wouldn't make any money. I would still keep the site running, as it actually has lots of good & useful information. However, I would have to get a job, actually I have to do that anyway.

But it is wrong to say that my articles are written for Google. They aren't. They are written for the audience. I wouldn't actually know how to write with SEO in mind to be honest. I just try to present the information on the given topic.

The site will always exist, google or not.


 2:25 am on Mar 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

Sorry, the site existed for five years prior to me using Adsense, not two. Site established in 2002, Adsense was first put on the site in 2007. No revenue was generated prior to that.


 2:36 am on Mar 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

I wouldn't actually know how to write with SEO in mind to be honest.

It is not necessary..But frequently writing for what people are searching for ( and using the terms that they would use to search ) will coincide with what search engines are ranking..

Hence cat ears ..and cats ears ..

Those searching with cat as a singular, are probably looking for the product ( so Google serves them "product biased SERPs")..Whereas those searching with cats, ( whether they know to put the "possessive apostrophe" with the extra s or not ) are probably searching for the ears possessed by cats..and get SERPs about them..

Little things and sometimes little changes..can make a very big difference..search engines ( Google in particular ) respond to how searchers search .."autosuggest" ( and other things.. like your logs ) show you this..

Hopefully you will have saved your logs..because Google are letting less and less data through, concerning the search terms, which are used to find our pages..


 2:44 am on Mar 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

Yes, I searched a term for an article of mine today & the difference between the word with or without "ing" on the end actually made a big difference in my ranking. First one (without the ing), I was top of page two, second (with the ing) and I was about no. 5 on the first page.

We all search in different ways. I would have always searched for "cat ears" when looking up info on the ears of felines, but obviously others search for "cats ears".

Anyway, I will keep writing & hoping that I fall back into favour with the big G. I'm sure one of my competitors will piss them off at some point in the future. I know another competitor of mine who always showed up in the results has also vanished, and they are an exceptional site. I don't know what they have done, only thing I don't like about their site is the annoying pop up. Other than that, the quality of the content is fantastic, but G have decided to penalise them too.


 2:54 am on Mar 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

Definitely some good info coming out in this discussion, specifically the difference in plural v singular.

I've seen similar differences using "service in place" rather than "service place" or "widget place", which definitely says to me there's some difference in search patterns they've noticed that's relevant to or at least applied to the type of results returned.

It would be interesting as someone noted in a previous post (could be in this thread) if one reason for what seem to be complete rankings drops with some traffic or non-rankings drops but less traffic has to do with query pattern and differences they make in the type of results presented.

Is it possible we're often searching with subtle differences in queries compared to what real people use when they want to find the type of information presented on our sites?


 5:42 am on Mar 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm stunned that there are still people who believe:

#1. Google gives a flying F@ck about organic
#2. The organic results you see aren't exactly what google intends them to be

This is 100% true for me, Google goal now make money as much. But Google make money when visitor click on ad link not on our site so Google make sure of that. I realize this and no longer waste time, google money hungry. People have different views and opinions, but please no go like idiots assume that Google is the old google.


 5:54 am on Mar 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

Interestingly, the article that has been hit the most severely is a one word topic (a plant).

Maybe that's all it is with my site, my title tags just aren't doing it for Google anymore. Actually that is where I would do a wee bit of SEO, probably 20% of the time before I publish a site I will use the Google keyword tool and jumble up the words. What gets more searches...

ringworm in dogs
dog ringworm

I then use whichever one is most searched for. That's as far as I go with SEO.

It's not just sour grapes on my part though (although that is a factor), but even for non "work" related searches I just don't think Google is giving me the best results anymore. I am a definite Bing convert.

I think in other areas Panda has been good though. It's not entirely crappy, but I still strongly disagree with their search results and the fact that penalties apply site wide, so they are taking out good articles too, which is not fair on the site owner or the visitor.


 8:39 am on Mar 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

Traffic extremely flat today, noticing a LOT less (not provided) - almost like my long tail has disappeared overnight.


 9:20 am on Mar 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

Meh, I tried using Bing for a full year as my default search engine. In the end I just found myself constantly going back to Google to get the results. Regardless of how much I'd like for Bing to be up there, they just weren't up to it. Mainly due to an overly shallow index. The obscure pages were always found by Google.


 9:30 am on Mar 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

The results have certainly changed very radically over the last year: only two of the top 20 for my key term remain there from a year ago (ex #1 is now #5), while three from page 1 (including mine) are now on the last page returned (and every time I check through them I find ex page 1 pages at page 30+).

Less than half of the current top 20 were in the top 30 two months ago.

The current results are at best questionable - certainly not improved for relevance - and probably the biggest UK player in the industry is currently at #23 (not their Home page).

As it has been like this for a long time now (unstable, less relevant, and with frequent complete aberrations) I would have to agree that either Google is indifferent to current SERPS, or this present mess is deliberate.

I have already said this more than once, but will repeat: the old Google is not coming back.

On the recent posts here, the singular/plural issue has been around for a long time (I remember posting about it at least six months ago), as has the substantial difference a word or letter can make. I am now on page nowhere for Key Term, but at #1 for Key Term Prices, and at #2 for Specialised Key Term (while a site that specialises in Specialised Key Term is on page 1 for Key Term, but on page Nowhere for Specialised Key Term). It is as if Google looks at your primary business/key term and penalises that: any optimisation at all is over-optimisation. The best you can do, in my view, is optimise for something similar, not identical, to what you want to get good results for.


 9:38 am on Mar 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

Regardless of how much I'd like for Bing to be up there, they just weren't up to it. Mainly due to an overly shallow index. The obscure pages were always found by Google.

Absolutely true for long tail, but I find Bing much more relevant for 1, 2 and 3 keyword searches (I'm generalising of course). I have toyed with the idea of spending an hour or so making my own little HTML page that accepts keyword searches and then directs me to Google for searches featuring 4 keywords or more, and to Bing for shorter searches.


 9:45 am on Mar 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

rango - try duckduckgo.com, I have been using that for a year now and only check rankings or other country searches on google. You will notice better results then on google, yes its a big word, but slowly there is SO much advertising, domain stuffing, that you simply dont get any real results on google.


 9:53 am on Mar 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

I find Bing much more relevant for 1, 2 and 3 keyword searches

Well, I did plenty of those as well and found in the end probably about 50% of my searches required me to readjust and go back to searching in Google. When I have Google as my default, I just never feel the need to also check in Bing. Again, I was really hoping that Bing would prove better, but the honest truth was that they just didn't cut it.

I may give duckduckgo a go. I don't see their crawler that much on our site though, so I have a hard time believing they will have the index size to actually find enough. But anyway, worth a shot I suppose.

Edit: I've now set duckduckgo as my default and will give them a good whirl

[edited by: rango at 9:57 am (utc) on Mar 24, 2013]


 9:54 am on Mar 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

Absolutely true for long tail, but I find Bing much more relevant for 1, 2 and 3 keyword searches

That is my own view. As I have already posted, Bing returns complex phrases as if they were a random collection of separate words, whereas Google's results look much more like an intelligent assessment of the whole phrase.

In searches with only a couple of words the exact opposite now seems to apply. Bing knows what Dog Biscuit is, while Google returns every combination of synonym for Dog and Biscuit, with sites that are both optimised and relevant for Dog Biscuit coming last.


 3:38 pm on Mar 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

I just tried duckduckgo for a client who has a competitor who constantly scrapes his data and uses other dishonest tricks (client is #5 in Google and competitor is #10 but in Ducky the competitor is #1 and client #4. So ducky doesn't seem to know that the compeitor is a scraper. At least Amazon and Ebay are not on 1st page in Ducky like they are in Google.


 4:26 pm on Mar 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

Interestingly, the article that has been hit the most severely is a one word topic (a plant)
Can't help but ask, it wasn't Saffron was it?

I checked them out a year or so ago and have been on the watch for them but have to say we've gotten less than a handful of hits from them out of millions and we rank for the same terms the same as we do at Google and Bing, some sites do much better.

As far as results go, We search for different terms everyday in the course of research that aren't traffic or SEO related, sometimes hundreds, and find that Google returns about 90% or better above the fold versus about 65% from Bing; these are also terms where the results can only have ONE (1) definitive site and there has to be some algorithmic determination as to accuracy and authority/reputation, especially if that one site doesn't exist because there are sharks in the water.


 6:53 pm on Mar 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

Today I've seen a huge increase in the host crowing issue (or whatever we decided to call it). This has pushed many sites down into the 100s. Below the crowded results the other sites are still sat pretty much n the order they were previously. Strange..


 9:07 pm on Mar 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

@ Pete

Seems like something has been crunching all weekend. Seeing a ton of flux on SERPS that would normally be pretty stable.


 11:17 pm on Mar 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

Was there some sort of Google update on March 13th? My main site has had Google traffic pretty much decimated (I am talking referals in single figures here) on that date. I had read there was a Panda update coming between 15th-18th, but this seems to be different.

Previously the site had been affected on Oct 11th, same date as the EMD update. The thing is this site is a 2 word domain, one of which is a keyword, the other is a name, the site has been established since 2005. For that reason I don't know why it was affected by that in the first place.

There was a partial recovery in January to acceptable levels of traffic, but I can't find any info on what might have happened on March 13th. Has anyone else been affected on that date or have any idea what this might be?

[edited by: tedster at 11:47 pm (utc) on Mar 24, 2013]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]

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