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Google Updates and SERP Changes - March 2013
gyppo




msg:4550034
 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]

 

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4552948
 11:17 pm on Mar 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

One can have the most authoratative page with the most amazing images yet Google will rank a page at #1 with one keyword in the titlebar together with a very poor keyword image.

I can't argue with that cause it definitely happens. Really HuskyPup I absolutely understand and get what you're saying, seeing and talking about.

The view I have to have to do what I do is: What is the algo scoring best right now?

I really have to throw out "better" or "worse" as a person looking at a page in the results and try to figure out "what is the algo scoring best today" then make a page or site conform to that.

It's really not a fun or even "right" way to have to look at things, but "what we understand as people" and "what the algo scores best" are often two different things, so I definitely, completely, absolutely know what you're talking about when you say "worse pages" to us a people who visit are ranking better than pages we might want to find more than what we see.

I really don't think it's "right" or "accurate" on most occasions but when we're talking about ranking in Google what scores best and ranks best takes precedence over everything else and to rank where I want to there's many occasions I have to basically forget "what I know is better" as a person when looking at a page or site and find a way to "hit" what the algo decides is better and what it's scoring best right now today.



Let me give an example.

One site I work on had detailed information at the top of some pages about what was presented.

I know without any question the information was useful to visitors, well written and informative. There's no question in my mind it was miles ahead of what other sites present on the topic.

There are other pages without the detailed information at the top of the page summarizing the page content and helping visitors find what they need. They all rank better.

So the other day I removed probably 300 hours of work from the top of the pages that didn't rank as well, not because I think it was a benefit to visitors, but because I can see based on the results what the algo is ranking better right now.

It's one of the toughest "deletes" I've ever had to make, but when rankings are the question the algo right now today dictates the answer not me or what I know is best for visitors, and what it's ranking better is the pages that aren't as helpful to visitors as the ones I spent hundreds of hours creating, so the hundreds of hours of time invested went away from the pages not ranking as well, even as tough as it was to pull information I know is better for visitors off the pages.

I'm not kidding at all when it was tough to pull the information but when I looked at the pages and the rankings objectively I realized what I knew was best for visitors had to go due to the algo and where it is today. It completely sucked to "down grade" the pages, but that's what I had to do to increase rankings for those pages based on the algo today, so that's what I did.

johnhh




msg:4552964
 1:00 am on Mar 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Tend to disagree with TOI regarding the effect of Panda on rankings. In my experience some pages can still rank very well on page 1 even with a very heavy Panda demotion.


A bit late into the discussion as have been away. We also agree with @claaarky.

We have loads of pages on page 1 but still hit by Panda.

So what is the common element. We think it's the actual query that is being altered.

User searches for [keyword] [keyword] [keyword] Google says um no - based on our statistics you actually mean .. and adds another keyword or subtracts a keyword.

In our niche we have this confirmed from friendly-users all over the world, including Eastern Europe, Western Europe, the USA, and the Far East.

If this is true - the human testers are not actually experts in their field. For example search for [type of ] restaurant [placename] I don't expect to see a wikipedia article telling me what cuisine is sold in these restaurants, I need a list of restaurant's for that type of crusine.

Oh happy days not....



Ersebet




msg:4552974
 2:18 am on Mar 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

English not my first langauge sorry.

I long time visitor but Google change on March 6th. Every year this time Google make changes. Maybe Google need new source of revenue because rank drop little by little until almost zero. My site no good on search but Google accept glady on Adwords.

TheOptimizationIdiot, you hard to follow. I suggest you be concis not move in all different directions with long posts.

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4552975
 2:27 am on Mar 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

While I appreciate and understand the difficulty that may arise from reading my explanations those with English as a Second or Alternate Language may have, explaining things and being concise are often two different things in the English language.

I apologize to those who have difficulty in understanding the whole of my posts and why I post the way I do, but I'll keep explaining to those who do and can understand what I'm saying and can "get" the points I'm making the best I can, because it's the best I can do for people as a whole.

Again, my apologies to those who don't "get" what I'm saying or understand why some of my posts are as long as they are or why they need to be the length they are.

I wish there was something I could do about it, but there really isn't anything I can think of to convey the same point with less words in a more concise way. Sorry. My apologies.

Zivush




msg:4553013
 5:43 am on Mar 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

It completely sucked to "down grade" the pages, but that's what I had to do to increase rankings for those pages based on the algo today, so that's what I did.

Interesting. I worked on the complete opposite direction.
When I make changes, instead of thinking of the algo and what it might cause to the ranking, I improved pages just for the sake of improving them.
The first time I did it (307 pages), the traffic went up by 12k visits per day.
The second time (another 150 pages), too early to tell if there's any traffic change.
Now, I am on the process of improving another 60 pages.
Frankly, I hesitate every time I make changes. It's Risky. But what makes me doing improvement is the face of the site in front of the users (and potential buyers).
I can't expect Google algo machine to rank everything I think is better.

backdraft7




msg:4553014
 6:03 am on Mar 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

@ TOI - So because lesser pages are ranking better for being "lesser", you pulled your good content to "lower the bar" on yourself? It seems like the last thing you should do, but they way they rank skank these days, it's hard not to follow suit. It raises the whole design for SEO or design for the user quandary. You never really mentioned, did it improve your results and did it stick?

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4553035
 10:57 am on Mar 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

It seems like the last thing you should do, but they way they rank skank these days, it's hard not to follow suit. It raises the whole design for SEO or design for the user quandary. You never really mentioned, did it improve your results and did it stick?

Don't know yet, because they're so far behind in getting the index updated they don't even have most of the changes as far as I know.

I do still have all the content sitting "right there" to put back on the pages if I need or want to and I'm almost positive someday it will go back on, but for now today, it's not there due to the algo and what I've seen it ranking better.

Think along the lines of what Leosghost was saying with making the content on pages more concise and focused instead of longer or more inclusive.

themaninthejar




msg:4553039
 11:05 am on Mar 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Just noted in WMT that my search queries and author stats have not been updated since 3/3.

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4553044
 11:20 am on Mar 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

The first time I did it (307 pages), the traffic went up by 12k visits per day.

I thought what I did would have the same effect, because when I've added to the "sub content" on the same pages it has, but for some reason these haven't ever ranked quite where they should based on the level of information they presented with the "summary" at the top, so the only answer I could come up with was to "make them more like the rest" that generally sit in the top 5 for a variety of terms.

The new pages I added a few days ago without the information at the top shot straight into the top 5 as soon as they were indexed and the ones I added a couple weeks ago did the same thing and "stuck" there, so when the key difference in the way the information is presented on some pages is the summary at the top I have to conclude it's the "stopping point" on the rankings for those pages.

I left it for probably way longer than I should have thinking the algo would "get it" and rank the pages where it should over time based on what I know is "quality", but it's been too long to hold on to that idea any more.

I guess the bottom line to me is: when the algo and I disagree on the definition of "quality" or "what visitors want" the algo wins and I have to figure out how to do what it determines is best which is not always what I think or know is best.

Don't know yet, because they're so far behind in getting the index updated they don't even have most of the changes as far as I know.

I should probably add: I don't see any reason why they wouldn't since I have other pages without the information at the top that "just sit" in the top 5 and do their thing, but the "improved ones" with the additional information didn't for some reason.

claaarky




msg:4553050
 12:30 pm on Mar 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

I take the point that small changes can produce big improvements in ranking but I think that depends on whether the page or site is being promoted or demoted by parts of the algo (e.g. Panda).

A heavily Panda demoted site needs to optimised to the eyeballs to achieve ranking improvements a site boosted by Panda can achieve with a simple one word change.

If the foundations are shaky they need to be fixed first. Then the SEO bit is much easier.

The problem with improving for the algo based on observations about other pages that rank higher is hidden elements like trust and quality can produce great rankings for average pages, so if you make your pages like your competitors and your trust or site quality is lower, you could be shooting yourself in the foot.

IanTurner




msg:4553062
 1:12 pm on Mar 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Have to stress this is just my theory. Have been scouring the web for info on whether they ever reset personalisation and how and why, but came up with nothing. Seems like the SEO community isn't interested in it even though it plays a part in sending traffic. Anyone who has info to chip in, please do!


@Alyssa

There is definitely something in what you say - I'd guess a lot of personalisation comes from browsing history and you can only store so much against a Google account - before it needs wiping to make more room. Local history will be wiped when someone clears cache, so if they are not logged into a Google account cache clearing will change personalisation.

@tedster - I think that this deserves its own thread.

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4553067
 1:46 pm on Mar 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Well it's a "mixed" +/- indexed pages day today and I'm still seeing only minimal movement in SERPs.

Browser 1 shows the same count as yesterday in most cases, but occasionally shows -1% after I search with browser 2.

Browser 2 with a clear cache and no cookies shows -1% indexed pages from yesterday even though the recent 24 hour +/- bounce of 10% to close to 15% difference in indexed pages would make it so this should be a -10% day.

HuskyPup




msg:4553069
 2:03 pm on Mar 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'd guess a lot of personalisation comes from browsing history and you can only store so much against a Google account - before it needs wiping to make more room.


Yep, I mentioned this the other day. I assumed, rightly or wrongly, that all personalisation came from the user's browser from cookies dropped by Google et al. Does Google also store personalisation in a user's account when they are logged-in?

I have absolutely no idea about this but, if so, then do they have a clear-out every now and then?

Does anyone here know? I'm never logged-in to Google except AdSense a few times a day and always clear all browser cache's and history on closure therefore the only time I see any kind of personalisation is when I'm using Firefox with cookies enabled, all other browsers have cookies disabled.

Leosghost




msg:4553075
 2:32 pm on Mar 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

therefore the only time I see any kind of personalisation

And if from the same IP..( Geo IP based and IP history <= yes they store what your IP has looked at ..and they do so for years..it influences the ads you see and the serps you see ) .IP personalisation..even with all the rest turned off or blocked..even with cookies cleaned and from other machines on the same IP..

taberstruths




msg:4553077
 2:44 pm on Mar 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

For those making a correlation between WP blogs and a recent drop in rankings. Have you considered that it may be a plugin or a type of plugin that is leaving a footprint and thus causing a drop in rankings. It wouldn't surprise me if Google did not take the top 5 SEO plugins and just put a penalty on pages or sites using them. What are your thoughts?

HuskyPup




msg:4553078
 2:48 pm on Mar 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

IP personalisation


Doh...of course, I forgot about that otherwise they wouldn't be able to track users clicking on their own AdSense ads!

Wilburforce




msg:4553081
 2:59 pm on Mar 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Does Google also store personalisation in a user's account when they are logged-in?


Being logged in to your Google account certainly affects results on a session basis, but I haven't noticed anything surviving cache clearance, so imagine anything stored is only on the local end.

Leosghost




msg:4553106
 3:26 pm on Mar 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Being logged in to your Google account certainly affects results on a session basis, but I haven't noticed anything surviving cache clearance, so imagine anything stored is only on the local end.

I have 4 machines permanently connected from behind this static IP..each gets ads and serps based upon what it and the others have been doing..

This post is coming from a machine that was rebuilt, I just kept the empty tower ( new Mobo, PS, CPU, GPU, RAM, HDs) in January of this year..( Mobo on the old one died, and I changed it from dual boot mint7/win7 ulti ..to full fresh install mint13 with mate only ) ..Google still send me ads and adsense and personalise my serps, on this machine based on things that the old machine surfed/saw/clicked on/and purchases I made with it etc..

"It" certainly isn't "all stored locally"..;)

Wilburforce




msg:4553120
 4:47 pm on Mar 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

IP personalisation


...shouldn't have any effect if you are using a proxy. I always use one to verify.

Hey ho! Back to page 47. The other two ex page 1 sites that were there have dropped to page 48, and a relatively local competitor who has been gradually edging upwards has now joined me on page 47 (from page 2).

Page 47 is obviously some kind of sin-bin.

Leosghost




msg:4553129
 5:12 pm on Mar 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Depends on how good / secure "the proxy" is .. the vast majority are crap and leak the original IP..

I also test through secure proxies ..I run GEO targeting scripts so have a good idea of which are leaking and which are not..plus I run my own..and check from machines which are not mine and not at my IP..nor even in the same country or continent..

They give"clean" results..compared to my IP run "straight" they are not personalised for me..

But..they are still getting results personalised to their own IPs..as are all searchers and thus all our visitors..

menntarra 34




msg:4553209
 10:42 pm on Mar 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

10% up in google traffic since Friday. This is something, i hope it is Panda.


informational site, USA

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4553238
 12:54 am on Mar 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

This is something

I absolutely agree and everything I've been seeing is telling me the same thing. I'm not sure what it is, but something is and has been happening as far as I can tell.

garyr_h




msg:4553287
 5:47 am on Mar 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

Funny.

Midnight: normal traffic
2-5am: traffic up 300%!
6am-rest of day: normal

Too bad it didn't stay at 300% :)

epmaniac




msg:4553326
 8:15 am on Mar 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

my site had got completely sandboxed... but now atleast it is ranking on

Page title - Site Name (which google added to indexed pages' titles)

do you think a reversal is happening?

Wilburforce




msg:4553368
 10:23 am on Mar 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

There is something of an EMD effect happening here: only one of the top 10 (and only one of the next 10) results for key term doesn't have e.g. key, term, key-term, keyterm (etc.) in the url.

backdraft7




msg:4553457
 3:31 pm on Mar 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google never ceases to amaze...just last week I was expressing my gratitude for Google slashing my longtail by over 60%, but being nice enough to leave me some low hanging keyphrase fruit to survive...but two days later I see all the junk results moved out, now replaced by entire pages of YOUTUBE VIDEOS! This has pushed me over nite from The #2 spot on page 1 to the #4 spot on page 2.
What's that "YouTube" tab at the top of the page for? Yeah! YOUTUBE videos.

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4553462
 3:45 pm on Mar 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm back to -15% for indexed page count today but 4 of the new pages have been picked up.

They've almost got to be doing some type of testing, cause I'm seeing less youtube than usual in some of the searches I've been checking.

Still only seeing limited movement in the SERPs. One or two positions +/- or one or two pages being "swapped" in/out, but no "huge shake ups".

I thought that's what the "YouTube" tab was for at the top of the page.

I think we need to keep in mind it's is Google we're talking about so "giving people a choice" being the same as "the right answer" does not seem to compute. In fact, I think even this page might generate a server error since in contains "the right answer" is "giving people a choice" and that definitely seems to conflict with their way of thinking and the algo itself lol

You know if enough people don't know they really want to see youtube videos so they're not clicking on the tab at the top the only thing Google can do to help them understand that's what they really want is to put the youtube pages in the results and take the other ones away.

Lenny2




msg:4553492
 4:26 pm on Mar 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

No real changes over on this front.... Still waiting for the overdue panda update...

ScubaAddict




msg:4553520
 5:07 pm on Mar 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

No changes in SERPs to indicate Panda yet - some drops in traffic. Others on claiming drops in traffic similar to pre-panda drops - Hopefully it is coming soon.

Absolutely sick to my stomach that SERPs for stuff that is "image centric" are showing pinterest dominated results. People work hard to make their websites and pinterest boards the exact same as scrapers and should be demoted as such.

I did a search for my type of content (that is image supported content). I am the first result followed by 2 solid pages of almost all pinterest results. Likely only days until my spot is taken as well.

ScubaAddict




msg:4553527
 5:14 pm on Mar 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

Well - just checked my query again, and I am still first, but pinterest only has spots 2, 3, 4, and 5 with a google images in the middle. Something changed - but still 4 out of 5 top results being pinterest for a competitive term is ridiculous.

backdraft7




msg:4553537
 5:39 pm on Mar 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

@TOI - I doubt their MO is a "better user experience", I'd say it's more bottom line driven. The more "newly monetized" videos they can display, the better for Google. GOOG is at $837.20 /share. Do the math.

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