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This 389 message thread spans 13 pages: < < 389 ( 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 ... 13 > >     
Google Updates and SERP Changes - April 2013

 6:07 am on Apr 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

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

I am seeing a lot of ranking drop. Lot of keywords ranking between 10-50 have disappeared from Google top 100.

Is anyone else also noticing changes?

[edited by: tedster at 11:54 am (utc) on Apr 1, 2013]



 4:23 am on Apr 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

I have a similar problem guys. My site is about 4 months old, has been getting higher and higher traffic every day, and was very high recently. Yesterday night I was on analytics watching in real time as suddenly all traffic stopped coming in from google.

My site is PR2, still is, and has a high alexa ranking too. I have checked various keywords that my site would come up under and it never showed up, even with personalization turned on. My site is still indexed though, you still get it if you search for the domain, but everywhere it used to be it suddenly is not.

What happened?

Webmaster tools shows everything fine, no crawl errors or indexing errors.. I just suddenly show up for ONLY my domain as the keyword.

Can anyone help me understand how this could happen? My site is totally legit, and uses no evil tactics or anything, although there are losers out there who use them against me :(


 12:45 pm on Apr 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

DumpManager, be patient. The other day one of my domains would not even show up on top even for my exact domain search and all G traffic disappeared for no good reason at all -- however, the site command showed that all pages were indexed. Two days later most of it disappeared but not all. So let us hope that the same happen to you, but be prepared to loss of ranking, because I have a feeling that my complete loss of traffic was not a random event but something related to about 20% traffic loss.


 2:11 pm on Apr 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

One week ago I ran the site:domain operator on several sites and ours came up looking normal, a competitive site with duplicate and triplicate content had their total pages indexed cut in half so I thought G was getting them str8. Friday the competitor's total number of pages is almost back to the original count and ours is unchanged. There was never a time that our traffic surged or we lost/gained position on the competitive site so I don't believe the total number of pages G lists had any effect on either site during that time.


 3:10 pm on Apr 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

I lost almost 90% of my traffic for most of my domains. I'm from belgium and using hosting in the Netherlands.

I have 4 new sites launched 3-5 days ago and Google seems to have trouble to index those 4. First page get indexed and then they disappear. Google webmasters says all pages are indexed.

It's like Google is testing something out and they have trouble with indexing new sites and giving correct information in Google webmasters.

I hope they sack Matt #*$! for being a pain in the ass. If this is the new Google, then all webmasters will exchange their white hat strategy for black hat!


 3:46 pm on Apr 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

Wow sites less than a week old being dropped? I can't imagine! Our site is a dozen years old, well establish, BBB A+ rating (big deal) and with over 40,000 paid members and it's being dropped, so join the friggin club. I do share your general sentiment though.


 6:52 pm on Apr 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

I have 4 new sites launched 3-5 days ago and Google seems to have trouble to index those 4. First page get indexed and then they disappear. Google webmasters says all pages are indexed.

By disappear do you mean they are out of Google completely, or that they just don't rank?


 7:04 pm on Apr 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

My site was all over google, getting very high ranks. My traffic was great. My site was like a rocket blasting off from the planet. Going faster and faster, then afterburners kicked in and zoom it as twice as fast, then after a while, suddenly, from 1 frame it is a rocket about to hit space at high speeds, next frame it is smashed and in pieces on the ground...

What happened? This makes no sense.. PR2, alexa 300,000. 45,000 US. Poof... gone.

Domain still there if you search directly for it, but no longer shows in personalized or anything. 1 second it was #1 on personalized search. next second it was not anywhere.. still hasn't come back.


 7:31 pm on Apr 7, 2013 (gmt 0)


E-commerce site hammered on 6.03 , 90% traffic drop . In the last days the only pages which recovered are the empty ones .


 8:00 pm on Apr 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

@DumpManager - If you have a Google Webmasters account see if they sent you a message about anything. It could be a manual penalty of some sort.


 9:16 pm on Apr 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

@JesterMagic Yes I use webmaster tools, and no there are no messages. Everything checks out just fine, except for search results.. and it was doing fantastic. Lucky if I get 1 a day now.


 9:35 pm on Apr 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

I kept checking the news to see if some disaster had struck that was taking everyone's attention away because like you, our SERPS hadn't changed so it made no sense.

I actually found myself doing the same checking for news one day last week. We went thru several days last week where ecommerce conversions virtually stopped for a couple hours at a time in the middle of the day. This is totally uncharacteristic as these hours around lunch time are usually the busiest for us. Come late afternoon, activity picked up to higher than normal levels, so overall no net loss in conversion or traffic. What's been going on makes absolutely no sense unless there's been a sudden nationwide shift in shopping time -or- Google's been doing some serious messing around.

Also at the point where we see no relation whatsoever between ad spend and conversions. Could spend $40/day or $200/day and conversion rate is the same.


 9:58 pm on Apr 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

By disappear do you mean they are out of Google completely, or that they just don't rank?

They are out of Google completely. 2 sites are now showing in Google results. It happend in the last 3 hours.
I re-submitted the sitemap in Google Webmasters. Maybe this made Google take action...

Another new site that I made on March 29 is now showing more than 1000 visitors from Google for today. This domain is on the same webhosting account but is not affected.

Perhaps we are victims of the war between matt #*$! and Russian link building networks.


 11:03 pm on Apr 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

Worst day ever for me. Traffic appears on the site, but non converting. Adwords traffic is as useless as organic traffic. The past three Sunday's have been the worst converting days of the week. I know it's pre tax time, but this still doesn't add up. G's stock price has been trending lower all month, (about 839/share on the 10th of April, down to 783 / share today) so are they manipulating traffic toward their ad network partners in an attempt to boost profits? That would make sense, but sure would constitute a "not nice" move. It definitely does not feel natural.


 11:16 pm on Apr 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

This weekend, on one of our sites, we saw a 435% increase in traffic from google, unfortunately none of it is converting. Be interesting to see if this continues into the week.


 3:05 am on Apr 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

@powei -
Perhaps we are victims of the war between matt #*$! and Russian link building networks.

This is pretty much what I'm suspecting in the paranoid-back-of-my-mind, an attack on Google's serps from a third party. I doubt Google is so diabolical that they'd purposely do this to so many sites or even to one. I may be wrong though, as nothing would surprise me in any company's business decisions, especially when their own stock is dropping. I think they are smarter than that...I hope. Doing otherwise would be a betrayal of public trust.

Hacking or some sophisticated traffic diversion beyond my comprehension could certainly be causing these odd problems, but the lack of reports from other long time members of this forum makes me think either they are very tight lipped and just lurking or simply unaffected. It may be that the affected group run servers on a particularly vulnerable host or have some back door or outdated scripts present prone to intrusion. I myself have been deleting any unused domains, deleting any suspect scripts and turning up the security level of csf / lfd all within reason. Of course we donít want overly aggressive security setting to keep our honest customers out.

The high chatter lately of DDOS attacks and even my own email has been flooded with "the Russian Mafia has you..." threats coming from my own (spoofed) email address. Maybe they track us from this very forum, or maybe because you or I hold a tight position in the serps for our terms and may have for years, making us a target.

The sad part is that anyone who is brilliant enough to commit such an act would be a tragic waste of talent and for what end? The excitement and glory of watching a fellow human's livelihood die a slow & painful death? The loss of their home, income and everything they worked for? The truth is that some sociopaths in our world thrive on the thrill of power and it motivates them to become evil.

At the moment, I personally have it narrowed down to the following possibilities, choose your favorite.

1. Google is manipulating traffic for financial gain. It's their sandbox.
2. Google is simply making poor quality judgments or judgments to assist #1.
3. Google is broken and unaware of the issue or working hard on the problem.
4. The problem is NOT related at all to Google, Bing or other SEís but rather an overall network issue.
5. The problem is related to hacked sites, poor security and hosting or traffic diversion techniques.
6. Our sites just suck. See #2
7. We are in tough economic times, pre tax season and (for us) approaching a seasonal lull.
8. Thereís only room for one at the top, and well funded people are now fighting for that position.
9. We are all just uneducated bumpkins and donít belong in this business.
10. Mobile devices Ė donít fit certain business models or site designs.

Take your pick of one or a combination.
Hey, at least Iím offering possibilities rather than just reporting my sad story.
Hereís hoping for better days. Take care all.

[edited by: backdraft7 at 3:12 am (utc) on Apr 8, 2013]


 3:10 am on Apr 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

99% of "why's" in this world can be answered by following the money...


 3:13 am on Apr 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

^ +1


 12:33 pm on Apr 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

Well folks, I'm calling it...(the sound of taps playing softly in the background)

6:01 am on my 13 year old site has died. For over an hour this morning, ZERO traffic according to GA. My other analytics seem to confirm this. Apparently whatever I am seeing in the serps (logged out) is simply an illusion. It's clear nobody is finding us for any terms. This event trumps May Day 2010 1000 fold.
It's been fun, but this time I'm out, fired, kaput. Thanks Google.


 1:09 pm on Apr 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

whatever I am seeing in the serps (logged out) is simply an illusion

Strangely I'm seeing the opposite, not seeing our sites in the serps but getting traffic.


 1:22 pm on Apr 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

Apparently whatever I am seeing in the serps (logged out) is simply an illusion.

This is what's baffling me. I'm seeing the same thing as @backdraft7. In fact, we've had some really awesome, positive increases in some competitive keyword positions over the past couple of days (confirmed by third party services - not just me checking rankings). We should be getting flooded with traffic - but we're not. Yesterday was our worst Sunday in many years (and Sunday is usually our strongest day).


 1:30 pm on Apr 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

@backdraft7 - don't you get any traffic from bing or yahoo? (not that it would ever make up for the loss of traffic from Google)

My site is slowly loosing keywords, not all at once but one related set at a time. It's like each set is being individually targeted.

My 10 year old site use to rank well for a number of brands (in the top 5 of page 1). Then slowly over the last year with each brand the keywords would drop to the bottom of page 1, then page 2, and then page 3 before dropping off completely.

It takes a few months for each set of keywords but in the end once the pattern started I knew what was in store. Since these brands are in themselves related I have a hard time thinking this is Panada related because A) it doesn't necessarily happened at the reported times and B) I would think it would affect all the pages at the same time and not individually if it was a Google Algo change.

By looking at the serps Google is making very poor quality judgments in A LOT of cases. I think they are aware if this issue to a point. You also can't lay the blame on them completely due to all the black hat techniques people out there use but they Search is their business and they need to fix this problem.


 1:35 pm on Apr 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

For me, an informational site with 1000 articles, I am seeing the return of long tail. Started the end of last week. The only thing I have done in the last month is move certain types of content to subdomains with "widget instructions" in url. Placed a "no-index" tag on old content and place a canonical link to where the content moved. I believe that broke any "bad links" since the links pointed to a page that was listed as "no-index". Maybe it is the power of the keywords in the subdomain. I don't know. All I know is that it has had a steady positive effect.


 2:38 pm on Apr 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

@jester - yes, of course we are getting a trickle from bing & yahoo, but not enough to even consider keeping the doors open. I am seeing exactly what you describe with the keyphrase decay, but in my case it's more like rotting, festering, gangrenous keyword trench foot. Last year for a single month the site would rank for 15k keyphrases, now it's more like 3k and dropping each week. Google continues to nit pick anything to exterminate our kind and resistance is futile.

I now feel like trying to work with Google is like trying to work with a business with Alzheimer's. They seem to forget that we've done business together for 13 years. All those computers and zero memory.


 2:59 pm on Apr 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

All those computers and zero memory.

From all the evidence I see, the Algorithm Never Forgets.


 3:38 pm on Apr 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm having more traffic than ever.

I had 3 other websites business related, stable traffic but I got rid of them and still with less sites: more traffic than ever (but Adsense earnings are lower than ever).


 3:44 pm on Apr 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

Slow start this morning, typical for a Monday but it feels sluggish. It's almost 10AM MST and most sites seem to be barely getting out of the gate.


 4:14 pm on Apr 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

Seeing an interesting shift today.

I got 3 referrals for a very generic, highly competitive 2 word phrase (think "widget conference" - meaning totally generic) and thought "wow, that's odd, I didn't expect to rank for that yet..." so I checked to see where the page was figuring it was on page 3 or something since there was only a "trickle" of traffic from the phrase and couldn't find it, which is no big deal I didn't expect traffic from it yet anyway.

Anyway, out of curiosity I looked closer at the stats to see what the people did after they landed and was totally surprised to see it wasn't the "widget conference" page they were landing on for the query, it was the pages related to a specific location.

So, for the query "widget conference" what was shown in the results even though there was no location in the query was "widget conference in specific location" and those are the page people are landing on.


 4:47 pm on Apr 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

6:01 am on my 13 year old site has died. For over an hour this morning, ZERO traffic according to GA. My other analytics seem to confirm this. Apparently whatever I am seeing in the serps (logged out) is simply an illusion. It's clear nobody is finding us for any terms. This event trumps May Day 2010 1000 fold.
It's been fun, but this time I'm out, fired, kaput. Thanks Google.

Google is now manipulating results either on IP or cookies.... or something. The only way to see the true results is via Google Chrome in Incognito mode.

If I look at a site and then return to the results at a later date the position has almost always been modified. This is without being logged in and Web History off.


 4:53 pm on Apr 8, 2013 (gmt 0)


This is exactly what I am seeing and it really got cranked up on Friday-Saturday AM here in the US.

It seems like they have really cranked up the personalized results based on location. In the past when I would check different major cities around the USA we would have pretty consistent results. Now when I check today they are all over the board. I'm talking +/- 5 spots or so which can have a huge impact on search referrals. That may have something to do with your referrals coming in. I would check the major cites to see if you most popular keyword phrases have jumped around too.


 6:41 pm on Apr 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

My several hundred page site filled with guide quality how-to articles with hundreds of "thank you" and other constructive comments, dating back to 2005, was smacked with a 50% traffic loss. It seems that the 12 pages which contain an affiliate link(which is clearly labeled) suffered a 95% drop to go along with the sitewide drop.

There is DEFINITELY and anti-affiliate feel to the latest changes. I'm not removing the pages, or the affiliate links. They make sense on this site and what I'm replaced with makes Google look bad. /shrug.


 7:42 pm on Apr 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

@backdraft. I don't know your model or your vertical(s), but you may want to consider cloning and 301'ing your old site. I've brought back many a site this way. No guarantees of course on it working or how long the recovery will last if it happens, but it sounds like you have nothing to lose.

This 389 message thread spans 13 pages: < < 389 ( 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 ... 13 > >
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