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Google Updates and SERP Changes - April 2013
sunny_kat

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4560187 posted 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]

 

taberstruths



 
Msg#: 4560187 posted 6:27 pm on Apr 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

I have noticed old dead urls of pages that have been moved or deleted have been being hit a lot recently. (last week) These pages have been dead for a while. The last time I saw this behavior was prior to a penguin update.

backdraft7

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4560187 posted 8:40 pm on Apr 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

MIW - I am still locked down to no more than 4 visitors at a time. It's either a bug in their system, or they cranked up the knobs again. I may have lost one key backlink over the past few days, but since you and others are seeing very similar problems, I have to throw this one on the algo. I did every check under the sun to see if I'm being penalized and no indication of that. I called GA support to see if there was something set up wrong on my GA account, and nothing to speak of. Right now I'm just watching and posting out of morbid curiosity. The site is dead and not producing a dime. Last year this date, 13 sales.

Convergence



 
Msg#: 4560187 posted 10:00 pm on Apr 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

Seriously, who the heck is getting the 95% traffic that we all have lost?

backdraft7

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4560187 posted 10:13 pm on Apr 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Conv - that's what I want to know! But I have my suspects. Google is playing Robin Hood but they have the story all wrong. They are supposed to steal from the rich and give to the poor but instead the steal from the poor, then give to the rich, then steal from the rich and keep for themselves.

All that lost traffic has GOT to be going somewhere, cause it's not here anymore.

I pioneered my niche and now some fat cat is sitting in there, polluting it with his vapor thin content and laughing all the way to the Adsense bank. IN the process, Google got theirs too and they get it much faster because rather than skipping the ads and buying from our sites, people bail out of those junk sites like rats from a sinking ship, right into the waiting cesspool of ads. Kaching! for Google. They must think we're stupid.

Martin Ice Web

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4560187 posted 6:53 am on Apr 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Con, in my niche sites that have bought links took over the serps. One competitor who has x thousands links from one forum ( he is shown as a Partner on every page in the navigation with a link to his site ) is back. Mayby this is the new penguin where Cutts said they did work very hard on!

Forbin001



 
Msg#: 4560187 posted 11:48 am on Apr 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

I got serious movement on my main keyword last night, up 10 places, joy, rapture. Is this a big update?

backdraft7

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4560187 posted 11:59 am on Apr 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

I just wanted to send a shout out to those who may have wandered by this forum from other seo forums. Last night I was trying to see if any other sites were reporting odd traffic patterns like day parting or throttling when a good portion of their serps are still intact. Well, one seo forum did report that people were seeing problems, unfortunately they were reporting on THIS forum and quoting ME.

I scrolled down to their comment section and sure enough there was at least one (in particular) respondent saying I was a nut case, always crying about "where's my Google traffic". Look, I'm not crying, I'm just reporting what I see. Occasionally we vent. So what? If people don't like it, move on. If you're an SEO guru, then you don't need our observations. (but I'll bet you lurk here regularly)

This forum has been extremely helpful to myself and others in diagnosing traffic patterns and anomalies. We just happen to be those under 100 page type sites that are always on the fence when updates roll through. If you don't see these patterns, lucky for you, but leave us to our discussion.

backdraft7

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4560187 posted 12:04 pm on Apr 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Forbin001 - as of late, it's always moving and always a big update. I hope your new positions produce traffic for you. Mine, while they are well listed, are not even producing a single visitor. This defies all logic. Looking at a big goose egg right now on GA real time. I'm also running a key phrase check and it's all either the same position (top 3) or moving up. Not producing visitors though. (and yes, I've checked serps with incognito mode). This latest "update" has been severely affecting (our) traffic for the past week. It's a sticky one and it's probably (for us) the worst that has come along since Mayday.

backdraft7

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4560187 posted 12:30 pm on Apr 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

I think I may have found one possible answer to the problems many are seeing. I opened a support ticket to my host and they finally replied today (usually they rely n a few minutes, but in the last week it's become days). There appears to be a severe, ongoing, global WordPress brute force flood happening that is affecting "virtually every web host in existence". This would surely explain the odd traffic patterns!
Read about it here: [blog.hostgator.com...]

Then change your WP password and clean up any outdated versions & plugins.

THIS is why I don't reply on Wordpress for my main business site (but I have many installs on my server and I use it for my main business blog)

theskunk

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4560187 posted 12:55 pm on Apr 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

backdraft - I here what you are saying and share your emotions. I am living my own pain through you, right now. Fortunately me and my few remaining employees are focused on re organising our warehousing. But once this stops occupying our time - I will be back to hating google for making, breaking then destroying my business. I know there is GROSS weirdness in the google results. Interesting how the nice man from google Ireland has been phoning me 2x per week for the last 4 weeks wanting to help migrate me to the new paid google shopping listings. The reasoning behind the manipulation of results of clear to see..... (I think - ahem')

JesterMagic

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4560187 posted 1:35 pm on Apr 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

@backdraft7 - How do you think the wordpress attacks are affecting you? Do you believe your host is blocking legitimate visitors?

I have notice an uptick of spam traffic this last month. The other day I notice several ips attacking my website like it was using joomla with a certain joomla plugin installed. I estimate about a third of my total traffic (When I quote traffic in other posts from my site I never included this type of traffic) is from spammers and hackers.

Martin Ice Web

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4560187 posted 1:35 pm on Apr 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

theskunk,

i get post from Google adwords Team nearly every week. A free 100 EUR trail, when i spend 100 EUR on adwords. But to spent 35 Cent for a widget where i earn about 40 Cent is not an business to build on.

backdraft7

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4560187 posted 1:55 pm on Apr 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

Jester - The attack is a brute force flood, so it's like a DDOS, get it? I'm sure it's not the only reason for our traffic loss, but as my host reports, they are being bombarded and overloaded. This might explain why my GA is sitting a 0, yet at the end of the day, my AWSTATS will report a normal day...as if the I'm seeing flood traffic only. I can't explain it all, but it's another one of those perfect storm scenarios, from where I stand.

GA is currently reporting the same sole visitor for 20 mins from Jiddah, having found me with some unreadable farsi term.

Convergence



 
Msg#: 4560187 posted 2:34 pm on Apr 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hmmmm - the Google is having no problems crawling us at thousands of pages per hour. One would think if hosting providers were getting flooded that crawling/indexing would be affected.

As I mentioned before, our traffic pretty much stopped cold a week ago tonight at 11:04PM EST. Crawling by the Googlebot had been low up to that point. Next day, and since then, crawling has been very heavy - don't remember ever seeing crawling this heavy.

On the traffic we are getting from the Google, we are seeing less 404s. We suspect that the Google is cleaning up their SERPs. Now 95% of our traffic was never 404s, but 95% is about what our traffic dropped.

Also, we are seeing traffic to brands/pages that, in the past, received little to no traffic before. Traffic to our "bread and butter" brands/pages are what were hit. We have about 1M pages on this site. In the past week we have seen close to 30,000 new pages added - up 8,000 from yesterday. This site has over 300 sitemaps, each sitemap is updated a minimum of once a day. Once a category/section is updated the SEs are pinged. Bots come a crawling.

It's almost as if the Google is going through each sitemap, testing it for traffic, and moving on to the next.

Don't know - have never seen behavior quite like this...

theskunk

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4560187 posted 2:43 pm on Apr 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

ice web,

sure i have been getting post stuff from google for years, and I know it's easy to by cynical, and point fingers. Google has made me 10's of millions of in revenues and I am very gratefull. I can't complain - and therefore I am not. Without them I would have not had the business I have had. What goes around comes around I guess. Pure white hat, dedicated Internetologist, one time pioneer, realising that there is no longer an opportunity to really understand the engine. Anyone who thinks they want to put all their eggs in the google basket will go to an early grave... first you start frowning a lot, then you get some stomach cramps, more grey hair than you would like, next something neurological like tinnitus from stress.. and then you say fk'em. Make hay while the sun shines. get in and out as quick as you can, dont flog a dead horse and other life reinforcing cliches. (sorry if this adds nothing to the thread - pls delete as appropriate - but to be frank, over the years I have every variant of google slap going... and one or two pats).

Convergence



 
Msg#: 4560187 posted 2:54 pm on Apr 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

@theskunk

+1

Str82u



 
Msg#: 4560187 posted 3:20 pm on Apr 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

@backdraft7 - I'm very certain that HG isn't causing you any traffic issues, maybe slight delays but not what you've been describing as long as you've been describing it. Yes.... very certain.

Are you using a dedicated box or shared? Don't answer, but if it's shared, check your neighbors if you haven't already.

EDIT: Actually "very" wouldn't apply if HG was singling you out for some reason but that doesn't seem plausible unless you had a site that's a trouble maker.

diberry

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4560187 posted 3:24 pm on Apr 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

Look, I'm not crying, I'm just reporting what I see.


I for one appreciate your observations. When people try to classify others as whining or "conspiracy theories", that's just a straw man argument and not helpful.

Re: Wordpress. So what should we be noticing if we're not seeing the direct symptoms the Hostgator article talked about? Just a general intermittent slowness on some websites? Because I have noticed that some lately. And you're right, it would definitely explain my situation - still ranking just fine, but suddenly seeing less traffic than usual for it. If people just can't load the site fast enough, they may just give up, at least for now.

Str82u



 
Msg#: 4560187 posted 4:06 pm on Apr 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

None of our HG reseller plans has more than 200 sites on it (the box, not me) but think I should see any traffic changes or errors in the log to show that either people are being blocked or that 404 errors to WP targets are getting through... nothing like that.

The only errors targeting WP named files lately was on a dedicated server early this morning. Part of what HG was saying was if you have a WP site you might have trouble because you might not be the only one trying to request admin files; they may even blocking a site owner by mistake (TOR) from time to time. Another scenario is having neighbors hosted on the box with a trunk full of WP sites getting hammered (assuming HG isn't blocking 90,000+ IPs).

frankleeceo



 
Msg#: 4560187 posted 5:52 pm on Apr 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

@backdraft, thank you for the HG link. It's a good read and good thing to know. What I noticed is that the frontend functions OK, most of the page load speed stays pretty consistent. Could it be that cache services do work against this kind of attacks? However, the backend of my WP sites are sometimes quite slow when I do editing/posting and comment moderating. I am not sure if it is related to this article or it's just my configurations / load.

I think everyone's observations count one way or another. Without having a good picture of what everyone is seeing, it is hard to speculate or come up with logical reasons behind the black box engines.

Even if all is well and great for some people, they should contribute and say too ;p. Instead of attacking people that are not doing well Then maybe it is possible to compare the sites that hit versus sites that are doing great. Deduction is made possible only when we have all the equations.

frankleeceo



 
Msg#: 4560187 posted 6:01 pm on Apr 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

@convergence With so many pages that you have on site, is a good chunk of them unique? Or same queries can be sent to multiple pages without problem? What I mean is that if a person search for "blue widget", does the site have many "equally" qualifying pages suitable for that query?

Or the pages simply have minor differences in keyword, title, and url?

Does the additional of indexed pages boost your traffic? Over the overall traffic inflow remain the same as your usual pattern.

Convergence



 
Msg#: 4560187 posted 6:32 pm on Apr 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

@convergence With so many pages that you have on site, is a good chunk of them unique? Or same queries can be sent to multiple pages without problem? What I mean is that if a person search for "blue widget", does the site have many "equally" qualifying pages suitable for that query?

Or the pages simply have minor differences in keyword, title, and url?

Does the additional of indexed pages boost your traffic? Over the overall traffic inflow remain the same as your usual pattern.


This site is a price comparison site. Yes, we see a boost in overall traffic the more product pages we have. If someone searches for a vague term such as "blue widgets" we don't get much traffic - and the search results are not as targeted because we have a lot of "blue widgets". However, throw in "blue widgets by brand and/or model #", then our pages are exact...

frankleeceo



 
Msg#: 4560187 posted 7:04 pm on Apr 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

So overall traffic continue to rise without a slap back down to your usual levels after the initial boost? This means the more pages you have the higher your traffic will be! This is different compared to my information site where my new pages receive ranking / traffic while my overall site's traffic remains steady. The "winner" or "fresh" pages of my site sucks google inbound traffic from my older pages. Then once the "freshness" boost ends, the traffic returns to my older pages. Which kinda killed my motivation to add new content onto the site.

Are your pages automatically generated with prices pulling in from different websites? Or you manually go through the databases? In my mind with price comparison, you compare a couple of widgets together right? So that widget page A compare Widget A, B, and C. And widget page B compare Widget B, A, C. Does this entail multiple pages (URL) with same information, but only "order" or "layout" differences?

How about user metrics? Do the users typically have instantly bounces or they continue to compare more prices with different items? Do many of your pages never receive any traffic at all? It seems that with exact match in mind, many pages probably receive no traffic at all on some days. (unless they search for that exact term).

Has any of the google updates affected you in the past?

backdraft7

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4560187 posted 7:07 pm on Apr 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

Quick question for those affected...
I noticed in my GA account under SE Optimization > Queries that my data dropped to zero for this metric on Wednesday the 10th as well as Landing Pages and Geo Summary. It has stayed at zero ever since. I called GA support and the woman was rather surprised and really couldn't explain it...when I asked if it was possible that my organic results could totally disappear, she said "noooo!" All she could do is recommend I reinsert my GA code and let it sit for a day or two.
By the looks of my traffic, it's reading correct.

Anyone else seeing this?

disregard...looks like it was just very slow on processing and now wednesday data popped in.

[edited by: backdraft7 at 8:13 pm (utc) on Apr 12, 2013]

GeraniumV



 
Msg#: 4560187 posted 7:22 pm on Apr 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

Does anyone know if here have been any major google algo updates over the last few dates?

Convergence



 
Msg#: 4560187 posted 7:36 pm on Apr 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

So overall traffic continue to rise without a slap back down to your usual levels after the initial boost? This means the more pages you have the higher your traffic will be! This is different compared to my information site where my new pages receive ranking / traffic while my overall site's traffic remains steady. The "winner" or "fresh" pages of my site sucks google inbound traffic from my older pages. Then once the "freshness" boost ends, the traffic returns to my older pages. Which kinda killed my motivation to add new content onto the site.


Hard to explain. The way our site is constructed each "niche" or "main category" is it's own entity and the Google treats each as such. If we add to an existing category, traffic goes up slowly, not really a surge. The Google takes it's time crawling and adding pages to the SERPs.

When we add a new niche/category, it becomes a crap shoot based on what is going on with the Google. Was much easier when "Weather Reports" were announced - also there were patterns leading up to a major algo adjustment that made it somewhat easier to "plan". Normally, that new category would instantly be crawled and shown in the SERPs - traffic would fly through the roof for that category. A surge. But last December this changed. New category was crawled, pages showed up in the SERPs - NO traffic. But 120 days, to the day, traffic took off. Lasted 2 weeks and 4 hours - exactly. Then ALL our categories took a hit. Last Friday at 11:04EST. Now we're seeing the biggest crawl by the Google I have ever seen in 15 years of being online. Thousands and thousands of pages an hour. 30K new pages in the SERPs since last Friday. Climbing daily. Traffic increase? NONE. The traffic we are seeing are merchants/brands that we recently added (past month or so). Our "old" bread and butter pages seem to have dried up.

Are your pages automatically generated with prices pulling in from different websites? Or you manually go through the databases? In my mind with price comparison, you compare a couple of widgets together right? So that widget page A compare Widget A, B, and C. And widget page B compare Widget B, A, C. Does this entail multiple pages (URL) with same information, but only "order" or "layout" differences?


Entire site is automated/dynamic. Only the initial merchant's datafeed prep involves manual intervention. If Widget A,B,C, are being compared (exact match) then only ONE page is shown. there is duplication in the sitemaps, but live only the one page is shown. The Google chooses one of the URLs from the duplicates to index. The rest are merely crawled. Items that are similar to the item being compared are offered as well.

How about user metrics? Do the users typically have instantly bounces or they continue to compare more prices with different items? Do many of your pages never receive any traffic at all? It seems that with exact match in mind, many pages probably receive no traffic at all on some days. (unless they search for that exact term).


"Bounce" is tricky to judge. A high bounce rate we like. In from the SERPs - out to a merchant. When we start seeing visitors spending too much time on the site, it means they didn't find what they came for, usually from a deleted product (404). This happens in surges as well. We'll see a spike in 404 errors. Then we'll see the Google come in do heavy crawling, traffic drops, SERPs get cleaned up, traffic returns.

Yes, MANY pages receive no traffic at all. Mostly because most merchants/brands aren't being shopped. Bigger the merchant/brand, more traffic we get to their products. Smaller the merchant/brand, the less frequent their products get shopped.

Has any of the google updates affected you in the past?


Oh hell yes - going back to Florida, LOL. But that wasn't on this site. The last spank was Mid-September's combined algo rollout. Again, lost 95% of our traffic overnight. Traffic started climbing upwards but never returned to Pre-September levels. We just accepted we were in direct competition with the Google Shopping and that is that.

But last Friday's traffic drop - really has us worried. It wasn't just a leveling out of a new category - it was across the board. Again...

[edited by: Convergence at 7:58 pm (utc) on Apr 12, 2013]

backdraft7

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4560187 posted 7:56 pm on Apr 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

Interesting, it's looks like one savvy web surfer knows how to find what he's looking for, he used the logical AND operator...not sure if G recognizes that but it worked. I tried both terms separately and no luck, but with the AND in there and the second term, I'm the #2 result. Now if we could only teach everyone to do that...lol!

Convergence



 
Msg#: 4560187 posted 8:00 pm on Apr 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

What we are seeing, that usually means something has happened algo-wise, is some of our older, OUT-DATED, web properties springing to life. Logic would prevail that these sites should STAY dead...

backdraft7

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4560187 posted 12:32 pm on Apr 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Amazing that there are no posts in the past 16+ hours! Did everyone recover? or just afraid to make comment? I highly suspect the low quality merchant penalty kicked in, and because I sell only a single site membership, I'm dinged (yet I have a A+ BBB rating which can reviewed from my site). Hope Google knows they are shooting themselves in the foot with that concept. I guess that's the price they are willing to pay for improved "user experience".

backdraft7

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4560187 posted 2:29 pm on Apr 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Oh wait, I forgot, everyone is doing their taxes at the last minute.

Str82u



 
Msg#: 4560187 posted 6:31 pm on Apr 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Convergence funny you mentioned "STAY dead". I watch a group of our old "satellite" sites and usually before they burn up in the atmosphere G does something to give them a little more altitude. Logic says they should be DEAD dead but day to day observations are that competitive sites are using those same tricks and getting away with it when they do it on a large enough scale. Good temperature gauges they are.

@backdraft (you're beating Miss Freebie today! Where are those "images for..." usually located, above or below you? No need to answer but it gives me the opportunity to add that those and news listings can reduce traffic significantly if they aren't your images or news articles, put a nice block or 3 AdSense ads over those images RIGHT NOW and you got no traffic buddy and a cozy spot close to the fold.) That Penguin algo... someone here mentioned a while back, in part, that a possible factor in that might be shopping cart sophistication. That sounds really reasonable to me, wonder if it will affect PayPal much if sites with that simple checkout process get washed out by giant$. Maybe it'll understand the difference between Mom and Pop and MEGA.

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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