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Google Updates and SERP Changes - May 2013
getcooking




msg:4569502
 1:20 am on May 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

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

Sunday traffic sucked, Monday was the best Monday in months, now today traffic sucks again. I'm talking a difference of 25K pageviews a day.

What I don't get is that our keyword rankings have been quite stable. How can that be? I mean, ok, so maybe every keyword that I don't track suddenly tanked... but that doesn't seem likely. Are those DDOS attacks on Wordpress sites still going on? (my site isn't Wordpress nor have I noticed any access issues but I know webhosts and ISPs were experiencing bog downs). I just can't figure these fluctuations out. I'm seeing very unstable traffic patterns lately.

[edited by: tedster at 12:41 pm (utc) on May 1, 2013]

 

Martin Ice Web




msg:4570602
 1:32 pm on May 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

@turbo,

I know this and think there is some in it but what i meant is:

Google seems to build it serps on "popularity" an amazon sells/siteviews. Its like a vice versa serp build.
Google first looks ( for ecom serches ) on amazon stats or does have access on amazon sell/page view stats and build then the following serps upon this amazon results.
That would explain why g ignores keywords or shows complete untargeted results. They j"what did most poeple buy/look at on amazon?" at least they are the bigest ecom of the world. g will never get this stats on its own.

turbocharged




msg:4570611
 2:51 pm on May 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

Popularity could include many different signals. For example, Amazon uses internal linking to promote similar products in their frequently bought together and items also purchased listings that appear towards the bottom of each product page. Also you can't discount offpage signals from affiliates selling certain items. Even though Amazon affiliates have unique URLs for the items they are promoting, rel=canonical appears on all of those affiliate pages to give Amazon maximum credit for Amazon's non-affiliate version.

I'm not sure what or if any information Amazon has shared with Google or if Google can pick up on all of the popularity information on its own. Since they are working together in some capcity (Internet Association), speculation among the internet community will continue. But it stands to reason that Google would want to serve its users results that end in transactions. With the domain name authority dial turned way up, combined with host crowding, the result is far fewer players in the game. Those competing with Amazon at this point, including those that manufacture items sold on Amazon, will have a tough road ahead IMO.

Splugged




msg:4570613
 2:55 pm on May 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

I have no words...
I have no explanations...
I don't know anymore what to do...

I have just this:

[img822.imageshack.us...]

Anyone is noticing also this behavior?
Also noticing a crawl rate decrease in the past and current week...

diberry




msg:4570619
 3:26 pm on May 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

Conspiracy? Maybe. But one thing is for certain, no small businesses are allowed in a group that proclaims to be the voice of the internet economy.


Yes, but this is the kind of conspiring that big businesses do all the time. There's also that "fairness" group - forget what they call themselves, but it's Wal-Mart, Best Buy and the others whining that Amazon must be forced to collect sales tax (I have no problem with this in theory, but Amazon still has lower prices in my area, so it's not going to fix their troubles). They are terrified of Amazon. And oh, hey - when's the last time a WalMart.com or BestBuy.com result showed up at the top of one of my Google searches for a tech product I wanted to buy? Why, never, of course! ;)

"Conspiracy theories" about Google targeting my little site are silly. But theories about big businesses with similar interests working against other big businesses with similar interests, and little sites getting crushed in the process... yeah, that's just business as usual.

Splugged, that's definitely pretty weird.

scottsonline




msg:4570626
 3:57 pm on May 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

@theoptimizationidiot

4/15 seems to be the day. It's not just us we have talked to our suppliers and they cite that day too as when business pace changed. Whatever the cause its not just the search results I agree. The question is did the events at the marathon cause search behavior changes or was it something else? It is really odd but that seems to be the date that all different types of businesses noticed a change.

Google has added to the trouble by heavily bumping their paid results. I'm a little disappointed in the 60-70% real estate given for ads on many profit searches. They're starting to look like a directory more than a natural search engine.

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4570630
 3:59 pm on May 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

Anyone is noticing also this behavior?

You mean using WMT?

Yeah, I've noticed that quite a bit, but haven't in quite some time myself, because I got tired of having to "shrug and think bug" when I saw things like your screen shot reported.

Acting on or even bothering with WMT info isn't something I'm inclined to do, because it's notoriously buggy and acting on information you can't trust to be reliable and accurate doesn't seem to be a great idea, imo.

gford




msg:4570632
 4:07 pm on May 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

I don't think it's Panda for the May Day I saw. Why? Well Panda impacts main keywords and longtail. My main keywords rank the same (but less traffic in multiple niches). Longtail of course I don't track but lets look at a classic example.

I have Site A that received 500 different keywords a day to a URL.

Since May Day the # of different keywords is now around 250. The main $$ keywords are exactly the same rank.

This is consistent across all the sites I saw impacted.

So two theories I have:

a) Someone talked about the adsense pollution. This could be coupled to an adsense update that has more coverage of long tail keywords. Since these Keywords are rare search terms and now they have more Adsense coverage the advertiser is scraping these results away from organic.

b) Negative link velocity. This is the only thing I see consistent. Sites I did NOT build links to (just let google's awesomeoness of organic link building happen, haha) have had some negative link velocity.

Sites (I have 100s) I did build links to in last 30-60 days NO change in traffic.

I am not talking 1000's of lost links, just a dozen or so a week or two weeks tops but over the last few months that may add up to something.

I am again at 100% speculation but it's my best educated guess.

SnowMan68




msg:4570696
 8:18 pm on May 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

Seeing a pretty big drop yesterday. About 20%, all in the long tail. Anyone else notice any drops from Friday-Saturday?

dethfire




msg:4570700
 8:40 pm on May 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

this is my worst sat in years

getcooking




msg:4570716
 9:50 pm on May 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

Friday was our worst day in many years. Today (Saturday) isn't as bad as last Saturday but it should be higher as we *should* be receiving more traffic for Cinco de Mayo (we have lots of holiday content). So, I'm guessing without what little holiday traffic we're getting it'd also be our worst Saturday. Can't wait to see how bad Sunday is as that's usually our biggest day of the week.

Best of all? Our top keywords (one is very competitive) have actually gone UP in the rankings. These are non-seasonal, always popular topics in our niche. Totally can't figure this out.

turbocharged




msg:4570767
 1:41 am on May 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

"Conspiracy theories" about Google targeting my little site are silly. But theories about big businesses with similar interests working against other big businesses with similar interests, and little sites getting crushed in the process... yeah, that's just business as usual.

Diberry I completely agree. Most small business websites are not worth the time for big businesses to target on an individual basis. But collectively, these large corporations control most of the traffic online in the USA. This gives them enormous power to impact a multitude of industries and the entire economy as consumers grow even more accustomed to making purchases online and shipping options make deliveries more timely. Whether Google turned up the domain authority dial or flipped the favoritism switch to on, I don't know. What I have seen are many different types of small businesses squeezed out of the serps for no apparent reason. Great content, super site structure, natural links, etc. does not matter. Maybe these small businesses just are not big enough for Google to even want to bother with?

Authority sites are completely different. The branded sites I work with remain relatively stable and actually have seen slight improvements over this weekend. Even when Google is in a state of flux, these sites still do relatively well. Searchers modify their queries to search for "brand name widget" when Google does not display their site for simply "widget." I'm sure Google monitors query to query refinements closely, which would explain why these sites typically don't get bumped from page one for very long.

The key to stability in the serps is being branded. But for many small businesses, in some industries, they are lucky to get a few hundred visitors a day. It's hard to deliver brand signals to Google in the form of query refinements, which I believe to be weighed heavily in the overall ranking scheme.

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4570770
 1:47 am on May 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

Great content, super site structure, natural links, etc. does not matter. Maybe these small businesses just are not big enough for Google to even want to bother with?

FYP: Maybe these small businesses just are not big enough for [Google's Searchers] to even want to bother with?

How do I know the first statement wasn't quite right? The same post...
Searchers modify their queries to search for "brand name widget" when Google does not display their site for simply "widget."

Why do the "little guys" disappear? Not because Google has a "thing" against them, but rather because based on the preceding they're obviously not what Google's Searchers want to see.

diberry




msg:4570806
 6:03 am on May 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

Why do the "little guys" disappear? Not because Google has a "thing" against them, but rather because based on the preceding they're obviously not what Google's Searchers want to see.


Agreed, sort of. I'm sure a few of those little sites actually ARE what visitors want, but visitors don't know it because they'll never find those sites. It's the same offline - little businesses struggle hard, even when they're offering something awesome, because the brands are better able to get their message out.

For a lot of years, big business didn't bother with the web and that allowed startups like Google and little sites to thrive. Suddenly, there was an unexpected democracy happening in business. Then big business realized there was something to this 'net thing and started pushing their way in, and online became just like offline. None of this can be blamed on Google.

Where Google had a choice, however, is in deciding just how much strength to put on branding signals. IMO, they need to dial it down, and I know a lot of us feel that way. But it doesn't matter. They're doing what they want, and no matter how unfair it seems to us, it's the same challenge small businesses have always faced.

spreporter




msg:4570822
 9:38 am on May 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

I wonder if all posters here have and talk about their eCommerce websites, otherwise there are thousands of other niches where little guys rank even over wikipedia. As about ecom personally if I want to book a hotel or a flight I wont search I'll just go to my favorite website or airline, if I want to buy any kind of item I wont search, Ill go straight to a couple of sites. Slowly and steady the odd user learns that A site has that and B site has this, so he just goes straight there to find it, and that includes clothing, hardware, furniture, games, dvd's, books and so on, as about price compare websites here in the UK the TV advertising is doing better than anything else.

helenp




msg:4570824
 10:06 am on May 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

Even when Google is in a state of flux, these sites still do relatively well. Searchers modify their queries to search for "brand name widget" when Google does not display their site for simply "widget." I'm sure Google monitors query to query refinements closely, which would explain why these sites typically don't get bumped from page one for very long.


If I understand you, you say, that when a brand falls or disappears people search for the brand (name of company), this is what happens to me in one language especially, however the "brand" is a small company.

However I wonder how can google know what is the company name, arent all words just keywords?
Its easy if your company is some odd word that only that company use, for exampel sxftw, you will be the only one appearing for that.
But if your company name is more general, frecuent keywords, where widget is very frecuent, for example widgets someword widgeting.
Will they know that its your companyname?

scottsonline




msg:4570830
 11:39 am on May 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

Saturday numbers were better than 2011 and 2010 but about 40% down from 2012.

But the mayday 2012 update sent incredible traffic but also higher bounce rates etc.

There had to be an update around 4/15 or the events in Boston or some other external event changed shopping patterns.

gford




msg:4570833
 12:21 pm on May 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

@spreporter none of my sites are ecommerce.

PontCorect




msg:4570837
 1:00 pm on May 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

There was something that f... up the index order.
I launched an website, and in just 2 months i was able to see my website on top5 on an important query, that sustained my website `til 10-14 days ago.
60% of my traffic was from that query, and from nowhere i saw my traffic going down and my website on page 6 for the same querry that 24 hours ago i was in top5. I didn't change something on my website, yet, my best query goes down.
The main problem it`s that, my website is especially for just ONE country. So all the searches and the visitors are native from that country. So i can't believe that in less than 24hours, another 30-40 website (most of them, stupid blogs, or empty, useless websites) from the same country (a small one) made a tremendous SEO job and goes up.
In the last 10 days, i read all about dropping queries , or dropping websites in google index, and i didn't find something useful. So, i'm a little upset about this situation... I don't like to see, that my work was flushed to the toilet by Google in a blink of an eye. I would have understood if my website would have decreased slowly in google index, let`s say, today #5 , tomorrow #9 , #14 , #etc. But when i see that now, that query bump up my website in top5, and in less than 24 hours, the same query show my website on page 6 , that`s weird.
Anyway.. i hope that this situation comes to an end soon.

diberry




msg:4570847
 3:25 pm on May 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

I wonder if all posters here have and talk about their eCommerce websites, otherwise there are thousands of other niches where little guys rank even over wikipedia.


My sites are informational. And yes, I have one that performs like you describe, because it hit the front page of Digg back when that meant 300k visitors in a single day, followed by tons of natural inbounds. I have other sites with pages of equal quality and originality, but because their topics didn't generate that kind of social media response or the inbounds that follow, they rank way below the copy cat ehow-type sites that actually credit my site as their source.

What I'm seeing from this is that trumping brands requires a TON of inbounds - the volume of which is extremely hard to build naturally, since nothing delivers 300k visitors in a day anymore. It's fair to say it's nearly impossible for a new/small site to get that kind of traction in the current environment.

turbocharged




msg:4570966
 4:01 am on May 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

How do I know the first statement wasn't quite right? The same post...

@TOI

I was comparing some small business websites to branded sites and the differences I see see in branded queries when Google decides to drop a branded site from page 1 of the serps. When that happens then branded queries spike, but the user behavior is still to search for "widget" first and then enter a branded "widget" query if they can't find the client's site.

Why do the "little guys" disappear? Not because Google has a "thing" against them, but rather because based on the preceding they're obviously not what Google's Searchers want to see.


I'm sure searchers would rather like to visit the manufacturers website, who also sells retail and supports the products, instead of Amazon. The main reason why these business owners choose not to pull the plug on Amazon is because Google gives Amazon preferential ranks while the client sites can go from page 1 to page 20 the next day and back to page 5 a day later. If they stopped selling their products on Amazon, their listings on Amazon would remain for years and state "out of stock," "currently unavailable," or any other term used to describe a product they are holding hostage. And not surprisingly, those out of stock Amazon products still rank really well years after the manufacturers have discontinued selling their products on Amazon.

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4570970
 4:05 am on May 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

When that happens then branded queries spike, but the user behavior is still to search for "widget" first and then enter a branded "widget" query if they can't find the client's site.

In that case what was the user looking for: The widget, or the brand site of a retailer of the widget and the page of the widget on the brand's site?

I'm sure searchers would rather like to visit the manufacturers website, who also sells retail and supports the products, instead of Amazon.

Well, then you haven't met my relatives, including parents.

Martin Ice Web




msg:4571016
 7:37 am on May 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm sure searchers would rather like to visit the manufacturers website, who also sells retail and supports the products, instead of Amazon. The main reason why these business owners choose not to pull the plug on Amazon is because Google gives Amazon preferential ranks while the client sites can go from page 1 to page 20 the next day and back to page 5 a day later. If they stopped selling their products on Amazon, their listings on Amazon would remain for years and state "out of stock," "currently unavailable," or any other term used to describe a product they are holding hostage. And not surprisingly, those out of stock Amazon products still rank really well years after the manufacturers have discontinued selling their products on Amazon.


In fact many items on Amazon are widgets with low Quality but set on top of brand names. Cutomers will for sure not regocnize that they have been buyed a fake widget. But this is the new Quality!

Bak to serps:
Next big changes. Next big loss for our main site. But our unattended affiliate site cpoied description from manufacturer ( copied 100000 times ) got a boost again. I think if you are other than mainstream ( and Mainstream is copying manufacturer description ) you look spammy to Google.Al the work, Pictures, self written descriptions are down the drain again. But Amazon and a certain Price compare site are doing 20-30 positions in a row. No Variation ins serps.
Please give us back our old Google, do not put 20 times the Domain in a row.


ecom,germany

guggi2000




msg:4571020
 7:48 am on May 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

@scottsonline I agree something happened April 15, but it IS NOT related to the Boston marathon, because the drop happened worldwide (UK, Germany, Mexico, Colombia) and traffic is still low 3 weeks later.

Several people are seeing a decrease of 10%-30% starting April 15.

Some are seeing large fluctuations, starting also in mid April.

Some report large changes in traffic with and without changes in the SERP.

Some report large changes in direct and referral traffic in the same proportion as organic Google traffic.

Let's find out what it is and how to adjust.

PontCorect




msg:4571042
 9:28 am on May 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

@guggi2000 , if you find a way to face this change of Google, please share with us.

I really need to do something otherwise, Google force me to work 100x more in order to sustain the website.

tedster




msg:4571087
 12:11 pm on May 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

the user behavior is still to search for "widget" first and then enter a branded "widget" query if they can't find the client's site.

If you only knew the extremes that in-house SEOs for big brands can go to to get those generic keywords! For years, some would get 70% to 80% branded search traffic, maybe 10% to 15% direct and a mere dribble of generic search. This isn't just a change that Google created,big brand SEO is working hard on a big budget, too.

And at that level of enterprise, given the technical infrastructure complexities at big brands, SEO is a big investment.

Faizan_Khan




msg:4571103
 1:15 pm on May 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

I do not know if something happened on April 15 or not, but something deadly is going on... An Update is Underway... SEPRS are all over the place and Mozcast Temperature is 89%..... Please check your SERPS and share here so we can conclude something out of it ....

scottsonline




msg:4571120
 2:16 pm on May 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

@faizan the heat index that high should tell everyone something has been rolling for awhile. Friday traffic was solid. Saturday was the worst since 2010. Sunday was busy.

We are noticing a direct spike in Adwords conversions as organic results drop. It's not a statistical anomaly. When the organic results get weak like on Saturday Adwords drives higher conversions than on a good organic day. This tells me either the organic results are plummeting or they are placing more paid ads above the fold.

Major change is rolling though there is no doubt. I am seeing domain authority hackneyed up again. Affiliate subdomain even with 1000x duplicate content are outranking real sites. Sites with massive number of spammy links just jumped ahead too. We are talking so easy to see a caveman could have identified huge link purchases. Think 10,000 paid links from terrible sites type of thing.

scottsonline




msg:4571121
 2:19 pm on May 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

Oh and amazon should start selling cars. They'd outrank Ford and GM even for their own product. How many times can I click on an amazon item in the SERPS that shows as "product not available" before they lose the 2nd spot for an item.

Domain authority of amazon is obscene. People can find amazon no problem they don't need the collision from google to help them.

scottsonline




msg:4571122
 2:25 pm on May 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

If a mod wants to combine these posts please do.

In reaching out to all of our suppliers that deal with a huge number of brick and mortar in addition to online businesses....they universally report 4/15 was a cliff drop. Did google roll something out around 4/15 and just had bad luck in that there was a traffic drop at that same point due to Boston? I tend to thing there is a SERPS involvement because it happened everywhere by most accounts.

One multi billion dollar firm told me earlier that 4/1 to 4/14 was up 25%, 4/16 they yesterday down 15%. Where did that business go?

Shepherd




msg:4571131
 2:49 pm on May 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

Oh and amazon should start selling cars. They'd outrank Ford and GM even for their own product.


I have not seen this personally (haven't looked) but if true I find it amusing since this is another vertical google is moving into: https://www.google.com/cars/

FishLake




msg:4571133
 3:01 pm on May 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

I agree with some of the posts here, there is something more than just search engine problems. Something is inexplicable like a mass behavior. When search results haven't really changed, then what would cause traffic drops and lower sales? This isn't just a google issue.

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