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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]

 

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.

Martin Ice Web




msg:4571136
 3:09 pm on May 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

In my niche Amazon did reach a presence about 85% of all queries. Remaing stuff is ebay, on big Price compare engine, 1-2 ecoms, brands. They rank even for stuff they donīt have cause google rewrites the query. -> goomazon.

scottsonline




msg:4571157
 4:08 pm on May 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

@fishlake there has to be a macroeconomic aspect as well. In our vertical the large suppliers wouldn't have even felt the bump if it was just a shift from one reseller to another. Some win some lose. In this case everyone saw a drop about 4-15 all the way thru the channel.

On the google end of things something happened with big brand authority. Amazon can outrank major players even if they have just a product name and say "this product is no longer available" which just means their affiliate is no longer selling it on amazon yet google still ranks that ahead of all the active resellers that have the product live. That shouldn't happen ever. By now the engine should be able to understand that out of program means that's a bad click.

For our vertical the power of the authority supplier site is overwhelming. Google is bumping major sites down in favor of canned affiliate sites for tiny players. It's just duplicate content template driven stuff. Change the logo and the phone number. Everything else is the same.
www.bigsupplier.com/ productabc
Smallreseller1.bigsupplier.com/productabc
Smallreseller2.bigsupplier.com/productabc
Everyone else goes here.

There are probably 25,000 of these smallreseller.bigsupplier subdomains. They have the exact same content,images and prices. Yet somehow google thinks these are providing value. When click data shows its not they just shift the next reseller into that slot but never stop filling 2 and 3. After a few weeks they figure it out until the next update and then it repeats again. The algo seems to have no memory that users have found the subdomains to be useless.

FishLake




msg:4571182
 4:32 pm on May 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

The question for me is: what motive or what result does Google have an interest in? Are they simply cleaning up the index? Or is it becoming strictly an ad issue? Almost every time they've done some kind of clean up, this is what happens. After they identify the items that need to be removed or purged, things go back to normal. Until that happens, the search results become as you describe, all messed up with original content suffering while copied garbage reults rule the day. It may be the method they need to administer to bring bad results to the front and then they can be dealt with. I don't know. I don't think it's to steer people to ads alone, if that were the case then the entire search engine is nothing more than one big ad. If they HAVE done that as a strategy, they are no longer what they once were in spirit, a search engine to get unbiased machine based results. All search engines are guilty of this to some degree, the simplicity of search is gone. It's all about money, but if that is the motive, then it won't be a good search engine anymore, ready for someone to replace it with a better search. There needs to be a balance between serving the shareholder and serving the public, and I personally believe when you serve the public as best you can, then shareholders will be happy too without manipulation.

tedster




msg:4571216
 6:36 pm on May 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

Something is inexplicable like a mass behavior. When search results haven't really changed, then what would cause traffic drops and lower sales?

One possibility is a change in Google Search's auto-suggest. Results for YOUR TARGET SEARCH may be the same, but because a drop-down list change, fewer Google users are choosing that option.

If you don't track this kind of thing regularly, you may never notice it until the External Adwords tool changes a few months down the line. It can change with a new demand of any kind, based on current interests, broadcast and print interests, etc.

diberry




msg:4571223
 6:56 pm on May 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

I agree with Tedster, but I have a site that's ranking very well and auto suggest has not changed. It's like there are days when no one searches my terms. I'm still trying to understand this, but:

This is precisely the behavior I expected to see when eventually some search engine overtook Google's marketshare. Suddenly, being #1 in Google just wouldn't send as much traffic. Now, no search engine ever took Google's market share, but average people I talk to have finally figured out Google isn't the only way to search the web. Depending what they're after, they're going straight to Amazon, Yelp, even social media sites instead. This could totally be diluting Google's share of "searchers."

The reasons these searchers given me for not always using Google are interesting too.

(1) Google just returns [big sites] anyway, so why not go straight to the appropriate big site and use their internal search? (Domain crowding)

(2) Google doesn't always return [my preferred big site] results, and [my preferred big site] is the best for that kind of thing, so why bother with Google? (Yelp is an example of a big site that a lot of people seem to think should rank higher than it does.)

(3) Google isn't great at returning lots of unique results from small bloggers and websites. (Pinterest and other social media outlets are.)

(4) Google results aren't always trustworthy - it's better to ask friends or go to sites where friends review stuff. (I.E., Google isn't the ideal way to find a plumber who can fix your spewing sink without charging you unfairly or doing a poor job.)

scottsonline




msg:4571284
 9:20 pm on May 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

But how does this all time to 4/15?

It's like a light switch was flipped. I don't think suddenly people started using other search mechanisms. This has to be tied partially to google and whatever the change was there are no real winners this time (suppliers at the top of the food chain have noted the sharp decrease on or near that same day )

Are we all missing some other mover? Tax changes? Consumer sentiment? Healthcare increases?

Today's Adwords were bad. Bounce rate thru the roof which to me means accidental clicks and poorly targeted placements. This is getting really frustrating because the google SERPS look more and more like an index of amazon then they do a search of the entire web.

How can every product amazon has even those out of stock permanently rank so well? It's crazy.

johnhh




msg:4571297
 9:43 pm on May 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

@scottsonline - It could be anything social/economic/whats on TV/better weather/clocks changing...

I do note that the actual manufacturers of a widget seem to be nowhere to be seen for some months now

In europe I'm waiting to see the EU deal kick in, if Google is not allowed to show it's own properties so much, will it prefer those that spend millions on adwords?

I note that all these companies that seem to get preference are American corporations or subsidiaries ( that may have Country level domains's or another corporate name )

diberry




msg:4571301
 9:50 pm on May 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

Scottsonline, I wasn't offering this as the entire explanation for April 15. I think there are probably a few factors, and Google may well have changed something(s).

scottsonline




msg:4571312
 10:07 pm on May 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

@john and @diberry

In speaking with our suppliers that are 3 commas large they are all reporting a shock starting in mid April. That has never happened with previous major updates. I think macroeconomic forces are at work too but something google did around that time has had an effect.

Either that or the economy is collapsing.

diberry




msg:4571320
 10:31 pm on May 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

Either that or the economy is collapsing.


Let's not even joke about that. For the first time in my lifetime, that doesn't sound ridiculous. :|

That said, from what you and others have posted in here, it does sound like Google made some kind of changes around that time. I'm not seeing any sign of it on any of my sites (informational, various niches), though, so it may be specific to a vertical or certain queries... or certain sites.

Wait, I take that back. My Penguinized site made a tiny bit of recovery just after the 15th. Do you think a Penguin update has already rolled out?

Sand




msg:4571321
 10:36 pm on May 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

For whatever it's worth, I saw strong positive movement on the 15th. Informational site.

superclown2




msg:4571325
 10:53 pm on May 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

This is precisely the behavior I expected to see when eventually some search engine overtook Google's marketshare. Suddenly, being #1 in Google just wouldn't send as much traffic. Now, no search engine ever took Google's market share, but average people I talk to have finally figured out Google isn't the only way to search the web. Depending what they're after, they're going straight to Amazon, Yelp, even social media sites instead. This could totally be diluting Google's share of "searchers."


A friend of mine, a very successful businessman, told me yesterday (completely unprompted) that none of his colleagues use google now for serious searches because for the last year or so they've not been able to find what they want without wading through irrelevant brandspam, Wikipedia and Amazon entries. They've gone back to using Yellow Pages type written directories, telephoning the companies they find interesting and asking them the URLs of their websites. They didn't use Bing either because they assumed (never having tried it) that it was just as bad.

viral




msg:4571336
 11:38 pm on May 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

Mozcast is showing a spike yesterday, a big one!

johnhh




msg:4571337
 11:42 pm on May 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

My Penguinized site made a tiny bit of recovery just after the 15th. Do you think a Penguin update has already rolled out?
no-one will ever know as google has just about given up communicating to webmasters.
taberstruths




msg:4571342
 12:09 am on May 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

I saw a 20-30% uptick in traffic on the 15th. Informational site.

gmgseo




msg:4571397
 4:08 am on May 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

seems to be something big happening.

results in Australia and UK seem to be showing different organic results in each city for non location based terms.

when you type ugg boots in Australia, each city has different results

scottsonline




msg:4571403
 5:08 am on May 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

So informational sites bounced up on 4/15 while stores saw a decrease. Interesting. The top site in our vertical has more links from more domains than I could ever imagine. Shows at least through today it still works!

guggi2000




msg:4571408
 5:51 am on May 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

Our site is informational (education) but fell also. We are seeing a site -wide drop, a drop in direct, referral and search engine traffic and worldwide.

2 possibilities/theories:
1. Could it be that some external event, such as the Boston marathon on 04-15 made people change their internet behavior for ONLY a few days, which then sent (temporarily wrong) signals to Google (i.e. "time on site"), which then updated the SERP based on these updated (and temporarily wrong) signals? That would mean that it would fall back at some stage.

2. Personally, I think it is rather coincidence and Google roled out something on 04-15, such as the Panda/Pinguin in the core algo. Such an update could lead to fluctuation, ongoing changes. But how can you explain the drop in referral traffic? (it is not seasonal)

Faizan_Khan




msg:4571414
 6:03 am on May 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

Some thing big is underway.. I see my longtail kws improved while two or three words dropping down 3 or 4 poistion... not much hurting but have some seo friends and some of them are predicting a big HAVOC.. Sites gone from 1 to 100

Martin Ice Web




msg:4571420
 6:55 am on May 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

This gets worse. 77% drop till yesterday. Never saw something like this.
Amazon, ebay rules, some brands nothing else.
Good work g.
After getting 3 calls in 2 weeks to take part in payed shopping i do not wonder.

I think is Pinguin. Silly Google found 80.000 new links from russia. Sites that are cloaking And g* counts this links. Silly this is! How should I ever get rid of this? This proves negative seo is working!


ecom, germany

[edited by: tedster at 11:30 am (utc) on May 7, 2013]
[edit reason] removed keywords [/edit]

backdraft7




msg:4571533
 1:20 pm on May 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Martin - I found the same. Tons of bad back links from Russian p o r n sites. WMT is not shown them, but my server stats do. I'm sure WMT is just slow on the uptake but not disregarding them. After all, why give us timely feedback on our sites that would help us improve our backlink profile? My server was also down again at 2am this morning having allegedly been clobbered by increasing web bot attacks. 116% above average according to Akamai. It's a perfect storm of bad conditions out there. The web has become a virtual cess pool.

colonelu81




msg:4571555
 2:35 pm on May 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

I do not thinks that Referer spam hurts rankings . At least google says no : [productforums.google.com...]

diberry




msg:4571561
 2:45 pm on May 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

So informational sites bounced up on 4/15 while stores saw a decrease.


Again, NONE of my info sites saw any change in Google on or since April 15, except my Penguinized one (which may also be slightly Pandalyzed). So whatever this is, it's not affecting all sites equally. I think it's Penguin.

1. Could it be that some external event, such as the Boston marathon on 04-15 made people change their internet behavior for ONLY a few days, which then sent (temporarily wrong) signals to Google (i.e. "time on site"), which then updated the SERP based on these updated (and temporarily wrong) signals? That would mean that it would fall back at some stage.


This is really, really important to remember. I'm not sure it applies in this case, but I think we're all underestimating how major events impact the SERPs. It used to be they simply pulled people offline and onto watching TV, so nothing changed online - there was just less traffic. But now suddenly people who would normally spend all day on Facebook are glued to CNN instead, and people are searching for stuff they normally wouldn't, and NOT searching for stuff they normally would. It HAS to send some funky signals to Google which eventually get cleared up.

taberstruths




msg:4571597
 4:17 pm on May 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

Looks like another small uptick happened for me Sunday. 15% followed through on Monday.

dethfire




msg:4571608
 4:48 pm on May 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm still trending lower since Panda #23

gregorysmith




msg:4571637
 7:04 pm on May 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

Just wanted to chime in and let you guys know that I too am seeing some changes in traffic spikes. Same thing is happening across several site's of mine.

Makes me wonder..

gford




msg:4571638
 7:11 pm on May 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

SERPs Volatility Index also had a huge spike the day after mozcast.

scottsonline




msg:4571641
 7:29 pm on May 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

Are others finding that traffic is similar to 2011 levels for this time period?

Today is even worse. Very hard to explain. I did check the big business that outranks us. 500k new links in the last year and checking the top rated most are really just spam. They are the only ones doing really well. Seems if you have an overwhelming number of links you can sneak in a huge percentage of bad ones.

Martin Ice Web




msg:4571649
 7:49 pm on May 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

- I think they have a dice with 1-5 for amazon and ebay. 6 is a free slot with only 1% not a price compare engine.
I am close to do my own search engine. All I have to do is having all amazon and ebay pages in my databse and my google search clone is ready. It so simple. No links to count, no animal makes my algo weird.

scottsonline




msg:4571670
 9:22 pm on May 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

For the b2b ecommers out there are you "slow" since mid April?

This 456 message thread spans 16 pages: < < 456 ( 1 2 [3] 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 ... 16 > >
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