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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]

 

diberry




msg:4569538
 4:17 am on May 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

getcooking, I've also been seeing my traffic fluctuate without my rankings changing. It's as if everyone just decided not to search that term that day.

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4569539
 4:25 am on May 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

Yeah, I'm still seeing multiple resultsets or data center misalignment that seems to have started a bit before they announced Panda being integrated into the main algo, which could account for the traffic ups/downs with seemingly no change in rankings.

I'm on the opposite coast as someone I've been working with and we consistently see different resultsets, so the testing/misalignment could be location based to some extent. I'm seeing the most obvious signals in site: searches still where the indexed page count will vary +/- 15% or so throughout the day or even over a couple of days.

The most recent check was down in indexed pages by nearly 30% from earlier today but the results I watch regularly appear to be about the same.

chalkywhite




msg:4569588
 8:18 am on May 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

Looks like another drop over night, so whatever did drop at the weekend has not stopped rolling out yet, im hoping for a May Day holiday reason however stats over the years on may day do not corroborate this.

Zivush




msg:4569591
 8:26 am on May 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

im hoping for a May Day holiday reason however stats over the years on may day do not corroborate this.


It is 1st of May which is a day-off in some parts of the world.
Have you cross-checked your traffic stats in Bing/Yahoo to see that the same traffic drop trend exist?

chalkywhite




msg:4569607
 9:01 am on May 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

@ Zivush its very hard to tell as I get very little from bing and yahoo. Ill just ride out today and see what happens tomorrow. The google product forums are quiet, I take that as a good sign!

bsterz




msg:4569633
 12:21 pm on May 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

I noticed a 70% increase in impressions in WMT on 4/27, but it returned to normal the next day.

networkliquidators




msg:4569676
 2:06 pm on May 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

As a tip, your images being displayed in Google's universal search in the results, can offset your impression number. This is generally why impressions can fluctuate high in volume but receive no click-thrus.

Google Shopping also accounts in this number, which will also greatly increase impressions. Click-thrus for this traffic is low because the intent of the person may not be looking to buy vs. the rest of the user's intentions.

scottsonline




msg:4569771
 9:22 pm on May 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

There was a major update in the last few days. Our 13 year old site got slammed sometime over the weekend. Traffic is down 50%. There are no notifications and we don't buy links.
.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 9:55 pm (utc) on May 1, 2013]
[edit reason] edited typo at post request [/edit]

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4569794
 10:49 pm on May 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

One interesting (meaning seemingly nonsensical) thing it seems like I'm seeing more of recently is when searching for a service in a location and I use [city state] I get different results than when I use [city st].

Why there would be a difference in the results due to an abbreviation of a state and the state name spelled out is beyond me, because where I'm from they mean exactly the same thing.

Really don't understand why they do what they do sometimes. Anyone have any reasonable ideas why there should be a difference from one to the other?

* It's almost like they've reverted to keyword matching for some reason, because to me it seems like [city state] should be considered the same phrase as [city st] but it's obviously not and I'm not sure I get why, because as a searcher I consider [service in orlando florida] to be the same as [service in orlando fl] and I would think if a search engine really wants to provide "the right answer" they would have to too, since I would guess most people do not intend or mean anything different when they search for [service in city state] rather than [service in city st].

Maybe I'm odd, so would anyone here expect or mean something different if you ended a query with [city state] rather than [city st]? I sure can't find a good reason for a distinction or difference being present in the results myself.

diberry




msg:4569886
 4:33 am on May 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

TOI, I haven't done a "city st/state" search in months, but every time I've done them in the past it made extremely little difference whether I used st or state.

See also: singulars v. plurals, which started giving sometimes radically different results... after Penguin, IIRC.

Faizan_Khan




msg:4569969
 9:45 am on May 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

appears as if everyone is just away from PC :/ seeing a 20% traffic drop today.

Martin Ice Web




msg:4569973
 10:00 am on May 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

It now seems like Google has the intention to find all the crap in the WWW and unfortunately they get it very good.
I donīt know what kind of trust factor they are searching for but the sites i now see are complete without any trust.

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4570063
 3:52 pm on May 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

...every time I've done them in the past it made extremely little difference whether I used st or state.

Yeah, I didn't used to notice much of a difference either, and it could be I'm just looking closer, but I'm seeing things like #8 move to #1, double listings for sites using one variation but not the other and what seem like "odd" differences to me when the search is exactly the same except st or state at the end.

The plural v. singular differences make more sense to me.

gford




msg:4570085
 5:17 pm on May 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

I am seeing a major drop off on long tail keyword traffic across many sites. Main keywords for the most part same rankings (few up, few down, which is normal).

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4570115
 7:34 pm on May 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

You know the results are bad when you seriously consider reporting the results page itself as spam.

gford




msg:4570343
 1:04 pm on May 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

Even stranger is this is the quietest I have seen WebmasterWorld in a while. Maybe everyone left or no one has any issues (good or bad) to talk about.

dethfire




msg:4570347
 1:13 pm on May 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

personally, I had to take a step back for a few days, I was stressing myself out

Martin Ice Web




msg:4570362
 2:48 pm on May 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

gford, i was up to think that everybody is confident with the current serps but me!

Still way down, outranked by ebay clones and ebay affiliates! Really bad these days, i think it was a roll back to some prior panda updates.

ecom, germany

taberstruths




msg:4570366
 2:56 pm on May 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

I sometimes hesitate to report positive numbers because so many of you are struggling and no one likes to hear of others successes when we ourselves are struggling. However, I am smiling personally. I had a 50% increase in traffic starting on Sunday. Nothing new was done other than what I have reported previously. Same pace of adding new content and same type of social signals, promotion, ect. I have now recovered 66% of what was lost during the panda/penguin/panda update a year ago.

scottsonline




msg:4570370
 3:09 pm on May 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

The pollution of search results with google paid ads is part of this. Now there are 2-3 text ads followed by 5 product ads in a one box THEN search results. So everyone that was 1-3 is really now 3-6. Google is one more change away from being all paid placements on the first page. Do no evil?

Something started about 4-15 and has continued to roll through. Last weekend there was another significant change. We are back to seeing this:

Search for product xyz

Results 1-2 are paid ads
Results 2-7 are horizontal product images... Product ads. No policing is done and half the time the prices are misrepresented
First organic is the manufacturer
Second and third organic are somereseller.manufacturer.c om/product xyz
Fourth organic is an independent reseller with their own website

What google is back to doing is taking the manufacturers free mirror catalog pages for tiny resellers with the same text, images, layout in a subdomain and ranking those as quality sites. Lol.

Martin Ice Web




msg:4570393
 4:05 pm on May 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

@taber, congrats! I saw this movement from beginning of january. Weekly more traffic. We recoverd to a -30% traffic flow. Very good convertings, low bounce rate, good click through rate, many fetched pages by user. We got back our strongest keywords. Feld like in old days. Than bam on 15 april we are back to july/november rankings. -50% compared to pre penguin/panda 2012. Mostly unrelated foreign traffic. Since we get lots of referals from .ua and ru. We changed: Nothing.
Whatever panda/penguin loóks for is not good content related.

So nothing sticks these days.

ecom, germany

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4570418
 5:11 pm on May 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

Well, this isn't a "Google SERP Changes" post, unless non-change is change, but as far as traffic goes it's been totally goofy on one site since Boston.

It's off about 10% a day since, but it's not only Google, it's across the board and it's not "normal peaks and valleys", it'll be down 20% then spike at an odd time for a couple hours and then drop off again, and again, it's not only Google referrals that have been totally odd in the pattern of "below average" then "random spike" since. It's all of the big three and I seriously doubt they're all just happening to change something that causes the site to rank better or worse in unison, so for at least one niche it looks like there's some difference in search patterns/behavior of searchers since the Boston events.

chalkywhite




msg:4570429
 5:57 pm on May 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

Whatever has/did roll out is an across the board change, from initial 5 day observations the downturn is site wide, all pages took the same hit, one page that was and still is the best of its kind on the web for what it guides took the same hit as one that even though its unique is just a filler page. I think even though panda is in the algorithm now it still runs its main update weekly (sunday)

Martin Ice Web




msg:4570430
 6:22 pm on May 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

I think even though panda is in the algorithm now it still runs its main update weekly (sunday)


I think this too. But I think they removed it from main algo and run it seperatly.

simplo




msg:4570449
 8:01 pm on May 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

Had rankings come up on Wednesday and then drop to previous Today. My competitors spammy site went down in rankings and back up again in the same time period. What a pain.

Martin Ice Web




msg:4570469
 8:59 pm on May 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

OK, this is very strange.
Just for fun i run a few queries about widgets we sell.
For sure amazon is 90% first place. But now comes what is strange. The serch term was generic search for a certain widget without any brand names. First google result is a amazon result from a certain brand/manufacturer. There are many manufacturers for this widget. But 95% of all following results are only from this brand/manufacturer!
It seems like google takes amazon result pages to pimp up the query and match all following results to fit the amazon result. No other brands following the next 2-3 result pages! Its not only for one query but most of them. I wish i could post the queries here.

diberry




msg:4570477
 9:39 pm on May 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

It's off about 10% a day since, but it's not only Google, it's across the board and it's not "normal peaks and valleys", it'll be down 20% then spike at an odd time for a couple hours and then drop off again, and again, it's not only Google referrals that have been totally odd in the pattern of "below average" then "random spike" since. It's all of the big three and I seriously doubt they're all just happening to change something that causes the site to rank better or worse in unison, so for at least one niche it looks like there's some difference in search patterns/behavior of searchers since the Boston events.


I think the way people search, surf and find new stuff is changing in general, and what you're seeing might a case where that's especially noticeable. What I'm talking about is:

People aren't just defaulting to Google for all info. Even my mom knows you go to Yelp for info on local places, Wikipedia when you're curious about howler monkeys, and [news site of choice] when you want news. The engines are getting bypassed completely on increasing numbers of, well, "queries" for lack of a better term.

And then of course what people are looking for online changes dramatically when there's big news. It used to be it just sucked them offline and they watched TV. More and more, they're staying online, but they're not doing the things they normally do, or if they saw something at work and thought they'd look at it again later, they may forget. That kind of stuff.

moxie




msg:4570489
 10:54 pm on May 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

@diberry
I think the way people search, surf and find new stuff is changing in general

Something else that could be mentioned with respect to this is the fact that web browsers are always adding their own built in search engines like Amazon, Ebay, Wikipedia and even now YouTube Video Search, so people may be more inclined to using those instead of one of the search engines directly.

turbocharged




msg:4570599
 1:02 pm on May 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

It seems like google takes amazon result pages to pimp up the query and match all following results to fit the amazon result. No other brands following the next 2-3 result pages!
Google and Amazon are members of a Washington D.C. lobbying group called "The Internet Association." Although they claim to be the voice of the internet economy, participation is limited to many of the same big companies that dominate the serps (Facebook, eBay, etc.). I've always had concerns of how this group, which collectively controls the majority of online traffic, would squeeze small businesses out of the competition to earn sales from consumers.

Most affiliate sites were removed from the top pages in Google's index over the last year. Many Amazon pages filled these voids, and let's not forget that Amazon does not produce or stock most of the products they sell. Amazon's corporate earnings suggest that their affiliate's loss in traffic did not harm them at all. There tends to be a preference to pimp Amazon pages as you noted. Whether they deserve to benefit from host crowding is a different story. Host crowding has excluded many small businesses from competing in organic search.

Host crowding may be here to stay. It's a lot easier for Google to limit the top 100 or so results to a handful of websites based on trust rather than content. I'm sure it takes less computing power to accomplish this and nobody in that "Internet Association" seems to have been harmed by any of Google's updates. 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. They put small businesses on mute.

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