|Google Updates and SERP Changes - Jun 2013|
< continued from [webmasterworld.com...] >
[edited by: tedster at 3:52 am (utc) on Jun 2, 2013]
A bit of followup to my previous observation... I noticed today that although we still rank in the top 1-2-3 for the same phrases that have delivered traffic over the last 6 months, those same phrase no longer show up in the auto-complete, or search suggest section when typing.
This leads me to think that along with all these other refreshes that Google have completed since the beginning of the month, they have also refreshed the search-suggest queries, resulting in lower volume of search on those previously-popular terms. (the terms that used to populate auto-suggest)
@mhansen - they've been making adjustments to search suggestions for a long time, maybe not any in your areas but they do in ours often, and it's quite influential as you noted.
Unless they pause it while it's running then yes; my observations are that it is consecutive. I did notice that but at the time it really confused me since I'm used to 7 day cycles.... makes me feel a whole lot better knowing this now, thought I'd lost my X-Ray vision during the "Phantom Update".
|Correct me if I'm wrong here, but surely this does not necessarily mean 10 consecutive days out of 30. |
"Rolling Update" means rolling once a month? EDIT TO ADD: I already think that, but it might be an indicator that G needed to spread these out a little more because their index is getting larger, probably less strain doing it over 10 days than 7.
I am seeing a bounce back and more after the June 5 drop. I am also seeing many more keyword info than previous. Not as many "not provided" queries. Strictly info site with advertising.
I still pretty much have NOT bounced back into place.
June 4th = #1 on Page 1
June 5th = Page 16 somewhere
June 10th = Page 17 somewhere
June 12th = Page 13 somewhere
Would be great if we could get an official answer on wtf they screwed with and why on June 5th.
Also, is there a summary / consensus yet somewhere of what most experts believe was done with Penguin 2.0 in general so far?
4. , etc.. ?
I think it's Penguin related as MC said that Panda hadn't been refreshed since the last official update, as they are making some adjustments. At least that is how I understood it. It could be something unrelated to Penguin or Panda, but I am leaning toward Penguin. I've also seen no recovery, traffic is holding steady.
eBay is even more prolific in my SERPs since the last 2 weeks or so. Now #1 for some quite difficult SERPs as well as having the most crowding too.
Yelp is all over local searches, it's google places and yelp pretty much. Glad I'm done with relying on G, I'm getting away from all their products too, they obviously hate webmasters that helped build them.
Matt Cutts, in recent video, denied vehemently conspiracy theories alleging Google skewing SERPS in a way that induces businesses to buy more ads and increase Google's ad revenue. A total misconception. User experience is their single goal in life, said he.
- You, yes YOU, why are you laughing? Is this a nice thing to do?
One of my sites came back..
But the 2 important other ones haven't. (still on page 15 somewhere) I'm still hoping this is some type of temporary 'shuffle' going on. It's happened in the past....and they have come back in the past.
would be great too if Cutts could elaborate on these types of 'shuffles' or 'dances' that drive webmasters crazy not knowing if their temporary or not. Why the heck do they throw us back 20 pages...only to bring us back a few weeks later...playing games ..?
My server log shows a big increase in Google referrals today. I'm not yet sure what accounts for it. Most of the referrals are from long phrases (none less than two words, most at least four, and there is one 10-word term).
However, the numbers look more like a few months ago: Google outnumbering Bing very substantially.
"A total misconception. User experience is their single goal in life, said he."
That's kind of funny. I can't imagine doing the same search five times in one day and getting completely different results as well as a completely different page layout each time would be what a user wants to experience. Seriously, there were searches I did that had me wondering if I had a Google redirect virus/trojan on my pc.
LMFAO @ Powdork
how come i'm the only one pis*ed off over this random shuffling crap.
it's like musical chairs now with my blog sites. One gets thrown back to page 20 for a few weeks for no reason...then comes back.
I want an explanation.
Trust me you are not the only one who is a little annoyed about the shuffling but there is not much we can do...
Dude my website was earning me thousands of dollars a month, so believe me I am shaken up. The baffling thing is I have no idea what I did wrong. No duplicate content, relevant topics, no filler junk content either, never purchased links, and never gamed the system. Domain was old, or aged as people say.
Not only all of that, but I am one of three people in this niche providing real reviews of products. I bought them all, used them, took pictures of results, took pictures of the products, and people love me. Tons of comments, and a forum was beginning to populate. Then on June 5th everything fell apart for me, despite all my hard work it was all taken away from me, without reason.
I have also been attacked by a competitor with spam links, as i discussed earlier, and have disavowed over 2k domains since May 27th. Requested reconsideration, and was given the "no manual action has been taken" response.
I am one of the few web-masters in my niche who played by the rules, and was rewarded for it. I was so happy, and then - poof - snap your fingers and its gone, and in my incomes place I am removing spam links by the hundreds per day, and wondering why content scrapers are outranking my content. Daily checks of my rank show I am dropping 2-5 spots daily, while people who scraped and spun my content are ranking high.
I always used authorship, so how the dupe content is ranking is beyond me. I never bought links, and never cheated - so how I am penalized remains a mystery. My content, that I worked very hard on for months, has been stolen and made public domain by scrapers. My original info-images and pictures I took, which I put branding on, have been copied and had their branding blurred out or completely cut out, and placed all over the web on wordpress and blogspot sub domains - without my permission of course. At least its where its not lonely, it has my original content right along with it.
I have left matt cutts several comments on his blog, which he likely never read or didnt take seriously and deleted. I started a google crawling and indexing forum discussion about the negative seo and its effectiveness, with no useful responses. (as a side note, I gotta ask why those forums even exist?! Nothing but troll "top contributers" with nothing to do but chit chat about nothing). I also reached out to a search blog I'm sure we all know, asking if they would like to do a case study on my website, and offered to provide all my analytics data, and proof of who I am and my URLs, and all the methods used to build the site and links. Show all proof of negative seo- basically the whole shebang. Most webmasters are afraid to disclose their urls because they are breaking some rules. Not me- I followed all the rules, not by some sense of goodness, but because it was working for me, very well. I was actually enjoying researching different topics because I knew in my head, that I was ranking because like google said, good content will rank.
June 5th was my doomsday, and everyday since then I run rank checking software morning, noon, and night so I can see if any shifts are occurring in search. I started another website, but honestly the level of pride isn't in my writing. I was so proud of my work and what I had built, and having it all destroyed by content scrapers, negative seo, and algorithm changes that opt fot dupe and low quality content (and no, I am not being biased)- it just really took something out of me.
As a webmaster who follows the rules and plays well with others, it's a hard process to grasp that you work was stolen. It stings in a way thats hard to verbalize, or I guess contextualize. Feeling that you have no authority to get assistance from, having no idea when you may rank again- because- well you have no idea why you lost rank to begin with. Its just a really #*$!ty feeling, #*$!ty and frustrating and maddening.
So trust me Mike2010- I feel it, and I know there are other people here who feel it just as much as I do.
I am in the same case SerpsGuy. I had no reason to game any system (and still don't). My website is a project that I do on the side for fun. I don't even have ads on it. Literally, zero.
I am lucky I never relied on it. June 5th Google took away 100,000+ uniques per day. That's pretty severe. I am glad I never ordered more hardware, as well. At this rate I am looking at scaling down.
I thought the 6 months (no exaggeration) I put into creating the website was the reason I ranked so well. It is a complete custom creation... All 15,000+ lines of valid code, on page SEO is pretty good (at least I think) and I have no bad backlinks or negative SEO. Reading the guidelines the only thing I could possibly wonder about was a "display: none;" on a drop down menu for navigation. Since removed it...
I've got no idea where I went wrong. Bounce rate was below 30%, pages per user was around 6... Return visitors was high. Pretty disappointing stuff. Ever since the highly ranked pages slumped, I have noticed an increase in searches for our site name. So people are still looking for the website. But a lot of our return visitors still came from Google.
I don't understand this talk about negative SEO. Doesn't make much sense to me - why do it - its got to cost money - and most people are competing against dozens of sites if not hundreds. Why single one out unless it's a personal grudge?
With the exception of Panda 1.0 - most of the damage to my main website was self inflicted.
|I don't understand this talk about negative SEO. |
Here's how I would think it through as an "attacker". I'd obviously want to minimise the financial and time cost to my negative SEO campaigns, so I'd target what I'd believe to be the top 10 vulnerable sites in my niche, NOT amazon / big brands (waste of time). I'd outsource the work via one of the human resource sites for $5 to $10 per domain. I'd hire automated services to ensure the "target" has thousands of new links pointed to it and it looks obvious that these links are unnatural. Honestly - $50 to $100 would probably be all it took to do hit that vulnerable top 10, especially if I outsourced all the work to one provider. How many Adwords clicks can you buy for that? In expensive niches, only a handful. Maybe out of the top 10, 5 or 6 would take a hit from Google. Rinse and repeat.
|I don't understand this talk about negative SEO. Doesn't make much sense to me - why do it - its got to cost money |
No, it does not necessarily cost money. Malicious scraping, in an effort to de-legitimize an author's original work, is an effective negative SEO tactic being used. Granted, this tactic will not de-throne major players but is being used quite effectively against small businesses that have played by all the rules. Most of the scraped content appears on free splog sites like many of those active on Blogspot, Wordpress, Tumblr, Facebook, etc. to give it more "authority" than the original author. Sadly it works. Yesterday we sent out 6 DMCA takedown notices for one client to Blogspot alone. Today there are a few more new Blogspot sites that have the same copied content and there will probably be even more later today. It's a costly cycle for the victims and one that is not easily remedied when the copied content can be produced at a pace that exceeds that of the DMCA takedown notices.
When I mentioned that scraped content impacts small businesses that have "played by all the rules," my reference is to their backlink profiles. The pages getting copied and outranked by scraped content do not have artificial backlinks to "fake" authority. At least in these cases, having a relatively weak backlink profile seems to leave them susceptible to the damaging impacts of scraping (being outranked by copied content). Bing/Yahoo seem to have this problem nailed down, and I don't know why Google has not made any efforts to catch up with the other search engines when it comes to copyrighted content and owner's rights.
|Doesn't make much sense to me - why do it - its got to cost money |
It doesn't cost anything at all to put links to someone else's site in free directories that Google identifies with spam. There are many free "listing services" (including stand-alone software that doesn't require any verification codes) that will submit the site to thousands of them, so it doesn't even take much time or effort.
However, negative SEO isn't the only problem. If you have a successful site ranking for some important key terms, you are quite likely to attract links from weaker sites seeking to increase their authority. The current regime makes any successful site vulnerable to the effects of its own success. It means that success is likely to be self-limiting for all but those sites to whom Google assigns inviolable authority.
Penalising backlinks provides a free charter to every disreputable practice Google say they are trying to eliminate. Why they couldn't simply ignore any they regard as spam - which would negate the purpose of spamming without any collateral damage - is a question I would like to hear MC answer. In my sector, at least, the top results in other engines (particularly Bing/Yahoo) currently have a lot less spam in them than Google's.
|However, negative SEO isn't the only problem. If you have a successful site ranking for some important key terms, you are quite likely to attract links from weaker sites seeking to increase their authority. The current regime makes any successful site vulnerable to the effects of its own success. It means that success is likely to be self-limiting for all but those sites to whom Google assigns inviolable authority. |
I had never thought about it like this, but you may be exactly right. When my site got hit with Penguin 1, I couldn't understand why - I had a weak backlink profile, not a spammy one, and it was filled mainly with little bloggers and other weak sites linking out in their sidebars or in content. FWIW, my site seems to be recovering incrementally since Penguin 2.0, so I wonder if maybe Google realizes Penguin 1 caused some collateral damage and they're now seeking to correct that somehow.
great post SerpsGuy.
Cutts needs to read this stuff.
I got a side question (semi-OT) if anybody knows the answer to.
If i've had several high valued (PR) domains on a particular IP for years....does google value that overall IP as something in higher value.... for future domains that are thrown onto that IP ?
Quick Update - We have been trying to contact Matt Cutts about the June 5th (unannounced) update. We lost some websites & some pretty big competitors also lost rankings for some hyper-competitive keywords.
I still think it's Penguin related, I assume they turned the dial up a bit on June 5th.
As of today I have seen one we lost on June 5th return.
This is a good sign if websites are coming back into the SERPS, maybe they are turning the dial back.
The problem is Google has opened a can of worms with these algorithm filters, not only has it made the SERPS lower in quality (blog comment spam dominates) it is damaging genuine high quality websites who don't buy links & opening up the door to negative SEO.
If i was Larry Page, I would compare the SERPS from 2011 (pre-panda/penguin) - 2013 (June), take a look at the last years revenue.
In Matt Cutts own words;
|"I have seen a lot of accusations after Panda and Penguin that Google is just trying to increase its revenue, and let me just confront that head on. Panda, if you go back and look at Google’s quarterly statements, they actually mention that Panda decreased our revenue." |
So that's lower quality SERPS (user experience) & decreased revenue.
Sorry Matt (head of Google's Webspam team) Cutts but your FIRED!
Why not send this as a Tweet to him, see if he responds @mattcutts
I seem to have mostly recovered from June 5th. It is most likely a coincidence, but here are things I changed:
1. I realized caching was not working correctly, and GWMT reflected this with much higher than usual download times over the previous few weeks. This was fixed.
2. Removed ads from the top of the content area. I had placed them there at the end of May just to see what I could make from them. Turns out, not enough to warrant an ugly site.
|So that's lower quality SERPS (user experience) & decreased revenue. |
If you plot the data from Google's earnings call, there are actually unusual gains in both revenue and paid clicks after Panda and Penguin. I have no idea what data Matt Cutts is referring to when he claims a decrease in revenue.
Detail is here: [webmasterworld.com...]
I doubt Matt Cutts would comment even if one of you guys tweeted it to him, primarily because they refuse to acknowledge the june 5th update. Whatever they penalized web masters for that day, I apparently was engaged in it. I am still doing daily checks of my site ranking, and I am still dropping lower and lower. I only have a few pages still ranking, three to be exact.
The new website I started to try and regain some rankings is in the same position as my large website, and it only has 4 pages. Since my rank is dropping farther and farther down, I think its safe to assume this is the affect of their gradual rollout of updates- so one is likely happening right now. I am sure in the next few days this forum will light up again with talks of movement.
I am not the kinda guy to trash talk any company, and this isn't any different. I think google is definitely struggling with so much spam and content thieves that it becomes difficult to manage it all. I will say though, that I am losing faith that google has the ability effectively combat spam, or determine who owns what content. I no longer believe they genuinely appreciate unique content unless it's been posted on a property they themselves own and control.
I would be SO happy if I could just somehow reach Matt Cutts, not to have a long conversation with him, just so say 'hey matt I know you guys are resistant to negative seo, and I realize most people who talk about it arent even experiencing it- but I can show you 140k links that have negatively affected my site. Please take a look so you can improve the algorithm, not for me in particular, but for webmasters as a whole.'
The spam team, however, is unreachable to any regular joe webmaster- I digress, I suppose until then I should join the ranks of content thieves and spammers to get rank back. Im kidding of-course, but I believe when these cases go without any feedback it really does breed a sense of "do whatever you have to do" which only creates more of the spam they are trying to block.
|The problem is Google has opened a can of worms with these algorithm filters, not only has it made the SERPS lower in quality (blog comment spam dominates) it is damaging genuine high quality websites who don't buy links & opening up the door to negative SEO. |
Cutts doesn't give a crap. He's already probably sipping his tea in his Google luxury suite.. thinking about looking pretty for his next YouTube video...and concentrating on other matters.
I think Matt Cutts does care, but keep in mind they are trying to scale solutions for a very large index. They talked about having specific algo filters based on niches at SMX, but its not a reality yet. Imagine how ineffective that would be for anything else in life, for example if a person has 100 people hate him his voice is effectively silenced because he is not valuable.
Coming from a webmaster who is now google's collateral damage, I don't believe google is able to combat spam effectively, and they don't value webmasters because why would they? If they destroy one webmasters business, another one take his place. It's a benefit afforded to them by us as webmasters, and our wilingness to jump through their hoops. They are number one, and they take full advantage of that.
Anyhow, Before I check out- here's what I see in my niche;
*** Several websites on page one with 1 to 50 unique domains linking in, and that have between 9 to 30 pages of content are holding top ranking positons. The content is not bad on all of these websites, however several of them host what I call "fill in the blank" content. Choose a product and fill in the blanks, and poof you have a long article that kinda makes sense. Google seems to love this.
*** The first page was previously dominated by small independent websites, and is now filled with merchants for "branded terms", and where there are not enough merchants to fill page one, Amazon, eBay, Press Releases, and Forum threads (however minimally related) fill the page.
*** For several terms, a couple of tech domains with powerful backlink profiles rank in the top two. They expired, and were rebranded into the "blog review" style site that sells you a review and link for a few bucks. The review pages rank, very well. This content is trash.
*** Blogspot, Wordpress, Google Sites, and Tumblr all are ranking extremely well. Typically I would call spam, but after looking at the sites I think some of them have decent content. It's not top notch stuff, but its not spam either.
*** Keyword domains (not EMD) are ranking very well, all with less than 10 unique domains linking in according to MSEO.
*** In some cases, and more so today, I see older domains and pages that are clearly no longer maintained or managed, ranking well. Older sites from 2010 - possibly just being released from panda jail for breaking rules a lifetime ago. These domains have varying link profiles, nothing I can summarize here.
My website has 145 pages, and previously had 57 unique domains linking in when I was ranked page 1 position 1 to 5 for every term. Now that I have over 147k links of spam from being attacked, I am ranked on page 7 and 8 maximum.
My site has a forum that was growing, and is an affiliate income website. I review 5 products, and 70% of my traffic was to non-income producing pages. (tutorials, how to pages, and some link bait stuff that people just loved to read and commend on)
The only differences I see between my website and these newly ranking sites, are;
1- They do not control their internal anchor text. If its a wordpress blog, links are post titles, nothing is shortened. If its a different platform, the links are unique on every page, typed out by the admin.
2- Very few links (this used to be the case for me as well, but spam attack gave me hundreds of thousands of links).
3- No comments allowed on top ranking sites. I allow comments for support, and answered about 5-10 a day, making the post word count huge. Maybe a bad thing?
4- Merchants and Larger websites with established forums are ranking better. This I think is fair most of the time. (not including blogspot and wordpress scrapers, and doorway tumblr pages). I am a medium to small website, so maybe this is an indication I should grow larger? However this is not consistent, several smaller sites also outrank some larger with a keyword domain.
Thats my take. I think at this point I am ready to give up. If google cant appreciate the content I provide, then they can have the spammers.
I've made a few changes to my website that was hit on June 5th, I am not expecting any real changes in ranks. I concur with SerpsGuy, my niche so to speak is quite different however. I am completely unaware as to why my site would be downgraded in rankings (let alone touched by Penguin/Panda in the first place). It would be so nice and easy to be able to submit your site and get a message "Here's the problem.... ". Mine is not a link penalty. I've still got barely any links... I read somewhere that Penguin/Panda can penalize an entire site based on one or so pages that are poorly designed or structured... So:
The changes I've made are
1. Modified meta descriptions to be a little more informative yet concise. Not sure if they are any better... Subjective.
2. Changed some internal linking structure to include less links/more nofollow. Personally I would prefer it the other way but I'll monitor the activity of my users to see if it effects browsing habits.
3. Created a new class for 301 redirects that works out if a person intended to find something else they should be directed there... Replaces some canonicalized URLs that I had previously. Examples are URLs with capital letters, etc.
4. Added more noindex/nofollow to many pages that could be considered not useful though I guess that's arguable, I already had this on all pages I considered useless for SEs. If I keep going Google won't know what to crawl.
I am not sure if/when Google would change it's mind and lift any penalty. Not really holding my breath either. Hugely disappointing. As SerpsGuy said, I can see why many get into Black Hat stuff. What is there to lose?
Even if Google could just say "This page(s) is why you are penalized:" and not tell me the reasons why, I am pretty sure I could work it out and fix it. Being left in the dark is never an ideal scenario. Especially when I was previously so pedantic and cautious. What more could I have possibly done?
MikeHalo - If your website is wordpress based, do you use a responsive theme? Is it based on "bones" framework?