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Google Updates and SERP Changes - July 2013
spreporter




msg:4589132
 6:32 am on Jul 1, 2013 (gmt 0)


System: The following 3 messages were cut out of thread at: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4580257.htm [webmasterworld.com] by goodroi - 9:35 am on Jul 1, 2013 (utc -5)


RIP Tedster, though I never knew you personally for 8 years now I've learned a lot from your great contributions

 

EditorialGuy




msg:4596829
 6:23 pm on Jul 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

They've got an entrenched, established search market share that is happy to shift from organic clicking to ad clicking, and now they're just dialing up the ad clicks slowly but surely.


That's certainly working well with Google Shopping. As for the organic parts of the SERP, it's easy enough for Google to wean users away from "10 blue links" and toward AdWords for commercial searches: Just run more ads, pushing the organic results farther down on the page. Forget conspiracy theories about Google taking payola from Amazon and eBay or favoring brands because Eric Schmidt doesn't want to hear gripes from other CEOs on the golf course: There's no need for corruption of the organic results if the ads are more prominent, and if the ads are satisfying users' needs in the same way that Yellow Pages ads and classified newspaper ads did in the print era.

IMHO, the next frontier for Google is figuring out how to earn more revenue from informational searches. One solution might be to run display ads (typically used for branding and awareness-building) on informational SERPs, where CPC text ads (a.k.a. direct-response ads) are less useful to the searcher and less likely to be clicked. Google is already a major player in the display-ad business, after all--and relevant or behaviorally-targeted display ads on SERPs wouldn't be any more annoying than all the the "Universal Search" clutter that's being pushed down searchers' throats these days.

ColourOfSpring




msg:4596830
 6:36 pm on Jul 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

There's no need for corruption of the organic results if the ads are more prominent, and if the ads are satisfying users' needs in the same way that Yellow Pages ads and classified newspaper ads did in the print era.


I've seen a LOT of SEO companies diversify from straight-up SEO (organic listings) to PPC management in the last 12 months. In 5 year's time, I wonder how much we'll be talking about SEO for commercial searches. "Remember when clicks were free?".

kanetrain




msg:4596887
 11:38 pm on Jul 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

I see Amazon or YouTube all over every search result in my space. It's kind of insane on some searches... 3 amazon links, then 3 you tube videos at the top before you see anything else.
If I wanted to see videos, I would have searched at youtube.
And if I wanted to see Amazon listing, I would have gone to Amazon.

The Amazon thing baffles me. If they are just showing Amazon search results en masse at the top of so many searches, they are just perpetuating the trend of shoppers going to Amazon first to search for products instead of Google. Why would I even search Google for products, if Google is just giving me Amazon products over and over and over. I'll just save the click and go straight to Amazon.

Am I missing something here? I don't see how showing Amazon in top 3 positions for loads of searches benefits Google in any way long-term.

EditorialGuy




msg:4596894
 12:48 am on Jul 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

Am I missing something here? I don't see how showing Amazon in top 3 positions for loads of searches benefits Google in any way long-term.


One could argue that, if shoppers are predisposed to shopping from Amazon, they're going to search Amazon one way or another--and if Google offers the best Amazon search experience, Google will have a chance to capture those searchers.

Of course, it's also possible that the plethora of Amazon search results is a bug, not a feature.

JD_Toims




msg:4596917
 1:58 am on Jul 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

Am I missing something here?

Yes, and it totally surprised me what it is until a couple of relatives told me and I realized "normal people" don't think like us. We work on the web and "know how to do things", but the average person doesn't. So, what is it you're missing that more than one relative has told me they do?

"When I want to visit a site I type it into Google and click the link...", when I said, "Why not just type it in the address bar?", they responded with, "It's easier to just type it in to Google and click the link..." - I was blown away.

JD_Toims




msg:4596920
 2:24 am on Jul 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

One could argue that, if shoppers are predisposed to shopping from Amazon, they're going to search Amazon one way or another--and if Google offers the best Amazon search experience, Google will have a chance to capture those searchers.

I agree, so I should probably add: I've used Amazon's search before and it's so incredibly slow I often find myself using a search engine to find what I'm looking for there instead... The slowness of Amazon even loading for me, never mind searching for anything there, is amazing and can be totally frustrating.

EditorialGuy




msg:4596927
 2:52 am on Jul 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

"When I want to visit a site I type it into Google and click the link...", when I said, "Why not just type it in the address bar?", they responded with, "It's easier to just type it in to Google and click the link..." - I was blown away.


Every time I check my search queries, I see the name of my site. I guess some people like to do all their typing in the IE or Firefox search box.

JD_Toims




msg:4596930
 3:13 am on Jul 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

I guess some people like to do all their typing in the IE or Firefox search box.

Yup, totally amazed me when I heard that's something people I know do regularly, because if I want to go to a site I type it in the address bar and save myself a click, but like I said, "Normal people don't think like us..."

SerpsGuy




msg:4596959
 5:37 am on Jul 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

Just a quick update to share with everyone here;

[i.snag.gy...]

No changes so far! Good luck to everyone, I hope google completes this update with a nice surprise for those who deserve it!

helenp




msg:4596986
 9:22 am on Jul 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

Looks like rolled back, or another update done,
I am back as numer one in .ie, on update falled to page 2, now back, and looks better in other google countes also,
or maybe they are showing different databases.

EternalApprentice




msg:4596991
 11:11 am on Jul 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hi all, if it could be useful to anyone, in Spain Google SERPS had been this week a "dance" and my best domains with #1 to #5 had been sank to #10 to #20. And as @helemp said sometimes positions looks better and sometimes bad. I share your opinion about different Google databases. But why that?

Also the new winners on position have several entries inthe first ten places, sometimes with a very poor content for the user experience and sometimes simply wordpress spammers. I hope Google know what they're doing and all will have a happy end.

Savanadry




msg:4597000
 11:51 am on Jul 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

Yup, totally amazed me when I heard that's something people I know do regularly, because if I want to go to a site I type it in the address bar and save myself a click, but like I said, "Normal people don't think like us..."


I must admit I do that too. It's quicker, if I want amazon it's easier to type that into the search box (my start page), it auto suggests so I only have to type a few letters and then click, I think alot of people prefer to click more than type - one hand always stays on the mouse and you don't want to type in a url or even '.com' with one hand.

Back to serp changes - my niche has been stable for a week now and my recovery has held. It's strange but my recovery seemed to start earlier than everyone else's - around the 9th / 10th. Which makes me think I had some kind of timed penalty which just happened to coincide with Panda.

Tbh though I'm not feeling good about this whole thing, I expect to drop out at any moment. I think once you've dropped down it's very hard to trust that you'll keep the rankings. I still feel very nervous about investing in the site (time or money) and will probably feel the same for at least 6 months.

turbocharged




msg:4597008
 1:19 pm on Jul 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

Am I missing something here? I don't see how showing Amazon in top 3 positions for loads of searches benefits Google in any way long-term.

Amazon is whitelisted and/or has a hardcoded artifical boost in the serps IMO. Showing 3 amazon listings in a row is not intended to be a benefit to users, but to benefit Google and Amazon IMO. They are partners as has been noted in other threads. They circulate money/traffic between the two and keep as much money in their pockets as they can - that's how strategic alliances work. And it appears to be working well for Google and Amazon at the moment.

I too am very dissatisfied with how Google treats Amazon. As an example, I purchased a few products through Amazon this past couple of weeks. Even though the items were "sold and shipped" by Amazon, it took 2-3 business days just to ship the items. An item I ordered on the 25th, is also void of any tracking number. I don't know of any mom & pops that would drag their feet for so long on "in-stock" items. This is not a good user experience IMO, but a metric that Google appears not to track.

Should Google continue down this route of brand bias, I'm sure many users will defect and move to alternative ways to find their information as is happening already on a micro scale. The user shift stands a greater chance of happening if ordinary users were aware of how many companies that Google owns/has an interest in and how they all ironically rank at the top of organic search results.

ColourOfSpring




msg:4597020
 2:38 pm on Jul 27, 2013 (gmt 0)


Amazon is whitelisted and/or has a hardcoded artifical boost in the serps IMO.


Absolutely. I think people tend to over-think and over-complicate how the algo works. It would be simple to whitelist a number of big domain names. You could go through each niche and find 100 or so big brands in each niche. When you're done, you then rank all of these brands manually within the subsets you've just created. Then put these ranking values / flags into the algo and mix them up with the rest of the index - voila - you have mixed in thousands of domains into the index, except they have a special value next to them that boosts them to X degree. Clearly Amazon have a lot of that X. Furthermore, these domains receive some kind of "immunization" against Penguin and Panda (basic flag setting). Google haven't done this in one go - they've done it incrementally, so it's harder to track and gain bad publicity. But I can tell you this: Google haven't finished yet with this.

It's a simple solution to eradicating a lot of spam from page 1, while also hitting hundreds of thousands (millions?) of innocent sites. Sure, Google give us a possible way out of penalties, but 95% of people give up, the other 5% get partial recoveries - the brands go from strength to strength, meaning they can offer even better services/products/usability to users in the future - good for them, good for Google, good for shoppers. Everyone wins....apart from some people :)

EditorialGuy




msg:4597026
 3:22 pm on Jul 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

I too am very dissatisfied with how Google treats Amazon. As an example, I purchased a few products through Amazon this past couple of weeks. Even though the items were "sold and shipped" by Amazon, it took 2-3 business days just to ship the items. An item I ordered on the 25th, is also void of any tracking number. I don't know of any mom & pops that would drag their feet for so long on "in-stock" items. This is not a good user experience IMO, but a metric that Google appears not to track.


Google is a search engine, not a rating service. I don't recall anyone referring to, say, Panda 2.0 as the "time to ship update" or Panda 3.0 as the "restocking fee update."

The fact that Amazon rates high for so many terms probably stems from the fact that (a) it's a megasite with millions of pages and inbound links, and (b) its pages tend to be packed with content (such as user reviews of varying quality) that supply plenty of spider food for Googlebot.

diberry




msg:4597029
 3:41 pm on Jul 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

While I know (perfectly ordinary, "civilian") users who are so irritated by Google returning multiple Amazon results that they have abandoned Google, I'm not shocked to hear others reporting that some people cannot count the steps involved and actually think it's easier to search Google for Amazon results rather than to search Amazon internally.

More likely, it's that Google is courting a particular demographic. Advertisers in film and TV prefer demographics they perceive as being gullible, stupid with money, willing to buy anything. It may be that advertisers are developing ideas about what type of searcher is gullible and spends a lot, and Google is courting them. (Advertisers would NOT have to fully understand what they're doing for this theory to make sense: they could just see metrics working out and go from there.)

We tend to assume Google wants to either court the majority of users or wants to somehow conspire to make people click ads. It could simply be that they have many types of users, and in trying to provide a "good user experience" they cannot please every type of user, so they're tailoring the experience to the users who tend to attract advertisers the most. And that might finally provide a non-conspiracy-theory explanation for why Google has become the deeply vapid land of multiple Amazon and Ehow results.

EditorialGuy




msg:4597032
 3:58 pm on Jul 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

It could simply be that they have many types of users, and in trying to provide a "good user experience" they cannot please every type of user, so they're tailoring the experience to the users who tend to attract advertisers the most.


Isn't the goal of Personalized Search to provide a "good user experience" to every type of user?

Why would Google court searchers who are "gullible and spend a lot" when it can use Personalized Search to reach all kinds of searchers, from gullible idiots to well-heeled geniuses?

Wilburforce




msg:4597033
 4:00 pm on Jul 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

It's quicker, if I want amazon it's easier to type that into the search box


Doesn't anyone use bookmarks?

I take the point, however, that it is often much easier to search for a known business name than to type in the (was it .com or .co.uk?, was it widgets-r-us or widgetsrus?) URL.

I am still at #1 for my business name. Is there anyone here who isn't?

purplekitty




msg:4597045
 5:52 pm on Jul 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

I really don't find it all that strange that people type searches into a search engine box first. But maybe that's because that's what I do.

My home page is set to a search engine, so when I bring up my browser window, it's just as easy to initially type in the search bar what I'm looking for, even if it's a specific website, if I'm looking to buy something. It's not like people are then going back to the search engine to research for another product at that particular website.

getcooking




msg:4597094
 10:38 pm on Jul 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

So, is the general feeling that the latest Panda rollout is now done? Chatter about it seems to have slowed down. However, in the last 24 hours my site has started TANKING. It was actually doing ok through the rollout and I was pleased that it looked like we weren't getting hit (for a change). But then starting just about 24 hours ago now traffic started dropping and I lost rankings for 60 major keyword positions overnight (and these were mostly page 1 rankings). The drop in traffic was so noticeable that if we hadn't also lost kw positions I would have assumed there was some sort of network outage or the firewall had gone nuts or something.

Back to the drawing board to figure out why I ticked off the Google Gods this time. Sigh...

dethfire




msg:4597095
 10:42 pm on Jul 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

@getcooking mozcast has today at 105. something might be cooking!

EditorialGuy




msg:4597096
 10:44 pm on Jul 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

...in the last 24 hours my site has started TANKING.


Mozcast is showing Friday, July 26 as hot (105 F) and stormy. I haven't seen any indications of unsettled search weather in our stats, but if Mozcast is right, you aren't alone.

getcooking




msg:4597097
 10:56 pm on Jul 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

I didn't even think to check Mozcast since I hadn't heard anyone else talking about it. Dang. I was hoping it was something I did that could be easily reversed (you know, once I figured out what "it" was). But if Mozcast is boiling then I have a feeling it's just another slapdown.

Yay.

And, traffic is still dropping. Ouch.

frankleeceo




msg:4597098
 11:03 pm on Jul 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

One of my major site got hit for roughly 15~20% of traffic. It started on Thursday night time (Friday?) and continued to drop off until today. I am not sure if it's simply the summer vacation is coming to an end or if I am getting more competition in my space.

It does not look stable yet.

SnowMan68




msg:4597099
 11:10 pm on Jul 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

Lots of flux, saw the same thing. Yet again another drop Friday. It's weird, I saw the second data set they were running Wednesday, it would push out and then reverse, until Friday when it became "the" data set

dethfire




msg:4597100
 11:15 pm on Jul 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

@EditorialGuy it's hard to say for me because it's a summer saturday, but we are seeing unnaturally low numbers right now. It will be one of the worst saturdays in a very long time.

patc




msg:4597106
 11:57 pm on Jul 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

Just to add my two-penneth. Seeing the same huge flux from Friday. One site has been top 3 for a key term since 2005. Knocked almost completely off the face of the Earth. Another site ranked well until 1st Penguin and Friday was its complete death knell.

So, just about clinging on in here, scratching my head. Oh I love how weekends can become a huge stress!

backdraft7




msg:4597133
 3:22 am on Jul 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

We got hit again at noon on Saturday. Going on 12 hours of super thin daytime traffic and of course no conversions. 37% mobile traffic today.

jmccormac




msg:4597144
 6:40 am on Jul 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

@EditorialGuy
Google is a search engine, not a rating service.
Actually it is a rating service. That was the whole purpose behind its initial design, the updates and all the Animal Farm patches. Rather than just being an ordinary search engine, it rated sites based, initially, on the site's link authority. However that's broken now.

Regards...jmcc

helenp




msg:4597153
 8:53 am on Jul 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

I am still at #1 for my business name. Is there anyone here who isn't?

Just had a look, and does not get this.
I have the extension seo global installed,
so I wrote my business name,
and to my surprise in co.uk everything was ok,
but in us and in .ie on top was my company but the mainpage was my spanish index....
and below in more results came the english index page wich is the main index page....
Can this have something to do that I dropped from position 1 to page 2 in .ie (only sometimes, looks there are 2 databases used)?

Why does I get the spainsh index page as my main homepage in english speaking countries?
I have the <html lang="en"> set on homepage.
Below my spanish homepage with more pages under came
tripadvisor with a review about my site, then my Twitter page and then came my english homepage wich is the one that should came on top instead of the spanish.
Any idea?

spreporter




msg:4597162
 11:02 am on Jul 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

Lost one middle level keyword from top 10 but gain another !super level! keyword....can't say I'm not satisfied.

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