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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

 

backdraft7




msg:4597531
 11:20 pm on Jul 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

- I never said they rank you higher either...all we are discussing is the weekend upset.

frankleeceo




msg:4597537
 11:33 pm on Jul 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

Can we reverse engineer the potential ranking signal that this update targetted?

Out of all my sites, only my major one was hit, the rest were left unscathed in the same vertical. It's an EMD informational site with really great repeat users and loyalty. (But then again it could still be because the end of summer is coming for me).

This algo update could be that...
1. They downplayed or reset the data on user metrics.
2. Downplayed EMD further for certain queries.
3. Reduced the link authority factor from UGC sources like forums?
4. Further penalized any site (or rather "removed boosts") with decent amount of UGC.

I read around the web to get some clues. It seems like both information and commerical site are hit across the board. But it appears that only small to mid businesses are hit. Would anyone else that got hit (or not got hit or even improved) share what is your site generally is about?

backdraft7




msg:4597546
 12:22 am on Jul 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

@frank - It would appear that each "update" resets a parameter that for reasons unknown restores itself within a day or two. Today was better, but still "twitchy". When you're been watching this stuff for as long as I, you can "feel" the changes as they roll through.

EditorialGuy




msg:4597547
 12:32 am on Jul 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Frankleeceo wrote:


Downplayed EMD further for certain queries.


And left EMD alone for other queries. (I just checked a couple of my bellwether keyphrases, and the EMD pages that have been at or near the top of the SERPs lately are untouched. One is off-topic, and the other is a thin page from a tiny personal site that clearly wouldn't rank at all without an exact-match domain.)

FWIW, our own site's overall traffic hasn't changed much over the last few days. Different sections or pages have had their minor ups and downs, but that isn't new.

(Our site is a long-established information site--all professionally-written and edited, no UGC. I don't think the forum rules will allow me to be any more specific than that.)

getcooking




msg:4597549
 12:44 am on Jul 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Would anyone else that got hit (or not got hit or even improved) share what is your site generally is about?


Non EMD information site (US), technically UGC but 80% of submitted material is rejected and goes through a major editing process prior to publication. User metrics have been improving over the past few months. Was hit with Panda 1.0 and every iteration after. Took another 7-12% drop (unsure where it's going to settle) with this latest change starting on 7/26. Minor relaxing of downgrade happening this afternoon but still down over previous weeks. Prior to Panda 1.0 in 2011 we were a big player (top 1000 websites according to comScore). At this point NONE of the panda improvements we've made have had any impact. Still waiting for the round of noindexing to be taken into account so I can't say whether they have or haven't worked. Also, the only penalty/whatever we've ever been hit with is Panda - nothing prior. Been online since August 1995.

Fingers crossed for the August update!

backdraft7




msg:4597578
 3:32 am on Jul 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

At this point NONE of the panda improvements we've made have had any impact.


From what I've found you can't improve rank simply by making changes, it's a whole different landscape out there, all based on money.

ColourOfSpring




msg:4597584
 6:57 am on Jul 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

technically UGC but 80% of submitted material is rejected and goes through a major editing process prior to publication.


On UGC, isn't there a danger that whoever posts the UGC will use your page as one of their "tiers" and then point a bunch of spammy links at that page on your site to bolster whatever link they have on that page? I realise many site owners here will be no-following links but a couple of dangers:-

1. There are a number of spammers out there that believe Google don't 100% discount no-follow
2. There are spammers out there that simply overlook the fact that a site no-follows all of its links

Martin Ice Web




msg:4597614
 8:47 am on Jul 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

@backdraft, +1, why else should googads show ads on top and inline with organic serps. Why are they using light yellow backcolor that you canīt reconize that this is an ad? If they would play a fair game, they would place ads only on right site or use a other background color.

I see that this last panda hit one of the popular price compare engines in germany. They gained traffic with every panda and now they got hit.

Serps look for us, but traffic is very low. All longtails are redirected to Amazon/ebay.


ecom, germany

EternalApprentice




msg:4597625
 9:32 am on Jul 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

I have results of this "dance" since it begun for me one week ago. That is: lost 45% traffic, 53% less in Adsense CTR, principal KW hitted 8-9 positions at least. In other words, less traffic with less quality. And a curious data: one minor KW has been pushed to the top in Netherland SERPs -Ironic mode on- sadly my KW and site language is spanish and not dutch -Ironic mode off-

I don't know WTH this guys did, but IMHO this SERP situation will not change in a next future 'cause it remains a whole week. Working on several measures to offset the impact, what else!

scottb




msg:4597649
 1:17 pm on Jul 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

I was lucky enough to have a few pages with absolutely no competition that ranked #1 in Google as a result.

They have been replaced by pages from major brands that aren't relevant to the keywords. Hard to figure.

backdraft7




msg:4597652
 1:30 pm on Jul 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

All longtails are redirected
...to ad network partners, simple as that.

Beside that, it also appears they are shifting referrals heavily now. Ours went from authoritative / topic related sites that we've been getting referrals from for years, to one page content farm aggregation articles (scraped) and their associated on page ads. Also seeing referrals from search.domain.com type sites. Targeting is much lower quality now.

We've listened to the claims for years, "user experience" is clearly NOT their goal. It's all about maximizing profits, so avoid the headaches, stop banging your heads against the wall trying to figure out their algo. Remember, they don't want you to know.

What we are witnessing is the slow death of the free market internet we used to know and love.

ColourOfSpring




msg:4597685
 3:10 pm on Jul 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

What we are witnessing is the slow death of the free market internet we used to know and love.


I think we all know this, but we don't want to believe it.

Martin Ice Web




msg:4597690
 3:30 pm on Jul 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

@scottb, welcome to the club. Do the brands have similar widgets/information or are they at all unrelated? If so that would cry for new brand domination in not competing areas.

@back, @cos, it is okay to make money with their machine, but the way they are doing it is not okay. They say donīt do this, donīt do that but they keep doing it.

The average user donīt see the shifts in serps as long amazon/ebay is first. But the avergae user donīt see that there is much more ads, either. They donīt know that they are clicking on ads, they donīt know that they been tracked by google. They donīt know that they obviously misleaded by search suggestion. As long the poeple donīt care, there will be no turn around.

ecom, germany

Wilburforce




msg:4597700
 4:14 pm on Jul 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

What we are witnessing is the slow death of the free market internet we used to know and love.


By rights it ought to be the Slow Death of Google, but so far it isn't even a flesh wound.

The current results are dire. In my sector (which is specialised) Amazon are now coming top for general product searches. It is almost like having Amazon at number 1 for Space Recovery Vehicles, but those - like everything else you can't usually buy in a shop, including Brain Surgeons - go to Wikipedia.

Basically (depending on whether Google thinks you want to buy one or find out about them), either Amazon or Wikipedia are in first place, followed by an almost random hotch-potch of sites with no backlinks, no SEO and no content (peppered generously with black-hatters and then lightly dusted with a few completely off-topic pages).

Genius.

EditorialGuy




msg:4597702
 4:18 pm on Jul 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

The average user donīt see the shifts in serps as long amazon/ebay is first. But the avergae user donīt see that there is much more ads, either. They donīt know that they are clicking on ads, they donīt know that they been tracked by google.


I think you meant to type "tricked," but in any case, there are two different issues here:

1) How ads are displayed on Google's SERPs.

2) The organic results.

If Google continues to add more ads at the top of the SERPs (or continues adding so much Universal Search clutter that the traditional "10 blue links" get pushed way below the fold), the effect of changes in the organic results--whether positive or negative--will be reduced.

In other words, changes in Google's UI could have as much impact as changes in the organic rankings (at least for publishers who tend to rank in the top 10).

MrWumpus




msg:4597729
 5:16 pm on Jul 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

On July 10th we dropped from 1 to 2 on our two biggest keywords for our site that had held #1 for 7+ years. Ouch.

My gut says this update elevated bigger brands (bigger companies). What is interesting is that the #1 holder is not a direct competitor, but does offer a smaller competing service using the same keywords. Think of Amazon having a "store" selling Widgets. So even though our site is only about Widgets, their "subsite" now outranks us.

kanetrain




msg:4597763
 6:57 pm on Jul 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Mr Wumpus -
We're seeing the same thing in our industry. Big sites (amazon, big box retailers) with niche areas outranking the niche pure-play sites.
This is not new with this update... a continuation of a trend over the last 7 months that has accelerated in the last 60 days.
We've seen even more of this over the last week or so.

EditorialGuy




msg:4597776
 7:25 pm on Jul 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

We're seeing the same thing in our industry. Big sites (amazon, big box retailers) with niche areas outranking the niche pure-play sites.


There's been a similar trend in information searches for a while, with megasites doing well for niche topics that they don't cover in much depth.

MrWumpus




msg:4597814
 9:01 pm on Jul 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

@kanetrain - Totally concur. On most of our sites the pain began in Jan/Feb 2013. These are very old sites that prior to this year were glued to #1 for their primary keywords for years. July's hit is the worst yet.

kanetrain




msg:4597858
 11:29 pm on Jul 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Also very old site. High authority. Thriving community. Lots of backlinks. Exact match domain.

We got his with the unholy trinity of updates lately...
UGC hit - since we have a community with forums and other resources.
Exact Match Domain hit - Exact as they come. Hit hard on some search terms.
Amazon and big box pushed to top of serps - Serp de Jour is big box with amazon being the major beneficiary.

Again, this has been ongoing for quite some time.

mike2010




msg:4597893
 2:01 am on Jul 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

u guys agree..that the biggest swings are happening mostly with PR0 and PR1's ?

spreporter




msg:4597920
 6:33 am on Jul 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

"We're seeing the same thing in our industry. Big sites (amazon, big box retailers) with niche areas outranking the niche pure-play sites

It depends what niche you're in to, I see the other way around in other niches (where pure-play sites outranking even wikipedia)

scottb




msg:4598012
 1:22 pm on Jul 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

Martin Ice Web, the comparison I would make is the difference between a generic page about cars versus a specific page about Honda Civic Sedans with the search keyword being honda civic sedans.

In addition, the content I offer changes daily. Some of the big brand pages that have moved up in rank are outdated (in one case June 10, 2010) while mine are updated daily. For this type of content, people are looking for the updates, so the dated pages are completely irrelevant.

But they are big brands.

bsand715




msg:4598016
 1:29 pm on Jul 31, 2013 (gmt 0)


What we are witnessing is the slow death of the free market internet we used to know and love.

I think we all know this, but we don't want to believe it.

Wow,strong statements.
This morning finds my once leading authoritative site main pages on the second page in my niche for first time ever (site is 13 years old) An interesting thing to me is a long forgotten page of that site that says very little and tells customers nothing came from nowhere to #3.

Martin Ice Web




msg:4598058
 3:04 pm on Jul 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

@scottb,

does the brandīs page link to a specific page? I see this kind of sites showing uo in serps. They have nearly no information but link to the informational page/site. Itīs like they turned around the link juice.

smithaa02




msg:4598117
 4:26 pm on Jul 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

One of our sites that was hit by Penguin is interestingly making a strong but slow recovery since the middle of July. But that was the "grey panda" update...which shouldn't affect Penguin?

Perhaps a Penguin tweak has been silently inserted along side the Panda update to prevent users from reverse engineering the results?

We definitely link built and were affected by the April 24th/May 26th dates when Penguin first came out. Did link scrub, but didn't see results from that.

Perhaps google has a engineered a delayed ascension algorithm for penalized sites that now are awarded a higher spot, but google wants to slow down your site getting to that rank to obscure its ranking formula?

vitorius




msg:4598163
 7:02 pm on Jul 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

I have 5 different websites and every one is in a different niche. For my 2 websites I created them last year before the summer, did some link building, mostly directories and I got for 2 of them in Google all countries even Uk, Poland, Germany and much more in top 10. After january and february those websites fell back to page 3 and 4 but still ranking good in Poland. My other websites, 1 is my own service blog where I provide different services for computing got for rank 4 on 1st page of Google to a second page. My Niche Directory got blasted away but before january it ruled the niche keywords I was competing for.

Conspiracy theory:
I get frequent calls from Google about going to their conferences but I didnt go to any one of them, in December I put on my page my successes about my top ranking sites and keywords they are on top pages. After that post, few days after all my websites I put on that page got blasted away from top 10. A month ago I got a call from them should they deactivate my Google Engange because Im not using it so I said ok, do that.

Another conspiracy theory:

There was a secret politician meeting (not secret anyomore as they publish who is attending and what hotel) together with some greatest big companies including Google director and Amazon directory and am not sure if the head of Ebay was there.
So my thinking of what you say about amazon and ebay dominating is all considered between those biggest companies some agreement. Go figure it out? Try harder

Wilburforce




msg:4598238
 10:16 pm on Jul 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

google wants to slow down your site getting to that rank to obscure its ranking formula


There is certainly a disconnect/time lag between Google spidering site changes and those changes taking effect, and with the "rolling Panda" and Penguin (in which remote changes may impact your site) it really is getting impossible to get a clear idea of what is going on.

From the current results I'm not at all sure the latest changes to the algorithm are even predictable to the people implementing those changes.

JesterMagic




msg:4598264
 12:02 am on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

The funny thing is that even quality content and backlinks is no guarantee of ranking half decent anymore with all of the negative SEO going on.

backdraft7




msg:4598280
 1:14 am on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

An interesting thing to me is a long forgotten page of that site that says very little and tells customers nothing came from nowhere to #3.


I have the same issue with one obscure page that seems to pull in more traffic than my best pages. Not sure if I should examine that page and duplicate the poor quality or just let it go as another anomaly.

System
redhat



msg:4598425
 1:44 am on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

The following 16 messages were cut out to new thread by engine. New thread at: google/4598423.htm [webmasterworld.com]
4:03 pm on Aug 1, 2013 (utc +1)

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