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This 265 message thread spans 9 pages: < < 265 ( 1 2 3 4 [5] 6 7 8 9 > >     
Google Updates and SERP Changes - August 2013
JS_Harris




msg:4598284
 1:44 am on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)


System: The following 16 messages were cut out of thread at: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4589243.htm [webmasterworld.com] by engine - 4:03 pm on Aug 1, 2013 (utc +1)


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.


The results are fluid but not as much as we would believe.

When updates are rolled out they change the value of pages/links. The change in values makes the current rollout instantly obsolete which will impact the next rollout, and the next. While the changes are current they impact page rank which sends ripples out that won't be accounted for until a future update.

The trick is to not add more flux to the ripples hitting your own site by making too many dramatic changes. Reduce spam pointing at your site, create great content and acquire solid backlinks where possible... but don't turn the puzzle upside down too often with dramatic changes or you keep starting over.

 

Jez123




msg:4601797
 9:55 am on Aug 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

I am seeing lots of jumping around in my SERPs. Yesterday, for a newish (2 month or so old) page I was seeing clicks from #3 for a 2 word phrase and today I am at the bottom of page 6 for the same term! All phrases for that page have dropped back also. Anyone seeing similar?

CaptainSalad2




msg:4602051
 7:27 am on Aug 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

Okay, seeing a huge update for the UK service sector this morning across almost everything I watch.

Looks like EMD have been devalued more, seeing a lot of sites with very vague references to the service in the target area dominating from no where (after brand directories and middle men trade sites who act as go between's of course).

Only EMDS holding steady are ones with a large amount of backlinks or on places.

All my sites follow these rules

1) All unique content,
2) W3C HTML/CSS compliant, hand coded, custom sites.. (not templates)
3) Page speed score of 98/100 (google insights)
4) Both mobile and desktop versions (responsive design)
5) Linked to corresponding facebook/twitter/google plus accounts pages
6) Authorship setup
7) Usability - check
8) Accessibility - Check
9) Canonical - Check
10) Social link plugins - check

Nothing else I can do onsite to improve quality.

Anyway these sites have been knocked back a little today, sites without backlinks that focus on onsite SEO pushed WAY back and replaced (in many cases) with programme generated, drag and drop DIY sites lightly targeting the service/area with a vague reference if that in 3/4 paragraphs of text. Failing on every point above I work into my sites.

Basically every on page quality signal you can think of looks like its being ignored for something?

Just glad im in the process of working my way out of the SEO/web design business because I cant support my very young family or make any sort of long or even medium term decisions based on the instability... and frankly random nature of the little organic traffic left on page one! Good luck to anyone who relies on this barbecue!

[edited by: CaptainSalad2 at 8:12 am (utc) on Aug 15, 2013]

Nichita




msg:4602054
 8:09 am on Aug 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

I've seen an overall increase of my website's traffic, from yesterday. The increase is about 30-35 percents. Informational .com domain.

ColourOfSpring




msg:4602059
 8:53 am on Aug 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

Anyway these sites have been knocked back a little today, sites without backlinks that focus on onsite SEO pushed WAY back and replaced (in many cases) with programme generated, drag and drop DIY sites lightly targeting the service/area with a vague reference if that in 3/4 paragraphs of text. Failing on every point above I work into my sites.

Basically every on page quality signal you can think of looks like its being ignored for something?

Just glad im in the process of working my way out of the SEO/web design business because I cant support my very young family or make any sort of long or even medium term decisions based on the instability... and frankly random nature of the little organic traffic left on page one! Good luck to anyone who relies on this barbecue!


When really obviously bad sites rank well, you do wonder. I've seen a lot of discussion on actually emulating such bad on-page SEO and content even (how ridiculous is that?). These kinds of results do lend themselves to conspiracy theories. Weak content is easier to identify than strong content, yet it ranks so well (this is particularly true for e-commerce keywords).

I share your sentiments on the overall viability / stability of working in the web design / SEO field (and I've been here for 16 years). I've managed to save up some money, and have property and ties in what some might describe as a "2nd world country" that would afford me a much lower cost of living. I nearly put a deposit down on a house in the UK - glad I didn't now. As you say, you just can't make longterm decisions. Perhaps we can all agree here about the lack of stability online. If a young person asked me if it was worth going into web design or anything related to it, I'd be polite (resist from laughing out loud) and simply tell them NO. This is an industry that's seen its better days. I'm afraid we'll be hailing corporate from here on out.

rhyd




msg:4602060
 8:54 am on Aug 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

The main keyword for one of my sites has gone from 1st to somewhere on 4th page over the last few months, and is still slowly dropping. Meanwhile, a fairly well known brand has risen from 7th to 3rd despite using hidden text for keyword stuffing for their page title and sub-categories (which I've reported twice recently and once a year or two ago). Despite this, overall organic traffic has increased, though Adwords drives double the traffic now.

I haven't noticed any deep crawl for over a month. UK, ecom.

CaptainSalad2




msg:4602077
 10:56 am on Aug 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hey COS,

I think we are both designers/developers who can probably tell at a glance if a site is quality or not. It truly makes me want to heave when properly crafted and published websites are beaten back by pure garbage, not “meh” sites, “pure garbage”! If it was a professional website above my sites I could be like, yea that’s a good site, I need to work harder, build better… But I can’t even do that…. 3 years of university studying on the importance of website accessibility/ usability, web standards, and 10 years of experience in the field (and I’m still learning daily) and it seems I can’t compete with drag and drop” wysiwyg html editors” in terms of quality in Googles eyes. Even now refusing the content of clients (because they write poorly) and paying a professional content writer isn’t enough lol

Had a client phone me yesterday to ask why his competitor’s site that he built himself (probably in 90’s Microsoft publisher) and fails every website test known to man continues to outrank his custom site carefully crafted in everyway possible.

I just keep it real with my clients and say “I just don’t know anymore”, the only thing the competitor site has is 209 backlinks from hundreds of pages on a spamy directory… So I tell him this is everything Google is against and it’s not something I would do, “so whys google not de ranking him higher”? I don’t know I tell him, there’s no quality signal of any kind going on there..

Everything on paper said to me that PANDA and Penguin should have helped real web designers/SEO concentrate on creating amazing websites with amazing content but it hasn’t happened.

>>>If a young person asked me if it was worth going into web design or anything related to it, I'd be polite (resist from laughing out loud) and simply tell them NO.<<<

You just can’t compete now with all the outsourcing and build websites for “free” with drag and drop, its hard to explain to someone who isn’t in the field the importance of quality and to the layman they think these free DIY/outsourced cheap and nasty sites look good, and right now google SERPS would agree with that!

I feel better for the rant, back to working on my own projects from here on, working for clients, SEO wise, looks to have a very short shelve life now IMO

These updates should be pushing people to push the web forward by building better/faster/responsive websites, its going backwards right now by rewarding crud.

[edited by: CaptainSalad2 at 11:20 am (utc) on Aug 15, 2013]

Martin Ice Web




msg:4602078
 11:03 am on Aug 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

@CS2, confirmed.

Big changes in german serps since yesterday evening beginning at 18 p.m. Many dump and spammy pages are on first page. Amazon took over the rest of page one, with more than one result, naturally. For sure our self written Content pages with lots of pictures took a hit again only to be replace by affiliate database driven manufacture description sites.

@CoS, it is stable regarding #1 Amazon, #2 ebay, #3 brands, #4 - spammy sites.
If I do a check what Google suggested after Panda to make a great site that users would link to than all the suggestions must be negotiated to match the current results.

ecom, germany




chalkywhite




msg:4602079
 11:11 am on Aug 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

Just a note bar the UK most of Europe have a public holiday today.

Martin Ice Web




msg:4602086
 11:39 am on Aug 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

@chalkywhite, but public holdays don´t serv the serps ;)It´s big g$$gle and they changed their super algo again, thats fact.

lee_sufc




msg:4602087
 11:48 am on Aug 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Captainsalad2 - couldn't agree with you more!

In my niche, the quality of companies and website design has gone downhill. SERPs don't make sense and our niche is getting a bad reputation since PANDA and Penguin because of poorly-run amateur sites that pretend to be something they're not, yet somehow outrank all the reputable companies...

After 12+ years I'm considering giving it all up. It's like Google now think they 'own' the Internet by telling people how they should design / manage their site - since when did we have to comply with Google? What about design for the end-user? What about Yahoo, Bing, etc? Rant over...

jamesMP




msg:4602088
 11:57 am on Aug 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google [are] now... telling people how they should design / manage their site


Worse than that, with auto-complete and "did you mean...", they're telling us how to search. I firmly believe that auto-complete makes suggestions based on CPC for that keyword/phrase rather than what's a relevant/popular search.

tabish




msg:4602091
 12:04 pm on Aug 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

After 12+ years I'm considering giving it all up


@lee_sufc i thought about it many times too.. but as soon as my sites starts getting traffic and i see dollars in my bank.. i change my plan :)

ColourOfSpring




msg:4602092
 12:05 pm on Aug 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

What gets me is that Google KNOW exactly how well my e-comm site does - because I use Google Ads and PLA (Product Listing Ads). Conversion rate is around 5-7% on any given day which I think is very good for a <my niche> site. Yes, I have Google conversion tracking and it reports in my Google Ads campaigns how I'm doing. So Google know I'm converting well (and I mean....who knows really the intentions of every visitor - competitors, tyre kickers etc) - I guess the sites above me (including the junk sites) must be converting even HIGHER? Wow, never realised how easy it was to sell <my niche products>! Before anyone asks, my conversion rates were similar when I exclusively had organic traffic from Google. I guess they got what they want - a regular selling advertiser because they know I'll plough my earnings back into more ads. That's why the rubbish is at the top of organics....they're not going to advertise anyway, and 18 months after Penguin 1.0 people have been sufficiently trained to click on the ads....

[edited by: aakk9999 at 4:16 pm (utc) on Aug 15, 2013]
[edit reason] ToS, removed niche specifics [/edit]

lee_sufc




msg:4602101
 12:29 pm on Aug 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

@tabish - that's usually what happens with me; however, my drops are usually a few months and improve after I work out what's wrong. However, for the past 12 months, things keep getting worse and worse - no matter what I try to improve things.

@jamesMP - that's a great point!

backdraft7




msg:4602108
 1:27 pm on Aug 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

When I wake up and see nothing but foreign traffic, I know it's gonna be another bad day. A nice three day run looks to be interrupted by either another algo update or a global network issue. Lots of bot attacks after 6pm yesterday, so we can't pin it all on Google.

Martin Ice Web




msg:4602109
 1:28 pm on Aug 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

@jamesMP,

yeah poeple learn not to search or think over their search. It´s like using a caculator all day Long in the end you aren´t able to calculate by yourself.
And Google auto-complete reduces the niche/Topic to 10 query-suggestions! The less suggestions the more they can target their ads.
And from my observations I think even if you don´t use the suggested queries they internally search with a suggested query that nearly matches the query.

@backdraft, confirmed. But i saw this 6pm CET!

Martin Ice Web




msg:4602128
 3:12 pm on Aug 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

I see now Play.google.com Android apps in serps! This whole Se is messed up and is a selfpromoting $-machine.

backdraft7




msg:4602154
 4:38 pm on Aug 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

@MIW - I see on Marketwatch that G is aiming for $1000 / share. Where do you think THAT money is going to come from?

Martin Ice Web




msg:4602350
 8:13 am on Aug 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

@bd7, i know, when Page became CEO he said his aim is 1000$ till 2018.
This whole zenario matches exact to this goal. But they did it very, very smart.
Everything that had been told what to do after penguin/panda was plain babble. Ist not about my site but i used to find good coding sites that are now burried deep in serps. Whenever ( and ist not often anymore ) I use Google to search i have the bad Feeling that i will miss something.

mamiakimo




msg:4602647
 1:43 am on Aug 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

i lost 20% from my visitors from 15 Aug in 2 different sites
is there google panda update in this day ?

bsterz




msg:4602653
 1:50 am on Aug 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Seeing some shifting in the serps starting yesterday.

Dunzbumz




msg:4602688
 5:10 am on Aug 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

We've been working fine since the end of 2011, we are running a service website with lots of good quality data. We actually do service for people, but don't charge -- all our monetization is from Adsense. No Google update has ever scratched us. We were always rising steady, little by little, with no off-site SEO, no linkbuilding, no article-marketing, etc. Not much on-site SEO also -- just good accessible info. We bet on content being the king and on good customer service.

On August 7th we noticed unhealthy dives, and yesterday (15th) / today (16th) we were cooked: traffic dropped by three times, revenue drop to half yesterday and to 20% today, compared with before August 7th. In fact, we just had the worst days since February 2012!

If Matt Cutts, or whichever Olympian, is checking for "Google traffic drop" and finds this thread -- we never had a complaint, we have on our website everything there is to know about our niche, including links to government websites, where appropriate, we try to be as useful as a website can, yet we got crippled.

Zivush




msg:4602705
 6:46 am on Aug 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

@ Martin Ice Web
Everything that had been told what to do after penguin/panda was plain babble

I agree.
Have you seen any SEO company that offer Panda/Penguin recovery and charges per successful outcomes? Never.
Such SEO will work for free and most likely close his business after a short time.
People are shooting in the dark instead of seeing the real/clear picture. Google shifted their strategy.
I am constantly checking the ranking of many sites from 3 niches (and other niches). I see that they are all correspond to the same traffic patterns.
More or less, when some go up others are taking the opposite direction. Like yo-yo, but the main observation is that most of them go downward since 2011 unless we are talking about big brands that gain the most traffic that small to medium sites lost.
Go figure.

reseller




msg:4602706
 7:05 am on Aug 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Dunzbumz

Welcome.

Btw.. do you have too many ads above the fold?

Dunzbumz




msg:4602708
 7:35 am on Aug 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

@reseller

Thanks, good to be here!

Most pages have two ads - one above the fold, one below - distributed within the content. The rest of the pages either have one or no ads.

All ads clearly stand out, so people know they click on ads. We designed the website so that people would open the page, do what they came to do, and after that, if they feel like it, click on ads. No trickery.

Robert Charlton




msg:4602710
 7:41 am on Aug 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Dunzbumz - Welcome to WebmasterWorld, and sorry to hear the news of your site....

we are running a service website with lots of good quality data. We actually do service for people, but don't charge -- all our monetization is from Adsense.

It's tough when this kind of site gets hit. What jumps out at me in the above characterization of your site is the phrase "lots of good quality data"... with the word "data" deserving particular emphasis.

Increasingly, since the MayDay update back in May 2010, Google has treated curated data as something that isn't unique. Directories and product sites that didn't create their own content have also gotten hit strongly, and you could only get so much mileage out of re-sorting data that was generally out there. And, over time, Google has been raising the bar as it sees it.

I don't know whether this describes your site to any degree. We can't get into specifics at all, nor much detail in this update thread, which is to compare notes... but I'm wondering, if this does describe your site, whether it might also describe others that were hit.

Dunzbumz




msg:4602720
 8:11 am on Aug 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks, Robert!

I'd say in our niche we have the most comprehensive data to the extend that we only have one real competitor, and they charge for access to their data. The data itself can not be obtained by scraping the web.

There are others, but their datasets are much-much smaller - mostly what they managed to scrape from our website before we blocked them. Some of them rank better than us, occasionally :-)

I doubt that our abrupt fall after almost two years of climbing up is the result of some long-term strategy by Google. Why propagate us at all, then? I'd expect slow degradation, if that was the case. GWT doesn't show any significant falls in query/position - some positions went up, some went down, all as usual.

Though GWT stats started lagging more now: until the 17th the latest stats were for the 11th, and now, kind of, caught up. I hoped to see manual actions or something, but no.

aakk9999




msg:4602766
 11:45 am on Aug 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Dunzbumz
Have you tried to do the analysis to find out where the drop occured? Is it across all keywords / pages or a particular set of keywords / pages ? (I presume you have already checked that the traffic you lost was Google traffic and not direct / referrals.)


For example, if you go to WMT and select the period from 7th August to 15th of August and compare this with the same length period just before that - do you see any significant change in impressions or CTR ? Also note that the default chart there is "web", you may also want to change it to "image", "mobile" etc and see if anything gives more clues.

Martin Ice Web




msg:4602783
 1:30 pm on Aug 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

@dunzbumz, what kind of sites replaced our site in serps? Is it brands or shallow blogs?
I saw this behavior with good coding sites, with many code examples, forum posts, explanations ... they have been replaced with shallow blog post, only scratching the topic ( in germany ). In 90% of times useless for the users.
I never could get any good reason why this sites tanked.( also they used adsense to make some money, what imo is more than OK ).

Dunzbumz




msg:4602816
 4:42 pm on Aug 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Seems like we lost a position or two here and there, with some going off charts, like to page four, and some into non-existence. Impressions lost 66% with less than half the clicks we got before. We don't have any image stuff, and mobile/web are the same for us. CTR doesn't show at all, but it never did, actually.

Where WMT still shows us as #1, in reality we slid lower. All sorts of sites went in - rows of whois-type sites, keyword stuffers, guest articles beating around the bush and without real insight, mini networks (you know, sites with links to a dozen "partners" on all profitable topics.) I don't see our small competitors anywhere, but the main one - the one that charges for the data - is doing better than us.

Lots of query changes: instead of "Did you mean ... ?" option Google shows straight up what it thinks was meant, changing the query. WTF? Am I a dyslexic 5-year-old and can't type what I mean? I think it's against Google's own conditions, if someone else does it in CSE.

Google feels like Bing. Or as if it's 2002, and you have to click through a few pages to find a good link. Maybe it's time to buy EMDs, links, $1 articles, scrape the web and do other bad things? We'll be looking into that the next few days, cause it's not some children's game that we can just pick our toys and go home - we have resources and time invested in it, so we'll have to make it work, somehow.

Martin Ice Web




msg:4602831
 5:49 pm on Aug 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google feels like Bing.


No, bing is much better now then g$$gle. It does not rewrite your query, it has all the old stuff that was in g$$gle before panda still on top.

It sounds like your niche suffers the same problem other niches do since long time now. G. "figured out" the main dominant/leading site in your niche. This one rules, all others suffer. This now could be after introducing categories for all niches. Maybe they added a lot more in this quality update.

Maby it is a glitch and your site returns in the next days. I cross my fingers for you.

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