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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.

 

JesterMagic




msg:4603540
 10:51 am on Aug 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

For those who have reported increases since penguin and panda (or not effected at all), how old are the sites? In my niche most of the older sites +4 years have pretty much disappeared (page 4 or beyond) from the serps. I am only talking about sites that are not major brands or news outlets.

Sand




msg:4603576
 2:26 pm on Aug 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

For those who have reported increases since penguin and panda (or not effected at all), how old are the sites? In my niche most of the older sites +4 years have pretty much disappeared (page 4 or beyond) from the serps. I am only talking about sites that are not major brands or news outlets.


Some of mine are 10+ years and some are 2+ years.

Question:

Were the older sites you've seen disappear still updated regularly? I ask because I have a couple hobby sites that I no longer work on. They're still out there and they're still as relevant as they always were, but they haven't been updated in 2+ years.

They used to get a combined 10k+ visits a day, but traffic has gradually slowed to a trickle (about 500 a day now). I haven't tried to 'fix' the sites, because I don't make any money on them and they were just for fun in the first place.

My best guess is that this is happened because (in Google's eyes) I basically abandoned the sites. But again, I haven't spent much time looking into it.

Wilburforce




msg:4603606
 4:37 pm on Aug 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

My best guess is that this is happened because (in Google's eyes) I basically abandoned the sites.


Earlier in the year the site of a business in my niche that ceased trading in 2009 floated up to page 2, remained thereabouts for several weeks, then slowly sank again (although it is still head of my own site for a couple of terms). I'm not clear about why the website is still live, but it hadn't been changed at all since the business failed.

Clearly abandoning a site doesn't always mean it is lost forever to Google.

Simsi




msg:4603624
 7:36 pm on Aug 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

In my niche most of the older sites +4 years have pretty much disappeared...


That might be because those sites were built and ranked using seo techniques like inbound links and on-page optimisation. While those still have some relevance, their impact is getting less and less important so it seems natural to me that the site's life-support system would weaken.

JesterMagic




msg:4603659
 9:15 pm on Aug 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

Most of my old competition (of good quality and at least 6+ years old) are updated regularly but like mine their traffic is slowly fading away. Our rankings are either replaced with low quality blog content (that usually hasn't been updated in 2 years) or by big brand magazine type sites that just do a fluff piece on the topic, very bare bones content.

Martin Ice Web




msg:4603789
 9:35 am on Aug 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

@JM, i see this too.
One or two very good are still on page 1/2 but only deep down under the fold.
My complete niche has been replace with Forum/blog by this last update.
But g payed Shopping ads are on the point, i see this trend moving into more and more niches. While other big german Price compare site are also suffering and have been moved to page 2.

I was wondering about a seach string that we gained again and we was selling a lot of this widgets before Panda. Now we are back at #2 but there is nearly no traffic with this keyword. Sniffing around to get an explanation i called my seller and he told me that this widget is sold through Amazon a lot. This shows me that poeple donīt search g* for generic widgets anymore and go direct to amazon, even if the widget is much more expansive then by "free" shopping sites.


ecom,germany

Dymero




msg:4603859
 4:06 pm on Aug 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

Anecdotal, of course, but if I need something quickly, I will use Amazon, because I know they'll get my purchase to me on time. If I have time, though, I will look around. However, I usually don't use Google unless it's something I can't find anywhere else. I'll go straight to retailers I know will have the item.

EditorialGuy




msg:4603865
 4:24 pm on Aug 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

While other big german Price compare site are also suffering and have been moved to page 2.


As a user, I'd like to see price-comparison pages disappear completely from Google's organic search results. They're just clutter, like the thin-affiliate datafeed pages that clogged Google's SERPs a decade ago.

Ditto for stub pages at megasites like CNet that purport to be "reviews" but contain nothing but a handful of price-comparison links.

backdraft7




msg:4603955
 9:44 pm on Aug 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

Jester, my site is 13 years old...still ranks #1, but man, the visitor profile and referrals change so drastically from day to day - it can appear to have disappeared one minute, then goes crazy the next. It's the new Google Carousel...kind of like layered roulette wheels - line up all red or black and you win in the serps, otherwise you lose. It appears to cycle hourly. Not like the good old days of generally static results.

Martin Ice Web




msg:4604044
 8:01 am on Aug 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

@EditorialGuy,

I donīt like them either. But in in regard of distortion of competition i see this behaviour with a very bad feeling.
google places its payed shopping ads very prominent at the top of the serps all other site are burried on page #2.
I see this in cases like cars, hotels, widgets, weather, flights...
even if g* compare engines has not the ability to reach the quality and UE by more than 10% of the non google engines. In pandaīs eyes the should be panalized because of bad UE...

I know that google has to fight a game against mobile apps and social media like facebook. But it is so obvious that they want to drag the poeple into their services and this by telling the poeple to improve the serps.
If u run a plattform for sellers and then u become a seller to0 than you are a competitor. Its natural that you now psuh your on selling service to the top of your plattform.
g* has to be aware that many small business do many social commitment that suffer too. I doubt that the multi million $ brands will catch that up. In most cases they got this big because they do nothing in this direction the only thing that counts is $.
panda is a lost of social competence for google.






Wilburforce




msg:4604051
 8:16 am on Aug 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

I have seen a spike (approximate doubling) of Google referrals in the last 48 hours. This shows as a sudden large rise in both Impressions and Clicks in WMT, and is confirmed in my server logs.

Coupled with other sources this shows as a more modest (20%) increase in overall traffic, but it is the first increase of its kind in a couple of years: obviously there has been variation from day-to-day, week-to-week, etc, but the overall trend has been gradual decline with intermittent larger drops.

I'm not sure what to make of it. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are not days when I usually expect to see higher levels of consumer traffic, so on the face of it something might have happened to Google results in the last couple of days. Has anyone else noticed anything?

Martin Ice Web




msg:4604052
 8:23 am on Aug 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Wilburforce, yes we saw a drop of 90% on one site the other site has a lot of foreign traffic and a 99% ! lost of conversions.

ecom, germany

snickles121




msg:4604085
 10:54 am on Aug 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

I just wanted to report that I have gained traffic at a good percentage rate from every Google update since May. I wanted to report this because I kept complaining about Panda and thought it was all a big scam but now every Panda update is bringing me more traffic. I guess all the hard work does pay off but it took since November of last year to the end of May to see any real improvement. Its seems every week now I get more and more traffic even without any reported updates from Google. I must be on their good side right now.

It does take time but it can happen and the most important thing I did was to change the tide was to engage with viewers on what they wanted most and creating topics in my area of my niche that no one else covered yet. One thing you have to look for is that, and even though you might think its not there, they are if you dig enough.

Bottom line and my mistake was covering topics that were already flooded on the internet. Find what is not covered and you'll see what I see.

Best to all....

Dantes




msg:4604102
 11:46 am on Aug 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

Something definitely happened last Sunday (18th), we took a heavy 25% hit on a partially Panda recovered site (recovery this January after major re-design).

I looks like a Panda hit, but no official statement yet.

Jez123




msg:4604109
 12:43 pm on Aug 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

My SERPS's are like a leaf blowing in the wind at the moment. My site is Penguin affected and a KW that was looking close to getting onto page 1 then went to page 9 for 2 weeks and now is on page 3. A SERP that I was #1 yesterday is now #6. A real churn for that site. 2 other sites of mine are stable by comparison.

UK Ecom

BillyS




msg:4604118
 1:02 pm on Aug 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

Looks like something's brewing right now... We're seing a very large increase in traffic to a site that's been beaten down by Panda. Mozcast off the charts again on August 20th, looks like a Panda roll out.

Information site... US

Sand




msg:4604120
 1:49 pm on Aug 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

I've also seen gains of about 15% this week, as compared to the week before. It looks like things started to shift on Saturday.

Normally, my site peaks in traffic on Monday and then gets lighter each day as the week goes on. However, this week, search referrals have continued to increase each day. Looking at Analytics, I'd have to go back more than a year to see a Wednesday that was this much stronger than a Monday in the same week (excluding holidays). Something's brewing.

US informational site.

petehall




msg:4604125
 2:18 pm on Aug 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

BillyS, I see what looks like Panda related activity here in the UK today.

dethfire




msg:4604147
 3:13 pm on Aug 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

Last two days I was up 15%. Could just be kids returning to school though.

Wilburforce




msg:4604159
 4:16 pm on Aug 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

Could just be kids returning to school though.


Not here (UK: they don't return until 2 September). However, my server stats show a 50% increase on the same period last week in referrals from google.com against a 36% increase from google.co.uk, so that could have a partial bearing on it (but couldn't wholly account for it).

Also the increase in my overall trafic is wholly down to Google. If it was kids returning to school I would expect to see other non-UK traffic sources showing a similar trend.

So far it has only been a couple of days, so it could just be a short-term spike, but I live in hope!

EditorialGuy




msg:4604170
 4:53 pm on Aug 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

No change in Google referrals or Googlebot visits for our information site. From our point of view, Google seems to be cruising on autopilot.

Sand




msg:4604172
 5:03 pm on Aug 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

Last two days I was up 15%. Could just be kids returning to school though.


I also thought it could be seasonal at first, but I haven't seen a corresponding lift in direct traffic or brand searches.

rish3




msg:4604196
 6:49 pm on Aug 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

As a user, I'd like to see price-comparison pages disappear completely from Google's organic search results. They're just clutter, like the thin-affiliate datafeed pages that clogged Google's SERPs a decade ago.


I'm not a big fan of these either, but there's a large number of people that seek out these sites, even searching by their brand name, in volume. Unless google plans on similarly dropping their own price comparison sites out of the index, it would seem unfair to push the competition out based solely on the business model.

EditorialGuy




msg:4604203
 7:33 pm on Aug 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

Unless google plans on similarly dropping their own price comparison sites out of the index, it would seem unfair to push the competition out based solely on the business model.


In the past, Google has pointed out (rightly) that sending searchers from a search-results page to another search-results page isn't a good user experience.

Also, Google's price comparisons have been ads (not organic search results) for a while now.

besnette




msg:4604210
 8:13 pm on Aug 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

I would imagine for a lot of niches, this few weeks of back to school for the kids may result in less traffic and conversions. I know as a parent I have had a hard time getting much time on the computer this week.

In my area, I have seen less space devoted to google local results, which I think has helped a little...more organic stuff above the fold. I am encouraged by this.

Wilburforce




msg:4604325
 7:46 am on Aug 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

From my stats today the increase over the last couple of days looks more like a temporary spike (although referrals haven't yet fallen all the way back to last week's levels).

jamesMP




msg:4604326
 7:55 am on Aug 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

Some odd results and shake-ups this morning for our main keyword which have been pretty stable for the last few months.

The top 10 come from just 5 domains, with results #1, #3 and #10 from the same domain.

Rank #2 and #5 come from (slightly) different urls on the same domain with identical content.

Our home page has always ranked ~#4 for this keyword, but has now been replaced in this position by our keyword-specific landing page and the home page has dropped to #7.

There's only a handful of companies (well, 10 or so) in our niche and they were previously ranked in pretty much size order.

(UK-based widget hire and ecom site)

[edited by: jamesMP at 8:04 am (utc) on Aug 23, 2013]

Martin Ice Web




msg:4604327
 8:02 am on Aug 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

Could it be a roll back to pre "3 weeks multiple rollout"?
I get refs from linked sites i didnīt see for a Long time now.


ecom, germany

[edited by: Martin_Ice_Web at 8:05 am (utc) on Aug 23, 2013]

Wilburforce




msg:4604328
 8:04 am on Aug 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

Our home page has always ranked ~#4 for this keyword, but has now been replaced in this position by our keyword-specific landing page and the home page has dropped to #7.


Might that be a hierarchy (i.e. menu/link structure) issue?

jamesMP




msg:4604329
 8:10 am on Aug 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

Might that be a hierarchy (i.e. menu/link structure) issue?


Wouldn't have thought so - the "landing" page is linked via a big call-to-action button on the homepage, is a top-level link in our main navigation and appears throughout the site (but not site-wide) as part of the breadcrumbs.

Besides, I'd rather have the landing page rank as its cleaner and more focused, whereas the home page details our full range of activities.

Awarn




msg:4604500
 8:38 pm on Aug 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

I am seeing strange things. I had been recovering slowly. I deal in a market where we sell ecomm (main part of the business) but we also at times buy the same type items that are older. Sales are okay but not back to normal but the people inquiring to sell to us is through the roof. It is several per hour which is much higher than normal.

The other strange thing is we have structured language. There are about 9K pages I would guess. I had about 2K being picked up then WMT dropped and said there was none. I didn't change a thing, then a few weeks later we had 3.5K picked up. Now I am back to zero. Like a yo-yo.

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