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Google Updates and SERP Changes - August 2013

 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.



 1:58 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.

I doubt if it's "negative SEO." It's probably just little changes that, in combination, can have a significant effect.

For example, I know a number of information-site publishers in my sector whose sites date back 10 or 15 years. Most of us have been hit by Panda, and in some cases (such as my own) modest drops in rankings have had a substantial overall effect on traffic.

What changed? Maybe domain age has become less important than it was in the pre-Panda era, and those of us who used to benefit from having long-established sites have lost that extra bit of authority. Or maybe Google has been feeling friendlier toward exact-match domains (I've seen a lot of that in my sector recently), or maybe anchor text in internal links--or internal linking in general--has lost influence on the algorithm. Toss a few of those changes into an update, and the impact could be considerable.

Martin Ice Web

 9:17 am on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

Big shake up in our niche again. This now hit even big brands and amazon. Many new sites that i have never seen before and it was propably very good not to see them, are now on page 1. UE, make good websites with good content does not count anymore.

ecom, germany


 9:29 am on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

Across the board in all local service sectors I watch...(Excluding the various directories that dominate) im seeing sites that have never been on page one before suddenly appear in the odd slot that a directory doesn't hold.

These sites are Very cheap self-made sites that look like they were built with publisher or free start up server generated software that can create sites in minutes. Very badly coded, very slow download speeds, no usability and really do look like they could have been built by semi stoned teenager or his fairly competent pet goat.

The sites all shabby design,misaligned text, distorted photos because the ďbuilderĒ couldnít even scale or clip a photo properly... the sites ALL have this in common as well as poor title tags where the keyword is repeated at least twice (spammy looking as if google was a hard of hearing pensioner who you need to REPEAT yourself to in order to be heard).

The sites also all have no or almost no backlinks at all? This is true of exactly 42 sites I have investigated now, all sites that have not been on page one before 1-2 months back...

The above statement isnít biased, I know coding standards and code everything by hand (W3C HTML & CSS over 10 years now) and optimise every scripts/image to the finite detail for fast/lean applications.

The sites that ***used*** to share page one, "competitors" were for the most part (7/10) also WELL CODED, beautiful (some of them were very very nice, I mean really they were awesome by any standard) sites that would have cost around 1k-2k easily if not much more, these have all been knocked back by these substandard shabby free attempts. Why?

Iím not angry or bitter because all my clients are holding roughly steady on page one but I wanted to share my observations, there is no rhyme of reason for the quality of the sites being served up currently in terms of any type of quality signal google could be going on, the only logical explanation I can see is less is more?

The less you try the better?

[edited by: CaptainSalad2 at 10:23 am (utc) on Aug 1, 2013]


 9:42 am on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hmm, just had a thought, I wonder if all the professionally designed websites have been knocked back because the web designers always attach a link to their company in the footer (**site wide***)?

This is something I don't really do myself (sometimes) and could be why my clients aren't hit?

If this is the case I suppose itís seen as the web designers spamming the system? Web designers are no longer allowed to advertise in this way unless they no follow? Alost of web designers are just that and don't do SEO so how would they even know?

Itís the only explanation of why I see very professional websites losing to terrible free or do it yourself sites?


 12:33 pm on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

was just checking on site links for one of our sites, searched for example.com, google was displaying 10 sitelinks and the clickable title was huge font size. There was also a 1pt border around the entire listing.


 12:36 pm on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

Many new sites that i have never seen before and it was probably very good not to see them, are now on page 1. good websites with good content does not count anymore.

In my niche I agree with MIW and CS2 totally.
Analyzing sites outranking me, in all SEO tools in my stash and the ones provided by Jim (thank you), they should not be ranked where they are.

I thought I was on to a common theme of exact match Title Until I ran into the One that had "Home" in title.

I have never felt so lost as I do now.

It seems Google went upside down.



 12:44 pm on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hmm, just had a thought, I wonder if all the professionally designed websites have been knocked back because the web designers always attach a link to their company in the footer (**site wide***)?

Don't thing so A new site that appeared from the depths to top 3 has one external link, that of the web designer.


 12:54 pm on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

bsand715 can you check if its site wide or has "rel=nofollow" m8? Itís the only thing I can think of... I mean for god sake one of these sites at number ONE/page one hasnt even spelt the area they are targeting correctly in the "description" tag that displays in the SERPS! Quality what?

I wish I could post examples of sites because no one could disagree that these sites should even be listed. I don't think just SEO is under attack at this point, good web design, coding standards and the ability to spell seems to be bad right now lol


 1:07 pm on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

In some response from above post.

Keywords are words and sometimes sentences, what Google does to a word or sentence is that even if it is spelt different it adds the real word. Lets say a correction word. So if you lets say have keywords "best in home" than even keywords "best home" "home best" will count in. It is on my websites like that and I rank on most search engines from one term spread into different keywords so even it is one page title there are different variations that Google and others use.

Have fun

[edited by: aakk9999 at 10:42 pm (utc) on Aug 15, 2013]


 1:19 pm on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

@vitorius I get that when it comes to variations and spelling of keywords but not an city/town, a town or city, "London" as example spelt wrong, without the o is not a variation, its a signal the person who built the site doesn't care enough.

Unless youíre starting up a support group for dyslexia in said area then it might make sense to throw in a couple of spelling mistakes :)

I dont think your not talking about spelling single word towns/citys wrong though so I get your point

[edited by: CaptainSalad2 at 1:32 pm (utc) on Aug 1, 2013]


 1:31 pm on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

Is the US on holiday? normally booming now..zip, nothing...


 1:41 pm on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

I dont care enough still rank on most engines, didnt update my blog for more than half of year and still am on top of yahoo, bing sometimes, yandex etc because of variations on certain sentences. Am not high on Google anymore but will be again.

Supercomputing does just that, doesnt metter if London is spelt wrong, it still makes sence, you recognized it says London so did a search engine.
You will be surprised how many indicators there are, they say about 200,but there are thousands. I sometimes even think that even what people think of your website is included in the Google. But that what I am, a hyper paranoid with some sort of pronoia and that is why I can rank any site high.

[edited by: aakk9999 at 11:42 pm (utc) on Aug 15, 2013]


 2:31 pm on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing ginormous ten link mega sitelinks on pretty much every domain name I type into the Google search box in Chrome. Including my own properties, which may be brands of a sort, but not big ones. Google sure turned that signal up, and even on my 24" monitor it takes up half the page.

I see the ten links in FF, but they don't have all the white space or the borders like they do in Chrome.

If I take off the .com portion, I get the same thing only with six sitelinks.

I've tried this with 15 domains (mine and my clients) so far, only one didn't come up that way (a site that was hacked a couple months ago and recently relaunched).

Since a lot of people actually do type full domains into the search box, I like this development. Hope it sticks around.


 2:40 pm on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing it in IE, they've pulled back the font size on the title since this morning, it was huge showing on average only about 4 words of the title it was so big.

It's interesting to see which sites of ours it is and is not showing up for, should be telling a tale I just don't know how to read it yet...


 2:53 pm on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

My traffic is not good at all this morning. Not good at all.


 3:03 pm on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

System: The following message was spliced on to this thread from: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4598426.htm [webmasterworld.com] by engine - 4:05 pm on Aug 1, 2013 (utc +1)

System: The following message was cut out of thread at: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4589243.htm [webmasterworld.com] by engine - 4:04 pm on Aug 1, 2013 (utc +1)

@Sand, same its like a roll back to the may 9 update


 3:07 pm on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

Up until 9:00 AM EST, search referrals looked pretty normal. Since then, I'm down about 35%. I know it's only been a couple hours and things could change, but I don't like it.


 3:13 pm on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

Almost identical to you on two sites ive stats for. As I mentioned is like the US did not wake on my stats


 3:19 pm on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

Finally seeing some seasonal upswing and improvements after deploying a newly revised "responsive" blog area. July ended with just under 4,000 search keyphrases reported by AWSTATs, still down from my high of 20K a few years back.


 3:43 pm on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

Almost identical to you on two sites ive stats for. As I mentioned is like the US did not wake on my stats

Same here. I can't find any real ranking drops in Google. I wonder if it's weather-related? Most of the country is having cooler than usual temperatures, and it looks like most of the east coast is having pretty dreary weather today.

I'm obviously shooting in the dark here.


 3:46 pm on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

Testing...testing... is this thing on? Another big traffic drop that looks like it started right around midnight. We did lose a number of keyword positions too otherwise I would assume the stopped traffic was related to something else.


Also, and I don't know if this is just coincidence or not, I've been trying to get about 80K pages noindexed. I have them in a sitemap in WMT to speed up the process since they are unlinked on my site (and so I can monitor progress). Up until yesterday the number of indexed pages was slowly but steadily dropping at a rate of about 1-2K per day. Yesterday the number of indexed pages fluctuated all day by several hundred (up and down) and ultimately only ended up dropping about 200 pages instead of the usual 1-2K. I've been watching these numbers for 2 months now and have never seen them increase, only decrease. (and no, I didn't change anything on my site that could have confused google in any way). It kinda made me wonder if there was some odd rollback or mixup between datacenters that would cause that fluctuation.


 3:50 pm on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)


There is some pretty big Analytics lag going on. My 9:00 and 10:00 hours keep rising, even though it's nearly noon. My real time stats still do look a bit low, but things are likely not as bad as they appear to be.


 4:02 pm on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

@ sand, you are right a refresh of GA shows the last 2 hours have returned. Fingers crossed. thanks.


 4:07 pm on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing a possible rollback. I had tens of thousands of pages drop out with noindex tags and for the past week they were gone, but now they appear back in the index


 4:12 pm on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

@dethfire - that seems to match what I was seeing in GWT yesterday/today.


 6:09 pm on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

Seriously, I am getting tired of even caring about google anymore. I have specific pages, detailing specific things - ex How To Guides. You search for How To Clean Widget and sites come up that happen to say clean someplace in the body, but have nothing to do with cleaning the widget. However I have a post detailing specifically how to clean this widget, with the required special cleaning solution, that sits on page 10.

Every site (yes i checked) up to mine has stock photos, and generic content. I have real pictures taken by me, and a video showing how its done, and I dont rank. How in the F*** is that giving users the best results? Thats giving uses generic useless results.


 6:16 pm on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

Analytics seem really weird right now. The numbers under "Audience/Demographics/Location," for example, seem to be from a different set of data than the numbers under "Audience/Overview."


 12:19 am on Aug 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

Nigerian and Indian bloggers who have copied content rule my niche today. They've been moving up slowly. Many of them are really complex copiers. They no longer use scrapers. Instead they copy bits from similar articles and mash it together. They then use a thesaurus to replace many of the words with similar words. The rest is broken English.

This must make it seem super unique to Google, who has crowned them all as #1 in anything I search in my niche.


 12:35 am on Aug 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

@SirTox that is wild. Google is in a real battle. Unfortunately we are collateral.

This 265 message thread spans 9 pages: 265 ( [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 > >
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