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Google Updates and SERP Changes - September 2013
diberry




msg:4606585
 2:34 pm on Sep 1, 2013 (gmt 0)


System: The following 5 messages were cut out of thread at: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4598423.htm [webmasterworld.com] by robert_charlton - 1:07 pm on Sep 2, 2013 (PST -8)


I've had two interesting situations lately which are very similar.

(1) One of my pages was #1 for "short widget phrase". Two weeks ago Google replaced me with a Wikihow page which actually took what I did and went a little further, as good competitors should. Last week, that page got an inbound from a hugely popular website (sent me quite a few thousand visitors), with the anchor text "here", as in "find it here". My position did not improve.

(2) Another page on another domain has been ranking well for "short phrase" and "less short phrase". These are competitive phrases. My page had fought its way up to #2 for both, which was exciting. Then it fell back to 5 and 10, and then lower. Then a popular Pinterest user pinned it late last night using "less short phrase" and it's bounced back a few positions already this morning. It's in flux, but it's averaging to 4 and 9 right now.

I'm starting to doubt there's *anything* to the algo but "count the links, check the anchor text." Google goes on and on about various signals, but when you get right down to it, actual ranking changes consistently happen ONLY in response to the addition or loss of links with the anchor text of your keyphrase. All else is a smokescreen, LOL.

 

EditorialGuy




msg:4613627
 5:13 pm on Sep 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

I think search is going to splinter into multiple ways of finding stuff on the net.


Search never was the only way to find stuff on the net. Remember forums? Ever seen a site like TripAdvisor? Or, for that matter, Webmaster World? Or Amazon.com, which has been the go-to site for book searches since 1995?

I know my nieces no longer look for images in Google they go to pinterest.


I wonder how much revenue Google loses because of that? Probably not enough each year to keep your nieces in braces.

We're getting waaaaaay off topic here, so I'll justify my post by commenting on "Google Updates and SERP Changes - September 2013":

Since about mid-August, I've seen a moderate but significant uptick in our site's average Google rankings as reported in Webmaster Tools. (It's nice to see far more green upward-pointing arrows than red downward-pointing arrows after a long period of slow decline.) The reasons? Beats me. I've been making changes, but then again, so has Google.

Mentat




msg:4613638
 7:12 pm on Sep 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

I think that you guys are delusional...

Google is now a synonym to the verb "to search"!
It's NATURAL for the new generation!

A lot of people do not visit the site directly, they use google and only but the site name!

For us (webmasters), we feel the changes, but for your visitors, the changes are not present at all! They do not care! They want good results.

Bing?
Bing what? Bing is 15 years behind Google.

I really tried to use it, but I got so angry with the ancient results style, that I could not resist using it more than one day!

BING is dumb! It brings me 2% of traffic...

Another MS failure.

viral




msg:4613648
 9:46 pm on Sep 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

I wonder how much revenue Google loses because of that? Probably not enough each year to keep your nieces in braces.


Editorialguy : probably not a lot. They have tried ads i image search before and then they take it away. The problem has always been how they present the images. Pinterest presents them nicely and the girls spend hours and hours scrolling through them. They completely forget what theyw ere doing. I have seen this a lot of times.

While Pinterest is not monetizing this at the moment, I bet when they come to monetizing it they will do well.

But yeah you are right we are off topic

One of a clients sites is showing an uptick in webmaster tools queries but is actually getting less referrals from Google showing in the logs. However this clients webmastertools account is screwy. It tells him he is ranking for a keyword he hasn't been close to ranking in 9 months.

hasek747




msg:4613689
 2:36 am on Sep 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

You ask your large network of carefully cultivated friends and friends of friends (because as a Millennial you'll have this, knowing how important "who you know" is in life) if any of them know how to go about becoming a doctor. Some respond that their uncles are doctors and here is Uncle's email. Then you go to people who actually know and ask them.

Meanwhile, do that search on Google and you get ehow, howstuffworks, and a CNN article on some doctor who made a $1m mistake. Honestly, this is what's driving ME to throw up my hands on search and I'm the same generation as Larry and Sergey.


While this does make sense at first glance, I think it sounds very far-fetched. This assumes:

1. That the friends know someone who knows a ton about what you are looking for (while it is possible in the case of the doctor example, there are probably hundreds of millions of scenarios where this is highly unlikely).

2. That the friends will be willing to provide you with an e-mail/cotact to the person who knows that info.

3. That the person would be willing to spend his time for no apparent reason to diligently educate a stranger.

4. That everyone will patiently wait for a few hours or days before they receive a reply from said expert, without going to the search engines to find some info this very moment.

It just doesn't sound natural to me at all, and doesn't make any sense. I know many people who are as you refer to them "Millenials" (inclding my younger sister and her friends) and in fact they are more savvy at using search engines than most 25+ year old people that I know.

Wilburforce




msg:4613725
 8:24 am on Sep 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

We are getting sidetracked by the question of how people find things out. I am of an age where my original skillset (which involved knowing how to use a library and a microfiche) is no longer used by anyone anywhere, but interrogating the massive database that is the internet will be with us for a lot longer yet, and isn't going to be superseded by asking my uncle (who is in a retirement home and needs help with what day of the week it is).

What I am trying to work out is why my high-quality content (which has unsolicited backlinks from universities and highly-regarded professional bodies) isn't being returned by Google for anyone using a relevant query.

Has anyone noticed any improvement (either in their own site's performance or in SERPS quality) since Hummingbird was announced? To me - however radical they say it is - it looks like another small step in the wrong direction.

I am about two thirds of the way through a thorough examination of my own backlinks (which is a considerable task for a twelve-year-old site that has spent over half of its life at the top of page 1 for hundreds of queries).

My overriding impression is that there isn't anything that should invoke a penalty, BUT I have a large number of unsolicited (and relevant) links from a wide range of forums. Looking at them, I can see that I could quite easily have joined most of the forums and posted the links myself. How could an algorithm know it wasn't me? Do I need to disavow every bona fide link (they are useless anyway for SEO, as most of them have no clout at all)?

Has anyone else got a similar profile, and is now suffering a similar fate?

JesterMagic




msg:4613745
 10:44 am on Sep 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Wilburforce - Your site has similar stats as mine (age, location in serps, backlinks are more from blogs and news sources). I am still slowly bleeding traffic but in the past month I have notice that a number of keywords that had gone beyond page 3 (that use to be on page 1) are back sitting at the bottom of page 2. The serps also seem slightly better to me in my niche, low quality is still there but not as much before.

Of course in terms of traffic the bottom of page 2 doesn't help much and I have started to loose my long tail traffic.

viral




msg:4613749
 11:09 am on Sep 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Wilburforce have you got a date when you first noticed a big hit to your traffic/rankings?

Are you sure it is a penguin/backlink problem?

I have 2 clients with really old sites like yours and they started to take some big hits. In the end we discovered that not much was wrong with the backlink profile and most of the traffic came back with freshness being added to the content.

Not saying you have the same problem. I just can't imagine old sites with very mature backlink profiles would need to worry too much about penguin.

Wilburforce




msg:4613776
 1:15 pm on Sep 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

@viral

My site took its first real hit with Penguin 1, but the effect was initially patchy and narrowly term-specific.

Since then there has been a continued loss of position across all pages and terms, some of it gradual but with a few noticeable downward lurches (a drop in February this year, which was probably Panda), followed by a massive drop in May with Penguin 2, so I am pretty sure that Penguin is the main culprit, but I have no idea of how the two interact.

Coupled with this, there has been a substantial increase in domains linking to my site since February. Nearly all of the increase is from (mostly duplicate content) directories, but none of these are site- or sector-specific, and Google should be able to see these for what they are, unless some Penguin factor flags up new rubbish links on a per-site basis.

New content has had no positive effect.

Yes, I think it likely to be a Penguin/backlink problem.

hasek747




msg:4613787
 2:26 pm on Sep 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Wilburforce

You are right, sorry for the off-topic.

Personally I've noticed a 20%-30% increase in Google traffic across all my sites (I am not an SEO consultant, I just build my own websites) over the last few days. Info/affiliate sites.

EditorialGuy




msg:4613791
 2:59 pm on Sep 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Has anyone noticed any improvement (either in their own site's performance or in SERPS quality) since Hummingbird was announced?


Yes. Not dramatic, but fairly obvious (as I indicated a few posts back).

I am about two thirds of the way through a thorough examination of my own backlinks (which is a considerable task for a twelve-year-old site that has spent over half of its life at the top of page 1 for hundreds of queries).


You could be talking about my site. (Same age, same profile, same loss of Google love, although it still ranks on page 1--just not as high as it did--for large numbers of queries.)

My overriding impression is that there isn't anything that should invoke a penalty, BUT I have a large number of unsolicited (and relevant) links from a wide range of forums. Looking at them, I can see that I could quite easily have joined most of the forums and posted the links myself. How could an algorithm know it wasn't me? Do I need to disavow every bona fide link (they are useless anyway for SEO, as most of them have no clout at all)?


I get a batch of unsolicited links every week from two large forums. Then again, all of my inbound links are unsolicited. I'd never before heard of some of the news, aggregator, and answers sites that have been linking to our site, and I certainly don't know enough about them to know if they're legit or shady in Google's eyes.

Mentat




msg:4613853
 9:35 pm on Sep 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

From what I can see on my charts, Hummingbird is still running on my site:

23-24 august = first strike, but little impact on traffic.
3-4 September = disaster for parts of my site (-80%), but some increases on other subdomains.
8-9 September = small traffic increase for my other site
27 september = -10% on the subdomains that had better traffic on 3-4 September, but even lower for the -80% subdomains.


They are quietly tweaking the algo!
For something that important, the direct impact seems pretty low.

A lot of old/big sites with no known problems got hit.
I suspect it was Panda + a freshness component!

Google was very quiet in the last month, this is strange.

Also, my site:domain.com command shows 30% decrease in indexed pages.

aakk9999




msg:4613857
 10:33 pm on Sep 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Also, my site:domain.com command shows 30% decrease in indexed pages.

This is interesting. There is a site that has sitewide link to one of my clients - the link was there for 10+ years. That site has a serious canonicalisation problem with many duplicate pages. Normally we see 80,000+ links in WMT from this site. In the last few weeks this number dropped to about 4,000 links. I checked that other site using site: command and the number of their indexed pages has dropped to around 4,000 pages.

Now, 4,000 unique pages is more close to the number of pages they actually got (probably even a few less).

This would indicate to me that hummingbird is deindexing what it sees being duplicate pages on the site.

reseller




msg:4613889
 4:51 am on Oct 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google was very quiet in the last month, this is strange.


Very strange indeed. Maybe that signal a new nontransparent communication policy from Google side.
In addition I find it very strange that Matt Cutts hasn't posted any comment regarding such big Google update as Hummingbird.

Google new motto: "Don't be evil....Don't say anything" :-)

That means we as webmasters and SEOes must depend in future on our own resources to watch and analyse changes in Google index.

System
redhat



msg:4614060
 8:21 am on Oct 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

The following 5 messages were cut out to new thread by robert_charlton. New thread at: google/4614058.htm [webmasterworld.com]
10:47 am on Oct 1, 2013 (PST -8)

This 284 message thread spans 10 pages: < < 284 ( 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 [10]
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