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Google Updates and SERP Changes - December 2013
Martin Ice Web




msg:4627027
 1:31 pm on Dec 1, 2013 (gmt 0)


System: The following 3 messages were cut out of thread at: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4620994.htm [webmasterworld.com] by aakk9999 - 3:08 am on Dec 2, 2013 (gmt 0)


@wilburforce, google says the the 404s are linked from a page that has been deleted two years ago. The links on this page are not up to date. google keeps this links in their robots database even if you 410 them.
Very big problem here.

 

Shepherd




msg:4628770
 6:15 pm on Dec 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

if there are only 1,000,000 businesses competing for the keyphrase "fuzzy blue widgets" instead of 1,000,010.


I wonder if those 1,000,000 pages are really "competing" for spots in the google results, I doubt it. I've dug pretty deep into google's results and they pull some pretty obscure stuff to come up with those 1,000,000 results and in my opinion 99.999% of it is useless to the average searcher.

turbocharged




msg:4628791
 8:13 pm on Dec 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

Not everyone is so blind that they can't see the lack of small businesses in the search results. 3, 4 and even five stacked listings belonging to Amazon, eBay, YouTube, blah, blah, blah.

Are there really people still so blind that they believe Google's relationship with Amazon, eBay, etc. is not somehow reflected in the organic search results? Do small businesses owners really believe Google's super cartel, the Internet Association (http://internetassociation.org) represents their interests when they lobby politicians and government agencies as "the unified voice of the internet economy?" Not all of us were born yesterday.

Yes, Google once was a partner in search. They once had a goal to organize the web and display the best results to users. Now, Google's purpose has vastly changed and is one that exists to please shareholders. The quickest route to that is to do exactly what Google is doing now - forcing small businesses to join Adwords if they want to be seen in Google. And through their partnership with other 800lb. gorillas, Google can use the collective influence of the Internet Association to squash laws, policies and anything else that threatens their bottom line.

RedBar




msg:4628802
 9:28 pm on Dec 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

Well written turbocharged, I've been trying to compose such a post for quite some time, yes, all those companies WERE partners at one time, now they do not give a fig about anyone else ... And strange as though it may seem, I do see a change in attitudes especially in Europe and Asia.

Maybe that would be a good topic for a new thread?

EditorialGuy




msg:4628803
 9:31 pm on Dec 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

Not everyone is so blind that they can't see the lack of small businesses in the search results.


There's a difference between "the lack of small businesses in the search results" and "3, 4, and even stacked listings belonging to Amazon, eBay, YouTube, blah, blah, blah." And let's be realistic: How many searchers are craving to see mom and pop dot com in the no. 1 position for "widget routers" or "dog underwear"? Google is more interested in satisfying its users than in satisfying you, me, or the site owner down the street.

Google's search results often leave much to be desired, and not just because you think Google is in a conspiracy with the likes of Amazon, eBay, and Facebook. But fantasizing that Google is a "partner" that jilted you, or that you can bring Google to its knees by shunning it, isn't likely to be a productive business strategy.

aakk9999




msg:4628809
 10:43 pm on Dec 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

Mods note:

Could we please stop editorialising and return to the topic of this thread which is Google Updates and SERPs changes. Thank you.

RedBar




msg:4628845
 1:14 am on Dec 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

Could we please stop editorialising and return to the topic of this thread which is Google Updates and SERPs changes. Thank you.


Then you'd better start a new thread since all of what posters are discussing are valid Update and Serps Changes.

When the Gorg shouts "Panda & Penguin Jump" and the entire SERPs eco system is thrown into a massive flux, it is bound to create a massive debate ... Just how many different threads do you want about the same subject?

FFS, Google decimated the image SERPs on January 28th this year, if, no, when, they do the same to the regular "knowledge" SERPs, do you realise how many new threads are going to be created every HOUR from people complaining about Google has "stolen" "their" information ?.?.?.?

Welcome to my world, it will, more than likely, be your future too.

If WebmasterWorld is not prepared to face up to this reality then it has totally lost all its credibility.

aakk9999




msg:4628846
 1:27 am on Dec 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

Mods note:

Commenting on Google SERPs showing mostly big brands in the first 5 of the top 10 positions and observation on Mom and Pop type of sites not being on the first page is SERP observation and is welcome.

What Google should or shoudn't do as a publicly owned company, whose interests Google's super cartel represents and which 800lb companies may be Google's partners do not belong to this thread.

For such discussions please start a new thread in Google Finance, Govt, Policy and Business Issues [webmasterworld.com].

RedBar




msg:4628851
 1:45 am on Dec 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

and which 800lb companies may be Google's partners do not belong to this thread.


I find this an absolutely incredulous statement!

Without doubt it will be deleted immediately ... Can you deny that Google and it's 2,000 lb gorilla partners do NOT have an EFFECT on "Updates and SERP Changes"?

This is a farcical post, Google and its favoured business partners have a direct effect on ALL what is currently happening with online ecommerce and directly through "Updates and SERPs" changes.

They are crucifying many businesses whilst at the same time promoting their "alligned friends" ... I just cannot wait for the Chinese/Indians/Arabs to pull the rug from underneath all these smarmy collusionists.

johnhh




msg:4628852
 2:05 am on Dec 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

@aakk9999

I hate to say it but I'm with @RedBar on this one.
I have direct knowledge that adwords spend = help from google on organic listings.

We are also noting USA corps having multiple first page listings that push us back to page 2 in the SERPS.

Therefore I think such comments are relevant in a thread "Updates and SERP Changes"

aakk9999




msg:4628864
 2:33 am on Dec 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

@johnhh

It is not a problem at all in observing that USA corps have a multiple first page listing and its effect on SERPs. Or discussing that there is a big brand bias in SERPs. Or noticing disappearance of Mom&Pop sites. Or observing influx of spam sites or stub pages. This is exactly what this thread is for.

I see I need to be more specific what I referred to in my earlier post. I was for example referring to a comment like this:

And through their partnership with other 800lb. gorillas, Google can use the collective influence of the Internet Association to squash laws, policies and anything else that threatens their bottom line.

These kind of opinions/discussions should be posted in "Google Finance, Govt, Policy and Business Issues" forum and not here.

taberstruths




msg:4628920
 6:48 am on Dec 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

Personally I find the whole problem of going off topic symptomatic. I am sure there are a lot of us that would like to talk about the google serps and updates, but there is nothing really to talk about. Notice how the threads have shrank drastically over the last year.

I totally understand webmasterworld wanting to keep things on topic. That is only good seo. However what is there to talk about? Shoot, the one thread that was interesting to read got closed.

The fact of the matter is that there is not a lot of new stuff happening with the serps. They have become so confusing and irrational in what they are presenting that the only thing to talk about is how we are disgruntled with what we see.

No longer do I find answers here. I just find confusion. Honestly it is sad. It would be nice if we could get some analysis or understanding. What I see anymore is just people either defending G or bashing G.

Personally, I just want to learn how to get some decent serp rankings without having to do the BH method of burn and churn, or living in fantasy land doing what MC tells us to do and holding out my hands and wishing for rankings in one and ...... well you know the rest of that story.

ohno




msg:4628953
 12:03 pm on Dec 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

Personally, I just want to learn how to get some decent serp rankings without having to do the BH method of burn and churn, or living in fantasy land doing what MC tells us to do and holding out my hands and wishing for rankings in one and ...... well you know the rest of that story.

I think we all long for that, it will be a very long wait, it's NOT going to happen. So all we have now is venting of the joke of the SERP's. A lot of people have lost a lot in the last few years since May Day. The only thing I am sure of is its getting worse. I don't see any change from last week yet today the phones are dead & I have zero traffic (at least they've taken away the forign junk trafic that was massaging the figures!). From my POV nothing has changed, only of course it has somewhere. Lets face it, it started to go #*$! up when Google came up with the veil that is personalised search. Then we have keywords taken away in the name of privacy. This from a company that snooped on people wifi?!

Martin Ice Web




msg:4628959
 12:41 pm on Dec 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

I just looked at bing for a Software problem and couldnīt find the right answer. So I said, give Google a Chance. And
Google found lots of sites. As I took a close look Google said " we couldnīt find any matching sites .... but for this query we found..." and it was all pages from Amazon and ebay. What the heck, i donīt want to buy something, i want infos.
Please just put in front of every single serps page:

"We donīt have Information anymore, we only serve ads and Amazon + ebay pages "

So we could save lots of time.

Wilburforce




msg:4628960
 1:01 pm on Dec 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

@johnhh

I have direct knowledge that adwords spend = help from google on organic listings.


A friend in an associated busienss to mine is convinced he has survived the worst of the last couple of years because of his adwords spend.

However, this is merely anecdotal. Are you able to give any more detail about your direct knowledge?

johnhh




msg:4628979
 2:14 pm on Dec 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Wilburforce

It was in a meeting with a member of staff ( who became a good friend )of a major European brand, who eventually got taken over by a bigger corporation. They got invites to the Plex and Google gave "suggestions".

However we are not talking a few dollars here, we are talking major money per day.

According to the latest accounts of this corp they spend 3,400,000 US dollars on on-line advertising PER DAY on average, Thats over 1,200,000,000 a year. I guess Google has a fair chunk on that. The figure is not broken down by brand, but last time I was at the European operation they had a team of guys working on Adwords.

I actually thought I saw an independent brand at No 1 spot for quite a few 'money' searches in our niche, but no, I had forgotten they were taken over by a major corporate as well. I guess they spend a fair bit across all their brands.

It would be an interesting exercise to trawl through the financials and see any correlation with the SERPS, but I don't have the time !

cattie




msg:4628988
 3:12 pm on Dec 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

Assuming they are spending $10/click, they are driving 340,000 visitors to their website every day. If the avg cpc is only $1, we are talking about 3.4 MILLION CLICKS each day. Sending that much traffic to your website would likely result in good usage signals.

Also if you spending $3.4 million dollars each day you would assume the website has invested some money into usability and good analytics to make smart online improvements which Google likes to see. I bet they also have some good converting content unless they are crazy and don't care how their $3.4 million spend converts

Not to mention spending $3.4 million dollars each day raises brand awareness and gets people to mention you and link to you.

Personally I don't think it as accurate to say Adwords is helping your friend's rankings, I personally think it is more accurate to say spending $3.4 million a day will likely help organic rankings.

From my direct knowledge and by direct knowledge I mean I have successfully performed this on multiple websites, turning off adwords and reinvesting that money into quality content, relevant cross promotions with complimentary websites and brand awareness campaigns leads to higher organic results that are long lasting.

I am not saying Adwords is a bad idea or that Adwords can not indirectly benefit your organic rankings. In my personal experience I have found many web site owners have no clue what they are doing and create crappy websites. For the average website, I would say fix your web site before investing in Adwords. Once you have a great website (greatness judged by others not by your biased opinion) then think about expanding into Adwords, email newsletters, print ads, billboards, whatever.

Wilburforce




msg:4628998
 3:47 pm on Dec 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

@johnhh

Thanks!

As cattie points out, on that sort of spend, it gets hard to separate the causal effects as masses of interrelated factors come into play. However, whatever Google is doing to the rest of us, I would hope they had enough sense to void any penalties that might otherwise affect that sort of client in the SERPS.

All the same, my friend is convinced that his Ģhundreds a month make a difference, and I imagine - whatever the truth of the matter - that Google might have a duty to their shareholders not to disabuse him. I no longer hear their insistence that it makes no difference being aired as stridently as it used to be.

carlos the jackal




msg:4628999
 4:07 pm on Dec 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

I too have heard of a competitor who have been lucky enough to be in the position described by johnhh above. Of course you'd never know the truth of the matter, but a number of different people recounting the same kind of situation does make one think a bit.

EditorialGuy




msg:4629003
 4:18 pm on Dec 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google's biggest advertiser (with an AdWords budget of $1+ billion a year) is often outranked by other sites in the organic results. Apparently, the site's SEO team aren't listening carefully enough when go to Mountain View, put on their Masonic robes, and hear secret incantations from Amit Singhal and Matt Cutts.

Back on topic:

I've been seeing a lot more crawling than usual in December. In the past, I've had a deep crawl every month or so (sometimes less often). Lately, our site has received a deepish crawl at least once a week. Does that mean anything? Beats me.

ohno




msg:4629006
 4:31 pm on Dec 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

In my experience it usually means the #*$!s going to hit the fan yet again. No spike here (infact flat for quote some time) so I guess we are on the scrap heap.

mrengine




msg:4629015
 4:55 pm on Dec 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

"We donīt have Information anymore, we only serve ads and Amazon + ebay pages"

I just read a post on thestreet.com that had some future predictions like an Amazon and Google merger. They are practically joined at the hip now and anything is possible down the road.

Does anyone think the alleged organic boost Google gives big Adwords spenders will be extended to their new paid +post ads on G+?

Dymero




msg:4629048
 8:10 pm on Dec 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

They got invites to the Plex and Google gave "suggestions".


Is it possibility these were suggestions on how to improve quality score? I can see the Google rep giving suggestions about on-page words to use or other changes that would improve QS, and noting that these changes could also help them organically.

goodroi




msg:4629097
 10:41 pm on Dec 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

I am curious/confused ...

@EditorialGuy says
Google's biggest advertiser (with an AdWords budget of $1+ billion a year) is often outranked by other sites


And @johnhh says
I have direct knowledge that adwords spend = help from google on organic listings
According to the latest accounts of this corp they spend 3,400,000 US dollars on on-line advertising PER DAY on average

which means they spend $1,237,600,000 Billion a year.

Are you guys talking about the same company? I have a hard time thinking so many companies spend a billion a year on Adwords. Especially since it is estimated that Amazon only spent a paltry $55 million in all of 2011. Maybe someone's math is off.

Either way it is probably best if we get this thread back on topic and limit the discussion to our first hand observations & research with the Google serps.

EditorialGuy




msg:4629111
 11:26 pm on Dec 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

Goodroi, I was referring to Priceline, whose biggest brand is Booking.com. According to a Bloomberg report from last March, Priceline spent approximately $1.14 billion on Google ads in 2012.

Booking.com doesn't do as well in Google organic search as one might guess, despite being the leading brand in its industry. (I did a number of searches just now, and for some of them Booking.com didn't even show up in the first page of Google's organic results.)

I guess the Priceline/Booking.com guys weren't paying attention when insider ranking tips were being handed out as party favors during the VIP conclave at the Plex. :-)

johnhh




msg:4629122
 12:20 am on Dec 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

@goodroi
They don't spend that on Adwords. They spend that sum covering ALL online advertising ( as I posted ), including ad networks. I can't reveal the actual corp as we still have a relationship :) but the dollar value is correct as it's public knowledge and this is a public forum !

And so to what's new

1. Seeing deeper than usual crawls recently.
2 Larger % of visitors to pages that answer simple questions. Think along the lines of 'what adapters fit my green widget'. Had this type of page up for some months , and yes visitors do go on to explore the site further and maybe they will buy a green widget adapter or a green widget !
3. Other than this very little movement in the SERPS in our niche.

Wilburforce




msg:4629206
 8:27 am on Dec 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Nothing much has changed here: I'm still getting "new" 404 crawl errors from long-removed links, and my site is still slowly losing position in the SERPS.

The SERPS themselves in my sector are largely static except for a few sites that are moving up or down by a couple of pages or more.

No significant increase in crawls - presumably out-of-date information will do - or in Google referrals/visitor numbers. Bing is VERY slowly edging up in the logs, and might be sending me enough visitors to forget about Google about ten years after I retire.

ohno




msg:4629213
 9:00 am on Dec 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

I normally get nothing from Bing but last night there was double figures from them! What I make of that I don't know, we've always ranked well in Bing (like Google 2 years ago)so I guess people using them insread of Google. Can't say I'm surprised, Google is utter #*$! at the moment.

tigger




msg:4629217
 9:13 am on Dec 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

lets hope the worm is turning Ohno as like you my market is UK and would love to start seeing more of Bing

ohno




msg:4629347
 4:12 pm on Dec 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

<snip>

Back to the SERP's, the yellow Ad badges have gone for me today?

[edited by: goodroi at 8:55 pm (utc) on Dec 11, 2013]
[edit reason] Off topic comments don't belong here, lets keep this on topic [/edit]

diberry




msg:4629771
 7:28 pm on Dec 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

I have come to believe the 500+ updates per year - which translates to an average of 1.36 per day - is more about obfuscating the algorithm (to SEOs, competitors, possibly even government regulators) than about delivering the best results. Note that I said "more", not "entirely."

My reasoning is: so many people have no idea there are other engines, don't care, don't even try. If Google returns bad results, they assume it's their own fault for putting in the wrong search phrase, and they try again. Google would almost have to stuff obvious spam at the top of every result to get people to start looking elsewhere. They really have no "competition" in the sense that so few people know there's any other option, and are willing to accept "user error" as an explanation every time they don't like Google's results.

I'm not even sure Google can tell how much they're really pleasing users and how much of their test results are a function of users simply not considering any other option. I don't doubt that Google's search and spam teams care about pleasing users. I just think that "obfuscating the algo" has become a big focus.

If I'm right, that means there just won't be any further deciphering of these algo updates - all 500 of 'em. When they released Penguin, they warned SEOs they would never manage to backward engineer it. The best way to keep someone from backward engineering something is to throw in statistical outliers ("false positives" or "false negatives") that cause the update to "not make sense" to humans.

EditorialGuy




msg:4629777
 7:46 pm on Dec 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

I have come to believe the 500+ updates per year - which translates to an average of 1.36 per day - is more about obfuscating the algorithm (to SEOs, competitors, possibly even government regulators) than about delivering the best results.


It may also reflect the fact that Google is a data-driven company that relies heavily on testing. If every tweak to the algorithm is monitored, analyzed, and acted upon, the search results are likely to change. (Never mind the fact that Google uses geotargeting and personalization, including integration of G+ posts, news stories, YouTube videos, etc. into Universal Search--all of which are likely to make the results more fluid than they were in the days of "10 blue links" and monthly updates).

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