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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.

 

Wilburforce




msg:4627032
 1:48 pm on Dec 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Martin

Yes, many months rather than two years in my case, but that is what I am seeing too.

Martin Ice Web




msg:4627036
 2:04 pm on Dec 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

It started with this update beginning around 14 November. The "old" 404s and the page they are extracted from have been gone for around a year. But now they are back.
It corresponds with some posts about google bot started to fetch pages like crazy. Seems like the index has to be updated/proofed maybe for some recalculation.
But it is annoying if you do the best to keep your site updated/clean an google canīt catch up with your changes.

Robert Charlton




msg:4627146
 9:38 am on Dec 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

Both the resurfacing of old 404s, and spurts of non-converting foreign traffic (also known as "zombie" traffic), are signs of various types of Google updates... and, IMO, of Google testing.

We're still not quite sure what the zombie traffic is, but I'm looking to compare notes in this discussion...

Seeing some big traffic dips with no ranking changes
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4626454.htm [webmasterworld.com]

I've included in the thread some notes and links to explain the 404 issues, which those concerned about them might find helpful.

Martin Ice Web




msg:4627150
 10:12 am on Dec 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Robert, but it seems that only a certain kind of sites are suffering this testing.

Robert Charlton




msg:4627151
 10:21 am on Dec 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

but it seems that only a certain kind of sites are suffering this testing.

That's precisely the way I'm assuming it should work. I'm trying to pin down what kinds of sites are being tested.

bilalyounas




msg:4627725
 8:30 am on Dec 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hello kindly let me know if blog commenting are good for seo now and what is the good procedure

my_name




msg:4627727
 9:12 am on Dec 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

@bilalyounas this video by GoogleWebmasterHelp will be helpful [youtube.com...]

flanok




msg:4627742
 10:26 am on Dec 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

@martiniceweb

I agree with your opinion about old pages that should be 404's, now being re-used amd creating Panda issues. (i think this is what you meant).

I have just created a sitmap for WMT with 59 old pages that have not existed for at least 9 months (that now have replacement pages in different directory).

The sitemap now lies in WMT with 0 pages indexed (as it should), but interestingly NO errors also.

These are 404 pages, why no errors? Unless, somewhere in the Google system it is not recognising these as 404s.

ohno




msg:4627809
 3:36 pm on Dec 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing the yellow "Ad" & "Ads" badges for the first time in all browsers on a desktop. Sense something rolled over the weekend, we had a boost yesterday but today is dire. Seeings lots of foreign traffic again.

tigger




msg:4627839
 5:57 pm on Dec 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

glad you did Ohno - yesterday saw a massive drop in traffic and was looking towards statcounter to see them posting a message about dropped uniques again, today seems to have returned but I won't know till tomorrow when I check total figures

scottsonline




msg:4627913
 10:13 pm on Dec 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

@ohno our worst weekday ever. The ads clearly have something to do with it. They've removed all of the sharing on ads, shoved product ads to the top and then the now disguised ads under those.

Our organic is down 50% today. However our ad spend is up by the same amount.

Funny thing does anyone enforce their product ad policies now that they are so prominent? It doesn't seem that they do?

scottsonline




msg:4627957
 1:56 am on Dec 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

It looks like something hit around thanksgiving. Of course everything amazon has ever sold or thought about selling ranks first. I still am confused at how ads on amazon are outranking actual real pages? I'm seeing a ton of #1 and #2 spots tied up by amazon but they're just placeholder ads for external sites. Wow! Does google really think serving doorway pages on amazon that are paid ads is good content?

What's notable is the vice has gotten tighter each day. Bing had been solidly down in our niche this fall by about 30%. Monday that dropped to 25%, Tuesday 10% and today it was up 50% for the first time in four months. To me it looks like clearly something has changed and it's showing up in users checking bing.

This relates to organic results. I find the new ad format kind of blurred. They really should distinguish paid ads. What they did was make them blend in and appear even more attractive. Add a ton of fake reviews to many of them and viola you have click vacuums.

Organic is dying. Soon enough google will just be paid ads.

hasek747




msg:4627965
 2:38 am on Dec 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

@scottsonline

That's strange. I have a site that's around 1 year old and which is related to a popular product on Amazon. Since I am an Amazon affiliate, the word Amazon does appear in my articles quite often. Not only am I ranking above Amazon for the terms (say "Blue Widget"), but I'm also getting quite a lot of traffic from the keyword.... "Amazon Blue Widget" (I'm not ranking above Amazon for that one, but right below it).

Not only that, but traffic has been consistently growing for all my (own) sites over the last 4 months. If anything, from my perspective it looks like organic results and traffic are better than ever (since the 5 years I've been involved).

I really wish we could share our niches here.

ohno




msg:4627990
 7:06 am on Dec 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

hasek747, that is interesting. A competitor of ours copies just about everything we do. Once he started an Amazon store his own website got a boost. They are obviously using Amazon as some kind of mega trust signal. If you are on Amazon you are the best right?! Forget the website that is 13 years old and first came up with the idea in favour of a 12 month old copycat! As above organic will be dead in 12 months IMO. Page 1 will be ads, will that push the user over the edge & go elsewhere?

scottsonline




msg:4628009
 9:28 am on Dec 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

@ohno it already is all ads on page one when you think about it.

In our niche the top 1/3 is stuffed with product ads and regular ads. The right 1/4 of the screen is all ads already. The bottom 1/5 is ads. Jammed in the middle are doorway pages to amazon where amazon gets a bite of the apple. Think people are misunderstanding me. This isn't amazon store pages it's a page with a title and few h tags repeating the product name and a link to the 3rd party non amazon store that says "this is an ad"

Part of what google is serving in our niche as organic is just amazon ads hosted on amazons site and they always rank in the top 3! Now add useless YouTube videos and image results and already today December 2013 about 10% of any page is unique organic results. They crowded everything else out.

I do think it's overload. It looks like yahoo when they started going down. The "ad" tag looks like the yahoo paid "new" tag to me. They removed the shading on ads to make them appear to look like regular organic results.

ohno




msg:4628013
 10:23 am on Dec 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

Well whatever rolled has hammered us, not even foreign traffic now. I guess they have at last made their intensions clear now. I've just doen some Christmas shopping I did it all using Bing. Google is just full of ads & links to the same old retailers. Pointless.

Martin Ice Web




msg:4628036
 11:37 am on Dec 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

ohno, yes it is getting worse. My niche is now for most queries:

1. amazon or big reseller
2. amazon
3. ebay
4. big reseller
5. manufacturer
6. unrelated manufacturer
7. unrelated manufacturer
8. ....

no ecom shop at all anymore!
I think the last update has clearly targeted ecom shops.

This and the payed shoppping ads makes google vulnerable for taking over the serps by big companies.

TOday there was an anouncement that a very big ( allways 1. or 2. ) will buy to other major players. I am looking forward to see this brand dominating the serps.

It was never this easy for big players to manipulate the serps. But google opened them a door and they happly accepted the invitation and entered the room of the new "leveled" playingfield.

Andem




msg:4628046
 1:22 pm on Dec 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

I guess Amazon filling up search results is my fault since I often produce excellent user experience numbers for sites like Amazon since I end up spending more time there than expected. Their suggestions system is also pretty good because I end up reading reviews for "you might also be interested in..."

If those with sites ousted by Amazon have user metrics like <30% bounce rate and >10 pages per visit, then I agree there probably is an issue with search results.

turbocharged




msg:4628047
 1:27 pm on Dec 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

Continued upward movement for Google's Internet Association lobbying members and downward movement for small businesses. It makes you wonder if the Internet Association's stated purpose of being "the voice of the internet economy" is just a cover for terraforming the internet.

I expected Google to squeeze small businesses harder during the holidays. All evidence I see supports that they are doing just that.

ohno




msg:4628048
 1:27 pm on Dec 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

Prior to all this bull#*$!, yes, we did have figures like that.10+ page visits, 3 mins + on site + excellent conversion rates. Do you really need Amazon popping up 5 times on page 1 for every search term?

ohno




msg:4628049
 1:37 pm on Dec 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

Continued upward movement for Google's Internet Association lobbying members and downward movement for small businesses. It makes you wonder if the Internet Association's stated purpose of being "the voice of the internet economy" is just a cover for terraforming the internet.

Is that what Matt Cutt's meant when he talked about making the playing field level? More like bulldoze the playing field so the big corps can take over.

Dymero




msg:4628058
 2:05 pm on Dec 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

Our head terms are a mess. Up one week, down another. There is no sense of consistency at all. At this point, I'm never sure if they'll all crash one week or not.

On the other hand, long-tails are performing excellently, which is good because those always perform the best, anyway.

EditorialGuy




msg:4628090
 3:02 pm on Dec 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

Is that what Matt Cutt's meant when he talked about making the playing field level? More like bulldoze the playing field so the big corps can take over.


For the SERPs that I watch, most of the poor-quality Top 10 results are from small sites. The corporate sites are, in some cases, being trounced by lame location-based EMD pages.

YMMV.

ohno




msg:4628096
 3:40 pm on Dec 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

That's interesting as I've not seen that with any searches. Christmas shopping was a nightmare on Google, I gave up. Shame we can't post niche details gere.

hasek747




msg:4628112
 4:21 pm on Dec 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

@EditorialGuy

Exactly what I'm seeing.

Wilburforce




msg:4628113
 4:24 pm on Dec 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

For the SERPs that I watch, most of the poor-quality Top 10 results are from small sites


Same here (UK niche service). Heavily location-based: if I don't do anything to hide it, most of what I get is centred on Coventry, which is nowhere near me, but is where my ISP's server is located. I could always tell Google my address, I suppose...

If Google are genuinely trying to promote quality they are getting it badly wrong in my sector. One of the only sites to stay fairly consistently on page 1 for one key term has a non-compliant - Frontpage! - five-page site with next to no information on it. Presumably it has hung in there because it doesn't appear to have been updated in the last five years and has hardly any backlinks at all. Nobody would bother to plagiarise the contents, so it doesn't fall foul of Google's failure to discern an author from a scraper.

Martin Ice Web




msg:4628151
 6:29 pm on Dec 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

For the SERPs that I watch, most of the poor-quality Top 10 results are from small sites


I donīt know how to read it. Does you mean there are only small sites ( non brands ) in the top-ten in our niche with low quality?
Or are there brands mixed with small sites and only this small sites are from low quality?

EditorialGuy




msg:4628178
 8:18 pm on Dec 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

I see a mixture of good and bad pages from large and small sites, but the worst pages usually are from small sites. (Not always, of course: Google still has a weakness for stub pages from name-brand sites such as Wikipedia.)

Martin Ice Web




msg:4628180
 8:31 pm on Dec 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

OK, thanks. Thats what i am seeing to. Most bad brand site are complete unrelated to the query, whereas the small sites seem to be stuffed with all black hat technics you could imagine. Thatīs what i am seeing.

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