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Google Updates and SERP Changes - January 2014
Panthro




msg:4634982
 2:46 am on Jan 4, 2014 (gmt 0)


System: The following message was cut out of thread at: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4627107.htm [webmasterworld.com] by aakk9999 - 4:37 am on Jan 4, 2014 (gmt 0)


I think we had a Penguin or some EMD update. I have an informational site that's been around for a while - 1 word EMD - and it's nowhere to be found.

 

my_name




msg:4636551
 7:22 pm on Jan 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

Not seeing any traffic changes here.

Took a massive hit on September 4th (My main web site was worst hit and two other not so important blogs as well)... would love to see it reversed (or some improvement) with whatever is happening at the moment...

Nichita




msg:4636552
 7:27 pm on Jan 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

I have a site affected by this update. It was a "make it and forget it" website with an intelligent type of spamdexing posts on it.

I am pretty sure that is a content related update. The site was caught because was not a quality one (it has low quality content on it). I think is a content related update or a new Panda refresh.

nadavs




msg:4636568
 8:49 pm on Jan 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

Something is definitely going on. My rankings are moving by the 100's in a matter of hours - in the 50's, then 200's, then beyond 500, then back to 120.

Hopefully it'll settle just like it settled the last time it happened to me in 2011.

nadavs

superclown2




msg:4636569
 8:50 pm on Jan 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

I am pretty sure that is a content related update. The site was caught because was not a quality one (it has low quality content on it). I think is a content related update or a new Panda refresh.


I'm not convinced. I have a lot of sites - and I mean a lot - and most of those that I would consider to be good and useful ones, packed with information, have suffered yet again. An unrealistic number of the sites which have come above them are scarcely relevant for the search terms and in many cases they don't even contain the words of those terms. Perhaps this is possibly because Google insists on showing results that it thinks I should have typed in but I think I'm fairly intelligent so I know what I want to search for.

petehall




msg:4636598
 10:05 pm on Jan 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

@superclown2 I have a horrible feeling this is mobile related. You think it couldn't get any worse?... it just did.

scottsonline




msg:4636623
 1:24 am on Jan 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

@robert76

Sign up as an advertiser on amazon. Setup your feed. Amazon will display ads on amazon,com based on your feed. But you cannot buy those items on amazon it's just a paid ad. The paid ad is clearly marked as such on amazon as is the outbound link to the 3rd party site where you can actually buy these items.

Google will rank those items #1 in organic above the actual manufacturer and above real stores. It's basically what you all would have been penalized for doing a few years ago.

It's a nice handshake on the part of amazon and google. Consumers think they are seeing real organic results but Google is just serving amazon ads for them mocking all of us in the process.

I thought these were doorway pages but hey if amazon can make a buck what does google care. How hard is it for google to detect this when amazon has a full sentence on every one of these pages saying its a paid ad? They just don't care to change it. Big $ for amazon and the bad user experience just drives people to google paid ads.

kathiru




msg:4636644
 3:11 am on Jan 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

I think it is a Panda update. My Panda (Layout algorithm) impacted website has nicely bounced back to its previous levels.

ohno




msg:4636653
 8:45 am on Jan 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

Checked a few terms this morning & the SERP layout has basically killed organic. All I see above the fold is "shop for X on Google" then Google images below that. Not one organic result above the fold! Scroll down & of course the first few results are Amazon. If this update is finished (which I doubt) then organic is over for the lazy users who only click the top reults.

EditorialGuy




msg:4636704
 4:18 pm on Jan 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

Ohno, I did a number of informational searches on potentially commercial topics just now and got Google SERPs that:

- In several cases, had no ads at all.

- In one other case, had about half a dozen ads across the top.

- In another case, had a few ads in the right column.

I also did a number of overtly commercial searches with varying results:

- A couple of the SERPS had Google Product Search listings and other ads above or to the right of the "10 blue links," but...

- One was a pure organic search page, and...

- Several others had only a few text ads above and/or to the right of the organic results.

In other words, some of the SERPs (both informational and commercial) looked almost like the "10 blue organic links" pages of days gone by, and nearly all were lacking in the Universal Search clutter that we almost take for granted these days.

Maybe Google is testing layouts as well as rankings?

ohno




msg:4636727
 7:23 pm on Jan 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

I hope so as what I saw was scary! Be interesting to check again next week. ....

LuckyLiz




msg:4636747
 9:01 pm on Jan 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

Hmmm.. what I just saw on an informational search were text ads that had no color behind them and looked like organic except there was a tiny orangy/yellow icon that said ad in it.

Wilburforce




msg:4636751
 9:54 pm on Jan 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

@LuckyLiz

That first appeared intermittently few months ago, but I assumed it had been tried and discarded. Where are you?

vlexo




msg:4636761
 10:45 pm on Jan 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

Noticed an increase on one of my sites:
[i1.wp.com...]

I haven't actually touched this site in a long time. However, this update occurred today. :/

EditorialGuy




msg:4636778
 1:18 am on Jan 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

Our organic search referrals and traffic in general are booming, compared to a month ago, but that's normal for our topic at this time of year.

One change that I have noticed is a disproportionate increase in traffic (in the neighborhood of 150 percent) for our most important subtopic, which is also the subtopic for which I'd claim the most authority.

Google is lagging behind our other referrers (including Bing/Yahoo) in terms of month-over-month growth. But better targeting of search results is resulting in a lower bounce rate, a longer average time on site, and more pages viewed per session than we've seen in quite a while.

superclown2




msg:4636842
 9:45 am on Jan 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

Yet again I'm seeing sites rise based on their size and number of backlinks, but certainly not on their quality or ability to answer the visitor's needs. Another serious deterioration in quality I'm afraid. Google doesn't seem to realise that a large site with lots of irrelevant information is not as useful to a visitor as a smaller site with information that is highly focussed on the search term.

JesterMagic




msg:4636912
 3:46 pm on Jan 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

@superclown2 - I have seen slightly better search results in my niche but I also have that issue. I see a lot of major magazine articles rank higher. These are basically fluff pieces with no real information. Meanwhile niche sites that specialize in the field get pushed down.

jquail




msg:4637005
 3:04 am on Jan 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

Looks like Panda to me.

Have done a lot of work on several sites and my Penguin impacted site hasn't moved at all.

My Panda impacted site (removed a lot of bad pages and rewrote/improved all the *imo* good ones) has improved a lot! Hopefully will show that hard work on the sites does pay!

jinxed




msg:4637015
 7:00 am on Jan 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

Traffic trebled on a panda hit site yesterday. Informational site that I haven't touched in over a year. Uk serps.

Panda update I'd say.

screwtheninetofive




msg:4637027
 7:56 am on Jan 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

Here's what's really going on:

Exact match keywords have been devalued (ie. you don't need to have the exact match keyword anywhere on your page anymore)

Sites with high domain authority which are NOT specifically targeting certain keywords are somehow ranking on page 1.

Search for "how to treat <widgetitus>", open each of the top 10 results and run a search for "how to treat <widgetitus>" on the page - none show the keyword anywhere on the page or in the URL and I'm seeing this everywhere.

This is hummingbird in full force my friends. Google is now more efficiently determining relevancy NOT based off exact match keywords, but through others means.

This means that sites like webmd who has a page about treating <widgetitus>, but don't specifically mention "how to treat <widgetitus>" can still rank for that term and many others.

The floodgates have now opened for all the major brand sites who hold so much link authority, making it almost impossible to compete against.

It's not game over yet for the little guy, but there is certainly a shift in focus that will have to be made.
.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 8:06 am (utc) on Jan 13, 2014]
[edit reason] removed specific keyword, per forum Charter [/edit]

Bones




msg:4637035
 9:32 am on Jan 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

The usual serp flux tracking tools don't appear to be showing any real widespread update in the last week or so (I don't really see an update either).

However, the 17/18th December update that showed clearly on the tracking charts and did affect us - nobody seemed to really talk about. Most odd.

jinxed




msg:4637037
 9:44 am on Jan 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

10th January was a significant change date for me

superclown2




msg:4637053
 12:03 pm on Jan 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

Sites with high domain authority which are NOT specifically targeting certain keywords are somehow ranking on page 1.


Yep, this is what I'm seeing in the UK. Search for green square widgets and the first page is big sites selling plain widgets, period. I've got sites getting good hits for search terms they appear for on page two because page 1 is a waste of time. My Bing business is up 20% on this period last year too. I don't think that these facts are unrelated.

It's not game over yet for the little guy, but there is certainly a shift in focus that will have to be made.


I've made a decision to optimise all new sites for Bing from now on. I produce good, relevant sites packed with information targeting precise niches (well I would claim that wouldn't I) and I quite simply make more money from a stable, top 3 position in Bing than I do from a page 2 Google position which can vanish at any second.

superclown2




msg:4637064
 12:25 pm on Jan 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

This is hummingbird in full force my friends. Google is now more efficiently determining relevancy NOT based off exact match keywords, but through others means.


This is another observation I agree with. Very few of the searches I am making since this update produce websites whose titles match the key phrase I typed in and in many cases they are scarcely relevant. To me this is illogical. Searchers want to find exactly what they are looking for and find it quickly otherwise they go elsewhere. Is this a big Google experiment I wonder?

Wilburforce




msg:4637065
 12:30 pm on Jan 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

NOT specifically targeting certain keywords


I checked a specific three-word referred term from my server log yesterday. My own page was the only relevant result on page 1 or two, and ALL the rest of the top 20 were based on an alternative - wrong - interpretation of one of the words.

To add to the confusion, the alternative meaning was a US term, dominating the results for a UK search.

It certainly looks like another bash at favouring meaning over explicit terms. It is bad enough that I can't search for a spade without getting trowels, but now we are getting hearts, clubs and diamonds instead.

MrSavage




msg:4637088
 2:41 pm on Jan 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the observations because I've noticed that a lot lately. I do look for keyword something, and the page I've clicked on has no instances of that keyword. How do I know? I've been doing the "find" function in FF just to confirm. I do that when I can't see the info that I was looking for. Not really new, I've bee noticing it more and more quite honestly. Not sure how this helps me or anyone else with Google SEO other than to say, write it, post it and pray.

In a funny way, it's like going into a restaurant, ordering a hamburger but the server brings you pasta. Your mouth and words said hamburger, but the server saw in your eyes that you were thinking pasta. Frustrating? Only if that server failed to read your mind. That's how I'm viewing the search game right now regarding Google.

Jez123




msg:4637091
 2:48 pm on Jan 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing odd results but none that have no instances of the keyword searched for. One site in my niche has gone from nowhere to #1 which I would never have said was worthy (and with PLENTY of mentions of the keyword in title, metas and text) but other than that just a mild shuffle.

Dymero




msg:4637092
 2:49 pm on Jan 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

After going down a bit before the holidays, are rankings are back up in general, just as I speculated might happen. Likewise, our visits are back up, and Friday was a very good day indeed.

The extremely poor results I noticed during the holiday period seem to have mostly returned to the normal set of results as well.

superclown2




msg:4637093
 3:04 pm on Jan 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

In a funny way, it's like going into a restaurant, ordering a hamburger but the server brings you pasta. Your mouth and words said hamburger, but the server saw in your eyes that you were thinking pasta. Frustrating? Only if that server failed to read your mind. That's how I'm viewing the search game right now regarding Google.


You only thought you wanted a hamburger. Google knows that you really wanted pasta.

They are using knowledge of you that many legislators in Europe believe they shouldn't have. A clash of the titans may come soon.

In the meanwhile my junk, made-in-2-hours sites are generally doing much better, my in-depth sites have suffered. Is this yet more machine learning in it's early stages I wonder? I'm still seeing fluctuation so I don't think it's over yet.

RedBar




msg:4637102
 3:54 pm on Jan 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

The problem is that Google does not only return bad results, they are returning totally inaccurate ones and none so more than their image results.

In my sector they are favouring a couple of Chinese directory sites and a venture-funded US online community which has, literally, tens of thousands of erroneously labelled images but their regular pages are ranking simply because of their titlebar descriptions.

It's an absolute disgrace what Google is currently doing, they are systematically destroying their search engine in favour of a paid-for "SERPs".

Sinisa




msg:4637145
 7:06 pm on Jan 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

I have a new website, 4 moths old domain, clean white hat, versatile SEO (of course with some paid links), domain was in Top 10-20 on Google in online sale niche.
Now it's no where for main keywords.

Other websites Top10 from niche are old domains using some blackhat links, paid blogspost and they are ranking high. With ugly websites, ugly content. I do not get this update or whatever is going on.

I used the same SEO for some other websites, and they are ok, only this has been removed.

ohno




msg:4637146
 7:14 pm on Jan 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

Ugly websites=user more likely to bounce back to Google? Nice websites no longer rank as that takes user from Google? Who knows. All I know is Google have started 2014 how 2013 went for us,ie pear shaped. Funny how during the break between Christmas & New Year our websites bounced back.

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