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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.

 

Dymero




msg:4639966
 7:02 pm on Jan 24, 2014 (gmt 0)

In my niche, we're still doing what seems to be increasingly poorly for our main terms. Thankfully, long tails are holding up.

I'm started to see more manufacturer websites thrown into the mix. Sometimes they sell the product, but sometimes they don't. There definitely seems to be a trend toward the "most authoritative sources possible" about a product, even if it's not directly involved in selling the product.

There are a lot of folks in our niche that have so hyper-focused on the head terms that they're probably having a lot of trouble right now.

np2003




msg:4640077
 11:59 am on Jan 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

Microsoft had a huge quarter with cloud services (Bing, other online MS services) doing extremely well. Let's hope this continues.

Wilburforce




msg:4640305
 3:26 pm on Jan 26, 2014 (gmt 0)

Anyone else seeing increase in phantom crawl errors last night/today?


@Shai

Since my last post a few have turned up ("first detected" 23 Jan - the date of your post).

Notable among them is a page that was only posted (in 2011!) for a matter of days. It was then removed, and the linking page amended.

What on earth is going on in WMT? Seeing Google's "first discovery" of this in 2014 is a bit like watching my CCTV and seeing a dinosaur walk across the garden. Are odd random snippets of data from some ghost dimension affecting Google SERPS as well, or is it just WMT?

If this sort of stuff is factored into the current SERPS, it is little wonder they are a mess.

Mentat




msg:4640591
 10:27 pm on Jan 27, 2014 (gmt 0)

WMT is stuck on 22 Jan info ...

Andem




msg:4640633
 2:21 am on Jan 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

I have not been paying attention to SERPs for a few weeks, but several weeks on, I have noticed:

- Competitor x has vanished from Google search. They have been in the Alexa top 20k but have all but disappeared into oblivion.
- Competitor y has seen some pretty harsh drops in SERPs. Alexa data confirms the drop there too.
- Competitor z is also down a few positions.

Some thoughts:

- Competitor x has very low quality content with UGC on the same page in the form of comments. Most comments are one sentence, AT BEST.
- Competitor y is in the same boat as competitor x, but without the UGC.
- Competitor z has mediocre content and can best be described as someone who narrowly escaped Panda because of user metrics best described as "OK".

Some of the others I have recently monitored have seen either large increases or slight decreases, all which have pretty good user-loyalty and provide a useful service and/or content.

robster124




msg:4640743
 1:51 pm on Jan 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

We've seen a very decent boost in traffic across our 3 english speaking sites. UK, canada and US over the last 2 to 3 weeks. We are a large informational site. Things we have done last couple of months include adding unique content all the time often several times a day and also no following the vast majority of our external links, partly because we were receiving so many take down requests from websites who had received unnatural link notices from google. Over the last couple of months our backlink profile has increased too but that's a totally passive thing for us, the size and nature of our sites mean new backlinks will always popup over time.

Wilburforce




msg:4640751
 2:05 pm on Jan 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

we were receiving so many take down requests from websites who had received unnatural link notices from google


...in case anyone was still wondering whether Google was punishing them for innocent backlinks. Or, as MC now puts it, four legs good, two legs better.

EditorialGuy




msg:4640767
 3:19 pm on Jan 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

we were receiving so many take down requests from websites who had received unnatural link notices from google

in case anyone was still wondering whether Google was punishing them for innocent backlinks.


Have you considered the possibility that the site owners requesting takedowns were simply reacting (or, in some cases, overreacting) to the consequences of what were unnatural link-building tactics?

Wilburforce




msg:4640792
 4:19 pm on Jan 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

Have you considered the possibility that the site owners requesting takedowns were simply reacting (or, in some cases, overreacting) to the consequences of what were unnatural link-building tactics?


I think Penguin is trigger-happy to the extent of being indiscriminate. I am sure a few outlaws have been rounded up along with the innocent civilians, but I am equally sure that not all penalised sites are guilty of unnatural link-building.

Somewhere in all this, I think Google is guilty of a basic logical error: correlation has been confused with causality, so all sites with a lot of low-quality links - including a lot of old well-established sites without the authority of Wikipedia, YouTube or Amazon - are penalised in the SERPS, regardless of what caused the links.

Conversely, new sites with a whole lot of truly unnatural links don't get clobbered until they are picked up in the next iteration of Penguin, so what dominates the current SERPS is a mixture of older high-authority sites and new rubbish. Sprinkled into this mixture - at least in my sector - is a dusting of sites that wouldn't know SEO if it bit them, so there is nothing on or off page to penalise.

The new Google SEO isn't quality, it is avoiding penalty, which is getting more and more like trying to stay on the right side of a mad dictator.

ohno




msg:4640801
 5:38 pm on Jan 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

Some good points there IMO Wilburforce. I'm seeing testing going on today, early this morning there were no Google Shopping results, now the huge block at the top is back. The positions of organic are also jiggling around.

lee_sufc




msg:4640849
 9:34 pm on Jan 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

@Wilburforce - you have hit the nail on the head there! I couldn't agree more with everything you've said...

In our niche, there's 4/5 old sites (10+ years) that are all white hat and always ranked fairly well. On page one, we now see new poorly-written sites pushing any well-known and respected site down to pages 1-3. I noticed one of my competitor moved to a new domain with no inbound links and now they're back on page 1.

When looking at my site, I believe I have suffered BECAUSE of Google's previous 'rules'! Now they've moved the goal posts as to what's right and wrong, I have to try and spend hours undoing what I have spent years building!

Your description of Google being a, 'mad dictator' is something I've said before and I wholeheartedly agree!

robster124




msg:4640888
 12:55 am on Jan 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

For what its worth, I wish we didn't have to nofollow all these links but a) we're a 3 man team trying to stay lean and we're going to spend our efforts on sticking to our core tasks of researching and building out our site and not being distracted by legal threats or continuing complaints from people outside our business about links and b) quite frankly - perhaps our traffic boost has been a result of the nofollow so I'm in no hurry to spend anytime thinking about why we should be reversing it.

It does beggar belief though, I can't go into details of what our site does, but suffice to say our pages rank up there on the first page of google serps often with the services and companies we are referencing. The way our pages are written, we are definitely providing good traffic for all these external sites from targeted interested surfers. I thought that was what the internet was all about! We'll continue to add links but as I said, I'm the first person to say - it feels very very odd to be adding this nofollow tag to them as we build out the site.

ohno




msg:4640930
 7:03 am on Jan 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

I thought that was what the internet was all about!

It still is if you ignore Google! It's decision time for many IMO, carry on following what the dictator says or forget they exist and carry on like it was 1999! Ask yourself WHY Google wants control of links? Links remove Greedy from the equation.

Today I'm seeing SERP's full of forums so another change has been made.

rannans




msg:4640956
 9:55 am on Jan 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

<moved from another location>

here i am, 10 years with google as an adsense customer, never even considered trying to rort the system to get more people coming to my website, silly me assuming if i made my site for real visitors, ongoing visitors would increase

last 6 months, my visitors have declined to 15% of what it was

my music charts website, has been around for 3 + years, and had always continually growth in visitors per day, along with a good % of returns, so i must have been doing something right ! right ?

so in the last 30 days, the worst visitors #'s yet since i started the site, so i start to search google for what i knew were my most popular keywords, and given i have a music site, its an easy guess

guess what comes up 1st in google.com search results ! a damn popular torrent website then the next 9 results are semi official well known sites

! that is my answer to why my visitors have tanked, google has obviously lost the damn plot, so much so, they put a music torrent website at #1

i kept a screen shot, which has now been sent to the, so called google team

just wanted to make this post, to at least make aware that whilst you may have an above board website, you are probably losing to sites that shouldn't even be on page 100

mikey

[edited by: aakk9999 at 11:15 am (utc) on Jan 29, 2014]

rannans




msg:4640978
 11:41 am on Jan 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

no doubt google reps visit here, so they will probably match my niche to the email i sent them tonight, so best of wishes to me and my website ;)

EditorialGuy




msg:4641029
 3:45 pm on Jan 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

The way our pages are written, we are definitely providing good traffic for all these external sites from targeted interested surfers. I thought that was what the internet was all about!


I think you meant "the Web" (as opposed to "the Internet"), but in any case, whether a link is "nofollowed" has no impact on:

1) The link's value as a citation to users, or...

2) The link's ability to send traffic to another page or site.

The only difference between a "followed" or "nofollowed" link is in how the link is handled by search engines.

Also, Google, Bing, Yahoo!, etc. aren't telling you to nofollow all of your external links. After all, search engines depend on links for discovery, and the World Wide Web depends on links for its very existence.

heisje




msg:4641103
 10:34 pm on Jan 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

The new Google SEO isn't quality, it is avoiding penalty, which is getting more and more like trying to stay on the right side of a mad dictator.
Not so. It is rather:
The new Google SEO isn't quality, it is avoiding penalty, which is getting more and more like trying to keep under the radar of a greedy monopolist corporation.


.

webcentric




msg:4641115
 12:11 am on Jan 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

I see a lot of sites deleting and added "nofolow" to old links left and right since penguin, I would guess this is probably widespread and your PR probably went down because of this natural behaviour that's going on throughout the web right now, unless you can verify you have the exact same amount of follow links I would guess this could be the cause of your drop.


This post caught my eye. Not because I can attribute such behavior to any specific results on my end but because it speaks to a large trend that Google has triggered which may very well be playing havoc on the overall index. I'm certain the volume of followed links is being dramatically impacted by Google's policy in this area and if they're still using links to rank the index then each update has a new batch of disavows and nofollows to contend with. Seems to me some of this instability could be directly related to the massive shuffle the policy is causing. Maybe we (webmasters generally) are complicit in this massive shuffle. Google triggered it. Webmasters are complying (in a state of panic) and the Engine is crunching the changing face of the Internet that is the result of our protective actions. In a way, we're doing it to ourselves out of fear. That's my take on one aspect of this game. Google has the stick, we're jumping through the hoops and landing in unfamiliar territory. For what it's worth.

petehall




msg:4641116
 12:19 am on Jan 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

The new Google SEO isn't quality, it is avoiding penalty, which is getting more and more like trying to stay on the right side of a mad dictator.


Agreed, and that's my forte. Master this and life becomes much easier...

petehall




msg:4641118
 12:28 am on Jan 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

Furthermore, this annoys me so much;

Conversely, new sites with a whole lot of truly unnatural links don't get clobbered until they are picked up in the next iteration of Penguin, so what dominates the current SERPS is a mixture of older high-authority sites and new rubbish. Sprinkled into this mixture - at least in my sector - is a dusting of sites that wouldn't know SEO if it bit them, so there is nothing on or off page to penalise.

EditorialGuy




msg:4641133
 2:05 am on Jan 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

Sprinkled into this mixture - at least in my sector - is a dusting of sites that wouldn't know SEO if it bit them, so there is nothing on or off page to penalise.


So maybe the best SEO is no SEO?

webcentric




msg:4641142
 3:48 am on Jan 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

So maybe the best SEO is no SEO?


Well, I hear the tongue-in-cheek part of this statement and I also think it's one of the most poignant points I've ever read in this column. Not original but poignant. I'd say more but I tend to editorialize in places where it's not allowed.

Martin Ice Web




msg:4641155
 8:25 am on Jan 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

The niche from a customer is now full of site that do keyword stuffing. All other compelling websites have been pushed down to second page.
I canīt understand why they are turn the algo from one worse edge to the other - brands biased turned to black hat biased . But allways they cut out the middle ( where imo the best websites are).

superclown2




msg:4641175
 11:15 am on Jan 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

I've had to do a lot of searching this week for details of a particular product. Most of the results I saw(before I gave up in disgust and went to Bing) were from torrent sites which I can't visit anyway because they're blocked by all our UK ISPs. These results are beyond pathetic.

CaptainSalad2




msg:4641313
 8:17 pm on Jan 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

Anyone else seeing an update today? Seeing several LOCAL SERPS I watch now completely remove every independent local trader off page one in favour of big sites (who don't offer the services themselves) with landing pages for each area.

So directories and the "lead sellers" now have all 10 slots with local traders who own small local sites targeting the local town removed entirely. Never seen this before, not a single entry (other than places) for someone local who actually does the trade you search for. This isn't on every search I watch but 5-6 where sites were still hanging on.

Another "brand" update maybe?

cricketer




msg:4641385
 12:32 am on Jan 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

Hi all,

I am seeing strange stuff in GWebmasterTools and similar to what I noticed on the 7th of Jan and only from the 8th there were some updates in MOZCAST and Algoroo showing possible Google Algo Updates. Any evidence of what happened?

Earlier posted [webmasterworld.com...]

I am seeing this again today so wanted to know if these issues are in line with Google Updates or irrelevant.

My response is yes though someone else may have another opinion.

ohno




msg:4641468
 7:55 am on Jan 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

All I see is a mess. If I search for our company name we are number 1. However there is a result on page 1 that has nothing to do with our industry (think chalk vs cheese!) & has no mention on the page or in the code for the search term! Yet Google ranks it on page 1. It's a shame we can't post specifics on this forum as I'd love someone to look at the result I see & try & explain.

Google Shopping seems to be taking up even more of the SERP's.

Martin Ice Web




msg:4641471
 8:26 am on Jan 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

ohno,

i see Google is guessing again. Search for apples and you will get banana, for sure in faivour of big brands ( bay , Zone ). But Google Shopping is not targeted too.
We had a big hit tonight from about 50% again, after gaining about 80% from prepanda.
The last blogpost from Google makes me think that Panda is all about duplicate Content. E.g. if your widget description is "near" the one from Amazon you will be punished. They make the brands as reference and will look if your site matches the brands one. If so you get punished, if not you are lucky.
Thats why so much lousy site ranking very well. They donīt match the reference once.

ohno




msg:4641473
 8:33 am on Jan 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

Martin, the weird thing here is the page is one page for a company that has shut down! Not even related to the search term. How on earth is it there on page 1!

Re: Amazon, I think you are right, we see Amazon listings that have copied US rank above us even though the sellers are new! Lovely. 12 year old business outranked by copycat just because of Amazon.

Martin Ice Web




msg:4641504
 9:50 am on Jan 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

ohno, in summer i shut down a affiliate site. Since two weeks this site gets hits again from google! ( The database is off, but the php-files are still reachable ).

Awarn




msg:4641538
 1:47 pm on Jan 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

If there is such a thing as a reference site the only way to beat the reference site would be to destroy the reference site. I don't see much Amazon though. More one site then Ebay. It looks more like who is following the template. Are the layouts for the top ranking sites the same?

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