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This 213 message thread spans 8 pages: < < 213 ( 1 [2] 3 4 5 6 7 8 > >     
Google Updates and SERP Changes - February 2014
samwest




msg:4642091
 1:45 pm on Feb 3, 2014 (gmt 0)


System: The following 8 messages were cut out of thread at: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4634995.htm [webmasterworld.com] by robert_charlton - 1:01 am on Feb 4, 2014 (PST -8)


On February 2nd, our site experienced a huge drop in traffic. Anyone else see this? My first suspicion is that G figured out a way to collect as much Superbowl related traffic as possible. Our 10 years of traffic and sales records show no drops on previous Superbowl Sunday's. Looks like a big update was unleashed.

 

Dymero




msg:4643316
 4:43 pm on Feb 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

I love everflux. Two days ago one of my major keywords was at the top of page two. A week earlier it was the bottom of page one. Today it's a few spots up from the bottom on page one.

There's no logical sense to all this, not that there has been for a while now.

ohno




msg:4643318
 4:50 pm on Feb 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

Big hit today, between 25% & 50% down on the previous 4 weeks over multiple domains. SERP's seem full of ads so i guess that's it as our positions in organic seem stable.

SEOMike




msg:4643335
 5:17 pm on Feb 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

Traffic is down for one of my clients. Their listings in a lot of places have been pushed down by yellowpages, yellowbook, and superpages. There always were a couple of these space-wasters, but never five in a row. They now occupy organic spots 2-6. The results start start off with an adwords listing, a single organic result comes next then seven Google Maps listings, five YB/YP/SP listings, and finally some proper organic results which are led by my client. My client now sits at the 7th spot organically which is 1,225px below the top of the window which is pretty much an irrelevant ranking. Talk about pushing people to PPC and forcing #1 bids. Sheesh.

scottb




msg:4643350
 5:43 pm on Feb 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

On a personal level, I'm having more and more trouble getting good search results just for everyday searches that have nothing to do with my work.

BillyS




msg:4643403
 11:12 pm on Feb 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

Something pretty big happened over the last two days. After being punished by Google for three years, we're up 40% today. Another 400% and we're right back to 2010.

EditorialGuy




msg:4643410
 1:10 am on Feb 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

After being punished by Google for three years, we're up 40% today. Another 400% and we're right back to 2010.


+1, Like, and retweet. :-)

docbird




msg:4643429
 5:58 am on Feb 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

This fickle behaviour by google is surely bad for the web.
Huge disincentive to really work on a website, or even start one; so the "ecosystem" becomes increasingly impoverished.
It's my impression that there are significantly less posts on webmasterworld than when I joined some years ago; this and the way more pessimistic outlooks reflects the changes google has wrought.

The days of 26 steps to google success seem far far away! [And yes, I know about seeking visitors from other sources, social media and so on]

lee_sufc




msg:4643456
 9:17 am on Feb 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

@docbird - hit the nail on the head there! I used to post and seek for help regularly but with Google constantly moving the goalposts and everything we try not working to improve our situation, I have given up! I now just leave my site and do nothing in the hope that one day, things will improve!

ohno




msg:4643462
 9:39 am on Feb 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

Quite, like trying to please a psycho who is never happy. Whatever hit on Thursday has stuck so far, traffic well down & dead today thus far. Oh well, at least when it hits zero the only way is up!

Wilburforce




msg:4643465
 10:47 am on Feb 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

Whatever hit on Thursday


There was a dip in Google referrals in my server log on Thursday, but the dip in Thursday's Impressions in WMT - which I didn't see until this morning - is much more startling.

I will have to wait on Friday's WMT stats, but from Friday's server log it looks like Thursday was more of a temporary dip - were they testing something in the UK? - than a permanent change. I can't see much effect in the SERPS.

ohno




msg:4643478
 11:12 am on Feb 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

****straw clutch***** Weather related? Quite a few without power. Will have to wait & see.

Shepherd




msg:4643479
 11:55 am on Feb 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

****straw clutch***** Weather related?


Not really a straw clutch, I saw the other day that the weather we have been having here in the US is going to cost us 1% of our GDP for the first quarter of 2014, now if you've got a business that can dodge that bullet than good on ya, I don't. Most of our customers are buying at work and we really notice when there is widespread bad weather.

EditorialGuy




msg:4643525
 6:18 pm on Feb 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

The only significant change I've noticed over the past month (aside from overall growth in Google referrals and traffic, which I'd expect at this time of year) is a disproportionate increase in traffic for our most authoritative topic.

The [authoritative topic] part of our site has shown two to three times the site's overall traffic growth since mid-December.

Mentat




msg:4643532
 6:29 pm on Feb 8, 2014 (gmt 0)


There was a dip in Google referrals in my server log on Thursday, but the dip in Thursday's Impressions in WMT - which I didn't see until this morning - is much more startling.

I will have to wait on Friday's WMT stats, but from Friday's server log it looks like Thursday was more of a temporary dip - were they testing something in the UK? - than a permanent change. I can't see much effect in the SERPS.


I saw the same thing on all my subdomains and on 3 different sites.
I almost had a heart attack, but my Google Analytics is looking good/stable, so there is a glitch in WMT reporting for Thursday (at least).

Wilburforce




msg:4643533
 6:47 pm on Feb 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

so there is a glitch in WMT reporting for Thursday


I don't think it is a reporting error: Clicks in WMT is pretty close to referrals in my server log, so it looks like what WMT reports actually happened.

If - as it appears - there was a brief slump in Google searches in several (all?) sectors on Thursday, what might have been the cause? Was it something that Google did, or was it something (e.g. weather) that affected search behaviour? The drop in my my case is probably statistically significant (i.e. it is unlikely to have been a chance variation), but I would have to do more number-crunching than I have time for to be sure of it.

Mentat




msg:4643548
 7:25 pm on Feb 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

On one domain, the traffic is UP, we are talking about 10 000 UV/day increase.
Also, the direct visitors is +20% higher, something is not natural.
The figures of WMT shows 30% decrease in clicks.

Ralph_Slate




msg:4643566
 9:23 pm on Feb 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

I think WMT must be wrong. It shows me with a substantial "impressions" drop on 2/6, but my traffic that day was among my highest this year.

samwest




msg:4643637
 2:31 am on Feb 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

since jan 29th, daily variation in GA is almost non existent...prior to the 29th each week was a roller coast that peaked on Sundays. We're now flat lined.

Panthro




msg:4643651
 3:52 am on Feb 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

Just saw an interested SERP design. Should've taken a screenshot, bc I tried the same query a few moments later and it was gone. US/East Coast.

ColourOfSpring




msg:4643685
 10:20 am on Feb 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

It's my impression that there are significantly less posts on webmasterworld than when I joined some years ago; this and the way more pessimistic outlooks reflects the changes google has wrought.


I've been in web development since 1997. Since the first Penguin update (April 2012), there's been a slow atrophying of the SME market online. SME sites got hit the hardest with Penguin updates. Not just SEO discussion groups like here that show a lack of activity, it's going all the way back to web developers. SME owners think "what's the point?" now - Google are still the only game in town unfortunately, so the average small business is in a very precarious position if they start up a new site. It would be incredibly easy for me or anyone else to get such sites Google penalties. Please - anyone reading this - do not say it wouldn't be easy - it would. I know, and I'm sure many here do - how easy it's been to get our own sites penalised - often from links we didn't even build ourselves, but when we see them, we can see they're just crappy random blog comments or a scraped directory - automated links. When your site can be ruined by some random stranger pressing a button, it's easy to think "why bother?".

mercedesP




msg:4643694
 1:05 pm on Feb 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

@ColourOfSpring... just to prove your point.
In 2009, I've developed a sexshop site right from zero. I didn't use any pre-pack ecomerce software. The site was very simple, very straight forward and very honest. So was the SEO work I did for it (a few free directories and that was it -never a single was paid for advertising, linking or anything that may have promoted the site on the serps or social networks ). I was treating every page as it was the only one on the whole site with good explanations, specs, etc. I've never copied a single line of text, or photo or anything. The site was progresively gaining natural links as well as good organic positions (most of my pages were withing the first 20 organic results for quite a few money key terms). On the hand I asumme it got the attention of some competitors as I see now referels from "iffis" web-search-sites (.ru, .net, etc...-automatic links-)
The site was improving slowly but it was always a bit better than the previous month....until it got hit by Panda. (why?... your guess is as good as mine) Unfortunately, that very same day I lost my mum too, so I lost any will power to carry on improving in order to server my customers. So, I carried on just taking care of products and customers as usual.I didn't made changes as I always had my customers on mind but the site was also hit by Penguin....(with slights ups and downs)
At the begining of this year I gain a bit of traffic back (from 1.000 uv previous to Panda, I have now 400uv aprox), but not enough to substain the bussiness so.... I'm closing donw.
Sorry about the long post (and my english), but I belive that my site gathers pretty well what all these Google Panda-Penguin's updates and "improvements" (including targeting adult sites) have done to small business. Now, anyone searching for a generic name of a product can find about 5 different dictionaries so they know how to say it in other languagues. That's what I call a good service.
Regards,
Mercedes
P.S. May thanks to Webmasterworld contributors (my learning tool) and specially to Tester's posts which we don't see any more :-(

mike2010




msg:4643705
 2:05 pm on Feb 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

Something big happened Feb 3rd.

We had a site #1 for it's primary domain keywords for the last 10 years...that went to 'nowhere to be found' in 1 day. Even though it's secondary pages are still generating google keyword traffic.

The only thing different lately is that we weren't updating the home page. It didn't update for 6+ months...that's the ONLY thing I could think of. And the only change. Starting to feel like Google is putting huge emphasis on home pages updating with unique content daily....just look at all the news sites, their number #1 for like every keyword.

RedBar




msg:4643708
 2:31 pm on Feb 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

When your site can be ruined by some random stranger pressing a button, it's easy to think "why bother?".


Absolutely and especially so when that random stranger is no less than Google itself!

I have a real world business and for the first time ever the WWW allowed us to display our natural products online in real time, business customers could actually see what was available and it allowed us to introduce new products quickly and easily.

January 28th 2013 and Google changed all that, in its wisdom it decided that all our product images were in the public domain so they stole them, even though they were images and products exclusive to ourselves they deemed them THEIRS and overnight we lost 60% of our natural, mostly image SERPs, traffic.

This loss of traffic increased to 80% by January 2014 therefore we took the decision to remove our image galleries since we knew by the volume of 403s which were being generated were running into the 100,000s+ monthly. We are not the only ones in our industry to be hammered like this, everyone I talk to on an international basis has been hit, I mean everyone.

Fortunately over the past 20 years I have collated a large email database therefore we now have to keep customers informed by newsletters etc. However whilst this is ok what it does mean is that these days we very rarely get "new/random" enquiries since Google and scrapers now rule the roost along with completely misinformed Google image results.

As a business we have decided to consolidate our sites and basically put them on auto-pilot and the funds we had in place for further web development have now been slashed and allocated for face-to-face international trade exhibitions.

We survived for 160 years before Google, we grew alongside Google but now we have to leave Google to its own devices since it is no longer a reliable "partner" and for businesses, and industries such as ours, I just wonder how many others are being put into a similar position?

Awarn




msg:4643715
 3:50 pm on Feb 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

That sounds very familiar. Google just looks at the web side of business and their attempts to monopolize certain areas. They don't seem to understand that they are just a piece of the overall success or failure of a business. It takes years to build a normal business. Through those years the contacts, infrastructure, inventory, personnel etc are developed. Much of this takes considerable time and money. As the company grows it adjusts to handle the work. The issue is that Google steps in and diverts the traffic. They don't understand the concept that we can't turn on and off like they do with the traffic. The built companies have to cut costs to maintain the structure and the companies that get the new traffic go through the growing pains and can't handle the volume. It just isn't helping anyone. If this cycle continues it could seriously hurt the web.

ColourOfSpring




msg:4643725
 5:35 pm on Feb 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

Thanks for your replies RedBar and MercedesP. My own web development business now survives purely on word of mouth. There's a growing feeling of despondency in the SME market (the people I speak to). Actually, I've been saying this over and over for the last 18 months or so - and I continue to say it because it's getting worse. The grip of power Google have over small businesses is (and I don't exaggerate) totalitarian. I think the worst thing is the feeling of powerlessness. When 90%+ of your market are searching in a place where you can't be found, you can't do much. I realise I'm sounding negative, and I've championed both sides of this argument at various stages over the last 2 years (often championing the "you can live without Google" message), but generally speaking, the Google problem is sapping confidence from SMEs - like a death by a thousand cut(t)s.

EditorialGuy




msg:4643727
 6:02 pm on Feb 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

I suspect that Google isn't too concerned with the successes or failures of small businesses or with having a "grip of power" over the sites that it indexes.

Google is more likely to care about user satisfaction and retention. If users tend to be happy with name-brand search results, their behavior data will find its way into the algorithm and influence Google's SERPs.

Google Search is all about automation, scalability and data-driven results. It might be nice if Google exercised more human editorial judgment, but that isn't going to happen with a spidered search engine that's indexing and ranking pages from a trillion-page Web.

ColourOfSpring




msg:4643729
 6:28 pm on Feb 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

I agree with everything you say EditorialGuy. I am merely pointing out the ramifications of Google's best intentions.

mike2010




msg:4643741
 7:24 pm on Feb 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

I was completely e-r@ped when posting my frustrations on the Google webmaster forums about a week ago.

seriously... that section must solely be run by anonymous google employees.

Feels like a breath of fresh air here.

Real complaints, real opinions...without the suppression.

The only thing that'll wake them up, is a 'real' marketing push from Bing / Yahoo that starts to take a serious share of their daily, returning visitors and searchers. Maybe then they'll stop with the 1,000 or more silly little algorithm changes a month...to the point where people need to be rocket scientists to figure the changes...every month. It's enough already.

Still the question remains though...why so many sites were sent to oblivion on Feb 3rd.

Wilburforce




msg:4643743
 7:48 pm on Feb 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

If users tend to be happy


I would say "don't switch to Bing" rather than "tend to be happy".

Bing is also a spidered search engine that's indexing and ranking pages from a trillion-page Web, and if their own current results challenge is anything to go by, users are happier with Bing's SERPS than Google's.

EditorialGuy




msg:4643746
 8:42 pm on Feb 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

Bing is also a spidered search engine that's indexing and ranking pages from a trillion-page Web, and if their own current results challenge is anything to go by, users are happier with Bing's SERPS than Google's.


Market-share statistics tell a different story.

(For what it's worth, I'd love it if Bing gained market share from Google and not just from Yahoo. Our Google traffic has been up lately, but our Bing traffic has been up a lot more.)

mike2010




msg:4643753
 8:51 pm on Feb 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

The Google forums say that all non-google search engines just use their 1998 algorithm .

That's all they are to them...dust in the wind.

This 213 message thread spans 8 pages: < < 213 ( 1 [2] 3 4 5 6 7 8 > >
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