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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.

 

ohno




msg:4642095
 1:53 pm on Feb 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

Not super bowl related unless the UK has suddenly started to follow that in a big way! Last week was the worst week of 2014 for us (had been great up until this point). The traffic died Friday & stayed like that all weekend. Today is dead & that is not a normal Monday! When I checked the SERP's I could see Ads & images taking most of page 1. It depends on device & browser.

samwest




msg:4642099
 2:01 pm on Feb 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

< fixed glitch in splitting update thread >


SB or not, something definitely rolled through...first time in many years that Sunday traffic did not spike. It was the same as Saturday +2. Today we're back to mid summer levels (very low). That decline usually doesn't start until May.

For January our total search terms dropped another 50% from last year. They just keep whittling away.
.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 9:11 am (utc) on Feb 4, 2014]

hin1219




msg:4642245
 2:46 am on Feb 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

Hey guys, I also got hit by this update. I got knocked back about 125 spots down to rank 131. Anyhow, with a minor change (turns out it wasn't so "minor" after all), I was able to push myself back up all the way to rank 6.

Hope some of you find this useful!

[edited by: aakk9999 at 3:01 am (utc) on Feb 4, 2014]
[edit reason] No links to own blogs please [/edit]

ohno




msg:4642287
 7:06 am on Feb 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

You got hit Feb 2nd & got back up Feb 4th?! I can't see that being anything you have done TBH (unless of course you are a big corporation "caught" buying links etc).

Mentat




msg:4642296
 7:51 am on Feb 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

Something started around 24 January...

This weekend was the Superbowl, so It's atypical.

Monday was a new low.
I'm used with this kind of lower Hunchbacks = Panda (the silent killer).

I've lost 40% of my traffic since March 2013 and it's a powerful, slow poisonous death.

Martin Ice Web




msg:4642308
 8:26 am on Feb 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

Yesterday traffic was totaly unrelated but steady.


Google Shopping block 1 & images block 2. Why bother having the #*$! tabs at the top Google if you are going to take up the SERP's with these results anyway? Do as I say not as I do as ever...


A big news Portal in Germany reports today that Google probably has spend 35 mil Dollar to AD-Block Plus not to suppress their ads. Seems like poeple are sick of to much ads in serps.

Jez123




msg:4642323
 9:13 am on Feb 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

A big news Portal in Germany reports today that Google probably has spend 35 mil Dollar to AD-Block Plus not to suppress their ads. Seems like poeple are sick of to much ads in serps.


People are blind to them anyway I feel. I have just slashed my ad budget after I noticed that I have only had 2 reported conversions in the last few months. Each conversion costing me several hundered UK pounds! I almost feel like I pay so that I am allowed to stay in the organic results. Tinfoil hat, maybe.

ohno




msg:4642324
 9:17 am on Feb 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

Not really, on the button I'd say. They(G) seem to think it's pay to play or die. Personally I'd rather die than line their pockets. Their results are so #*$! these days I only use them to where we are these days. If I want Amazon I'll visit them direct thanks.

Martin Ice Web




msg:4642331
 10:33 am on Feb 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

@Jez123, i toke my adwords account off, too. After a ad/conversion report my eyes nearly fell out of my head.

So i read an article about widget ads. It says poeple tend to just get more product/widget infos from this ads-sites. Unfortunatelly most of them already know where they want to buy.

ohno, Amazon is not first anymore for every search term in my niche. It is now the big brand has been second in the past.

hamirick




msg:4642425
 8:07 pm on Feb 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

Hey Guys/Gals,

This is my first post here, so I'll try not to offend anyone if possible.

I want to start by saying that I currently run around 50 websites. Some EMD, some not. All of them are niche related and sell products directly (not affiliates), and most of them rely on AdWords to maintain steady performance.

With all of that being said.... you guys are not looking at the larger picture. Everyone is complaining that BIG BRANDS and BIG SITES are getting special treatment, and that our niche sites don't stand a chance, etc. Let's think about this... Google is in business to give their searchers what they want. No searchers would mean no organic listings or paid ads, right?

So now put yourself in the shoes of the average searcher looking for abc widgets. Is that searcher going to want to see a website "abcwidgetforsale.com" that has a bunch of affiliate links, etc. Or is that person going to want to see a BIG BRAND offering their abc widgets for sale? Or a BIG SITE offering information on their abc widgets? The answer is simple, people trust the big brands and buy from the big brands.... they also trust the information of big names, and that is what they WANT to find when searching. They want to buy from Wal-Mart, Ebay, Amazon, etc and they want to learn from Wikipedia, etc, because they trust those websites and those brands.

So, here is the question, how do you run a website without piggybacking a keyword, affiliates, etc? I have my answers, it's up to everyone else to come up with their own. But let's get real, Google is in business to make money, and have as many searchers as possible, not to keep internet Marketers and Affiliate Marketers in business. Just my $.02. Take it with whatever value that you want too.

Thanks,

Patrick

RedBar




msg:4642428
 8:43 pm on Feb 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

Welcome to WebmasterWorld hamirick

You've not offended me however I'm wondering how many posts you have actually read here, you've written nothing new, we all know that Google is in business to make money and we can all see how they are doing it and what they're actually doing to the SERPs.

Let's get it straight, not everyone here is an Affiliate, in fact I run more sites than you, my company is one of the top ten in its niche world market plus I've been doing this on-line thing for 20 years now.

The problem I have with Google is the absolutely appalling results they are serving in the regular SERPs and the downright incorrect and misinformation for many image results.

The answer is simple, people trust the big brands and buy from the big brands....


Then why bother with Google if one knows where one wants to go? I still do not comprehend that however I found out only last week that my other half does exactly THAT. She has never used the URI locator, I was shocked, she actually admitted she typed everything into Google...man, all these years of teaching her the best ways to do things and she does this!

I give up! Google are going to love what I've just posted:-(

hamirick




msg:4642431
 8:59 pm on Feb 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

RedBar,

Thank you for your reply and welcome and for not coming at me negatively. I actually read a large amount of the post here, and until recently have not been active in any forums I frequent. This post was not at all directed towards anyone specifically, just the general thought that Google is killing small businesses or marketers. I just want people who read this, that may not think about it, maybe to think about these points as well.

Also, don't feel bad, my fiancee always uses Google instead of direct, even for my websites. Haha.

Also, another point here is the integration with most smartphones makes it easy to speak "abc widgets", and Google will show not only Amazon, but maybe another big brand competitor. So you can know if BIG BRAND has what you're looking for. Currently other engines just don't integrate as well (obviously since Google/Android powers the phone) my brother is very tech savvy, but searches for absolutely everything from his phone using his phones voice search.

I do agree that most results are not what I would want as shopper/searcher, and recently, found that I personally prefer Bing SERPs (never thought I would say that).

On the direct subject of this post, I have noticed that many of my EMDs have seen a decrease in position this month. One of which went from POSITION 1 for most keywords to PAGE 7-10.

I think this was some sort of content quality update, but I am unsure. To many variables are in play for me to tell.

Thanks,

Patrick

Shepherd




msg:4642446
 10:52 pm on Feb 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

Is exact search (searching for exact words on the page using ""'s) acting wonky? Just did a search w/quotes and the first 2 results had the exact term nowhere on the page.

ohno




msg:4642528
 7:10 am on Feb 5, 2014 (gmt 0)

The answer is simple, people trust the big brands and buy from the big brands.... they also trust the information of big names, and that is what they WANT to find when searching. They want to buy from Wal-Mart, Ebay, Amazon, etc and they want to learn from Wikipedia, etc, because they trust those websites and those brands.


No, the answer is NOT simple. If it were our sales would be steady like they always used to be. Here's some facts for you :-

(1) We've been in business for over 12 years
(2) When Google is treating us OK we get sales no problem
(3) When Google is not treating us well we get no sales

We can have a DAY where we get a WEEKS worth of sales then nothing.

What's happening then? Sometimes I see big tests going on which mean the SERP's have ZERO organic results above the fold!

I'd say what IS simple is consumers will buy from what is presented in front of them, if that happens to be us at any given time they buy.

Google has shifted a bias towards big brands, that is the ONLY thing that corresponds to the wild shifts we see these days.

Oh, & we can always guarantee our sales go #*$! up when chatter on the Internet starts about a Google update!

ohno




msg:4642529
 7:20 am on Feb 5, 2014 (gmt 0)

Is exact search (searching for exact words on the page using ""'s) acting wonky? Just did a search w/quotes and the first 2 results had the exact term nowhere on the page.


Seen results like that before. Pages appearing that have NOTHING about the search term anywhere. Not in the code or page at all! I'd love someone to explain that one, I've got screen shots of such results (which have since disappeared).

snickles121




msg:4642582
 10:55 am on Feb 5, 2014 (gmt 0)

ohno, I have found the same when doing research for my niche. Try using [] instead of "" as it works better but not much. Also put each keyword inside of a separate [] instead of a whole phrase.

Its sad that we have to resort to doing this now because of bad serps.

CaptainSalad2




msg:4642596
 12:08 pm on Feb 5, 2014 (gmt 0)

I feel like G have put their users experience 2nd place to their guidelines, fair enough but by overly penalising algorithmically they no longer deliver the most relevant results, just the most relevant results from the least penalised sites. Obviously this isn’t as relevant as delivering relevance’s based on relevance’s without a penalty filter. Their users want the most relevant results period, they aren't worried if the site owner hired an SEO who built 50 backlinks 10 yrs ago...

It’s seems the penalty filter is turned to high and is at both the user and webmasters expense, reminds me of the saying “cut your nose off to spite your face”

ohno




msg:4642600
 12:22 pm on Feb 5, 2014 (gmt 0)

Couldn't have put it better. Google is all about penalties & we all know how England get on with those :D

A coupe of years ago I used to bother with the Matt Cutt's video's & would embrace new things Google did like Google Shopping etc. These days I spend my time looking for alternative revenue streams without Google.

Yesterday I wanted to find some simple info that Google would have had a year or so back, it seems the sites have all diappeared now as the SERP's weren't even close.

Panda, Penguin, quality, content, links blah blah blah. Sick of hearing the same old #*$! come from them with zero reward.

samwest




msg:4642759
 7:10 pm on Feb 5, 2014 (gmt 0)

It's pretty simple guys & gals, just follow the dollars. In my vertical, Google Ad Network Partners rule the roost, next are Google interests like YouTube Videos followed by the rest (like us) which are always in flux. G makes 165M / day so it's very easy to figure out.

RedBar




msg:4642867
 1:07 am on Feb 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

@ samwest - I assume you are in the USA?

The ROW Team (Rest Of The World) are not playing Google's game, they have basically stuck two fingers up to Google.

The EU has already realised the Google rip-off for what it has turned into, we'll see if the agreed proposals are better however talking with Joe Public they do not care, mostly they know, at long last, there is a www outside of "profess-to-know-it-all" Google.

The early days of Google were fantastic, I loved working with them, unfortunately they met "The Wolves Of Wall Street".

ohno




msg:4642925
 7:15 am on Feb 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

I'm still seeing testing going on at different times of the day. Either that or Google has made switching layout a permanent feature! (which wouldn't surprise me).

piatkow




msg:4642942
 8:35 am on Feb 6, 2014 (gmt 0)


she actually admitted she typed everything into Google

I am sure that most of us have seen examples in our site stats where people search on site addresses.

I have seen traffic drop in the last few days but not enough to be statisticaly relavent yet. There don't seem to be any problems with positioning in the SERPS.

ohno




msg:4643029
 4:43 pm on Feb 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

Well today saw some massive on/off periods. However can't see that the SERP's have been juggling at the same time so god knows what they are doing.

Jez123




msg:4643034
 4:46 pm on Feb 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

I can see that my SERPs have all juggled. It's possibly normal churn though. Not sure if anything is actually all that different.

Bones




msg:4643056
 6:28 pm on Feb 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

I'm not 100% sure, but there may have been some (seemingly unsuccessful) attempts to tackle domain crowding in recent weeks.

Also in the last few weeks, I've seen a slightly updated styling to the SERPS - note in the image below that the links aren't underlined and that fonts/text sizes have been tweaked.

[i.imgur.com ]

ohno




msg:4643057
 6:32 pm on Feb 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

Not seen that one before, what browser were you using please?

Bones




msg:4643108
 9:29 pm on Feb 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

what browser were you using please?


Chrome.

samwest




msg:4643142
 11:43 pm on Feb 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

What's really odd is the almost predictable slow downs. This day last year was absolutely dead, with normal days on either side. This year, same dead pattern on the same day. Going back before 2010, each year displayed much more natural looking variations in traffic patterns. Throttling is here to stay.

ohno




msg:4643203
 7:51 am on Feb 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

Thanks Bones. Not seen it here yet. Samwest, the natural traffic patterns are long gone, they went out of the window with May Day.

What really cracks me up about the SERP's is the double standards. If our sites had a top navigation bar:-

+You Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail More Drive

And we then has this just below :-

Web Shopping Images Videos Maps More NewsBooks Flights Apps
Search tools

And finally the page displayed results from the image tab & shopping tab even though it was a WEB SEARCH I reckon we'd get stuffed with some bull#*$! penalty.

Face it people, Google have sold out, it's a money grab these days & nothing to do with displaying the best results. If they displayed the best results (which I have no doubt they can) we'd have the best search engine back but said search engine would not be making (enough) money. Google is stuck between a rock & a hard place IMO.

This morning I'm seeing loads of foreign traffic again so I'd bet another dead day & weekend will follow(bounce rates through the roof, yesterday bounce rates were the lowest all week!).

Yo yo.

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