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Google Updates and SERP Changes - March 2014

 8:54 am on Mar 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

System: The following 2 messages were cut out of thread at: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4642316.htm [webmasterworld.com] by robert_charlton - 3:04 am on Mar 1, 2014 (PST -8)


Embedded video was discussed a couple of pages ago in this thread [webmasterworld.com...] (pages 5 & 6), and focus on news has also come and gone in the SERPs - and in discussions in earlier threads - a couple of times.

My guess is they are still testing these in the results, probably with a view to rolling them out at some point.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 6:12 am (utc) on Mar 3, 2014]
[edit reason] added link [/edit]



 4:31 pm on Mar 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

With all those dead sites you mentioned, it doesn't sound like what the kind Matt Cutts called a "soft" Panda. On the contrary it sounds like the good old aggressive Panda which move around killing small biz sites;-)


 5:20 pm on Mar 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

It's still very, very quiet for me today, I have only one site that I would say is performing anywhere near normal and , of course, it makes it much worse when they do this right before a weekend since it makes it doubly diffcult to work out what's happening, for my widgets anyway.

Has anyone else checked their image SERPs to see if they are seeing similar to me? I've done some more and the quantity of watermarked images in my sector is way down.


 6:06 pm on Mar 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

No change here. Today's hourly traffic graph is virtually identical to last Friday's so far.


 8:43 pm on Mar 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

I'm not seeing anything in my sector (if anything, traffic has increased on last Friday).

Presumably whatever is going on is image-related.


 7:32 am on Mar 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

For me, something happen on 19-20 March.
I can see it on Adsense reports: pageviews, clicks, money.
It's small, but it's every 2 weeks and is driving me nuts!


 9:21 am on Mar 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

something is cooking for sure


 9:22 am on Mar 22, 2014 (gmt 0)



 6:39 pm on Mar 23, 2014 (gmt 0)

This is how the silent Panda works on my biggest site.


See the 1.2 million views line as a reference line.
Each week I'm losing a little bit of traffic.
Is not like stone drop, but since last spring, I've lost this way about 50% of the traffic.

Is clearly a slow process and I believe is the prove that Panda is running constantly. Of course, there are some on the spot modifications, but the algo is running non-stop on the first 1-3 page results for specific queries, not for the entire index.


 6:58 am on Mar 24, 2014 (gmt 0)

I've seen a 35% drop since March 14. I've had steady traffic up to that point for a year. I have no idea what is going on, but it sure is effecting my bottom line.

Martin Ice Web

 8:03 am on Mar 24, 2014 (gmt 0)

@Mentant, kenroar, we see this behaviour since over the fold update. WHile they Change the title font size organics moved out of users sight.
Second i think it is a DC tightend filter for smaller sites ( nor for ebay, Amazon ,brands though ). We sell ( better to say we sold ) X widgets in different lenght, Color, rband names, types. Sorted for type/brand with conanical tag to a overwview site from the main widget site. SO there is no DC between widget and overview page.
Yet all of the overview pages are gone since over the fold update ( in think a Panda was at this time too ).
I think as we have to much choice and the widgets are only differ by brand-Name we got hit.
We saw this with another widget category with Panda juli 2012. This one is now similar.
Searches for this particular widgets now loks like:
-3x Amazon
-3x ebay
-3x big brands
All other smaller but sitge with realy good knowledge have been replaced for the bad. It seems like this new Panda does not count Information anymore, it is pure brand awarness.

ecom, germany


 8:12 pm on Mar 24, 2014 (gmt 0)

So people are calling the update they've had this March "over the fold?" How does that compare to "top heavy?" When you say "widget category," what are you talking about? I have a few widgets that either allow students to play art games or select art schools. However, there are only about 5 widgets out of about 30,000 pages. Am I misunderstanding what you mean about widgets?

Robert Charlton

 9:55 pm on Mar 24, 2014 (gmt 0)

Am I misunderstanding what you mean about widgets?

kenroar - Yes, I'm guessing that you may be misunderstanding. On WebmasterWorld, for a bunch of reasons, our posting guidelines discourage posting actual search terms, unless they are absolutely necessary and you have enough history here to allow you to post them.

As the Google Forum Charter [webmasterworld.com] recommends, we use the term "widget" as a generalized example term. We also use "gizmos", "gadgets", "keyword1", "keyword2", etc. This use of "widget" predated the rise of software "widget". Thus, your confusion.

I think that Martin_Ice_Web is exemplifying his search terms, whereas you appear to be talking about software "widgets" on your site.

See also new changes to our posting guidelines here [webmasterworld.com...]


 10:31 pm on Mar 24, 2014 (gmt 0)

So people are calling the update they've had this March "over the fold?" How does that compare to "top heavy?

Same thing. Also called the "Page Layout Algorithm."


 11:08 pm on Mar 24, 2014 (gmt 0)

REDBAR, about watermarked images. We have noticed for a couple of months none of our copyrighted images come up in Google search. As a test, we put up a few trash images without the copyright watermark and they come up in short order.


 3:55 am on Mar 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

This is how the silent Panda works on my biggest site.

That graph could signify thousands of different causes, but I highly doubt any Panda update is one of them. Your graph does not coincide with any Panda-related data I've come across.

On the other hand, Webmaster Tools data is not a very good source and would only be a good point of reference if you posted a representation of actual Google traffic.


 5:08 am on Mar 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

The actual google traffic is not so easy to evaluate on a big site, as I have a lot of referrer "not set".

In WMT I can see the pulse of Google.
From what I see, I'm hit about 7-10 days after the official impact time on any other big changes.

Now Panda is integrated in the algo and it runs on short periods, see the latest video of Matt Cutts.


Martin Ice Web

 7:43 am on Mar 25, 2014 (gmt 0)


i think that "update" ( i would rather call it Penalty ) was not only target to "top heavy" "over the fold" a.s.o.

I talked to many shop owners and all have a similar Problem. DC.
Your niche has the same widget/product with different choices.
-widget xy lenght(x) Color(x) features(x)
So u have x*x*x different widgets but they only differ by their properties. I think in a bots eyes this is not different enough.
So take a look at ebay and Amazon. They don´t have this Problem though because they don´t have caterogy lists like a good online ecom shop does have ( i think this is a good user experience ). On ebay u have to search and get search results, hence no DC!

ecom, germany


 11:44 am on Mar 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

Martin, this is where it becomes really crazy that Google simply look at content and not the MEANING of the content. With an e-commerce site, it's no problem for a shopper if they are browsing 5 products that only have subtle differences. In fact, that might mean that this vendor is actually giving the shopper even more choice than other vendors. A shopper doesn't think "these products are low quality because they're similar". Google are still stuck in a rut when it comes to content. They are seeing content from their (Google's) perspective too much. If it's unique enough, it's a sign of quality. If it's on a trusted domain name, it must be good. Every decision they make is expedient to how an algorithm can operate. It's obvious that Google know there's a gap between this kind of expedience and the actual reality of how a human browses the web. However, this gap is rarely discussed. I am actually seeing this gap widen with almost every update Google come up with. And yet, discussion always revolves around Google's limitations and how we must shape our content around these limitations.


 1:51 pm on Mar 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

I totally agree COS, I have one product line that comes from 20+ natural sources in the same region of the world all with subtle variations and all with differing prices. Google used to list these all separately but these days it's struggling to understand them even though I have changed neither information nor images.

@mromero - It is very obvious that G has removed/demoted many watermarked images from the top of the SERPs however some do still remain.

I've just uploaded a new site with much more discrete watermarks, it'll be interesting to see how they do.

Here's an interesting one for you, my image traffic is actually up but not from Google. It is very evident that once people are finding specific widget images of mine that have been demoted that they are informing trade colleagues and they are visiting these sites and downloading/bookmarking them for future use since the widget images that are at the top now are either garbage or totally incorrect.

When I say incorrect I mean something as simple as calling a whitewidget.jpg as blackwidget.jpg!

Well done G, that's another fine mess you've made.


 3:25 pm on Mar 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

@REDBAR Google penalizing copyrighted watermarked images poses quite the conundrum. Is there any thread addressing this penalty?

Most of our images cost a lot of time, money, personal risk and travel to acquire.

We cannot throw them up willy nilly for thieves to collect and rank for.

It is a pain to get the thieves to take it down.

What is the solution? Placing tiny, illegible watermarks? Perhaps in a foreign or dead language?


 4:16 pm on Mar 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

Google penalizing copyrighted watermarked images

It isn't necessarily a penalty. Google's unlicensed display of copyrighted images is technically infringing that copyright. It is possible that they have started to avoid watermarked images to avoid potential infringement action.

I have personally reported infringement of my own material to Google on a number of occasions in the last few years (Blogspot is one area where plagiarism often occurs), and I imagine that Google receives an increasing number of DCMA notices of third-party infringment, even if they receive none at all about their own. They may simply be covering their backs.

Unless they are paying for it, what is the advantage of getting people to download your images, whether or not they are watermarked?

Martin Ice Web

 4:48 pm on Mar 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

@ColorofSprings, u hit the stone. That´s was i was trying to say.
I know there is a small degree between Spammers and ecoms, because spammers look like ecoms, so the algo give the brands the Points because it is a (save) way.
But it also shows that Google is out of clues how to fix this problem.


 9:47 pm on Mar 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

Unless they are paying for it, what is the advantage of getting people to download your images, whether or not they are watermarked?

Quite simply people used to click on the images, visit our sites, learn about the products, these are not every day items, and quite often click on an ad or ask where in their country they could buy the product. That used to happen tens of thousands of times a day, now it's 1 - 2,000 a day.


 2:07 am on Mar 26, 2014 (gmt 0)

Mozcast and Algoroo off the chart today. Anyone seeing much movement in their industry?


 3:48 am on Mar 26, 2014 (gmt 0)

For the first time this year, I can see traffic a increase since Sunday night!

Robert Charlton

 4:22 am on Mar 26, 2014 (gmt 0)

Good news, Mentat. I hope it stays up. Probably too soon to call, but perhaps this is the softer Panda update discussed in this thread...

Softer Panda Update Coming Soon
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4654074.htm [webmasterworld.com]

It would be helpful for us to know what kinds of changes (if any) those who see positive movement have been making.


 10:45 am on Mar 26, 2014 (gmt 0)

Seeing huge movement since saturday. It seems to be the "softer" Panda update. Unfortunately it looks more like a hardend version, since almost all small websites in my niche (including mine) went down a few spots and many big brand sites with low quality content are ranking much higher than before.

carlos the jackal

 11:51 am on Mar 26, 2014 (gmt 0)

We've seen some negative shifting here, down 5 - 10 positions for most of our main terms. Bad times again spooned out by Google.


 11:57 am on Mar 26, 2014 (gmt 0)

@carlos: same here. down 1-10 spots for my main keywords. and I'm not the only one. I checked my competitors - all of them lost some of their rankings too. I hope Google is still adjusting the new algorithm, because the way it is now, it's pretty bad.

Nothing "soft" about this Panda.


 11:58 am on Mar 26, 2014 (gmt 0)

My small niche site's traffic has doubled since last week. I did get a big link last week and added rich snippet breadcrumbs the weekend before and google is now showing the review score snippets finally, so don't know if it's an algo thing or any of the latter.


 3:09 pm on Mar 26, 2014 (gmt 0)

Let's bear in mind that a 'softer' algo will be softer on our genuine competitors too (I don't consider 'big brand' sites that are just at the top because they are, well, big brand sites to be genuine competitors). If Google is too gentle some of us may find ourselves in a worse position than before. I don't see this happening yet here in the UK. There seems to have been a small shake-up in my niches with the major sites still increasing their dominance despite their quality and relevance, or more often lack of it. Mind you that could be because a lot of the operators of first class sites in my niches have pretty much given up. Good for me of course but not good for the Internet in general.

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