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Google Updates and SERP Changes - April 2014
Mentat

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4659095 posted 9:06 am on Apr 1, 2014 (gmt 0)


System: The following 2 messages were cut out of thread at: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4650302.htm [webmasterworld.com] by robert_charlton - 1:45 am on Apr 1, 2014 (PST -8)


For me, since this Saturday, google reverted the changes they did last week.
Going down, again...

 

lee_sufc

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4659095 posted 9:41 am on Apr 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

I can honstely say the results in my niche are the worst they've been since I started 13 years' ago (despite my site increasing very slightly!)

Some results just do not make sense. I'm in the UK and for some keywords, I'm seeing US-sites (even with 'UK only' selected) I'm also seeing sites that are only very slightly related and just offer links to other sites (isn't this what Google is for?).

For the past 12-18 months, I've repeatedly told myself, things can only improve, they can't get any worse than they are now...how wrong was I! This is just a mess!

Are there many other people on here from the UK? I personally believe the UK results have been a mess for a LONG time! It's been at least 18 months to 2 years since the results were good (in my opinion).

Mentat

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4659095 posted 9:49 am on Apr 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

I see Tag pages in first five results! :o

simonmc

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4659095 posted 10:22 am on Apr 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

@lee_sufc

When the adwords listings are so laser targeted and offering the searcher a great option in lieu of poor natural serps, I donīt see that google have any incentive to make the natural search better.

They have managed to successfully train an entire generation to use their search engine as an auto response to needing to find something online. They have done a fantastic job of marketing their brand so that people genuinely feel that the very best results are to be found on google.

All the time the adwords remain fantastically targeted and I see no reason for that to get worse, just better, the general public are happy clicking on them.

When you think about the logic here it flies in the face of history. People taught themselves to ignore banners en-mass because they found them intrusive and annoying. This is not so with adwords because rather than being untargeted ads, they are very much on topic.

I think as time goes on, more and more people will desert the natural results in favor of the ads because of this excellent targeting. I also do not see people deserting google because of it. Social is getting more and more used for finding stuff so perhaps search as we know will die over the next few years anyway. Who knows?

Donīt bank to heavily though on the natural results getting better because like many others my own site seems to suffer with every turn of the dial. Iīm sure itīs my problems, I just wish I knew how to solve them :-)

Iīm looking forward to Matts softening he has promised us. When I see that, I will know if the time is right to throw in the towel and go get a proper job.

Martin Ice Web

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4659095 posted 12:32 pm on Apr 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

@simonmc, this is what is see too. I niche where there is no adwords and Shopping ads alhjtough is Shopping related. The serps look very well. But in the Moment when you have Shopping ads the algo seems to Switch to display the most worst results it can find. I think all their updates have just the fact that they clean the the border between Shopping/ non-Shopping. Every time a update cleansd the border a liitle bit up to their best revenues.
Shopping - bad results
non-Shopping - good results
I get only visitors that donīt buy with bounce from 100% and visitors located all over the world but not from Germany?

Martin Ice Web

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4659095 posted 2:37 pm on Apr 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

I just found a Switch to turn of Google Shopping ads and adwords in serps.
adding this Switch also removes the annoying ever top 3 Amazon positions from serps. Ebay stays the same.
Does this indicate that the Amazon 3 top listings in serps are ads? If so this would be a great user distraction. And this would explain why Amazon does not take part in Google Shopping.

EditorialGuy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4659095 posted 2:52 pm on Apr 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

When you think about the logic here it flies in the face of history. People taught themselves to ignore banners en-mass because they found them intrusive and annoying. This is not so with adwords because rather than being untargeted ads, they are very much on topic.


It's important to distinguish between direct-response ads (such as AdWords) and branding or awareness-building ads.

Targeted direct-response ads were around a long time before the Web and AdWords were invented. (They were called "classified ads" in the heyday of print.) And while they had (and still have) higher response rates than branding or awareness-building ads, that's beside the point since the purpose of a branding or awareness-building ad is to plant a message, not to prompt an immediate sale or inquiry.

I think as time goes on, more and more people will desert the natural results in favor of the ads because of this excellent targeting.


Or maybe Google will expand its ad offerings to include branding/awareness-building ads. Many (most?) Google searches aren't commercial searches, and many SERPS don't even have ads.

Mentat

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4659095 posted 3:58 pm on Apr 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

Digging in the Analytics data, I see -15% vs last Monday in 3 sites on the image product pages.

Wilburforce

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4659095 posted 5:34 pm on Apr 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

I have been looking for items in particular range of products today - I do actually want to buy something - and the Google (UK) results are appalling.

During this I had an interesting conversation with a friend who deals in similar product ranges, and he instantly found what I was looking for (using Google). When I searched using the terms he used, the pages he found were not returned.

We're in the same geographical location, so it looks like his own search history was the distinguishing factor. I don't know how many posters here go to the same lengths I do to strip out personalising factors, but maybe that is why such a lot of us are seeing such nonsensical results: maybe Google can no longer tell what we are looking for from the search terms alone.

I'm not sure whether there have been Bing changes lately - everything in my sector looks pretty stable - but again the products I am looking for don't do well on Bing either.

engine

WebmasterWorld Administrator engine us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month Best Post Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4659095 posted 5:43 pm on Apr 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

@Wilburforce I see far too many International results when using google uk, and the SERPs look too crowded for my liking. These are legitimate sites, not spammy sites. I wish Google made it easier to control what we see coming back, instead of automating so much of it. BTW, this has been going on for a long time.

aristotle

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4659095 posted 6:40 pm on Apr 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

I get only visitors that donīt buy with bounce from 100% and visitors located all over the world but not from Germany?

This sounds like Google is sending you a lot of mis-matched traffic.

trezcan



 
Msg#: 4659095 posted 8:02 pm on Apr 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

I am seeing about a 30% drop from last Tuesday out of nowhere. I haven't found any chatter about an update. Was thinking Analytics was under reporting, but it usually fixes itself by now.

Yesterday was one of my biggest organic traffic days, ever. Traffic is always very predictable, unless there is an update, weather issue or holiday.

Informational - US

Anyone else?

getcooking

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4659095 posted 8:18 pm on Apr 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

My traffic has been dropping all day. Worst Tuesday in... years! I haven't seen a drop like this since the Nov '12 Panda update. Saturday we had super strong traffic. Sunday was poor, Monday started out amazing but then around 9am EST it started dropping. This morning started out low but then again around 9am EST started dropping fast and now we're down 13% from last week and that percent drop has been increasing all day. I can't find any of our main keywords that have dropped so I'm baffled.

US info site

trezcan



 
Msg#: 4659095 posted 8:26 pm on Apr 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

@getcooking

I keep holding out hope its Analytics doing what it does sometimes: not report everything. Traffic was strong until 3AM local for me, then dropped about 30% across the board.

A few things that are odd:

Its 1:30 local time and analytics is reporting 0 visits for the 1PM hour. Real-Time shows plenty of action, albeit less than expected.

Watching htop on my server, I can see numerous times when a visitor hits the site, but analytics does not show it under real time. I don't remember the discrepancy being that often.

I'm holding out hope that its an analytics issue. But who knows these days.

getcooking

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4659095 posted 8:47 pm on Apr 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

@trezcan

Sorry, I failed to mention that I am not looking at Analytics for this data. I'm using a different third party source plus our own internal data. Both show total suckiness for traffic today.

ibeau



 
Msg#: 4659095 posted 5:38 am on Apr 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

Same drop in traffic here. I've been steady over the past week and a half but today I'm down at least 50%

Australia, ecommerce, adult industry

Martin Ice Web

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4659095 posted 6:50 am on Apr 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

This might be the softer panda, though?
Or, the now push down all the sites and with the softer Panda they get back and MC and Google could say: Hey, look what we have done for you!

Mentat

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4659095 posted 8:18 am on Apr 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

Yuk.. Adsense/ADX/Analytics all FUBAR yesterday...

simonmc

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4659095 posted 9:20 am on Apr 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

@Martin

Or, even more likely (going on previous good deeds Matt has done) this is "THE SOFT PANDA". I have said it before and I will say it again, what the employees at google think small sites need and what small sites actually need are about as far away as one can get.

There is a genuine lack of real world experience floating around the google plex... from the top down actually.

Martin Ice Web

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4659095 posted 10:28 am on Apr 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

@simonmc, unfortunately u are right.
But when i see what Google now servs the user i go into the kindergarten and ask a kid to pick some Information out of a basket, i would get the same Information as i get it from g* right now.
Downwards trend continues today. It thought it was over but at 11am they switched somethinig again and traffic turned off completly. Not that my site is the best but if there are sites without any Information or just copy a csv File ranking high i ask myself why did i do that much work into my site?
Meanwhile my favourit search for "bing" Show that the index is reduced further. Maybe they have some bigger technical Problems.

ecom, germany

Mentat

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4659095 posted 11:37 am on Apr 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

@Martin, I think there are big tech problems.

My Adsense stat was frozen until 2 hours ago.

My Adx stat is still frozen in the last 8 hours.
No info for today 2 April.

In fact, I have only about 50% reported pageviews.

I almost had a heart attack when I woke up.... the stat was the same as when I got in the bed.

Also, I can see delays when I user day filters for Google searches (today, yesterday, this month etc).

samwest



 
Msg#: 4659095 posted 1:01 pm on Apr 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

Not to disparage the man, but if you've ever watched Larry in an interview or lecture, he comes across as almost autistic. His rare vocal chord paralysis makes him sound like Napoleon Dynamite and his constant looking "up" makes me think he suffers from some type of high functioning autism...so, what's my point? The point is, it may be very difficult for any of us to ever understand the thought process of such a leader and definitely adds to the reason as to why Google and their products and services are so confusing to us.

Mentat

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4659095 posted 5:21 pm on Apr 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

Hmmm I've just received 60 000 (Panic button) reports of 404 on my site.
Checking the CMS logs, the product pages were deleted in 2010-2012 so...
I have a hunch that I see a Penguin run across the SERP.

Robert Charlton

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4659095 posted 6:51 pm on Apr 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

Mentat, a large number of old 404s reported is often a sign that a major update is in the works. Such a report generally indicates that Google is recrawling either an old dataset or an old list of previously noted 404 pages, to establish a new clean reference point before moving ahead.

There is no reason to panic.

Take a look at this discussion, including my last post in the thread, which goes into some of this in more detail...

17 May 2013 - GWT Sudden Surge in Crawl Errors for Pages Removed 2 Years Ago?
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4575982.htm [webmasterworld.com]

Please report new changes to us as they evolve, and don't worry about the 404s reported for pages that you know had been previously deleted.

Mentat

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4659095 posted 7:21 pm on Apr 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

I'm not worried, but in the future I will use 410, maybe Google will forget those URL's

ibeau



 
Msg#: 4659095 posted 8:46 pm on Apr 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

How's everyones index stats after the 3/9/14 update?

[i.imgur.com...]

As you can see in mine I started to clean up indexed URL's by adding some disallows to robots.txt for layered navigation etc.. then after the update it's jumped from around 130,000 to 205,000.

This latest WMT update shouldn't have any effect on numbers should it? https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/2642366#update

Mentat

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4659095 posted 9:09 pm on Apr 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

My stat is going down
[i.imgur.com...]

Martin Ice Web

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4659095 posted 8:03 am on Apr 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

There is no reason to panic.


@Robert, I would like to add:
If there is no message from Google in WMT about a significant rising of 404s. If so, you should look for Errors.

JD_Toims

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4659095 posted 8:21 am on Apr 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

As you can see in mine I started to clean up indexed URL's by adding some disallows to robots.txt for layered navigation etc.. then after the update it's jumped from around 130,000 to 205,000.

Noindex says, "Don't index this page."
Robots.txt blocking says, "Don't visit this page."

They're two different things -- A page blocked by robots.txt will often be indexed based on off-page factors. Better to run noindex on the page(s), set unnecessary query_string parameters to "ignore" in WMT, use rel=canonical on all versions the page(s) pointing to the main version to be indexed, put only the main version of the page in an XML Sitemap, etc.

ibeau



 
Msg#: 4659095 posted 9:03 pm on Apr 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

@JD_Toims Yes I do have rel=canonical and noindex set up on layered navigation pages. They all point to the main category

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