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Google Updates and SERP Changes - May 2014

 1:18 pm on May 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

System: The following 17 messages were cut out of thread at: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4659095.htm [webmasterworld.com] by brotherhood_of_lan - 11:06 am on May 1, 2014 (utc -5)

I know its Labour Day around the world but my god is quiet today, wouldnt be surprised if an update has rolled out also.



 7:31 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

My server logs are recording significantly fewer search phrases (crude referral numbers are about the same as usual), so I suspect Google has started masking search terms in the in some way that wasn't happening before last week.

The percentage of not provided seems to be picking up the pace again. I wonder if now that Google has provided an answer to concerns about Adwords keywords showing up, they're finalizing the process of removing keyword data.


 8:28 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing ebay missing from page 1 of lots of my SERPS. I can't imagine they are penalised so what's going on?


 8:45 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

WooHoo...this is a REAL rollercoaster ride, some sites doing nothing, other sites having their best day of the year, my graphs look like the Himalayas!

Ebay showing in the UK for my widgets...just! Unfortunately a specific US social image sharing network is seriously pi$$ing me off, not Pinterest in case you were wondering.


 8:49 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing ebay missing from page 1 of lots of my SERPS.

Seeing this too - interesting.

Fingers crossed the brand knob has been dialled right down.


 8:53 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

If e-bay has taken a hit I would bet my life this update will be rolled back, wait and see! : /


 9:26 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

Regarding brands in the SERPs, according to Mozcast they're down the most they've been in the last 90 days.

[mozcast.com...] (see the "Daily Big 10" tab)


 9:37 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

Great link there Dymero. I need to see graphs to really believe anything these days. That doesn't lie.

If this holds true, I may have to get drunk tonight.


 10:34 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)


You need to be careful about reading anything into these stats, as the graphs exaggerate any actual effect by spreading very small changes - fractions of 1% - over the whole resolution axis. Viewed on a graph with a 0% to 100% scale they would in all cases look like a straight line.

It is equivalent to saying that e.g. eating one bar of chocolate a day doubles your chance of dying from a rare condition (which it does, meaning from 1/1000,000,000 to 2/1000,000,000). You need to see the whole graph to evaluate the significance, which in the Mozcast graphs is barely visible without expanding the viewed part of the Big 10 scale so that you are looking at less than 1.5 in a hundred.


 10:42 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

Thanks Dymero, that's a very interesting set of graphs.


 10:49 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

that's a very interesting set of graphs

No, look at the scale.

In statistical terms you are viewing through a microscope what to your eyes and fingers is a polished surface.


 11:28 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

You're telling me that if you expand that to the 90 days that it's statistically insignificant? Do tell, I'm all ears. Do please offer up an alternative source with chart that is more telling.


 11:29 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

I saw a big drop in Wikipedia and a .gov website 3 days ago. Wikipedia have recovered about half of their loss since.


 11:35 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

You're telling me that if you expand that to the 90 days that it's statistically insignificant?

Wrong scale. On the Y axis e.g. Domain Diversity runs from 46.25% to 47.75%, which is massive compared to EMD Influence (2.35% to 2.6%).


 4:21 am on May 20, 2014 (gmt 0)


It is true that it isn't an enormous change, but it is an almost 1% change over what it was 90 days ago, which seems to be rather big where search engine changes are concerned.

It does seem to lend some support to what people here have been reporting. Unfortunately, I don't know the stats from before 90 days, so maybe this isn't that huge of a difference from before 90 days ago. Maybe Dr. Pete of Moz will have a post on this soon. He sometimes does about big changes such as this.


 8:16 am on May 20, 2014 (gmt 0)


I don't actually know what is big where search engine changes are concerned. On some measures, 1% would be very substantial (for example, something that affected 1% of pages would affect a very large number). On others, it would be infinitesimal. On those in the MozCast data, it isn't possible to infer any causal link between Google changes and the results displayed, as the margin of error is likely to be large (and is not quantified), and it isn't possible to control for other factors: an on-site change by one of the Big 10 could on its own account for a change of that magnitude.

However, as an undergraduate novice to statistics in the late 1970s, my Recommended Reading included How to Lie with Statistics (by Darrell Huff), which is still in print, and which I would recommend to anyone wishing to draw meaningful conclusions from the mass of stats generated on the web. In it, there is a chapter entitled The Gee-Whiz Graph, and all the MozCast graphs are classic examples. If each of the graphs were drawn full-scale in the same screen space, the biggest deviation from a flat line in any of them - over 30, 60 or 90 days - would be less than 1mm.

MozCast's own overall summary - the weather - doesn't indicate anything statistically significant.

It can of course be useful sometimes to look at data microscopically. My caveat is that in this case what looks like a very bumpy line is actually pretty flat.


 8:35 am on May 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

Wow! A lot of changes for the better here in the UK in my niches. Google is actually looking like a proper search engine again.

Martin Ice Web

 8:43 am on May 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

I have to agree to what Wforce says. This stats show some changes for big brands. But it doesnīt say anything about the related traffic e.g. did the go down for money/ecom terms?
Are they down for serps they didnīt fit in anyway?

I saw ebay got a -10 in my niche too. But amazon got all their places now. So nothing has changes for real.

Till 8 am we had the traffic we normal have at 12 am. At 9 am throtteling began and we get -99% less traffic from google. I bet the daily overall traffic will be the same as every day. Sales are -90% from organics and google shopping ads.

ecom, germany


 8:44 am on May 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

Equally Wow: my site has risen to #3 for main key term! It hasn't been on page 1 for a couple of years.

Let us hope it sticks!

Martin Ice Web

 9:27 am on May 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

@WF,does it convert into more traffic?
We now have -99,99% from google. bing is at normal levels.

ecom, germany


 9:45 am on May 20, 2014 (gmt 0)


It is too early to say a lot with any certainty, but yes, there is more traffic than usual so far today.


 11:39 am on May 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

I would like to voice my opinion that the latest update, which I suspect is the Panda/Penguin softening, is good for SERPs and good for quality content.

I have seen a recovery in many of our pages. We were hit hard by Panda/Penguin, and we have always hired professional writers, always professionally researched and edited our content, always maintained editorial independence, and never paid a penny for a link (or traded, or anything like that).

We had became honestly quite despondent and at times cynical, and I was 99% sure our site was hit due to negative SEO.

If anything, my guess is that the softening has removed the penalty for sites that never should have been penalized in the first place, maybe the site had optimized internal linking structure, headlines and titles, but nothing dishonest or against guidelines, then got buried by cynical, black-hat competitors who are happy to tank small businesses for money.

This update gives me more optimism. I think the environment had become a really dark time for publishing when negative SEO could destroy honest work.

Major publications, and experienced, professional writers and journalists don't just come out of nowhere -- in order to keep the pipeline full for future writers, we need honest small papers and small-to-medium web publishers to thrive and keep hiring, giving experience and exploring new beats.

Ideally, we'll know we've turned a corner when newspapers like the NYTimes are building informational sites like About.com, not selling them to private equity firms, and when venture capitalists are interested when they hear a website wants to hire great people to create great, fresh content. We're not there yet, but in my opinion, the panda softening is a helpful first step.

Please keep helping small publishers! Please keep stopping negative SEO from ruining honest businesses!


 11:51 am on May 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

The update seems to be a rolling back to pre 15th May results.


 12:05 pm on May 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

Unfortunately a specific US social image sharing network is seriously pi$$ing me off, not Pinterest in case you were wondering.

For some keywords in my niche the first 4 or 5 positions are taken by Pinterest boards. Ridiculous. We no longer need Google for search in this niche. We can go to Pinterest immediately. Also a lot of photos in Google Image Search in this niche are ... Pinterest images.

Martin Ice Web

 12:08 pm on May 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

I wouldnīt say that this is a softer panda. It took all from us what has left. Bounce is nearly 100%. Traffic is from all over the world but from germany.
They found sites with most unrelated and badest content in my niche.
It might help fully panda penalty sites (-80% traffic) but it seems to kill sites that are on the edge.
I hope that this is not the real update.


 12:16 pm on May 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

I don't want to jinx anything my end, but WOW - what happened Google? It's like the SERPs in my niche were fixed overnight! My site was hit hard during Panda / Penguin (despite us doing everything by the book) and over the past couple of years I have struggled to work out what was wrong...we've since made so many changes that I was on the verge of giving up.

If (and I know it's a big IF), the results stay as they are, Christmas has come early for me!

I'm in the UK - noticed a few people here saying UK results look better!


 12:21 pm on May 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

@wilburforce - I am in the same boat...used to rank page 1 for years prior to Panda / Penguin but over the past few years have been lingering on pages 3-6 for no apparent reason. Over night SERPs for pretty much every keyword has improved dramatically.

I know it's too early to get excited but I promise to eat my greens and go to Church if things stick (or at least partially stick!)


 12:25 pm on May 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

My older, better quality sites have, generally, moved up. Newer quality sites no change. Old junk no change. SERPs for certain search terms which have seemed to be set in stone have changed considerably, for the better. Top spots still invariably held by poor quality big brand pages though (the one that's at number one for just about everything is unbelievably awful) so there's still work for Google to do if they truly want the best experiences for visitors. I doubt if this is the final result, there is usually a bit of juggling afterwards. Yep I'm in the UK.


 12:43 pm on May 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

@superclown2, @lee_sufc

What sectors are you in? My own (UK niche service) is looking a lot better, and so are yours from what you say, but clearly Martin Ice Web isn't seeing the same thing (which could be specific to Germany, ecom, or both). It will be interesting when the US starts to come into the mix (any time now, for the east coast).


I would expect some temporary local disparity if - as it appears - something with a fairly major effect is rolling through, so possibly (hopefully, in your case) that is what you are seeing. Keep us posted...


 12:55 pm on May 20, 2014 (gmt 0)


We're in education / careers.

I have to be honest though, my initial reaction was 'Google is broken' as the results looked so much better. My site is in so much of an improved position that my gut reaction is there's a lot of settling down to come.

Searching some of my main keywords I see a lot of sites I forgot about over the past few years (good quality and what I would call 'authority' sites). It's like I've gone back in time and woken up in 2010...


 12:59 pm on May 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

Last week was the best week ever for my site.

This past weekend, traffic was down a little bit (around 20%), but was nothing to worry about. My site has information that college graduates are typically interested in, so interest faded a bit a week after graduations.

Yesterday (Monday), my traffic was about 25% less than the Monday before. I couldn't find any ranking changes, so I figured it must be seasonal.

Today, the bottom has fallen out so far. Most pages have dropped 2-5 spots in the rankings, resulting in a ~60% loss in traffic at this point in the morning.

Not a fun feeling at all.

USA, informational site.

[edited by: Sand at 1:03 pm (utc) on May 20, 2014]


 1:00 pm on May 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

As far as I can tell noting here in the USA yet.. My sites still seems to be affected the same they always where..

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