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Google Updates and SERP Changes - June 2014
linkbuildr




msg:4676678
 2:59 am on Jun 2, 2014 (gmt 0)


System: The following 4 messages were cut out of thread at: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4667620.htm [webmasterworld.com] by robert_charlton - 1:49 am on Jun 2, 2014 (PST -8)


Had a few days of double the traffic and great user interaction and on the 1st, albeit a Sunday, I have more than half less the traffic and a on site of of less then 20 seconds. Strange day for me in B2B.

 

webcentric




msg:4683590
 1:36 pm on Jun 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

Yup, glad it's not just me noticing that a lot of Google search results are junk.


Did a search for a local business directory this AM...lets see...

1. A local jurisdictional Home Page
2. Public Records Search ()
3. Wikipedia (local page)
4. Lawyer listings from a nationally scoped legal site
5. Contact Page for local Government entity
6. Hmmm. Something relevant - the local Chamber of Commerce - which claims this is one of the fastest growing areas in the state
7. Census Quick Facts page for local area
8. Another site listing attorneys
9. Well known Genealogy website
10. Staff directory for the local extension office (whatever that is)

Not one major directory is in that list which is curious in itself. The results themselves are purely incomprehensible. Artificial Intelligence indeed!

Added: On the other hand, Bing's results for the same query are incredibly relevant. I'm about to put a list of recommended search engines on the front page of my website and G will not make the list. Hmmm. My own little search engine that ranks search engines. What a concept.

webcentric




msg:4683597
 3:03 pm on Jun 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

I should add to the above that every single ad on the results page is about business directory services. Ad targeting is perfect. What a strategy! Serve junk results and make it so the only viable option on the page is to click on an ad. Wish I'd thought of that. Hmmm. Google search is now the largest MFA site on planet earth. Wonder if one of their rogue algorithms will penalize them for it?

EditorialGuy




msg:4683605
 3:33 pm on Jun 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

For what it's worth, I just did a search on "[my location] business directory," and all but one of the top five results were business directories.

Different searches are going to yield different results, so it probably doesn't make sense to draw a conclusion from any one search (or any two or three or ten searches).

webcentric




msg:4683607
 3:58 pm on Jun 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

and all but one of the top five results were business directories...so it probably doesn't make sense to draw a conclusion from any one search


I'm not sure one could draw a conclusion from a million searches these days. ;) Just a couple of days ago, this same search was much more realistic where its results were concerned. So were the other six results in the top 10 relevant or were they junk (because 40% would still be a sucky result in my book given all the websites and content Google has to work with)?

Steven Davis




msg:4683608
 3:59 pm on Jun 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

Different searches are going to yield different results, so it probably doesn't make sense to draw a conclusion from any one search (or any two or three or ten searches)
. EditorialGuy

I understand the spirit of what your saying, but is that not how we evaluate search quality. By assessing the results of various searches and in doing that evaluation post Panda 4 the relevancy of Google's search results are particularly poor.

EditorialGuy




msg:4683613
 4:29 pm on Jun 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

I understand the spirit of what your saying, but is that not how we evaluate search quality


I was replying to:

Did a search for a local business directory this AM..


Different (but similar) searches, different results.

Are post-Panda 4.0 results worse than pre-Panda 4.0 results? That's in the eye of the beholder. For the topics that interest me, the new results are better--but by no means perfect. As Matt Cutts has said (and I may be paraphrasing slightly here), we should think of Panda 4.0 as being like a "new architecture" that sets the stage for future iterations (along with improvements such as the "subject expert" factor that Matt Cutts has talked about on several occasions).

Rasputin




msg:4683618
 4:44 pm on Jun 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

There are certain criteria which we can apply to searches, even a single search, which I think would be generally accepted as whether search results are of a good quality. Examples I have seen include:

1) someone spends years working on a site about red-widgets, personally reviews every available red-widget, and has an active community of red-widget enthusiasts, to find their site is outranked because brandname newspaper gets a journalist to spend an afternoon writing about it without actually knowing anything about red-widgets

2) same as above, then a database driven site with no actual written content only auto-generated content, has pages about big-red-widgets, small-red-widgets and 100 similar pages and gets ranked above the original content site, presumably because they are seen as having lots of pages related to red-widgets

These are both things I have seen in search recently and IMO are an indication of a weakness in the serps.

webcentric




msg:4683625
 5:05 pm on Jun 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

My quandary is that this particular result goes well beyond competitive factor and right down to the fact that the results don't make any sense in relationship to the query. The next page of results has listings for the local board of education, local high-schools, the local circuit court, another genealogy site, blah, blah, blah. Doesn't matter if i search

{Locality} Business Directory
or
Business Directory {Locality}

Results are almost identical

even put "Business Directory" in quotes and then added a + operator in front of the term. Very little change in results. To be fair, other localities are returning more relevant results in some cases but not all.

Jeez, I just want to find a local business.

EditorialGuy




msg:4683630
 5:29 pm on Jun 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

To be fair, other localities are returning more relevant results in some cases but not all.


Maybe it has something to do with the pool of potential results for a given [locality]?

Whatever the reason, these examples just go to show that it's hard to know whether Google's search results are better or worse since Panda 4.0 rolled out, because there are so many possible searches. Even if you could calculate an average for "better or worse," would that be meaningful? The quality of results for popular searches probably matter more, in terms of broad impact, than the results for esoteric searches or outliers do.

Also, when you or I see a page of results for a given search, is that the SERP that everyone else sees for the same query, or are our results being influenced by Google's A/B testing? (Never mind personalization or other variables.)

Steven Davis




msg:4683634
 5:56 pm on Jun 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

Actually, I think their whole philosophy is wrong here. Matt Cutts said that giving strong topical authority to websites is an evolution in search. It sounds to me like a d-evolution. What he describes was exactly how search worked prior to Google. You would go to Yahoo and search for Derick Jeter and his page from MLB would come up instead of other more quality complete profiles of him that could be found on other sites because Yahoo gave so much topical authority to MLB.com

This may be the reason people are seeing less focused search results because in essence this update is ignoring are longer queries and simply giving us the most generic results possible.

The idea of topical authority in search is one of those things that sounds right in theory, but ends up being wrong in practice.

CaptainSalad2




msg:4683635
 6:11 pm on Jun 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

I have a theory the SERPS look the way they do is because Google started ranking pages based on domain authority rather than page authority!

This is why a brand can put up a thin page on a subject and that page will rank above niche SITES even when they are more relevant/dedicated/focused to a single subject (a niche home page had higher page authority than a brands inner often query string generated spam page ever could)

Google weighted domain authority above page authority thus providing brands with the edge they couldn't achieve under the old algorithm of page authority 'content is king' approach!

Domain authority is now king = Google SERPS 2014

Thoughts?

netmeg




msg:4683638
 7:07 pm on Jun 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

If you put ten people in a room, you are going to get eleven definitions of what quality search results are. Fifteen if they're users on WebmasterWorld. Of course Google isn't going to get it right.

CaptainSalad2




msg:4683645
 7:20 pm on Jun 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

Emm, I'm sure something is rolling out right now, seeing big changes depending on the data centre I connect to! Could be penguin? Hold onto ur sphincters!

nettulf




msg:4683668
 10:32 pm on Jun 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

Yeah one of my sites dropped from 3 to 205... something is happening just now.

webcentric




msg:4683682
 12:46 am on Jun 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

f you put ten people in a room, you are going to get eleven definitions of what quality search results are.


Quality maybe. Relevant though is another matter. You have to be a pretty creative thinker to find a way to make a genealogy site fit rationally into the results for a business directory search. And yes, it really does seem something is rolling through right now.

webcentric




msg:4683696
 3:44 am on Jun 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

@CaptainSalad - What you're saying about domain authority vs page authority makes a ton of sense given what I'm seeing.

GreenDog18




msg:4683704
 6:21 am on Jun 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

@CaptainSalad, I have witnessed the same change in my niche. I started seeing pages that are buried within sites (no links form internal pages) ranking well. To me this means exactly what you said. Page Authority is gone and Domain Authority now carries a lot of weight.

Saffron




msg:4683705
 7:15 am on Jun 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

I saw more domain authority last year where discovery.com were beating me with their much shorter/less detailed articles. But that seems to have changed this year.

My site is up 13% on this time last week, which I am happy about. All up, it lost about 20% from the start of Panda 4, but is slowly climbing back up.

One of my competitors never recovered from last year. Their site is exceptional. I was looking something up today and they were bottom of page one. They used to rank in the top 5, along with me. I dropped from no. 1/2 to 3/4 (which is a big dip), but this site just tanked. I have no idea why. The content is great, it's run by experts, site is nice. They just got hit by something.

I don't understand Panda either. Last Jan my site was hit, and it just slowly declined over a period of months until a slow recovery in September. I have never had a huge and sudden drop. But the two times I have lost traffic has been when a Panda has been released. So I do think it can happen slowly.

I've been watching my live stats all day, and can see the numbers increasing. What a relief. I have worked my backside off the past 6 weeks.

turbocharged




msg:4683719
 12:43 pm on Jun 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

When I saw a commercial on TV for Trip Advisor, I thought it was interesting how they presented their information to viewers. In the commercial, they verbally and visibly displayed how people can append the word Trip Advisor to their destination query in Google.

If the big players are having a hard time being found in Google, and must resort to educating consumers on targeted searches, imagine how bad it is for the little guy. At least in the travel booking industry, there are no little guys (small travel agencies) displayed at all. But there still is plenty of domain crowding.

jrs79




msg:4683721
 1:31 pm on Jun 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

My Google referral traffic has been down 15%-20% beginning the week of Jun 8th. I am hoping it has more to do with the World Cup and summer weather than it does with Google.

Information site USA

iammeiamfree




msg:4683723
 1:55 pm on Jun 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

In the commercial, they verbally and visibly displayed how people can append the word Trip Advisor to their destination query in Google.

If the big players are having a hard time being found in Google, and must resort to educating consumers on targeted searches, imagine how bad it is for the little guy.


I wouldn't say it is because they are having difficulty getting people to find them in google. They have some 350 million pages indexed and are one of the sites encrouching on my serps (just this year I have noticed them). They are doing that to reduce the chances of people going to another site although why they don't suggest people use their internal search engine I do not know. I suppose people are so used to using google they are more likely to do another search and hopefully come back again at the other page. I see it all the time. Imagine that spending bucks on advertising and giving g*****e or fb a free leg up. These people must be working together or something.

EditorialGuy




msg:4683725
 2:18 pm on Jun 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

They are doing that to reduce the chances of people going to another site although why they don't suggest people use their internal search engine I do not know.


It's probably because they know people are going to search Google, and it's more productive to say "While you're searching Google, try this" than "Don't search Google--come to our site and use our internal search instead."

For what it's worth, we get a great deal of traffic from search (especially from Google, Bing, and Yahoo), but it's practically impossible to get our readers to use internal search once they've arrived on the site--no matter how much we shove it in front of their faces, and even when it's "powered by Google." I think a lot of people, especially non-technical people, think of search as a way to get to a site, but not as a way to find things after they're on the site.

iammeiamfree




msg:4683731
 2:42 pm on Jun 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

Some people do use my internal search and it performs very well for advertising ctr but yes most go back to google. I sometimes see them returning over and over again to different parts of the site. Some people also make searches using site name which I also encourage (I say to them enter site name in your favoured search engine rather than suggesting any engine in particular) but I would need a lot more repetitions to get them to make it a habit. Like the media g this g that g the other and while your at it only use g.

EditorialGuy




msg:4683762
 4:42 pm on Jun 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

Also, TripAdvisor hasn't been doing as well in Google Search as it used to (at least, it isn't for the searches that I watch), so maybe it's just hedging its bets. That would be a sensible strategy even if TripAdvisor dominated the SERPs as much as it did a year ago: After all, if you're TripAdvisor and your visitors have gotten into the habit of finding your pages in Google, why not encourage them to add "tripadvisor" to their queries just in case user-created content and keyword/SEO-driven pages lose some of their luster with Google?

shipissinking




msg:4683827
 11:36 pm on Jun 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

I am seeing major changes to my rankings which started on June 28. Rankings are going down drastically. The only thing I did last week was create an new XML sitemap, submit to GWT and tweaked my homepage Title a bit.

No link building done for the past 6 months. Am I being Negative SEO'd? What in the #*$! heck is going on? Need your help

ecomm au

webcentric




msg:4683830
 12:42 am on Jun 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

I am seeing major changes to my rankings which started on June 28


Actually, if you're seeing the same thing I saw, it began about 10pm Eastern Time on the 27th, not that it matters but just to pin it down a bit. Could be a rolling thing too. I saw queries that have been pretty stable for months go absolutely off the rails. Not just my stuff either. Now, having said that, I recently also did a fairly intensive restructuring of my site and also submitted a new site map so there's an off change that I'm seeing a response to my own actions but I'm also seeing that whatever is rolling through is also impacting the competition. So maybe a bit of a perfect storm for me, making it hard to get a handle on any specific causes.

shipissinking




msg:4683833
 1:02 am on Jun 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

it began about 10pm Eastern Time on the 27th

Yep, pretty much the same here. I'm not seeing drastic negative changes to my competitors though. I rolled back on the changes I made (sitemap submission and title tweak). I'm still trying to figure out what caused this. I did a quick check on ahrefs and GWT links and I'm not really seeing traces of unsolicited links (yet). An overwhelm of urls to be indexed, that was treated as spam, perhaps?

Martin Ice Web




msg:4683857
 7:55 am on Jun 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

it began about 10pm Eastern Time on the 27th


That is pretty much 5pm cet andx this is when we saw this hughe changes. Serps that didn´t change for over half an year now are complete new arranged.
-Google shopping block - laser sharp on the query
-#1 - #4 brands pretty much with now correlation to the query
#5 -#10 info site , one ecom

it seems like the first results are "most abstract related" to the query. E.g. search for cars and google say : Hey yes we could show you cars but we have something better for you we show you cars with flower printing on it.
Useless, very useless google is.

ecom, germany

CaptainSalad2




msg:4683858
 8:05 am on Jun 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

webcentric, GreenDog18 thanks for our opinions! I would guess BING is still weighing page authority over domain authority the way Google "used" to do business, which is why they deliver more focused and diverse result sets on many queries.

it seems like the first results are "most abstract related" to the query. E.g. search for cars and Google say : Hey yes we could show you cars but we have something better for you we show you cars with flower printing on it.


Domain authority overruling page authority explains this observation, Googles will always deliver “vaguer”, less diverse and in some case irrelevant result sets when they use domain authority as the deciding factor on a sites inner pages they serve, relevance can only be reclaimed by page authority which I believe is why the phrase “content is king” USED to be the catchphrase.

If anyone wants to understand how they managed to filter brands from non brands and mom/pop sites with an algo, I suggest the dial they keep turning up is the "domain authority" dial.

Domain authority is the new emperor's cloths :)

[edited by: CaptainSalad2 at 8:27 am (utc) on Jun 30, 2014]

Jez123




msg:4683860
 8:13 am on Jun 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

Domain authority is the new emperor's cloths :)


The newest new clothes!

superclown2




msg:4683861
 8:25 am on Jun 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

I rolled back on the changes I made (sitemap submission and title tweak).


Inadvisable. There is a theory that Google penalises this since it is an attempt at influencing the SERPs.

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