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Google Updates and SERP Changes - March 2010

     
5:27 pm on Mar 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

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< continued from [webmasterworld.com...] >

I have been watching all of my competitors which pretty much live off of large amounts of longtail traffic loose overall traffic the past 4-6 weeks and that includes us.

I dont know whats going on but for big sites in my section of the web site page count has been dropping at a constant decay and new content is coming in very very slowly and not nearly enough to counter the drops.

Overall traffic seems down about 8-10% for all of us and those drops are graphing perfectly to the drops in page counts since mid January.

At the same time the crawl graph in WMT and my local stats package show a flatline since mid Jan with no deep crawls and about a tenth of usual crawl activity.

All of this for us and our competitors started mid January
1. dropoff of the googlebot deepcrawl with a flatline stable crawl at a much lower rate.
2. daily reductions in pagecount across a dozen sites by exact same percentages
3. similar gradual traffic declines matching page count falls
4. uber slow new page caching and ranking

When I see this happening to not only us but many pr6-8 sites in my sector it gives me comfort to see that it isnt only us but also concern because it isnt only us.

Just going to keep chugging along, not much you can do but sit back and watch this stuff unfold.

[edited by: tedster at 5:49 pm (utc) on Mar 1, 2010]
[edit reason] split from earlier thread [/edit]

7:35 pm on Mar 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I am consistently seeing caffeine on the mobile version of google using my iphone. These have been steady since the morning of march 18. If I view the "classic" version of google, I get the regular SERP's.

I always check the serp's on my iphone because I noticed over the last 2 years that when there is a change in SERP's, I can see it on my iphone (mobile google) first. This has been the case 100% of the time. If I see one of my sites move in the SERP's, It is always the case that I will see that exact same change on my computer later that same day.

[edited by: tedster at 8:33 pm (utc) on Mar 19, 2010]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]

7:47 pm on Mar 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

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We've all had days of increased traffic we could not figure out. Dismissed as coincidence. He's talking 30% not 600%.
8:00 pm on Mar 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

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30% can be a huge increase in traffic, especially if you deal with large amounts of visitors on a daily basis. Everyone in this field should know where there traffic is coming from. It is very important to have a system in place. If that 30% increase in traffic is resulting in a 30% increase in profits, then you need to get something in order ASAP.
8:33 pm on Mar 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Was this a one day phenom or ongoing since December?
10:23 pm on Mar 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Okay, than again: As Google now officially claims that Caffeine is now online


Sorry I missed the announcement, when/where did that happen?
11:09 pm on Mar 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Caffeine is live on the East coast normal G.com

Edit: and it's gone that fast.

Edit: something is definitely going on Caffeine is coming and going with every search now.
11:53 pm on Mar 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Live-Updates von Leuten auf beliebten Websites wie Twitter, MySpace und FriendFeed sehen, außerdem Schlagzeilen von Nachrichten und Blogposts

I don't see this as having to do with Caffeine, just the "real-time" search feature for specific sites that was introduced in January or so. The notice on Blogger [buzz.blogger.com] about
critical infrastructure that our FTP support relies on at Google will soon become unavailable
after March 26 is probably much more relevant.
2:29 am on Mar 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I am from NYC originally, I am currently in my winter home in florida. Most of the time I am checking my serps from NYC and I always pay close attention to my traffic (especially from google). I can tell when I am in for a rank boost even though I can not yet see it on my SERP's.

Before the caffeine watch, I never paid close attention to what exactly what going on in SERP's in other states because I knew mine would eventually be the same. Now I am making more sense about how google pushes there updates. I posted a few days ago that the SERP's in california seem outdated, but as it turns out, that is not the case. It seems that SERP updates start on the west coast first and NYC is always the last place for them to hit. This has nothing to do with caffeine, just an interesting observation
3:34 am on Mar 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

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brinked,

I think that is an excellent observation which you have made.

I wanted to ask, about how long from when you see an update start on the west coast until it is seen on the east coast?
4:16 am on Mar 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I wanted to ask, about how long from when you see an update start on the west coast until it is seen on the east coast?


I dont think there is an exact time frame on this. I would say that there is a lot more to it than just spreading to all data centers. You have other factors such as cache, propogation etc, so even if all the data centers are updated with the latest serps, not everyone is yet seeing them. I always notice at least a week from the day I see them, to see the maximum results.

From my limited testing, I would say it takes up to a week to go from west coast to east coast. This is only a small sample so to get a better understanding, one should get a few proxies from the west coast and east coast and track data sets there. Wouldnt take too much effort.
6:12 am on Mar 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I have several clients in CA and WA and they often scrutinize particular SERPs. Since I'm in MA, I often get a ring-side seat for this kind of thing, as we discuss events on weekly conference calls - with rankings seen directly in user's browsers without using proxies.

At the same time that I do sometimes see a week gap, there are other updates that just seem to appear on both coasts at the exact same time. And there are others that pop on on the West Cost, then go away without ever being seen on the East Coast. So I'm not sure there is a strong geographic pattern going on.

I am intrigued by the mobile idea. I sometimes use google.com/ie - just to get a clean set of links without snippets, universal search injections and all that whoo-hah. That site was first offered for the pocket pc version of IE, and it is clearly mobile oriented. I think I'll watch it a bit more closely for a while.
11:59 am on Mar 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

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My main site has been undergoing a very deep crawl by google bot for the past 24 hours, in the order of 50% more than late January...
12:07 pm on Mar 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Incidentally there was a google images update a month ago which saw the site I just mentioned gain 3.5 more images in the index, the same percentage increase on the quarter before that...
1:46 pm on Mar 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Can anyone confirm what I think. It seems to me that caffeine is out there but with december ranking positions ? at least for me it is the case I see no change in ranking positions and over the last 3 months and there has been major seo work on our websites and that is why I think that.

I look forward to your comments on that.
2:01 pm on Mar 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I do see some ranking changes from work done since Dec. (cleaned up URLs, updated pages, etc.), but minor and incomplete.

Right now, the SERPs are a rollback to maybe Dec/Jan, though incomplete, maybe 10-20%. The current SERPs are the SERPs I stared at for most of late Jan, all of Feb, and early March, with minor exceptions...

Earlier this week, they were showing perhaps Jan/Feb, but again, incomplete, maybe 10% of a new crawl. But that is gone now.

But even this is not a full 100% rollback, maybe 5% is fully up to date, but the other 95% is not.

The SERPs are a "mess" in the sense that it is impossible to gauge cause and effect right now. I am speaking of both my site and other monitored sites.
3:02 pm on Mar 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Thank you for the reply this is what I think too. By the way when do you think the 95 % which is not up to date will be ?
3:41 pm on Mar 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

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some ranking changes from work done since Dec. (cleaned up URLs, updated pages, etc.), but minor and incomplete.

Is there any pattern to the changes you see that are included in the current rankings and those that have not been?
4:24 pm on Mar 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

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"Is there any pattern to the changes you see that are included in the current rankings and those that have not been?"
Yes i feel that these caffeine rankings do not inculde the hard work done on backlinks during the last two months.
4:31 pm on Mar 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

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member22: -lol- x 10. You are confusing me with incredible experts like whitenight and shaddows. I can report what I DO see, but I am unable to predict what I WILL see. ; )

tedster: Well, yes and no... As I posted above, it is just all screwed up!? I see a wide variety of odd things: screwed up cache dates, screwed up snippets, screwed up search counts, snippets that don't match the actual cache of the page, screwed up rankings, and don't get me started on site: or WMT data. But I also see some up to date things...

I have to say, the past 4 days or so have been "bad" - meaning, clearly inaccurate. (When I speak of good vs bad, right vs wrong, I don't mean I have good rankings or bad, my situationis moot in this discussion, I am talking about inaccuracies - SERPs that are clarly mistaken, for my site and all sites). We have reverted to some old SERPs. But prior to that, for about 10 days or so, I was seeing some really good improvements, not correct, but improving down the right road: site: counts were close to perfect, rankings were updating (but nowhere near fully updated from the past 3 months), caches were fixing, etc. Everthing was getting fixed, nowhere near done, but, gettign fixed. And then, was it Wednesday? All back to Feb SERPs.

As far as a pattern... no. I can't see one. I monitor lots of sites, and about 2000 keyword SERPs. -shrugging- I wish I could see a pattern, but, it just jumps around! I don't check a lot of proxies, but more than 1. ; ) And I see enough inaccuracies in just a couple proxies that I feel like I am wasting my time checking more... The concept of multiple chunks of data being folded in is the most consistent idea with what I observe - especially, when you add in the concept that not all data chunks are ready, or being inserted at the same time across proxies. - shrugging - I guess...

Anyway, I think the real point of my post is, no one should get discouraged with what they see right now. For sure, we are not done. The current SERPs are not a new baseline from which we can all identify where we stand, and move foward. The current SERPs are inperfect and incomplete. Gorg is doing an ongoing update, that much is for sure, and I have no clue when it will finish, or where it will end up, and I am not sure it is a worthy use of time analyzing it right now because it is a moving target - gorg keeps moving the goalposts.

To stress over what you see today is to fret unnecessarily. This is not settled yet.
4:33 pm on Mar 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

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curioustoddler - but that's the thing, I DO notice maybe 2% of the work we've done over the past 2 months being reflected in the SERPs. So, I can't say we don't notice ANYTHING.
11:58 pm on Mar 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

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anyone seeing caffeine results anywhere? All the proxies I check are showing nothing... have not seen the results all settled like this for a long time, is this the calm before the storm?
12:24 am on Mar 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Kelowna, this is normal, they usually turn off caffeine over the weekends. At least for the last 3-4 weekends I have been closely monitoring anyway. Will be back Monday
12:47 am on Mar 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Still seeing caffeine on 64.233.179.104 though it's up and down during refreshes but it's still on their and of course 209.85.225.103.
3:39 am on Mar 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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64.233.179.104 is not a USA results ip so I do not watch it. Not sure if that is caffeine or not as it is for some other country.

brinked, thanks for that info, I have not been watching on the weekends so I guess this is normal.
5:02 am on Mar 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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64.233.179.104 is not a USA results ip so I do not watch it. Not sure if that is caffeine or not as it is for some other country.


Uh, that IP serves me quite often and I'm in the US, Utah to be exact. Furthermore, it's a DC that MC mentions often to watch for changes (not necessarily for caffeine though).
5:05 am on Mar 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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74.125.95.132 is again showing strange (to me) results.

They were clearly caffeine during the week, as they were last week.

Seems that over the weekend they are not caffeine, just like last weekend.

Ok, that coincides with hypothesis by brinked that they are turning off caffeine on weekends. But 74.125.95.132 is not the normal serps either. Does that mean anything?
5:29 am on Mar 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Yes, it means the end of the world because facebook is now getting all of Googles traffic ;)
5:58 am on Mar 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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74.125.95.132 is indeed Caffeine and it's Sunday?! :) Draw your own conclusions.

And LOL SEOPTI...If Facebook was only a search engine as well we'd be talking but G obviously should still be concerned.
6:45 am on Mar 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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74.125.95.132 is indeed Caffeine


You sure about that? They look slightly different than the caffeine results have been for me.

Will be interested to see if they change on Monday.
2:19 pm on Mar 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I looked at 74.125.95.132 and 209.85.225.103 and it seems to be a third version of SERP. The number of competitive sites for a keyword is not the same as the regular Google.com or what I see on 209.85.225.103 when it has Caffeine results. The rankings are also a little different than what I see on Caffeine.
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