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2: Google MAYDAY Update - SERP Changes May 2010

   
10:22 pm on May 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

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

Puh, this is really strange: I still see 2 resultsets - and after 7 days I can say that SERPs #1 are shown from right at 0am to about 5am local time and SERPs #2 the rest of the day. I thought this was some kind of dancing around again but it seems to be quite stable now for 1 week.

Funny thing is: SERPs #1 are better then before, SERPs #2 are worse (in rankings of main keywords).

Google is no longer following my robots.txt file. It has indexed hundreds of pages that I have disallowed.

Same here, got a complete set of new pages with robots=noindex in the index.

Generally it's best to make any changes when SERPs are stable, never within an update due to panic!

In general I would agree, but I haven't seen something like "stable SERPs" since January... This makes it quite hard not to panic ;-)

[edited by: tedster at 7:43 pm (utc) on May 13, 2010]

11:06 am on May 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

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@Andylew have you found that pages have been dropped from the index and then come back?


I dont have enough data to tell wether these are newly indexd pages or pages that were indexed in april with recovered positions. But something major happened on the 10th for certain but not across all countries.

Also just checked image searches, never got any significant impressions for image searches (tens of impressions per day) but impressions shot through the roof on the 10th aswell (now getting several thousand impressions consistently per day since 10th, happened overnight across all countries) still dont get many clicks from that though!
11:09 am on May 19, 2010 (gmt 0)



Strange, the cache date for 'new pages in the past 24hrs' is anywhere from 2-3-4-5-6 to a week old.
12:17 pm on May 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

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All searches - cookies cleared, not logged in

Google.co.uk, from: UK South East

1. dog-obedience-training-review.com
2. k9obedience.co.uk
3. wiki

Google.com, From: UK South East,

1. dog-obedience-training-review.com
2. pupdogtraining.com
3. dogproblems.com

5. wiki

Google.com, from Croatia

1. dog-obedience-training-review.com
2. pupdogtraining.com
3. dogproblems.com

5. wiki

Google.hr, from Croatia

1. dog-obedience-training-review.com
2. pupdogtraining.com
3. fredogtraininginfo.com

5. dogproblems.com
6. wiki
1:12 pm on May 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Google.co.uk, firefox, Birmingham UK:

1. dog-behavior-training.co.uk
2. k9obedience.co.uk/
3. wikipedia.org
- LOCAL MAP
4. dog-obedience-training-review.com
1:23 pm on May 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Strange, the cache date for 'new pages in the past 24hrs' is anywhere from 2-3-4-5-6 to a week old.


Maybe they lost the reference to where the data is rather than the data itself. So when the reconstruct the references they are being put into 'last 24 hours', but the cache and the index is the original one.
1:27 pm on May 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



I'm just jumping on this thread...after 10 years of steady daily sales, yesterday I had the first ZERO sales day ever. So, my first stop is webmaster world to see what's up. My positions all appear unchanged, and yesterday my traffic looked normal (awstats) but no sales, which is very odd. I did notice that google has 11300+28 hits and 576Mb of bandwidth, last visit on May 10 - 7:01. I am wondering if all my traffic is from Googlebot alone?
Here's another interest observation. I had no sales all day yesterday, then at 12:15am I get two sales within 5 minutes, the first from Karachi, Pakistan, the a second from the United Arab Emirates...huh?
This never happens. If I didn't know better, I'd say only non-English speaking countries are seeing my site. I'm lost! Any suggestions for diagnosing this further?
1:28 pm on May 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



@plan_d - i would do a head request to see if I get a 200 OK code back rather than fetching the whole net again...
1:39 pm on May 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

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@pontifex I guess that is what you would do if you were planning the whole thing. But could it be that

1. the increased crawling is because under its normal operation the system sees that there are lots of missing pages so they need to be crawled (and urgently because they should already be in system)
2. someone is seperately trying to sort out a data problem with missing references to indexes of pages, hence they are being put back into the past 24hrs slot.
1:40 pm on May 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I run SEO for many sites in South Africa. There's 3 things I noticed with LOCAL search which I'm not sure has been discussed...

1. They removed the local only search option i.e. pages from South Africa, on the home page. This means, that 100% of the searches done in South Africa will result in people getting very mixed search results i.e. Wikipedia, companies overseas and then local companies. THIS has resulted in a traffic decrease of over 25% on most of my client sites (including the ones whose rankings haven't dropped off)

2. I noticed that Google has put so much influence on the ONPAGE ranking and removed the necessity for META DATA. i.e. TITLE tags with 2 worded keywords are ranking 1st for keywords like "Life insurance".

3. META description tags are no longer indexed in the Google index? Does this mean that Google no longer has a META DATA base? I've literraly searched for META descriptions of over 10 of my sites and they're not indexed, content however ranks 100%...

4. Sites with poor internal linking DROPPED right off!
1:40 pm on May 19, 2010 (gmt 0)



@backdraft7. Our sales are better this week than last, however we see what you see-no sale sthen bam! Sales. It really is like the traffic is switched on then off.I see a few are reporting this week is bad, last weeks was worse for us. What is weird is our .com site is doing better than the .co.uk. (similar products but .com is more niche) That is the FIRST time that has happened since we started out nearly 10 years ago.
1:43 pm on May 19, 2010 (gmt 0)



btw, just had this email........

Google I/O 2010 kicks off today in San Francisco bringing together thousands of developers for two days of deep technical talk, announcements and geek mayhem that you won't want to miss!

Watch Live Today & Tomorrow at [LIVE.WebProNews.com...]
1:53 pm on May 19, 2010 (gmt 0)



Interesting video...........

Europe next!

[live.webpronews.com...]
2:04 pm on May 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Google I/O 2010 kicks off today

I'm nearly 3,000 miles away but would love to be there to ask this one question:

"WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON?"

If any of our friends here can get in, I sure hope someone will ask a direct question to someone at Google who should know the answer.

Oh, and don't be at all surprised if their PR experts (Public Relations, not Page Rank!) have taught them well how to answer without saying anything. So if a Q&A session happens, and you actually get a straight answer to your straight question, please report back -- it will be the first message we receive from Mt Olympus.

................
2:15 pm on May 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



How about we keep on topic...

ohno - historically this is the absolute worst week of the year for us sales wise, but it is obvious that something very strange is going on with the SERPS. I'm checking keywords across the board, yet nothing seems to have changed, and traffic seems to be there, but it seem it's all bots. not bodies.

I also tried the multi data center tools and none of those seem to work anymore. I'm really afraid of what this might mean for my business. We can only hang on and hope for the best.
2:29 pm on May 19, 2010 (gmt 0)



Hang in there. Things are far from normal right now so IMO things can only get better. I for one will not panick until we know it is all finished(whatever "it" is!). In the mean time i'm using the spare time to update content, check meta description in webmaster tools etc etc.
2:44 pm on May 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



ohno - that's pretty much what I need to do too. That and walk away for a while. I've been in business for 10 years and there have only been 2 zero sales days, one in May 2005, one in May 2007 and now another in May 2010 (see the pattern?). I get about 2500 uniques per day, so when my conversion is zero, I know "supthin's up" - I also have a doorbell monitor on my site that give me constant audio feedback, so I can hear when things are not normal.

I can also see my competitors sales, and his are usually 1 for my 10. Now, in one day that has reversed and he's 10 sales to my 1, even though the SERPS have not changed. I've never seen this happen before.
Things are definitely far from normal.

BTW, I know things change, but this is really odd.

If anyone has any suggestions for more checking, please advise.
2:58 pm on May 19, 2010 (gmt 0)



OT-how do you know your competitors sales?!
3:15 pm on May 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



Ohno - I PM'ed you.
3:17 pm on May 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Matt cutts interview on webpro is very telling "there isnt a problem" and "its ok if search results are good 90% of the time" So the 10% would be may then!
3:21 pm on May 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member




ideally there should only be one particular set of results.


I'm beginning to think Google disagrees with you about that.

Consider this: there is only room for 10 sites in the traditional first page organic SERPs. However, Google has been steadily moving toward cramming more and more onto the first page: local results, more image results, news, social etc. Now we're seeing this radical fluctuation of the top results between different users.

There is another way to get more than 10 sites on the first page. You can pick 20 sites you like, or 30 or whatever, and rotate them.

How does this help Google?

-Results perceived as "fresh" and (possibly) more relevant. If I get different things at different times when I search, I may search more often just to see what else I get.

-In a sense this effectively makes the internet larger, which might benefit Google in the long run.

-Exposure of more adsense sites.

-The instability and uncertainty will drive more serious businesses to use Adwords for the stability and predictability it brings. Uncertainty is bad for business.

Any other reasons you can think of why they would make this sort of shift?
3:22 pm on May 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Matt Cutts Interview now - [live.webpronews.com...]
3:36 pm on May 19, 2010 (gmt 0)



Freejung-some very good points!

That video with Cutts is what i linked to avove. It isn't current-look at the comments dates, nearly a month ago........
3:50 pm on May 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



-Results perceived as "fresh" and (possibly) more relevant. If I get different things at different times when I search, I may search more often just to see what else I get.
-In a sense this effectively makes the internet larger, which might benefit Google in the long run.


Freejung,

What you say makes sense. But there is really a reason why Google wouldn't want to do that. As a search engine, Google strives to offer the most relevant results. One reason why Twitter clutter the results is because Google now wants it to be relevant and timely.

But for evergreen topics (like "dog training"), freshness of links is not something Google would worry about. Apart from webmasters, I doubt if any other folks actually search the same query repeatedly. Even if they do, it is rather likely that results are rotated on querying the keyword the second time rather than show the not-so-relevant third page results on the first page to a first time user.

However considering the recent chaos, I too wonder if Google has started thinking differently.

G* is just trying to look cool. These teenagers..
4:00 pm on May 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



As a search engine, Google strives to offer the most relevant results.

Of course, but what's magic about the number 10? We are so used to thinking in terms of a 10-results first page, but it's really an arbitrary number. In most niches these days, there are probably a lot more than 10 sites that are basically relevant enough for all practical purposes -- that is, the searcher will look at those sites and say "yeah, that's what I was looking for." Given that, why not give more sites exposure?

We all know how much traffic drops off between page 1 and page 2 (especially if you're not #11). Do we really believe that the #8 result is so much better than the #18 result that it deserves to get many times more traffic? Why is that? We have adopted a first-past-the-post, winner-take-all attitude toward SEO because that's how search engines worked, but there is no principled reason why they have to work that way.

Another way of looking at this would be to think of Google as judging not where you deserve to rank, but how much traffic you deserve to get.
4:21 pm on May 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Another advantage to Google of this technique is that it would help the cream to surface faster.

Suppose you have a really fantastic piece of content, something that nearly everyone would agree is better than anything previously published in your niche. Without aggressive link-building, that content might languish for a long time on page 3 or page 5 because of the old paradox: how can you get natural links without rankings, and how can you get rankings without natural links?

The traditional SEO approach to this problem has been to find ways to build "unnatural" links: paid links, link swaps, directories, widgets, linkbait, leveraging business relationships, owning vast networks of content from which you can link to new content, etc.

What Google wants is for people to spontaneously link to content because it is higher quality. But people won't do that if they don't see the content in the first place, and they won't see it in the first place if it doesn't rank.

Rotating results helps to solve this problem. If you're stuck on page 3, now suddenly you have a chance to be on page 1 some of the time. If your content is really fantastic, some of the people who find you that way will link to you, and your content will rise (which means it will be on the first page more often, not necessarily always).

This would encourage innovation and bring good new content to the top much faster, which I would think Google would regard as a good thing.

I bet they've been kicking around this idea for some time now, and only with Caffeine do they have the physical infrastructure to implement it on a broad scale in the way that they want to do it.
4:27 pm on May 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



i suppose its impossible to stop the results going stale after a while. the sites on the first page are always going to get more traffic and hence more links. if you base the serps on both of those, then it's hard for the new and better sites to dislodge them.

it's a bit like going down the pub. you know that the one down your road is useless, but you can't be bothered to walk to the best one ten miles away. so everyone sees it's busy and comes in too.
the first page of serps is full of useless pubs like that, which everyone ends up visiting. so maybe this shake-up is a good thing (...as long as we eventually end up back on top, of course!)
4:32 pm on May 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



My boss is flipping out about this update that traffic across all of our sites has dropped. We've got over 100 car dealer websites.

My opinion is to let it settle down and see if we come back up in rankings. His opinion is that it's my fault. Of course.

What can we do to bring back the traffic to our sites? Dealer sites are primarily full of car listings so unique content on each page is a bit hard.
4:46 pm on May 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



His opinion is that it's my fault. Of course

Go through this thread, copy some of the many quotes about people's visitors and income dropping off a cliff, paste them into a Word doc. Print it out and tell him these are from some of the most dedicated webmasters in the world. Hopefully he'll see that this is a problem that goes far far beyond you.

.......................
4:47 pm on May 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



Another way of looking at this would be to think of Google as judging not where you deserve to rank, but how much traffic you deserve to get.


Interesting point.

Many of us have been using traffic as a metric rather than ranking for a rather long time. What if Google is using your Query-specific "score" to calculate traffic, with other criteria used to determine "max position".

The worst hit would be long-tail on said scenario, as other "worthy" sites got your previously exclusive traffic a lot of the time (the longer the tail the more "nearly-matches" you get).

Given MC said "no caffeine yet", I'm a bit scared by the current activity. Looks like a major algo change, mid infra-change. Why would they do that?

EDIT- I'm not deleting because I don't beleive in doing that, but I AM correcting. The MC quote was from Tedsters comment on another thread- it turns out it was NOT live, and there is no recent comment on the state of caffeine and/or results

[edited by: Shaddows at 4:56 pm (utc) on May 19, 2010]

4:52 pm on May 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

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So this is the new Google... No problems based on MC's statements. Future doesn't look too good for Google.
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