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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]

9:03 am on May 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member beedeedubbleu is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



I've never even suspected that Google would ruin their search engine just to boost Adwords revenues. A poor search engine doesn't get visitors.

It may do if it is Google and people are not aware that there are alternatives. Bing's results are as good as G's but they are getting nowhere fast. G makes the rules it seems.

Where searching for description tags in Google doesn't even bring my site in the results.

The description tag has not been indexed for a loooong time. They tell you this in websmaster guidelines.
9:10 am on May 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Ok so good to know that i'm starting to pick up on some patterns woohooo!
Thanks dusky.

So I had a bit of confusion here as to wether we should leave description tags in or remove them totally. Reason being is that if decription tags are in and Google no longer uses them as a form of "ranking", will that detract from the content on the site? i.e. will it pull description tag and ignore content?

I take it this means we need alot more content now!
9:26 am on May 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I've never even suspected that Google would ruin their search engine just to boost Adwords revenues. A poor search engine doesn't get visitors.


Why is everyone saying "oh, Google would never damage it's SERPS to increase ad clicks"? Have you looked at the sponsored ads sections these days? For commercial searches they are pretty relevant now! PPC is the new Google search engine for commercial searches and you can still (sort of) find the other stuff if you know what to type.

The top 3 paid results for most searches are very relevant and are listed in the top 3 spots. Messing with the organic stuff underneath to offer "alternative themes" simply ensures that people click those very relevant three listings.

It may do if it is Google and people are not aware that there are alternatives.


Many, many people are not even aware that the top 3 listings are paid for. Several people I've talked to thought they were just highlighted because they were the best options - "the adverts are off to the right aren't they?" Go and ask a few regular folks on the street about how they interact with Google. For commercial searches they think they are getting relevant results. For non-commercial searches they ask their Facebook friends the answer because it's something to say other than "enjoying my dinner".

But I agree with your statement. In the UK I believe Google have something like a 98% market share or something ridiculous like that.

[edited by: tedster at 5:03 pm (utc) on May 20, 2010]

11:10 am on May 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



I wonder how Caffeine will affect established content sites that use that are designed primarily to generate Adsense income for themselves. I just saw a news story about a top rated ezine article (ahem) site that is building a four story office building and adding up to 200 more employees because of recent success with their ezine site. The site is the absolute worst abuser of using too many Adsense units per page - a total of SIX or SEVEN in most cases, well beyond the Google prescribed three units. Their current key to success is having loads of user generated content and finely tuned mete tags. So, if their site is squeezed through the Gorg's new coffee filter, what comes out may not be pretty.
11:22 am on May 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



adding up to 200 more employees because of recent success... key to success is having loads of user generated content and finely tuned mete tags

What on earth do you need 200 employees for if its all UGC and metatags?

Apart from that, "too big to fail" springs to mind.

Also, if I had eyeballs enough to employ 200+ people, I would be selling advertising space, not publishing adsense
1:04 pm on May 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Why is everyone saying "oh, Google would never damage it's SERPS to increase ad clicks"? Have you looked at the sponsored ads sections these days? For commercial searches they are pretty relevant now! PPC is the new Google search engine for commercial searches and you can still (sort of) find the other stuff if you know what to type.


The Adwords ads are relevant because the advertisers choose the phrases and bid for placement. If they want to show up for searches for "blue widgets," they show up for searches for "blue widgets." There's no algorithm trying to guess what searchers for "blue widgets" might want.
2:09 pm on May 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

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"There's no algorithm trying to guess what searchers for "blue widgets" might want."

Are you sure that google has no system to detect what a user wants for "blue widgets"?
They are putting too much emphasis on user behaviour. All their AI may not have reached a level of perfection but with all the data like clickthrough rate etc, i am sure they are very close to it. After all this is what they are trying to give.
2:45 pm on May 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



If it isn't already in the works, and freejung doesn't work at google, you just gave them some very good ideas.


Well, I don't work at Google, and I seriously doubt any of the speculations in this thread (AI/behavioral targeting, geotargeting, rotating SERPs, deliberately devaluing organic search to boost adwords, whatever the heck whitenight is talking about, etc) are things that Google hasn't already thought about.

Any of these strategies hinge on questions of how to technically implement them and whether they would benefit Google. I wouldn't be at all surprised if some of what we are seeing is just testing a new toy. Why not -- they've got a new infrastructure, the temptation to play with it to see what can be done with it would be overwhelming. A few weeks of chaos while they try out new ideas won't hurt them in the long run, and they could gather vast amounts of data.
2:52 pm on May 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



They are putting too much emphasis on user behaviour.

Exactly. Isn't this much of the reasoning behind the appearance of "personal history" in Google search, and all the other data gathering that they now embrace? Isn't the long term goal to anticipate what that specific user will want? I hate it as it implies we are all as predictable as the sunrise, so we see what they want us to see, because a complex algorithm says it's what they think we want. We're all reduced to mathematical formula. I know these folks are pretty smart but thanks very much, I can figure out what I want. So can you. So can 99+% of most people. Just give us the best results for our queries and we'll take it from there.

........................
3:00 pm on May 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Any of these strategies hinge on questions of how to technically implement them and whether they would benefit Google. I wouldn't be at all surprised if some of what we are seeing is just testing a new toy. Why not -- they've got a new infrastructure, the temptation to play with it to see what can be done with it would be overwhelming.

A little OT, but here's a good example of that:

Mr Schmidt said: "Facial recognition is a good example -- anything we did in that area would be highly, highly planned, discussed and reviewed. When you go through these things, you review your management procedures..."

Read full story: Google debates face recognition technology [ft.com]


.......................
3:05 pm on May 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



The description tag has not been indexed for a loooong time. They tell you this in websmaster guidelines.


Really? Are you referring to the meta description? Mine are "indexed" just fine. Perhaps you meant this is no longer a ranking factor?

I use this to entice click-throughs and yes, having your keywords in the description will help on that front. Think of it like writing ad copy for Adwords.

I've seen people talking about removing the meta descriptions from their sites....why? Google is not the only search engine out there. If Google chooses not to use the meta tags then so be it, but perhaps someone else is using that data. Google isn't going to penalize you for having it, assuming you aren't spamming the tag.
3:15 pm on May 20, 2010 (gmt 0)



Meta decription is flagged up in webmaster tools if you have short description!
3:24 pm on May 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

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also a good point, ohno.
4:07 pm on May 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

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FULL STOP!
Because it pains me to see people so utterly lost in the woods... a brief re-appearance (with full sarcasm in effect.)



Whiteknight's comments are actually spot on. It seems that the only ones commenting on here are the people who are "lost in the woods" as whiteknight stated. The people who are benefiting from this new update are busy working... and getting quite a chuckle reading this very long thread.
4:14 pm on May 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

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The people who are benefiting from this new update are busy working... and getting quite a chuckle reading this very long thread.


giggity giggity
6:03 pm on May 20, 2010 (gmt 0)



"The people who are benefiting from this new update are busy working"

That would be us today then, best day for quite a while. No work required though. Traffic has been improving each day this week after the disaster of last week. No changes made. At this rate we will be back to normal in days. If you think this "update" is over i think you are wrong.
6:48 pm on May 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



If you think this "update" is over i think you are wrong.


You got me there, updates are never over. I should have chosen better phrasing like...

The people who are benefiting from the recent changes are busy working... and getting quite a chuckle reading this very long thread.

Well, that makes post #100 since 2004, better stop goofing off like this and get back at her Eh! :-)
6:49 pm on May 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Ohio,
Update is not over. Most of it is yet to come after google has reindexed pages, backlinks etc.
7:50 pm on May 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



How far do you think Google is in terms of reindexing pages and backlinks?

Have they gotten to 50%?
7:52 pm on May 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Here's another interesting thing to throw into the mix: I'm getting reports that data from Google Analytics has diverged from actual traffic data taken from server logs. This appears to be a widespread phenomenon.

For those whose traffic has changed: are you using GA, and if so have you checked your data against server logs or other traffic monitoring tools? Are you seeing a divergence between GA data and actual server log data?

I'm not personally seeing significant changes in traffic, either in GA or in logs, so I'm not in a position to comment.
8:15 pm on May 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Hello Gouri,
I do not have enough data to even make an intelligent guess but i am confused about one thing. Google has not counted backlinks added in the last 3-4 months for most of our pages but removed the backlinks from webmaster account which were deleted in April second week.
8:15 pm on May 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Are you sure that google has no system to detect what a user wants for "blue widgets"?
They are putting too much emphasis on user behaviour. All their AI may not have reached a level of perfection but with all the data like clickthrough rate etc, i am sure they are very close to it. After all this is what they are trying to give.


Not to beat a dead horse, but I was referring to Adwords, not organic results. I'm running ads for Acme widgets. My ads don't appear when people search for Acme sprockets or ABCompany widgets.
8:20 pm on May 20, 2010 (gmt 0)



freejung, we use GA and another tracking tool. Both showed traffic loss & both are now showing traffic increasing.
8:21 pm on May 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I don't know what to think anymore. Traffic increases one day, decreases the other. Still not getting 1000s of UV/day as I was on March 4th. Getting a little over 100 now.
8:39 pm on May 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Can be an algorithm update or a bug in their machine (maybe Caffeine is not finished,maybe a bug occurred during new index refresh..).I see Google have a forum for webmasters and i think they want to help people with decent sites, their problem is with spammers.You can ask there for a reason,if indeed is a bug maybe someone will fix it.

The fact the number of pages with site: command shows partial number of indexed pages compared with period before Caffeine means Google don't want to show all number of pages (like link: command) or means Caffeine is not finished?
8:52 pm on May 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Just wanted to add to this thread. I just ran a search (in both Chrome, Firefox, not logged in, empty cache) for "adwords keyword tool". It's something I search for all the time in order research adwords keywords.

The top result now points to:

[adwords.google.com...]

Which is an OLD, OLD url that simply redirects to the new URL at:

[adwords.google.com...]

I don't remember the exact dates, but this the old URL is really old, probably 6-12 months old? In any case, I can't remember seeing a link to the old keyword tool in months, and it's obviously not a great search experience.

Not sure what to make of this other than the fact that parts of index seems very out of date? This seems to point to something seriously wrong, rather than just an algo reshuffle.

It would also seem to lend credibility to the reports that some people are having that some "links from the last few months aren't being counted"
10:36 pm on May 20, 2010 (gmt 0)



ackkster

I seem to remember reading something somewhere about that adwords serp thing, but I can't remember where now.

Something about they never did a proper 301 to the new URL or something.

Now it's bugging me that I can't remember. Thanks a lot.
2:34 am on May 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



That would be us today then, best day for quite a while. No work required though. Traffic has been improving each day this week after the disaster of last week.


That's quite heartening..Has anybody else seen an improvement..I'm still stuck where I have been since mid-March..
3:34 am on May 21, 2010 (gmt 0)



My traffic is up one day ( though still lower than normal) and then down the next day across many sites. They explode one day and the crash like crazy the following day. On top of that sites that have moved up the SERPS recently ( in the top 5) show absolutely no improvement in traffic. Just don'tknow what to right now. I've built tons of links to other sites and the SERPS show no movement for like the last 10 days or so. It's getting really frustrating right now on how to proceed. I guess I can just sit back see how this
all settles for a few more weeks.
6:59 am on May 21, 2010 (gmt 0)



I think that Google as a Search Company is no more. Most people which provides content for this mogul don't want to understand that Google has stockholders who are interested in only one thing: money.
So... yes... PPC ads will be showing up more then organic results... you will get ads in streetview one day... you will get ads on their new TV-idea etc etc.
IF you want to be of some kind of relevant factor in the searches the upcoming time? Start advertising, get your site mentioned on socials and as much as possible and that's it.
Off course I HOPE something different but Google is changing (on many points EACH day!)... it would be stupid to think they are caring for the hard work of other companies unless they pay.
The "don't be evil" philosophy died with the search company we used for years.
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