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3:Google Updates and SERP Changes - June 2010

     
7:42 pm on Jun 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

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< continued from [webmasterworld.com...]

I think this is appropriate to this thread as to the condition of G being broke of sorts;

Of sorts?

I have built a site for +3 years around a small segment of specific products and up until June 2nd, did very well with answering every question around those products via my website.

Since June 2nd, I have dropped 80% or more of the google referred traffic to this rather small site (-300 pages) and now when I look at the serp pages, I see top result pages with... literally, 8-10 ad blocks per page!

The page that is filling my #1 void (for a specific branded search) has:

- A Popunder to a screensaver cpa
- Google custom search box
- 3 Adsense link units
- 3 separate adsense blocks
- 2 Chitika ad blocks
- Kontera Infolinks on 8 separate words on the page

The page itself is 327 words... with 4 comments (Wordpress) from readers, and very little reference to the phrase I used to be found for.

The serp's are very broken right now. Or are they?

I think its all just Matt Cutts way of getting people to report spam! LOL

[edited by: tedster at 7:00 pm (utc) on Jun 24, 2010]

9:00 pm on June 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I think its all just Matt Cutts way of getting people to report spam! LOL

Ha! And what good does THAT do?

I've reported spam on the same blatant violator for nearly 3 years, but he's still ranking both his main and duplicate sites consecutively in the serps, usually occupying position 2 and 3 etc.
Why bother, I've yet to see Google take any suggestion and act on it.

From what I can tell, the spam reports and feedback probably just goes to LCD screens in the Google rest rooms for fun & entertaining break time reading.

Seriously though, with a company the size of Google, you think they could afford a department (rather than two interns) to handle a tiny fraction of these reports. Especially the repeat reports, but that would just become another thing for webmasters to manipulate for good or bad.
6:29 pm on June 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Is there any update on your sites folks?
6:38 pm on June 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Terrible Monday, great Tuesday, slow Wednesday & dead today. After last week, terrible. After years of stability sick of this.
6:55 pm on June 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Anyone figure out what in the algo is causing the drop in SERP...

We continue to get links to our sites and have not seen any effect from our efforts.

[edited by: tedster at 7:00 pm (utc) on Jun 24, 2010]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]

7:02 pm on June 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Lots of tweaking, ups and down for no reason. As much as 10-20% a day
7:15 pm on June 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I get the impression that overall serps are not better YET. I do think they have a more powerful method for working with data, but it seems clear there are either technical problems, or just planned tweaks that are not fully implemented.
7:17 pm on June 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I am still seeing an "off and on" effect for receiving targeted visitors. From Sat. evening through Monday morning, 0 orders. Then received 20+ during Monday. Way down on Tuesday, then Wednesday back to a little over half of Mondays total. Today...essentially dead.
7:21 pm on June 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

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tomapple - have you been able to analyze that situation any deeper? For example:

1. Does Google search traffic still stay the same as conversions go up and down?
2. Are your rankings changing to match the apparently poor or good targeting of the traffic?
3. Does the country of the visitor's IP address enter into the picture for you?
8:37 pm on June 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Ted,

Traffic from G does not seem to change enough to warrant the differences in conversions. Google.com as a percentage of referrals - Mon 37.1%, Tues 36.1%, Wed 34.3%

As for ranking...will have to dive deep to see if there is a pattern (as probably 90% of the traffic is long tail and the majority of that would be only 1 visit a day at best)

As to the countries of the visitors - percentage of visitors from USA, Mon 47%, Tues 45.7%, Wed 46.3% (and we are in the USA)
8:59 pm on June 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

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This isn't the first time Google has done this. Adsense covered spam ranking in the top spots has come and gone several times over the years. We don't know the inner workings of Google's Finances and what they might suddenly need a boost in revenue for so explanations of the timing are always speculative at best.

What I'm shocked to be reading is that some people that have been around for ages have not created SPAM sites!

When Google started pulling this nonsense years ago we created several spammy MFA sites with a small ad towards our real site. Now, when Google actually wants relevant SERPS our real site ranks, and when they toss their organic SERPS to the wind our junk sites rank and we maintain a decent revenue status that way.

My advice is to create better spam then your opponent. One of my competitors has more than 100 spam sites set up and he is probably earning more just now than when the SERPS are relevant and his single good site ranks! ;)
9:08 pm on June 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

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What I'm shocked to be reading is that some people that have been around for ages have not created SPAM sites!


mhansen you're seeing more spam, but you're not alone. the feeling is that if you can't beat them you join them, if for no other reason but to expand your 'net property footprint to protect earnings against changes like this. The Mayday update with it's extremely rewarding changes for MASSIVE MASHUP SITES is indeed causing the number of spam sites on the net to increase.

It doesn't take much to create a script that will go and grab ALL content from ANYWHERE so when Google issued the message they would reward this (by ranking them more favorably)... it's happening, be sure of that.

What I've been calling mini-spam is creeping up everywhere too. Mini-spam is subtle and hard to detect but it's on the increase too. Things like a trustworthy news site offering links to their latest stories are seeing changes where those links now lead to a search results page with that story up top forcing a second click. The second click artificially reduces bounce rates, increases page views which pays dividends in earnings (from ad views) as well as serps (lower bounce rate site).... BUT IT'S A SPAMMY TACTIC ANYWAY... and there are many like it.

Mayday is proving to be a disaster to search quality imo. I can't tell you how sick I am of seeing mashup sites that don't even CLEARLY link to the actual site I want to see. (aka, the site they are being rewarded for stealing from).

Thumbs WAY down from this usually pro-Google webmaster. You're not alone in seeing unprecedented numbers of (reputable, big company) spam and mashup sites getting page one. Worse, they shunt the pagerank from these to their non-spammy sites and get a Google approved double boost. What's a lowly webmaster to do when his content boosts the competition more than his own site ?
12:11 am on June 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

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cannot agree more. The sites in our space that have been rewarded since Mayday have been utterly useless article factories or mashup sites.

The really frustrating aspect of all of it is that Mayday was specifically supposed to remove just those sites-- the ones that don't add value, the ones that simply display content found elsewhere, the ones that have nothing novel or worth revisiting. We've clearly seen Google de-index pages on our site that were 'placeholders' or thin in content, which is fine by us, but be fair and do it across the web.

It's fairly clear at this point what to do to 'win' in Mayday, it's also fairly clear that doing so would be a crippling change in and of itself for most established websites without massive resources or the ability to spawn a dozen or so satellite sites focused on garbage. Another way I look at it is that what tthis set of changes has done is favor both the 'upper' and 'lower' class of websites, and crushed the 'middle' class.

I hate to complain, but it's getting insanely aggravating to check SERPs and day after day see sites produced out of India in broken English with nonsense keyword stuffing articles, or malware containing sites that GOOGLE ITSELF has flagged as being dangerous, constantly creeping up in the rankings.

It's been two months since mayday, this is not going to get much better, folks. We must adapt or die.
7:12 am on June 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing that on one phrase I've been trying as test, Google's overzealous spelling correction in the Suggestion Tool has been dialed back... but the tumbler search that scottsonline had mentioned and we'd discussed in the earlier Update thread is still being rewritten.
7:35 am on June 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

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We've had a major shift in referal patterns again.

Just to be clear, when I say "major" I mean, Vince-like. Normally, we see one or two a year. Recently, we have seen them

MayDay Part I
Mayday Part II (around 14th)
June 2
June 23/24

Each of them are "game changers" that would cause a strategic change in SEO practice- a change in how you go about things, not fixable by "fiddling" at a page level.

I'm seeing a lot of "traffic is the same" posts. Is that traffic hitting the same pages, and were you planning on targetting the terms that Google is now matching for you?

Have you tried optimising your conversion process to milk the new traffic? Like a reverse SEM practice- you already hoave the traffic, now you just have to figure out what to do with it?
8:35 am on June 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Still no change but I dont belive there has been a monthly dance since the start of may - im well aware of everflux but still belive a monthly dance still exists as all my data shows such.

So a major algo change at the start of may gave sites a kicking, no dance at the start of june because of caffine launch then caffines new indexing (immediately ranking sites which it deems important) has led to spammy sites at the top - you would not belive how much I have crossed that there will be a major change at the start of July when we should get the first caffine dance.
11:54 am on June 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

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If can't see interim updates, your data does not incorporate a wide enough sample. Just read the boards- a lot of people were affected by one event, but not another. Clearly you have only been caught by the MayDay event, but I can assure you several other datapushes have happened.

Caffeine or no, the algo has shifted several times. Or at least, meta-algo events have been incorporated. Things like adding in penalty alorithms/filters, or changing the auto-correct, auto-suggest or other "evironmental" factors.
12:22 pm on June 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Hi,

Although I don't know if this is related or not but one of my sites took a sharp drop around May 28th and I thing it is related to the end of May start of June changes pre Caffeine. I've noticed that when I do a site: operator search - the home page (which has over 20k links from authority websites) appears on page two - something it didn't previously do prior to that date (was always returned top).

Is this the case for anyone else who has taken a hit? Or is it non related? I would assume that there is less weight placed on the homepage, which is why the rankings dropped and why the page is now returning on page two for a site operator search.

Cheers.
12:29 pm on June 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

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If can't see interim updates, your data does not incorporate a wide enough sample.


We have seen every algo change through may/june come through in our traffic - even with a 80-90% drop as we saw on may 1st our stats are still large enough to notice these. Algo tweaks however have all been acting on pre mayday page information.

In terms of the serps we are seeing april crawl data and algo changes are acting on that data, at some point google has to update its data to the more recently crawled pages. Using 80/20 I belive caffine is updating 20% of the web in near real time and saving 80% for a monthly update.
1:19 pm on June 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

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The biggest change I see from June 21-24th, is in search referred traffic, but the increase from Goog is only 12%.

(I did a range-over-range comparison from June 7-10th to June 21-24th)

SEARCH ONLY referrals...

Yahoo - UP 75.84%
Bing - UP 110.00%
Goog - UP 11.70%

Yahoo and Bing are in line with YOY data at this time of year, Goog is still down 74.11% YOY. Down 78% Month over Month.
4:36 pm on June 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Ha! the one keyword I've been tracking in a spreadsheet for years (the one that's really too broad for my site, which dropped down to #70-80 range at the beginning of June) popped back up to #12 yesterday.

Everything else looks the same for me.
7:01 pm on June 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Some VERY unusual sales patterns today, one keyword which is basically the products model number sold like hot cakes from around 1pm onwards! We haven't sold ANY for days.
7:17 pm on June 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

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We've seen much the same as we did with the late may update. Our long tail traffic (3+ word phrases) is essentially unchanged in both traffic volume and the number of terms driving traffic. What we did see is several medium volume 2 word phrases jump much higher in the rankings. Some terms jumped position 10 to 2 and another higher volume 2 word phrase jump 11 to 6. All in all both the may 28 and june 23-24 updates have left our long tail traffic untouched and actually improved the rankings on our "head" terms.
12:31 am on June 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Been staying quiet working hard to maximize Yahoo and Bing traffic which IS converting.

Comparing 6/24/10 to 6/25/09

Google down 28%
Bing up 77%
Yahoo up 60%
Direct traffic up 57%

Think about that for a second, the other two are up 60-80% on the same work day a year later.

People are flocking away from Google. I can't believe it. I really just don't understand it at all. As Backdraft notes we have a competitor who operates about 25 sites selling products using different keyword combinations. Not only is he not penalized but his rankings improve daily!

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 12:57 am (utc) on Jun 26, 2010]

1:02 am on June 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

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...the home page (which has over 20k links from authority websites)...


Can I ask how you got 20,000 links from authority web site? sounds like it would have been a lot of hard work...
11:55 am on June 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Robert thanks for the edit and explanation!

Friday:

Google down 25%
Bing/MSN up 300% (this is right from GA)
Yahoo up 42%

Versus the same business day last year which is our most accurate metric.

Since I was last posting the shift has been monumental. So what I think is happening is customers have suddenly realized what we were all posting here. The only way to find things that you could once find on Google is through the other two. What's even stranger is some of the conversions this week were from repeat customers searching from yahoo and bing that were ALWAYS google referrals. That to me is most indicative of a busted engine.

As of this morning for a highly coveted keyword product the competitor that runs 22 spam sites is ranked 1-6. The 7th place company is the international office supply firm. This is the effect of the new engine, one company can get 6 top spots running blatant mirrors and a 25 billion dollar behemoth gets bumped from #2 to #6.

For the record we've been running adwords ads and have spent hundreds to lose about $350. The adwords ads are so overpriced for the industry margin we all operate in I can only imagine people are doing it to keep the doors open.
2:42 pm on June 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Yep, have to agree with Bing traffic increasing. We have seen over 100% increase in bing traffic. Its no where near what G used to send us but its still a start and seems like we have over couple hundred words that we are currently ranking 1 to 3 in Bing that we weren't few months back. BING RULES! Never thought the day would come when I would start focusing on other SE's but Google decided to push away millions of sites so here we are :)
3:10 pm on June 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

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This week this year versus this week last year which removes any day to day variation:
Search Referrals:

Google down 27%
Bing/MSN up 83%
Yahoo up 23%
Direct up 57%
Google CPC up 35% (Bingo)

We are running the same ads this past week as we did last year. No changes to anything, exact same bids and ads yet the clicks were way up. That should tell you all you need to know about the current incarnation of Google.
6:42 pm on June 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I have been digging deeper into why our sites have dropped in SERP and the only item that I can point to for the drop in SERP is to IBL and mainly at how much weight G's new algo is giving IBL, it could be that age of link may have even more value than it did in the past or that they are not counting some of the links as they don't know about them...
10:18 pm on June 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

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For this past week compared to the same week one year ago, Google is at 73%, Bing 130%, Yahoo 75% and direct traffic 120%.

Traffic has been down for me all year, which I attribute to a number of factors. If Yahoo were the same, I'd say Google is the problem. G still brings roughly 65% of my traffic, and 84% of the search engine traffic. That hasn't changed.
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