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Google Updates and SERP Changes - October 2010



8:22 pm on Sep 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

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

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

There are many different kinds of ranking disruptions being reported right now - dropped domain roots, unexplainable traffic spikes and dips. These things often come right before some kind of algo shift. What do you think - is something brewing?

[edited by: tedster at 12:38 pm (utc) on Oct 1, 2010]


2:42 am on Oct 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Tedster suggests there is an algo update rolling out?

Anyone else suspect this?


4:56 am on Oct 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Definitely an update rolling out. I can feel it in my bones.


1:14 pm on Oct 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Search Engine Land reported on this yesterday:


And Matt Cutts on Twitter linked to the above saying:

Just fyi, the right people on our indexing team are resolving the issue that people have reported.

I personally think it's some sort of algo change which caused something to mess up, but it could just be a mistake (and no algo change)?


1:52 pm on Oct 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Google has apparently bitten off more than it can chew...indexing a stack of pages three miles high every second is not necessary and is probably so system resource dependent that one little glitch trips up the entire system. Google should go back the the K.I.S.S. method. Why so many major updates this year? They appear to be trying to leave Bing & Yahoo in the dust, when they were ALREADY in their rear view mirror. The bottom line is that they are now hurting users and webmasters around the world...watch out Google, Bing & Yahoo are gaining fast!

As of 9:45 CST - traffic is completely dead, even though serps all show #1 and #2 positions for 8000+ keywords. How is that possible?


3:18 pm on Oct 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I know there's been an update rolling through. I sense it's done in some sectors but not the others.

Backdraft I agree. Bing/yahoo were non-players a year ago. In one year the percentage of conversions from bing has risen four fold for us. It started around the october 09 update but really took off after mayday.

The war was over and they got a little too convinced they couldn't do anything wrong. Instead of the direction they went I wish they'd cleaned up the default page. Cleaned up product search, blatantly duplicate sites that will rank side by side, etc.

I'm just puzzled. Ancedotal but a bunch of friends were sittig around a fire last night and a buddy with a new iPad was trying to show us all the great things it could do. We had a real hard time finding some basic stuff, results were mixed with spam sites and sites returned that contained the keywords but in weird order with different meanings.

I don't know where its all going. I know from the first time I ever typed google.com way back when I almost always found what I wanted. By early last year it was scary how good they were at returning awesome pages based on basic text searches. Then we heard of them being hacked, we heard of updates, and everything has changed.

Areas of real opportunity are still not being given attention like shopping/products. For some reason amazon seems to get returned for every produc search on the web. I'm pretty sure you could type a description on an amazon feed that read "this is not the page for xyz. We will not sell this to you ever" and it would rank first. Wikipedia will always rank near the top on regular searches even though the information quality seems to be slipping. A wikipedia page that restates a scientific study published ten years earlier online will outrank the original on a big edu type site.

Google 2009 was a 9.5 out of 10 with the .5 reserved for when it was able to type based on my thoughts :). Bing was a 5, yahoo a 3. Now bing and yahoo are a 6.5 and google after this most recent update is about a 7.5 sliding backwards each time.

I half wonder if the reason for the multiple results from one domain per page is a recognition that beyond the first one or two the results go downhill.

I just really hope they get it worked out. My opinions have nothing to do directly with any venture I have online. It's just from a usabilty standpoint the focus seems to have been lost. Ive said this for a long time, instead of chasing down links focus on duplicate sites, clean up images and product search and they will have an engine that nobody can touch.

If we took 100 people that had never heard of the web and pit them in front of a computer in 2009 and said go find some stuff....90% would have preferred google. Do that today and I bet it would be much closer to a 50/50 draw.


3:33 pm on Oct 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

A wikipedia page that restates a scientific study published ten years earlier online will outrank the original on a big edu type site.

No site is an exception these days.I just saw a big spam and scam on an mit edu site.


3:37 pm on Oct 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I recently took a hit to 2 of my sites, both went to around #350 in the serps.

One had been on first page for key term for over a year.

Is there a -350 penalty seems pretty unusual for both sites to go to around the same place and stick there.

One of my sites took a -380 drop in rankings.

I don't think it's anything to do with backlinks at all, as it's not affected my other sites with similar backlinking profiles. I think they've tweaked the algo for on page factors.

As a result my place has been taken in the SERPs by one of those "X-factor" sites - you know, with just four pages, and the home page a really plain thing with just text.

Any algo tweaks to the number of h1 and h2 tags allowed on the home page will not affect those X-factor sites ('cause they hardly have any info on them), and that's why they are rising in the SERPs while sites with a more complicated home page (mainly because we have more stuff to display) are getting hurt.

Am making some changes, and will be able to report in a day or so whether I've been successful.

traffik daddy

6:58 pm on Oct 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

It does kind of look like my longtail traffic has taken a hit but my traffic coming from more shorter phrases have increased in rank. Overall traffic is down as are sales conversions, probably due to losing my longtail keyphrases traffic.

One other note is that over the last few months all of my pages have been disappearing, from 500, to 400, to 300, to 200, before I reached an all time low of 90 pages out of 500 indexed. It was in a really slow decline that was slightly concerning me. This was going off the site: command.

Over the last few days, using site: operator, most of my pages have reappeared.

Not sure if this is relevant, I dont track pagerank that much, but I lost a lot of pagerank on a lot of my pages, most of them have pagerank again. I only noticed this yesterday.


7:16 pm on Oct 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

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

That danged site: operator! I find it's much better to track which URLs are getting search traffic from Google.

If you get traffic, then the page is indexed no matter what site: tells you. And what you really care about, in the long run, is traffic. You can track this by the week and also by the month. Monthly tracking will pick up the lower volume URLs that might not get weekly search traffic because of the terms they rank for.

This kind of data, coupled with the keywords that bring in the traffic, is much more immediately actionable. I don't have time to spare for numbers that are a) buggy and b) don't suggest action.


7:23 pm on Oct 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

One of my keywords took an enormous jump this morning. From position 7 to 2! 2 weeks ago it was at position 3....then it dropped to 7. Then up to 2 today. Perhaps this is a big update.

traffik daddy

8:47 pm on Oct 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yes, I had read that site: operator had become buggy. I wasn't aware how bad it was though, but nonetheless, my pages are showing again now.

Like I say though, it is probably still a little bit early to tell just yet whether this is a good update or a bad one, or it will simply remain the same.

I need to analyse my traffic spikes because like many on here I was going through cycles. Some days was pure UK traffic & conversions up, next day is international traffic & low conversions. This was happening for about 5-6 weeks. How I long for some stability!


5:26 am on Oct 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

May I suggest to retire the site: command? I hope the google gods can here me. Thanks a lot, but this query is nonsense and hell of misleading.

There is a better way. Just submit a sitemap and check webmaster tools. These numbers look a whole lot better.


5:36 am on Oct 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

AlyssaS: sure, the -950 re-ranking penalty is related to semantic.

Use whole sentences and mix in some variables, this is the best advice I can give to beat this beast. Natural semantic is the key to beat this cheap re-ranking patent. This nonsense penalty almost ruined my business a few years ago.

You see, we are 200 years away from AI. They try cheap patents all the time and these patents cause collateral damage.


6:33 am on Oct 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Call me a cynic, but I always look at hurtful Google updates that are undertaken when competitors start to steel market share. I'm still convinced that SEO searches, from industry specialists and website owners checking out their keyword positions, account for more searches than Google have ever accepted. Every time there is a massive stir up we all madly search, looking for clues and up go Google search numbers.

I always think that every 'tweak' or 'update' that Google make gives us valuable insight into their motives for the future.


10:22 am on Oct 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


How can I see if my site is under -950 penalty if Google shows me upto 650 results?



11:04 pm on Oct 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Traffic from bing is up about 50% again and now yahoo is following suit.

Google traffic down about 20% today. Its tough to tell but I'm guessing it's related top 83 results all being from the same sites so clicks from 2 and 3 are down.

I dont know if it's just our site or a major change but the lost google traffic had turned into increased and converting bing/yahoo traffic.

The other odd part of this is cpc costs are really dropping even on ads started Friday.


1:38 am on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

-950 does not mean your URLs are exactly at position -950, you can usually find them at -150 <--> -950


1:47 am on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Thanks SEOPTI, but could be for more than one keyword? Most of my keywords (90%) drop.


2:02 am on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Someone knows if Google fix the index issue?


2:31 am on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Sure for more than one keyword or URL, the -950 re-ranking is site-wide, it always punishes your whole site. But the best part is, if you fix it you will usually come back automatically within 24-72 hours if you know what to do and if the URLs have been recrawled/reindexed.


8:22 am on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I guess that google is only seeing what they want me to see but the SERPs are looking much more like they should. The 2 sites that havve been at #1 and #2 forever, each with duplicate sites linking to them, are dropping and the sites that are a bit more genuine are rising.

Traffic is still very poor (even though I am at #1 for main SERP, or so it seems to me anyway) and business is at an all time low. I am getting orders in small bursts, the bulk of which in one day and then a few more trickle in as the week goes by.

An SEO friend thinks that the cuts in the UK are to blame but I think there is more to it than that. We still don't know anything either way I assume?

Perhaps google have badly timed something that has coincided with a poor economic period anyway. Who knows.


8:38 am on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Jez, a poor economy does not mean your site sees foreign traffic, junk traffic & receives orders in bursts. That smacks of a Google problem all over to me.


8:55 am on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

@ ohno: How is that possible though? How can google control traffic quality?

Whatever way it is, whether it's google or economy or both, it's bad.

I don't think that if it's a google thing that it's a problem - more by design I would say. Maybe it's the only way that they can continue to grow profit wise in this fragile time? Adwords sales must be rocketing.


9:04 am on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

That is the million question! But the sales patterns we have seen since MayDay started this mess off have never been seen before. I don't think they control quality more they send people to your site for search terms that really shouldn't have them there, hence high bounce rates & single page views.


12:25 pm on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

1.30pm, zero phone calls & zero sales. Traffic showing as UP but single page viws/foreign. This is a total joke.


12:34 pm on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

The influx of foreign traffic is always a mystery but it often converts for us. It seems less effected.

Google is controlling traffic. They are not using our analytics presumbably but they are likely using their own click data. This isnt a bad idea if the traffic they sent was good. Instead we all seem to enjoy periods of traffic looking to buy bulk when we sell singles, singles when we sell bulk etc.
I was reading an article last night on the abuse of privacy coupled with somem of the interesting statements of the CEO last year. Removing the authors anti-google bias it's still scary that the apparent intent is to think for us. It's the minority report (movie) but with search engines.

I believe we see traffic altered by the hideous layout changes each day. The push to branding assumes everyone that searches for a washing machine wants to go to the manufacturers site and read about the 15k other products they make instead of to a site that sells it. The move towards 3-5 links per domain at the top is designed to extend clicks in Adwords I'm betting. By forcing people to look further down the page you increase revenue. Brilliant move really.

I've stopped using google in almost all cases for my personal searches. I worry about privacy, I worry about the quality of the sites they send me too. I had one yesterday that was a serp with a click loop that popped a window with something it shouldn't have as the second result. Bing and Ixquick did not have it. Someone figured out they could get to number two and then change the site before google would catch it.

I loved google for the simplicity. That's gone now. I hope they aren't forgetting they got where they are by delivering great SERPS. If they want to think for me they should start with going back to that. I just want the good, clean, choice filled no spam results back. That was the foundation.


1:29 pm on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Same here ohno. Not one order today. Not one enquiry.

That's it for me. No matter what happens now I will move away from google. I will try to find another vehicle as google are too unstable.


1:38 pm on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

I wish it were that simple. Google controls traffic here, that is the sad fact. Demonstrated by this very thread! We've had one sale. Good grief.


1:42 pm on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Hi Jez123,

We have spent 3 months developing our Facebook marketing and it now outplays anything that we've ever had from Google. Because of the interested party factor of the friends system in Facebook, our conversion is very strong. We were converting approximately 10 - 15 sales per day on Google, now converting 3 or so ... Facebook brings us around 35 per publicity release (very good for us).

Last year I was spending 4 hours per day developing content in the hope to attract new visitors, today I release 2 or 3 publicity releases per day and that only takes and hour plus planning time.


1:51 pm on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Sorry, maybe it's me but if i needed to buy say a CD player I would not look on facebook. Am I out of touch? TBH, I do not touch facebook with a bargepole!
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