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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]

3:56 pm on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Buying CDs from facebook makes sense. Think of it this way, all it takes for one person to say they liked "whatever song" from a album. Before you know it, that message can spread like wildfire.

Now, this does not work for every industry. You won't see someone talking about how good their plunger is for their toilet.
4:05 pm on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'll admit our traffic is way up driven mainly by bing/yahoo/ixquick and some others. Google is nearly steady but the traffic is poor. I can't describe it, just not good clicks. For the google traffic there's very little interest in and out clicks. Other sources are converting normally.

IMO in our segment it's this branding idiocy. Our suppliers report record calls, so instead of customers finding resellers they are finding manufacturers.

Is anyone else seeing a daily double digit increase in other engines?
4:29 pm on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

I increased 5 whole visitors comparing this Monday with last Monday. Keep in my mind, my site receives thousands of visitors a day. This is from Google.
4:37 pm on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

@OHNO - not bad so far today, yesterday was great, the two days before dismal. The natural rhythm of traffic has definitely changed since May 18th. @Scotts - I agree on the hideous layout changes. But I see they now have a "change location" setting that might remove some of the geo-location mysteries, or make it more confusing for everyday users.
4:41 pm on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

The worst day in months for us, one sale, terrible, not one phone call all day either.
5:56 pm on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Something has definitely happened at Google. My little site (which has been running for almost 8 years now) has been steadily increasing in visitors for some time now but has pretty much levelled out at anywhere between 400-600 visits per day has suddenly dropped down to something in the region of 80-100 per day over the last few days.

As a result, income from the site has dropped by about 75% in the last week or so.

I've been here before though (something similar happened a few years ago) and I'll just keep plugging on the same way as I always have done.

Just keep making your site the best you can. You can't be held responsible if Google produces rubbish results! That's THEIR problem!
6:39 pm on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Yep would agree with that. When May Day hit we just carried on & bounced back, my concern is the frequency of these "outages" is increasing. Not alot you can do though, one things for sure, if Google alienates it's users with constant issues like this they will vote with their feet sooner or later.
7:07 pm on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Yesterday was a pretty good day, today I am down by 10-15%
7:08 pm on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Our site lost 80% of it's Google Search traffic on October 21st at 3PM PT. I've read of many other sites experience the same thing at the same time. It sounds like sites negatively affected by May Day are back to their pre May Day levels. We didn't benefit hugely from the May Day algo, so I'm not sure why we are losing so much now. But I sure hope Google figures out a way to turn things back, or at least prevents huge impacts like this from happening in the future.
7:08 pm on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Ohno that's exactly it. Obviously they feel pressure knowing that all the others can now get close to them in regular SERPS. They're trying not to be Microsoft with a few core products but nothing new. I just think they're starting to cross lines and the bing ad onslaught is beginning again.

When just searching for an item for the holiday upcoming almost all of the top ten sites were Asian exporters. Scrapers basically. The first domestic seller was on page two.

One other thing I see right now.... Parent company A if huge like say an oil company can give a single link to a subsidiary and that company with that one lone link will rule them all.
7:23 pm on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Locality-that is when it went downhill for us too......
7:58 pm on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

@ohno - usually we are in the same boat, and I'd expect today to be bad, but strangely enough today has been quite good sales wise for us...my serp positions have not changed at all, still all in the top 3, and quality seems to be up the past two days...hope that translates into a better day for you tomorrow.
8:03 pm on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hope so, although I may not be around anyway as my wife is due to gith birth any minute! IIRC a week or so back though we were having a great week while yours was poor so we haven't always tracked each other 100% ;)
8:03 pm on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Ohno what country are you in? Backdraft you are in the uk right?

I'm having a hard time gauging traffic as we removed analytics and I don't like taxing the server during the day but it seems really slow today.
About an hour ago a switch got thrown and g traffic went nuts then died in the space of 20 minutes. We had more visits in 20 minutes than we had all day then not one new googler in the next 35 minutes. Junk traffic unrelated to the business.
8:25 pm on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm in the UK, Backdraft is in the USA ;)
8:32 pm on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

locality & anthem

Exact same thing here. Mine was slightly earlier.... October the 20th, traffic fell off a cliff. Down 80%.

What software you running? Do you have XML feeds?
8:35 pm on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Looks like everything is in flux. I hope it settles in a day or two (and that I'm doing good of course :)
8:51 pm on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Another tweak today. I'm seeing the sites in our niche with the best internal paid links to subcat pages doing well. I think they played with a filter today after lunch.
2:48 am on Oct 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

We've been able to get a slight increase in traffic since MayDay. It was done through lots of hard work. We definitely saw a dip, but then were able to get out of the low point, and back to pretty much normal in terms of traffic.

In terms of keywords, there are still some keywords where if you were to ask 100 people in our niche which site should be #1, there would be no contest. Unfortunately, google has come up with an "alternative algorithm" that rewards us for some keywords, but then is totally inaccurate for others.

It's hard to say we have been penalized since our traffic is back to normal (though LOTS of effort though). My best guess is that there is somewhat of a ceiling google puts on most sites, and because we get so many searches for our brand, they then subtract this from the overall reach we would normally enjoy from keywords.
3:09 am on Oct 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

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

Check out this recent "news": Different Algorithms Can Apply To Different Sites At Different Times [seroundtable.com]
3:50 am on Oct 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Hi dvduval, any tips to share about your experience to be back?
3:56 am on Oct 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

@dvduval same here. Lots of hard work and although my company's site has double the items of last may the traffic is only up a little. Each product has unique content but it doesn't seem to matter. If a big store has that product letter for letter with the manufacturer they will still rank despite the duplicate content. 500 sites can have the same content and that's ok. It's odd.

On page 1 of the SERPS there were 10 results listed for a keyword that generates 1m clicks per google. The average number of paid links for that term was 428 per link tools. The ones ranking highest had php spam pages literally like feedeesxei dot com /fhdhekwi/jdjfu.php which are clearly paid for. They have 6-10 semi related links per page, no adsense ads or any other reason to exist. There are zero navigation links but the network of sites is linked together. Links are in paragraph form. All of the top 5 had these links. 6-10 did not but they had other clearly paid links with usually much greater numbers. It seems to take far more paid footer links, directory links and even direct referral links from trusted pages than it does these spam sites.

The number one has 10k links from 520 domains on one set of keywords.

Sure google will catch them all and devalue the links but at probably 10-50k clicks a day it's worth the risk for a few months.

I found the same linking schemes last week in a friends niche and shared it with a member here. The two industries are unrelated. His industry has a multinational that has thousand of affiliate links pointing back to it at the top.

Comparing that data to bing, the results from bing are different. #1 is 14th in google. They have only higher quality directory type links. #2 is the same way. The rest are the same as google but in different spots.

Two things seem to be going on, new pages are being hit on some sites and the SERPS seem to be open right now to link farmers and affiliate type sites. Seems like the typical filter deal.

On a personal level in doing some searches tonight for a brand of tool I didn't get what I was expecting. I got the Asian exporter sites. One of the items is advertised on tv quite a bit, at sporting events too. The top 4 SERPS were exporters, the 5th a wikipedia article? Then the department store I'd have expected at number 1.

Our traffic hit all time highs today but conversions were near holiday lows.
4:03 am on Oct 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

@Tedster saw your post after mine. That make sense but I think it applies to whole segments at once or can. I say this because I see SERPS moving wildly on terms/segments where we aren't in, nor has anything else changed. They've put sites into the SERPS that are out of business in some cases.

It is all great information and my gut tells me that no matter how smart they are it's impossible to even conceive how the changes will effect every niche at a point in time. In the end thru click data they'll figure it out.

I just read that story on the other site. I haven't gone to the google site yet but that's huge for John Wu to be responding. It's great to have authoritative guidance on what to do.
7:53 am on Oct 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

"Check out this recent "news": Different Algorithms Can Apply To Different Sites At Different Times"

Yeah but Tester quite a bunch of sites did suffer this week, enough for their owners to hit the web and call it an update. Did Google hit a "Run calculations" button? I thought it was pretty much on the fly
8:09 am on Oct 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Right Walkman.

There are sites showing the exact same issue, which happened at the exact same time - big rankings drop. Previously stable, white-hat SEO.....

Google changed something, whether by error or design.
9:07 am on Oct 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Check out this recent "news": Different Algorithms Can Apply To Different Sites At Different Times [seroundtable.com]

With Mayday, particularly in the early stages, I was surprised at just how different. I now see it as a statistical algo, often with sharp cutoff points. I posted this on June 7 on one of the early algo threads... [webmasterworld.com...]

It's as though in different markets and different spots on a serp, different conditions trigger entirely different algos... and there might be one algo for the top half of the serp, and then different algos for each spot after that, with Google perhaps hoping to normalize these as it's tried to do with Universal.

There are very many different situations that can bring about the same effect, and I feel that parts of it are most likely self-calibrating as it evolves.
9:23 am on Oct 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Google changed something, whether by error or design.

Updated content hasn't been appearing on many sites for quite a while, to me a sign that something hasn't been right. I'm hoping that the re-spidering etc we're seeing now is a sign that some problems will be adjusted.
10:30 am on Oct 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Another dead start to the day. If this is how the dice has landed then for us it will be game over.
10:48 am on Oct 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Same here ohno. The worst week yet. This is like it was the first year I lanched the site when I didn't even know how to get my site listed in google. And now I am #1 for my main SERP and top 10 for most of the others. Absolutely crazy.

Here we all are holding our breaths hoping for it to suddenly improve but it's actually getting worse.
11:16 am on Oct 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Snap! Yep, I think it was busier when the site had just been launched. All we can hope is this is a glitch, what with all the issues lately. However as I said if this is how the dice will stay for the Christmas period then we are finised. SERP's still look good for us but traffic still well down on previous weeks going back 2 months.
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