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Google Updates and SERP Changes - October 2010

     
8:22 pm on Sep 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

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< 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]

4:02 pm on Oct 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

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@Tedster
If you are even reading this thread in the first place, you still have the spark. So let's get out there, be smart, and win

I went to see The Social Network [imdb.com] over the weekend with my kids and once again realized as Tedster says, "Let's get out there, be smart, and win".

So, we all should suck it up, and get done what needs to be done to succeed. ;)

P.S. Succeed is relative
5:44 pm on Oct 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

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How many Octobers have we heard this crap ? It seems to go back so many years. The question that has to be asked is a basic business one ... Is Google still worth bothering with if you are small ? Personally I find more sales come from Facebook promotions and Publishing our Special Offers in Press Releases and one to one contact.

This month, we made more contracting a parallel thinker to find new avenues of sales ... more, as in 300%
6:11 pm on Oct 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

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The changes on my R&D site are due to the launch of Google Instant.

Traffic to well-ranked pages is up and traffic to long-tail pages is down for a slight gain overall. The auto-fill is changing search patterns by diverting searchers to the more popular phrases.
7:41 pm on Oct 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Im of the view that googles changes this month are irrelevant.

With my current plans I couldnt care less about this update.

Im just link spamming as many of my domains as I possibly can.

My main site has dropped to position 7 now from 4 - despite 4 months of white hat work - the day before yesterday - so ive got nothing more to lose.

Ive got over 1,000,000 blogs to spam :)
9:55 pm on Oct 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

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If you are even reading this thread in the first place, you still have the spark. So let's get out there, be smart, and win.


How do you "be smart" when you don't know what the new rules are? Is Brett Tabke's "12 months" guide out of date? If so, what are the new rules?

I just had a phrase that I've had ranked at #5 to #8 for at least five years go to #36. There are some sites more worthy of first page rankings on page one, but there's a lot of stuff that's completely irrelevant between #10 and #36.

Today I was trying to find a service that converts super 8 movie film to DVD, as I have some movies from the 1970's I'd like to preserve. I did all sorts of searches using all sorts of phrases, but the results kept showing me sites that had products to convert various digital formats to DVD. I got frustrated and went to Bing.

Interestingly enough, while Google's results were useless, the Google Adwords ads were spot on. Every one was for a company that made DVD's from old movies.
10:12 pm on Oct 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Holiday SERPS are starting to kick, the annual boost in ranking for Christmas retailers has started. We sell Christmas lights and our content is the same all year long, and every October we see the SERPS change and give a boost in rankings to keywords and we just saw that happen today for all our holiday lighting terms.
10:32 pm on Oct 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Google's interest are the users, not webmasters.

Google's interests are the shareholders, not the users or webmasters.
10:38 pm on Oct 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Google's interests are the shareholders, not the users or webmasters.


If their interests are the shareholders, then they care about users and websmasters.
10:59 pm on Oct 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

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The personal webmaster support is non-existent so how can you tell they care about webmasters? (example: no adsense support)

The personal customer support is almost non-existent so how can you tell they care about customers? (example: no adwords support).

They care about machines, algorithms and automation. This means profit and profit makes their shareholders happy.

Look at all the Google Gorups (I call them pseudo support groups) and the top contributors (workers who won't get paid). I don't know how often a Google employee posts there, probably twice a year within a group? All this is profit.
11:26 pm on Oct 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Google's interests are the shareholders, not the users or webmasters.
Many of us are all three!
12:27 am on Oct 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

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How do you "be smart" when you don't know what the new rules are?

I think that's why "get out there" comes before "be smart" in that quote. First you have to get your hands dirty, then you figure out how to be smart...
12:31 am on Oct 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

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If their interests are the shareholders, then they care about users and websmasters.

That's like saying if mortgage lenders' interests are their shareholders then they care about the people buying houses. We all know how that turned out.
1:00 am on Oct 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Okay, I care about Oktoberfest and German beer :) In the meantime Google will define a new world order.
1:09 am on Oct 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Looks like Google has you all pretty baffled, that's most likely their goal.
2:06 am on Oct 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I agree they seem to be moving towards a model that is less susceptible to manipulation. Or at the very least it is difficult to reverse engineer.
2:52 am on Oct 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Looks like Google has you all pretty baffled, that's most likely their goal.


Not giving the customer what he or she is trying to find isn't a goal, it's an invitation to being overtaken by a competitor.
4:30 am on Oct 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

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The good thing is about these bad SERRP's is that if you rank 4,5 or 6 and you have a good title and description, you have a better chance at conversion. Because people are now looking past number one and two.

I also see more Bing traffic in the stats than I ever have.
4:44 am on Oct 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Here's what I know since this new update:

1. For industries that have a parent company and then thousands of distributors, simple XML imports now work again. IE, up until Mayday and whatever they release recently if you simply were one of 1,000 posting the straight feed provided by the vendor you were hit with the duplicate content filter and dismissed. It now works again to setup a new site www.thebrandinquestionstuff.com and post an xml file...Google will rank you #1 in many cases even though 5,000 other sites have the same exact text. Typing in descriptions written by real people - forget the waste of time.

2. Huge stores win, period. Amazon and the rest will dominate all other things equal. They have more pages, are more important, pay bigger dollars to advertising and win.

3. Adwords is a joke. Trying to setup ads for the long tail we lost...cannot do it. "not enough search volume" and those keywords are deactivated. Are you shi**ing me? I can't buy keywords until they are more competitive? What Google wants is everyone paying $8 a click for generic terms clicked on by competitors that generate crap traffic. They don't want us being able to buy terms that will actually make us, AND them money. They broke up Microsoft for developing an unbeatable (at the time) OS, yet millions of us must buy advertisements where we don't know who we're bidding against, what they are willing to pay, or what the real value of the bids are. I have a real hard time believing our smaller competitors are willing to pay $13 a click on a $100 order when there's only $20 in profit if all 100% ordered but that's what Adwords would have me believe. Odd.

4. Google instant has nothing to do with user friendliness, it's all about impressions and driving people to key terms via Adwords.

5. Paid text ads win. Period. Buy quality text ads or lose. I'm not sure I really have a problem with this, but it seems pretty clear from our own analytics that one competitor buying one high PR text link can demolish traffic within a few weeks.

6. Keyword domains paid for by companies that freely disclose they are mirrors - win. Plain and simple, this filter has been turned down. For the few hundred bucks it costs to setup a domain for www.brandabcdefgstuff.com and populate it with a simple XML file from your distributors - it works. We're knocked out repeatedly on less competitive terms by the 3rd, 4th, sometimes tenth site run by competitors and the funny thing is they've outed themselves by freely declaring they are all from the same source via header or footer links. They may have the same product listed under 5 different keyword combos on a single site, and have it listed on ten of their sites, but they will still hog up to 40% of the top 10 results. It's a big joke.

So if I follow the instructions of the spam guru from Google and maintain one site, don't buy text ads, and only create a single page for each product I will go bankrupt as everyone else cheats. Of course I can pay $13 a click for a product that costs $6 and "win" that way. In our industry only about 30% of all pages are being indexed and what's happening is the category pages win. It's a terrible user experience, a thousand times worse than pre-caffeine/mayday. I have no idea what they are doing.

Oh, and I forgot # 7, "sites that may harm my computer" is a badge of honor and may get you a top 3 result in the new google. Astounding. They know it's malware, but still rank it high.
7:45 am on Oct 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

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For all who replied to my "Google's interest are the users, not webmasters." saying it's the shareholders (or owners), of course I agree, that's the fundamental interest of all companies, so I assume we don't have to discuss this point. But the key to their success, above all, lies with pleasing their users, the searchers. Yes, playing nice with webmasters is highly recommended, but it's pretty far behind.
8:15 am on Oct 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Here's what I know since this new update:


Nice rant! :-)

Seriously though, one of my competitors has a mirror site and has been at #1 for 2 solid years seemingly soley due to that. This also goes for the site at the #2 spot. I reported both sites 2 years ago and nothing has changed. Both sites are horribly designed and out of date. I seriously doubt they convert much traffic so why are they allowed to stay? Does this sort of site drive more people to click the adwords to get what they want? Probably. It's all about the percentages I guess.
8:41 am on Oct 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Hi,

SERP and google results may vary according to search criteria, it will vary with specific region targeted site or with geographic targeted site. It is also affected by domain, traffic.
11:17 am on Oct 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Seeing some very strange results indeed... sites listed twice in SERPs on competitive terms - not indented as a relevant page within the site - listed twice!

Something is brewing...
12:14 pm on Oct 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

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@Jez123 - Same thing here...a competitor put up a second site over a year ago, virtually the same content. It was reported dozens of times, just to see if G really acts on those WMGL's, but they don't, not immediately that's for sure. I do notice they are starting to separate but a few positions, and I figure eventually one or the other will be dropped, if not both.
Last two days have been great for us, as things seem to be settling out in our niche. FINALLY! Keep the faith!
12:34 pm on Oct 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

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@backdraft7 - My competitors mirror sites are exact copies as far as I can tell.

It did get a bit better for me last week but since Sunday I have had 2 enquiries through the website and they were both returning customers. Traffic remains a bit, but not much, below average for the time of year. Oddest thing I have ever experienced with google in my 10 years of dealing with them.
1:23 pm on Oct 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

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One of my theories is that the Chinese did a lot more than access a gmail account or two last December. Maybe Hu Jintao is playing with levers and switches as we speak lol.
1:43 pm on Oct 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Talking about webmaster love from Google. In webmaster tools under search queries, you can now view your ranking changes by percent whether good or bad. Finally, something useful that will help ranking.
2:12 pm on Oct 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Talking about webmaster love from Google. In webmaster tools under search queries, you can now view your ranking changes by percent whether good or bad. Finally, something useful that will help ranking.


Now THAT is a cool feature! Instantly quantify the changes. See? Google's not all bad. In fact, I think these SERP changes are beginning to sort out and our white hat content is now paying off. Notice I don't say white hat SEO. Happily my SEO days are over. Now it's content created for users and improved conversion.
2:32 pm on Oct 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Hmm. I have a fairly new site. The SEs have known about it since 28th August 2010.

From around the 15th Sept, Google started sending me traffic on 'random' long tails (i.e. things which I wouldn't have targetted when doing keyword research). Not much, but the standard trickle for a new site.

Then on the 24th Sept it completely stopped. No traffic from Google at all.

But since yesterday/early today it seems like Google have flicked a switch or something lol. I'm getting traffic from 'text' SERPs, image SERPs etc. The Googlebot is also crawling my site *loads* (it's crawled me more in the past 5 days than it did in all of September)

It might just be the standard 'new site' thing that Google does, but has anyone else noticed Google being more 'active' recently?

I definitely agree with the OP in that it feels like something's recently changed... or at least is about to.
2:47 pm on Oct 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I'm loving the new info in WMT. Specially right after our big launch.
3:37 pm on Oct 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I think that the decrease in traffic that I have experienced recently can largely be attributed to the introduction of "Instant Search".

In my view, Instant search has changed user behaviour in two significant ways:

a) The number of "long tail" searches is down because users don't have time to finish typing as they are already "surrounded" by seemingly relevant results;

b) Users are less likely to scroll down in the results pages because Google has changed the page behaviour so that using the "Down Arrow" nn longer causes the page to scroll down, rather it moves an "Arrow / Pointer"

The net effect of these two factors is to concentrate the traffic into highly competitive short (one - two word) phrases and within that result set, to concentrate the traffic to those results above the fold.

I would imagine that this will increase adwords sales, will benefit a small number of major players in key markets but it certainly is not helping me:(

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