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Google Updates and SERP Changes - October 2010

     

tedster

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]

Robert Charlton

4:09 am on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

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



At least in our industry it'll drive the manufactures nuts as they get calls from end users

Bingo. ;)

I don't think Google wants to be this simplistic, and I have seen evidence that Google is using measurements of, say, searcher satisfaction for what site they return for what query. It's not just brand name co-occurrence.

There are increasingly a number of searches I've done where sites that I've wanted to find first have been returned instead of manufacturers' sites. Let's say these are awesome review sites, so good that's where everybody looks first for product information... and, in comparison, the manufacturers' site are just fluff brochureware.

That said, when you search for [brandname widgets], rather than [brandname modelnamewidget], manufacturers' sites are usually returned first, since Google is assuming, rightly so, that a manufacturer will have the best list.

But I will bet that if, over time, a manufacturer doesn't have the best product list, Google will start sending searchers elsewhere.

SEOPTI

4:55 am on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing less results in the supplemental index. The site:www.example.com/* numbers and the aol numbers have increased. For me it means 20% more visitors.

MC recently mentioned there is only one datacenter with no supplemental results so they probably expand it.

roodle

7:19 am on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



< moved from another location >

Checking rankings last night for a particular site I saw, for a 3-word phrase, I had 3 results in the top 5 (positions 2,3 and 4). I thought it was a glitch. Now checking this morning there are 4 results in the top 5 (positions 1, 2,3 and 4). It also shows the "Show more results from (domain)" link below.

According to Google this isn't supposed to be possible from the same domain is it? I'm sure I read here and elsewhere that no more than 2 results per domain were permitted for any search.

Anyone else seen similar?

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 9:17 am (utc) on Oct 13, 2010]

fred9989

10:16 am on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



No change in SERPs and vanishing or peek-a-boo business seems to be a growing lament in Google forums.

I am also witnessing this and couldn't believe this...not sure what is happening...

One possible reason could be "GOOGLE INSTANT" and the more prominent ad at the top...but I am keeping my fingers crossed :(



I am wondering if this reflects a bug in Google's so-called customized search results. I have a site which appears to be at position 3 in g..gle.com for a highly specific and high volume search term - and should therefore be bringing in large sales - yet nothing, zilch

...and while it would be easy to assume that the cause lies with the buying public, or whatever, I strongly suspect that even though I repeatedly try the search with customization off, and signed out of Google, and with all caches cleared, Google is somehow still presenting my customized search results. This would mean that the option "disable customisations based on search activity" is not functioning.

And to investigate that I am getting the same search done by my contacts around the world just to see how dramatically different - or not - their results are from my optimistic view of my site's prominence. Will report back.

Fred

roodle

10:19 am on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Any other observations along any of these lines?

Just to add to my post above, the actual phrase searched was:

productname companynamepart1 companynamepart2

It just so happens that companynamepart1 and companynamepart2 (2 parts total) are quite generic words, so the above search isn't actually for the company itself. In any case it seems to match what others of you are seeing.

Also, the domain is companyname.(suffix)

I also had a spike yesterday of around 50% more traffic to this site.

HuskyPup

10:48 am on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)



A few months ago I moved a small specialist widget .eu site to a .co.uk, 301d the .eu, the site continued with the same volume of Page Impressions etc therefore I let it lapse.

This week the .co.uk has seen a 400% increase in AdSense Page Impressions and is on the first page for most of its keyword terms.

I'm also seeing my own bigger sites with 2 and 3 results in the top positions whereas it used to be mostly only 1.

Mikey85

10:50 am on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



On oct 8 our site had an organic traffic boost of more then 50%, 2 days later it was gone again...what's that about?

scottsonline

11:36 am on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



@Robert the frustrating part is that in many industries manufacturers don't want communications from end users as they sell through a distribution network. When I buy a music cd I want to see results for sites selling it, not Sony records like I am this week. Semantically google will have to rely on click data over time to determine which way to go but they're going to really hurt a lot of distribution networks by displaying dead end manufacturers pages in the top five spots like this am. One simple measure would be the lack of contact us pages, phone numbers etc.

The change in supplemental pages is noted. For months few pages were being added it seems now the index is growing again? What did Matt explain seopti?

I don't like the idea of a single company getting the top 3-5 spots. That's really bad for consumer choice unless they find a way to indent, mini size the supplemental results.

To note long standing adwords campaigns have seen a big hit this week. It's not seasonal, for some reason we have fallen way back down the pages. I know a competitor friend that has run ads for years just had to dramatically increase his bid. I don't think it's a consumer use change, I think it's SERPS related.

@mikey85. We saw it too. Great conversions, great traffic. Whatever changes were made were undone by Sunday. We are still up in traffic but conversions are down sharply.

Edit to all. Sites doing well this am and yesterday?
Result 1 custombrandxproductxyz
Result 2 brandxproductxyzcustom

There are hundreds of results where one competitor with 5 product pages for each real item is returning in the top 3-5 playing the keyword game. Filters off?

Also for products people putting prices in the meta title seem to be ranking best ymmv

Mikey85

11:51 am on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



@scottsonline, good that you still have your gained traffic, I wish I could say the same...

The day of the traffic increase our site got a new IP, coincidence?

Do you think it's a preview of an algorithm that will roll out upcoming days?

roodle

12:15 pm on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Why the hell don't they just slot in the "Show more results from (domain)" link under the first 2 instead of showing the extra results on page? Seems the most logical thing to do IMO when you only have 10 results per page (for most people).

scottsonline

2:10 pm on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



It's spreading....did searches last night for a pet related subject. This morning I'm seeing the funky results but also am seeing the related items replace the meta description as tab options.

Also noticing something else. Any search term that isncompettive better have at least one keyword in the domain to rank. Junk sites with no traffic that haven't been updated in months are ranking first.

I think this is what caffeine was all about. Constant changes so that there is no clear seo strategy.

tedster

2:33 pm on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

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



@roodle, Google began testing with more than 2 results from a domain back in August - see [webmasterworld.com...]

This is becoming more common, now - as you;ve discovered. You see it when the query shows "navigational intent" - and since the query you're discussing included the company name it would be a good candidate.

In other queries, Google has traditionally used "host crowding" to limit the number of results from any one domain to only two. But even that was a change from their early days.

BaseballGuy

4:36 pm on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)



Not sure if this means anything, but I lost my indented ranking for a keyword this morning. Was #1 in the SERPS with the #2 result being my indented keyword. Now I'm just #1 and #2. Hope this is just a glitch

tedster

4:51 pm on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

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



If you have a second listing at #2, it could *really* be as low as #10 - because Google clusters URLs from the same domain, most of the time. You can try using 20 results per page (or 100) to see where the second listing fell to. It might have only fallen one spot.

HuskyPup

4:52 pm on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)



but I lost my indented ranking for a keyword this morning. Was #1 in the SERPS with the #2 result being my indented keyword.


I'm seeing this for lots of my results now, it looks kinda "strange". I just had to look at one result twice since I wasn't too sure from where Google was pulling it until I looked at the directory structure.

backdraft7

5:48 pm on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



Wow - another shuffle in the SERPS in the last 24 hours and it's shut things down again.

scottsonline

6:13 pm on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



@backdraft we went from dozens of g orders a day to a handful. Search terms per analytics where we were ranked in the top 2-3 were now gone. I've never even heard of half the firms in the first spot most are Chinese knockoffs

We dropped about 50% today, how about you? At the same time they seem to be playing with product search and all three displayed are from the same firm. So right now the top six spots are dominated by two firms in many cases. Not well done.

mromero

6:41 pm on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I am seeing funky results. Checking from Google in my country gives me government and government controlled websites in the top three positions.

Checking from a known Caffeine Center shows the usual Wikipedia at the top and a government controlled website followed by independent portals.

Checking Google Canada shows a government controlled website followed by the ever-present Wikipedia then independent (read free from government control) websites.

I cannot imagine what checking from other parts of the world / data centers will yield.

I am making it a habit to NOT click Wikipedia....

scottsonline

7:42 pm on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Absolutely stunning. Heres some numbers from us and one of our friendly competitors:

10/6 to 10/13 traffic down 43% from google
10/6 to 10/13 conversions down 68% from google

Us
10/6 to 10/13 google traffic down 30%
conversions down 46% on google traffic

All the good traffic is gone, we are left with the junk.

I can see what's changed, branded traffic has been cut in half.

tedster

8:05 pm on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

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



Checking from a known Caffeine Center

Just a note - Google is completely switched over now. There is only the Caffeine infrastructure for search results.

scottsonline

12:35 am on Oct 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Was talking to the vp of one of our major brands. Their traffic is thru the roof so much so that they rolled out a backup server yet orders are down from resellers. They don't sell to end users so the traffic does them no good. I'm thinking maybe this is on their end, that they should no index pages etc.

Anyway traffic ended up down 18% from google, up 36% from bing and about 25% from yahoo. Google cpc impressions were down about the same as g or 22% yet ctr and cpc were both up. So whatever they're doing probably won't last long as in two days in the wild in my niche it's leading to much lower g traffic but more importantly impressions and clicks are down for the cash cow.

indyank

3:43 am on Oct 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



I can see what's changed, branded traffic has been cut in half.


This had been so ever since google started giving more importance to brands and started showing results from the same domain.There were a few threads that discussed this. I don't think it is something new, that is happening only this october.may be they have rolled this out in your niche only recently.

Robert Charlton

6:36 am on Oct 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

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



@Robert the frustrating part is that in many industries manufacturers don't want communications from end users as they sell through a distribution network.

scottsonline - When I said that I didn't think that Google wanted to be this simplistic, I wasn't disagreeing with your point.... I was agreeing with it. I'd like to think that if this isn't what users want, and in some cases I'm sure it isn't, then Google will back off the prominence that branding is being given.

It may, though, be like the testing they did on Universal, where it took them a while to dial down the effect. The branding effect, btw, doesn't seem to have happened everywhere, at least not yet.

scottsonline

12:08 pm on Oct 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



@Indy and Robert , understood.

Also, it hasnt effected all brands. There are several where little seems to have changed.

The conomdrum going forward for google, they will get clicks on brand manufacturers links but it doesn't mean that's the search people wanted. When I want product stats now on a tv, phone, sporting good, kids bike etc I go to the retailer or etailers site because many of them have presented the data in useful and easy to read ways with important information clearly broken out. Compare your top tech site to say amazon where I have to scroll all over a giant page to get anything (not a manufacturer throwing it in because they are back to ranking near the top).

Google seems to have forgotten that they're doing a disservice to searchers by putting some brands first. If sony wants to be first let the organize their site in an efficient manner like best buy etc, dont put them above bb just because they're Sony.

backdraft7

12:55 pm on Oct 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



@Scotts - We're still seeing what look like "outages" and some changes to the SERPS like wikipedia results going back to the top of the page. If I want a wiki result, I'll ask for by adding "wiki" to my search. I also see the "images" block moving up to position #2. Again, if I want images results, I click the "images" selector. Why is Google force feeding us stuff we do not want or need? This looks like experimentation. I hope they stop this endless cycle of changes before the holidays...do it next summer.

scottsonline

4:07 pm on Oct 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



@backdraft today we see the top 5-6 results being from what was once the top two. I have no idea what they're doing.

The final adwords numbers are telling, impressions down 25%, cpc up about 35%, conversions terrible. Adwords has been most useful in showing clear changes on major keyword sets.

We aren't seeing wiki because we deal in products but amazon is ranking near the top again. Conversions this week are attrocious from google

indyank

4:51 pm on Oct 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



@scottsonline, if you are aiming to rank for a "brandname" + keyword ("apple iphone"), then you are being hit by the recent changes that gives more weight to original sites and you will have to live with it.

scottsonline

5:24 pm on Oct 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



@Indy correct. Google now sends people to dead end pages where:

They can get no further information, cannot contact the site in any way or make a purchase.

The problem isn't the new branding change. The problem is consumers routinely would click on the 2, 3 or 4th result knowing this especially experienced buyers.the problem is #2 is now 4th or 5th and 4th is now 6th with the third unique site often starting at spot 7 or 8. Instead of increasing diversity they just wiped that out.

It doesn't appear to be an algo change as much as a display change

maximillianos

5:33 pm on Oct 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Why do you even have dead end pages? That seems counter productive.

tedster

5:55 pm on Oct 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

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



I just got one of those SERPs with 5 positions from the same domain - BUT position #4 was taken by a "Related Searches" block. Up to now I've only seen that at the bottom.

[edited by: tedster at 8:08 pm (utc) on Oct 14, 2010]

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