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Google Updates and SERP Changes - November 2010

5:50 am on Nov 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

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

Here is alexa's take on the the oct 21-22 debacle..they do see a significant shift...


but wait, there seems to be one more tweak that happened this friday, oct 29. This could either be a reversal or yet another tweak...google is enjoying the tweak game and one thing for sure, they are trying to achieve something for themselves via the tweaks...

[edited by: tedster at 2:18 pm (utc) on Nov 1, 2010]

12:54 pm on Nov 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

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@Jez - traffic and sales have been OK...knock on wood...for that past dozen days. Still seeing occasionally lulls and off days. Last years was a smooth line, this year it's been a lot of ups & downs.
4:17 pm on Nov 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

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@jez. We are down sharply since the branding thing last week. Everyone is down that we have talked to by about 30% as all our branded searches are gone. Customers end up on dead end manufacturers pages where they cannot get any additional information and cannot buy.

What I see personally is 4 for the manufacturer the one box and actual sellers. So if you were first last week you are 6th today.
5:18 pm on Nov 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I don't seem to be affected by the branding thing. There is no big brand to dominate the SERP. Are you still getting the "zombies" Scottsonline?

@backdraft did you find a gradual increase back to normal levels or was it instant - off and then on? I saw traffic back to normal about a week or so ago but sales and enquiries still well down but this weekend (and today - though today is slower but still some time to go) do seem a lot more hopeful. Or is it just Christmas traffic only to drop off at the end of December? I am fearing January if that's the case!
7:03 pm on Nov 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Jez zombie misdirected traffic. We sell a bunch of major name brand industrial type parts. Google seems lost to understand that not all brands are equal. If a site doesn't have a phone number or email address they probably aren't meant to be first. End users can't even call the sites they're dumping people on.

This is a slow week in the USA anyway. I'm sure google will have a thanksgiving.

I'll move this to another thread but is anyone else finding Adwords roi plummeting with each new change? We get the feeling as serp quality plunges we are seeing drive by adwords clickers.
7:53 pm on Nov 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Why would google think that people shopping want to go to the manufacturer pages anyway. 90% of manufacturers do not sell direct to the public. Are they trying to drive ecommerce sites to do everything through ppc? our roi on most ppc marketing campaigns with google has been negative..
12:29 am on Nov 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Bewenched that's a question for google and one I'd like to see them answer. I think there's a lack of understanding on their part that a lot of b2b takes place offline. Metrics do not supersede common sense with your astute observation. A majority of the searching public isn't looking for the manufacturers site they're looking for a site that sells.

Doing what they are now would be like returning an seo form
As numbers 1-4 when I type in google adwords. (I can't buy from them either)
5:59 am on Nov 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

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2/3 of online sales today were on brand terms. Of those we surveyed all thought it odd google "walled" the pages like they did with the manufacturer site first. They all wasted time clicking on a page that says "for assistance contact your reseller."

On the positive side domain matches are slipping, wiki and amazon don't always rank first for everything. I think they do listen particularly to the data.
10:47 am on Nov 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The discussion of where Google is going and what it is trying to achieve is fascinating, but there's an interesting possibility which maybe we should all contemplate. In among the complexity of the processes and the algos they now use, could it just be that they are actually going to "lose control" of what they have created?

In other words, maybe the assumption that this will all lead to a "good" outcome is wrong; and perhaps, just perhaps, Google has already passed the point of no return in its attempts to create an intention engine. Maybe they are now on an increasingly uncontrolled and uncontrollable spiral of increasing chaos in the results.

And, for those who think Google's results are poor, as indeed in some areas they currently are, it's worth recalling the primary thing that will matter to Google is market share and revenue. As long as that does not decrease there is no reason to think that Google's self-reinforcing behavior (e.g. ever more complex algos and intention analysis) will ever change.

What you see is truly what you get, and will continue to get, and you'd better be ready for more of it.
5:44 pm on Nov 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

I saw an overnight drop in most of my main keywords between the 21st to 22nd with them still not recovered. Only talking about a drop from keywords being 1-3 to being 5-8 but this is a significant drop for my competitive terms, and it was across all 7 of the top keywords I am tracking. Anyone notice anything like this going on?
7:02 pm on Nov 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

Right now I am experiencing a traffic drop which is quite unusual at the beginning of the week for my niche...Korea war breaking news, euro crisis breaking news or Google tweaking its algo?
8:03 pm on Nov 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Starting this friday I am seeing a site I manage lose rankings for 30% or so of the phrases its targetting. The pattern is that a page (and corresponding phrases) gets hit and drops 4-10 slots. Pages were hit on Friday. And then additional pages were hit on Saturday and Sunday. I have not seen any phrases dissappear to 100+ or whatever. For the most part they are dropping from 6 to 12 or from 2 to 7. Their previous rankings were steady for the last 2 months or so.

I am also seeing some other sites I manage gain rankings in the same but opposite manner.

It does not seem to be affecting long tail phrases. Mostly just top level keywords.

Nothing on any of the sites has changed in about 2-3 weeks.

Basically my question is if anyone else is seeing something similar.
9:58 pm on Nov 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

Yes, I got a big increase till some days (it lasted around 20 days) ago but now I have got a kind of rebound effect where I lost 30% of my traffic. All this till two hours ago when my traffic took a spike up only to take a dive the next hour. This is crazy!
Well, we dont have to forget that next friday will be Black Friday in USA so what we are seeing now maybe is the effect of people getting ready to shop. Also, we have to take into consideration Google entering in "holiday mode" as Christmas season comes closers...anyone sharing this theory?

PS. I am also experiencing another issue, from one day to the next one the number of pages indexed in my GWT has halved...anyone experiencing this? why this deindexing in your opinion?
10:12 pm on Nov 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

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They shoved all the shopping comparison sites up. One company I see submits to everyone, buy, beyond, amazon, eBay etc. They occupy 60% of the first page selling the same product on all those sites. Google seems unable to process the company name on those pages so they list them all. Bad joke. Duplicate exact content.

We are way down, maybe 50% after being up that much for a month. Foreign traffic was heavy today like it is during all tweaks.
10:31 pm on Nov 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

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

I'm seeing a major and continued shuffle on a lot of searches - not just transactional intent or products, but purely informational. It looks a lot like "recent activity" may be getting a boost. Unfortunately this is burying some tried-and-true resources that I know are there but I forgot to bookmark.
10:41 pm on Nov 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

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are people seeing local sites gain ground at the expense of nationals. IE bluewidget.com is outranking nationalcompany.com/bluewidgets where before it was not.

also by "recent activity" do you mean recent links.
10:55 pm on Nov 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

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

Yes, I do mean new links, but also social media "buzz" and possibly traffic - all those "new signals" we hypothesize that Google is now using.

I watched the search activity during PubCon week and following - for speaker names and companies. That was the first time I saw this amazing amount of churn, driven by new activity. Since then, I think I'm seeing it in other topical areas, too.
11:07 pm on Nov 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Ted I was just coming back to say the same thing. This is another biggie. The telltale foreign traffic was a tip. Then the junk results where terrible sites I've neve seen before anywhere are near the top.

The big change this time? We aren't replaced by competitors! It's random gibberish, irrelevant times ten.

When will google figure out listing product xyz being sold by reseller abc in buy become beyond amazon etc etc as a full page of SERPS is not a good user experience? It's godawful tonight.
11:22 pm on Nov 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

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

Right now it feels like almost every query is QDF
11:58 pm on Nov 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Scottsonline, what I meant by the generic directory site was one that has the URL as the <h1> of the page, as in "Acme Widgets" when the URL is acme-widgets.com, but there's no other reference to Acme Widgets. The rest of the content is links to sites with anchor text such as "Cheap Cameras", "Cheap V__agra", "Cheap Computers", and so on.

No photos, no information, and really nothing about Acme Widgets. But it's the first result after the manufacturer!
1:24 am on Nov 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Dick they tested this most recent change thoroughly with seven people, all google stockholders. From that they extrapolated it to 3.5 billion searchers.

I know which sites you mean. I dont know what their objective is but I think it's a linking campaign. What seems to happen is there are say 30 links per page to authority sites but 25 are using random gibberish text that is semi related only. The money shots are the 2-4 that are for ultra competitive keywords. Google sees all these big sites on one page and gets jiggy with it. There is no advertising on these pages so it's either for SERPS via link buying or to muddle with google. Not sure which.

I'll say this. Today was very busy. The phones were ringing, all of us were busy on lighter traffic. Bounce rate hit all time lows today. This change may be another turn of the dial on targeted traffic.
9:29 am on Nov 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Today was very busy

Same with me. I am hoping that google have adjusted itself in the right direction and that it's not just Christmas traffic only to die off again in January.

I am getting slightly lower amounts of traffic and enquiries than normal but what I am getting is easy conversion. Long may it last. Crossing my fingers that it's not just Christmas as it will be great for me to strip away some of the time wasters.
12:02 pm on Nov 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Ok, so now there is several people on this thread reporting the same thing.

1) Disruption of traffic trends
2) % coversion drops (either traffic roughly constant and sales drop, or traffic up and sales roughly constant)
3) Several iterations of referral shifts (i.e traffic patterns)
4) End result of higher conversions on lower traffic

And people still refuse to believe active [user / site / query type] profiling is going on?
1:26 pm on Nov 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

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"90% of manufacturers do not sell direct to the public"

That will change. It already has from where I'm looking.
1:47 pm on Nov 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Just move on if i'm talking about something thats already been discussed and analysed months ago, I do other things now and don't get too much time to read ww but..

I was having a good look at serps for a keyword and it struck me that for generic term like widgets Google was returning sites that it thought was the best fit for the different types widgets ie an almagamation of specialist sites for blue widgets, red widgets, metal widgets etc

I was just curious if this has be going on for some time or if this was part of this update and a recent move?
12:19 am on Nov 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

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

And people still refuse to believe active [user / site / query type] profiling is going on?

I believe that Google is using Instant Previews for a type of profiling as well. Ditto for the multiple results and the variety of Place Search serp types.

Google is using many sets of data to "triangulate" how users interact with the serps and ultimately with the sites returned.
5:46 am on Nov 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I don't know what's going on but I do know every time they monkey with the results bing referrals go up 30-50% in a single day. This tells me the dog mess we all see as results isn't personalized away by profiling. What's happening is each time this occurs more b2b users are trying bing. Right now they go back to google when the problems settle out. Eventually they won't come back.

There's a lot of junk in the SERPS tonight. I believe what the other poster said about this getting out of control is right. They're tweaking stuff started five years ago and this is like Microsoft patching windows 98. Ten things are fixed and fifteen more are broken daily.

A year ago I could type "guy on 70s tv show with big hair" and I'd get Bobby Brady in the results. It was amazing. Google was an incredible Piece of tech. Type that in today you'll get a wiki page about hair, amazon selling the flobee for 19.70, a couple of PRn sites and this webmasterworld thread. Oh and the mashup sites.

Google where art thou?

What google is doing today....it would be like the library of congress deciding they needed to come up with a new indexing system each day. Cleaning up spam costs money, selling adwords makes money. It's kind of clear they focused more on the latter versus the former.
7:43 am on Nov 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I agree with Scottsonline, coupled with google instant, these results make google slower and less accurate than 12 months ago. I have no idea what they are trying to achieve, but I can't see any intelligent organisation behind the last 12 months.
11:23 am on Nov 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Not sure if this has been mentioned before or if it is my eye sight but I have checked this on three different pc in the UK and the top paid listing that was a very bright pink colour has changed to such a weak pink that it now looks like its part of the organic results
12:15 pm on Nov 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

yes, an ordinary user may never see the difference between those ppc ads and organic search results these days. Hypocrisy at its best.
3:03 pm on Nov 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Is anyone else seeing inclusion of very old data in their WMT missing pages report ?
This 502 message thread spans 17 pages: 502

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