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Google Updates and SERP Changes - December 2010



5:35 am on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

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

I know tedsters has stressed this but what we see ourselves in the SERPS doesn't always help. We are getting pummeled by traffic on one keyword that is relevant. I can't find it and neither can any friends buts it's converting at a great rate. When I perform that search i get no results. Oh the games....

I'd say 20% is a close number compared to two weeks ago. Google traffic is off 35% over these days last year. Yet business is strong, and the bounce rate is low.

The shopping SERPS are impacting more this year because exact matches are turned down. Theres s bunch of products that we were 1-3 on last year where we are gone and so is everyone else, replaced by unrelated stuff...think:

Product whiplash from Appalachian co

Man falls from tree in appalachians suffering whiplash
Walking the Appalachian trail
Blah bla x 7

The exact match of the product name yields no results in holiday search 2011.

I was laughing tonight when I saw a site on amazon that sells helmets also is selling tools. They rank near the top on many items in google. They have no ratings and appear to just dump feeds. #1 in google, ahead of the manufacturer and a world renowned climbers site. That's the lunacy in all this, amazon isn't an authority on rock climbing helmets, crucial memory, or even sweat socks sold by 3rd parties.

This is as bad as the earlier wiki is 1st which was adjusted out. An unknown third party selling on amazon using content that's identical on 5k websites prior...doesn't make amazon the expert.

Im betting a lot of lost traffic went to amazon. They were up 25% yesterday, a lot of us were down 25%. Thanks google im sure amazon needed that boost.

[edited by: tedster at 6:51 pm (utc) on Dec 1, 2010]


1:07 am on Dec 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

today my bounce rate is at a ridiculously low 16%. This is the lowest in the 4 years this website has been in business. It is usually at around 20-22% but has never hit the magical teen numbers.


9:27 pm on Dec 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Traffic for my main site is down on what WAS the usual for a Monday, but looks like it'll be similar to last Monday. Bounce rate is around 50% BUT, checking our event tracking, event clicks have shot up significantly today...


9:29 pm on Dec 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

my traffic is down 40% since the beginning of December and some rankings slipped from 20-30 to beyond 100.

whatever is changed in the algo, definitely not helping me.


10:28 pm on Dec 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Unmitigated disaster.

If they'll allow me to post examples I will.

First nothing new is being indexed. Products released in early November on many sites are showing up barely in the SERPS. For several niches I monitor all new content is unindexed. There are no cached pages for weeks.

Second the SERPS today hit an all time low. There are specific product searches for top selling products that google instant recognizes....that return few/no products. There are MANY specific product searches that return a homepage instead of the product pages.

Google is garbage today. Whatever they are doing it's getting worse with each tweak.

I haven't looked at my employers site but it must be down. When I search for a well known advertised product and get a three year old blog post you know it's bad

Today is the all time low point. Was it triggered by the nyt article? I don't know but the results are total garbage....webcrawler esque.


12:25 am on Dec 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

And I've had very good sales yesterday and today.

Unfortunately, Google is a zero sum game.


2:57 am on Dec 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

My Yahoo organic lost around 4k in from the last 7 days.
But my Google traffic is fine and rising.

Anyone experienced this one?


1:23 pm on Dec 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Completely the opposite seoN00B. My Yahoo sales have been at a record high over the past 20 days, Bing is also performing nicely ... Google is sending us hits, but no conversions.


1:47 pm on Dec 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

First nothing new is being indexed.

Yep, I would concur with that...for my sites...and I am really finding Bing delivering far superior results now and checking my referral logs I am seeing an increasing trend towards Bing.

I'm not saying it's massive, just noticeable, maybe the more savvy Joe Public are trying it out?


1:51 pm on Dec 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I'm having my worst Christmas since my site was setup 5 years ago. Traffic dropped by over 80% on Monday 29th Nov and still no sign of recovery.

After a wild rollercoaster of a year, things finally looked like they had settled and we were making steady progress daily toward getting back to pre-mayday levels then bam! From nowhere we drop like a stone for no reason that I can fathom.

Since all the troubles this year I have fixed all possible canonical issues etc to no avail. I sometimes wonder if the webmaster guidelines and all this care and attention is even worth it. The sites that have shuffled up into my positions look like they have not been updated in the last couple of years, with no regard to any kind of structure, dup content and untold html validation / canonical issues etc. Why do I bother.

I'm giving it until January after which, if we are not back and steady I'm just going to leave the site to stagnate and try to earn a living elsewhere.


2:51 pm on Dec 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Right after the NYT article everything went bad.

Since the announced patch the google bounce rate is up 17% higher than bing yahoo and other sources. They have really messed up and are hurting the economy with the tweaks. It may not effect you directly but it will eventually as customers get hurt.

I just talked to the top 4 suppliers. All have seen a pronounced drop in business since about 12/1 which time out with a change a few days earlier.

It's not a zero sum game when "product widget z" once returned product SERPS and now returns irrelevant google places, five year old blogs, and foreign spam sites for the first 40 results.

They really broke relevancy somehow and I now know their algo is becoming unmanageable. Daily changes don't provide a good user experience.


3:16 pm on Dec 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

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

I dunno. My B2B ecommerce site that I relaunched in September has seen a steady (and pretty much daily) climb. Even our weekends (traditionally very slow) are twice what they were a month ago with regards to traffic and sales.

I haven't seen any disasters amongst the clients so far this month. For my personal sites, it's my slow season, so I'm not expecting any great shakes.


3:49 pm on Dec 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Indeed... today I'm noticing a huge increase in my product page titles being rewritten. Google has added "View Full Details on (MFG) + (Part Number) and the rest of my title is filtered out which signals the intent of my site.

Sigh, viewing full details would probably make sense if I had full details. Our site is based around quoting and generally people who know what they want (high-end network equipment). The funny part is pages I'm seeing this appear on pages that have the least amount of a hand touch to describe a product.

I can only imagine X developer works on Y part of the algo, while Z developer works on W part of the algo. Perhaps communication between the 2 developers isn't quite there, and they make a boo boo.


4:02 pm on Dec 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Relaunching sites seems to help.

Products with geographical references are a disaster.

We generally see changes first. This one is yet another doozy. The changes post nyt have been very bad for our industry.


12:39 pm on Dec 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Slowest Christmas period I have ever know :(

1 enquiry yesterday on what should be about THE busiest day of the year. Happy Christmas G!


1:46 pm on Dec 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Jez just spoke with a 3 billion dollar supplier. Beginning in the 10/25 to 11/3 period business fell and never recovered to levels seen earlier. Worse holiday business never developed and this is the worst holiday season for them ever. Not w single supplier has reported a holiday sales increase and ALL report a major performance hit in late October.
These are not items you can buy from the other end of the zero sum came so either the economy has been toppled and we don't know it yet, or my theory that google effects the real world as much as it does the online world is validating.

When I type in the hottest product in this industry that prior to 10/2x would return 50 pages of shopping sites for it, then that gradually shifted to similar but wrong amazon buy and eBay listings before eventually returning 10% shopping sites and 90% absolute junk. It hurts.

A very good competitor that has been around since their was a web has gone from 1-3 to page 2-3. Most of the results in front of them are informational, spam, or unrelated. Somewhere in the last week another major tweak was made that has pushed everyone way down.

This 7-10 day period is the busiest time of year for our industry. Right now it's below average for everyone.


3:12 pm on Dec 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Terrible for us as well....


4:36 pm on Dec 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I am seeing several of my key internal pages disappearing from the index.
When I search page web address in quotes, no results found.
This started about two-three days ago.


10:27 pm on Dec 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Sandbox I am seeing a unilateral drop in indexed pages in our niche and resulting shock to traffic.

I am in charge of buying for our holiday party. 2 months ago I bookmarked a search that gave me 10 resellers and the onebox. I loaded it an hour ago:

Result 1 related. Seller of the item but a terribly thin page
Result 2. S!x offender registry?
Result 3. Totally unrelated but one keyword does appear on the page but not in context
Result 4 same as one not as thin
Only 1 of the next 6 results is related.

This is consistent with most searches for similar items. there is NO way this search could even be reasonably considered a match to the keywords. Many of the searches I am doing contain 50% or more of unrelated information.


10:57 pm on Dec 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I've kept track of my site's positions on the SE's for various phrases for several years, as well as what other sites were ranking near me. I find it interesting that the results on Yahoo and Bing haven't changed much, but Google is the mess that everyone is now talking about.

If G were to lose most of its market share, my traffic would skyrocket from Yahoo and Bing rankings.


12:44 am on Dec 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

@scottsonline, Hi Scott I just made a site search for your page, I recon is the page with your name.
site:mysite.com/ gives 134,000 results
site:mysite.com/* 730 results

@HuskyPup, "First nothing new is being indexed"
I disagree....
Everything new I have published has been indexed and rank relatively well within a few days (week or so).
I want to point though that my site is not in the commercial niche


3:10 am on Dec 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Map1 not my site but you bring up a point.

/* is in my experience:

Going up google traffic is growing
Going down and you're in trouble despite those that say wmt is all that matters.

I think everyone has noticed the changes in google. When a search for a brand part number returns a list of dangerous offenders something is broke.


6:32 am on Dec 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

/* is in my experience:

Going up google traffic is growing
Going down and you're in trouble despite those that say wmt is all that matters.

Can I assume you mean that when results from a /* site: search go down over a period of time it's trouble, or is there another measure of that metric?


10:28 am on Dec 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

my site took a hit post 21 Oct update... and recovery is no where in sight...

we are down 20% and site doesn't appear on 1-2-3 page for the keyword it used to appear on page 1 before the Oct update..

a month before the update we had set the GEO settings in the webmaster tool and we have revert it back to global since...

should i start to worry now? or wait for some more time?


12:57 pm on Dec 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I just dont get it ... I never had this huge traffic bounce over weekend ( thinking on 4-5 Dec.) and then big drop of traffic on regular days ... ? It's holiday season it should be going up , not down , not from Monday to Friday. I did lookup on SE and GI , everything is pretty the same about rankings , but traffic goes down. Again weird situation and no clue what happened.

* I made a website record in day visits but on weekend , which is more confusing.


1:06 pm on Dec 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Why is Google changing site titles in the results?

They've added a keyword to the front of my title that is not there?


2:19 pm on Dec 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

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


I got this on my sites and I wish the FRIG they would leave alone - If wanted those words added I would have used them

Yet another case of G sticking its nose where it doesn't belong


2:53 pm on Dec 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

@Pico_Train & tigger

You're lucky, they've removed all of my index page titlebar and replaced it with example.us on my example.com site!

That's it, nothing else, fortunately the correct meta description is still there but I wonder for how long.

Something's seriously wrong in Googleland.


3:34 pm on Dec 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

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

Yea, first they started playing around with titles between my home page and my mobile page (on my own site) and now they're rewriting titles on one of my client's sites. I've been swearing at them on twitter but they won't listen.


3:39 pm on Dec 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

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

Something's seriously wrong in Googleland.

yeah its called being power mad and doing what the frig they like - thankfully bing traffic is on the way up, all I need to do now is convince the 95% of UK surfers that there are an option other than Google for searches ! - think I may have a bit of an uphill struggle here


3:52 pm on Dec 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I've noticed 2 of my product sitemaps have 0 out of 49000+ urls indexed on both. However, I just did a few random queries and found results for those product pages in Google's results. Is google breaking everything?!?
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