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Google Updates and SERP Changes - May 2011



5:17 pm on May 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member crobb305 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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

I am still seeing VERY wild fluctuations in my WMT data. Despite a 70% traffic recovery, I am still seeing pages drop 300 to 400 positions, then rise. In the past 72 hours, another page just fell about 400. Clearly there is significant instability right now. There is no guarantee that my ranking improvement will stick, although the trend continues upward. This continuous cycle of pages drop 400 then rise 400 is ridiculous.

[edited by: tedster at 8:06 pm (utc) on May 1, 2011]


3:35 pm on May 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Google has had bouncing results for a while. Local search, logged in search etc. affects things as well as "trial" rankings (normally in the number 4 or 9 spot I believe) and then the bouncing filters and the use of click-tracking and the speculated use of bounce rates ... and then Google's constant tinkering with what they've called "AI" programming ... etc. etc. (there isn't enough room on this page for the number of etc. you need to get the point across!)

The results are going to be a mess constantly. The only true indication of a useful rise in ranking is when you see more traffic from Google.

Relax. We all pulled out hair out when it started as it made things difficult to track but now you need to just carry on doing your regular SEO and measure results in traffic, not visual rankings as what I see on my computer is often completely different to what they guy sat next to me has on his.

P.S. How come I have to confine my comments on the bouncy results to the MAY SERPS thread but this guy gets his own.

< moderator note - the original thread has now been spliced into the May SERPs thread >

P.P.S. Ernest - don't post your URl, even for the few hours before the mods get it. Bad form old boy!

[edited by: tedster at 10:35 pm (utc) on May 6, 2011]


3:39 pm on May 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


This is frustrating really, we work years and years long just to be outranked by scraped and MFA sites when we are told that MFA are not good.

We are being spammed by Google emails that we are not maximizing our site with Adsense, and when we do we get hit.

I am lost in all this :(

I have not posted by URl anywhere


3:43 pm on May 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Local search

From what I can tell, they seem to have really ramped up on the localisation with IPs. My server is in Singapore and a thread on my forum started hitting the #1 spot for a four letter, one word term... but only for people in Singapore, countries that neighbour Singapore, and only when they're searching on google.com.sg.


3:44 pm on May 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

internetheaven wrote:
P.P.S. Ernest - don't post your URl, even for the few hours before the mods get it. Bad form old boy!

I'm pretty sure that "exactmatch.com" was meant as an example to illustrate that the site he was referring to is on a domain name that exactly matches the keyword he was checking.



4:04 pm on May 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

Ho hum...Google.co.uk is in a right old mess isn't it?

After 10 years of ranking #1 for my own trademarked product with an exact match domain the first result is a 4 year old forum board post and I'm in 13th position however using Google Globsl on Firefox I'm still #1 everywhere else.

Absolutely nothing wrong then, situation normal for Google...fubard.


4:07 pm on May 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


Yes EMD (exactmatchdomain). Totally crushed by this update today.


4:24 pm on May 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I also seeing an exact match domain fall from grace after many years.


4:25 pm on May 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

Perhaps we are in the midst of Panda V3?

There's something serious going on globally if my results are anything to go by...traffic now down about 66% and the results for my widgets are just plain insane with old forum boards being promoted everywhere.

My example.com company name has even disappeared from Google.co.uk and how about this, my example.co.uk is showing example.co.in in the titlebar!

What the hell have they done this time?


4:34 pm on May 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

A few of us with regionally themed websites, like mine in the East, have been expecting some kind of third wave, as Panda#2 didn't seem to roll out on certain google domains, such as google.co.th... but for sure, something quite shocking is in progress right now.... and I emphasise 'shocking'.


4:42 pm on May 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Myth #1: Google cares about you.
Myth #2: Google cares about your business.
Myth #3: Google cares about your visitors.

Reality #1: Google cares only about themself.
Reality #2: Google cares only about their business.
Reality #3: Google cares only about their visitors.

That means that Google behaves like almost everyone else ~ focused on their own self-preservation and self-enrichment.

I wouldn't care about that, except in enriching themselves, they are taking from so many others. So my/our challenge remains: Doing well on the WWW without reliance on Google. I admit I cannot figure that one out, so to anyone who has figured that out, I tip my hat to you.



4:42 pm on May 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

It's a good job I have a load of my essential stuff bookmarked since swathes of good reference sites for my widget trade have totally disappeared for the moment.

If Google wants us to use Bing or DuckDuckGo they're making a damned good reason for it today...I agree, shocking, worthless and almost totally irrelevant.


5:01 pm on May 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm not seeing any traffic drops on my end (I run pure content sites / blogs). So this is interesting... Pretty much no change for me since Panda 1.0 or Panda 2.0 despite MASSIVE site improvements AND content pruning/rewrites. At any rate, I agree with HuskyPup. These days, I count on Bing to deliver what I call "the Classic Google" results if I'm after the "old way" of getting results.


5:02 pm on May 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Lots of up and down in the US, but I am looking at something very specific. I am looking for blogs related to a certain subject, so I am searching for

"keyword1 keyword 2 post your comment"

I have been doing this every day for the last five days.

There is about a 20% change on each results page for each day. Some results might drop a page or two, some might drop about four or five or more pages.

Usually, when a result is dropped, an entirely different result is listed in its place (as opposed to having the other results below it "shift up" to fill the void).


8:09 pm on May 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

There does seem to be something brewing since early May 5th. It reminds me of Adwords where I had terms ranking 10/10 and were not even vaguely related to their quality rules. Make changes to improve the quality and things tumbled and prices went up. In others words it became quite clear Google couldn't determine quality or even junk. It was more about matching their criteria of what is, for lack of better words, "good".

That ranking lasted about a week and then boom

I've wondered about that since five people alerted me to the exact same thing. I believe Crobb experienced a similar. Its almost if they're detecting attempts at SEO or putting you in some type sandbox. Change again and you drop even more. Its almost like you can't touch the page for some reasons.


8:42 pm on May 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

One of my sites appears to have dropped roughly a page for its main keywords. Not seeing a bounce effect but only just got up :)

Other sites seem unaffected.


9:21 pm on May 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

They're tweaking again, I've seen some of my pages and keywords return, some semi-return and the remainder still MIA!

Why my company name "example" should disappear is a mystery, it's been #2 to Wikipedia for as long as I can remember. If I type example.com it's shown with its usual 8 site links!?!?!?


9:30 pm on May 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have noticed this as well. My site is ranking #1 where it has been for about a year for its normal keyphrase. However, in the late afternoon it drops with two much smaller sites ranking above it. Our results return to normal later in the day, but this pattern has been going on for about a week and a half.

These other sites are by no means quality (even taking my bias out of the equation). Obviously bought links and many of their images for the products they sell don't even load.

Anyone else notice their results changing in the late afternoon (3:00 4:00 cst)?


9:35 pm on May 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

What we're seeing is a text book example of why functioning programmatic assessments of web content/quality are just fantasy. It's like asking a computer to look at a face and decide if it's beautiful, and if the computer finds that owner of that face attractive.

It wouldn't matter so much if it was just Google that believes they've got it right. Taking a sober look at my own website, some of my thinnest, crappiest pages are on page 1, or even at number 1, and some lousy forum pages are bringing in the bulk of traffic these days... but my big, well researched, 1000/2000/3000 word articles that were designed to be meat, the quality, detailed information pages, unique on the Internet, are absolutely nowhere to be seen in the SERPS...

I just don't get it. Really, I just don't get it.


10:16 pm on May 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Some very strange results for one of my sites. It is an old web directory (city + country name .com) and it has been replaced by one of the 301 domain names on the site. The difference is that the other domain is a .ie ccTLD domain (completely different domain).



1:56 pm on May 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

Friday ended up at about 62.5% of average with a recovery in some areas however my companyname.com in Google.co.uk has dropped from #2 to #97 with a cache date of 4th May and behind even my example.mobi name.

At #11 my example.co.uk is still showing a replaced titlebar with my example.co.in however in Google.com my first listing is my contact page at #183 and I gave up looking for any further listings when I got to #300.

Typing example.com I'm #1 with 8 site links plus More results from example.com

Someone's screwed-up royally however I'll give them the benefit of the weekend to sort it out before exploding:-)


2:21 pm on May 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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

This thread is interesting because we're seeing slight improvements for some keywords, but no massive movements over the last two weeks. Our site was very clean to begin with, but last August we started a massive effort to update all of our content. For example, if we were quoting information from 2008, that information has been updated to 2010 or 2011. That effort should take about one more month.

Despite all the warnings not to redesign sites, we roll out a new look each year. We take that opportunity to see if we can improve site speed without compromising the user experience. According to WMT, we knocked off about 0.3 seconds to our site load speed. This was accomplished by revisiting graphics on the site and removing some relatively obsolete features.

We also don't see the inconsistencies others are reporting here. When I do site searches, the results are consistent and make sense. According to WMT, we have about 60,000 incoming links - which seems right to me. Identical searches on Bing return 10 million results, which is absurd.

As I approach 3,000 posts here on WebmasterWorld, my journey as a fairly active poster on this forum is nearing its end. FWIW, Iím all ďadvicedĒ out. Best wishes to everyone. I hope all search engines treat you fairly.


3:11 pm on May 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

For one of our .co.uk domain's something happened at around 3am BST on Thursday 5th when our Google referral traffic fell off a cliff.

What's strange is that the wrong pages from the domain seem to being returned. If I search for company 1 widget, the first result i get for the domain (admittedly down between page 5 and 20 depending on the query) is the page for company 2's widget, and vice versa, and for every keyword i've tried this is holding true. It's as if Google have organised the pages of the site into pairs and decided to swap over which SERP they appear in.

[edit: don't know my own time zone!]


6:21 pm on May 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

So far the pages I am seeing with problems all have a cache date of 5th May, one I just looked at has gone from #1 to #238 and several others have done similarly, #1 or 2 into the #200s.

Plus if I search for keyword1keyword2 quite a few results show me at #1 or 2 however if I search for keyword1keyword2keyword3...zippo, nothing.

Something's seriously gone awry!


7:26 pm on May 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Could be a fourth wave later... google.ru appears to be still showing pre-panda results.


9:49 pm on May 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

-20% today.

Doh! I don't even know which pages are penalized. GWT is utterly useless


9:09 am on May 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

This morning everything is back to normal for me.


2:28 pm on May 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing some slight improvements in Google.com however Google.co.uk is a real mess with a lot of completely irrelevant results, a lot of US MFA sites and pathetic Q & A forum boards ranking ahead of sites with real meat and guts for my widgets.

People are having to scroll further through the results to find what they need plus referrals from Bing and Yahoo! are definitely up.


3:02 pm on May 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

clearly this 4th wave sux


4:50 pm on May 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

For those who got hit in this alleged Panda V3 rollout, did you see your rankings improve in Bing?

I had my sites rocket to the top of the SERPS for several keywords, while they fell in Google by pretty much the same amount (position number).


5:03 pm on May 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Guys, unless Amit is being less than truthful, Panda was a one time thing. Pandalize sites, leave them there for as long as Google wants and move on to other updates.

The reason that those hit on 2/24 have not come back is that Google hasn't re-run yet their algo, [webmasterworld.com...] that's why we don't see truly pandalized sites come back. If you got hit after 2/24 you fix and move up, but not with Panda.
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