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Google Updates and SERP Changes - May 2011

     
5:17 pm on May 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

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< 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]

6:00 pm on May 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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What's even scarier than rankings fluxuating is bringing a new site into rankings while this is all going on. If I don't have a heart attack it'll be a miracle.

What offsite SEO strategies are y'all seeing as effective during this mess?
6:30 pm on May 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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What offsite SEO strategies are y'all seeing as effective during this mess?

to hope
8:21 pm on May 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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What offsite SEO strategies are y'all seeing as effective during this mess?


to hope


Nope. I've run extensive tests on that. It does not work.
3:37 pm on May 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Is anyone else seeing a color change? I'm pretty sure it's not my monitor. All the colors in Google SERP results are lightened up. There's a lot less contrast. Reminds me of Bing's results. Maybe it's just a "welcome Spring" thing?
4:31 pm on May 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Yes Panthro color change has been like that for a few days now on my end.
4:52 pm on May 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Interesting esp. regarding all the Panda shakeup. I would think users would prefer the higher contrast but maybe GOOG finds searchers prefer that scheme.
5:04 pm on May 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Anyone else noticed how Ehow has gained back its rankings? In verticals I track Ehow is dominating once again. Could it be due to the V3 update this past weekend?
5:25 pm on May 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Demand Media began making major changes to their editorial policy for eHow back in February - longer articles, stricter writing requirements, removing a lot of junk. I'd guess some of that clean-up is showing a positive effect, assuming that Panda domain scoring has been recently run again.
5:29 pm on May 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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@Tedster

Not to the level that they outrank a super authoritative site on the topic. Well I guess that is how it works, kudos to Ehow and Google team.
5:35 pm on May 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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When I'm doing real searches, EHow is popping up everywhere. It's very annoying.
5:38 pm on May 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Anyone else noticed how Ehow has gained back its rankings?


Yep and for my widgets their copy is pure garbage, written by uninformed amateurs, they can't even get widget spellings correct at times yet still rank for those words!

Anyway, one of my main sites seems to be coming out of V3 this afternoon, we'll see how long this lasts and if we ever get an explanation as to what it was.
5:50 pm on May 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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it's clearly panda will not affect at all ehow.

It will affect more small website with original content than big junk like ehow
6:08 pm on May 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Wow!

I was just checking for my company name in Google.com which had disappeared completely and "example" displayed 4,870,000 results, literally a refresh and there I was back in my normal position with 7,100,000 results.

None of the other Googles seem to have caught up yet...have they had a massive data loss or mass non-synchronisation?
6:16 pm on May 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I've seen my traffic go back to pre-panda levels today... but the juicy info pages that were my heavy hitters still seem to be nowhere.
7:04 pm on May 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Asia_Expat, when did you get hit? Was it 2/24?
7:15 pm on May 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I got hit in wave #2 mid-April.
7:21 pm on May 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Expat, it's not Panda then, according to Google. Notice that eHow reportedly coming back was not hit on on 2/24 either.
"Some publishers have fixated on our prior Panda algorithm change, but Panda was just one of roughly 500 search improvements we expect to roll out to search this year. In fact, since we launched Panda, we've rolled out over a dozen additional tweaks to our ranking algorithms, and some sites have incorrectly assumed that changes in their rankings were related to Panda.


I think, Panda is still marinating sites. The real Panda that is.
7:37 pm on May 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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You're probably right. I did make one particular change that's stuck however, because I like it... and that was to remove a 300x250 box in the top-left of all my static content pages. The site 'looks' better for that change, although I've given up some ad space as a result of course.
8:13 pm on May 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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YAYYYY today recovered a bit.. +10%

i am not making changes
9:38 pm on May 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I don't spend a lot of time analyzing and recording serps for particular keywords, so I'm not really on the ball.... but
For the first time ever I'm seeing major fluctuations across a lot of my major sites (major to me but small fry to a lot of people!). I thought Panda (UK) had passed me by with minimal effect.
However on 5th/6th May saw an upsurge in traffic .. ooh I was feeling happy then, then 7/8 May lower than usual for weekend, then 9 May today seems low and i just happened to check my serps for a couple of sites - whoah where've they gone? Some haven fallen down the rankings eg from position 1 to position 9, others have disappeared - never seen this so widespread across my sites. I'm thinking have I got a penalty? Hoping this is a glitch and things will go back where they were!
12:10 am on May 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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>>>Anyone else noticed how Ehow has gained back its rankings? In verticals I track Ehow is dominating once again. Could it be due to the V3 update this past weekend?

EHow was only hit in the Panda 2 update, which according to Matt Cutts may not have been Panda at all right? So that might be why they've come back.
4:32 am on May 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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After the two or three variations of Panda, I was left with at least one type of phrase that ranked well. It was really the initial purpose of my site.

For searches on phrases such as "[insert state or city here] widget stores", or "widget stores in [insert state or city here]" or similar phrases, I was still ranking #1 or, at worst, #4 or #5. The last time I did a ranking check was on 4/22.

Tonight I'm running another check, and I've dropped on those phrases to anywhere from #9 to #31. All of those pages are original content written by me or the owners of the stores. There's no ads on the pages.

Why Google waited until now to whack those pages is beyond me. I'm just waiting for the final shot to the back of the head for the whole site.
6:06 am on May 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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@NickReynolds I'm seeing a further 50% drop in Organic Google Traffic today, in fact I've never seen traffic this bad ever.

If something doesn't bounce back tomorrow it's ~94% drop since Panda hit in Feb.

However, the Australian version of our site which has exactly the same structure is going crazy & has increased by ~70% since Panda.
6:21 am on May 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Another observation is that I'm seeing a large number of hacked sites rank above legitimate ones today too.

Lots of "This site may harm your computer"

These are clearly more valuable than my site with relevant content.
7:10 am on May 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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>>Tonight I'm running another check, and I've dropped on those phrases to anywhere from #9 to #31. All of those pages are original content written by me or the owners of the stores. There's no ads on the pages.

Observing the same. Had one page that was ranking, with around 2000 words of original, content written by experts on a specific subject. Somehow it survived all this time. Today it was completely removed from the key phrase, which was basically a long tail phrase. It's no longer there at all.

In its place is some of the most blatant spam and keyword stuffing I have ever seen. Incredibly obvious garbage of the worst possible kind.
10:48 am on May 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Google has pretty much gone lower than Yahoo referrals for me overnight in my pandalized site. Lost are those few good referrals I got here and there in the past weeks. My non-hit sites keep increasing in traffic for no reason. They honestly don't deserve to.

Looks like 'bad sites' lost any referrals, not even a page or two from them are good, which is patently false and easily proven but why bother when you can send all people to a handful of 'good sites.' So if Panda catches you with your pants down the moment they index and calculate be prepared to starve for 3-12-18 months.
11:34 am on May 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Lots of "This site may harm your computer"


Have you been on ebay perchance? That is freakin' riddled with those.
2:25 pm on May 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I just picked up a vicious virus when I clicked on a result on Sunday. It got past my spyware, and took most of the day to fix.

Thanks again, G.
4:08 pm on May 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I was just checking for my company name in Google.com which had disappeared completely and "example" displayed 4,870,000 results, literally a refresh and there I was back in my normal position with 7,100,000 results.


This is completely and utterly farcical, I'm seeing the same happen again today, what have they fubard so royally?
4:45 pm on May 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I've been holding off on posting because I have no idea what's going on, but I just wanted to mention that I'm seeing some very strange SERPS as well.

I lost about 50% of Google traffic on April 11 -- at this point I have no idea if that was Panda II or some other algo change or if it was simply because my site was down for a couple of hours on April 9. My niche is normally very stable, and I'm seeing some very strange results: weird sites popping up in the top 10 that I've never heard of, long-established strong authority sites losing lots of ground, and in my case I'm #2 for my exact site name, which is unheard of.

This is kind of similar to things I've seen around other major updates. I'm guessing this has not remotely settled out yet, and we're going to see a lot more variation in the next few weeks before reaching a more stable state.
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