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Google Updates and SERP Changes - July 2011

     
11:14 pm on Jun 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

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

Here's what I am more interested in than anything...

How are all the cosmetic changes Google is making going to affect the traffic driven from Google search?

It definitely seems like Google is de-emphasizing the straight up search aspect of itself more and more and more. They're going out of their way to direct people AWAY from search with every cosmetic change they make.

That has to be having an impact on people who get a lot of traffic from search... I don't know I don't get any search traffic anymore since Panda took it all away.

If you do still get Google search traffic, how is this impacting you?

[edited by: tedster at 3:32 am (utc) on Jul 2, 2011]

4:27 pm on July 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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We have a few aged and trusted hyper-local-city-guides that are simply getting no "local" traffic from Google after the 3-4th of the month.

After looking deeper into it, I am spotting 4-8 word longtail queries now spawning the 7-pack in serps. The same 4 word queries that used to bring up our guides, now bring up the 7-pack, then the guide.

Think of it as "how to change my porch lightbulb" is now bringing up a 7-pack of local handyman results, THEN the first organic. (Purely an example, not an exact)

Must be Goog's way of helping to feed the local economy, creating jobs, and putting people back to work! (it actually makes sense... did I just say that?)

Unfortunately, If I look for website services cityname, or any other phrase that would spawn the 7-pack of local design business, its still not triggered.

- website services cityname = organic results, with historical results from personalized search (not even related to the query)

- business services cityname = 7-pack.

There are some serious SERP changes going on right now...
5:36 pm on July 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing pretty drastic movement among some sites that have slipped on uber competitive phrases from say page 1 to page 14 in a 24-48 hour period (with most other phrases untouched); naturally I'm looking for correlations and comparing with our datastores to see what variables might have been tweaked across the plethora of sites we track, but I see the movement more on highly competitive phrases than others, with no big thing jumping out just yet.
5:59 pm on July 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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The last panda update, 2.2, was on June 16th. It was a thursday also. My best guess, and mind you Im just guessing, but theyre doing panda 2.3 right about now. Lets hope so :D


We are seeing a similar crawling pattern as last month right before Panda 2.2 came out. Maybe they are finally going monthly with this monster.
10:18 pm on July 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Hi everyone, long time lurker here. Just wanted to report that our 8 year old site's traffic(~5K daily) jumped back to pre-panda levels on July 13th. No changes had been made other than removing an almost empty category. Hope it sticks!
1:21 am on July 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'm not seeing a change in the crawl rate of our site however, I am seeing an up-tick in traffic. Normally this time of the year is the worst for our market due to the weather, but for the last three days traffic has grown ... not a drastic amount, but enough for me to really take a harder look at it.

Google analytics is also show an change in traffic.. we're still down from what the first panda update did, but at least we're starting to climb out of the abyss. An anomaly perhaps or maybe I'm just being hopeful.

We're still down 20-30% from where we should be for this time of the year.
8:45 am on July 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Apparently Unfed is seeing what I've mentioned a few days ago, like a complete rollback to pre-panda.
I have to say that I was one of those who found some of the Panda results making sense over the past few months until now, but now doesn't look like Panda to me at all.
I have to admit that I find quite some garbage and it takes me forever to find anything specific.
But for those searches I can't tell if it looks like pre-panda as there are no keywords that I'm usually looking at, these are only my personal searches for info through the day.
There seem to be a lot of "answer" type of sites with nothing on the page at all (really doesn't help, lots of ads though), some pages with redirection to spyware stuff (didn't we get rid of these long time ago?) ...overall not a good experience at all.
All this since last Sunday.
Maybe the average consumer is ok with that, who knows, I'm not it's wasting my time but since Yahoo and Bing do even worse I stick to Google.
9:13 am on July 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Google said themselves that the quest for better quality usually means less relevant results.
2:12 pm on July 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Hi everyone, long time lurker here. Just wanted to report that our 8 year old site's traffic(~5K daily) jumped back to pre-panda levels on July 13th. No changes had been made other than removing an almost empty category. Hope it sticks!


It certainly looks like they have lifted the filters off for a while. This usually means something is afoot! Some sort of tweak or update I expect.The SERPs are a mess with lots of sites that I havent seen for a while.
3:18 pm on July 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

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2 days later and I had a major major keyword jump up 12 places. It appears to be holding steady. If this isnt Panda 2.3 I dont know what is :D
3:27 pm on July 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

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What about this jump looks like Panda, rather than some other algorithm change?
4:15 pm on July 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

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To extend on what tedster is asking I want to add in...at what point was the term Florida abandoned wherein everyone just began referring to it once again as algorithm updates? In my thinking Panda was an event that is now over and done with and everything else is just tweaks to that new platform?
4:45 pm on July 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Google has hinted that this is a 1 year program and the focus of this year is on quality.So most changes will continue to be referred as panda by many.
5:04 pm on July 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Google has also indicated that other algorithm changes will continue, small to large. So it's important to increase our discrimination about what is part of Panda and what isn't. We now have threads asking whether PR changes are part of Panda, for example. I'd like not to add to the chaos, to whatever degree we can manage that (and I know it's not easy.)

One of the differences I see is that Panda (the "quality" module of the algorithm) has an effect that cascades through the entire domain. Other algorithm changes are less likely to pack such a punch.

I doubt that Google will issue regular updates, such as "we tweaked the Panda core routines today" or "we re-ran the existing Panda configuration over the most recent data we have." It's up to us to sharpen our game and our observations.

If this most recent ranking change was a new version of Panda, it was incredibly mellow compared to any of the previous versions.
6:37 pm on July 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

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If this most recent ranking change was a new version of Panda, it was incredibly mellow compared to any of the previous versions.


Yes, and the reported changes don't sound like Panda.

I thought Panda was more a negative ranking mechanism, lowering rankings for pages on what they consider low quality domains.

Moving up 12 spots? Could be Panda if that was a release from a prior Panda "penalty". But a NEW ranking up 12 spots doesn't sound Panda-ish.
9:52 pm on July 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Another long-time lurker here. Our Google search traffic had been going down this month, but just got killed in the last two days. Down about 50%.

For example we were the #2 result for [ a popular music album ] Now we're nowhere to be found and looking at the other top results the first result showing up for me isn't even about the album. I then saw Wikipedia a bit further down and thought at least they're still up there, but then I realized it was for a different album of his.

We're going to look at our Webmaster tools and fix any problems but who knows if that will do anything.

Update: We're now up to page 2 for that phrase, but I swear the other day we were no where to be found. Still a huge loss of traffic for us.

[edited by: tedster at 10:04 pm (utc) on Jul 16, 2011]

10:11 pm on July 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Hi there ... just my 2 cents on this new (obviously) algo SERPs update/tweak ... The traffic for self-published content re-written using sources is back on the first "Panda" (or whatever you call it) interval started end of the March. No changes for UGC, moreover UGC boosted for 5% in global during the last 2 days. However, the drop is significant (70% in comparison to state before), and I bet the large article directories have been hit hard with this again. It's definitively kind of an algo rollback on the run. Can anyone report similar situation?
11:51 pm on July 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

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@disspy what's up and what's down?
Do you see a pre-panda rollout or ...? Not sure I understood your point. As far as we know, Panda 1 happened on Feb 24, the second was on April 11th...and so on.
2:44 am on July 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I do see a lot of changes these last few days. A lot of shifting but no really major movement.
3:13 am on July 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

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We've had a lot of traffic the past couple weeks. Could be the season, though.
3:42 am on July 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Looks like Google wiped out many franchise pages if this report is to be believed
[google.com...]
[google.com...]
3:52 am on July 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

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interesting
4:00 am on July 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Walkman, I am seeing huge flux in something other than franchisees but Tedster's and your response suggest that you are not seeing them. Probably, it is more directed at a few things.
4:03 am on July 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Disspy, how do you think google is distinguishing between UGC and self published content? Is it based on the rel=author tag? But i think that one is quite new and not many would have adopted it yet.
4:12 am on July 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

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@indyank
I don't know, not following it to be honest. It's possible that this is the pre-panda period with movements, comebacks (some true, some false hopes), new pandalizations...
6:39 am on July 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Looks like Google wiped out many franchise pages if this report is to be believed


The franchise business concept works in real life because people need the same services in various geographical locations. In the online world, one main web site is all that is necessary, there is no such need for repetition, which would probably be considered duplication by Google. The solution would be to either list all franchisees in the one main site, or make all franchisees web sites have more unique content.
10:28 am on July 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

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The franchise business concept works in real life because people need the same services in various geographical locations. In the online world, one main web site is all that is necessary, there is no such need for repetition, which would probably be considered duplication by Google. The solution would be to either list all franchisees in the one main site, or make all franchisees web sites have more unique content.
That's only because Google chooses to, or apparently decided so this week.
12:28 pm on July 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

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We're still seeing noticeable fluctuations on our local-centric sites this weekend, and the Goog SERP's appear much more flooded with local results, 7-pack, maps, etc.

Even with a simple 1-word search term like "racing", I am seeing HEAVY local results, in my case...

1 - Sanctioning body
2 - PC [term] site
3 - Free [term] games
4-11 - Places 7-pack for the nearest [term] shops, tracks, and stores
12 - Wikipedia
13 - Organics

With more and more people using Google+, it means more people MUST be logged into the services, and thus local, personalized, results more often.
7:51 pm on July 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Even with a simple 1-word search term like "racing", I am seeing HEAVY local results, in my case...

Ambiguous one-word search terms are in fact where you're most likely to see these "Universal" type features. I've long believed that these are in almost constant test mode. Google continues to disambiguate and classify the documents returned, and now to "personalize" them for what it perceives to be user-intent.

But beyond single-word queries, Google also appears to be testing longtail searches. In particular, some of the Google page title changes I've been seeing suggest longtail testing very strongly. I'm even seeing Google alternating between single-word and longtail in how Google is returning some pages.
10:31 pm on July 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

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@walkman
It looks like this update is causing the same effect like 2nd Panda update (Apr.12). This is kinda rollback for us since we returned to pre-Panda status ~ mid June.

@indyank
Well, Google can easily distinguish diverse blogs, forum and social network platforms. I guess they parse the code and look for similarities and collect them in separate DB's for datamining. Probably they even use human editors to determine the exact version of the platform. Synchronously they sort the content on vertical level and pull out specific data parts, such as number of comments, forum posts, date, last poster, etc. Therefore, the process to distinct UGC from self-published content should be quite simple.
8:39 am on July 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

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7 year old site that has had steady traffic for the last couple of years has suddenly lost 30% of its traffic from July 13th.

This is one site that was NOT affected by the original and subsequent Panda updates until now (if July 13th signals a new roll-out). And I mean AT ALL, not a blip, until now.
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