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Google Updates and SERP Changes - Sep 2011

     
9:47 am on Aug 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

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

There were declines for hubpages after the initial traffic improvements. But 23 aug seem to have reversed the downward trend and they are almost back to pre-panda levels. Sub-domain strategy is proving to be fruitful for this large content farm. This might help the other larger content farms to recover as well.But it might not help the mid and small sized sites and they will remain hurt. Here is why I feel that way.

Hubpages are creating sub domains at the user level and not at the topic level. I am noticing several of their current top ranking pages are from users who post on a variety of topics. This beats the theory that panda is favoring topic focused sites.But what surprises me is the upward movement of some low quality pages from poor quality writers. I have examples of such sub domains which I cannot share here.

So what is really helping them? As I understand it, the move to sub domains are helping them beat the panda's sitewide penalty. This suggests that the sitewide drag enforced by the google panda algorithm is very strong.

But why will this subdomain strategy help only the large content farms and not the smaller ones?

The relatively smaller and mid sized sites can branch off to only a fewer sub domains, in comparison to what the bigger content farms could. Hubpages have now created a large number of subdomains. I am guessing that the panda algo isn't applied to several of them. The smaller sizes of these new sub domains are probably helping them keep a distance from the panda evaluation.

If other bigger content farms intend trying the sub domain strategy, they should follow the hubpages model as it is and create sub domains based on useror any other unitthat will lower the number of pages per sub domain.

I guess that this will be relatively difficult for mid and smaller sized sites, as the number of authors will be less and hence pages per author will be high enough to be trapped by the panda net.

[edited by: tedster at 9:55 pm (utc) on Sep 2, 2011]

9:46 pm on Sept 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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WTH happened? Today is almost nothing ;9
Saturday 9/10/11: 13,590
Sunday 9/11/11: 14,440
Monday 9/12/11: 10,740
Tuesday 9/13/11: 7,380
Wednesday 9/14/2011: 3,990

Probably should have disallowed Googlebot 6 months ago :( Anybody else crapping out today?
9:51 pm on Sept 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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@gehrlekrona, have you been able to correlate that traffic drop with any ranking changes?
9:52 pm on Sept 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Today was my best day since getting hit with 2.3 and 2.4. Made 100's of changes. Still a long way to go tho.
9:59 pm on Sept 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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@tedster, not sure how to do that :( I know I haven't changed anything that would create such a drop.
10:11 pm on Sept 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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You need to know what keywords were bringing in a lot of your search traffic and where they usually ranked. Then you see which of those keywords didn't perform when traffic dropped and check their current ranking.
10:11 pm on Sept 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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@gehrlekrona , did you have a larger than expected googlebot crawl just prior to the drop in visitors ?
10:14 pm on Sept 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Traffic lower than Yahoo's but it's the best bounce rate I have ever seen on Google since I measured it--and that's because I'm getting some good referrals, similar to my titles. That's one of the biggest flaws afaik, too many bad keyword referrals and you site is penalized, not THAT page for THAT keyword like Bing does.
6:37 am on Sept 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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@gehrlekrona

I've seen a similar drop right across my sites starting Monday with yesterday being the worst I've had in months - rankings are holding where they should be - least on the main money terms although I've not looked at long tail searches

I spoke to a friend in a similar industry and he's seen the same, so I assuming its punters taking a last minute cheap holiday after the kids have returned to school - because if keywords are hold the surfers have vanished somewhere
6:44 am on Sept 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Is there anything from Google on this one? 100% sure there has been a major update. Why is it the same pattern always happens? ie, massive traffic spike followed by lots of foreign traffic (India in particular)? SERP's always look normal mind as do traffic levels in GA. Does anyone else get this? Fingers crossed it recovers again like it has done everytime thus far. These updates must cost the economy a fair bit if others get what we do everytime............
7:24 am on Sept 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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What factors make you sure there's been a major update? No one in this thread is reporting a rankings change - just very strange traffic anomalies. That might mean a big update is coming, yes, but not that we've already seen one. Unless you are seeing big ranking changes?
7:26 am on Sept 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I agree with Tedster - I'm not seeing any changes and have now checked some 3 / 4 keyword longtail searches and my sites are right where they were last week
7:35 am on Sept 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I've not seen ranking changes for ANY of the updates thus far, just the pattern as described above.
8:36 am on Sept 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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No change here. In the last a couple of days Panda delivers me 261-266 US Google organic visitors and simply can't reach 267 or more.
8:42 am on Sept 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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To reiterate, we NEVER see ranking changes in the SERP's when this happens. What we do see is a spike in traffic, lots of foreign traffic and a complete lack of sales. How can we check what we see in the SERP's is what Google is serving up elsewhere? We can't. Traffic throttling is 100% fact, you would only have to take a look at our GA account to work that one out!

System

9:16 am on Sept 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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The next 6 messages discussing a layout change in the SERPs were cut out to a new thread by tedster. New thread at: google/4362857.htm [webmasterworld.com]
9:47 am on Sep 15, 2011 (EDT -4)

[edited by: tedster at 1:49 pm (utc) on Sep 15, 2011]
[edit reason] keep this discussion focused on the algo changes [/edit]

10:01 pm on Sept 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I haven't had a chance to look at all the suggestions people have here, but will do as soon as I get more time.
I am guessing Google is making tons of money right now, when people are more opt to click the ads when the results are crappy.
Wednesdays result 9/14/2011: 8,740
Thursday so far 9/15/2011: 5,280

These are numbers I used to have early in the morning just 6-8 months ago so yes,it sucks big time.
One thing I noticed and that is you get some results, you click on one of them and then go back because it was just not what you wanted. Now they have MORE from the same site in the results. Why would you want more when you didn't want it in the first place?
9:25 am on Sept 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Over the last few months my bounce rate has increased massively, almost doubled. Seems to be caused by long tail giving me inappropriate traffic.

My main 2 word term which has had my page at #1 for the last 13 years (with notable exceptions) has dropped to #3. I notice that, subjectively, the sites that have moved above me, would probably have their "Keyword Significance" as reported by WMT more towards one of the two words than my own site. For example if the term was <<widget fettling>> my site is more about fettling, those that have moved above are more about widgets.

If I search for the single word <<widget>> my home page has dropped from about #30 to #86. I used to be the first widget fettling site listed in SERPS for the widget, now I'm the fourth.

If I search for <fettling>> with pages from the UK selected I've dropped from #90 to #199.

Still far more questions raised than answers found.

Cheers

Sid
10:22 am on Sept 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Over the last few months my bounce rate has increased massively, almost doubled.


All my user metrics have worsened since the Panda updates.
11:03 am on Sept 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Over the last few months my bounce rate has increased massively, almost doubled. Seems to be caused by long tail giving me inappropriate traffic.
All my user metrics have worsened since the Panda updates.

Ding, Ding, Ding! It's a death spiral, tell that to Google. They don't care because Panda is working for them and they don't want to take any chances, just in case they break it.
12:04 pm on Sept 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Hi to All,

Huge spike at crawling stats, something is going to happen.
5:00 pm on Sept 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

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No change in crawler stats for me... though every time so far it has been a sign that the Panda is back... anybody else seeing increases in their crawler stats?
5:04 pm on Sept 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Ronalds8 and others do you think this is true?
"Huge spike at crawling stats, something is going to happen."
If so what will happen you all think?
5:20 pm on Sept 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

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No big change in crawler stats, but definitely saw big shifts (drops) in Google around the 11th, especially exaggerated in international traffic segments.
5:48 pm on Sept 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Holywood: yes, for sure every time (in the last 5 months) that there has been a BIG boost in crawler stats, it's been followed by a panda update.

I'm not currently seeing a boost in crawler stats... my opinion is that Panda is now overdue...
1:03 pm on Sept 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

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My old sites are still hit by Panda but mostly visits from North America and yes in google tools the site is set to USA. Now I have begone creating new sites, be cause I have given up on the old, still I would like to know the reason, anything new in the Panda update situation and maybe why some are mostly hit from english speaking google version.
3:39 pm on Sept 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Is anyone seeing an extended use of...

Tip: These results do not include the word "#*$!x". Show results that include "#*$!x".
4:53 pm on Sept 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I haven't noticed that so far - but it certainly would be a new step for Google and it might mark a shift in how they are handling queries altogether. I'll keep an eye out for that!
2:56 am on Sept 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I have just seen one of my links in the result that has 2 more links side by side under it to other similar pages. I have also seen today one of my links have this new bulleted lists under the link.

It seems like the hits are a little bit better, but like always, you never know if it's going to stick or not.
6:04 pm on Sept 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Note that there has been more movement in the SERPs beginning Sept 16 to 18 ( see [webmasterworld.com...] ) It's been confirmed that this is NOT a Panda iteration, but something is shifting a good bit. Preliminary analysis by some members suspects yet another change in how backlinks are scored and weighted.
7:22 pm on Sept 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Before Sept 16-18 every post with good inbound links on my pandalized site was automatically buried deep in SERPs, about #60 or below, but after that algo change I can rank up to #10 with these posts. Only a few pass above #10.

Still no effect on traffic, I assume you have to be #1-#5 to get some.
This 186 message thread spans 7 pages: 186