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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]


12:15 am on Sep 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

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

In another thread, Sgt_Kickaxe shared some data about a ranking change he's noticed over this same period - one that affects hundreds of keywords for him.

Divided emphasis on Transactional vs Informational results [webmasterworld.com]

The thread's title is self-explanatory - in his case it appears that transactional searches took the hit, but not so much trouble with Informational searches.

Robert Charlton

6:41 pm on Sep 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

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

An in another thread, Terabytes just reported some major jumps up to pre-Panda levels...

Did a Google dial get turned yesterday? Rankings pre-Panda plus...

In that same thread, I also note some surprising movement that suggests Google may have adjusted its dupe filter.


12:23 am on Sep 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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< moved from another location >

Is it just me and 4 other PC of mine that showing insane results or did Google had an update?

I see sites from 6 months old that were not ranking are ranking #1 for terms which they don't deserve at all.

Anyone else?

[edited by: tedster at 2:47 am (utc) on Sep 28, 2011]


7:00 am on Sep 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Huge traffic drop.. more than 60% .. are you guys seeing same?

Martin Ice Web

7:10 am on Sep 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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@ErnestHemingway : confirmed -> located in Germany - seeing it since 22/09

@tabish: confirmed -> located Germany -> huge drop at 26/27.09 -> serps has nothing to with search-term.


7:35 am on Sep 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Something's changed in the UK SERPS overnight too. Previous #1/2/3 rankings dropped to bottom of page 1 and top of page 2, and others gone the opposite way. Some have not moved at all. The #1 rankings we have that I've found from my logs so far are not what I'd call targeted. Related yes, targeted no.


9:05 am on Sep 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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[q]are you guys seeing same? [/q]

yup. another update took place last weekend


9:34 am on Sep 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I definitely seeing awful bounce rate the last 3 days.

Homepage holding for money keywords.

Not sure if its an update, or some testing, overall traffic is still post pandlised 2.3 same for me.


9:38 am on Sep 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Things have been up in the air since I last posted. No surprise, all the signs were there. So now its back to waiting & hoping. Funny how we had stability for the entire summer holidays, I guess the morons who can not leave things alone were also away. Shame they are back.


10:09 am on Sep 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sem4u is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I have seen quite a few changes since Sunday night / Monday morning. One site is doing really well...up a couple of places for a very competitive keyword. Two other sites have fallen back a little. It reminds me a little of a time a couple of years back when the rankings would fluctuate a lot on a Monday and then settle down for the rest of the week.


10:34 am on Sep 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

another update took place last weekend

Still I am not 100% sure.
Usually, when any Panda update occurs, I get more traffic from Bing/Yahoo, even 10% jump.
Panda update or not, last days some good things happened with the traffic from Bing/Yahoo.

[edited by: tedster at 4:52 pm (utc) on Sep 28, 2011]


10:57 am on Sep 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Wow, in the UK I'm seeing some real crud rank high on very competitive terms...

Hasn't really affected the quality sites much, but you have to ask what on earth they are doing there!


12:12 pm on Sep 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Yep, 60% traffic drop starting at 6 PM CST Tuesday (yesterday). My site is one of those sites that benefitted by splitting user content onto separate subdomains, like hubpages did. Now all those gains are gone, and maybe then some.

I'm relieved that the new subdomain sites aren't the only ones which got hit.


12:44 pm on Sep 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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@dataguy so what we should do now? should we wait or just pack our bags and go farming again? First time in my whole life i am seeing this situation.. will it back to normal once the update is finished?



2:50 pm on Sep 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Very strange. My overall traffic as per analytics is up for both Pandalized and non-Panda affected sites. Could be seasonal. But google only traffic looks slightly higher by 10% only. So not sure where this is coming from (direct and referrers make up the rest of the increase to show 25% to 30% increase). Not sure if this was a Panda update, but it's the first marked increase I've seen since Panda (for me).


3:39 pm on Sep 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Same here falsepositive. We are seeing a notable change in traffic, but not all search. I wonder if something is going on with the referral data being passed during this testing. Perhaps cloaking the test traffic?


4:26 pm on Sep 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Yes. Without getting too detailed, I have a pandalized site that spiked - 80% increase in traffic yesterday.

For months I tried many things: moving ads down in the content, speeding up the site (went from 5 seconds to 2.5), removing/combining 'shorter' content pages, fixing WMT HTML suggestions - NOTHING worked. Traffic either stayed low, or inched down.

This site was making almost no money anymore so 2 weeks ago I reduced/removed the adsense from the content. In some places I went from a 336x280 to 468x60, others I removed the adsense ad altogether. Essentially each page that is 3 folds or longer now has a 468x60, whereas before it may have had two 336x280's. Sure enough, yesterday I get a 80% increase yesterday. Makes me wonder if Panda doesn't like ads mixed in with the content at all.

Got an 'adsense advisor' calling me for a consultation to help "increase my revenue" in the next day or two... what to do, what to do...


4:56 pm on Sep 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I really think that what we're seeing isn't an algo change (in general, not just what happened last night) but it's a matter of how Google sees search differently. Almost every day I read something about how Google has a vision for the future, and it doesn't include brand-less websites. Instead, it's centered around Google plus, Google's other web properties, and the big boys.

Google used to think mom-and-pop websites were the greatest thing ever. I think those days are over.


5:41 pm on Sep 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Yes something happened overnight in the UK, I've lost a number one spot to sites which don't really seem like they deserve it. Looks like I'm about 25% - 30% down currently.


5:45 pm on Sep 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Don't see any algo change, just a bit of "flux", some pages up, some the same, some down a bit. Not much change in Google referrers.
The flux may push some sites into the "happy zone".


6:26 pm on Sep 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I noticed sligh increase in ranks for one site that was heavily pandalized. Last tuesday we had 140 from google and yesterday we had 196. So yes it up but two years ago this time we had 16452 from google before Panda.


7:27 pm on Sep 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Today is the first day of improvement on my site after constant fall since February Panda. It's about 20% improvement of English Google organic traffic. Many pages have jumped from below #40 to top ten.

Changes in the last month I did is improvement of content - writing more originally, adding my original photos, adding videos. I have about 150 improved posts on the 2000-post site. The improved posts are mostly new. In May, I did tags removal and removal of very similar posts.

Regarding ads, I've removed a 468x adsense unit between the title and post and below the fold ad from a display ad network. Last week I added 728x on the old 468x spot.

Finally, I removed yesterday almost all affiliate links I had (on about 400 posts out of 2000), but don't think that that had effect on rankings right away.


8:57 pm on Sep 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Seeing large gains to a site pummeled by Panda 1.0, and losing with each successive Panda update. Over the last week traffic has inched up, and took a jump yesterday/today. Today's traffic up ~70% over a week ago, but still down ~30% from pre-Panda levels.

Looks like a Panda update, OR the last 2 weeks of intense re-writes/changes have paid off through some Panda auto-calculation... or...


9:12 pm on Sep 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

I was also hit by Panda 1.0 and have been seeing improvement for the first time since Feb. (not as pronounced as @canuck or @ScubaAddict but noticeable). As mentioned, it does not register on Google but through other traffic sources (weirdly). I have done intense rewrites and changes also. Too many to count. It's an ongoing process and I won't stop but I am at least hopeful that this is the turning point.... But we never know...


9:50 pm on Sep 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Huge changes going on. As I posted here a couple of months back, my site has mostly recovered from Panda. We stayed recovered for the past couple of months. On Tuesday that recovery was 100% taken away and now I am back in Panda penalized mode again.


10:05 pm on Sep 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

can you please share with us if there's anything on your site that could lead to another Panda penalty? Have you made any changes on the site after recovery?


10:49 pm on Sep 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I am seeing the same thing on my main UK site - a big drop in traffic, more than 70% down since the 26th. Not sure what this is but I haven't made any changes in a couple of weeks other than the usual news. I saw similar thing happen in June/July, it lasted a week and then bounced back, again for no apparent reason so I am keeping my fingers crossed it will bounce back again.


11:06 pm on Sep 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

it would be helpful to others if members indicated the country their site is based/focused on.


4:57 am on Sep 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

@danijelzi I haven't changed anything at all on my site in about 5 months... which would put that about 2 months before my Panda recovery.

Actually that's not true. The only thing I have changed is that about 30 days ago improved the speed of the site so it now loads 50% faster.

That's it. My site is primarily USA focused.

My history (which a lot of you here probably already know)

- Was hit heavily by Panda 1.0 lost 60% of my Google traffic over night.
- Was hit again by Panda 2.0 and lost another 15% of my Google traffic.
- Saw no recovery for nearly 6 months, until about 2 months ago all the sudden I got a partial recovery, which gradually increased until it was nearly a recovery.
- That near recovery lasted for about 2 months... until now when it has been ripped away from me like someone pulling a rug out from under my feet... again.


5:54 am on Sep 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Looks like it is targeted to particular industry. I am talking about "dating" niche. If you can check Alexa, you will see all the big sites are seeing 60 to 90% fall. Little fall on "Entertainment" industry too.. what you guys say?
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