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Google Updates and SERP Changes - Nov 2011

     
3:15 pm on Nov 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

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

October 30/31 something happened - traffic to my canadian sites is down 15-20%. Traffic to US sites is only down slightly. In some cases traffic to some of my US sites was actually up yesterday - first time in months.

Not sure what happened. Still looking into it.

[edited by: tedster at 1:43 am (utc) on Nov 2, 2011]

4:24 pm on Nov 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

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for the financial term I mentioned above, I see a better index appearing occasionally (rarely), but most of the time I am getting this junk that has to be confusing a lot of normal searchers. I think there is a tweak being worked on, based on the better results I get periodically from some other datacenter.
7:57 pm on Nov 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

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WMT shows some spikes in Googlebot activity along with a huge increase in "URLs in web index" number of the sitemap.

Prepare yourself, something is coming.

nadavs
10:37 pm on Nov 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

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@nadavs, it is already here and it is not good so far.
10:40 pm on Nov 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I see two very different indexes (probably more, but two are dominant for me). For the key phrase I am monitoring, the "bad" index is the most prevalent that I get 99% of the time. A "good" index pops in on very rare occasion. See my note above about the horrendous pages appearing for this phrase.
5:30 am on Nov 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I have my highest spike in KB downloaded and page crawl since I built this new site in August the KB per day is off the charts. Now we wait to see the damage.
12:26 pm on Nov 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I see a few significant changes in the UK today
2:26 pm on Nov 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Seeing a new layout change in the US this morning. ONLY for results that spawn LOCAL listing (The 8-pack or map listings)

I wish I could describe it... but the best way I can say is:

- Smaller Google map in the right sidebar (Looks short and wide, versus square)

- One of the listings in the 8-pack showed the current offer "50% OFF Glass Repair - Save Big Today" versus showing the company name like it did with the others.

- Listing info on left, Website, Reviews, etc
- Business info on right column, Address, Phone, Pushpin

Its quite a different looking serp.

Edit: I wanted to add that the search phrase was not important on my end today. I searched for several local-esque type queries, windshield repair, locksmith, gutter cleaning, and they all had this type of new local serp listing.
2:36 pm on Nov 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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The map thing is described here:

[insidesearch.blogspot.com...]
2:49 pm on Nov 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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The map thing is described here


Yup - that's it for sure. The last image on that post is exactly what I see this morning. My business partner, sitting across the office, sees the old layout still. (Logged in, out, chrome, ff, etc)

Different topic -

Not sure if anyone else noticed, but the stripped out referrals from Google increased considerably over the last 2-3 days. (more: [webmasterworld.com...]

I used to see a 1-2% amount of toned out Google referrals, but since the 31st or so, its clearly up to 10-12% of the referrals from Google are obfuscated.
3:01 pm on Nov 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Interesting map design .. So no one needs to visit a webpage at all, Google just scraps the info ?
3:05 pm on Nov 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I noticed a dip in traffic on all web properties over the weekend, almost something you would see for a holiday, I am thinking that halloween affected search, because traffic is comprable to past tuesdays.
3:13 pm on Nov 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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since the 31st or so, its clearly up to 10-12% of the referrals from Google are obfuscated.

That percentage seems to be the common one - it is about the average level of people logged into a Google account when they make their search.
3:28 pm on Nov 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Interesting map design


Slightly off topic - but I also found it interesting that for myself, the only way I can get Yelp or similar sites like those shown in the new map page, is to use queries they have shown on that image grab.

Their reference to davis square, or even the city of somerville spawn the "Yelp on Top, #1" each time, but when you replace it for other towns or cities, Yelp (Or anyone other than Google maps)is nowhere to be found.

This is CLEARLY a manually cooked search results page to my eyes. Based on their PSA post, they are propping Yelp... but in the real world, Yelp is buried, along with anything other than Google properties.

bars in somerville - Yelp on top
bars in davis square - Yelp on top
bars in [anywhere else I checked] Yelp not even on the pages!

MH
3:29 pm on Nov 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I was wondering the same thing dunivan - we were getting a lot of halloween referrals before the day up until this weekend. Then traffic was lower Sunday and Monday

My update is this - traffic Tuesday was up over Monday, which is unusual - Monday is usually our biggest day. There are only a handful of sites that are higher week-to-date when compared to the same period last week. Most are down, but in general the losses are small. From 1-2% on some sites to around 10% on others. But if this upwards trend continues today we should be back on track by the end of the week.
3:32 pm on Nov 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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traffic Tuesday was up over Monday, which is unusual - Monday is usually our biggest day.

If you get traffic from the east coast US, remember that there were widespread power outages affecting millions beginning last Saturday - to the point where Halloween was canceled or postponed in many areas.
3:37 pm on Nov 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Yea for sure; 70% of one of my Halloween sites' audience was without power over the weekend. Kinda tanked the traffic on that site.
4:06 pm on Nov 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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remember that there were widespread power outages affecting millions beginning last Saturday


You know, I have family up in that area and have talked to them several times about being without power... yet I had not even considered it as why there was a slight traffic dip over the past few days. Doh...

Thanks for the hand-smacks-forehead moment Tedster!
4:37 pm on Nov 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I am noticing a huge decrease in Google traffic to one stable domain I am monitoring which began on Oct 31 2011.

Rankings are now on page 2 instead of the 1st position.

Now, the results are the following:

1) Wiki
2) Google Images
3) Auction site
4) Commercial sites
5) Google Videos
6) More Commercial sites
7) Reference sites
2:07 pm on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I know Google results are insane these days, but I can't still believe what I saw in the results today.

For a query (HP Pavilion g4-1204nr) the #1 result is a url redirect, not cached and without instant preview. So you click on the example.com/page.html and you are redirected to merchant.com/page.html right away. That's the #1 result.

#2 is even worse. Now you have cache and instant preview, which takes an excerpt of an Adsense ad as the content. Yes, the content of that page is Adsense ad, completely unrelated to the search term, btw.

What's even worse, both #1 and #2 are the same site.

No comment.
5:58 pm on Nov 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Has there been another update today? as from 2pm UK time I'm seeing another significant drop in google traffic, and very long tail searches only.
6:44 pm on Nov 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I know Google results are insane these days, but I can't still believe what I saw in the results today.


Cannot believe Google can get results so wrong, a simple search for a wifi product on google uk gets me the following first page:

#1 Vodafone Australia
#2 Vodafone Australia
#4 cnet Australia
#6 a .jp with a Japanese title
#7 a .com site selling to Japan
#9 another Australia site

only #5 and 8 of the top 10 were something on which I could buy this wifi product available to me in the UK.

Perhaps I could always click a Google add :) surely Google are not going down the route of what they perceive 'a forced click'on their adverts? If I created a page like this, Google would term it as Spam according to their own raters rules.
9:47 pm on Nov 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'm experiencing exactly the same thing - useless search results. They were obviously trying to target certain types of content (the battle) and improve the search results (the war).

The jury is out on whether they won the battle, but they are losing the war badly right now. It's been a long time since I've seen such poor search results. Way to go Google!

Instead of introducing manual review of sites to determine if they are relevant for certain key words or meet quality standards, they would be much better served right now having all those manual reviewers simply performing searches and giving them feedback on the results so they might try to get the quality of search results back to where it was a month ago.

Isn't Google supposed to be full of smart people? Sometimes it's harder for smarter people to acknowledge that they might have screwed up I suppose.
4:25 pm on Nov 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Google's local results are truly dreadful. They are being far to aggressive inserting the Places "results" before far more accurate (let alone useful) organic results.
5:47 pm on Nov 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Quite a bit of minor movement in the UK today. Just shuffling one or two places. Since this morning one site that was at #3 has gone to 2 and now has site links. For another term one site was at #2 and #3 this morning now the #3 listing has gone down to #9.

I'm still seeing signs that backlink anchor text is particularly important for some terms at the moment.

Sid
10:04 am on Nov 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I think social activity is being rewarded...
8:41 pm on Nov 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Does anyone notice slow adding of new pages of a site in SERPS. Google crawled a page an hour ago and it's not in the results yet, but scrapers and feed aggregators are so they rank instead of me. Prior to today, a new page gets in index just a few minutes after publishing.
9:01 pm on Nov 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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@petehall I agree, and also see most facebook pages in more SERPs...
6:31 am on Nov 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Google's local results are truly dreadful. They are being far to aggressive inserting the Places "results" before far more accurate (let alone useful) organic results.


I see this in my niche as well. They are determined to show local results to the point where they don't actually seem to care about the SERP quality at all.
8:41 am on Nov 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Loads of Google crawling over the weekend & yesterday & this morning we have......junk foreign traffic again! Marvelous. Also worth noting was a visit from an Andriod device from Google too, I guess that must be a human visit as automated is always linux?
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