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Google Updates and SERP Changes - Dec 2011

     
10:14 am on Nov 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

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

I've noticed a website that got pandalized in July and came back right after the last 3.1 update to prior (if not better) positions. No changes made on site, they only acquired a new domain and 301 the pandalized one to it.

Have you ever noticed something similar happening? Souds like a really short term solution but it's at least something new.

[edited by: tedster at 5:49 pm (utc) on Dec 1, 2011]

7:19 pm on Dec 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

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A few days of stability over the weekend upended by a total traffic shutdown starting yesterday afternoon. Not a single sale since and the site is quiet as a graveyard. Really odd, but not unexpected from Google this time of year. It's almost as if they shake it up to thwart the would be scammers but with the added consequence of hitting legit sites too. That or they shut down the organic in an attempt to force us to go "all in" with our adwords campaigns for maximum Google profit.
7:33 pm on Dec 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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My site lost 50% of it's income and traffic following the first few Panda updates. Three days ago income suddenly dropped another 30-40%. December, for the previous seven years, has been my best month...now it seems like it's going to be one of my worst for the past several years if the trend continues.

If it's this bad now, I can only imagine what it's going to be like going forward. I don't even want to think about it as I'd like to enjoy the holiday season.

Seasons Best to you too, Google.
8:28 pm on Dec 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I've also noticed that my "trash" test sites are suddenly picking up tons of traffic, while my long time, established bread & butter, primary income site is dropping. Mornings and daytime hours are dismal, but small pickup at night. 10 years of sales data does not support this new trend.

Every time I've seen the trash sites pick up, it's because a major algo update is digesting. It can take several weeks to settle out. I guess it's no 'GI Joe with Kung Foo Grip' for junior this year.
8:37 pm on Dec 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Traffic is holding steady for me, but the traffic quality has gone bad in the last week. Agree with everyone that there seems to be something going on...
9:45 pm on Dec 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I've also noticed that my "trash" test sites are suddenly picking up tons of traffic, while my long time, established bread & butter, primary income site is dropping. Mornings and daytime hours are dismal, but small pickup at night. 10 years of sales data does not support this new trend.


Seeing the same... a total halt in sales over almost all my channels.... my ecommerce sites, ebay store (and a number of ebay like other sites), my affiliate sites... the lot. Something major happened about 4-5 days ago *YET FREAKING AGAIN* and it shut down my income stream from all my channels.

traffic numbers +/- around the same but no sales. Junk traffic to say the least.... absolutely disgusting what they are doing to site owners and especially around this time of the year.
3:57 am on Dec 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Agree about traffic levels - they seem "normal" but they are what I coined a few years ago as "Zombie Traffic". It's either suddenly non-targeted or some other phenomenon. We all know our traffic patterns pretty well, and when the upsets occur, we just know something is up again. I know there are many out there who are getting hit bad, but they gave up after Panda and no longer bother posting. That's too bad.

BTW - not to wander off topic, but I had a real live Google rep call me a few months ago and left a very helpful sounding message (I wasn't home) asking if I had any questions and that they wanted to work with me to help optimize my Adwords account. Not sure if this was actually Google or some third party SEO scam. Anyone else get a call like this?
8:13 am on Dec 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Same here in germany. It is frustating, was thinking is only my site. Wonder why there is not more respond on WebmasterWorld.
10:48 am on Dec 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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People are probably bored of moaning, i know my big authority forum gets slapped more and more with every passing day. I've abandoned it, moved onto a new website venture, i have no interest in working with Google when they behave in such a way that good is not rewarded and bad is, spam is rife right now in the SERPS. I'd imagine many are doing the same.
11:00 am on Dec 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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anyone else seeing spammy youtube pages coming up?

I just looked at one of my main money terms that I've been building over the last few years and whilst I'm second the 1st is a youtube link thats just got a lame 2min video with nothing other than a few images and a link onto a site!

its that the case now we have to make spammy videos targeting keywords so that youtube feed us traffic
1:48 pm on Dec 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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@backdraft7

Yeah, I google calls from Google Reps many times. As soon as I started to manage high traffic sites and sites that used Adwords a lot.
2:01 pm on Dec 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Just wanted to add my AdSense earnings are down another 50% whilst traffic seems normal so that's been 50% with Panda 2.1 and now what, Panda Claws back another 50%?
2:36 pm on Dec 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Yes, just like backdraft7 says above, I've been looking after about 20 sites, some of them for nearly 10 years and I get to know which ones deserve traffic and which ones really shouldn't get any.

I'm seeing all the trashy sites rising up the rankings and the quality sites falling.

Some of these clients are providing excellent content and information for their visitors (on my advice) but they are all getting increasingly frustrated by small 6-page websites with links from 500 auto-created blogs, 1000 spammy forum posts and automated social bookmarking.

And like Tigger mentions above, most of these auto-created blogs have one off-topic video and a heavily spun article. I can't believe that the algorithm has come to this.

On the other hand, there must be plenty of webmasters out there rubbing their hands with glee, watching all the visitors roll in to their sites.

Perhaps the best SEO advice these days is to advise clients to hedge their bets and create 3 different websites, one with great content and good links and the other two using various spammy and black hat techniques to fill the gaps in these sort of unusual algorithmic epochs?
2:39 pm on Dec 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I can remember a time when Google would NEVER make algo changes during the Holiday season and always waited until after Christmas. Of course, that was when they actually cared about Webmasters.

For me, several sites I had that were wacked years ago and finally let out of the sandbox about 4 months ago have once again been wacked.

Thanks Google.
2:59 pm on Dec 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Good continues to reward bad behavior with good results. My main site is a perfect example...I have two competitors who besides having copied my site structure, concept and sales copy, have now copied the first 5 words of my title and just rearranged the order of the remaining words causing a ton of customer confusion (their intention I'm sure). Google's algo is so daft that it cannot figure this obvious copyright / trademark issue out. I think tedster mentioned that Google was able to determine the original content author...that may be true, but they continue to promote the copycats. If you're interested in seeing this, PM me.
3:57 pm on Dec 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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What is the opposite of Panda? I saw a post once about panda recovery due to "Kevin" or something like that. It was supposed to be some sort of Panda band-aid... Anyone?

I blew it off when I first saw it, but today I am having what appears to be a complete recovery on one of my pandalized subdomains, but haven't seen any other comments about recoveries happening today. I would now like to research it more so I can try to figure out what caused the recovery.
4:17 pm on Dec 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Anyone else seeing a Toolbar PageRank update happening? Noticing changes across many sites we monitor. Actually a bit of negative pagerank movement where I expected the opposite.

Disclaimer - I do not use pagerank for anything, except a health gauge of our backlink profile.
4:35 am on Dec 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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There is one report in this Panda thread [webmasterworld.com] of "skyrocketing" rankings today for a previous Pandalyzed domain. That's not TBPR - that's real, present time rankings.
5:15 am on Dec 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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If "Pandalyzed" sites are "skyrocketing", wouldn't that indicate something is "broken" ....again?

It's rather like the oil investor who says "hey, great news, crude prices are up" while the rest of the world moans in pain at the pump.
5:21 am on Dec 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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No it means that maybe there is a fix out there, a way to diminish the dupe/thin content penalty . Its like saying " Hey, great news, crude prices are up, but we have alternative energy" .
5:31 am on Dec 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I guess it all depends on the side of "Panda" you are on. If thin content sites are coming back, then your alternative energy is tantamount to cold fusion in a gym sock.
5:51 am on Dec 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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The report is that one previously Pandalyzed site is now enjoying skyrocketed rankings. Let's not jump to conclusions and hypothetical situations - that's not solid analysis, especially when it comes to something as wildly variable as Panda.

I know of one site that I keep expecting to get nailed at any time, but it just keeps sailing. Another site recovered rather nicely after just a bit of technical clean-up. And a third has been plugging away at many improvements but still suffers from a severe February Panda hit. So accurate generalizations are hard to come by and not a wise step to take.
6:16 am on Dec 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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$panda = rand(page rank) + rand("Authority") + rand("lets see what this knob does") + rand("Geo location") + rand("all the good old signals WE USED TO look at") = fail

One big mess... I'm not sure they now know how to fix now. The panda update is like a chef that keeps adding ingredients to a perfect dish until the dish tastes so woeful no one can eat it.
7:32 am on Dec 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I had the situation before panda update was launched. But I choose a new domain name exactly before panda update was launched and there were some positive results..
8:04 am on Dec 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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BTW - not to wander off topic, but I had a real live Google rep call me a few months ago and left a very helpful sounding message (I wasn't home) asking if I had any questions and that they wanted to work with me to help optimize my Adwords account. Not sure if this was actually Google or some third party SEO scam. Anyone else get a call like this?


A year or two ago I had an Adsense Rep call us. She said make some ads bigger and convert all of our ads to image/text ads. I hardly noticed a difference. In fact, I tried analyzing it and the image ads paid worse.
8:35 am on Dec 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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In my opinion there was a new panda update this week (yesterday) which affected mobile and global SERPs. I see only minor changes on US SERPs. Anyone else noticing this?
9:13 am on Dec 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'm in the UK and did see a big drop in visits yesterday from the US for a large site I look after.

This particular site can't provide their service for US customers so perhaps Google is sending more targeted traffic?

I'll have to wait and see.
3:11 pm on Dec 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Today my site appears to be back in action. Like I said before, whenever a medium to large algo update comes along, my site takes a hit that lasts for a few days. Fridays are typically slower but today (9am right now) I've done more sales than I did in each of the last 4 days.

Oh, one other tip...freshen your content! I have a blog and facebook page associated with my site. I've been adding new, fresh & original content to both over the past few days and that seems to have helped. Google likes Fresh Meat, but no artificial fillers please.
5:20 pm on Dec 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Just noticed the same thing as backdraft. Traffic levels are the same over the week but time on site back up! Looks like better traffic this time. Something happened over the past few days.
7:29 pm on Dec 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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In my opinion there was a new panda update this week (yesterday) which affected mobile and global SERPs.

Zerillos, why do you feel this update is a "Panda" update rather than one of the many other kinds of updates we see all year long?
7:56 pm on Dec 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Key observation in all these cases is that traffic levels (for me at least) seem to remain the same. No dramatic drop in traffic. However, as I've mentioned many times in previous posts, I use audio "doorbells" on key pages of my site to track traffic without even looking. On my "off" days, the traffic levels remain "normal", yet the doorbells fall silent and hence low or no sales conversions.
I was fine for most of the summer, right up until about a week ago when I noticed the disruption.
I agree with tedster - this is not likely Panda related. It's just a larger "quality update" that has required a database refresh....if we can call it that. Thes upages seem to move around the globe in waves that take a few days to settle out.

If you are still experiencing prolonged drops in traffic since the initial Panda release, you might want to consider a new line of work, because you should have corrected your site issues by now.
If you still think you have no "thin content" issues. Have a third (or fourth) party check for you.
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