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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]

8:33 pm on Dec 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for sharing Alyssa. That is good to know.

Enjoy the holidays everyone!
9:11 pm on Dec 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

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That is good news...It would be nice if they would publish scheduled algo release dates so at least we could stop speculating...or at least give us time to prepare. This willy-nilly approach affects the global economy.

Unfortunately that also takes away the unknown factor and allows those who game the system a slight diagnostic advantage.
10:01 pm on Dec 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

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@ Lenny2
In my opinion, this is what they're trying to do. I didn't say they are very good at it. I also belive they are in over their head and that's why Panda is such a mess. This is a very difficult problem to solve...
12:29 am on Dec 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

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It would be nice if they would publish scheduled algo release dates...

Ad I understand it, Google oesn't even know internally - at least not very far ahead of time. They know they are working on something or other, but until the text versions pass through QA from their human reviewers with a respectable score, the changes are not pushed live. And the test versions might take several trials before the data supports making the change live.
10:54 am on Dec 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

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it now seems google is trying to make the distinction between news and web searches less and less obvious with cross over results being increased on an ongoing basis within each dedicated tab. I see a large rise in news sites getting large numbers of results in the organic search (pushing websites dedicated to the topic down to pages 3 and worse) while vanilla websites getting top place in news searches if they are heavyweight for that term.
12:10 pm on Dec 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

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@santapaws

yep just seen that myself - I was checking some rankings for my money terms and couldn't understand why I'd dropped 4 places and then saw 4 news sites ranking in the top 10 - JOKE

Surely the point of having a link for NEWS is for those sites only
1:40 pm on Dec 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

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im seeing bigger drops than that because of the news sites plus a second page that is little more than sub-pages of the few sites on page one.
8:28 am on Dec 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

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did anyone else notice a big drop in number of indexed pages under site:www.example.com operator? (I know that site: is not the most accurate tool, but stil...)
2:07 pm on Dec 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

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@zerillos

I notice it bouncing around in numbers a great deal for the last 3 days.

I have a directory I am trying to get deindexed via direct meta insertion on all pages in the directory, so I check it daily.

Yesterday it had 4,500 indexed pages
Sun - 556 indexed pages
Sat - 2,300 indexed pages
Fri - 213 indexed pages
8:02 pm on Dec 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Yea I am noticing this too for medium sites that I track, 500,000 page sites normally are all being reduced by around ~70% in the site: search
4:59 pm on Dec 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I wonder whether there has been a "Minor Panda update" since Dec 19, 2011.

In @Google latest weather report it was mentioned that
no major Panda updates until the new year.
, allowing for possible "Minor Panda updates" to take place :-)

[twitter.com ]
5:51 pm on Dec 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

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What I am noticing is that Google is force feeding localization searches down the users throat. So, now if I search for a simple term like "gas pumps" (as an example only), I might get a listing of many local gas stations nearest my location, then below that, the organic results for say "gas pump" equipment, which is what I was really looking for. Guess that mind reading thing's not working too well.

Local search should be listed under it's own tab. This is just like the "tweets" phase, where twitter tweets were being force feeded over the organic results.

Google has litle regard for those who have built their businesses off organic results, even though, most of those people support Google through additional Adwords funds. It's their playground, I guess they can and will do whatever they like.

I'm seeing dramatic drops in sales due to the localization pushing my former top organic listing below the fold or onto page 2. The above example may not be applicable, but one of my top single word key phrases is. The longer the phrase though, the more accurate the search, which does make sense. Time to adapt again.
8:55 am on Dec 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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@reseller,

looks like there has been a minor updated. Since 19th our conversion rate, that was slowly climbing, is now near zero. Visitors have dropped by 20%.
9:11 am on Dec 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I wonder whether there has been a "Minor Panda update" since Dec 19, 2011.


I'm seeing this too
3:04 pm on Dec 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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looks like there has been a minor updated. Since 19th our conversion rate, that was slowly climbing, is now near zero. Visitors have dropped by 20%.


Why don't you feel that this is the normal holiday shopping coming to an end? 19th was the last big day.
3:10 pm on Dec 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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This willy-nilly approach affects the global economy.


This is very true. I don't understand why something that affects the global economy as much as Panda does not receive more mainstream media attention. What factors impact the global economy more than this and more specifically impact small business which is the bellwether for many global economies?
3:24 pm on Dec 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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i hear media mentioning the changing nature of google more and more (for the worse). People can just just about find something they were looking for still but its getting harder even for the casual searcher with little expectation. For many out there google is all they know, but it will change. I wonder if google are banking on changing mindsets before that happens? The slow and never ending drive towards more and more hardly related results buried beneath one strong result, a pile of google products and the usual suspects (ebay, amazon, tripadvisor, wiki, major heavyweight brands) plus ever increasing news sites. And all sandwiched between ads.
3:46 pm on Dec 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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robert76 wrote:
This is very true. I don't understand why something that affects the global economy as much as Panda does not receive more mainstream media attention.

Have you considered the possibility that your assumption that Panda has a significant effect on the global economy is false? That would be a reasonable explanation for the lack of mainstream media attention, wouldn't it?

What factors impact the global economy more than this [...]

I'm actually appalled that you would even ask this question. How about wars? Large-scale natural disasters? Near economic collapse of a first world nation? (We aren't blaming Greece's predicament on Google now, are we?) Recessions in a number of other first world nations?

I know that for some of you your business is your life and your industry is your world, but it's not the world. Let's have a little perspective.

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5:25 pm on Dec 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Ryan - didn't you take Roberts comment a bit out of context? you forget the "more specifically" part.
Your "perspective" is quite naive if you think the "near economic collapse of a first world nation" is not affected in part by the health of it's small businesses. Small business is seemingly choked by the technology that should promote it, hence preventing them from becoming BIG business.

What appears to be happening today is that G and other forces seem to play preference to larger companies, who in turn become larger, more greedy which is progressively stratifying the classes. In other words, the rich get richer, the middle class and poor get poorer. Sorry if this is wandering off topic, but the point is that G (and it's willy-nilly changes) certainly do affect the global economy (along with other factors of course).

Why has this happened? Simply because the wild west market of the internet has allowed unscrupulous players in, who then try to black-hat their way to the top. It's the "one bad apple spoils the whole bunch" story. All forcing the algo updates we see that are intended improve the quality of the serps, yet can have disastrous effects on legitimate small businesses. It's like trying to exterminate mosquitoes with hand grenades, it causes a lot of collateral damage.

So in the end, G generally equates small with scammy...and the intended fix is not always accurate and the result can be very harmful to small business. This adversely affects the economy, does it not?

The above is simply my opinion. Not speculation. My apologies if this seem off topic.
5:53 pm on Dec 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Yes - this discussion is definitely veering off-topic. The thread is about tracking Google. Updates and SERP Changes. When we get into too much opinion and editorializing, we defeat that purpose.

I wonder whether there has been a "Minor Panda update" since Dec 19, 2011

A minor update, yes, however I see no reason to assume it's Panda. In fact, Matt Cutts recently tweeted that there would not be another Panda update through the end of the year.

6:12 pm on Dec 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Agreed, I think Panda is long gone and the updates we see are the just continuation of the standard quality updates. I think things veered off when I surmised that the updates affect the economy. Apparently they affect only my economy and a handful of others. My apologies for that.

Right now it's not the updates at all, it the localization and other UI changes that are clobbering our positions.
6:33 pm on Dec 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Since the 19th we've seen a 25% increase in the time that google traffic spends on the site... a 33% increase in page views... and a 2% decrease in bounce rate. Pretty amazing. Anybody have any insight into what these recent change was targeting?

I say stop "fixing" your site and let Google figure out which type of visitor is supposed to be on your site.

...and our google traffic is down, 8%... could be the holiday... could be ranking shifts...
6:45 pm on Dec 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I've definitely noticed an increase of traffic on my junk sites, but my main "good" sites are down. That historically indicates an algo is digesting.

(By "junk sites" I mean older, unmaintained sites)
8:32 pm on Dec 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing some real junk SERPS for some coupon queries I monitor, when I say junk here's the SERP layout for one that gets roughly 65k searches a month (which would be considered fairly competitive):

1: 1 page spun content site - exact match domain, no coupons
2: Merchant website
3: 1 page MFA - exact match domain, no coupons
4: dealspl.us
5: retailmenot
6: 1 page MFA, exact match domain, no coupons
7: 1 page blog MFA, exact match domain, no coupons
8: 1 page blog MFA, exact match domain, no coupons
9: 1 page blog MFA, exact match domain, no coupons
10: Wiki comment page with spun content, spam links

Never seen so much junk, 7 out of the top 10 results. This particular merchant is also popular during the holidays (they do gifts) so this is a horrible experience for searchers actually looking for coupons.

I'll not even comment on the backlinks these sites are ranking with.
11:51 pm on Dec 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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This is the main sticking point for me - the simple fact that there is junk being served up in the search results. Panda can reiterate until the cows come home but if the SERPS are jumbled then the desired outcome isn't reached and something has to give eventually.

I can only speak for the physical products/ecommerce side of things, but a couple of things I have noticed are

a) A huge bias towards exact match domains, or even domains with the keyword plus a few other words. Whether it be a prefix or several suffixes. This is nothing new I know but these sites are still low quality (1 page, poorly formatted text, large amounts of white space and/or ads, thin/spun content, poor link profiles etc) and ranking above authority sites like CNET, Consumer Reports, etc. Saw a couple of emd.ca's too.

b) Lots of international sites ranking in Google US or AU. I'm from Australia but I'm getting a lot of co.uk domains using google.com.au and similarly for Google US. A lot of the stuff you would be accustomed to seeing is back on page 2 or 3. It's quite irritating.

Now this has been going on for a while of course, but surely they are doing more harm than good? I understand there is a bias towards Amazon and whoever else in a lot of searches but even these sites are being trounced by shady EMD's or related sites with a co.za extension that were registered in the last 6 months.
1:09 am on Dec 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

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The only changes we've noticed this week seem to revolve around timing of referrals.
1:24 am on Dec 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Welcome to the forums, sinicline. Do you mean that you see surges of search traffic at different times from day to day, instead of a relatively stable pattern?
7:45 am on Dec 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

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As I stated in my previous post, we noticed slight drop since Dec, 13th followed with 15% drop on Dec, 14th. So far we are on 30% drop. I don't think it's a minor update, at least not for us. You can name it Panda or whatever you want, but this one affected the SERP's definitively. It seems we gonna return to our July-Panda status where we experienced the most significant drop with Panda-named algo changes.
2:38 pm on Dec 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I've been seeing a similar decline (8%-25%) on most of my company's websites since the weekend. It's roughly the same across almost all traffic sources, though, so I'm assuming it's just an early holiday dip.

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4:08 pm on Dec 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Dec 19th had another minor update. Well thank you MC for ruining our Christmas. You guys seriously know how to turn a good holiday for people into a sad one.

Currently the results are a mess, its jumping all over, landing pages are ranking better than 10 years old authority sites.
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