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Google Updates and SERP Changes - Jan 2012

     
7:36 pm on Dec 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

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

i tried to sprinkle different variations of one phrase onto each page

if the target phrase was "big red widgets" then the page might have a couple mentions of each of these

big widgets
big red widget things
big widget things
big red things
red widgets

plus an exact match in the <title> and <h1>

[edited by: tedster at 12:31 am (utc) on Jan 2, 2012]

2:47 pm on Jan 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Im curious to see what happens with the next couple weeks since this month has been positive with traffic increases. Right now im moving my large ads above the fold and embedding them in content on the right side plus removing ads from pages with limited content. This is on the site that is benefiting this month. I must say it looks much better and hopefully this will help to get all pre panda traffic back.

I also did a test with a smaller site by moving large vertical banners from the left side to the right side. So far the bounce rate was cut by about 40%, but earnings crashed for that site. However, since this site is not a major earner I want to wait to see if rankings increase.
I will post back with results.
3:01 pm on Jan 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Its very wierd for us. All of our metrics until the 24th were skyrocketing until the 24th. Visitor statistics as well as GWT data all on a tear, then a huge drop, which as far as I can tell is continuing on to today. Hope its a hiccup but...
3:21 pm on Jan 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Let me update my story of de-Pandalization during this update. Only one of my websites, and this is one of the smaller ones, was affected by Panda in April 2011 update and since then the gradual decline continued till September. Then I saw only a gradual improvement, so small that I did not even notice it as I stopped checking stats. During the Jan 13/14 update, I have now reached pre-Panda level. What is shocking is that I did NOT make any changes at all because I never thought that there was anything wrong with my website in the first place. In fact since it got hit by Panda I even stopped updating it.

Google is so broken and the sad part is that it is a monopoly with over 80% of my traffic through Google. I thought that G had smart people working there but it is clear that they have no clue any more.
3:35 pm on Jan 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

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What is shocking is that I did NOT make any changes at all because I never thought that there was anything wrong with my website in the first place.

Not shocking at all. We've sat tight on everyone of these updates and always bounced back (hard when you feel your business is falling apart around you!). Write the site for your users not for Google.
3:53 pm on Jan 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@rustybrick

Thanks for feedback. Much appreciated.

There were no new signals added to the Panda algo, but just a data refresh.

That confirm what I have been posting several times on this thread:

- There hasn't been a Panda update during January 2012

- Nothing mentioned or indicated that there would be a Panda update during 2012 or in future.
5:49 pm on Jan 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

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call it data refresh or whatever, but i am seeing MUCH higher quality traffic for about the last 14 hours. not more traffic volume (cuz i am a believer in throttling anyway...), but our ecomm conversion rates are going through the roof. This is telling me that the longtail data that just got refreshed is getting relevant users to our sites.
6:08 pm on Jan 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing just the opposite. Seems like the site was completely unplugged from the web yet our rankings seem to have improved. My copycat/scraper/competitor who usually does 1/10th our sales is again doing 10X our sales. So, it look like the johnny come lately scrapers are back in front...for now.
6:14 pm on Jan 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

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"for now"

Indeed. Sit tight.
7:00 pm on Jan 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

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We lost about 2/3 of our traffic in April. Between April and December we removed a lot of pages with thin content, resolved some duplicate content issues, improved site speed, etc. with no results.

We launched a full site redesign on Dec. 1. After some usability tweaks mid December, site-wide bounce rate is down significantly, and average time on site is up considerably. Pages per visit is just slightly below where they were previously. The fact that users are bouncing less, and spending more time on site tells me that the new design is more engaging.

I was really hoping these improved user metrics would result in gaining some traffic back the next time Panda ran, but we haven't seen any upward trend whatsoever. Pretty disappointing to see no return on all of our efforts to "clean up" the site, and then to provide a better user experience through the redesign.
8:17 pm on Jan 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Pretty much the same for me as @jbcobbs.
9:40 pm on Jan 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Pretty disappointing to see no return on all of our efforts to "clean up" the site

@Lab_Rat - probably 2 iterations are required to bounce back at least.

Did you improve the written content from pre Panda though?
9:54 pm on Jan 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@Whitey, just had a closer look at some of my keywords and there has been a noticeable drop in ranking for many of them. Ah well, might just concentrate on my other sites for now and wait in hope that this one recovers eventually.
9:54 pm on Jan 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@Whitey- Encouraging that you think it'll take at least another iteration. We've been continually adding new content, and re-written some existing content. All of our content is original, but a lot of it is quite old. It's still relevant, but has been scraped a lot.
9:56 pm on Jan 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Two iterations? I have heard that before posted in a webpronews article. But I never heard the source of that statement.

Anyone know who confirmed that?

I have been doing a massive cleanup since november, I have seen a 10% gain, but nothing like pre-panda. I was hit by P 2.2 (june 18thish).
10:25 pm on Jan 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I saw no evidence of two iterations when I looked at 50 Pandalized sites and their occasional recoveries in a thread a couple months ago.

@Skyweb,

My Pandalized site from April also recovered without any changes, but that was a few months ago. Since then, the vistors have tripled and then quintupled over pre-Panda levels for the still unchanged original pages as I 301'd new pages to that site from my remaining Pandalized domain.
10:29 pm on Jan 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I'm not sure how the 9 week delay between iterations played into this. But those planning on a January comeback, possibly had their plans disrupted with the absence of a December iteration in the machine learning cycle.
11:03 pm on Jan 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

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In short, Google ran the Panda algo again. So new sites were likely hit and sites that were previously hit could have come out, if they fixed issues that caused them to be pandalized in the first place.

Google said all they did was a data refresh, which means they simply press the Panda button, which either pandalized sites or unpandalized them.

Google did not add or remove any signals that would change which sites were Pandalized in the previous update on November 18th.

Hopefully that makes sense - at least that is how I understand it.
11:34 pm on Jan 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@rustybrick - our traffic was not abnormal at the last panda update but nailed on the 24th. Hopefully this will just be a brief dip.
11:53 pm on Jan 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

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had their plans disrupted with the absence of a December iteration in the machine learning cycle

I just did some asking around and the consensus is that the machine learning process' continue irrespective - so the 9 week delay may not be relevant to the data refresh. Many of you may know this, but it wasn't clear to me.

If that is the case, then folks who are waiting need to push the accelerator on remedial tasks far harder , and not relax. Much more work is required.
12:21 am on Jan 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Well, none of us have a full inside view of what's going on, so it's tough to be certain about anything here.

It seems to me that the machine learning part of Panda is used to establish what factors are used in the algorithm. If those factors change (or possibly even change their relative weight) that would be an UPDATE. But in this case, the actual factors didn't change - just the data about websites that is being measured, as rustybrick explained.
12:40 am on Jan 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I agree with tedster - I haven't seen anything that relates to a change in Panda. It just seems to be a data refresh.

Sorry reseller, just seeing normal flux as the data is pushed out without any change in factors that make up that data refresh.

From my neck of the woods I don't see why the same site should be listed 4-5 times on pages 1-2 for certain keywords.
6:37 am on Jan 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Im seeing a lot of that also Johnhh, seems ridiculous that sites are listed 4 or 5 times for the same keywords for the first 2 pages of search results.
6:48 am on Jan 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Hi Folks!

So we do agree that there hasn't been a Panda update during January 2012. And Google hasn't mentioned or indicated that there would be new Panda update(s) in future.

As you have noticed from my previous posts, I think Panda updates belong to the past. Once upon a time there were Panda updates :-)
8:37 am on Jan 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Erm...

[webmasterworld.com ]

!
8:43 am on Jan 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Information about manual data refresh makes you think that works on Panda are done?
9:14 am on Jan 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Hi Folks!

Please note that the data refresh which @rustybrick mentioned in his posts isn't considered as a Panda update. I like the way @tedster put it:

It seems to me that the machine learning part of Panda is used to establish what factors are used in the algorithm. If those factors change (or possibly even change their relative weight) that would be an UPDATE. But in this case, the actual factors didn't change - just the data about websites that is being measured, as rustybrick explained.
9:17 am on Jan 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I understand Panda collected data was refreshed on live SERPS on January. Some sites who made modifications has regained traffic lost on previous Panda updates.

Maybe people who get back traffic, like @ScubaAddict, may share what modifications they have made to their sites.
9:26 am on Jan 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

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No one believes me, but it is simply a long-delayed repair by G to the 301 phantom indexing issue documented in my many past posts. A good number of my 301 phantomed indexings disappeared the day before your, and mine, major SERP improvements (you probably had some phantomed listings too, you just didn't know about them). This resulted in higher rankings (due to fewer duplication penalties) including the long-awaited improvement to our "site:example.com" search which previously looked like a duplication penalty result.

Whatever.

It could take months of slowly improving rankings to completely unravel through many full reindexing cycles.
10:59 am on Jan 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Isn't a Panda data refresh what we were waiting for? Isnt it exactly what those of us affected by Panda want? If you made improvements and fixes on your Pandalized site, then having the Panda part of the 'algo' come along and refresh its data on your site, as in re-spider your site, re-evaluate your site based on the improvements you made and hopefully rank your site higher.

So, if you made Panda related improvements, and they were the right ones, then you ought to have seen your sites rankings improve in the last week. If you haven't then the improvements you made were not enough or the wrong ones.

Also, I have noticed that if your site was Pandalized even a little any time last year and you have been holding relatively steady, as in not lost any more traffic during other Panda releases, including this latest one, then you are probably doing something right with improvements. In other words, I have noticed that a few of my sites that were hit last year that I haven't touched are slowly withering away and losing all traffic. So if your sites traffic hasn't been hit in this latest Panda iteration, as in you have noticed no difference in traffic, then maybe the work you have been doing to improve it has been helping, otherwise you may have lost traffic.

Regardless, a Panda refresh is exactly what I was waiting for.
12:23 pm on Jan 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

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reseller, whatever - sites hit by this data refresh feel it was an update.

Google reran the Panda algo and new sites were hit and old sites may have been released.

I'd call it an update to the SERPs. Maybe not an update to the Panda algo.

Either way - it doesnt matter.
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