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Google Updates and SERP Changes - Jan 2012



7:36 pm on Dec 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

< 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]


4:39 pm on Jan 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

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

@aamirkhan - first, why are you sure it was a Panda hit rather than some other problem? Seems to me that something affecting 14 sites at once is more like a penalty, and Panda is not a Penalty.

Your friend overstated the case a bit, I'd say. It is hard to recover from a Panda demotion, but it does happen. However, once again I repeat that what you describe does not sound like Panda to me.


2:51 am on Jan 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I think we got a Panda or some other run 21-22 Jan !


10:34 am on Jan 23, 2012 (gmt 0)


You might be right. I saw a 50% jump up on my heavily Pandalized site on Jan 22.

This is the first movement up (in G referrals) since a 60% drop back in Feb. 23.

Over the past two months I cleaned everything that was seen as a Panda signal.


10:49 am on Jan 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

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

Over the past two months I cleaned everything that was seen as a Panda signal

@Pjman - what did you do exactly? [ I'm seeing no movements - it might be something else related to what you did ]


11:06 am on Jan 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

1. No indexed an inactive forum. Account for 1/4 of sites pages.

2. I had a number of Duplicate titles list in WMT (in the 100s).

3. 1/8 of the site had useless UGC, removed it.

4. Fixed header checks to remove (404-like) content listed in WMT.

I'm still working on improving the quality of the pages. For humans the quality is definitely well above average, but there is room for improvement. But I would say as a robot view of my site, it has improved drastically in the last 2 months.


11:20 am on Jan 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I seen a good traffic jump on Sunday, probably about 20 percent again. Today will tell the story.


12:30 pm on Jan 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have been going up and down the first page for a week now. Any idea what's causing it? There have been no major changes in my content or links.


12:44 pm on Jan 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have also been going up and down in ranking on the first page for maybe more than a week. I see that with other sites on the first page too. Some sorta google first page dance.

Traffic up since Sunday night 22nd Jan and at the same time conversions picked up.

I suspect they are still tweaking the algorithms they rolled out just recently.


1:54 pm on Jan 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

Are those of you testing for your own SERPs searching with clean browsers, cache cleared etc?


2:10 pm on Jan 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

"y friend said, it is really impossible to get back those sites ranking which where hit in panda update period... Is that true? "

imo it depends what the issue with the sites were/are? I reckon if you posted your website...within 30 seconds of looking at it some will be able to tell you why you were hit. It usually is that obvious.


2:32 pm on Jan 23, 2012 (gmt 0)


I think that Panda did smash a great deal of long tails and threw a few metrics spinning. I don't think you can easily regain the long tails. But by improving quality on all fronts, you can definitely regain your core words.


3:41 pm on Jan 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

One of our sites dropped from 90s to 140s in the SERPs thursday night/friday morning. This morning, it's back in the 90s... didn't touch it during that time. No clue what that was.


4:05 pm on Jan 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

The problem is I think a lot of people are talking about different things. Some people are getting a penalty, some are being hit by one update and others by a different one. And they all happen around the same time.

The thing is...for every site dropped down the serps a site has risen. And there is a reason for it. Just have to find it.

I think some site that are really hit need to start again from scratch. But I haven't heard of many business websites i.e ones that promote the company and are not built to make money being hit badly and I think that is one of the keys. Sites built to make money will be battling for position month on month going forward imo.

I do have big issues with these updates and one of them is when Google rank a site page for a keyword that is just a definition of the words and other sites with hundreds of unique content pages on that subject don't rank as well.


6:18 pm on Jan 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I have to add my 2 cents. Something did happen last week. Up until Panda my sites always went up in traffic for a week during and update then leveled out the week following the update. Post-panda is the opposite - site traffic down for the week then recovers the week after. Last week our traffic was down over the previous weeks but we seem to have recovered on the weekend.


12:12 am on Jan 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

There was a change for me, very small changes in positions, traffic +15-20%, no idea what helped and what didn't, but I am constantly making some changes. Site wide changes in title tag don't help for sure. It costed me some money to figure it out :/


8:04 am on Jan 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I think it was Panda on Jan 4 and Jan 19.

Jan 4: Duplicate content recalculation/modification.

Jan 14: Link value modification.

Jan 19: Above the fold ads taken more into account for ranking.

January 4 was a huge change for my site. January 14 went by like another day. And January 19 seemed to help a little bit.

Here's what I'm seeing after January 19 for a very competitive keyword:

Rank 1: Homepage of the same website that has been there the past 2 years. Two large ads (160x600 and 768x90) above the fold. Content is all user generated (at least, there's different authors on just about everything). Not sure how the owner got it, as there's no where to enter the content.

Rank 2: Same website as site 1, just an interior page.

Rank 3: Homepage of a website that has been bouncing around for the past year from page 3 to page 1. This site has about 99% of pages as user generated. The owner seemed to take off their large ad at the top and place a smaller ad in the middle.

Rank 4: A homepage. I have only seen this website over the past 2 months in the first 4 pages. Uses the 800x600 resolution for their design and yet still has 2 large ads (768x60 and 300x250) above the fold. Very little actual content.

Rank 5: Another homepage. This one also has two large ads (although one of the ads is about only 3/4ths showing) both 768x90 and 160x600). Site has been on page 1 for 2 years.

Rank 6: Interior page of site 5. Same ad structure.

Rank 7: Another homepage. Two large ads with another one 9/10ths off the side of the page (design mistake that the webmaster hasn't bothered to fix). Very little actual content, less than 10% when you take away logo, search engine, logo.

Rank 8: A homepage. This website appeared around the same time Panda did last February and it's been on the 1st page ever since. No ads above the fold, but also no content besides links with anchor text and text-images.

Rank 9: A homepage. The first time I have ever seen this website anywhere, even Google's PR box says it has a PR of 0. It's a blog (the only one). It's been around for about 1 1/2 years. It's *extremely* keyword stuffed and is virtually unreadable. Looks like they just stuck a bunch of random words together and included the keywords in. I actually don't even know the point of this blog. It has no ads and nothing to sell. But yet, it is ranked here in a highly competitive keyword.

Rank 10: Finally another interior page. Designed for 800x600 resolution. One vertical ad box in the middle of 120x600. Content: 50%. Site is 7 years old and is rarely updated.


7/10 are now homepages. 2/10 are secondary listings. 1/10 is an interior page.

7/10 have the exact keywords in the domain. 9/10 have at least one word from the keyword phrase in the domain. 1/10 have no keywords in the domain.

No duplicate content on any of the websites.

I've been seeing the first two on basically all my keywords. Strong domain name presence with the homepages always ranking high.

I'm seeing some signals which don't match up, such as rank #9. I have no idea what to think about it.

This is a huge money keyword (at least for this particular industry).

My website dropped out of the top 10 during 1st Panda, went to page 4 for the homepage and then dropped off to page 10. Went back to page 4, and now a completely different webpage is ranking around page 5 in the SERPs.

Is anyone else seeing anything even like this? Homepages seem to be taking over and it definitely isn't the best thing to rank for these keywords. Users will have some clicking to do on these sites.

Marketing Guy

1:00 pm on Jan 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Seeing a big jump in pages indexed today. 2 sites I work on have had loads (40k+) duplicate URLs removed now (301's were in place). 1 had them setup months ago, the other just last week. Both have dropped to a more realistic figure today (although the more recent one still has a few k to drop).


1:35 pm on Jan 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Marketing Guy

Funny you mention indexed pages. I have a inactive forum that I have been waiting to be removed from the index. I first "noindex"ed it for a month and now block it with robots.txt.

When I first decided to deindex it, it had 8,000 indexed pages.

Now it has 14,000 indexed pages.

Marketing Guy

1:40 pm on Jan 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Interesting. Maybe a datacentre thing? Only seeing changes in my 2 a few hours ago.

Just checked a competitor who had 3.5 million pages indexed in November and was in process of merging content with another site. Now has 7 million pages indexed. 99% search results pages - looking forward to watching that train wreck pan out.. ;)


9:22 pm on Jan 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I wonder whether there is a new Google algorithm update underway. I.e a new update dated 24th January 2012 ;-)

It seems it has been raining algorithm updates during January 2012. I wonder whether Google Search Quality Team gone ballistic :-)

Please post your observations. Thanks!


9:40 pm on Jan 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I can see Larry, Serg, and Matt Cutts sitting in the 'Plex... rubbing their hands together like Dr. Who... chanting:

"Mua...hahahaha, Nobody! Nobody, Has a Clue How The Google Ranking Formula Works... Muahaha... Nobody!"

And they would be right...


10:43 pm on Jan 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

As many of you know, I don't post unless there is something wrong. Well, I'm back. The past month has been "OK" traffic and sales wise, in fact this last Sunday was nearly a record sales day. This time of the year, the normal pattern is busy Sun, Mon, Tue, Wed, then a slight slowdown on Thurs & Fri with things picking up again Sat. Well this week it's like the spigot has again been shut down. Maybe it's the solar storm...but I'd say G is twisting the knobs again.

Just out of curiosity, I checked the internet traffic report for North America...has anyone seen zeros like this before? I haven't...not sure if it means anything. [internettrafficreport.com ]


11:51 pm on Jan 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

Don't think there's anything Panda related yet since I still have a lot of noindexed pages that remain indexed. A lot of redirections are still showing in their original form as well. These are old changes I've made months ago. What I've noticed is that after a Panda run, a lot of changes are cleaned out, and in the absence of that, I am not convinced it's Panda at work.

Secondly, we haven't seen widespread pain and gnashing of teeth quite yet -- Panda usually is a large adjustment that tends to affect a lot more webmasters. These last few updates seem more like minor algo tweaks. I've benefited from every change since Oct. but the biggest jumps were during actual verified Panda adjustments.


1:41 am on Jan 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Seeing quite a bit of movement today....anyone else?


2:45 am on Jan 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Lots of indexing going on on any pages , blocked or not. Still positive movements.


5:13 am on Jan 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Yeah, some movement on one of my pandalized subdomains. Not for sure until the stats settle, but it looks like on the 19th of January Google "accidentally" gave back the traffic they took on February 24th, 2011. An increase in traffic of about 80%!

Today, they apparently saw the err in their ways, and have taken back that traffic. $hi+ %u[k g0dd@mn! I am gonna go jump out the window. I thought my high school girlfriend was an emotional wreck.


11:25 am on Jan 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

40% traffic increase for me today, not sure if it is thanks to hundreds of small changes made on my website or some one big lucky change in algo.


12:51 pm on Jan 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Some big movements for me today (UK Based) especially on the home pages for some strong keywords,

Some negative effects on some longertail keywords but these were templated text pages with the manufacturer amendments


3:31 pm on Jan 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ backdraft, I was waiting for you! A knob got flicked for us at some point late Monday/early Tuesday. Monday was mental(& has been since the return after Christmas). Then bam, Tuesday was dead, today has been quiet too but has seem some spurts of traffic around 3pm GMT. If you are note using I'd recommend using GA real time beta.


4:10 pm on Jan 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Hi Folks!

So it seems there has been a new algorithm update on 24th January 2012.

We can summarize the different algorithm updates during January 2012 as follows:

- Google Algorithm Update 4th-5th January 2012

- Google Algorithm Update 14th-15th January 2012

- Google "Above The Fold" Algorithm Launch on 19th January 2012

- Google Algorithm Update 24th January 2012

As to Panda updates, I think there hasn't been any Panda update during January 2012 and there would not be any Panda update in future. I.e the era of Panda updates is over. I think the different factors of Panda is already integrated in the main scoring algorithms.
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