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Google Updates and SERP Changes - Feb 2012

     
7:50 am on Feb 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

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

Any help would be greatly appreciated, is it possible that this lastest update woull dump the SEO of my sites because I had link to them within the footer of one of my other sites? Also Google shown within its webmaster tools that there were some 2,000,000 + pages linked from the footer to my site.. is this a reason for google to penalize me? Any input wouldbe greatly appreciates..

I own all the sites involved...

Thanks

[edited by: tedster at 5:41 pm (utc) on Feb 1, 2012]

8:24 pm on Feb 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@ topstar I Have experience exactly that, people are dismissing it, but has happened to 2 of my sites... may be a new signal may be a mistake we will just have to see if anyone else notices

Can anyone confirm that interlinking between sites you own may cause a 2-4 position drop or worse in the serps? Are there any other factors apart from whois data to determine if the sites are owned by the same webmaster? Isn't it ok to link from my company site to all sites I've designed?
8:33 pm on Feb 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Zombie traffic here on US eCommerce site. Looking at time-spent-on-page analytics by the hour since Monday I can clearly see the pattern of good vs zombie traffic. Turning on at a different time and for a different length each day. I don't see the pattern in preceding weeks so it doesn't seem to be a daily pattern. And I don't see it for other traffic. Looks like A/B testing, where one of the data sets is very bad.
11:51 pm on Feb 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Gadget26 exactly the same here. Ecommerce. Spurts of traffic that converts at incredible levels and then a flood of the wrong traffic.
2:47 am on Feb 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@ scottsonline yes, we are seeing the same here. Traffic levels remaining normal, but the ecommerce conversion rates are way up since Monday.
3:59 am on Feb 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Now my googlebot crawl rate is through the roof. In the past, this was always followed within a day or two by a Panda update. I hope so. I have a Feb 2011 pandalized site that I'm still trying to resurrect.
4:04 am on Feb 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@MarketingGuy @cr1t1calh1t,

firstly thank you for your input, reply..

All my 3 sites in question are completely different with different designs, I also wanted to mention that none of them have been changed for in excess of a year including the links in the footer which have always been there.. And I have had constant top 3 spots for in excess of a year on all three sites. Now all of these top three spots have jumped to page 4 or 5 except for the sites which hosted the links in the footer, for some reason this sites Serps pos has not changed.

I have already removed the links in question, my question is if I have indeed been Google-slapped and now have corrected the situation will everything go back to normal or have I been now somewhat sandboxed?
4:25 am on Feb 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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No change to crawl rate here...
7:59 am on Feb 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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For the first time during one of these events the SERP's look awful to me! A search for a specific product no longer returns sellers of that product & Google Shopping results, what I get is ONE seller then the rest of the page is made up of various forums that mention the product! Is anyone else seeing that? Monday was mental for us with great traffic & conversions, ever since then it has been down down. GA shows two domains 30% UP but this is not converting traffic. It just doesn't make sense, if it were our prices too high we would see cart adds(to obtain the total inc. shipping). We don't get that, what we get is a spurt of traffic that just does not convert. Our one site has really been hit, used to be page 1 top 3 now I can't even find it for what it used to rank really well for. The only glimmer of hope is that many personal searches I did yesterday resulted in rubbish too, whatever they have done has really screwed up the way the whole system used to work. If they are happy with this latest tweak then this time it really is game over for us.
10:53 am on Feb 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I am seeing some awful results as well, although it is better than the trash I was seeing two weeks ago (the blog which had only non-sense words is now gone). Problem is this time that scrapers seem to be ranking above me for long-tail.

One of my main keywords seems to be doing slightly better. I mentioned in the other thread about my site that was ranked top 3 for the keyword pre-panda dropped to nowhere, then to page 6, it's at page 3 right now which is the highest I have seen since first panda.

To me, it looks like they tweaked the domain-name strength. As an update, now 9 out of the top 10 websites have the exact keywords directly in the domain name. Mine only has one of the keywords. For example: keywords are "best widgets" every website is some variation of best-widgets dot com like 1-best-widgets.com best-widgets-everywhere.com etc. while mine is simply widgets-here.com

Edit: I should also mention that there is a new website I've never seen before in the top 10 which pretty much took the place of the non-sense words blog. This "website" is actually a subdomain of an SEO website which is only 1 page with very little words and 120x600 ads on both sides of the page. The SEO website also has other industries within their subdomains with very spammy links and broken links on pages.

Every couple weeks it seems that a new website jumps in the top 10 which is simply spammy as hell.
3:20 pm on Feb 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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To me, it looks like they tweaked the domain-name strength. As an update, now 9 out of the top 10 websites have the exact keywords directly in the domain name. Mine only has one of the keywords. For example: keywords are "best widgets" every website is some variation of best-widgets dot com like 1-best-widgets.com best-widgets-everywhere.com etc. while mine is simply widgets-here.com



Yes am seeing the same. About 4 days ago my home page plummented down the rankings or else just disappeared completely for it's main keywords. Replaced by absolute rubbish, forum posts, classified ads (one on a page of many unrelated ), even 'webrings' donkeys years old. Inner pages were still ranking but much lower. Home page came back, then again disappeared. It returned again last night.

The strangest thing of all though is that I have 2 large forums on roughly the same subject. One female orientated, and the other much youngee, lower ranked very obviously male orientated. The male site was ranking high for all the female-related searches just because it has the word 'woman' on it's home page. It's the same for a lot of searches I'm doing. The keywords are always in the title or domain name, even if it comes on a totally irrelevant website.

It's almost as if ( for 2 word searches anyway ) Google are taking searches very literally iykwim ? Just because a site has 'lovely' and 'widget' scattered somewhere around the page/title or domain name it's been deemed as very relevant nonetheless. Even if the words in the context of the page have nothing much to do with the search.

At the moment I have a male widget website ranking just lovely for searches that explicitly contain the word 'woman widgets' :-)
4:50 pm on Feb 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Just spoke to the owner of another ecommerce site in the USA. Never bought any links of any kind, clean site. 43 orders last week 4 as of this morning this week.

The traffic he is getting is for his suppliers. Competitors calling looking to order parts from him thinking he's the manufacturer.

Started later on the 24th. He is being replaced by sites previously surpressed as duplicates, forum posts, blogs with no content or activity etc.

The 24th did more than change the data. It upended a lot of ecommerce sites on the consumer and b2b side replacing their existing traffic with misguided garbage.


We had more carts in the middle of the night last night that yesterday during the business day. A/b testing. My opinion is this is the result of filters coming off that blocked scrapers and previously identified duplicate sites combined with social metrics that are completely wrong.

My circle contains mostly supplier side contacts including the CEOs of major companies. Yet I'm on the other side of the equation in this job. Google seems to be showing people the wrong data set based on a bad signal. IE, it's showing end buyers manufacturer sites and is showing other resellers each others sites instead of the other way around. Both phone and web based metrics confirm this at the supplier and reseller level. It started mid month and has gotten worse each day
5:05 pm on Feb 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Well that's the end of an awful week(bar Monday which was well above normal). I'm not expecting much over the weekend, the SERP's look awful. Great if you run an online forum but if sell things then forget it. Maybe Monday will bring a new announcement from Google, "blah blah blah, this "improvement" is just one of 500 we do every year & affects 0.000000000000000001% of search"

Yeah right.
6:00 pm on Feb 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I agree, I am seeing more duplicates now than I used to. If you're someone searching, you'd be frustrated enough to click those yellow box ads at the top which I normally ignore.... Hmmmm.... maybe I will....

(I used to shop at great unique boutique stores I find via search way back when. These days, I don't find any at all so I go directly to etsy, ebay or amazon. Wish I didn't have to.)
7:07 pm on Feb 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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We had a great week last week, Google was sending us the appropriate traffic to the appropriate WebPages, customers were remarking on the phone that it was easy to find what they wanted, this week, well it is the exact opposite and we have not changed anything on the website.

Customers are still finding us, but they are remarking that Google is not putting them to the right WebPages any longer.

I do see some shifting in the SERPS today though.
7:40 pm on Feb 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I've noticed that Google has suddenly returned us in the #1 slot for some phrases that are associated with our products. I'm talking about quasi brand names made up of common words, something (made-up example) like "163 piece metric tool set", that would be unique to us and well known in our customer community so it draws a good volume of search.

Even our Pandalized site is now ranking #1 for our products in most of these cases. I think it's the first time since Panda 1.0 that we aren't being outranked by major retailers who sell our products and have product pages with exact title matches. Otherwise, didn't notice any traffic changes this week.
7:54 pm on Feb 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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One more thing I just noticed. For the first time since Panda 1.0, we are back above the fold for the first word in our company name (two word domain). We'd been down on the second page of results since Panda 1.0, after ranking in the top 3 as long as Google existed.

The sites that outranked us for the last 11 months all identifed much more closely with that word than we did in the sense that our business isn't particularly branded, it's just a family name, and the sites that started outranking us were all individuals with the same family name who happened to be media celebrities.

As a long established business, we probably had more incoming links with the name in the anchor text then any of them, but a much lower proportion of our links would refer to the name than for any of those sites. And pretty much the only place the name appears on our site is the navigation to the home page.

So Google seems to be playing with how they see branding, maybe tamping down the value of some branding signals they went over the top on with Panda.
9:21 pm on Feb 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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For those of you reporting big swings in ecom conversion rate, set your GA date range to the last 2 days, then look at your ecommerce conversion using the hourly view. This is always a little choppy for me, but now, especially, there are very big movements. The conversion rate will hang toward the high range for a couple of hours, then fall off a cliff for a couple of hours.

do we think google is applying different algo tweaks to the same data - like the old dances - or do we think they are rotating different indexes of data - or do we think they are doing something globally to our sites like a trust factor or some panda variant?

what is strange for me, is that the traffic during those poor converting stretches appears to be fairly strong - just low quality - i am thinking that eliminates my 3rd option from the above paragraph.
12:53 am on Feb 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Wings I think it's mainly we are seeing some manner of misdirected traffic. None of us are seeing major drops in keyword searches they're just the wrong classification for our sites. Instead of customers, competitors are finding us.

Carts and conversions increased today which is statistically significant based on ten years of data. Almost like something was tweaked or rolled through.
2:14 am on Feb 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Is it possible this to be some sort of a brand update, i have noticed alot of junk out but some which are branded still in and alot of quality sites tha
t were hit are back in.
2:47 am on Feb 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@Kellster@Topster,

I am in the exact same situation, have you noticed any improvement with your SEO, mine is still the same ( Pos 2 to Page 6 ) and I have removed the links..?

@ topstar I Have experience exactly that, people are dismissing it, but has happened to 2 of my sites... may be a new signal may be a mistake we will just have to see if anyone else notices

Can anyone confirm that interlinking between sites you own may cause a 2-4 position drop or worse in the serps? Are there any other factors apart from whois data to determine if the sites are owned by the same webmaster? Isn't it ok to link from my company site to all sites I've designed?
8:40 pm on Feb 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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One of my websites got hit today and lost a bunch rankings. The top term, which I ranked for almost a year in the 2 and 3 position fell all the way to #17. This is a high quality website with fresh content added daily. Now 7 out of the top 10 results are complete garbage spam sites. Seem like all these refreshes are making the search results worse. **Sigh**
1:44 am on Feb 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Im seeing complete garbage in results to. I have know idea how some websites are getting away with 90 percent ads above the fold and short content pages that just gives you the run around. Im seriously starting to think that they are spinning a wheel on who will rank good for the day or there is some relation to how websites rank and how much Google earns because other than that, there really is no pattern that I can see.

Just my opinion.
2:05 am on Feb 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Another thing I am seeing is the #1 spot for a high level keyword in my niche came out of nowhere. Has 0 backlinks, and is using multiple 301 redirects, one which was a recently penalized.
7:38 pm on Feb 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Weird thing is going on right now, noticing a lot of foreign websites in the SERPs for .com and .ca , as of today. Looks like a bad geo joke from google.
8:40 pm on Feb 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Google is bringing back a lot of old junk and duplicates. In fact a couple of duplicate web pages I filed DMCA’s against have reemerged. With some the offenders robots.txt should be keeping the pages out but the pages are in Google.

Feel about the same Snickles. It’s all about how much money Google makes not anybody else.
11:02 pm on Feb 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Prior to the recent update, I saw a lot of top-ranking sites had branded titles. Now, not so many. My sites have lost 15% to 30% of their traffic and have had the branded titles for years. I wonder if Google toned down that signal (if it was a "quality"/branding signal) after their recent discussion of branding in the title. [support.google.com...]
7:33 am on Feb 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Terrible weekend. Looking at some personal searches over the weekend I really can not believe they are happy with what they have right now. Here's hoping to an update this week! It's almost as if this algo is out of control now, the amount of mess one of their little tweeks makes! What really riles is we jump through every bloody Google hoop going only to see those they do not abide by the rules get top spots in SERP's & Google Product Search!
10:23 am on Feb 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

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This is worse. If you search for something, then better not to search for the thing itself but something different, then you will have the best chance to get at least one relevant result. Or give bing a try much more better then google now.
11:09 am on Feb 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I am being overtaken by whitelabel thin affiliate sites with spammy backlinks and big brands with link buying campaigns. Can anyone tell me if this is about backlinks, content or both? I will redesign my website and add more content but should I hire a SEO company also to make me backlinks? I've always felt like it's a waste of money.
1:15 pm on Feb 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@ Crobb -

I saw a lot of top-ranking sites had branded titles


We are seeing small positional drops in our branded informational pages as well. Not much, just 2-4 positions, but drops none the less. Seeing more "Shopping" one-box results in their places.
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