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Google Updates and SERP Changes - Feb 2012



7:50 am on Feb 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

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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...


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


3:02 pm on Feb 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member crobb305 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member


How did you have your titles branded? Were you using the TLD (.com)? Google says "Brand your titles, but concisely" and their example is "ExampleSocialSite" so I wonder if that is a clue. My banding used the full domain (ExampleSocialSite.com) and I wonder if those are getting demoted. It's interesting the demotion in traffic coms just a week or two after they wrote that piece.


4:33 pm on Feb 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I lost about 30% of my traffic over the weekend. A few keywords went from page one to page two. Not quite sure what happened, but some junk pages are ranking ahead of me.


4:52 pm on Feb 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

Since Feb. 1 I've been watching my traffic fluctuate wildly (+/- 10-30%) on an hourly basis, as measured against the same day/hour from the previous week.

For example
Friday Feb 3
8am unique visitors will be up 25% vs. 8am on Friday Jan. 27
9am unique visitors will be down 19% vs. 9am on Friday Jan. 27
then up, then down....

Until this morning I couldn't discern any noticeable changes in my rankings for the cornerstone keywords I track, but this morning I saw that a position I regained last month dropped about 25 positions.

After all of the fluctuations - at the end of the day my total site traffic is down about 20%.

Beginning on 1/20/2012 I made a lot of changes to my site to shuffle more content above the fold, but nothing too radical: I removed whitespace, scaled down logo image size and reduced header area, etc. I did add a new link the nav menu... could that have sunk my battleship?

FYI - this is a non-ecommerce, non-affiliate site.



5:34 pm on Feb 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


How did you have your titles branded?

When I say we seem to have lost some of the branded visitors, I am referring to manufacturer branded pages, not our own branding.



12:42 am on Feb 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Snow storms causing issues? I'm ranking the same and my traffic was cut by 35-40%...strange set of days here.


2:22 am on Feb 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member crobb305 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I'm ranking the same and my traffic was cut by 35-40%...strange set of days here.

I am seeing the exact same thing.


7:38 am on Feb 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

One of our sites recovered to page 1 for one search term late last night. Shopping results seem junk with one company having the same item listed twice in the one box results, the only other result being them again via eBay!


11:00 am on Feb 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Urgh - seeing loads of junk sites creep up on co.uk SERPS, for the keywords I monitor.


3:08 pm on Feb 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

I now get the top 4 results all from Amazon for a search term-well done Google!


4:20 pm on Feb 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

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

Over the last two weeks, I have been migrating a website to a new server. I was searching for information on dozens of topics (mysql, php, apache...). I have to admit the SERPS are a mess right now. I was constantly going to page 3 and 4 to find the right answer.

If you're putting out quality information and you're sinking in the SERPs, don't dispair. Google has to know their quality is not where it needs to be. Give them some time to fix this mess.


4:26 pm on Feb 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

Yep. The bigger question is though what has caused this mess?! Each time they claim a tiny tweek has bene made the impact seems huge.


4:32 pm on Feb 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Yes, the SERPS are bizarre, and our website is the best in our niche. We were above the fold with almost everything and our keywords are all over the place--from 1st page above the fold to 3rd. And we have not touched out site in 6 months.

Can't help but think this mess will be fixed soon as well---the results I am getting are strange.


11:14 pm on Feb 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

I just had my worst google experience ever. I need 4 new tires for my car.

1st I needed the size of my cars tires.

2nd I need to find local places that sell that size.

I have to say the first 5 pages on both searches were completely useless. But the ads were laser targeted (outside of the tires being nowhere near my home.)

Headed over to bing and 4 great results on page 1 for both searches. One more time like that and google is out of my life forever.


11:48 pm on Feb 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

BillyS: That is exactly the same problem I have been facing. I can't find ANYTHING when it comes to searching for technology or software related queries with something specific in mind. In fact, it has been getting worse by the week for the past 1 1/2 years. Panda was the big drop.

@marycontrary: You can't say that your site is the best in its niche, but I do agree that some quality web sites have been hit time after time since Panda was introduced.

@Pjman: Join the club. Jump ship! But seriously, I've managed to get a hold of the APK file for Bing Search for Android and I'm very slowly switching over to alternate services for search. Blekko is *really* cool and amazing considering their service is relatively unknown. Bing seems to have stalled in its streak of relevancy improvements.


11:55 pm on Feb 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

I am wondering if there was an update between 2/6 and 2/7. We are seeing a nice increase of around 20 percent over the last two days on our google referrals on a site that was hit by panda in Feb. We have regained about 80% of our Google referrals that were lost after the Feb Panda Update over the past 3-4 updates. Anyone else noticing any new gains?

This site was completely redone with a brand new template (new navigation, new colors, removed a bunch of kontera and chitika ads and replaced them with adsense ads, fixed page load speed on the blog portion of the site). We basically made it look like it belonged in 2012 vs. 2001.


1:19 am on Feb 8, 2012 (gmt 0)


I did notice 15% gains as of 2/6 on my big Pandalized site (Since Panda 1.0). Today it is holding too.

I thought it might have been because I added (last week) a good bit of new content that replaced some old duplicate content though.


2:00 am on Feb 8, 2012 (gmt 0)


Are you able to see if the traffic is going to new pages or mostly your existing pages that were hit by panda?


7:11 am on Feb 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

Traffic is one thing, quality of traffic is another. According to GA two of our sites are 35% UP yet sales are near ZERO!


7:33 am on Feb 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

I keep loads of page views from these people :-


Region/State: VIRGINIA


Anyone else see this? Seems they pop up whne we are on the floor!


9:53 am on Feb 8, 2012 (gmt 0)


I have so many pages and so many "no keywords" provided (Since Google decide to hold onto SSL data) that it is very hard to tell until I get about a full week of data.

One thing is certain though, I have seen a boost since 2/6


11:36 pm on Feb 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I do not know what is worse these days, seeing amazon.com rank for every term or wikipedia. I think google needs to dial down amazons rankings a bit because they are cluttering the search listings a bit. If I want something on amazon I am not going to google.com and do a search for it.


11:43 pm on Feb 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

@scotts - my two biggest competitors have changed their titles to almost EXACTLY the same as mine. I say "almost" because they stole the first four words verbatim, then just rearranged the last words. Talk about confusion! The bad part of it all is that Google's system is too blind to see this obvious attempt to plagiarize another site and try to grab their position. Shameless scrapers.

Now, today, I find my site quickly slipping from #1 and #2 positions, back below the fold or even to page 2. Looks like Google threw the deck of cards up in the air again and will now have to re-sort everything.


11:59 pm on Feb 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Backdraft...this movement is the same pattern I have.

I noticed a number of strong sites in my niche have this going on as well

Sometimes I wonder...since the strong sites are likely to have adwords accounts (at least I have noticed in my area), if the nice bump up in revenue from increased need for clicks is behind this.

The weaker sites over the last 3 years in my niche are not the biggest adwords users. Only a handful of us really take online marketing seriously. I noticed some of us that were above this fold have this pattern...and these serious player have...suprise...stepped up the aggressive adwords ad placements this last week.

Just a hypothesis.


12:22 am on Feb 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

No recovery no loss no difference here. Stuck in Panda munching bamboo


10:54 am on Feb 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I saw yesterday (Feb 8) one of my client site, sharply dropped from 23K to 5K, do you guys notice some drop of traffic?


11:15 am on Feb 9, 2012 (gmt 0)


Sorry to hear that. I haven't noticed any further losses on my regular and Pandalized sites.


11:35 am on Feb 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I am checking, is it whether GA issue or not, I found another client (this client also has more than 15K organic traffic a day) has similar pattern issue?


12:15 pm on Feb 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

Traffic dropping here too. From what I can tell, I'm holding steady or posting only small drops for most short tail keywords, but it looks like my long tail traffic has fallen off the map.
  • Wed. Jan 25 - About 3% short of a new record for unique visitors. Was thinking I might have been seeing a recovery from Oct. panda.
  • Wed. Feb 1 - UV down 15% vs. Jan 25.
  • Wed. Feb 8 - UV down 10% vs. Feb 1.

Along this same timeframe my adsense ctr has dropped precipitously since making changes in response to above the fold.



12:38 pm on Feb 9, 2012 (gmt 0)


You might be on to something, my GA stats are missing about 16 Hours yesterday. That happens like every 10 days. They usually fix it by 1 PM EST, I find.


12:40 pm on Feb 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

@Pjman, Thanks man. I also heard similar issue from other sites as well. Hope I can see data soon.
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