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Google Updates and SERP Changes - Feb 2012



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

< 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...


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


1:37 pm on Feb 9, 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!

Yep, seeing the exact same. Sales drooped to zero on all channels, from ecommerce and up to affiliate sales...like someone has (yet again) turned the tap off. A very strange, slow week, and they seem to re-occur quite often now, like every second week or so.


1:53 pm on Feb 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

"Glad" it's not just us. I'm gona give it a few weeks then employ a pro SEO person/company. I simply can not go on like this. One day we take 10x what we normally do only to die for the rest of the week/month!

Marketing Guy

1:55 pm on Feb 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Could the sales results be down to the higher impact of personalised results? I.e. same amount of people searching, but more frequently people are being essentially passed to sites that their friends / network recommend / use. Same traffic = less qualified leads.


2:10 pm on Feb 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

Personally speaking I think it is down to traffic throttling(we go hours with no visits then 10 show up within 60 seconds) and some kind of geo targeting issue (we get loads of foreign traffic when things are not quite right. We sell UK specific products to the UK only). It's been like this every single time this has happened. If Google do 500 tweaks a year I wish they would hurry up and do some more, at least then we can hope the switch flicks the other way. We were UP throughout January, an excellent start to the year, then this........


2:16 pm on Feb 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Ohno, I am seeing this type of throttling pattern as well.


2:37 pm on Feb 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

We have a well established retail site that has been selling online for almost 17 years with hundreds of thousands of SKUs listed.

Analytics is showing no real fluctuation in traffic from Google, but conversion rates have gone nuts over the past week. They are fluctuating wildly from incredibly good to incredibly bad. I've never seen anything like this before.

The idea that Google is now determining if one of their users is a buyer or a browser and can play with that throttle is quite frightening.


2:46 pm on Feb 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Just for giggles, I went to the "above the fold" google tweak discussion thread and tested my site with the google tool. No problems at all there. I don't think this update had anything to do with the Jan 19th above the fold update.

This is something else, methinks.


3:27 pm on Feb 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I think MarketingGuy is on to something with personalised results - it could seriously affect your traffic if you start dropping out of peoples SERPS for whatever reason (lack of clickthrough / results form other sites they use more often/ per group usage/ etc).

I think I am noticing the first signs of more real-time Panda recalculation. My recovering Pandalised site is on it's way up again. Looking at the specific pages and caches, I think I am seeing changes to site-wide score, as pages gaining traction haven't got updated caches. I did a whole load more noindexing and deleting last week.

Could recalculation be underway? It was one of the state projects to bring Panda more into the mainstream/ fold of the rest of the algo.


3:42 pm on Feb 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm struggling to see how that would results in loads of foreign traffic? Infact, traffic is normal or UP, it's actual conversions that have all but gone.


7:26 pm on Feb 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm noticing continued increase in traffic to my Pandalized site, but conversions have been relatively weak compared to how it used to be, so yes, I've noticed the same issues as has been reported here.


7:19 am on Feb 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

We are seeing the same. As the google traffic dropped conversions were good. As google referrals increase its competitors on our site sent by google not customers. Happening to our real competitors too I talked to one today. We are all being inundated with callers thinking we are their supplier. It's not googles fault these people are clueless but it shows they're sending the wrong traffic. This started a few weeks ago.

Two other big notes. Bing and yahoo conversions spiked thru Wednesday of this week as did visits. For the first time ever I believe I saw a definite bounce in customers searching elsewhere. As google referrals returned the others are falling back. SERPS must be normalizing.

Adwords. We run ads that date back years. Impressions are predictable as the clock. There were weird fluctuations downward during the really bad days with google but good days with bing. Again at least in our niche people went to the alternative it would appear.

Returning to normal now but whatever 'that' was in our niche we all didn't like it. Their algo was about as good at sending people to the right site as the human gps in that insurance commercial.


7:40 am on Feb 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

It's seems a bit pointless right now trying to sort anything to do with Google. We have Google products feeds, changing titles & pictures has resulted in zero change, Google still insist on making up their own title & leaving the old picture in place. They've gone a step too far with their "know best" attitude. The rot set in when they started changing page titles FFS!


8:42 am on Feb 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

As google referrals increase its competitors on our site sent by google not customers.

Have you guys taken into consideration the effect of the google related toolbar?

Martin Ice Web

9:45 am on Feb 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Has there been another panda run yesterday? This is getting worse. Google is not usable anymore. Canīt find anything but amazon...


9:50 am on Feb 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

Amazon, ebay and ancient foem results for loads of work & personal (varied) searches. Good work Google!


10:38 am on Feb 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

Definitely something is happening.


11:10 am on Feb 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

traffic to our own sites has doubled for the past 4 days and today is following the same pattern. As far as we where aware before this the pages people are visiting where already ranked within the top 5 results but apparently not as webmaster tools also shows the number of impressions for our site doubling as well.

Useless traffic hitting our ecommerce website though as less than 25% of visitors are from the UK!


12:44 pm on Feb 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

One month old website with auto-generated spammy backlinks overtaking my 4 year old site and staying there. I'm spending thousands on a redesign and new content. Please tell me it's worth it.


12:49 pm on Feb 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

That is a question I am asking myself, if this continues well spend thousands on a redesign, last throw of the dice if you will...........


3:08 pm on Feb 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

According to Google Analytics, traffic to all 7 of my subdomains dropped 35-45% yesterday. All previously penalized by Panda 2/24/11 - but 4 of 7 had pretty much fully recovered before yesterday.

I checked this against my adsense results. Adsense shows a very slight decline in impressions and revenue - but no where near %40 (more like 5-10%).

Also checked my ranking software which shows a no real decline in ranking.

Looks like google analytics is behind in reporting yesterdays traffic - at least for me.


3:28 pm on Feb 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Do we have any common thread as to why these changes that everybody is talking about took place? Hypothesis?


4:13 pm on Feb 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

FFS we are now getting referals from posts made on forums in 2009!


5:51 pm on Feb 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

Something definitely happened today, and for my small industry at least it's an improvement, lots of the worst spammy offenders dropping like stones.

If only all their updates were like this.

Apologies to those who have seen their rankings drop today, I don't mean to offend or upset you, but this is one of the first updates / algo changes where I've seen a noticable improvement and as I have moaned about the bad updates it's only fair I give praise for a good one.


6:10 pm on Feb 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

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

I've been talking about the abandoned blogs and member profile pages in the financial serps for several months. Today I am seeing new, unrelated websites appear in the serps that do not have the target phrase on the page, but simply link to external websites related to the phrase using hidden links/text in the footer. Based on the trends I am seeing, it is clear to me that you can rank very well without a single mention of the phrase on the page, as long as you link to external websites that are relevant to the phrase. Apparently even hidden text is now working again.


9:03 pm on Feb 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Like earthing, 14 yr old ecomm with >200k items. Absolutely never seen anything like this. Consistent traffic volumes. Incredible roller coaster of conversion rates. Peak conv rates are 7 times the lows. That is not statistically possible because we have over 10k uniques per day as a sampling and a long established conv rate benchmark which used to be very consistent. All of the variability is coming from organic google referrals. Other referral still convert at benchmark. Our traffic from primary keywords seems consistent as well as rankings. The swings are in the longtails.


9:28 pm on Feb 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Now this happened with us last week...conversions were the highest in out history...and the traffic was reporting normal.


9:30 pm on Feb 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

winglevel: Interesting stuff. Like you, we are only seeing this dramatic conversion rate fluctuation from organic Google referrals.


10:08 pm on Feb 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

Pandalized 2/28/2011 US ecommerce site under continual improvement since then. Now seeing another 15% (about 75% total) reduction in uniques since Thursday PLUS what I AM getting is zombie traffic. It's been 36 hours since my last Google Organic conversion. I didn't go that long when the site was brand new (many years ago.)

The ironic thing is that my website and user engagement stats have improved by leaps and bounds since 2/28. But goog just keeps rewarding each improvement with lower quality and quantity of traffic.

Question: If so many of us are seeing low-converting traffic, aren't the searchers less satisfied?


11:37 pm on Feb 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I'll jump in to say I'm experience the exact same thing....again! Excellent conversions up till about Feb 6th. The 7th was abysmal. A short recovery yesterday, now extremely flat today. Even with the low conversions, traffic levels are "normal". Yup, Zombies again!

I also see wild fluctuations in the everflux. The junk sites are rising again, but will fall shortly once it all sorts out....only to be followed by rinse & repeat.


1:15 am on Feb 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Google lost our home page again on the 7th. We're a 8 year old well established large forum. But we have lots of static pages round it with articles etc. Most new referrals to the site come via a searches for the name of the site. Or generic searches for the site's niche.

But, on the 7th, the home page went awol off to page 3, 4 ( or worse !) except for exact domain searches. The forum index page replacing it instead for the name of the site. The inner pages were also ranking for all sorts of weird and wonderful vaguely related terms.
And our forum posts ( a lot of them 3 or 4 years old )as Backdraft suggests, were also ranking well for long tail terms.

Home page returned about 10am ( UK time ) this morning, like someone flicked a switch. It was as obvious as that, nothing gradual at all. Suddenly the one and two word keywords we were ranking in the top 5 for, and the home page were back again.

Another newer and pretty casual site, just 20 or so pages I wrote about 6 months ago. It sprang back from oblivion on the 7th. A google referral has been a very rare thing since 28th Dec. It's still feeling the love.

I worry that my main site's home page is on the cusp of some sort of penalty, or is 'tripping' something with every tweak. This is the third time it's disappeared, albeit this was the longest, within the last 8 weeks. I have new updated, clean coded and more user-friendly pages waiting to be uploaded. The static pages could do with updating tbh. But am hesitant to do so until the 'dust settles' and I can monitor the impact and attribute any falls or rises to the change. Only the dust never seems to actually settle !
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