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Google Updates and SERP Changes - Mar 2012

     
3:39 pm on Mar 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



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

Something very odd just happened. I searched for my top keyword term. We have been at #3 since Panda, previously #1. My listing had disappeared completely, nowhere down to page 10 (in 10s). I did the same search on a different browser with no history on it, same result. Other terms were where I expected them.

Then 2 minutes later I'm back at #3.

What's going on?

Sid (In UK)

[edited by: tedster at 3:28 am (utc) on Mar 2, 2012]

3:09 pm on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

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



Are we all going to get rid of breadcrumbs now?

If the breadcrumbs are external links, then I'd be a bit worried. Otherwise, that's not what I mean by ROS links. I'm talking about blogrolls on someone else's site, or someone having a link to your site right in their apparently internal navigation (oh yes, that is being done).
3:10 pm on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)



& whatever & when they do it how long will it stick for? That is the question. It would be easier to build a chocolate castle in the desert than deal with Google right now.
3:12 pm on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

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



We've got another thread now that focuses directly on this particular "overly-SEOd" advance warning. Let's use that thread for our guesswork and keep this thread for observations about what is actually happening, what we observe in practice - thanks.

Google to target over SEOd sites [webmasterworld.com]
4:29 pm on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)



In reviewing my Analytics it would seem that there was some sort of update on the 5th of March. that has sustained... Anybody else see that? Any thoughts?
4:44 pm on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@Lenny2 I think the change was closer to March 10. That's when there was a complete deep crawl.

Looks like Feb 28 and then again March 10 were the last two big updates.

As for this week, I'm seeing complete flat traffic. Almost exactly the same M-Th. There's no Wednesday hump.
5:35 pm on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)



I am seeing the same thing, it looks like the update hit my US ecom site March 10th. I have the flat line of traffic as well and no Wed hump.
10:20 pm on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

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



I wonder if some of those experiencing traffic movements here, might be feeling the effects of testing for the upcoming algo update to target over optimized sites.

Anyone seeing an association?
10:27 pm on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

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In the UK we've seen major ranking changes today, dropping us from page 2 to 4.

Brands up, independents down.
10:41 pm on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Oooh er, from page 2 to page 5. Just like that!
11:40 pm on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

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



I'm speculating a ramping up of brands over this upcoming update. They need less optimization and are Google's valued economy targets.

Mom and Pop sites will go. Niche may hold on.

@streetshirts - does that sound about right with what you've experienced. Do you think your site's in the "test" phase ?
12:22 am on Mar 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing some pages falling heavy from UK results and other terms falling 1 or 2 places that were on page 1 and other terms moving up (slightly).

Huge difference over at UK results once again.

Also might want to check CA results. They are different as well and seem to be favoring user generated pages.
6:51 am on Mar 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I see old domains ranking better in my niche. 10+ years old domains, some of them weren't visible at all before. My domain is 5-6 years old. I used to in top 5 for quite a while, now at #20. Continuous drop in rankings since January 18-19. All sites ranking above me are much older.

Most of them don't have hidden WHOIS record.
7:54 am on Mar 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



We're a 10 year old site, UK only but expanding

@Whitey That sounds right. The sites that have been rooted are those with localized sites for all of Europe - maybe a good brand signal if you're trading over 25 country-level domains over 25 languages.

I don't know of we're on test. We had dropped from #1 to 25 in the January Panda update. This recent change has seen other brand sites (and som who have never made the first page before) being promoted above us. I.e. it's not just is going down, the sites above us are different.
8:09 am on Mar 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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



@streetshirts - to be honest i have no clue what's going on, and my remarks about "testing" are just wild suggestions based on a bit of self created FUD.

It's worth listening intently to Dear Google & Bing: Help Me Rank Better![schedule.sxsw.com ] There are simply so many factors involving personalisation, Google suggest etc that it's almost impossible to monitor the SERP's with any degree of accurate if not taken in context with analytics.
8:52 am on Mar 17, 2012 (gmt 0)



I have been watching for a Panda update since Jan 1. This came out on Feb 3:

High-quality sites algorithm improvements. [launch codenames “PPtl” and “Stitch”, project codename “Panda”] In 2011, we launched the Panda algorithm change, targeted at finding more high-quality sites. We improved how Panda interacts with our indexing and ranking systems, making it more integrated into our pipelines. We also released a minor update to refresh the data for Panda.


[insidesearch.blogspot.com...]
8:55 am on Mar 17, 2012 (gmt 0)



GA shows a massive dip Thursday over two sites for us, some recovery yesterday but bounce rates are still going up! Something is still not right. SERP's look static for me now, same as yesterday.
3:55 am on Mar 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I'm seeing some movement in the SERPs, some up, some down, but I'm seeing a massive decimation of long-tail traffic.

On one site, 3800 visits from 2700 keywords has become 3400 from 2100 (so this actually points to improvements in short-tail traffic). This started on the 27th/28th with a smaller drop, and with a more dramatic drop happening on the 5th/6th.
1:46 pm on Mar 18, 2012 (gmt 0)



The tracking software I use on a site of mine tells me the #position the keyword is in when clicked on. Checking the SERP myself I rank #9 for a major keyword phrase. However, I never have clicks on this position. My clicks come in at positions 11, 12, 14, 15, 18, 20, 21, and 22. I cannot figure out what real position I rank for. This has been happening for a couple of days. Before this I ranked #12 when checking the SERP myself and I was getting clicks at that position according to the tracking software. But, I was not getting very many clicks that I would expect at that position. Now I am getting more clicks even though my position is fluctuating wildly.
3:54 pm on Mar 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

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



If you use Google Webmaster Tools, you'll notice there that you really can't define "the position" where you rank anymore. Frustrating? You bet. But that is today's reality for a great number of query phrases. On high value phrases (especially close to the top of page one) you may find more precisely trackable stability.
4:26 pm on Mar 18, 2012 (gmt 0)



Something has happened over night in the UK.. been seeing a very steady rise in my rankings over the last few weeks, awoke this morning with most keywords falling a few places some 20 places, my main keyword i was at position 2 for the last 12 months dropped to position 7 with a couple of crappy sites filling the gaps

Some have been recovering all day slowly,

It looks like only my site and the only work i have done in the last 6 months was to rewrite 90 thin content pages ..

Ill keep an eye and see what happens
8:25 pm on Mar 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

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



Only 3 organic listings showing on a popular query just now, briefly, before it returned 7. The rest were paid and Google places.

It may only be a shifting experiment, but i don't like the future reality.
10:23 am on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Seeing a huge spike in WMT in crawled pages. Last time I saw this spike was when Panda 1.0 hit one year ago, otherwise the graphs was pretty much level.

Anyone else seeing this?
1:34 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)



@mslina2002


I have 2 sites that have a minor penalty those both had a huge spike in crawling today, but every other site is normal in the crawl range.
1:27 am on Mar 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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One of my sites got hit really hard on the 17th (Saturday), and I'm getting about 30% less visits from Google then last week.

Anyone had the same experience?

[edited by: tedster at 3:18 am (utc) on Mar 20, 2012]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]

3:28 am on Mar 20, 2012 (gmt 0)



@rlopes

A lot of other webmasters have experienced the same thing starting around March 10th. The speculation is that it is related to a new algorithm being tested by google for sites over doing it on SEO. What that exactly means, no one is really sure.
8:57 am on Mar 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



No crawl spike noted in recent days, but I do see these from time to time. It appears that Google has a scheduled process that runs once or twice per year where they respider a huge number of URLs in a day. Often these include URLs that return 404 or 301, so Google is just rechecking they still return those responses.

Most of the time that I see a huge spike in crawl rate this is immediately (next couple of days) after making major changes or site-wide changes. The last time I saw this was a few weeks ago and this was after delivering "503 unavailable" with a retry time of several hours while a site moved to a completely new URL structure. A few hours after the replacement site went live (with redirects in place from the old URLs) Google started crawling and then accessed nearly all of the new URLs and many of the old URLs within the next 48 hours.

On a site with no work done to it in the last 6 months, and just a few minor edits to several pages during that time, there was a huge crawl spike about 6 weeks ago. At that time Google recrawled all of the 404 errors from the duplicate pages that were removed more than 9 months ago. It was an isolated one-day event, but filled the WMT crawl errors report up from just a few dozen entries to thousands.
2:38 pm on Mar 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I haven't lost much ground in the SERPS, but I do notice that many sites do not open when you click on the Google results pages. The godawfully long tracking code they now use seems to be choking and never finding it's destination site. Just hover your mouse over any organic result, then copy target and paste it into notepad. You'll see. Google is broken and so is our once thriving business.
6:18 pm on Mar 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



The tracking software I use on a site of mine tells me the #position the keyword is in when clicked on. Checking the SERP myself I rank #9 for a major keyword phrase. However, I never have clicks on this position. My clicks come in at positions 11, 12, 14, 15, 18, 20, 21, and 22. I cannot figure out what real position I rank for. This has been happening for a couple of days. Before this I ranked #12 when checking the SERP myself and I was getting clicks at that position according to the tracking software. But, I was not getting very many clicks that I would expect at that position. Now I am getting more clicks even though my position is fluctuating wildly.


I was reading daveN last night about the integration of localisation into the serps (without maps) recently, and their quoting it as "The Biggest Change In SEO To Date"

Could be your fluctuation is due the location of the searcher, and the number of local companies available in the area to list in the serps. I don't know if your specific industry would trigger this kinda of thing though.

I noticed alot of flux in the UK serps last night and popped to see if that was the case. Seems confirmed, somethings going on.
10:23 am on Mar 21, 2012 (gmt 0)



Still seeing big changes, sometimes Product Search results are top 3, others it's back to wikipedia!
3:02 pm on Mar 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



you really can't define "the position" where you rank anymore. Frustrating? You bet. But that is today's reality for a great number of query phrases.


Wise and accurate words from Tedster as usual. Sites dont really rank at # x anymore because there are so many variations of what searchers see depending on many different factors.
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