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Google Updates and SERP Changes - Apr 2012



4:34 am on Apr 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

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

Going, going, GONE!
After over 10 years of consistently ranking between position #1 and #3 on page one for a single four letter word search term, the month of March (starting on the 10th) has resulted in falling to below the fold, then to page 2, then page 3 and today I have been completely removed for that term.

In place is nothing but garbage. Branding obviously has lost traction. I'm thinking whatever they have done is meant to stick. I checked to see if I had been over optimized for the term, but with a mere 4 occurrences on my page and my need to use that term to describe my product, I really don't know what they want from us anymore...

The effect of lost traffic has set off all the "Big Traffic change for URL" warnings and the anayltics charts have nose dived. Anyone else seeing this type of situation on their long established sites?

Lost income from March updates is just about $1000 / week.

I'd almost guess that Google is just removing older authority sites in favor of nothing but news articles and blogs.

[edited by: tedster at 4:54 am (utc) on Apr 1, 2012]


12:13 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Misery loves company... Count us in to having one of the sites we manage completely buried in rankings. Kinda makes you sick to your stomach when you think of the downside to relying on Gorgle.

- Several years old.
- Old style link building, Niche directories, BOTW, DMOZ, asking Webmasters for links, link out to quality sites only. Linked in from manufacturers, niche professional associations, etc.
- Specific pages hit, not entire site, but the main pages, in the main menus were hit the hardest, which leads us to feel its an over optimization, anchor text thing.
- Business name (same as domain) still ranks #1, shows sitelinks, etc.

Spending the next few days looking at why the sites who have replaced us are there. Most of the players in the top 5 are the same, however the obviously spam sites, are gone.

Chilling reminder that we need to have better diversification... might switch from steak to beanie weenies for a few weeks until we figure it out.


12:15 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

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


I spoke to the guys wife a few months back and for doing nothing other than paying for hosting shes probably doing better than most - whilst the guys been dead 4yrs he wasn't really active on the site and its probably had no work for more like 6 years

Oh side note ......reverted back rankings all gone, I'm not looking at the serps anymore and just getting on with some "pointless" work


12:20 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Relying on Google is hard avoid these days when they control most of the internet. With them having so much power over peoples lives to you think they would employ these devastating updates more sparingly.

menntarra 34

12:20 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)


About the ALT and TITLE attribute:
Do you think that google can say that having 20 links on a page with this title tag, can be described as spammy?:

"check out this unique cheap ##productname##"
only productname can change (shoes,pants etc.)
But maybe cause there are a lot of repeating of the words: cheap and unique. Can it be described as spammy by google?

menntarra 34

12:39 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

And to anyone, check your WMT-s, and tell me if you experienced similar to me:

Pages crawled per day went down from 894,690 to 21,448

And Time spent downloading a page increased to 16,067 from 300...

This is crazy, i checked, and other sites on server are just fine, i also checked page load speed from several locations from all over the world, and page load is fine... What is happening? Those people who were hit by this update, please check it, i'm really confused now.


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


I don't know if it's this update that hurt my site or not (it started on 4/20). My crawl stats did change starting on that day, but in the opposite direction of what you're seeing -- the number of pages crawled per day are near an all time high.


12:53 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Been watching this thread for the last few days noting lotta changes in SERPs by many. However I have not seen that in my niche. I'm in US and keyword searched for varies from 60 million to 90 million.

It would be nice if WebmasterWorld let posters indicate in user sidebar at least the country we are from so we can see if there is a trend in certain locations of the world. The "new user", "senior member", etc. title does not add anything (posts count already there) and let us indicate the country we are located in.


1:00 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

One of my sites totally crashed, lost about 50% traffic since yesterday. I had the same crash last year after the Panda update, but totally recovered about 6 months later.

I hope it's just a temporary glitch, let's wait a few days...


1:05 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Bot activity is sky high. Double normal. Monday sales best of the year. Tuesday was 40% lower than normal. How are we expected to run a business and employ people with such uncertainty. IMHO Google is hurting the digital economy more than the current US administration. Businesses desire stability. My future ebusiness survival will not depend on Google (note to Google, this is not good for your future earnings).

I'm expecting a return to semi-normal today or tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

Traffic on 4/24 was the highest in more than a year. Up 2.8% over the Monday high points. Conversion was way down. On the plus side, the traffic was engaged. Bounce rate was higher than normal. Time on site was in the groove. And the traffic opted into email at a good rate - so I got a few hundred extra opt-ins. We were exposed to more prospects - folks not as qualified. Still, not a substitute for $.

[edited by: DirigoDev at 1:17 pm (utc) on Apr 25, 2012]


1:06 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

@menntarra 34 that's hard to say. I would probably say it is more likely to simply be ignored than cause a spam penalty, but if I were you, I'd change it up. It isn't doing anyone any good.

I assume you mean title attribute and not title tag.


@mslina2002 I monitor around 6 different IP addresses. Mine: Ph. IP 1) UK. IP 2) CA. IP 3-6) USA

Like I said, I'm only seeing the new results on about 50% of all IP addresses. So your IP is probably just locked onto an older database.

menntarra 34

1:12 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)


I meant the title tag of links example:

<a href="" title="check out this unique cheap ##productname##">##productname##</a>

menntarra 34

1:17 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

i post the prt screen just to show the dramatic change from WMT:
[desmond.imageshack.us ]


1:18 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

@menntarra 34 that is known as the title attribute and is what I was referring to.


1:26 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

@menntarra 34 have you checked server issues and your log files? Something definitely is wrong there. Seems too much time downloading files causing bots to abort.

menntarra 34

1:33 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

I checked everything, i checked from several locations, countries, through proxy, asked foreign friends also, my site load time is still good.

I checked also ALL my server logs and everything, found no problem. Whatsmore i have 5 other sites on the server which did not have ANY effect such as this. All these changes started exactly on the day of this new algorithm change...

menntarra 34

1:37 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

Whatsmore, there is the FETCH AS GOOGLEBOT function in WMT, which i tried on several pages of mine, all were OKAY... Maybe i received a HUGE penalization?!


2:25 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

@menntarra 34 I think you need to take some deep breaths and then look at your backlink profile along with changing up those title attributes and anything else that looks like spam.

This dance is far from over with, so you shouldn't be freaking out yet. There was even a change within the past hour in keywords I monitor. They are still filtering, unfiltering, testing, and retesting. So hold your horses.

Also, try to diversify more if you can.

menntarra 34

2:29 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

Yeah, but i make my living from my websites, so it is really my life which is in danger... Anyway, i will wait for some time... (i also requested reconsideration request)


2:34 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

@menntarra 34 you shouldn't make a reconsideration request unless you actually think you have a penalty and then made changes to try to fix the penalty. Also, reconsideration requests only work for manual penalties. If your site is truly hit from this update, then filing the request won't do anything anyway and you'd simply have to wait it out.

So really, make positive changes, diversify, and wait.


2:41 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Wow! Biggest changes I have seen in a long, long time. Ya never know what your going to wake up to in this business.

Be interesting to see what sticks; generally changes this radical get rolled back over time.


2:48 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


I think you answered your own question :)

How are we expected to run a business and employ people with such uncertainty

My future ebusiness survival will not depend on Google


3:07 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

Now on one of my sites the main page is gone from the rankings for its keyword. I checked the WMT and its saying that my most incoming links comes from some site called updowner I checked it, no links, Magestic doesn't report it. nothing. I dunno what the hell is going on. Something however is very very wrong


3:09 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

If the serps are in such a jumble for us webmasters, can you imaging the mess it is for users?
And Google has the gall to tell US to deliver quality! This is no way to earn user love Larry!


3:11 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Yes this maybe rolled back but it maybe too late for those of us who lost all keyword rank during this update. These extreme changes by Google need to stop or they will destroy themselves, along with a good majority of us.


3:13 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)


The average user will have no idea that things have changed. They just want to find the answer to their question or problem and generally don't care (nevermind notice) which site provides it.


3:19 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

Anyone else seeing an obscene number of PDFs showing up in the SERPs since last night? For one query, I'm counting 5 on page one and 4 on page two.


3:19 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Could it be that, rather than being Google bombed by someone else, some of us have set up our own Google time bomb that has been ticking for years.

Spammy or slightly dodgy or bought back links you got years ago that have never previously done any harm suddenly explode and Ka boom! Batman the penalty hits. I wonder how you get out of that type of scenario with a re-inclusion request.

"I'm sorry I can't get those dodgy back links removed because the webmaster died four years ago". Or perhaps the canny folks who sell links that are now leading to a penalty will remove them if you pay twice as much as you paid to put them on.


3:26 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)


That is exactly my thinking. I don't see how it's fair to penalise for things that may have happened many months/years ago such as the building of 'dodgy' backlinks. Surely there must be some component of this algorithm change that looks at how recently such backlinks were created. Perhaps that hasn't kicked in yet? If not this is a complete and utter unjustifiable crock of s*** that Google has just created.


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

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

competitive key term in the financial sector, ranking top 3, unrelated to the topic, ranks only because it links to a relevant site using invisible links in the footer. Spam is alive and well, Google simply pushed it to the top.

[edited by: crobb305 at 3:31 pm (utc) on Apr 25, 2012]


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

you would think if the OOP is based upon keywords on your backlinks anyone who got hit with it would get a "detected unnatural links" email. I have been looking and got nothing
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