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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]

8:49 pm on Apr 12, 2012 (gmt 0)



@ petehall

Shifts in competitive 2 and 3 word phrases? Is it across multiple verticals? I am not seeing much movement in our vertical that's why I am asking.
9:01 pm on Apr 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@SnowMan68 I think something happened with longtail today, but that aside I have also seen shift in 1-3 word searches across a couple of verticals. One of my sites ranks for a singe phrase and this always seems to pick-up movement first - it's had a bit of a shuffle and has been quite stable.

However I think the recent sitelinks update has thrown me a bit - perhaps not as significant as I thought. Everything just 'looks different'.

Also seen for the first time products embedded into the AdWord listings on the right hand side. You can click to expand them (This may not be new I'm not big on AdWords).
10:02 pm on Apr 12, 2012 (gmt 0)



I noticed a big change in our long tail stuff for a couple of our ecomm sites yesterday. They had been hit pretty hard as of late, but are coming back now.
9:43 am on Apr 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



@SnowMan68 I see someone else has reported a 30% drop this morning. This is literally a weekly cycle now.

I think it's synonyms related as authority type sites seem to have less consistency across the board.

Perhaps this is what was meant what Matt said his engineers were going to 'level the playing field'.
11:58 am on Apr 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Now seeing old versions of pages returning back into SERPs... when will this nightmare end?
12:01 pm on Apr 13, 2012 (gmt 0)



@petehall Old versions of YOUR site? How old are they?
12:19 pm on Apr 13, 2012 (gmt 0)



A site created in January 2012 with zero backlinks (that I can find) and only 24 pages of weak content is ranking high on page 1 for a competitive term.

This is getting beyond a joke!
12:24 pm on Apr 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



@irishsolar only a month or so old? Not sure but they were all refreshed so this is annoying.

This happens every Thursday night / Friday now... total chaos, returning more towards 'normal' by the end of the cycle.
12:30 pm on Apr 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Meh. I still notice the love for 1) keywords in the domain. 2) blogs. 3) lots of text, even if it is boilerplate and only 1 or 2 words is changed.

Seriously, there's a website (that looks exactly like another website in the top 10), that simply has a block of text with only 2 or 3 words changed throughout it, but repeating that phrase 3 or 4 times. Exactly the same place every time.

How does G not catch this?

Also, there are top websites which have been selling text links, doing reciprocal linking, and buying links for a year now that's still there. Actually one of those websites have 3 pages in the top 2 pages.
12:42 pm on Apr 13, 2012 (gmt 0)



@petehall it sounds like they may be updating different servers.

Maybe this is the reason for such huge fluctuations in the SERPs...rolling out the changes one bit at a time on different servers in a rotational movement.
12:46 pm on Apr 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



rolling out the changes one bit at a time on different servers


Or (possibly) this is now normality. The level playing field, is where the top 20 results (say) get rolled round in some way, if they are considered to have enough value.
12:52 pm on Apr 13, 2012 (gmt 0)



Or (possibly) this is now normality...the top 20 results (say) get rolled round in some way


Now that would be interesting. Although (personally) I would definitely want better results!
1:06 pm on Apr 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Maybe this is the reason for such huge fluctuations in the SERPs...rolling out the changes one bit at a time on different servers in a rotational movement.


I think you are right, and long tail traffic appears to be getting better now which is great news. I've always worked quite heavily with long tail so was disappointed to see the quality drop recently.
9:46 am on Apr 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



@SnowMan68 from what I can see the improvement to longtail has now gone - can you confirm? I think this happened Friday morning.
4:20 pm on Apr 14, 2012 (gmt 0)



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.


@backdraft7 Did your site ever re-materialise for that search term?

My main landing page did not return to the SERPs for its main keyword phrase but an internal page, which is relevant but not SEO-ed, is staying steady on page 3 for that term.

Interestingly this page had a spike of social media attention around the time of the update (google plus 1 & Facebook likes) due to a completely unintentional (timing wise) marketing experiment.
5:06 pm on Apr 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



@irish - no, that single word search is now pretty much gone...last check it was on page 11. It seems all our other two word terms are still in their same positions and in some cases higher, many with multiple consecutive results for related sub pages.
After a 6 day span of rather decent quality, converting traffic, Saturday morning seems to have the Zombies back in full force. Plenty of visitors on the site, but no conversions all morning, which is very strange, but becoming par for the course.

I'm thinking it's time to throw G some more fresh meat.
5:17 pm on Apr 14, 2012 (gmt 0)



@backdraft7 you should keep an eye on that. If it was completely removed for the term then it may be crawling its way back. Do you know when it re-entered the SERPs for that term?

I have noticed this very thing happening to a competitor who took the number 1 spot from me in November and held it until this latest update.

That site got zapped and disappeared in the same sequence that you and I experienced.

Then it suddenly reappeared on page 17. It is now 1 place below my site's internal page on page 3 of the SERPs.
5:19 pm on Apr 14, 2012 (gmt 0)



Correction.......it's just moved 4 places above me :(

Surprise...surprise....the owner added some adsense...co-incidence?
5:36 pm on Apr 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



I can't say exactly when it re-emerged. It was first at #1, then #3, then below the fold, then page 2, then 3, then moved down to about page 6 or 7, then not in top 100. It was completely gone for about 3 or 4 days. Then back to page 7, up to 6, then dropping back to 12, now on 11. It's all over the place!
You know the 4 images they place across page 1 of many search terms? Well I also used to occupy two of those image slots for this single word term. Now they booted me from that too with some generic images that IMHO are less related to the search.
6:05 pm on Apr 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Today one of my main keywords (more than 60 million results) got pushed to the second page of the serps by a crappy Squidoo page and a Twitter page.

The joke is that this Squidoo lens was clearly made to SEO other websites. Plenty of links in the text and in the comments area. I once saw an offer of a company that sells links. A part of the offer was Squidoo lenses with a link to your site. I guess this is one of those. A quality page according to Google!

The algo is getting better and better ...
9:30 pm on Apr 14, 2012 (gmt 0)



Thank you chrisv1963,
now I know when to buy or sell Google shares.

Your non-crappy page is the first = Google is fine = buy GOOG

But on Monday I'll definitely go short.
Thank you for the insight man.
9:31 am on Apr 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



In one of the markets I watch, one of the low quality sites that came out of nowhere to the top 3 has just been banished from the results.

Is anyone else seeing similar cases?
9:53 am on Apr 15, 2012 (gmt 0)



@petehall If anything pete I am seeing the exact opposite. I wouldn't read too much into 1 site disappearing, after all it is happening to good legitimate sites as well.

With one of my most competitive search phrases a site that is less than 3 months old with zero backlinks and 24 pages is now in the #2 spot.

IMHO the number 1 spot, which has remained constant since the update, is only loosely related to the keyword phrase - by page title (which is somewhat misleading).

It could be argued that it is related and somewhat relevant but it definitely doesn't answer the search query.

This particular site has very low backlinks (a few hundred) but a ton of internal links (about 5,000) which use the exact keyword phrase as anchor text.

I have also noticed exact match internal linking anchor text with many sites that are coming and going.

I am also seeing very isolated results in my searches with some looking almost unchanged from before the update while others are a complete mess.

Is anyone seeing a mixture of good results for terms and bad results for others...even in their personal searches?
10:19 am on Apr 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



@irishsolar keep an eye on the results... these updates seem to have been hitting one industry I watch quite early and I can definitely see quality returning to the searches which were hit hard min March.

In fact I've not seen one search in particular look this clean for quite some time.

Added: And it's not a search that involves a website of mine, so this is not a biased opinion.
11:12 am on Apr 15, 2012 (gmt 0)



@petehall I had starting to think that it was possible that these updates were being rolled out 1 niche at a time.

What you've noticed may confirm that Google are watching closely what this update is doing 1 industry at a time...as you suggest. This could be good news (or at least not the usual bad news).
11:51 am on Apr 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



@irishsolar that's exactly how I think it's been updating, on a weekly cycle. I can now confirm this 'return to normal' across a couple of different verticals. I won't count the chickens yet, but this is good news! :-)

This March / April update has been quite a rollercoaster...
1:25 pm on Apr 15, 2012 (gmt 0)



This March / April update has been quite a rollercoaster...


Update? It's an out of control mess, Google has hit the 2008 meltdown...now you know where all of those unemployable *ankers went to get a job!
11:03 pm on Apr 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

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



Google to Target Overly SEOd Sites [webmasterworld.com...]
Has anyone seen evidence of this being implimented?
12:17 am on Apr 16, 2012 (gmt 0)



Google deindexed a few major blog networks shortly after Matt issued the warning. SEOs were using these content farms to pump up back links.
1:15 am on Apr 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 don't think this is related to what he was saying, but i could be wrong.
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