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Google Updates and SERP Changes - May 2012

     
1:50 am on May 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

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

"TRADE_PERSON Knoxfielld"

Google *insisted* on presenting me with nothing but results for:
"TRADE_PERSON KnoxVILLE" .... WTF!


I've tried the same search 12 hours later and now i do get what i was actually trying to search for, "TRADE_PERSON Knoxfielld". Obviously different servers, constant flux...

Zombie traffic anyone? ....well heres one of the main reasons. Google trying unsuccessfully to second guess its users and present them with wrong results. User ("used to" getting the best results from Google) automatically click the link but oopes...it is not what he/she was looking for. Click back.

On both occasions Adwords ads for "TRADE_PERSON Knoxfielld" was spot on. Coincidence?... ya right!...

I wish they'll get it over and done with already and move to "paid only" results. Maybe the broadening of exact match and phrase match (Adwords) are the first signs of them heading down that route...


p.s.
TRADE_PERSON = insert "doctor", "painter"...etc

[edited by: tedster at 3:43 am (utc) on May 9, 2012]

1:03 pm on May 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@Huskypup

A massive drop on both Saturday and Sunday, in fact my two lowest impressions days of the year barring Easter Sunday.


Exactly the same with my site (UK).

I have had a website jump around 200+ places to #5 today. This is a 6 month old website, finally ranking for it's term.

Do you think another update is on route?
1:06 pm on May 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@ petehall

I hope not.
1:27 pm on May 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@SnowMan68 I think there will be a Panda update soon anyway. They normally hit around the 20th don't they? Although perhaps with all the recent updates we'll get a longer break between slaps... =)
3:42 pm on May 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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UK has it's May & June bank holiday coming up at end of month, so my guess is that there will be some movement from Thursday 31st and settling on the Tuesday. I have seen alot of too-ing and fro-ing on Local search results flipping from very accurate to being non-existent, so this may be something they will mess with.
5:24 pm on May 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@petehall

The smack was terrible for our content only site. Between Panda and Penguin it lost 90% of it's G referrals. Hopefully the next update will bring something back, can't get too much worse anymore!

On a good note. Our main US ecom site that saw a nice increase Friday and then lost it and then some over the weekend is right back to where it was Friday. It must have been a mothers day hiccup. Our G referrals are up about 10-15% from that past 4 Mondays.
5:35 pm on May 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I spoke with Google and they said there was no Penguin or Panda update or refresh over the past few days.
5:40 pm on May 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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nice increase Friday and then lost it and then some over the weekend is right back to where it was Friday

Was this merely a traffic increase, or did you see rankings improve and slide back?
7:00 pm on May 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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FWIW, our GA reported traffic was off by 50% after last Thursday, BUT, our total conversions were up 10%. Either G is sending more relevant traffic, or GA is tanked as well. Our server stats, excluding robots and image calls, indicate traffic is +-10% in the interim. Sure beats me as to what is going on. Definitely weekly algo updates on Thursday nights, corrections of that algo seem to start updating on Mondays. At least that is the pattern we are seeing since February.
Best,
Bill
7:15 pm on May 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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thx rustybrick - we have been seeing some changes too, but not in main serps - doesn't look like an update - my hunch is that the new data tiers (supplemental or whatever we want to call them) are where the movement is - being new, odds are they are tweaking it and the changes won't be so visible -

our organic google traffic converted very well thurs-sat, better than normal - sunday was poor but i discount that due to mother's day and the fact that our non-google referred traffic converted poorly too

figure if the tiered data is working, we should all see improved conversions on the long tails.
7:50 pm on May 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@rustybrick

Thanks for the feedback. Much appreciated.
7:52 pm on May 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I always see a spike in crawling prior to any significant updates. I haven't seen a spike since just prior to Penguin. I won't expect an update until after the next active crawling period.
7:56 pm on May 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Did also see a drop in traffic this weekend but that has normalized today.
8:23 pm on May 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Was this merely a traffic increase, or did you see rankings improve and slide back?


It looks like it was an increase on our long tail traffic. I would have to assume that was ranking increase of some sort. We don't monitor the 1000's of long tail stuff we rank for though. Friday was up and so is today. Both keywords found and traffic are up about 10-15% compared to the same day over the last month or so.
8:47 pm on May 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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In our sector we are seeing the return of the content-farm how-to, diy, and cost-price related sites taking over the search results.

We have written volumes of subject matter expert content on our penguinized site, that has been constantly re-purposed by these farms for the last 2-3 years, and now they have taken the serps as well.

Something changed over the last 3-7 days for the serps we follow. I know that @RustyBrick said there was no Panda or Penguin update, but knowing the way Google seems to work, it doesn't mean other updates or changes weren't introduced.

Seems to me that some topical classifiers were turned up a few notches to try and eliminate the smaller niche focused sites that were filling the market. Co-incidentally (or not), ALL off the major how-to, diy, and cost-price type sites filling the space are also major adsense partners.
1:50 am on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Right now it seems results in my particular niche are 50/50. Fifty percent OK and Fifty percent atrocious.
Some of the top results are ridiculously thin, ad ridden garbage sites that anyone in their right mind would leave within 5 seconds. Even re-hash on some of the big how-to outlets is ranking consecutively. Kinda makes you wonder what happened to the dupe content filter and it REALLY makes you wonder what happened to authority and brand sites that actually offer the whole story rather than bits & pieces.

Maybe this is just a new ploy by Google to get people digging deeper into the results pages to find what they are REALLY looking for...can you feel the user love already? Blech!
4:54 am on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Dear my friends
I'm having problems with website traffic and website ranking on google search.
My website is considered very good quality content and SEO compared to our competitors, and my site have been on top 1-5 with many keywords for many years.
But on April 18th - 19th, our ranking on Google suddenly dropped and the traffic reduced about 50%.
Anyway, I think out site is affected by following reasons:
1. Google Panda update on April 18th.
2. Google classified for parked domain issues around 18th - 19th.
3. Google Penguin on April 24th.
But I don't think the reason is Google Penguin because our site ranking changed on 19th.

Please, help me!
Thanks in advance!

I'm sorry for my English.

[edited by: tedster at 5:31 am (utc) on May 15, 2012]
[edit reason] no domain names, please [/edit]

3:25 pm on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Vuluu - Join the club, we're all experiencing the same problems.

I've seen some minor improvements after removing dedicated facebook "like" & "share" buttons, but combination bookmarking like "AddThis" seem to still be OK.

Semantic search is so bad it's laughable. Common sense similarities show for one term, but have been de-ranked -100 for the other. They seem to have solved one problem, yet created a dozen more. It's pretty much a slash & burn approach this time, no finesse whatsoever. For you lucky few that have been unscathed, congratulations to you.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 12:31 am (utc) on May 16, 2012]

3:29 pm on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

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My site started dropping traffic and conversions around 5/6 and I immediately noticed that it lost its longstanding #1 position for its primary keyword to three eBay listings.
4:24 pm on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I spoke with Google and they said there was no Penguin or Panda update or refresh over the past few days.


We've had a significant traffic drop over the past 48 hours on our already pandalized pages. I know Google said they didn't do an update, but it sure smells like Panda to me. We had some heavier Googlebot crawling then a drop in rankings/traffic which is what I saw before every other Panda update since 1.0. I really hope it's not Panda though - because then I might have a chance in hell of recovering.
5:07 pm on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

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My site started gaining traffic today about 3 hours ago.
5:37 pm on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

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An ecommerce site of ours which got hit quite hard on it's longtail very early in March has shown the first signs of recovery yesterday, it feels that somethings happended to us too but it feels more like Google loosening back the throttle rather than turning it up.
6:33 pm on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Big update in process. I think I've been able to sniff out changes before google confirms. This smells like a significant adjustment.

Domain authority seems to be tweaked to require actual relation to the content. IE dell won't rank first for the sale of cars just because they're dell like we had over the last two months in many niches.
6:44 pm on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I've got traffic back up to pre-penguin yesterday and today. Not sure what it means yet.
8:15 pm on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

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There' something on it's way... I have seen two different indexes today. I don't think they are alternating but I've witnessed two stages of progression for a couple of new sites I am watching in completely different sectors.
8:45 pm on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

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us ecom - more movement in my sectors since yesterday - long tails are pretty scrambled up
10:04 pm on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Noticing movement on the one site of mine that was hit by Penguin.

It was doing 2,000 uniques per day pre-penguin. After the 24th, it dropped to 500-600 per day.

Since yesterday it seems to have bounced back to 1,000 to 1,200 per day.

I've made no changes and the site had an equal mix of manipulative links, and natural links (which it quickly gained to due the SE exposure from the "bad" links)
10:14 pm on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Looks to me like the different data sets have started to merge across the board.
11:09 pm on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Here in the UK ( it helps to know your country folks !) seeing some major changes since this morning on some key words I follow. Especially on pages I am running a design test on.
12:53 am on May 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Confirming massive changes across several of my domains that had seen a peek in late April and then dropped and they are now moving up again.
4:19 am on May 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

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The non transactional sites that were ranking high on transactional queries are gone. The traffic is near the peaks post 4/19 but the bounce rate is down 20%.

More "right" traffic versus just more traffic seems to be the change. Time on site and bounce rate are way back down in the last 36 hours to levels not seen since before the 4/19 period.
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