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Google Updates and SERP Changes - May 2012

     
1:50 am on May 1, 2012 (gmt 0)



< 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]

4:21 am on May 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Was there a update at Google today? Seeing massive changes across the board. Some of the pages for queries are completely different, a lot of sites that were on the first page have fell to the second and vice-versa. Strange.
5:01 am on May 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I am noticing something weird , the majority of the websites are displayed as www. or start with a subdomain in my verticals the usual is mixed. It looks like an old tier index . Authority seems to have been pushed harder too. Total brand domination as of now. However they did get the transactional vs informational better.
6:20 am on May 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



"TRADE_PERSON Knoxfielld"


Well at least Google brings something for "doctor Knoxfielld", Bing brings only two results, and they both are from this post :)
1:16 pm on May 16, 2012 (gmt 0)



UK non-ecommerce site promoting a service with lots of information rich unique pages. Knocked from page 1 or 2 right back to page 7 at its worst. Have made edits to re-balance keyword distribution over the site. Main two word key-phrase appeared seven times more frequently that the third most used keyword. This relationship is now reported (in WMT under content keywords) as being a 4 to 1 ratio, and I believe it will be lower as Google continues to crawl, re-count and re-index. I have fought back to page five as of today.

I have just noticed (using a site:yourdomain.co.uk www.yourdomain.co.uk search) that, although a fair amount of my pages are linked in the normal way, using the meta title, what looks like more than half are linked in the following format:

Anchor Text - Main two word keyphrase - Brand Name

The Anchor Text is that used within the site to link the page. I know it's internal anchor text because the site design uses an unusual lowercase/upper case combination: < anchor Text > which is reproduced faithfully in the serp link. The Main Keyphrase is the overall site target phrase and not necessarily what the individual page is optimised towards, and the Brand Name is the name of the professional person whose services the website promotes.

I can't find any other commercial site (in the serps for the keyphrase) that shows this behaviour. Has anyone else seen this?
2:33 pm on May 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



@Donna - yes, I see my own site pages now indexed as [mydomain.com...] - I never noticed that before.
2:41 pm on May 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

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



I can't find any other commercial site (in the serps for the keyphrase) that shows this behaviour. Has anyone else seen this?


Could Google be thinking it's some kind of breadcrumb? They do display breadcrumbs a little differently.
3:00 pm on May 16, 2012 (gmt 0)



@netmeg - No. Because it's only the first element that changes in relation to the page in question. Key phrase and brand name are always the same and none of it reflects any hierachy I have on the site.
3:26 pm on May 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



I've also notice the page 7 penalty. Not sure if it's a true penalty or just a temporary sort. I'm really floored at how they have made this so called "web spam" trigger so sensitive. It makes it nearly impossible to talk to users about your product. You mention it once, it's OK, twice so-so, but it seems three times and your now a web spammer.

I've seen the example that Cutts posted, and yeah, that's pretty clear web spam. But when you're discussing your product or service and staying on topic and they ban you that's insane.

The bottom line it seems is that "thin is in". Oh, to rank high you gotta have a lot of those "pop-up, impossible to close ads" - I feel sorry for the end users.

UPDATE: Since this morning, seeing a LOT of big changes...with my own page 7 penalties being removed and back to the #1 spot.
3:40 pm on May 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@backdraft7
I've seen some minor improvements after removing dedicated facebook "like" & "share" buttons, but combination bookmarking like "AddThis" seem to still be OK.


I have seen this too a few times, after adding just FB sharing code traffic is decreasing. Possible because is iframe. Anyway, do not miss to put G+1 :)
3:54 pm on May 16, 2012 (gmt 0)



I'm pretty sure there is an update rolling out in the UK right now to do with local searches.

Traffic pattern we're seeing from Google is starting to look awfully like something we saw at the end of March which was then (thankfully) rolled back pretty quickly.
2:26 am on May 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



The Penguin continues to sputter...no decent changes. Looks like this is meant to stick. Google sure has been unkind to about 30% of us who thought we were doing the right thing for the past decade. We weren't totally removed, but we were pretty much eviscerated. Long tail is a mess. Traffic at a trickle.
5:02 am on May 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Traffic way down here also non-ecommerce US-based site. Looks like long-tail was effected.
6:57 am on May 17, 2012 (gmt 0)



Long tail down beginning May 12th. Lost about 8-9% visits via Goog search referrals.
1:16 pm on May 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@davedm
I am also seeing very strange UK local results. One search is returning the same website at no.1 then no.1, 2 and 3 in the local results - and it's a poor example site for its market.
1:28 pm on May 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



@goldenarms are u us? ecom?

that is very similar to what we are seeing - we are not panda or penguin - but we have seen a decline in long tail referrals (about 6% for us) and also a reduction in quality (we measure by conversion rate) of about 20%. we are us ecom. started on the 11th for us.
1:30 pm on May 17, 2012 (gmt 0)



The UK SERPs are a total, unadulterated mess for my widgets, the worst results I've seen in years, the Chinese must be laughing all the way to the bank with their "Alibaba" type sites.
2:06 pm on May 17, 2012 (gmt 0)



About the loss of long tail. How are you measuring this?

When I look at my GA I noticed that our "not provided" keywords have increased about 20% from last week. I am wondering if this is where people are seeing the loss of keywords found. GA counts "not provided" as 1 keyword. This could definitely affect the # of keywords you would normally see.
2:29 pm on May 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Traffic has been going down since Monday and today looks to be the worst day of the week so far.
3:16 pm on May 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



About the loss of long tail. How are you measuring this?


You need to use advanced segmentation in GA to slice and dice up your google organic referrals. I like to group my referring keywords into 1 word, 2 word and so on - then u can slice up your conversion rate by each - lots u can do with GA
3:37 pm on May 17, 2012 (gmt 0)



@ wingslevel

are you able to see how many different keywords are included within the "not provided" number? That would be helpful for me.
3:48 pm on May 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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



Wow, scary.

For [possibility of a second medicalevent] a page from eHow is number 1. A page from the National Institute of Health for this condition is number 5.

Is Google really telling me that it considers eHow the most authoritative source for this information? Really? I'm supposed to go to eHow for information on which my life depends? I mean really?

I think I want a second opinion.

That didn't help much. Though somewhat better overall, Bing shows the same eHow page as the first organic result after a Bing-hosted Mayo Clinic article.
3:49 pm on May 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@snowman - no, those are logged in https searches - no referrer, even in your raw server logs - its going to be a bigger and bigger portion of our visitors - a real f u to webmasters from the boys at the plex
4:15 pm on May 17, 2012 (gmt 0)



@wingslevel

That's what I figured. I thought that may have been the reason people had been seeing a recent decrease in the keyboard count (long tail) being shown in GA. I wasn't sure how everyone was measuring their keyword count, that is how I keep track of the referrals on all the different long tails G sends us every day. I noticed that within the last week on some of our sites the number of keywords being included in the "not provided" has increased 15-20%, while our traffic stayed the same. This has in turn decreased the total keywords found through Google that I can actually see. For some this could be seen as a drop in long tail traffic, when in reality it could be just more and more data being covered up by the "not provided" crap.
5:44 pm on May 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



I was wondering if links to a website from pages that appear in the SERP after clicking repeat the search with the omitted results included count?

Do they have an effect on a website's rankings? Sometimes, many of the links to a site appear this way.

I noticed that these pages sometimes do not have a cache version (just wanted to mention).
10:55 pm on May 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Just when you think it can't get worse, half of my hits are just gone today :( so in a couple of weeks we have gone from not so bad to disatrous and we haven't changed anything. We probably should but have been waiting it out since nobody really knows what is going on and how to "fix it". Like I have said before, I had more hits to my site when it first started than what I have now. Competition is hard but we have been doing fine but now you see just crappy sites with spun content so I am about to give up the whole friggin Internet thing. Glad I didn't quit my day job :(
11:10 pm on May 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Just when you think it can't get worse, half of my hits are just gone today


We had a great increase in traffic starting late last night and lasting through around 2pm today (US - Central time). Best day in a long time. Then boom. The bottom fell out and we're back to normal. It was all Google traffic for search terms across the board. I knew not to get my hopes up, but they were nice numbers to see even if it was just for a few hours. The traffic leading up to this was extremely similar to our traffic just before the April 19th Panda update. Nearly identical patterns. But with the 19th update, we were up and stayed up until the Panda smackdown on Apr 27th.
1:06 am on May 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Us ecom. In our vertical amazon took over #2 for every term. Many of the listings are not active products. A switch to bing shows some eBay stores that are ranking in the top 5 but are gone.

Googles fetish with amazon is disturbing. They aren't providing even moderately good or unique content and yet they rank first or second for everything they sell.
1:25 am on May 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

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



Us ecom. In our vertical amazon took over #2 for every term.

Get used to it. Google's gotten lazy in her old age. It is far easier to promote big brands than figure out if a mom and pop has good content or not.

I said this back in March and it was quickly dismissed:
Welcome to the new web. Google's web. It's going to be full of Big Brands and throw away domains. Goodbye niche players, Google is about to crush you. You're the acceptable collateral damage in Google's sweep of the web.

It's the Penguin Panda one-two punch. You can run, but you can't hide because Google's not done with their sweep.

Our approach? We lost 50% of our traffic and 30% of our profit. I could retire if I wanted to, but hey I like a challenge. :)
1:31 am on May 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



@getcooking I saw the mid-day rise and fall as well. Same thing happened on Tuesday and Wednesday. Today will be the worst day since early-March for me.
2:47 am on May 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Garyr_h:
We have been seeing the exact same cyclical drop as you have, we are off traffic wise 50% in the last three weeks, but our conversions/sales are only off about 10%. Seems like the traffic is higher quality, but we are losing a lot of #1 spots on G and gaining them on Bing. But our B traffic has not increased significantly. Long tail keywords remain extremely inconsistent fluctuating sometimes significantly within the same day. Certainly seems to be a lot of flux in the algos and more than usual variance across server groups. How is your sales/conversions, are they statistically commensurate with your traffic drop or are you seeing better quality traffic?

Best,
Bill
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