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Google Updates and SERP Changes - August 2012

     
10:34 am on Aug 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

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

Today is very low. I donīt know if its weather or vacation related? From what I see is that most product related serps will show #1-#10 price compare sites, not one informational or ecom site.

[edited by: tedster at 6:04 pm (utc) on Aug 1, 2012]

5:09 pm on Aug 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Half way through a typically busy Sunday and not one conversion. Google has become a garden devoid of any life for once thriving small online businesses.
5:21 pm on Aug 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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OK it'd dead for me today here in the UK as well but why worry? Millions of people watching the Olympics, the sun is shining so millions have gone to the parks or pubs, millions more off on holiday, and many many millions too broke to spend money. Google can't be blamed for any of them. Certainly not for the sunshine, especially.
5:22 pm on Aug 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I've dropped from 3rd to 25th over the last 3 days and virtually all the sites in front on me are newspaper sites...JOKE
5:28 pm on Aug 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@superclown2 - it's not the Olympics, it's not the sunshine. The sudden impact indicates something awry on Google's infrastructure or an algo update, again. The sun shines all year and we still convert. Our seasonal historical numbers do not correlate with this sudden decline.
6:50 pm on Aug 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Just a thought....
How many of you will search in any SE to buy, a book, a dvd, a flight, a hotel or a car, instead of just go straight to online well known retailers that sell those products.
What I'm trying to say is that if I want to buy a dvd or a book I'll check on a, b or c site, if I want to book a flight or a hotel I'll go again in a couple of hotel pages (mostly one) or in the airline I want to fly with, a PC in a, b, or c, famous retailers, food the same and so on...now how many Joe users will keep in the future searching in Google, Bing or Yahoo for such products since the Big Brands don't need exposure in google or bing or whatever, in other words should it be a better user experience to become search engines a tool for information instead of site maps of a, b, c or d sites?
7:21 pm on Aug 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I think you're onto something key here. A recent Forrester report showed that 30% of all online shoppers start at Amazon to research products. In contrast, Google attracted only 13% as the first stop for product research. This is big change from 2009, when Google led Amazon 24% to 18%.

Reference: [searchenginewatch.com...]

Google MUST see this shift and one reason for the "brand" emphasis we've been seeing this year may be a reflection of this preference among consumers.

Google does not need to make an intentional decision to emphasize "brands". All they need to do is build an algorithm that pays attention to what their users prefer, and brands would naturally get stronger results. This would not be because "Google hates small businesses" but rather because their users love businesses that they've already heard good things about.
10:19 pm on Aug 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I want to add that IMO the Lion stake of advertisement in order to build a brand goes to the TV and not on SE adds.

[edited by: spreporter at 10:49 pm (utc) on Aug 5, 2012]

10:23 pm on Aug 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Ermmn but Tedster big brands hate the internet as they erode their profit margins. In fact most big brands would prefer the internet not to exist at all. Mom and Pop sites created online markets by undercutting big brands on their own products.
11:47 pm on Aug 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I've worked with several dozen very big brands over the past decade and I've never run into that attitude.
11:51 pm on Aug 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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If it matters, one of my site got changed to PR 3 (from 4).

[edited by: tedster at 11:55 pm (utc) on Aug 5, 2012]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]

12:45 am on Aug 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I'm also not seeing that big brands hate the internet. I'm seeing more and more big brand websites hide their store locator so you actually have to search for it - there's literally no link to it on the front page. I take that to mean they want me to order online instead of finding a store near me and physically purchasing from it.
12:54 am on Aug 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Amazon is a big brand, and probably wouldn't even exist without the internet. Some products, like music and movie downloads, ebooks, some apps and software, etc, are sold directly over the internet.
1:44 am on Aug 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

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...Big Brands don't need exposure in google or bing or whatever, in other words should it be a better user experience to become search engines a tool for information instead of site maps of a, b, c or d sites?

I agree.
It makes no sense for Google to emphasize "brands".
If you want to buy something from Amazon(brand) - you won't search for that product/service on Google - you'll search for that product/service ON Amazon's(brand's) website.
2:16 am on Aug 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

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OK, I'm glad we have some agreement on this. Any "brand prejudice" we see is actually Google's audience preferring recognizable names.

Now - with my apology for hijacking the thread - let's return to discussing August Updates and SERP Changes. The SERPs I deal with have been relatively quiet this past week. No evidence any major update in my world, at least.
2:26 am on Aug 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Tedster, you didn't notice a big movement on Friday?

We saw a lot of movement in our industry on Friday. We also gained site links on some of our authority pages over the weekend. Pages I had expected to receive them a while ago finally received the late Saturday early Sunday.
5:49 am on Aug 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

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All great "theories" but the fact is that these changes do not manifest themselves over nite. Amazon may be the first place to look for some things, but there are other knowledge based items that are found elsewhere, and most people know it. Our customers usually find us, but not when everything appears to suddenly goes fubar.

My question is that same as Snowman...has anyone else noticed a sudden change on Friday?
I'm seeing some recovery already, but an upset is usually a sign of another update.
5:56 am on Aug 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I believe the new PR update will follow with new SERPs.
8:59 am on Aug 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Yeah I can see Page Rank Update in India. Anybody else can see the same ? I am not sure when google is going to run the next update for the penguin.
10:26 am on Aug 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Toolbar PR was updated on August 2, see page 1 of this thread.
11:52 am on Aug 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I believe the new PR update will follow with new SERPs


I disagree. My understanding of PageRank is that its a live, and constantly changing metric (daily, weekly, etc). The only time WE, site owners and Webmasters see the update is when it propagates to the toolbars we use.

In other words, if you spotted a PR change from 3 > 5 after last weeks update, it may ALREADY be changed to something else. You just wont see it until the next "Toolbar" update, when they refresh the data to the toolbar widget.

MH
1:25 pm on Aug 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Something changed over the weekend ( germany ) . We gained a lot of keys back but lost others. Traffic jumps from minute to minute from very good to poor and back.
2:01 pm on Aug 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

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UK - My site dropped off the face of the planet this morning.
3:48 pm on Aug 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I just noticed that my sitelinks have changed, I believe at some point over the past day or two. A bit of a frivolous change, but it's there.

I observed my deepest crawl since mid April about a 10 days ago, followed soon after by the Panda refresh, Toolbar update, now Sitelink changes. I am really hoping there will be some Penguin activity.
5:28 pm on Aug 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I think you're onto something key here. A recent Forrester report showed that 30% of all online shoppers start at Amazon to research products. In contrast, Google attracted only 13% as the first stop for product research. This is big change from 2009, when Google led Amazon 24% to 18%.

Reference: [searchenginewatch.com...]

Google MUST see this shift and one reason for the "brand" emphasis we've been seeing this year may be a reflection of this preference among consumers.

Google does not need to make an intentional decision to emphasize "brands". All they need to do is build an algorithm that pays attention to what their users prefer, and brands would naturally get stronger results. This would not be because "Google hates small businesses" but rather because their users love businesses that they've already heard good things about.


This is key (and thanks for the link). Google's SERPs are just a reflection of the real world. Search is not where the big money campaigns are launched. In my own opinion, I believe there is a designed bias for brands, though, obviously for profits.
6:37 pm on Aug 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I believe there is a designed bias for brands, though, obviously for profits.

Lots of people believe that - but I don't see why there even needs to be a design bias, nor do I see how it would help profits.

What helps profits for any business (including yours) is catering to the user and customer preferences - and that's all that Google ever needs to do. The result is just what we see in the SERPs, and they don't even need to maintain a manual list of "who is a brand". The algorithm just starts to reward any website as it grows in "brandedness".

In other words, "don't make it personal", because Google certainly doesn't.

If we want to do a clear-eyed analysis of our SEO efforts, then we need to drop that kind of "explanation" because it doesn't help anything. In fact, it doesn't give us anything actionable as a conclusion and that's what real analysis should result in: an action plan.
8:36 pm on Aug 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Totally agree tedster. I just look at the sites on page 1 these days with the view that every site is there because people like them most (as opposed to google liking them most). It makes it much easier to understand what's happening and why people prefer those sites to mine!

I think Google is just constantly improving the user experience, split testing and monitoring their user stats (and ours) to see what goes down well with people. I'm now doing this and my revenue is going up. Giving people what they want (regardless of what I think that may be) is making me more money.

That's all google is doing in my view. It's just a matter of distinguishing the tests from the foundations. I think that by the time we notice a major change it has already been tested on users for a while and has been deemed a success with people so is being tested on a larger scale. Therefore i think by the time we all notice the same change, it's in the final stages of testing and is likely to become permanent on the basis that people like it more than what was there before.
9:03 pm on Aug 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I just look at the sites on page 1 these days with the view that every site is there because people like them most (as opposed to google liking them most).


Interesting I look at page 1 and been evaulating pages based on backlinks . So I say , directories, bookmarks paid links ect.....

But I will relook and try the webpages based on user experience now
9:16 pm on Aug 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Seoskunk, I think links etc are an 'indicator' of relevance and tells google what to consider ranking you for, but the performance of the site for any terms you target once google starts ranking you is what determines where you end up ranking in my view. And this constantly changes as the quality of the sites you are competing with changes.
9:37 pm on Aug 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@claaarky I admire your dedication to the task but I think its become a charade, who knows who, who links to who, the whole thing is a mess and its time google cleaned it up.

I took another look at top ten in my sector and no I could not see any signs of user consideration mostly I saw directory links working especially paid directories.
9:54 pm on Aug 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

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its time google cleaned it up

Maybe yes and maybe no. However, website owners need to understand what THEY can do now - and waiting for Google to change just removes the website owner from any actionable position. That's not a position I'm willing to take.

So whether Google has something wrong or not is almost irrelevant to me (unless it seems clear that Google WILL change something in the near future.) In essence, I want to understand the current situation and the direction for the immediate future so I can plot my own course and that of my clients.

That's why understanding the SERPs as they exist and as they change in present time. In other words, the intended focus of this thread - which is exactly that kind of tracking.
This 358 message thread spans 12 pages: 358