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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]

8:29 pm on Aug 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I have no idea why traffic slowed on the 10th and slowly dried up completely except on one of my sites - Saturday it was like I only had one site and it was down by 50%. Now today I am seeing improvements for all sites without any changes. I opened a Bing Webmaster Tools account yesterday, can't keep trying to dance with this drunken loony.
12:24 am on Aug 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

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In the financial sector, I am seeing junk press releases proliferating in the serps. Legitimate websites are still missing.
12:51 am on Aug 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I also noticed that my "never touched, never maintained" sites started to rise again and get sales. It's an added bonus, but more importantly an interesting indicator of a algo tsunami passing by. It happens every time. Poor sites rise, good sites fall temporarily, then balance back out. The amount of pain depends on how many times they upset the apple cart per month. Ads I see it now, they owe us about one good stable year of traffic to recover. All seriousness aside of course.
9:49 am on Aug 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Very big shaked up over the weekend in our niche ( germany ).
Now amazon affiliates are ranking on #8. I donīt know what all these quality changes are about but I do think we do have to rewrite our dictionary

-quality content [google] - amazon, amazon affilated, prise compare pages, brands
related -> how to find real quality with google -> switch to bing, yandex.
11:07 am on Aug 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

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-quality content [google] - amazon, amazon affilated, price compare pages, brands
related -> how to find real quality with google -> switch to bing, yandex.


We need to add "press releases" to that list:

-quality content [google] - amazon, amazon affilated, price compare pages, brands
related, press releases -> how to find real quality with google -> switch to bing, yandex.
12:47 pm on Aug 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

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On our content based site that has been hit by Panda previously we took a big hit Friday. The site lost 50-60% of its remaining Google Referrals that day.
1:09 pm on Aug 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

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What I don't understand is:

* Site on page 1 in SERPs and stay pretty constant for a month
* Site drops 7 pages in SERPs overnight and then gradually recovers over next 3 weeks WITHOUT DOING ANY CORRECTIVE SEO
* Levels off for a week, then the site drops 3 pages in SERPs overnight and then gradually recovers over next 3 weeks again WITHOUT DOING ANY CORRECTIVE SEO

That means Google is damaging it's indexes with the algo updates, it then takes 2-3 weeks to rebuild them so that all your incoming links etc have regained their value, then does another algo update and we all go round again!

Google is getting rid of SEO as a profession by making their rankings so randomly nonsensical that the only way to optimize is to wait until Google fixes/recovers the issues they created in the first place. ie. the target these days is a super fast moving chameleon with a multiple-personality-disorder!
1:32 pm on Aug 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

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maybe its got something to do with all the social signals. how often do they update that info? would they really be able to do it on the fly?

maybe each site has an underlying score, with remains fairly constant, and they factor in all the social signals every month, or whatever it is. that is when your site drops down (probably because other sites have got much stronger social signals). but social signals are no good if they are not fresh, so they pay less attention to them as the weeks go by. thats when your site slowly recovers its position, based in its underlying score.

and then when the next month comes around, they factor in some fresh social signals, and the whole thing repeats. obviously im just guessing.
1:46 pm on Aug 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Using google gives me the bad feeling that I am missing something I was searching for. If I look at the domainnames that make no sense - like they have been playing dice - then all of me refuses to click on that link even if it is #1.
2:06 pm on Aug 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

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  • Site drops 7 pages in SERPs overnight and then gradually recovers over next 3 weeks WITHOUT DOING ANY CORRECTIVE SEO
  • Levels off for a week, then the site drops 3 pages in SERPs overnight and then gradually recovers over next 3 weeks again WITHOUT DOING ANY CORRECTIVE SEO

  • This sounds like the "sine wave" phenomenon others reported lasted year and the year before. Can't say we've ever came to a deep understanding of it here, but know that you are not alone.

    like they have been playing dice

    Yes, it does feel like some kind of statistical study is going on - especially below page 1 or sometimes even ON page 1 for some lower volume searches.
    3:46 pm on Aug 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

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    So we are still awaiting for @Google to tweet about possible launching of a Penguin data refresh during last weekend ;-)
    7:37 pm on Aug 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

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    @reseller, I guess they're not obligated to. There were 4 panda updates/refreshes in june/july according to the list of 86, but they only announced 3.
    8:28 am on Aug 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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    So we are still awaiting for @Google to tweet about possible launching of a Penguin data refresh during last weekend ;-)


    I have not heard of anyone recovering :( What makes you think there was a refresh of Penguin last weekend?
    9:38 am on Aug 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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    Seeing significant gains from US traffic since last night. Upward shift on all KW`s. Anyone else?
    2:07 pm on Aug 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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    @CW - I'm still seeing many keyword positions dropping, yet traffic levels seem somewhat stable (odd). Traffic quality has been on / off since Sunday, prior to that is was only off. If getting more than 1 sale per day is considered a recovery, I guess I've recovered (two sales). That old throttling thing seems to be happening again. Since May I've had 6 individual weeks with the EXACT same number of conversions and lesser weeks with identical totals. It seems every iteration, they knock us down another peg and hold that level....until the next iteration. No gains, always losses.
    Prior to May Day, every year was a gain over the last and weekly totals never repeated like they do now. Since 5/2010 the graph is all down hill, and the trend continues. As time goes on, the story becomes more clear.
    2:47 pm on Aug 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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    I know this is a bit off topic, but... Do any of you folks use a professional SEO company? I never have before, but one of my direct advertisers is connecting me with his SEO guy later today. He called me because he saw traffic dropping off from the site of mine that tanked and said he wants to help because he was getting so many conversions from the site.

    Back on topic: My traffic is still down with no sign of improvement. I am really bummed out.
    3:22 pm on Aug 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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    Backdraft7,

    I think as all webmasters I try to figure out what this is all about. I read a lot, I ask non webmasters a lot.

    1. change: Domain spamming: When I try to get the clue ot of the new domain spamming ( many results from the same domain ) and I compare it to the old system my result is that the new system is not user friendly and the general view of the serps did suffer a lot. The big question is, what advantage does google have?
    -> many same domains in results will make poeple click on adsense
    -> many same domains in results will make webmasters subscribe to adwords
    -> poeple will do more searches -> google will get more detailed information
    Now my conspiracy theory: As U know has the EU started some untitrust treatment. Google is/was forced to change results in other ways or have to pay the penalty. Now the perfidious plan is to decrease competitors by showing only brands without getting a new antitrust treatment and install its own products slowly into serps ( like they now have buyed this travel site and google+).
    Donīt be evil.
    3:27 pm on Aug 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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    I saw a surge of useless/zombie international traffic this morning. It has dried up, but it lasted about 6 hours.
    5:20 pm on Aug 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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    "I have not heard of anyone recovering :( What makes you think there was a refresh of Penguin last weekend?"

    I'm seeing an upward shift on my heavily Penguin-affected site. It's nowhere near a full recovery, but the numbers are still growing.
    5:53 pm on Aug 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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    I'm seeing an upward shift on my heavily Penguin-affected site. It's nowhere near a full recovery, but the numbers are still growing


    This might be due to other factors in the algorithm trying to overcome the effects of Penguin. In other words, it might not be due to Penguin itself, which hasn't been re-run since May. Several months ago I tried to start a thread about how user metrics might slowly erase the effects of Penguin, but the thread got sidetracked and the idea wasn't pursued in detail.
    8:16 pm on Aug 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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    This might be due to other factors in the algorithm trying to overcome the effects of Penguin.


    My own site has been gradually floating upwards - now on page 4 - since Penguin kicked it from the top of page 1 to page 9 and below for the main money term. I suspect Penguin has acted against natural algorithm features, which are now gradually undoing some of the damage.

    I don't actually want a Penguin refresh until Google recognises that all the backlinks that were probably a primary cause have gone. They were removed on 7 May, but WMT still reports 341 of them.

    The penalty I am experiencing doesn't extend to longer phrases that include the penalty term (I am down on main money term, but not on main money local city, or main money with added facilities).

    As a related aside, I switched to using Bing for my own searches in May (partly out of pique), and on short-phrase searches they seem better, but I sometimes find their results on longer phrases frustrating, and when I have reverted to Google for these the results have been consistently OK.
    4:17 pm on Aug 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

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    Aristotle, that's absolutely true. It's always hard to tell which bit of which algo is affecting your traffic, except when they announce they just ran X on the very day your traffic changed by some huge percent. The rest of the time, it's just not that obvious.
    4:22 pm on Aug 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

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    Anyone else seeing the horizontal thumbnails across the top of SERPs? "Things to do in New York" is an example of a search where I am seeing this currently.
    4:37 pm on Aug 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

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    Try searches for "Actorname" Movies. It's some kinda upgrade to knowledge graph?
    5:04 pm on Aug 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

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    Thanks klark0. Glad to see it's not just travel related.
    9:57 pm on Aug 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

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    Anyone noticing a lot of facebook spam floating back up in the serps for ecommerce. Is Google floating the CR@P to the top so they can scrape it off?

    FYI this is a common practice for amazon affiliates.
    11:54 pm on Aug 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

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    @Bewenched : Facebook, wikkis and news sites in ecommerce niches is what I have noticed for the last 3 weeks.
    2:38 am on Aug 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

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    @LabRat, I can see the thumbnails too. If you don't like it then you can close it or click the Feedback and tell then the thumbnail/link is wrong ;)
    4:00 am on Aug 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

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    On that top bar - search for just <Actor Name> also showing other cast members from the most recent movie at top. Very interesting. Must be bad news for IMDB traffic.
    10:42 am on Aug 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

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    my latest observations let me figure out that most of the sites ranking #1-#10 are not specialized sites. The pages that are ranking have a great mix of different (unrelated) widgets on it or if it is a widget detail page the description is only 3-5 words. ( Why did I put so much work in writing good content).
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