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Google Updates and SERP Changes - September 2012

     
2:06 am on Sep 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

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

Historically we never saw drastic drops due to holidays...except this year, when the now daily everflux drops just happen to coincide with a holiday.

[edited by: tedster at 5:33 am (utc) on Sep 1, 2012]

8:10 pm on Sept 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Can someone setup a site that us folks here can easily go on and vote or something so that we can see who experiences sudden spots of amazing conversions and we can all post updates when nothing is happening as far as conversions vs when (as many of us just had) all of a sudden we have a slew of activity out if nowhere? Like the site from SeoMoz that's showing the google spider activity?

I would be VERY interested in such a site where we all here can vote our metrics so to speak? Anyone up to make one?

Best! (on iPhone so sorry if bad post)
8:15 pm on Sept 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

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i think a lot of the swings that we see on these refreshes are due to mechanics.

The Twitter message says "expect some flux over the next few days." So yes, it does seem to be a mechanical part of the roll-out process.

We've got a dedicated thread to discuss the new Panda Update - let's use it rather than flood this one. [webmasterworld.com...]
8:21 pm on Sept 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

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For some reason my site is doing well in google.au Not bad - only half a world away! Why would I be getting traffic from Australia when my site is UK?
2:06 am on Sept 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

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For some reason my site is doing well in google.au Not bad - only half a world away! Why would I be getting traffic from Australia when my site is UK?

Jez123 - Back in May, 2012, we had some similar geo-confused results reported between Australia and US, and it may well be that Google is testing geo-intent. There's apparently an overlap of placenames, but some only show up when the search is more granular than just a search by the placename. Eg, some show up only with state modifiers (or whatever analogous regions are called in UK and Australia).

To check the details, look at my first post on the May 2012 update thread ( 5:45 pm on May 1, 2012 (PST -8) ), about the 31st post in the discussion, and read through until my "exchange" with web_speed ( 3:00 pm on May 2, 2012 (PST -8) ), msg#4448697....

Google Updates and SERP Changes - May 2012
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4447978.htm [webmasterworld.com]

The gist of it is that there are a bunch of town names that have either identical or very similar spellings, and I believe that some queries get modified by Google and/or sent to a different country because there are no local sites satisfying the query.

This seems to show up the most relatively soon after an update has rolled out. I think this may be Google "calibrating" the results, but that's a guess.

So, is there geo-intent related to your queries, or could there be? (Eg, ecommerce results might get localized simply because Google wants to return local results first).
6:29 am on Sept 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Jezz, yesterday we were also getting hits from Australia and also NZ, just checked this morning & they are still there, only now so are a lot of other countries! Hits from the USA are also up.
8:22 am on Sept 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Jez, Robert, ohno,

I am UK based with a .co.uk domain.

Watching one of our keyphrases for the last 3 weeks - the search brings up .com.au and .com.
The phrase is "new widgets for sale" - no location or anything in the search, and 3 weeks seems a hell of a long time to leave poor results.
3:31 pm on Sept 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Jezz, yesterday we were also getting hits from Australia and also NZ, just checked this morning & they are still there, only now so are a lot of other countries! Hits from the USA are also up.


I had this rather odd phenonomen on a site about 2 years ago and I never found out why but I put it down to Google mis-reading my (US based) host server location at the time or poor IP recognition. It stopped as quickly as it started a few months after.
4:10 pm on Sept 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

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How did you find the XXXXXXXXX Web Site? : Google - albeit second page (I don't trust their first page any more !)


Ha!
7:04 pm on Sept 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

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How did you find the XXXXXXXXX Web Site? : Google - albeit second page (I don't trust their first page any more !)



This is by far the best summation of G's entire last 2 years.

I have never heard it said better!

Page 1- Make Google some money

Page 2+- Our old Google (the best tool on Earth!)
5:38 am on Sept 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Question: if a site gets or loses sitelinks on the same day as a Panda refresh, does that mean Panda had anything to do with that, or is that just coincidence? I noticed several sitelink changes yesterday, and I'm positive they changed on the 18th. I wouldn't have thought Panda had anything to do with those, but the timing was curious.
6:57 am on Sept 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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It is thursday and we are all off again. We gained a lot of hits ( + 40% ) over the last 6 days. Today all is gone. What the heck are they doing on thursdays?
7:17 am on Sept 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I don't know, what I do know is that this has been going on for quite some time, I first noticed the dead Thursday 3 years ago now.
7:36 am on Sept 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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ohno, do you see the same? Every thursday it is like they reset the system?
7:36 am on Sept 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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So glad I wanted to look up netmeg and found this in her WebmasterWorld profile:
Instead of looking me up, you should probably read this. [ork.cc...]
I got a site hit with Penguin end of April. Did some clean up but mainly work on improving business since. We're still 80% down in organic but the sales are actually higher.
I am putting some efforts to get some rankings back but they'll probably be just more profit now.
Putting all my time to make other sites google-proof, too.
8:01 am on Sept 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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ohno, do you see the same? Every thursday it is like they reset the system?

Yes, although we have had the odd Thursday that is ABOVE normal, last Thursday being the most obvious. Usually a dead day both traffic & conversions wise.
8:18 am on Sept 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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We're still 80% down in organic but the sales are actually higher.

I've done the same for quite a while now - even for sites that thrive in the Google SERPs. I love focusing on the customer experience directly.

And the paradox is, I find that over time Google rewards those sites where I focus on the user experience (of course while covering the on-page and on-site SEO basics.)

September has been a wild month for some of us. For sites where I have access to analytics of some kind, Google traffic has stayed mostly steady. A few are up and two are down, but the changes are not lining up with any of the updates we've noticed here. Maybe this comment from @fabulousyarn on September 9 does line up:

I am also seeing very odd things in the product listings - many, many listings don't show, but it also seems to be browser and machine dependent.

From the stats that I see, I think there was some kind of update around September 5-8 that tilted the SERPs even more toward the mobile user - even tablets, not just the smartphones. Even on a laptop or desktop, that tilt is bleeding through.

To come clean, I'm behind the curve on responsive website design. I always thought I'd get on with it when I saw a lot of mobile users. The problem seems to be, these two down sites won't get many of those mobile users from Google if I don't make website that ranks well and that probably means upgrading them for mobile.

Time to roll up my sleeves.

[edited by: tedster at 11:14 am (utc) on Sep 20, 2012]

9:30 am on Sept 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Tedster,

you think the current updates are mobile users related? What is the difference between mobile and desktop other then space and location?

In the current serps i find now my from robots blocked and deleted pages from an old domain.
9:35 am on Sept 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I suspect that just one update, among the many that we just saw, was related to mobile.

The difference? Pages that don't display well or fast enough on a mobile device don't show up. Mobile sites also need to work well on messed up public wi-fi and the like. I long knew that these limitations might happen on a pure mobile device search, but now I begin to suspect it's also affecting traditional desktop search.

It's just a theory of mine - based on very limited data. So I when I saw that post from @fabulousyarn I thought I'd chime in too and see if anyone else had something to say on it.
9:48 am on Sept 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I was in contact with backdraft, he was surprised by the amount of mobile traffic his site was getting. Our site's menu is not mobile friendly, I wonder if times have changed enough to warrant a redesign....
10:00 am on Sept 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Ohno,

I think it depends what kind of users you would like to be attracted to. We are more business targeted, so i donīt think that business poeple will use their mobile device but their desktop.
To assist tedsters idea. This would be a explanation why so many low content ( one or two sentence ) pages are in the top, because of the limited mobile device screen.
Arenīt search egnines able to figure out would device is sending the request by browser type?
10:15 am on Sept 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I was in contact with backdraft, he was surprised by the amount of mobile traffic his site was getting. Our site's menu is not mobile friendly, I wonder if times have changed enough to warrant a redesign....


Yep, time to pay much more attention to these matters. A Mobile friendly site, with NO *flash* or sliding mouse-over effects is starting to become a "must".

You want a flexible template designed to resize itself when detecting small screen browsers or mobile user agent strings. Or otherwise have a full on mobile version site with a redirect from the normal site.

On some of the sites i manage for clients (a dentist, a painter and a landscaping firm) mobile traffic is close to 30% (!) and getting stronger...
11:51 am on Sept 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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So it happened again. Two days in a row with EXACTLY the same numbers of unique visitors. How is that even possible? SERP's seems to be almost the same, i.e. not a lot of lontail hitting my site and the same 3-4 words phrase is showing. Just a thought.... maybe GOOG resets, like someone suggested, the number of visits they send to a particular site on Thursdays? If they didn't send anough visitors during the week then it might go up and if you had "too many" it'll go down? I know it sounds absurd because a search engin wouldn't do that, would they?
I think that Google are trying to focus on localized search results, not because to be nice but to get more local advertising money. I also read somewhere that if they have landing pages (read AdWords) that are better than your site, they'll show them instead....
12:15 pm on Sept 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@gehrlekrona, do you see the same on Thursdays? Do you see less visits on this days with growing visits over the week?
12:23 pm on Sept 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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eek, it looks like I have a google bod on my site right now. I hope they decide my site is amazing
12:37 pm on Sept 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I am frustrated with these updates that make no sense. It seemed Panda+Penguin was doing sort of OKAY. This new FLUX has brought the OLD SPAM FEST back on top.

Buy expired old domains that were linked by organizations, authority websites, high trusted associations.

Turn it into an Adsense website for some keyword. Bang you are on top 3.

I SERIOUSLY THOUGHT this was fixed because there were instances of this happening before but current rankings are mostly MFA sites using this old exploit.

Searching for "red widget" I see XYZAssociation (.)org that had nothing to do with "red widget" in the past. It was expired a year ago.

This is BLATANT spamming and should be rather easy to fix. Why such an easy fix is like rocket science to Google Engineers?

My wife site which had no ads, links only from government websites related to "helping divorced mothers" is now on page #6 which was on page #1 for past 8 years. She didn't have links or any crazy content other than 40-50 pages of help provided by her.

She was even featured on gov website for her help she has provided on the site.

Mind you guys she was getting 5-10 visitors a day, it was a Non-Profit site and was ranking for a very long tail keyword just for our location to help mothers.

Now an adsense site is ranking#1 and they have 100 or so links from these network sites where 100s of other people are getting links from as well.

Frustrating.
12:41 pm on Sept 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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No comment...
I prefer no comment. I have only bad words...

No content sites, mfa sites, link factories... rank #1, #3, #5.

And our site? Page 45, of course...

No comment.
12:41 pm on Sept 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Hmm, anyone else seeing a retuen of host crowding?
12:42 pm on Sept 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@MIW, yes I do. Have to count visitors now....
@everybody else, Google has become a slot machine. Once in a while you hit jack pot, most of the time you waste your money
12:45 pm on Sept 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@splugged expired domain turned MFA different topic, is KILLING IT RIGHT NOW. They are all on top a search for "rid widget" shows "xyz assocaition" organization on top.

@Ohno --> Yes, for a very broad keyword and something which cannot be branded I see a site ranking 1-2-3 and then 6th.

@gehrlekrona --> I wouldn't compare them to slot, its insult to slot machines.
12:48 pm on Sept 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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This is BLATANT spamming and should be rather easy to fix. Why such an easy fix is like rocket science to Google Engineers?


Yes, it frustrates me too. The proper spammers are there in the top spots and my site is penalised heavily by Penguin. This is not leveling the playing field it's more like reward the blatant spammers who can afford to spam in a google acceptable fashion and penalise the people that really should be ranking.
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