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Google Updates and SERP Changes - October 2012

     

ethought

7:21 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)



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

Hi All - First time poster long time lurker.

The sites I run have been decimated by this last change (or changes). All affiliate sites, many with good articles, great product browsing, responsive design etc. Traffic is down 90% overnight - conversions on whats left are terrible! Never ever seen it this bad. If Google are trying to eliminate affiliate sites they did a pretty good job on mine.

I have lots of EMDs which were hit hard, but also many non EMD sites that were also hit hard.

Almost seems like Google is trying to confuse us by giving us a Panda update 10 or so days ago, closely followed by EMD destruction and Image update... Now its really getting tricky to figure out what actually caused the drop in traffic, let alone recover.

I'm still sorting through the debris trying to figure out why some sites survived and the majority didn't.

[edited by: tedster at 4:37 am (utc) on Oct 1, 2012]

Wilburforce

7:43 pm on Oct 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Please elaborate on this...


I signed up with the offending host, then used my account to block access to all my site's pages, which took immediate effect.

I'm still also penalised on another keyword - not affecting direct business - with many genuine backlinks from blogs and information sites. The use of variants of the same anchor-text in that case is entirely natural (and wholly unsolicited), but it still fell foul of Penguin, and I can't do much to remove those.

It will be interesting to see what happens to that keyword in an update, if there is one (and to the blocked phrase: will removal be interpreted as admission of earlier spamming?)

gehrlekrona

1:34 am on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



The last few days have been a disaster when it comes to referrals from Google, or at least I think it has. I can see in WMT that my impressions has gone down a LOT so that is probably one reason. I don't know WHY they have gone down so drastic but they have. Another things is that it seems like Google is not sending any info for stat programs to be able to pick up, or at least not the one I am using. In the near future, if not already here, we will not ba able to use keywords and I can see why GOOG wants to hide that from us. If we don't know what people searched for to go to our site, then we can't "optimize" I think this is why we see "zombies" and other weird stuff in our stats and it looks like we (*I*) can't trust what I see anymore in the stats.
Hopefully I have more traffic than what is showing up in the stats, and if not then I have been "GOOGLE F-d" big time.

rish3

2:13 am on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I signed up with the offending host, then used my account to block access to all my site's pages, which took immediate effect.


Ahh, you must be talking about 0ne of those sites that scrapes your content and republishes, but feels that it's okay since you can sign up for an account to specifically block it url by url.

While I don't like that at all, it's more disappointing that Google couldn't just figure out how to ignore links from sites like that completely.

[edited by: tedster at 2:16 am (utc) on Oct 3, 2012]
[edit reason] no exact domains, please [/edit]

backdraft7

2:36 am on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



Four "normal" days in a row...not sure what happened, but October is finally looking up.

bloard

2:43 am on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I am at a total loss for words on the state of the current SERPS. I've been penalized awhile, so in a sense I can watch as an outsider. I really don't feel like my personal bias is influencing my judgment.

In my niche, which is a pretty competitive financial niche, there really are very few pages left that consumers should even trust. In the past, even the spammers pretty well tried to have legitimate and safe sites which they invested in for the long term. They might have cheated their way to the top in google's eyes, but they seemed to respect the fact that to stay there for the long term, they needed to be legitimate.

Now it is almost entirely obvious throw away sites or pages that even the owner knows is going to be gone within weeks or a month. There are sooooooo many hijacked pages on edu domains, or off topic domains that were recently purchased for their off-topic link profile. They invest no time or effort into the long term and the consumer is paying the price with fake information etc.

There used to be 2 or 3 great sites surrounded by sites that at least passed the spam smell test. Pretty much no matter what you click on, you would be on a page that the owner valued.

It's so easy to get on here and say the search results are terrible and we all have a bias in how they should look. But with all impartiality, I can honestly say that in my niche.. this is pathetic. I wouldn't want my wife to search in my vertical because I wouldn't trust a single site on the first page.... except the ads.

tedster

3:04 am on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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



OK - this thread is not here to discuss the fact that there are bad SERPs. There definitely are bad SERPs, that's a given.

I know it's getting harder to zero in on algorithm changes these days, but we just don't need another thread about how bad the SERPs are. We are almost getting into "duplicate content" no matter what the thread's topic is and that makes the forum hard to use.

This thread is to take notice of algorithm changes and updates. So please, let's keep it that way - thanks.

bloard

3:33 am on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Ok... the most obvious change that I can see is that since the weekend there are a lot more sites that at least look halfway legitimate suffering from -950 that used to rank. The number of sites sent to the end of results has at least doubled - if not tripled in the past week.

Whatever the changes were over the past week, one way google dealt with them was to send them to the end of results. There's no doubt about it in my mind. Search the end of results in any competitive niche. You will find a fair number or recent additions.

bluntforce

4:47 am on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



@backdraft
Doesn't the timing coincide with the EMD adjustment?
I'd be looking at whether there is reduced competition for your preferred keyphrases, but I'd certainly be storing ALL data I had the ability to access for evaluation and re-evaluation. If "after" is good, you want to find the determining factor that differs from "before".

addmore

7:25 am on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)



One of my sites were hit on the 28th of September as well. Not an EMD domain so has nothing to do with that.
It was a site that has gained in the search engines every time there's been an big update before from Google. No crappy links, great content.

Mark Cutts confirms there was another update except EMD on this day here: [twitter.com...]

However I can't figure out what update this was. Anyone with an idea?

Jez123

8:22 am on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I'm hoping a penguin update will happen this month so I can finally see whether my site has any hope in coming back to where it was ranking before the first penguin update in April. Anyone else waiting on this update so you can decide whether to close or keep your site?


Me too. I don't think you can expect it to come back where it was though. Who knows though. Have you continued to link build and diversify with anchor text and destination?

Fingers crossed, eh? What is your plan if your site does not return? Do you have a strategy?

Lady_K

9:53 am on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)



Jez123: Yes, I've been continuing with my link building ensuring that I diversify with anchor text and the destinations. I've also been ensuring I use different methods of link building so that I don't have too many links coming from the same types of sites.

When penguin was first released my site was moved to the last page of the SERPS for my most competitive keyword (which I was originally on the top of page 2 for, sometimes the bottom of page 1). Now, it's hovering at around page 23 or 24, so it definitely has improved (just not enough to bring regular sales). I don't know how long to wait for the site to improve further. Also, when the next penguin update happens who knows what will happen to the site, it may even get pushed to the end of the SERPS again. But on the other hand it may stay where it is just now or could be moved up in the SERPS. I don't have the money or patience to stick at it if it doesn't improve further or if penguin pushes it to the end of the SERPS again. I've been feeling far too stressed out with this lately.

What's your situation Jez123? Were you badly affected by penguin?

realmaverick

10:33 am on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



Noticed a random 20% increase in traffic over the past 3 hours. It's a big site with consistent traffic. I'll keep an eye on it and see what happens.

Lady_K

11:04 am on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)



ohno: I am seeing the same pattern - my site will get regular sales one week and then the next week or so I'll not see any, and so on. Very strange.

ohno

12:02 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)



Mark Cutts confirms there was another update except EMD on this day here: [twitter.com...]

However I can't figure out what update this was. Anyone with an idea?

This is precisely the point. So many changes these days it really is impossible to try & work out what is going on & what you can do about it.

klark0

12:04 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)



Seeing positive movement today (+20%) on a penguin hit site ...same as last week before the EMD update dropped.

ohno

12:11 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)



I'm seeing positive movement on one domain but can see no change in the SERP's?

aristotle

12:31 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Mark Cutts confirms there was another update except EMD on this day here: [twitter.com...]

However I can't figure out what update this was. Anyone with an idea?


For those like me who don't have a twitter account, exactly what did Matt Cutts say?

zeus

12:53 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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



Hmm maybe the image update

Marketing Guy

1:00 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@aristotle - MC said;

yes. 500+ algo launches/year mean 1-2 a day. I know of at least one other algo rolling out over same timeframe for example.


It was in response to a question about traffic changes during the period of the EMD update.

bsand715

1:25 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



IMO googles recent constant changes have confused the world of search. Sites with no content, with no structure, no depth, scrapper sites, awful sites along with wikipedia, amazon, u-tube facebook etc. all leading in returns. I feel like I am standing in a food store check out lane reading all the gossip and junk magazines looking for something good. Total state of confusion and disorder.

SnowMan68

1:42 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)



@addmore

We saw a small decrease on sept 28th as well. How much did you lose? This was not part of the EMD update either.

ethought

1:50 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)



@addmore

I am starting to think that perhaps the drops we saw on the 28th are due to the recent Panda update compounded for some by the EMD update.

Panda Update 3.92, Sept. 18, 2012: (less than 0.7% of queries; announced)

I guess simply because it was announced on the 18th doesn't automatically mean that was when we should see the changes in results coming through.

My sites have been more or less fine for all other updates until now. However a couple of sites did get hit by Panda back on April 26/27th. The pattern of traffic after the penalty does look very similar.

One site in particular that was penalised in April came back to normal on the next run of Panda. This fact makes me worry that if Google did make a mistake or turn a 'dial' too far they have to re-run panda to fix the settings. Which could mean no recovery until next Panda update if at all...

aristotle

2:03 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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yes. 500+ algo launches/year mean 1-2 a day. I know of at least one other algo rolling out over same timeframe for example.


Thanks Marketing Guy

This seems to confirm the reports in other threads of what appears to be a separate major algo update rolling out almost simultaneously with the recent EMD update. This other (un-named) update apparently had a significant effect on quite a few sites. I think that one of my small hobby sites (non-EMD) was hit, dropping from #2 to #5/6 for its main keyword in the Google SERPs.

backdraft7

2:57 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



@bluntforce - yup, I'm collecting data. This time I've got two methods of analysis running side by side.
The previously reported positive conversion trend continues yet today and a natural "daily" pattern seems to be holding, for now. I know better though.
Historically, October 1st marks a regular upswing in my niche. Could just be seasonal adjustment. Either way, it's all good.

SevenCubed

3:25 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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This seems to confirm the reports in other threads of what appears to be a separate major algo update rolling out almost simultaneously with the recent EMD update.


What really bothers me more than the algorithm updates themselves is how this was conveyed. If the plex felt it was important enough to make an announcement about a "minor" update for EMD while knowing that they obviously had a major one going out along side with it why did they not announce it too? Obviously they take sadistic joy in watching the ensuing confusion. What do they do, get together with their buddies over the weekend, share a pint or two, and cruise the webmaster forums sharing a laugh or two?

zarathustra2011

3:47 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



I always pictured in my head, that they would get together after work, having a laugh over the confusion, and that they're so divorced from the real world, that they never really stop to think how it affects real lives. I think Google have become too big to give a damn; such is the way with major corporations.

Marketing Guy

3:52 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I always pictured in my head, that they would get together after work, having a laugh over the confusion, and that they're so divorced from the real world, that they never really stop to think how it affects real lives.


A lot of people would say the same about SEOs - artificially inflating rankings via link building for over a decade! ;)

SevenCubed

3:58 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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A lot of people would say the same about SEOs - artificially inflating rankings via link building for over a decade! ;)


Even though I don't subscribe to the SEO philosophy in general comparing them to this stuff is in poor taste. They were doing it because it's what google was promoting as the way to go.

crobb305

4:06 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member crobb305 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



If the plex felt it was important enough to make an announcement about a "minor" update for EMD while knowing that they obviously had a major one going out along side with it why did they not announce it too?

If they are doing 500 algo updates a year (2 to 3 per day, according to MC), and we've only been told about the two Penguins, some of the Pandas, and the EMD update, that's, perhaps, 5% of all algo updates that we get confirmation of.

Jez123

4:10 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



A lot of people would say the same about SEOs - artificially inflating rankings via link building for over a decade! ;)



Even though I don't subscribe to the SEO philosophy in general comparing them to this stuff is in poor taste. They were doing it because it's what google was promoting as the way to go.


Also, never seeming to catch the real culprits and causing everyone else to link build and bend the rules just to get their site noticed. Then it's the rule benders who get caught and the real criminals are still ranking #1 seemingly untouchable.
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