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Google Updates and SERP Changes - November 2012

     
11:23 pm on Oct 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

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

Today has just been a miserable day.


For us this whole week has been miserable.

Traffic numbers more or less unchanged but hardly any sales, online enquiries or phone calls...(except for loads of spam emails). The only sales we did get came from paid ads.... organic visitors all seem to be dead beats.

It is like someone or something is cheery picking all the buyers and sending our way only the crap. I wounder who it is...

Off to reducing our ad spend again... the till is simply empty!

[edited by: tedster at 4:05 pm (utc) on Nov 2, 2012]

3:54 am on Nov 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I'm also seeing a big change (20-25% increase in search traffic) starting sometime yesterday and all of today. Panda 1.0 US site. I've seen lot's of fluctuations like this corresponding to Panda refreshes. This time I'm seeing a noticeable shift in keywords and improved rankings for both short and long tail since yesterday. *

* - However, I just removed a ton of search facets via robots.txt Disallow so not sure if some of what I'm seeing is related to adjustments from that. The number of others that are seeing something makes me suspect a Panda refresh or algo update now.
6:25 am on Nov 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Search up 24% on Sunday. Images up 28%. Only real differences I have made since last refresh is an interlinking plugin for WordPress and mixing up individual posts with left or right sidebar.
8:20 am on Nov 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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We saw an increase from google over the weekend. But it is monday morning and it has been rolled back.

germany, ecom

add: lots of foreign traffic again.
facebook traffic now higher than google traffic. google slowly kills itself.
9:11 am on Nov 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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facebook traffic now higher than google traffic. google slowly kills itself.


I've been noticing increased Facebook bot activity across most of the websites i monitor. Is anyone else noticing this? most of the sites have no links from or into Facebook. The bot hits the index pages and leaves, once or twice a day. No deep crawling though.

As for Google. Non (to hardly any) converting traffic is all we could see these last few days... a serious black hole.
1:39 pm on Nov 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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looks like whatever that surge in traffic was, it's rolled back this morning.... the additional traffic came from long tail for us, about 20% up in unique keyword referrals.

Whatever it was, I want it back.
1:53 pm on Nov 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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No big surprise but a quick check this morning indicates eHow and shallow scraped articles and images are still ranking high. I love the fact that Google wants to place more competitors out there, but pleeeease! put some real competitors in the serps, not those with one page of scraped content on the subject.

It seems that no matter what the topic, if it's on a big platform, it's gonna rank high. I get the feeling that the phrase "less is more" is meaningless.

These big platforms may have stopped spamming on the page level, but now they do it on the topic level. I get one scraped page of useless garbage, then they suggest a dozen pages of nearly identical articles on the same topic. Google's continued domain crowding makes this problem much worse.

It looks like another algo update is needed to address this topic spam issue.(or maybe they did already and it just doesn't work on large, well funded platforms)

[edited by: backdraft7 at 2:02 pm (utc) on Nov 5, 2012]

2:00 pm on Nov 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Domain stuffing really gets on my nerves you have to search 1000 pages just to get 5 different domains, you know what I mean. I just cant see ANY benefit for a user if the serps are full of the same domains.
2:07 pm on Nov 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@zeus - it seems the only benefit is for the sites taking up the entire page. Coincidentally, those sites are never mom & pop sites, they are always well funded sites with an army of bad writers. Topic overkill on a per domain basis and domain crowding is just another form of spam. Why can't Google see this?

BTW, yesterday was this highest traffic day in over a month, but not the highest converting. Mediocre quality at best.
2:30 pm on Nov 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I've been noticing increased Facebook bot activity across most of the websites i monitor.


Facebook bots barraged my site last week. Of course I am heavily linked to them. I assumed that they were checking for broken links since it was on different pages but it also had two different browsers. One for mobile and one for desktops. However I do wonder if they are preparing to launch some type of search based on their social metrics. If so, watch the black and white fur and feathers fly!

Google referrals remain constant today after yesterdays bounce although it is only 8 hours into the day.
2:58 pm on Nov 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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backdraft, we have the problem that google ignores 1 or 2 of the searchterms and replaces it with a "other" but not similar key. Like you look for cars and google shows motorbikes. And guess what, the only realy targeted result is Amazon on #1, then the next 9 slots all are out of target.

Someone said use bing for more that 2 word search. I have to admit, it is right.
3:01 pm on Nov 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I've had a couple of my sites take up lots of a serps page or two; for highly related searches. [not armies of bad writers; chiefly just me...]
But not impressed or pleased by this - while a couple of pages were relevant, most of the pages in the results were only somewhat related to the search term.

Don't understand why google keeps on with domain stuffing; should be ranking according to which pages are useful, not find a relevant page or two on a site and then throw in a whole lot more vaguely related results from same site.
3:08 pm on Nov 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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we have the problem that google ignores 1 or 2 of the searchterms and replaces it with a "other" but not similar key. Like you look for cars and google shows motorbikes.


I'm frequently finding that (both as referral recipient and user). There are sites above me for my main key term that don't include it anywhere on page, and don't provide the key term at all.

Meanwhile, as posted earlier, I search for engine oil and get two pages of oil filter.
4:00 pm on Nov 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I see what I call "clusters" of the same domain. That's not something in the past I could ever say about Google. I highly doubt that it's something a QA person would be proud of. Out of all the updates, right now the results are the most bizarre. Some massive clusters whether it's p1 or p2 or p3 I still see that, and it's on image search also. In addition there is so many foreign sites showing up unlike ever before.

I'm just suggesting this isn't what a Google has built upon. Clusters? That seems like an issue which need correction. I'm sort of sitting here with my oxygen canisters running low. I'm depending on that update which provides me some oxygen. I'm getting nervous right now frankly that the oxygen isn't coming soon enough.
4:32 pm on Nov 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Curious note: I was searching for a product I want to buy this weekend. Google gave me nothing but reviews of the product (which didn't even contain affiliate links to where to buy it. So I searched "where to buy [product]" and got the same reviews-only results. That was frustrating, and also struck me as really odd. I mean, on so many queries, we WISH this is how it would work!

It seems that no matter what the topic, if it's on a big platform, it's gonna rank high. I get the feeling that the phrase "less is more" is meaningless.


As TypicalSurfer was saying the other day somewhere around here, I think we may just need to accept that some sites are whitelisted - or if not whitelisted per se, so well buttressed by something or other that they just can't fail. I share your frustration here, but once you accept that ehow, ebay, Amazon, wikipedia, etc., are always going to be at the top, then you have a few options: out-perform them on phrases they aren't targeting, or just make sure your page is so good it comes right after theirs. Because believe me, there are a lot of people who are going to ignore results from those sites and look for something else, and that's where we come in.
6:21 pm on Nov 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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US and AU sites that were in many UK SERPs are now gone, although I'm not seeing any additional signs of movement.

Has anyone else seen the non UK sites disappear today?
6:27 pm on Nov 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I saw one of my sites rise up a few places and another drop to page 3. So, seeing some shifts but nothing all that exciting. Could just be the usual flux
7:24 pm on Nov 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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A little boost in traffic this morning (local time), then dropped again.
8:23 pm on Nov 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Now I've seen everything. A one page website taking second and third places for two big money terms; domain registered 6 days ago; 'lorem Ipsum' type junk text; 1200 Xrumer forum spam backlinks. Is it 1992 again? I'm going for some beers .....
9:07 pm on Nov 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Now I've seen everything. A one page website taking second and third places for two big money terms; domain registered 6 days ago; 'lorem Ipsum' type junk text; 1200 Xrumer forum spam backlinks.

superclown2 - If you'd seen everything, you wouldn't have bothered to post this. It's very common for throwaway domains to have short-lived rankings on junk sites of the type you're describing.

The inbound links are from hacked sites along with the Xrumer forum spam, and the effect is like a Google Bomb. While 'lorem Ipsum' prevails on this type of site, usually you'll find at least part of the target phrase on the site as well (this necessary to disable the Google Bomb filter). We've discussed this several times, including specific examples. (In general, though, we try not to discuss specific examples.)

Here's one from the April 2012 update thread...

http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4435785-20-30.htm?highlight=google%20bomb#msg4445047

These are examples of Google's vulnerability to certain kinds of short-lived spam. They're not illustrative of the algo as a whole, on domains meant to be kept and developed, which is what I think most members are thinking about.
11:28 pm on Nov 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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superclown2 - If you'd seen everything, you wouldn't have bothered to post this. It's very common for throwaway domains to have short-lived rankings on junk sites of the type you're describing.

In an extremely narrow niche sector, which is almost completely stable from one month to the next, this is one of four very spammy new arrivals I noticed today (albeit the most blatant) and it's a long time since I last saw this type of junk in the categories that I'm interested in. They all seem to be owned by different people and they all arrived between yesterday evening and this morning. That suggests to me the possibility of an algo change and a faulty one at that.
11:42 pm on Nov 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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That suggests to me the possibility of an algo change and a faulty one at that.

I'm comfortable with that kind of suggestion as far as it goes. I'm not willing to live with the suggestion that Google thinks it's finished and is idiotic because they don't hit every change in every niche right on the head every time.

We know it's throwaway domain spam by the 'lorem Ipsum' type junk text. Google may be letting it rise enough that they can see it to skim it off. Granted, this junk is distorting things for the sites with content, but I assume that's temporary. You may be seeing a test set... who knows?

It's wise, IMO, to keep an eye on how the competitors who are in it for the long haul are doing, because that would be a better indication of what Google's trying to do with its core algo.
12:44 am on Nov 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

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but I assume that's temporary.


We are way past "temporary"...
2:33 am on Nov 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing a huge change that happened sometime yesterday on a Panda hit site.
3:56 am on Nov 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@xcoder I think the only solution left after this is either wait for long time by changing your website to match with Google guidelines or there is one simple solution which could work,may be it is hard for a company website, but as it is all about business, you have to do a domain change, which could work, this a perfect case study, I did it myself on many of my clients websites, and yes it did worked. All their rankings are back and conversions are also better.. what do you think?
4:02 am on Nov 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@arafathhashmi

Way off topic....but wow! You have been a member since 2010, but this is your first post? Crazy :)
4:34 am on Nov 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@SnowMan68 Yes, this is my first topic. I am happy that at least I started it now :). Also I thought I can just help @xcoder on his issue!. Thanks for the comment!.
4:42 am on Nov 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I meant I was way off topic. Welcome to commenting on the forums!
4:45 am on Nov 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Oh ok, Thank you.
6:39 am on Nov 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

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It looks like there was an update. More Pinterest and dictionnary crap on the first page of the results.
9:54 am on Nov 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Googles well known for crippling commercial serps over christmas anyone remember florida? It basically wiped out commercial listings from nov through to march in 2003.

Who can fault them... they make $$$ from paid serps!
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