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Google Updates and SERP Changes - May 2013

   
1:20 am on May 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

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

Sunday traffic sucked, Monday was the best Monday in months, now today traffic sucks again. I'm talking a difference of 25K pageviews a day.

What I don't get is that our keyword rankings have been quite stable. How can that be? I mean, ok, so maybe every keyword that I don't track suddenly tanked... but that doesn't seem likely. Are those DDOS attacks on Wordpress sites still going on? (my site isn't Wordpress nor have I noticed any access issues but I know webhosts and ISPs were experiencing bog downs). I just can't figure these fluctuations out. I'm seeing very unstable traffic patterns lately.

[edited by: tedster at 12:41 pm (utc) on May 1, 2013]

4:14 pm on May 17, 2013 (gmt 0)



@Str82u
I don't see a drastic spike up, very slow and steady but up.
4:17 pm on May 17, 2013 (gmt 0)



Should have added to the "jinx" above that there is a particular time of day that traffic changes seem to be most drastic (no difference between mobile/desktop really). Waiting for that time of day now.

(edit was to see the edit time)

[edited by: Str82u at 5:02 pm (utc) on May 17, 2013]

5:00 pm on May 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@Gouri

Can you mention what are considered "below the radar" SEO changes?


By that I mean when you change sections or multiple pages on the site for SEO purposes (e.g. to make the title and the copy more appealing) to always make it as if there was an editorial decision to alter the page.

So instead of only changing the critical SEO parameters, I am asking the editors to tweak the page content-wise. Change the widgets that get displayed / add more copy or change text / add more images / etc.

Not just go add optimized titles and descriptions and opening paragraph for example, or change an image from 232323.jpg with no ALT text to keyword-rich.jpg and optimized ALT text without changing other stuff obviously not in the SEO tasklist...

Maybe I am too paranoid, but it has helped me I reckon...
5:27 pm on May 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@Str82u don't have fiverr mate...
8:02 pm on May 17, 2013 (gmt 0)



@chrisv1963 I can confirm the same drop in crawl to drop in visitors
8:08 pm on May 17, 2013 (gmt 0)



@chrisv1963 I can confirm the same drop in crawl to drop in visitors


In the beginning of March and April we had the highest crawl rate ever according to WMT. Our traffic was on a decline at that point. Now the crawl rate is at 1/4 of what it was back then and the traffic is dropping. So I guess it was going both ways, but same end result.

Pretty sure we are caught up in the rolling panda updates that happen about weekly now. Been getting hit on about 7-10% of our traffic weekly or so.
4:13 pm on May 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@mcskoufis,

Thanks.

I think that's a good approach.
8:31 pm on May 18, 2013 (gmt 0)



I see EMD's getting boosted up right now. Not sure if it has to do with linking or not, though.
10:11 pm on May 18, 2013 (gmt 0)



Seeing a 40% drop in traffic today. No keyword movement. It is graduation day here where I am from. Don't know of this has anything to with it...
11:08 pm on May 18, 2013 (gmt 0)



I've noticed that google stopped indexing content around 5/12 to 5/14. This includes every product site I've checked. Nothing after 5/13. Every sized company from tiny to Fortune 100. Bing is picking up the new content very fast. Google seems to be having an issue integrating new content.

Over the past month I'm noticing major competitors also not having their new items indexed. Very bizarre and maybe some of the reason many reported a drop around the end of April...google has slowed the integration of new product content into the index.

This morning I tried 20 new products. No site in the top 10 was cached later than 5/11. Even the OEM site isn't there in every case. Bing had results as new as yesterday.


Interesting. Of course Adwords I'm sure is fresh.
11:33 pm on May 18, 2013 (gmt 0)



^^^ Saw that as well. Also the Google+ follower counts in the serps stopped updating as well. Normally it updates within the hour so a week without updates was strange.

It (g+ follower counts) restarted yesterday, at least for me and new pages have slowly started to get in the index since yesterday.

Leads me to believe that a major update was being computed and will start rolling out now (if hasn't already). Penguin perhaps?

Information/service site - USA.
11:48 pm on May 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Traffic from Google down 20% on a hobby site yesterday. Traffic has not been stable all week.
12:53 am on May 19, 2013 (gmt 0)



@scottsonline

I've been seeing this for quite some time now, I honestly believe that Google cannot absorb NOR understand the volume of information they have collected and are actually having to resort to basics and serve-up keywords only.

Some of the stuff I am seeing in my widget area is, frankly, astonishing and totally pointless from the user point of view.

Somehow we have to wean users of this sour milk machine!
4:03 am on May 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@bsterz I observed a similar decline. More puzzling was that both Google and Yahoo had the same trend line. However, Bing did not.
5:17 am on May 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I saw another big drop on Saturday May 18th. It is steadily going down..
8:17 am on May 19, 2013 (gmt 0)



Saturday May 18th 60%+ drop to my traffic.

One site went from 10k uniques a day to 2k. It kind of coincided with some server permission issues that saw the sites throwing errors for 12 hours. After the issues was fixed, the traffic never came back.

Kind of paralysed by fear at the moment, not sure what SEO approach to use or how to go about link building.

Google has far too much power.
9:12 am on May 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Weekends are usually my worst days, but yesterday was my worst sat in 4 years.
10:05 am on May 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I see (another) 20% drop on my main site Saturday (big).

I hate week-ends...
Last 3 week-ends marked only low periods...
11:07 am on May 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Does someone actually see a steady increase in traffic this past month or two?
1:09 pm on May 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I just did a compare from March 2013-May 2013 to March 2012-May 2012 for organic Google search only.

Traffic is down about 40% overall, but I'm still leaning towards that being due to a hit by Penguin.

I don't see a big dropoff in traffic this month versus same time last year. I do see a decrease in traffic when I only look at one time period, but I need to consider that my traffic is somewhat cyclic, dropping when the weather gets better/holidays are over, and people aren't searching for my stuff as much, so Mayish-Julyish are always my lowest months anyway, which is why I always compare same time in a prior year.
1:43 pm on May 19, 2013 (gmt 0)



@virtualreality
Yup!
1:44 pm on May 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



So I just did a couple of other compares.

The first being from the links directory Google has in #1 spot for all popular keywords in my industry, plus it has other pages showing up in the serps on the first & second pages. My traffic (granted it's secondary traffic) is down there by about 40% as well. Now I know that's not due to the #1 site losing ranking in Google serps, and I also know that that links directory continues to add links to my webpages. Right now that links directory sends me a significant amount of my traffic. In fact, it's currently my #1 source of referral traffic and outpaces any other referral traffic by A LOT (it's a comparable traffic source to my direct traffic, and is about 45% more traffic than organic Google, which is my #2 source for referral traffic).

The second comparison I did was traffic coming from Pinterest. As compared to this same time period last year, my traffic from Pinterest is up 300%. It's neck and neck with organic Google, sitting just behind it as my #3 source of current referral traffic.

For my industry, at least, it really looks like what some people have been talking about here - people are getting what they're looking for in ways other than searching Google. So the only logical conclusion is that it appears as if Google is seeing a decrease in people searching, therefore webmasters will see a decrease in referral traffic from it. And all of that is independent of any of the algos and where websites fall in the serps.
2:02 pm on May 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Does someone actually see a steady increase in traffic this past month or two?


No, only a drop in traffic.

I think that the main reason for this is the crappy search results.

I just did a search for "widgets". The 10 first positions are taken by:
3 real websites (2 of them with thousands of people in their Google+ circles, which looks unnatural)
1 known link buyer (He sent me a buying request a few weeks ago)
2 Pinterest pages
2 Wikipedia pages
1 Youtube page
1 Facebook page

When I do the same search on Bing I see 10 real websites and no trace of the link buyer in the 50 first positions.

Regarding the Google+ plus circles: One of them is in the circles of more than 9000 people, but when he posts a new message on Google+ he gets between 1 and 5 likes per message. His followers seem to be very inactive ... or maybe bought.
2:06 pm on May 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



For my industry, at least, it really looks like what some people have been talking about here - people are getting what they're looking for in ways other than searching Google.


Yep, and Pinterest is where a lot of it is going. I know a lot of people here don't want to hear that, but it's becoming a force to be reckoned with. Of course it doesn't work for all niches - mainly just those that appeal to women or are visual. But then, women are the biggest and most quickly growing group online so that's probably who most of us are targeting (or at least trying not to turn off).
3:50 pm on May 19, 2013 (gmt 0)



Anyone else notice a big spike in crawling from Googlebot on May 16-17th?
4:37 pm on May 19, 2013 (gmt 0)



I seem to be having a spike a week followed by reduced traffic!
4:47 pm on May 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Anyone else notice a big spike in crawling from Googlebot on May 16-17th?

I've got one on May 14th, but it's part of a pattern I see with a spike about every 7 days or so.
5:10 pm on May 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Does someone actually see a steady increase in traffic this past month or two?


Yep. But that always happens this time of year.
12:50 am on May 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Does someone actually see a steady increase in traffic this past month or two?


Do you remember Google Caffeine? A index biggest, many more web pages have been indexed, so competition is greater for many keywords.

It's very rare that 99% of sites down traffic... by to say new thing
3:19 am on May 20, 2013 (gmt 0)



It's very rare that 99% of sites down traffic...

Just as many sites are Pandalized, Penguinized and EMDed, so are the SERPS. Many here and elsewhere are reporting modest gains in traffic from other sources including Pinterest, Facebook and even Bing. Maybe it's possible that the average surfer is not longer average but savvy.

Google's preference to display Wikipedia, Amazon and other big brands may be accelerating advanced search behavior. Savvy surfers are learning to bypass Google to go directly to the source, rely on their friends advice or are simply going somewhere else to conduct their searches where diversity is king.

Warm weather in the US definitely gets people away from their computers and outside. It should be interesting to see how mobile advances during the warmer months.
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