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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]

6:33 pm on May 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

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The data set in the SERP seems to be from early December.

Would you guys say that it is from around then?
6:48 pm on May 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Gouri, I'm seeing rankings that differ substantially from early December on one of my sites. Also, seeing new pages I've added in the last week.
6:54 pm on May 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

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The data set in the SERP seems to be from early December.


I agree. I would place it around last part of 2012. Definitely old.

So the question is why rollback before you unleash Penguin 2.0?
9:58 pm on May 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I have kind of a dumb question. In WMT there is that thumbnail screenshot of the homepage of a site. Today that thumbnail is not my site. It almost looks like a shot of the search results but I can't read it. Then when I refresh the right page appears. Then if refresh I get the other page. Strange. Has anyone else had this? Any ideas how to read it. Its too blurry to read when I zoom in. A strange thing is when I click on the properties of the picture. If right it lists my site. Then the times its wrong it lists something that is [howdoigetoutof...] (can't read any more)
10:40 pm on May 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

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So Matt Cutts is saying Penguin 2.0 is rolling out "within the next few hours" according to his This Week in Google Episode #199 report.
11:00 pm on May 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@ DigiSEO

I see a bunch of people chatting about it on Matt Cutts twitter feed.
11:00 pm on May 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@digi I think it's already hitting. Traffic shot up in bing and cpc about two hours ago and down for goog organic.

Seeing lots of movement. The great news is it appears amazon is okay, they may have made it through this at #1. We were all worried
12:33 am on May 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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The great news is it appears amazon is okay, they may have made it through this at #1. We were all worried


I'm going to get out my diary and write down how I feel before I lose the moment.
1:05 am on May 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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1:12 am on May 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I sure hope there is more to it than that.
1:18 am on May 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Yet even more scraper scum ... so far
2:04 am on May 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Well I had about 1 hour of jarring and jolting and now things seem to be close to back to normal.
4:17 am on May 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@taber two dips during the last 8 hours but now a steady recovery as we head into the morning rush. Laser refined traffic.
4:42 am on May 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I am seeing back to normal but not an increase as of yet as I head into the sleepy night.
5:28 am on May 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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For anyone who missed our other thread, the Penguin Update rolled out [webmasterworld.com] today.
6:52 am on May 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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site: command shows only 3 pages with results, checked for different sites including WebmasterWorld, for last 12h.
7:45 am on May 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I am seeing overall improvements in rankings across the board. But given the ranking fluctuations I've been noticing on newer domains the past few days and that on some SERPs I still see old data.

Things like titles and texts that changed last saturday and changes are not in the current SERPs (the new titles were displayed on the SERPs within a day but disappeared the past couple of days).
8:19 am on May 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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The great news is it appears amazon is okay, they may have made it through this at #1. We were all worried



I'm going to get out my diary and write down how I feel before I lose the moment.


LoL, thanks for cheering me up this morning!

The irony with Amazon is that the site is SO crap. It's basic and clunky and looks like a throw back to at least 6 years ago. It's horrible to use both as a buyer AND a seller (actually worse as a seller). We all strive to make our sites good and scratch a living and Amazon sails in, takes all the sales and to cap it all pays no #*$! tax (in the UK at least). Along with google. Strange bedfellows indeed.

For what it's worth, my Penguin affected site has made no changes (I wasn't expecting any but I am glad in a way as it's proving someone elses point but I wanted to see what it did - if it's has indeed finished). One of my newer sites has dropped a couple of places and one other has risen a couple.

Is anyone else thinking that maybe it's time to get a proper job? :)
9:10 am on May 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I think they performed a Panda update at the same time. I know it's running continuous, but I see signs of Panda improvement as well as competition being whacked by Penguin.

Perhaps it's just the effect of Penguin though. Either way, a good update... nice one G.
9:18 am on May 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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wish I could see changes in my sector on google uk!
9:21 am on May 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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On a very old and competitive niche I am monitoring I see a spammer now ranked #2 from #8. Full empty profile and comment links.
9:25 am on May 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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wish I could see changes in my sector on google uk!


Maybe there aren't any? I am not seeing one of my competitors plummet as I had expected due to his spammy link profile. Definitely my own positions have changed a bit since yesterday
10:17 am on May 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Ok so on 16th no update and my rankings and traffic fell off. It start to recover and then there is a major penguin update and nothing is affected. This makes no sense :)
10:40 am on May 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Maybe there aren't any? I am not seeing one of my competitors plummet as I had expected due to his spammy link profile. Definitely my own positions have changed a bit since yesterday


I'm seeing significant changes in the UK. I think sites they've hit the hardest have potentially been buying links or look like they have been buying links (I am aware they had sponsored links across unrelated sites).

Seen two major players slip across two completely separate verticals. Not huge drop in rankings, but they've certainly lost their edge and slipped significantly. Does appear to be site-wide loss as well.
10:57 am on May 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@rossel I know what G said but I think either something else rolled over the weekend OR this main update rolled out in some niches or to some percentage of users as early as the weekend. I've always believed our verticals see the changes before many of you and did again here. I was pretty sure days ago this was the big one coming through and was correct.

The weird thing is one of those few left at the top is the biggest keyword stuffer going. Every image, thumbnail, "related" search term, help tip. Rollover etc is named per product page after the product itself. The main keyword will sometimes appear 50 times per page and changes per page which to me is a clear giveaway of manipulation. But so far they seem undinged.

If your site is about "mighty widgets" and in the header of footer that's repeated for the search or service links fine. But if every product or category page that changes to 50 mentions on a dynamicly fired page by page basis? Different topic but that was not touched by this update.
11:40 am on May 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I am not seeing one of my competitors plummet as I had expected


One of my competitors has followed my experience of last year: a couple of months of gradual slipping, followed by complete disappearance as Penguin rolled through.

I am in a niche market in places Amazon doesn't go, and my overriding impresssion is that Google is on a witch-hunt: if it got you to page 1 you must have been cheating. None of the page 1 sites from a year ago are left now.
3:28 pm on May 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@scottsonline - agreed, I saw it coming but because it seemed to have already happened to us (I really get tired of G making us sound like bigfoot hunters). Some of our low traffic sites SERPs show movement but two higher traffic sites saw action in their SERPs starting back on the 9th and now it's all quiet.

Two sites with medium traffic, but NONE of it from G, also show upswings in traffic and position.
4:23 pm on May 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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my overriding impresssion is that Google is on a witch-hunt: if it got you to page 1 you must have been cheating.


It could also be that Google's nervous about ranking unknowns above brands, whether the unknown cheated or not. The keyphrase Penguin hit me hardest for was one where I outranked all the brands. Once they dinged me and all the other unknowns, the first several pages became nothing but well-known, safe brands.

I think Penguin isn't actually about cheating, at least not exclusively. I think it's also that the algo isn't great at recognizing spam/SEO so they dialed up the brand or trust factor WAAAAAY high so it wouldn't have to.
4:58 pm on May 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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How in the world is Amazon a poor buyer experience? I just ordered a hard drive with one click and got free shipping. That's as easy as it gets.

I get that you aren't happy with their search dominance, but their site is great.
5:20 pm on May 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I think Penguin isn't actually about cheating, at least not exclusively.

I agree very much - I think that's more of an overly simplified description that webmasters and SEOs have generated. I'd say Penguin tries to remove any ranking advantage that is generated by SEO mechanics alone. Instead, Google is looking to boost other (mostly mysterious to us) relevance factors.

Penguin is a complex algorithm and I doubt that anyone has reverse engineered how it works altogether - although some of the bigger parts are apparently clear. Heck, the number of sites and SEOs reporting recovery is pretty small.
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