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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]


9:22 pm on May 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

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For the b2b ecommers out there are you "slow" since mid April?


9:58 pm on May 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

We're seeing traffic patterns similar to 2011 for this time period, too. Serps seem to have a lot of wikihow and big names in the top couple of spots on the pages.


10:34 pm on May 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

There is definitely a lot of volatility in the SERPs right now. After all this discussion began yesterday, I checked up on some keywords. One keyword that was just checked Friday fell two pages over the course of the weekend, with a huge amount of domain spam in between.

Today the same keyword is ranking a few spots higher than it was on Friday. Nice to see, but one wonders where it will be this Friday.


1:14 am on May 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

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

For the b2b ecommers out there are you "slow" since mid April?

Nope, traffic was pretty normal, and sales were up on my top 3 B2B client sites. My information sites didn't go up or down (except for the seasonal ones, which are going up as we approach the season)


5:01 am on May 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

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In looking more carefully tonight I'm seeing some newcomers popping into the top slots. Sites that just really started on the ecommerce side in the last few months with 100K or more back links in the last 6 months.

I guess our mistake was listening to the people at google. If you don't buy links you lose. Now I'm just trying to figure out how they managed to do it and not trip filters. Somehow whatever update rolled out around 4/15 and 5/1 seems to have allowed newer ecommerce sites with shifty back links to prosper.


6:42 am on May 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Maybe it is about fresh content on each page?


9:08 am on May 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks for sharing! I agree with the article. Google changes their algorithms all the time, some minor, some are major and the best you can do is to keep up your site's quality and be consistent.


12:02 pm on May 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@scottsonline and others - This is quite often a predecessor to a penguin update. I have noticed in the past they let the spam percolate to the top then slap them down to oblivion. Fasten your seat belts, I have a sneaky suspicion something is on its way.


12:42 pm on May 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

I have a sneaky suspicion something is on its way.

The way my widget sector has been shuffling around recently I reckon it's happening now.


12:59 pm on May 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

Okay so, I have seen some shuffling but I believe I am also seeing a reinforcement of big brand placement. I am working on <a moderately competitive two-word phrase> for some time, mostly out of maintenance and have noticed very recently that big brands are starting to totally lock this space out. It was previously small brands and couple of big names. This to me seems like the problem of big brand bias has not been addressed. Anyone else notice this has gotten worse?

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 5:34 pm (utc) on May 8, 2013]
[edit reason] removed specific keywords, per forum Charter [/edit]


2:57 pm on May 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

nothing much has changed for my information sites. traffic has stayed pretty consistent for the past 1~2 weeks.


5:42 pm on May 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Traffic ticking up but not converting. Major change has to be rolling out.

Adwords conversions collapsed too. It looks like they loosened the matches on certain ad types so we are paying for clicks that some of you should have been getting. Ugh.


6:31 pm on May 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

Wow - very rollercoaster for my site since Friday. I'm having trouble figuring out ryhme or reason for what I am seeing. Just seems like there is nothing really to go on until it's over. This reminds me of the old g-dance days.


12:36 am on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

I noticed the tell-tale Impression spike on some sites around 4/15. Just assumed it was a Panda run, since it's now integrated.

All the talk on this thread sure reminds me of some of the previous Panda runs. Any reasons you guys think it's not ?


1:57 am on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

Also - anyone else seeing "No data is available from the most recent 2 calendar days" in GA?


2:04 am on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

It's looking to me like there is some sort of location tweak in the algo change. For a few sites I'm looking at we have much better ranking when the users are closer to the business location and this wasn't the case a couple of weeks ago.


3:10 am on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Sure fire sign of a major update.... I'm seeing competitor sites returned as IP addresses now. Last time this happened was the big update last may. Why is Pinterest ranking for product searches? Are they going to be the new amazon and rank for everything? If I'm looking to buy something a picture of it doesn't get the job done as a search engine. Yikes.


3:17 am on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

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The organic traffic drops the same percentage as direct traffic, 5-10% down for two sites. This isn't usual...

The change begins from March 24

See you the same behavior between organic traffic and direct traffic?


6:17 am on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

My website traffic was approx. 50% dropped during March 14 to 18 in panda roll-out but I recovered more than 50% traffic till last week.

This Monday and Tuesday traffic was also positive but by Wednesday it took a dive again and I lost approx. 30% traffic.

Has anyone else observe the same behavior?


6:39 am on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator ianturner is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Mayday holidays have affected my traffic in the last few days - I always do badly when people aren't working, so was between 5% and 20% down from 30th April through to 7th May.

Some countries have 1st May as a holiday, UK had 6th May as a holiday (1st Monday after 1st May) and lots of people take days off work either side of the actual holiday day.

Things are almost back to normal (< 2% down on expected) as of yesterday - but I'd guess there are quite a few in the UK who choose to take the week off as it only costs them fours days leave instead of five.


7:13 am on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

I havent seen much movement this month until today. Dropped a few spots for several terms. See some thin websites providing little to no value ranking, but sometimes this happens and then they disappear in 24 hours. Well see!


7:31 am on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Saw some significant drops in traffic over the May bank holiday here in the UK, but this has returned to normal as of yesterday. SERPs seem very stable across all verticals I monitor.


7:31 am on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

Seeing GIGANTIC drops this morning, woke up to 200 visitors over night, should be around 1200 by now. Server is fine. Europe appears to be asleep


8:44 am on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

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My site (informational) traffic also went down on April 15. Since then it has been very strange. Today is the worst day since 2011. I do update my content on daily basis. I have a professional writer who write very detailed and specific content for our site and visitors think our website is one of the best for our topic. We get tons of compliments from our visitors. The site used to grow steadily in traffic since 2004. We have backlineks from CNN, FoxNews and other big sites (we never asked for these links, they just mentioned our site in their articles). So what I am observing since 4/15 is very unexplainable for me. We are very "White Hat" SEO oriented and we dont buy links. We get links from Facebook, Yelp, Wikipidia and many other sources but this is how Google wants it right? - people to link to you because they like your website. Then why is our traffic down since 4/15?!


8:53 am on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

Same here, losing 7% of traffic, every week... depressing


9:09 am on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I forgot to mention something interesting. One of my other informational sites (which I have not touched and updated in 3 years) went slightly up in April and May. But my main site that I work on daily basis went down. what a puzzle?!


9:58 am on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

60% visits of my website are from US, 8% each from UK and Canada. Visits are mostly effected from US as I lost approx. 30% from US while UK and Canada are normal (approx. 3%-4% down).

I closely monitor 3 keywords:

1. 1st keyword on which ranking was stable at # 4 since couple of months is now at # 8.
2. 2nd keyword on which ranking was recently improved to # 5 is now at # 9.
3. 3rd keyword on which I was at # 4 is now at #5

My website have all genuine content. One thing that happened during last 2 weeks is, I didn't post any new content that I normally do on weekly basis. Can I take this as a reason of this dive?


10:07 am on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Well, as I mentioned I do updates and adding of new content on daily basis so I don't think that is the reason.


10:13 am on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

@chalkywhite in which niche you are working and do you receive visitors from some specific region or globally?


10:24 am on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

@ amleaner IT Niche -informational. Im global, my stats basically look like europe is asleep today, getting US and UK traffic and some ASIA,
however nothing from europe at all.

EDIT - actually upon further inspection, it appears that ASIA traffic is up so the hit is bigger than expected. Appears to be "Europe Day" public holiday, however ive never known a traffic hit due to it.
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