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Google Updates and SERP Changes - May 2013

1:20 am on May 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

< 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]

10:49 am on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

These last 4 weeks I have also started to lose about 7% of traffic, every week.
11:05 am on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

@JesterMagic I think Panda may be running weekly, therefore I would attribute this to the fall. I found that a monthly Panda run's initial whack would normally be around the 30% mark. Coincidentally this ties in almost perfectly with 7% per week instead. I do however have nothing but speculation to base this theory on.
11:48 am on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

Definitely something happening as far as Mozcast in concerned. last 3 days have been pretty high!
12:34 pm on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

@chalkywhite it's Europe day in addition to a Christian holiday. It will be the lowest May 9 in years...

@petehall Google announced that Panda will be in their core algo which means it will be running constantly (and probably already is).

It is possible that the Panda parameter is not about absolute thresholds anymore but about a constant "Panda rank". This would mean that sites that were not hit could feel the constant influence without a sudden drop. I think the drop will still be sitewide or at least subdirectory or subdomain wide... just a theory...
12:56 pm on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

I checked the average position of the keyword queries in Google Analytics on all sites.

4-keyword queries are extremely fluctuating and much lower in the SERPs, starting March 30. One and two keyword queries are ranking a little bit better.

Our site - as many others in this thread - was hit on April 15 though. Still trying to figure out why. I will be sharing my stats.
12:58 pm on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

Europe day

I hardly believe that will have absolutely anything to do with it, I had to BingIt to find out what it is and I bet I'm like 99% of the European population!

This would mean that sites that were not hit could feel the constant influence without a sudden drop.

That makes sense and looking at my graph charts ties in perfectly with my reduced traffic and especially to my CMS image gallery.

If this were to continue then within a few months I'll have very little traffic meanwhile the SERPs will be full of MFAs and scrapers ... Well done G, if everyone starts moving en masse Bing will reign supreme by this time next year!
1:02 pm on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

@HuskyPup Me either however I dug into it and I think its ascension day, most of Europe on public holidays bar uk.

Ascension Day is not a federal public holiday in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. It is a public holiday in some countries, including:

The Netherlands.
1:21 pm on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

Correct, most of Europe is on holiday. Ascension Day and May 1 are always weaker days if you have international traffic. Just ignore it and look at weekly stats.

The recent SERP changes are unrelated.
1:37 pm on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

@guggi2000 what is your understanding of the frequency of the main algo running constantly? Regardless of the frequency I think the effects which are typical of Panda can be seen on a weekly basis now. Knowing how the monthly updates used to run I find running constantly quite a difficult concept to grasp.
1:49 pm on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

What have they rolled out now?

I just checked one 2 keywords and one 3 keywords searches on Google.co.uk:

2 keywords - First 20 results all from USA

3 keywords - First 19 from USA, #20 Australia

3:25 pm on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

As I mentioned earlier, my website traffic has also been down since 4/15. I also noticed tons of strange sites in my AWStats most of them are .ru. It appears they link to me but when I looked back it seems this is an old problem that existed for more one year. Have someone else noticed that?Could that be a reason for a drop in search? I just contacted my web host and this is what they replied:

The only way to stop that from happening is to block the IP's to that country. This causes a lot of load on your server so it is not recommended. The best thing you can do is to get robots.txt working on your site and ensure that caching is enabled so that if you do get an influx of bogus traffic it won't cause your site to get knocked off line. I'm going to send this ticket over to our security team to scan in the off chance that there has been a breech that's causing this traffic. Please stand by for updates.
3:44 pm on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

@HuskyPup agreed, people in china and Taiwan love me today. Never ever seen them on the site before.
4:34 pm on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Getting the same as HuskyPup:

Given up shopping on google.co.uk - everything is in $dollars, Amazon or Ebay.

Have totally given up on question searches as I get absolutely nothing related to my questions.

Sorry Google I can't take any more ... I'm off to another SE.
5:13 pm on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

@virtrualreality - I am seeing the very same thing in AWSTATS. Sites with names like prostitutki-xxxxx.org and many multiple of the same. Also a science news site that is under literally hundreds of different domains names with all the same content. I ran back my search and it appears this started a little over a year ago, slowly, just like my decline. It's clearly a negative seo campaign, and from what I'm seeing it's not targeted to just a few sites, it seems ANY site can be affected. The older the domain, the worse the problem seems to be. I think if everyone takes a look at their server logs rather than what G reports, they will see similar "bad links".

The widely reported precipitous fall of many sites here might be an indication that this weighs heavier than once thought. That or the algo is still broken...or both.

I personally don't buy that they disregard these links. Like everything else in WMT, they are slow on reporting them, but the algo must be taking them into account. I just don't trust what they do or say anymore. You are free to think otherwise.

The good news is that I'm seeing Bing closing in quickly on Google. G used to be 95% of my traffic, Now, with only marginally smaller volume, Google is less than 50%. Hopefully the pendulum has begun to swing.
5:34 pm on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

Sites with names like prostitutki-xxxxx.org and many multiple of the same

I've been seeing this for a long time yet I haven't a clue what I can do since when visiting a site nothing seems to be there. Even with this crap I have got sites to the top in the SERPs therefore can we assume G is ignoring them or not?

It would be nice to see GoogleGuy clarify this, ok, ok, I know that's never going to happen.
7:18 pm on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Anyone experiencing traffic drops in e-commerce please lookout for new "shop for widgets on Google" links. These are now occupying at least 2 organic listings below sponsored listings and include images. Apologies if this has already been mentioned, or is an old feature I have only just noticed. It's quite a significant change as far as I am aware.
7:22 pm on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

@Husky - the versions of that site I am finding are quite explicit with full nudity galore. Some pretty nasty, burly stuff that those Russian hackers must dig on.
9:38 pm on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

@petehall I actually agree, there is no such thing as constantly. The Panda "value" is just another parameter determining the rankings of a page (always was). Every parameter is calculated by a computer program that runs in certain intervals (at least the sitewide params)

The difference: they don't tell us anymore... could be daily, weekly...
9:45 pm on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

@husky @backdraft7 start adding those domains to your disavow list.

My established pr4 site has 100's of thousands of bad links pointed at it. I've spent a lot of time disavowing and having to go out and look at these gross sites to make sure they're bad.

It doesn't seem to have hurt me thus far, and today I just jumped over the SOB whom I am certain pointed those links at me.

Coincidentally, I noticed that someone (who shall remain nameless) recently went to Fiverr and pointed bad links at my competitor, shall we say, return the favor. At least the field has been leveled and Google now has to sort out all of the sites in my niche because we all have these links. Fair is far, although it really really sucks.

I really think that my rise over my nasty competitor was due to my having much better content than him, and not due to bad links. After living in this bad-seo space for a year now, I suspect Google has a handle on this. They have to be discovering millions of these links every day, and seeing the same domains across thousands of disavow lists... how could they not know.
9:49 pm on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Sites with names like prostitutki-xxxxx.org and many multiple of the same

Couldn't this just be referal spam? i.e. they don't have a link on their site to you and someone clicked on it - it's just a bot sent to your site with bogus referal data.
10:03 pm on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

Just did a search and was amazing by the results. The keyword tool reports its over 700k a year. The #2 result is a company with only a yahoo email address... And no phone number on the site! No products either but somehow they rank for a buying term? Clearly a filter for all those that tried to get on the first page but is this really good for the user?

Add this to the fact that 1/2 of each page is taken up by ads and you have your post 4/15 drop
10:17 pm on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

The #2 result is a company with only a yahoo email address... And no phone number on the site! No products either but somehow they rank for a buying term? Clearly a filter for all those that tried to get on the first page but is this really good for the user?

At least they didn't try to "cheat" Google with good useful content. These days I have the impression that how better your content is, the higher the chance that Google will penalize you for something. I see no other reason for all this crap in the serps.
10:20 pm on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

@HuskyPup @backdraft7 @ColourOfSpring
Couldn't this just be referal spam
I've seen them as both bogus and actual sites with links to us that several bots seem to travel through, like it's the "Scraper Link du Jour" - the ones that are real sites were like hospital and doctors office sites that were hacked and have junk directories running in sub/sub/sub-sub-sub/directories, tomorrow it's something else.

I've been popping in and out of forums here but haven't had anything to contribute. I see what most of you are reporting EXCEPT from the sites that don't get traffic from G, those sites are strong and steady.

EDIT: Giving the G devil his due, we haven't been working on sites that don't get traffic from G recently, they haven't had many changes made yet this year.
12:31 am on May 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

@petehall it could be Panda but since October I was only losing about 8-10% a month.
5:36 am on May 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

It's a difficult situation, on May 06 and 07 our traffic was improved but from 8th decline has been started, on May 08 we lost approximately 33% traffic and on 9th situation get even worst and we have lost almost 50% traffic with compare to May 06 so far.

Last time our traffic was effected on March 15, after that it was steadily increased in April and as of May 06 we recovered almost 50% traffic but it again took dive. What's going on!

Please share your thoughts?
6:11 am on May 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

@amleaner, I noticed the same May6 and May07 we ok but May8 and May9 went even worse. Since 4/15 my traffic has slowly going down. I update my site all the time so it is up to date. My only explanation is that it may has something to do with the malicious automated traffic many websites get, such as from .ru sites etc. I dont think any competitor has hired someone to do bad linking. I think the problem is much more global. I see that for all my sites, including small ones that I know no one would bother with to do bad linking for.
6:30 am on May 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google traffic dropped about 30% today... so something is probably going on...
6:58 am on May 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

@virtualreality, In my case I didn't find any clue of malicious automated traffic, as far as linking is concern, so I don't have massive link profile and neither I noticed any suspicious website.
7:59 am on May 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

hi getcooking,. . yes I noticed it's happening and let us see what would happen in next week the updates Google doing!
8:36 am on May 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

9 May lost 30% too - welcome back Panda
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