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Google Updates and SERP Changes - July 2013

     
6:32 am on Jul 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

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System: The following 3 messages were cut out of thread at: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4580257.htm [webmasterworld.com] by goodroi - 9:35 am on Jul 1, 2013 (utc -5)


RIP Tedster, though I never knew you personally for 8 years now I've learned a lot from your great contributions
4:23 pm on July 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

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My sites traffic were down all through 7-3~7-7 with a nice rebound back to normal on the 8th.

I did not worry at all because the pattern almost mirrors typically weekend traffic (except that it's extended and amplified in the "down periods").

I did however, notice minor traffic boosts with a few of my smaller sites on Sunday and Monday, while not seeing any boost with my similar bigger sites in the same time period.
6:05 pm on July 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Just saw this article on Yahoo's home page [news.yahoo.com...]

Long long overdue for Google.
11:05 pm on July 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Google search displays only 13% organic results the rest is ads and junk


It depends on platform, tablet 3%, phones 0%.
11:33 pm on July 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

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July 4th-7th traffic has been terrible and although there is some rebound it looks like people are still hungover from the extra-long holiday weekend.


Three sites won traffic, one site lost them , there are no holidays in Spain
12:57 am on July 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Google search displays only 13% organic results the rest is ads and junk

I don't know about you, but I find the layout of that Yahoo Page visually confusing. It's also ironic that page has hundreds of "Recommended for You" articles, also known as junk.
8:01 am on July 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

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So glad you said this because my traffic is down from all sources, not just Google, and I was thinking maybe my website smelled. ;) But you're right - we have a July 4 every year, but it's not usually on Thursday, leading lots of people to make a 4-day weekend of it.


I don't think it's just 4th July related. My UK site with mainly UK traffic is was down from what it has been the last few weeks.
10:57 am on July 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Seeing some huge shifting here in the UK, traffic has switched off for a few hours now.
2:17 pm on July 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@chalkywhite - are you still seeing this now? i'm in US at moment but running UK based sites, woke up and found traffic much lower but looking at serps i monitor, cannot find any changes. wondering if theyve switched everything back now.
2:31 pm on July 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

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just stumbled across this thread. Googlebots seem to be hitting my site all day long... perhaps a deep crawl.
However, our traffic from the US is appalling at the moment. Down since end of June 2013. Lots of search strings seem to be blocked.
Can't really understand what's happening. UK traffic down slightly but it's the USA traffic really hit us hard.
2:41 pm on July 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

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in fact - my initial "traffic drop" observation was based wholly off my adsense reporting this morning. Apparently adsense is "stuck" for many people so in fact there was no real traffic loss. I'm still waiting for some changes in my UK sector. Well overdue - seen nothing in weeks.
3:04 pm on July 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@robster traffic switched back on at 3pm uk time on the dot, was painful for about 5 hours. Some sort of test? who knows?
3:17 pm on July 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Some sort of test? who knows?


Same here, traffic seems to have switched back on. What would they be testing? Redirecting longtail terms? Auto suggest? What could it be?
3:18 pm on July 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

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What would they be testing? Redirecting longtail terms? Auto suggest? What could it be?


Maybe it's the long awaited Panda update.
4:51 pm on July 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I'm also seeing the phenomenon where my rankings are the same (my stats package tracks just where the result was when each person clicked it), but the traffic coming from it is miserable.... particularly from the US. It's very odd - two sites I manage are suddenly way up in Google AU and down in Google US. The two things seem to correlate, but I don't know what it means.
7:14 pm on July 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

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two sites I manage are suddenly way up in Google AU and down in Google US. The two things seem to correlate, but I don't know what it means.

diberry - Way back we had a series of reports involving seemingly flipped US and Australian traffic (unfortunately, none of them sufficiently clear to diagnose the situation), and I got the impression that these were all for searches of localized intent in which Google had either accidentally or purposely confused similar town names between AU and the US. I say "purposely", as I was thinking there might be some kind of a test.

Are you seeing anything that might suggest this?
8:39 pm on July 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@Bob, not exactly. A huge majority of the AU searchers are indeed logged in (what my stats calls "secure search") and presumably getting personalized results. Of those AU search queries I can see, they're the same queries I do well on in the US.

The pages the AU/UK visitors are hitting do not contain anything that could be mistaken for a place name. I don't see any other way they could be mistaken as local, either - they are informational and written in American English.

It's like I'm suddenly doing well with logged-in AU/UK users and less well with US users in general despite no detectable changes in ranking. There are also no Adwords ads on the pages where I rank best.

Now, I am also down with Yahoo and Bing and other sources, and when I compare yesterday to July 9 of last year, I'm down about 65% on Google.com. So on the one hand, I think user behavior may be changing, but on the other it really looks like something's gone horribly wrong for me on Google.com... but it's not my rankings.

I'm completely at a loss.
7:10 am on July 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@diberry,

A huge majority of the AU searchers are indeed logged in

why should a joy publuc user be looged in? Only if they use their mobile i saw that Google android changed it to Auto log in. But Desktop pcs ? I doubt every single user has a account.

And if it is this way u say then it is clear that u mainly get logged in users because our site seems to be prefered in their personal searcg results. The questions is now: Who to get into the personal search history of possible prospective customers?
If someone fixes this problem, we are able to fight back against Google. And if i think of it, i might have a solution.
11:35 am on July 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I'm in the UK and my search results are full of US and AU results, even though there are more relevant UK sites. Doesn't seem to matter if I'm logged in or using an incognito tab. First page of results for one of my key phrases has 8 US results and 1 AU, it's ridiculous!
11:47 am on July 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I'm in the UK and my search results are full of US and AU results


I'm not seeing that in my sector (technical service). What sector are you looking at?
12:54 pm on July 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I'm not sure how specific I'm allowed to be... lets say homewares. I'm seeing lots of US Amazon and eBay results instead of their UK counterparts too, colleagues are saying the same.
1:53 pm on July 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Had a decent recovery starting over the recent holiday weekend, but now sliding back to zero traffic periods. Another large update appears to be digesting.
2:18 pm on July 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@Backdraft I agree, im seeing good gains starting this morning. Please be Panda .
3:14 pm on July 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

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wow, and its switched off as soon as i mention it. Must be different data sets being tested.
3:35 pm on July 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I've noticed about.com seem to be flavour of the month with Google again. I thought Panda was brought out to sort out all the farmer sites, but I see them replacing niche sites more and more. So it's us who pay the price for content farms while the content farms rank no. 1 again. Awesome.
3:36 pm on July 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing something really bizarre. My rankings have not changed, but the traffic comparison between this Wednesday after July 4 and the same day in 2012 is frightening. And I mean comparing the same queries, all ranking #1 solidly throughout both years.

Query 1 brought in 745 visitors on that day in 2012, only 38 on the same day in 2013.

Query 2 brought 325 visitors in 2012, 72 in 2013.

Query 3 brought 167 in 2012, 10 in 2013

Query 4 brought 112 in 2012, 23 in 2013

Huh? How does that even happen? I do see indications that users may be searching these terms a bit less than they used to, but not by more than 10-20%. There are no Adwords ads on these queries. Let's assume Google IS losing their dominance to internal search, as I've posited before, but I'd say that could only possibly add another 10% change (and probably not that much). Well, these drops are more like 80-95%. I think something MUST be happening on Google's end, but for the life of me I don't know what.

(BTW, this is not my Penguinized site. This is a site Google has always consistently ranked well, never been penalized or hurt by an algo update.)
4:41 pm on July 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

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dibery, could it not be increased personalisation of results?
4:50 pm on July 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Seeing movement in UK serps today for first time in while. Local business and leisure my focus. Some ups and some downs for us and hard to make out any particular patterns but seeing some really horrible domain clustering. Tripadvisor often dominating half or more of 1st page results, same content with different tlds. Seems such an easy thing for google to fix but they dont.
5:24 pm on July 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

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There are no Adwords ads on these queries.


Diberry, if there are no Adwords ads Google isn't making any money from those searches, so maybe they started directing people to searches they can show Adwords ads for (via the search suggestion dropdown).
5:53 pm on July 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Last month I posted a topic here about a phenomenon where visits go down for a couple months of the year, followed by rankings, later to have visits and rankings go back up simultaneously.

Right as this post-Independence Day week started, it was like some knob was turned and the rankings went back up across the board, just as traffic levels started to rise on the site as a whole (not just organic).

I'm definitely starting to "become a believer" that Google uses some kind of visitor analytics as part of the ranking algorithm. Perhaps not GA data, but maybe toolbar or browser or long-click data (or all three).

What is strange, though, is that it happens almost instantaneously. I can see no evidence that there is improvement in visits and then a ranking increase. It's just visits and rankings go up at the same time.

It's for this reason that I use to think this was caused by being put in and then released from an algorithmic penalty, but during the same period of time for the last three years in which traffic across all channels exhibits the same pattern? How likely is that?

@diberry
How does that even happen?


How is your (not provided) entry doing? Up or down compared to the same point last year?
6:02 pm on July 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

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With Google results being heavily personalized, and geo-targeted adwords ads in play, how do webmasters determine where they are ranking and what the competition is regarding adwords?

I seem to keep reading statement like "my rankings are unchanged, yet my traffic has dropped significantly, which just does not add up.
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