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Google Updates and SERP Changes - July 2013



6:32 am on Jul 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

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


3:56 pm on Jul 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

@MIW - I'm seeing similar fluctuations. While the seasonal traffic is starting to pick up, overall, since May Day 2010, despite all my thrashing about, traffic has been in a never ending, slow decline.

I am finding good alternative traffic with facebook posts....with over 1,000 page likes and extended reach, it's starting to send meaningful numbers of buyers to my site. Google's watching for fresh meat too!


8:16 pm on Jul 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

seen very big changes - clearly Panda recovery. Dramatic change on the 12th and sustained since. Average rank position, # of unique search terms driving to site both improved as well.

Has anyone started naming this yet? Grey Panda?


8:38 pm on Jul 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Panda-lite? Diet Panda? Panda on liposuction?
Depandalization? Pandamonium?


10:45 pm on Jul 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Major improvements here starting on the 12th and leveling off today. Traffic is now about 5% higher than 2012 after being 25% lower all year long.

Panda Cub update :)


10:47 pm on Jul 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I'm still seeing hourly roller coasters. About every 6-12 hours things shift.

For the first time today I saw weird keyword referrals. I track our usual top 20 search referral terms. Every day they are about the same, just shifting positions. For HALF of today (so far) there were terms that aren't usually there. Valid -yes - they landed on pages that satisfied those queries - but not our norm.

Pageviews per user was WAY down during the low period this morning but picked back up as Google referrals picked up through the day. Referrals are again wearing off now this evening and sure enough, pageviews per user are dropping. Is this the "zombie" traffic that others have referred to in the past? This is the first time that I've really noticed this sort of activity on our site.

Also, our gbot spidering is finally down today. Doesn't mean it won't pick back up but we had over a week of intense spidering. Another first.

I can't say whether we've been hit or helped by this update since things keep shifting! Yesterday looked like we'd had a boost, today looks like a bust. Same pattern the days before.


10:58 pm on Jul 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

and the location of you Panda Cub people ? need this to ensure not all usa based !


10:59 pm on Jul 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Holly molly.
I had a site that was ranking on page #1.. That was before Panda beat it down like a sick dog last year and I had the "unnatural notice" penalty. It took me from page 1 to a special spot on page 20+.

Just checked US results today and we're now ranking for our two best keywords again at the top of page 2.

Whatever is going on, I am seeing much better results.. (not biased at all :P). Fingers crossed this stays.

Only things I've done so far.
> Uploaded disavow list and Submitted re-inclusion request multiple times (always resulted in a rejection).

No feedback from Google spam team.. Did someone switch the flick and unblock a bunch of gray/legit sites that were crushed in the past 12 months?

Martin Ice Web

7:53 am on Jul 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

@ALL ,

guys please add your location and typ of site (ecom, informational, affiliate ) to your post, that makes us have a better picture of wqhat is going on!



9:21 am on Jul 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

Noticing a decrease today in the spidering on my site (ecomm, UK)
Started the 4th and reached a peak on the 12th slowly decreasing now and at a low today, the 18th


9:27 am on Jul 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing no change in search traffic, but there's much shuffling in the SERPS. One page in particular has climbed from obscurity (page 15-20) up to the top of page 2 over the last few weeks, and is now fluttering round pages 3 and 4.

Low(-ish) traffic UK based service and e-commerce site.


11:36 am on Jul 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

Top Contributors Of The Month

Havent seen any change either way in any client SERVICE related websites I manage, local serps still dominated by 8-9 various directories and trade brokers (middle men).

Only change I have is a national site hit by pengu 1 has recovered to page 1 TOP, pre pen update. The only change I made on that site was to delete the disavow file because it hadent made any difference since the day the disavow tool was released, very strange! And was a last ditch attempt before I gave up on that site and got a new domain name.


1:05 pm on Jul 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

I have seen drastic positive change for my site, compare to last month 250% rise in organic traffic.

This year I have lost almost 90% traffic compare to last year. I have also removed 95% backlinks in last 12 months. But now it seems like recovery.

Lets see how it works.


1:12 pm on Jul 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

The last several Panda updates seem to be applied across all english language versions of Google. I've seen the same % patterns in this and the past 3-4 updates for google us, uk, canada, etc.

For an informational site where there is little change based on location (i.e. not predominantly information about local/state/country events) IP location doesn't seem to matter and the site wide effect Panda is applied/increased/reduced across all versions of Google.


3:34 pm on Jul 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Business as usual here (still).

U.S.-based information site with an international audience, at its current domain for nearly a dozen years and at a previous location for more than 16 years. Hit by Panda 1.0 in February, 2011 and currently down at least 60 percent from 2010 traffic levels despite content growth over the last 2-1/2 years.

One point that I find interesting. MikeNoLastName wrote:

Most of the changes WE have seen, are from 500-1000+ (i.e. nowhere) to the top 100. Which we all know are of minimal traffic use below pages 1-3. For example we have seen our top niche keywords which we have tracked for over 3 years, in the last 3 days, go from
A: 1000+ -> 39 b: 22 -> 5 c: 612-> 55 d:1000+ -> 36 e:722 -> 9 f:225-> 25 along with a bunch that went from 30ish to 5-ish in the last 3 days. In addition we have seen a few which jumped up to 20-30 on the first day, continue to climb into the top 10 over the next couple of days.

Our site was never hit that badly: For us, the ranking declines for important keywords or kephrases were fairly modest--e.g., from 1 to 6, 3 to 9, 5 to 11, and so on. Still, that was enough to have an enormous impact on Google referrals, since users tend to click on the top three results.

Since it's mostly been business as usual for our site in the last week (despite an enormous crawl on July 11), I'm wondering if we were ever "hit" by Panda at all.

What if our slips from 1 to 6, 3 to 9, 5 to 11, or whatever had nothing to do an algorithmic "penalty" for our site?

What if those ranking drops were simply caused by a boost for ranking factors that favored corporate content farms, UGC megasites, and exact-match domains?

In other words, maybe we didn't have extra weight added to our saddle by the handicapper: The big-name and EMD horses had their lead bars removed.

That might help to explain why rankings on sites like MikeNoLastName's have jumped dramatically (e.g., from 1,000+ to 39 in one case) but still haven't bumped their way into the top positions where ranking factors seem to benefit megasites and EMDs (at least for the queries that I use).

Something else:

I mentioned earlier that we had significant jumps for a couple of our major (and oldest) subtopics last Friday and Saturday, but those changes evaporated on Sunday and our daily stats have been almost exact replicas of our stats from mid- to late June since then. I wonder if Google might have been experimenting with the planned "authority" boost that Matt Cutts discussed in his Webmaster Video of May 13? I have quite a bit of of authority for those two topics (I've been writing professionally about one since 1996 and the other since 1981), so if Google were to use something like "AuthorRank" as a ranking factor, I'd expect those two subtopics to benefit.


4:11 pm on Jul 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

@JesterMagic Same, wek on week around 2-3%, nearly 45% now since may 9th with the "phantom" update. Cannot put my finger on why. Metrics have stayed the same.


4:35 pm on Jul 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

I uploaded a screenshot from my Google Webmaster Tools for you guys: [s16.postimg.org...]

The change apparently started on 12, but I started paying attention on 13.

As I said before I was hit on June 29 2012 (4 days after Panda), so I am not sure whether it was Panda or something else. Then I was hit by Phantom update now on May 9 2012.

Rankings look more like before first hit on 2012 but for some reasons these keywords don't bring as much traffic. So although ranking seem to be completely recovered the traffic is more like before May 9.

I also notice that I rank for some new terms.

The site is in English language, international, about 40 percent US traffic. I tend to rank better in the US (although I am not from the US).

There were tons of changes to the site but not with intention to fix anything and changes were made a while ago, so I don't think it played any role here.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 6:10 pm (utc) on Jul 18, 2013]

[edited by: goodroi at 7:38 pm (utc) on Jul 18, 2013]
[edit reason] Changed link straight to image so no inappropriate ads :) [/edit]


5:46 pm on Jul 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Google Confirms Panda Update Is Rolling Out: This One Is More “Finely Targeted”

In the last few days we’ve been pushing out a new Panda update that incorporates new signals so it can be more finely targeted.



5:46 pm on Jul 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I uploaded a screenshot from my Google Webmaster Tools for you guys:

The change apparently started on 12, but I started paying attention on 13.

I am seeing similar to ubound on my WMT.


6:01 pm on Jul 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Google Confirms Panda Update Is Rolling Out

Maybe that's why we haven't seen more reaction here and elsewhere? It's "rolling out," as opposed to "rolled out"?

If the normal rollout period is 10 days or so, what's been going on in the "past few days" (Google's phrase) may have been the leading edge of the approaching front.


6:06 pm on Jul 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

dang, no changes on my end. i've had steadily declining traffic since dec 2012. I was sure it was Panda 21. Seems to be something else. Just weird how each month is lower and lower. Like clock work.


6:12 pm on Jul 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

"Mod's note: Image link removed because postimg.org displays inappropriate ads. Here's my description of what the graph shows. It graphs both impressions and clicks...

- there's an upturn in both starting 7/11/13 (July 11)
- on 7/12/13, impressions are 1,300, clicks 70
- impressions appear to rise faster than clicks
- on 7/15/13, where impressions have risen to roughly 3,500, a slight downturn begins in both impressions and clicks"

Sorry! On my end it was money making ads, I used them for the first time, so apologies.

I would also add that although impressions raise faster than clicks, in Analytics Google traffic has tripled so far. Thanks!


6:47 pm on Jul 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member

I'm not sure this is related so much to changes in the algo or just my site, but: my site hit by Penguin 1 is now holding steady with higher levels of Google traffic than it's seen since that fateful day. Not wildly higher, but I have recovered a good bit on a few of the search terms I lost that day. Like, I used to be #1 and now I'm #3, or I used to be #3 and now I'm #5-6.

The keyphrases I have NOT recovered on all happen to be related to one of the niches in those top links Google has separated out (the links to images, maps, shopping, "more"...). I'm beginning to think that's part of the mystery, and I'll probably never recover significantly on those because Google's just handling them differently now somehow and there's no going back.

All in all, I'm pleased. It seems like every month, I get a little boost of a hundred or so more visitors from Google per day. Maybe they're letting me out of Penguin incrementally or testing something?


7:02 pm on Jul 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Traffic recovery for me seems to have leveled off, but I did do some looking at my WMT after ubound's post and was pleasantly surprised by what I saw.

Impressions are up by 400% for both sites. Site 1 went from 3,000 to 12,000 per day. Site 2 from 1,500 to 6,000 per day.

Site 1 visits are back to 2012 traffic. Site 2 visits are still about 25% less than 2012 traffic.

The only thing I did over the past year that I hadn't done before prior to losing my rankings is that I sent out two press releases for site 1 only.

I nofollowed all outbound links at beginning of this year thinking it was a penguin problem, but once penguin reran and it had no effect, I removed all the nofollows again to restore the sites as they were.

The only logical explanation for recovery for my sites is that there was something in the panda (?) algo that penalized/filtered my sites for popular keyword phrases. This update seems to have corrected that and removed the penalty/filter. Of course, I still have no idea what.

I'm so glad I didn't take more extraordinary measures as suggested by various seos on google groups.


10:00 pm on Jul 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

I really wonder what's going on. I don't think I've seen so many reports of improvement since I started coming here regularly.


10:08 pm on Jul 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member

Dymero, maybe we can finally all agree that there have been some "false positives" in the past couple of years, and Google is finally correcting it?

(And that's not Google bashing. It would be silly to think Google has absolutely perfected pattern recognition/detection.)
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