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Google Updates and SERP Changes - September 2013

     
2:34 pm on Sep 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

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System: The following 5 messages were cut out of thread at: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4598423.htm [webmasterworld.com] by robert_charlton - 1:07 pm on Sep 2, 2013 (PST -8)


I've had two interesting situations lately which are very similar.

(1) One of my pages was #1 for "short widget phrase". Two weeks ago Google replaced me with a Wikihow page which actually took what I did and went a little further, as good competitors should. Last week, that page got an inbound from a hugely popular website (sent me quite a few thousand visitors), with the anchor text "here", as in "find it here". My position did not improve.

(2) Another page on another domain has been ranking well for "short phrase" and "less short phrase". These are competitive phrases. My page had fought its way up to #2 for both, which was exciting. Then it fell back to 5 and 10, and then lower. Then a popular Pinterest user pinned it late last night using "less short phrase" and it's bounced back a few positions already this morning. It's in flux, but it's averaging to 4 and 9 right now.

I'm starting to doubt there's *anything* to the algo but "count the links, check the anchor text." Google goes on and on about various signals, but when you get right down to it, actual ranking changes consistently happen ONLY in response to the addition or loss of links with the anchor text of your keyphrase. All else is a smokescreen, LOL.
10:51 pm on Sept 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Is it conceivable that the high rankings of sites like About.com say less about Google's algorithm than about the tastes of the average searcher (as measured through user testing)?

Absolutely in-my-opinion.

I would add [or reiterate since I think we're saying essentially the same thing]: To me the results seem like a searcher bias Google is trying to meet to keep their visitors happy, rather than a Google bias trying to "squash" mom-n-pop and force "Amazon" on their visitors.
4:35 am on Sept 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

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In the last 2 pages I've read about a lot of philosophy. Nice, but It really not helping.

I would love to here more details about:
- site recovering on 4th of september
- if any site see signs of recovery after 4th of september

Until now, it's not clear if it's Panda or Penguin!

I have mainly 2 problems:
- huge site, with a lot of inbound links. A lot of links are site using my RSS for news and spam => millions of links!

- my content is scraped by robots non-stop. In the last 6 months the situation got huge proportions! We block them with an Apache mod and using access logs, but is still a BIG problem!
Now, I can clearly see that now I'm on the last page of Google's results and my scrappers are up. And they are so many!
5:31 am on Sept 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

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BTW, a strange thing on my 90% less visitors subdomains, I only have a 50% drop in the # of clicks and the same eCPM => "only" 50% less revenue....
7:06 am on Sept 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I searched Google today for "tires" for "YEAR MODEL MAKE"
Three ads on top with a slight background color difference. One of those ads has a local shop that has a really bad reputation. The other two ads don't have local representation.

The organic results below the ads do not have any of the local companies that I know provide "tires" for "YEAR MODEL MAKE". Transactional intent, I'm just looking for pricing on the flipping tires.

Now I switch to making phone calls. Google fail.
10:05 am on Sept 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I found something interesting about the loss of traffic my blog suffered since yesterday

It's about my best page which used to outrank every other in Google for a keyword phrase and dozens of variations

The page went down from #1 to #4 (you can imagine how much traffic is lost)

I was thinking about keywords over optimization, so I use the keyword density tool to compare with the competitor ranking #1 now, for the same keyphrase

Let's say the keyword phrase is my blue widget

Title
competitor Total matches:1 / 25%
Me: Total matches:0 / 0%

Body
competitor Total matches:28 / 3.4% (total words:2444)
Me: Total matches:1 / 0% (total words:7262)

h1/h2/h3
competitor Total matches:2 / 25% (total words:24)
Me: Total matches:0 / 0% (total words:35)

links
competitor Total matches:18 / 11.5% (total words:471)
Me: Total matches:0 / 0% (total words:294)



As you can see, if anyone is over optimizing, it is my competitor, isn'it ?
My page managed to rank #1 for more than a year with the keywords variations instead of exact match

Can someone else see the same pattern ?
10:26 am on Sept 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I was thinking about keywords over optimization


I am personally looking at the same thing. You might want to look at words as well as exact-match phrases (i.e. have a look at my, blue, and widget independently), and include descriptions and the links themselves (not just anchor-text).

In my sector (UK niche service) the word and phrase count and density for key terms in the current top Google 20 results is very low.
2:26 pm on Sept 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

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My page managed to rank #1 for more than a year

Miracles don't last forever . . . . . . . .
4:38 pm on Sept 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

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As you can see, if anyone is over optimizing, it is my competitor, isn'it ?


Not necessarily. There are some big percentages listed there, but the overall keyword density is less than 2%. Your's is less than 1%.

Over-optimization is not just going overboard on keyword density (though it can be part of it). It's also how the keywords are used throughout the page. If the usage isn't overbearing and obviously spammy, it probably won't be penalized.

I'd say your keyword usage is actually very low, given how many words you have. I'd bump up the usage a bit - where it makes sense to use the keyword, of course.
8:36 am on Sept 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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All the signs point to Panda rolling update starting today in the UK. Certainly in a couple of verticals that I watch closely. I expect to see some activity on here over the coming days...
10:01 am on Sept 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Pete, some of us would have said it started in the UK on September 4th.
12:03 pm on Sept 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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September 4th - I believe it was global.
Sites from all over the world, with different content language and different tld got hit.
12:39 pm on Sept 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Didn't notice anything since the 4th but something is definitely going down today (UK).

Tumbleweed......
1:51 pm on Sept 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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But there has been very little activity on here really, so if it was some sort of update, it must have been very limited
3:46 pm on Sept 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I hope to see a Panda refresh rewarding sites which have done intensive house cleaning after being hit by a previous Panda update(s) :-)
4:00 pm on Sept 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@reseller

I think we all do, but on the basis of my experience to date I don't expect it.
4:53 pm on Sept 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@Wilburforce

I could be wrong, but maybe what is happening today is a Panda Refresh which is rewarding sites which have been hit by a previous Panda and then done honest cleaning jobs. Who knows :-)
6:12 pm on Sept 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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When I de-optimize a page I don't check the keyword density (I used to do that years ago so I have some idea of what it should be). I just read the page and make sure it would reflect quality content and that I haven't repeated the words too often (Google aready knows that the page is about via the title).

I also check the code to make sure alt tags reflect the content of the images and not stuffed with keywords and that "title" tags on links are removed if the anchor text describes it enough, and I also remove the keyword tag, remove any keywords in comment tags and also make sure that the CSS file isn't full of keywords. Basically I get rid of all keyword spam within the code as well as on the page itself.
9:58 am on Sept 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Today almost every page of my website went down by 30 position. Another update. Almost all traffic is lost. The MozCast show some turnaround again on 11th of September.
11:37 am on Sept 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

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We saw a number of our subdomains increase in position for our biggest traffic keywords and some others are recovering. I'm relieved. I still see a lot of EMD's outranking us that shouldn't but hopefully they'll be disposed of soon.
12:55 pm on Sept 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Today after I checked my rankings my site position went from most countries from page 3,4,5 and 6 to most countries on page 1. Its an update I hoped it will happen as I used to have this good position about 9 months ago. I just hope they dont roll the changes back like they did on begginning of september. Probably 4th September was a test update and the real update was yesterday.
1:39 pm on Sept 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Did anybody recieve manual penalty notice on 10th -13th of September? I used to have "affects links" one, now it changed to "ALL", which means my entire site was penalized. Since lots of sites experiences a huge drop today-yesterday, I kinda wonder if I am the only one with a penalty like that.
2:43 pm on Sept 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Folks!

I guess you are still feeling the impact of roll out of "THE MONTHLY PANDA UPDATE" which usually last for around 10 days (from 4th September 2013 to 13th September 2013). Some of you are enjoying PANDA-LOVE while others are suffering of PANDA-DISLIKE ;-)

[edited by: reseller at 2:45 pm (utc) on Sep 13, 2013]

2:45 pm on Sept 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I kinda wonder if I am the only one with a penalty like that.


No messages, no manual action, but my site is no longer in the results for Key Term. Last seen on Tuesday.

Strangely, still at #2 (dropped from #1) for Key Term Prices. Work that one out.
2:46 pm on Sept 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

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No change at all here. Same old, same old.

But that may stand to reason: Matt Cutts recently said that Panda has been integrated into the main algorithm instead of being run as a scheduled (e.g., monthly) event. Wouldn't that imply that different sites will be affected at different times, depending on when they're crawled and what pages are crawled?
3:07 pm on Sept 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

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LOL, on the site where I've previously reported "my rankings are fine but traffic is down", today some of my rankings are down but overall traffic is up. I think this has to be partly user behavior, but it's just so strange.

The bottom line is that being #1 for one of my terms got me 10 times the traffic this time last year as it's bringing this year, and according to the Adwords keyword tool, it should still be bringing in about the same.
3:34 pm on Sept 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Matt Cutts recently said that Panda has been integrated into the main algorithm ..


But that doesn't mean that Panda is dead. Nobody can kill our beloved Panda, not even Matt Cutts :-)

I guess what Matt meant is that the Panda part of the algo would roll out for 10 days each month.
3:34 pm on Sept 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I think this has to be partly user behavior, but it's just so strange.


Part of the problem in the last couple of years is that it has become almost impossible to see what a typical user sees. I can disable cookies and use a robust proxy (and even then, Google will base results on the proxy's IP address), but that only shows me what someone with no footprint sees, and someone with no footprint isn't a typical user.

Typical users see what Google thinks they want to see, which is completely useless for finding anything out: consider the witness who only gives you answers he thinks you want to hear.

Google doesn't give us the option of saying "return results as if I had no preferences, no history, and no location".

Trying to find where my site had gone yesterday, Google stopped me drilling through the results because I was showing "unusual searching behaviour", and wouldn't let me continue without entering the on-screen code to prove I wasn't a bot. You can't even look without selecting now.
4:10 pm on Sept 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Lol,
I just saw this new video from matt cutts about Panda,:
[webpronews.com...]
and the truth is we does not rank as high as we did before,
so I started to check ranking as suppose being an update, thinking how can I increase quality in the content, it has always been good content and still is.
And wow, we are back to top-position for 2 keyword search in usa and Ireland, second page in co.uk.
Those top-positions only been for big brands lately.
I dont believe in that quality stuff.
4:36 pm on Sept 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I guess what Matt meant is that the Panda part of the algo would roll out for 10 days each month.


That's sooooo last month. :-)

In his latest video on the topic of Panda, he references the previous change from the original Panda approach to a monthly run, but he then goes on to add:

And we said lets go ahead and rather than have it be a discreet data push that is something that happens every month or so at its own time, and we refresh the data, letís just go ahead and integrate it into indexing.


Matt's statement suggests to me that Panda is now ongoing, and that when a site is affected by Panda tweaks may depend on when the site is recrawled and reindexed.
5:42 pm on Sept 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Yes, same here. Some of the rankings went down. Some kind of update from google. I hope Google clarifies this to Rusty brick or some other person. There was some spike also in Mozcast as mentioned by Pete Meyers.

Thanks.
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