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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.
12:32 pm on Sept 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I have never seen it before either, but I am not getting it on google.co.uk (I am in UK).
12:46 pm on Sept 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Just fired up google, never seen this before on google home page

[img845.imageshack.us ]

is that new?


I had heard that they were rolling out a new page layout and logo. I read in on the BBC news I think.
12:58 pm on Sept 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Only seen its the once so far, much like when they rolled out the yell, yelp, 118 update to Google Places. (I see that 80-90% of searches now) I guess it takes time to filter through all their data centres?
2:04 pm on Sept 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Their shares will probably double in value now.
3:04 pm on Sept 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Probably the aim of current update (which has started on 19th September 2013) is to optimize Google AdWords revenues. So now we have two competing "Optimization" parties:

Search Engine Optimization by SEOes Vs AdWords Revenues Optimization by Google Search Quality Team
3:34 pm on Sept 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@reseller, no this last update was so good. Now i Need only 2 sites for my whole internet surfing.
-amazon
-ebay
And if i may posses the insolence to look over the plates edge there is adsense to discover!

It feels like Fahrenheit 451! every day google determines more and more what we think/do/act.
So shout down our brain and take that free ride.
3:36 pm on Sept 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Anyone see the notice on SE roundtable re Ghost Rank 2.0 may be the reason for the latest update due to a Russian Link Network. The network has been hit and also those using the links.

I hope it's ok to post this link:
[seroundtable.com...]
4:41 pm on Sept 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Anyone see the notice on SE roundtable re Ghost Rank 2.0 may be the reason for the latest update due to a Russian Link Network. The network has been hit and also those using the links.


Lorel,
I was just reading out that. It's interesting. I believe networks like this were used for negative seo in competitive niches (thousands of the spam links to my sites were .ru). I've disavowed 2,000+ full domains, and they keep coming in. My hope is that Google will begin to reward some of the sites who have disavowed and made a diligent effort to prove they were never involved with these spam networks. I think we're due for a Penguin refresh, so I am hoping to see some new data taken into consideration.
5:30 pm on Sept 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I think we're due for a Penguin refresh


Based on the update history we should have one coming in early october, I for one hope so, probably shouldn't be so excited about it though...
7:10 pm on Sept 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Regarding this Ghost Rank - this is the first I have heard of it and I have never used such tactics personally in the past, but when will G realize as easy it is for one to use on their own site it is to use for someone else? Do they really think these black hat people are verifying ownership of the sites they pay to submit to them?

I mean if sites who had links with them are now tanked in the engines does G really think that those same people who used it in the past won't now just use it in the opposite form to erase their competition rather than bumping their own site?

I suppose its all on the webmaster to spend countless hours disavowing bad links that they never had anything to do with... I've been saying this for months and months now - their thought process is totally flawed in regards to how they are handling this. If a link is bad then just ZERO its value... no negative and no positive just ZERO. How they can believe negative seo is not already an issue and that it is not getting worse and will continue is beyond me. They are actually promoting negative seo with how they are handling the issue - by penalizing sites who have links on those sites.
8:01 pm on Sept 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I suppose its all on the webmaster to spend countless hours disavowing bad links that they never had anything to do with...


...which is exactly what I have been spending a lot of time on, and in researching one of the myriad links to me found this almost self-explantory outdated discussion (which I hope is OK):

[productforums.google.com...]

It has for some time seemed to me that the main focus of penalising external factors is to make SEO attempts to game Google's algorithms by spamming our problem when properly it is theirs.

Meanwhile, MC's gradual migration away from "nothing somebody else does can harm your site" to his present situation has all the hallmarks of the pigs in Animal Farm. Four Legs Good, Two Legs Better!

Anyway (rant over) it obviously isn't only me.
8:15 pm on Sept 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

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It has for some time seemed to me that the main focus of penalising external factors is to make SEO attempts to game Google's algorithms by spamming our problem when properly it is theirs.

+2 [I'm done promoting or mentioning +1]
8:35 pm on Sept 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I mean if sites who had links with them are now tanked in the engines does G really think that those same people who used it in the past won't now just use it in the opposite form to erase their competition rather than bumping their own site?


This happens all the time, you dont need to use ghost rank, $5 blast of links bought from fiverr will do the same thing.

Google does need to fix this issue and just not count what they "think" are bad links and throw out the useless disavow tool once and for all.
10:43 pm on Sept 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

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R.I.P. organic keyword data.


Yeah, "not provided" has been the vast, vast majority for me for a while, to the point where it's more meaningful to just look at how many visitors Google sent to a particular page. It's easier for me - I never targeted specific keyphrases (I build for social media rather than search), I just noted which ones happened to be working for me and then tracked them. It was helpful info.

I do not for one second believe Google's withholding search phrases from us because of their concern for visitor privacy, given how hard they've worked to stop courts preventing them from collecting all sorts of data that visitors actually care about. I don't know anyone who gives a hoot if a webmaster knows how they found them via Google.
1:16 pm on Sept 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Ironically, Microsoft (Bing + Yahoo) has come to the rescue. Who would have thought, only a few years ago, that MS would be a source of hope, stability and salvation -- I thought I had seen it all, but then . . . . .
1:30 pm on Sept 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Microsoft (Bing + Yahoo) has come to the rescue.


How?
2:25 pm on Sept 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Microsoft (Bing + Yahoo) has come to the rescue.

How?


Simple : lots & lots of new traffic, where none existed from them before, spanning over many sites, converting nicely, and not disappearing overnight - go figure, who would have thought of that only a few months ago. It has been gradually building up for some time now.

.
2:38 pm on Sept 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

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lots & lots of new traffic, where none existed from them before


I'm not seeing that here (UK, niche service). Where are you seeing it?
3:29 pm on Sept 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I am seeing a 30-50% drop by the hour today. Rankings seem to be holding, from what I can tell. There are weather related problems in Florida, but I don't think it is enough to make that much of a difference.

Anyone else seeing a change? Hoping it is a general drop in US internet traffic for something.
4:15 pm on Sept 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Where are you seeing it?

Multiple small-traffic US e-commerce. MS traffic not at Google level, however rapidly growing, and not in the habit of disappearing abruptly overnight.

I have noted here people referring to traffic in the hundreds of thousands of uniques per day. I am referring here to traffic in the few hundred uniques per day, per site. Nice for a steady income.

.
6:52 pm on Sept 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

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My site had a huge google traffic drop (~80%) on Aug 9th but today starting at around 5h UTC it fully recovered. I did nothing towards the recovery as I didn't know what was wrong in the first place.

I love google again. :)
6:58 pm on Sept 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I am seeing a 30-50% drop by the hour today. Rankings seem to be holding, from what I can tell. There are weather related problems in Florida, but I don't think it is enough to make that much of a difference.


Appears to be a false alarm. Three hours about 40% down, then a rebound. Might have been a server issue on our end.
9:30 pm on Sept 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

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If this has already been discussed, my apologies - but I noticed (I don't know when this started) that google local has changed to actually send people to a business site/url instead of a google local/maps page...I think this is a recent change? Business URL's in google local re If so, what influence has it had on user behavior in the serps - possibly more people don't go as deeply into the organic results as they did before this change? Thoughts?
11:10 pm on Sept 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Please login to your Google Analytics, under
"Traffic Sources->Sources->Referrals->google.com->/ {ROOT}"

Our traffic dropped from approx 300 to ZERO on September 19 and stayed on ZERO.

Careful: I am not talking about organic traffic. Referral traffic from Google.com is from forums, plus pages, etc...

I am sure that this drop is related to the September 19th update and it must be in the layout of Google, as the drop is only from Referrals from the Root domain.

Maybe the G Plus has changed but I believe it has to do of how Semantics are showed on the SERPs.

Anyone else sees the same?
Anyone knows what referrals from the Google Root page may include and what has changed?

CORRECTION:
Analyzing the problem further, it seems just like a reporting issue: The problem happens to Safari browser's Google search. Could be related to iOS 7, maybe...
7:25 am on Sept 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

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We see a increase of about 33%, what is good. But conversions are ZERO ( no calls, no items in the basket, site works fine though ) from organics and from adwords.

Do you see similar?

ecom, germany
9:18 am on Sept 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@Martin Ice Web

You may wish to take a look at the countries/stats which are referring organic traffic to your site(s). Any change in the usual pattern?
11:40 am on Sept 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@reseller, traffic Comes from germany, so it is not the problem. The problem begann around 02/09 und gets worse every day. It seems like the wrong poeple are passed through. There are daily shifts and within 10 minutes we have 5-6 sales.

ecom, germany
1:36 pm on Sept 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Since about the 19th, our seasonal upswing has been clamped. Weekly traffic is no longer sinusoidal, but more flat lined. I increased Adwords spend to no avail. It's like a game of "whack-a-mole".
4:30 pm on Sept 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I really don't think that Google update of 19th September 2013 has been limited to kill two backlinks spam networks. There must be something bigger than that, for example optimization of Google AdWords revenues etc..
11:16 pm on Sept 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@reseller
Correct, it is something else too. Our traffic is down 10% since September 19 and we neither have any link scheme nor do we engage in link building.
Our foreign language pages were hit the most.
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