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Google Updates and SERP Changes - December 2013

     
1:31 pm on Dec 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

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System: The following 3 messages were cut out of thread at: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4620994.htm [webmasterworld.com] by aakk9999 - 3:08 am on Dec 2, 2013 (gmt 0)


@wilburforce, google says the the 404s are linked from a page that has been deleted two years ago. The links on this page are not up to date. google keeps this links in their robots database even if you 410 them.
Very big problem here.
4:06 pm on Dec 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

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amazingly quiet here...dead quiet on the site too, suddenly 42% mobile and all are one hit and gone. Traffic continues to nose dive FNFR.
5:55 pm on Dec 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

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amazingly quiet here...dead quiet on the site too, suddenly 42% mobile and all are one hit and gone. Traffic continues to nose dive FNFR.


Google is using guerilla tactics in the night.
No signs or communications, only a final scream from the victims... touched by a 90% traffic drop! :(

Is like a fight between google and webmasters, not a symbiosis
1:26 pm on Dec 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I just read an articel about the important and trusted etailers in Germany. This representative survey says that Amazon is not first anymore in germany. An other business that is literaly a statinary business that build up itīs ecom Business in the last years has better rankings in trust, pricing and usability. funnily enough this business dos not even get near the rankings of Amazon in google serps! I guess they donīt spend enough Money and are not a member of Googles Internet association.
4:03 pm on Dec 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Getting back to the topic of "Google Updates and SERP Changes - December 2013," it's pretty much business as usual for our site, although referrals and traffic are holding up slightly better than usual for this time of year (which is our deadest time). Googlebot continues to be on a binge, though: Normally we see one "deep crawl" peak per month in our WMT Crawl Stats graph, and this month we've had half a dozen.

[edited by: goodroi at 8:05 pm (utc) on Dec 16, 2013]

6:57 pm on Dec 16, 2013 (gmt 0)



@Dmero, i canīt see this trend.


Even in my niche, it only happens for certain types of queries. Most SERPs still have the biggest e-comm sites at the front.

That is interesting. In my sector there was a period (from late August through the first part of September) when news stories appeared in my sector for a couple of key terms.


These are single story links, so maybe I'm making something out of nothing, but I can say that I didn't see this kind of thing near as much a year ago.

Maybe Google has cranked up the "authority" setting for major news sites in general Web search?


This was the site of a local news station.
8:02 pm on Dec 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Mods Note: Your volunteer moderators unfortunately do not have time to keep reminding you that this thread is only for specifically discussing updates and serp changes. Discussing the general concept of change or how Google conducts business is not the focus. Off-topic comments will be deleted (if they haven't already been).

If you want to talk about anything other than specific serp changes in December then you should probably start a new & separate thread otherwise your post will likely be deleted.

Let's all act professional and respect the topic of each thread and the rules of the forum. Thank you for your understanding and help.
10:36 pm on Dec 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I had a feeling that a Panda update was underway over the past week or so given some of the metrics I've been watching for the past few years and sure enough now within the last 24 hours our traffic has started to drop, specifically Google referrals.

Is anyone else seeing any changes that might support this?

It's so disappointing since we'd been on a slow but encouraging recovery path since August with Panda. Our traffic sometimes bounces around during an update but we get a ton of traffic leading up to any holiday and we should be doing (traffic-wise) far better than we are right now.
11:50 pm on Dec 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@getcooking - we were on a steady recovery from mid July until the last week in November when we dropped like a rock for no apparent reason (let's call it a black update). December traffic historically should be rising, but it's falling. I do however predict a HUGE rise on 12/26 - it happens every year in my nice. If it doesn't, then we'll know they've tightened the screws again.

I'm not sure how long ago they did it, but ads are now at the bottom of the page in my niche, nothing at the top or right sidebar anymore. This could be they reason for our upset as we get re-assimilated, as usual.
12:28 am on Dec 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@backdraft7 we definitely saw movement on Nov 27, fortunately (for us) it seemed positive (but also Panda-ish). 12/26 for us will be a huge drop (historically) but we pick up again for New Year's eve/day.

I'm curious about your statement "ads are now at the bottom of the page in my niche" - where are you referring to with that? In the SERPS or the pages that rank have ads in those positions?
2:30 am on Dec 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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- ads in the serps
7:45 am on Dec 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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OT

I just executed a search regarding a civil action and the results are horrendous.

is there some major change?

8/10 results from same (non-relevant) domain

<snip>

[edited by: goodroi at 11:07 am (utc) on Dec 17, 2013]
[edit reason] Please reread the mods note. [/edit]

7:53 am on Dec 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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we were on a steady recovery from mid July until the last week in November when we dropped like a rock for no apparent reason (let's call it a black update).


I can support this statement. Started to recover. You could see that poeple where happy with the serps, cause we had very Little bounce rates and poeple were fetching many pages in a row ( and buying widgets ). This smells like an old Panda, it is as worse as in july 2012.

8/10 results from same (non-relevant) domain


some of our pages are 3 times on page 1 ( #2 / #3 / #4 )for some queries. They does not produce any traffic though.
For a user absolute stupid. For serving ads absolute big deal.
3:18 pm on Dec 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I had a feeling that a Panda update was underway...is anyone else seeing any changes that might support this?


I think so. One site I have always shows a significant boost when a Panda or Penguin update hits, followed by a slow decline. Today, it got a boost.

I see some unusual movement on some other sites too but nothing I can pin on a specific type of update.
5:29 pm on Dec 17, 2013 (gmt 0)



Keep in mind that some drops might not be so strange. We, too, are dropping, but past Analytics data shows this is a pre-Christmas drop.
5:36 pm on Dec 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I took a look on my Webmaster Tools account.
It seems that I got hit by another google update on 13 December 2013 :(
5:55 pm on Dec 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Took a hit today in the UK... been steady since last update so not sure if somethings bubbling! Hopefully it will settle out..
6:21 pm on Dec 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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It seems that I got hit by another google update on 13 December 2013


@Mentat

When you say "got hit", what WMT measurement(s) are you looking at?
7:12 pm on Dec 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@Martin Ice Web

For serving ads absolute big deal.


these particular SERPS have no ads at all

the same search earlier this month returned a fairly nice set of results (and i found what i wanted), but now the results are dire.

had to go through browser history to find the page of interest again
8:03 pm on Dec 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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When you say "got hit", what WMT measurement(s) are you looking at?


Impressions

Subdomain got hif on 4th of September, recovered on 17 November and now down again.

[i.imgur.com...]

Other subdomains shows similar down trend... :(
8:35 pm on Dec 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Have you changed anything to recover on 17 Nov?
8:42 pm on Dec 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@Mentat

Thanks!

The change in mid-November certainly looks like a filter/penalty being switched off, although the drop on 13 December could still just about be a quieter-than-usual Friday. Please let us know where the next couple of days take it.

Do you think some action you took - possibly much further back in time - was responsible for removing the filter, or do you attribute it to Google reversing or toning down some previous algorithm change?
9:51 pm on Dec 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@diddlydazz, I was refering to your section. Domain stuffing is good for selling ads and bad for user experience.

the same search earlier this month returned a fairly nice set of results (and i found what i wanted), but now the results are dire.


Yes, i see this too. It is like they turned of quality for pushing up brands again.
I canīt find specialized site in serps anymore. I have to go far behind page 3 to find spezialized sites now. Last month this was much better.
Although g seems to like brands with heterogene widget pages. So searching for red widget returns me in most cases
brands with search result pages with "Like" option. E.g. table red widget, chair red widget, window red widget where i was looking for only chair red widget.
I have to find the information on the page on my own. -> bounce

My guess is, that they made a roll back from last penguin/panda update in begin of october.
12:00 pm on Dec 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

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My results seem to be back to same as before October update....
2:27 pm on Dec 18, 2013 (gmt 0)



Normally I don't say this, but the SERPs are terrible this week. And not just because we're down in them, but they really do seem closer to a set I saw maybe five or six months ago.

One particular formerly rather generic keyword SERP, which changed a lot earlier this year to reflect sites offering a new popular product in our niche, has partially reverted to how that SERP previously looked, with some results that don't even make sense.
2:33 pm on Dec 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Some of my UK sites seem to be hit today/yesterday. Definitely seems like some sort of update rolling out.
2:49 pm on Dec 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@dymero - I'd have to agree. We are now sitting back at traffic levels of July & August. Any recovery, even seasonal recovery we picked up Sept, October & November has been erased. No change to site whatsoever. I suspect it will juggle for a few days then return 50% of what was lost, no more.
2:58 pm on Dec 18, 2013 (gmt 0)



We haven't moved much at all, in terms of traffic and in SERPs. Slightly less traffic if anything.
3:13 pm on Dec 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Our Google referrals have been pretty steady this month--which could be interpreted as a very slight improvement, since December is always our slowest month of the year.

Googlebot has been much more active than usual for a good while now, but there hasn't been any obvious impact on search rankings or referrals. (Until recently, we could pretty much count on a noticeable boost or dip in traffic within a week of a deep crawl. Maybe Google has taken inspiration from Bing, and deep crawling is the "new normal"?)
4:44 pm on Dec 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I've been defaulting to Bing for a couple of years, not thrilled with Bing's results but finding them much better than Google's. Since sometime in October or November I had noticed when I did pop over to Google out of frustration, the results were good like they had been years ago.

Well that's gone, since around the 13th or so. I'm getting very strange results on a lot of queries that should be terribly straightforward. Also, friends have shown me stuff like a query including the word "buy" that surfaces 1 or 0 transactional websites in the organic listings! That just blew my mind.

Something is definitely going on and it's not ALL seasonal. I do have one site where I'm seeing peaks and valleys with seasonal keyphrases, and nothing there strikes me as weird or wrong. But a lot of random queries I do as a searcher are bringing up results that are either badly mismatched or seem random.

I believe this means there's some kind of massive testing going on. Or else it's the worst update yet, but I can't believe anyone at Google is seeing what I'm seeing and thinking, "Searchers are going to love this!" :D
5:01 pm on Dec 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I'm not seeing anything different on my site - still in the doldrums - but a couple of Google searches I have tried in the last few days have yielded similar results to a few months ago. The synonym is back in evidence (I haven't noticed any improvement in accuracy).

Also there is the News phenomenon that Dymero reported a few days ago.

Possible they are re-testing whatever they were trying out (and by the look of it, abandoned in the meantime) in August.
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