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Google Updates and SERP Changes - February 2014



1:45 pm on Feb 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

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System: The following 8 messages were cut out of thread at: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4634995.htm [webmasterworld.com] by robert_charlton - 1:01 am on Feb 4, 2014 (PST -8)

On February 2nd, our site experienced a huge drop in traffic. Anyone else see this? My first suspicion is that G figured out a way to collect as much Superbowl related traffic as possible. Our 10 years of traffic and sales records show no drops on previous Superbowl Sunday's. Looks like a big update was unleashed.


3:50 pm on Feb 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing something really odd - in WMT, my "search queries" graph shot up through the roof - it had been roughly between the 500,000 and 750,000 mark for the past few months. On 2/13 it shot up a bit over 750,000, and then on on 2/15, it shot up to just under 1m impressions. However, clicks has not increased by the same proportions at all, and my site traffic did not grow much either.

That is the same pattern that occurred in 2012, right before Penguin (or whatever) hit me on April 24.

My traffic doesn't seem to be down - hard to tell right now due to a certain international widget competition taking place in Russia, which has changed the attention span of my visitors a bit.


8:28 pm on Feb 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

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My observation: This week traffic shifted into a PM pattern. No converting traffic until mid afternoon and later. I've seen this many times before. Suddenly it might shift back to converting traffic just in the morning and none in the evening. Not sure if it's throttling, or some other way traffic is being manipulated. Either way, the pattern is very unnatural. Prior to 2012, we never saw this pattern as traffic was much more natural (statistically speaking). Bounce rate is way up all of a sudden. No site changes.


8:43 pm on Feb 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Has anyone observed an increase in the number of httpS results showing up in SERPS?

I'm seeing some of our pages showing up that way, and looking around, I see others as well (including pages from official/branded sites), however, I'm unsure when this trend started as it wasn't something I was keeping tabs on previously.

I realize the change in October by Google to secure all searches, but this seems like a different issue.

Martin Ice Web

8:56 pm on Feb 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

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@samwest, that is funny, we see it the otherway. Converting traffic till 11am. Then till 7pm nothing. I know that ohno does see it the same way. For sure its manipulated.
I see that users from certain ISPs does not show up in logs after 11am. So there seems a IP filter or something like that?

ecom, germany


9:17 pm on Feb 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

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WMT is stuck on 16.02, so I believe that they keep their breath for another update.

Brace yourself!


10:56 pm on Feb 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

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May be so. They're updating the update...

My graph shows a dive for the 6th. Don't see a similar pattern for the 16th though.


11:23 pm on Feb 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

Yep, dive for the 6th across ALL of our sites. Ranging from affiliate sites, to news websites both in AU and global. Interestingly though, some of our sites in a certain niche have had a downwards trend in traffic since then though.

Perhaps it wasn't just a Page Layout algo update?


1:46 am on Feb 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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My Google analytics account showed double traffic yesterday where other traffic meters just show normal traffic. I checked every source I could think of but can't find the reason for the GA anomally.


9:27 am on Feb 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

I've also seen a drop in wt account (for a single day). In the analytics account I've seen a spike (traffic doubled) which disappeared in the next day.

These are just Google bugs. The traffic was unchanged, even the graphs from wt and analytics shows these anomalies.


12:52 pm on Feb 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Martin - if we consider the time difference, it makes sense.


3:48 pm on Feb 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Re GA spikes. I checked again today and now the 19th is normal traffic and the 20th has a large spike. Must be a glitch.


3:54 pm on Feb 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

Same here Lorel. Sales also went up up up, wow, would life be good if this could stay. Just like the good old days back when. Ecom Canada.


3:57 pm on Feb 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

Christ I wish it had been like that here. Dead. No traffic & it seems the UK is switched off today. A single cart add from.......INDIA! Can't see anything is the SERP's to explain the death.

Oh I smell an update.

ecom UK.

Off for a beer or 10.


4:47 pm on Feb 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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PS. as I explained above on the 20th the GA spike on my site produced no extra traffic according to my traffic stats on other programs. Does GA record Gbot visits?


5:50 pm on Feb 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

Does GA record Gbot visits?

Hmm, I know the other trackers I use don't.


8:30 pm on Feb 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Does GA record Gbot visits?

It shouldn't:



12:12 am on Feb 24, 2014 (gmt 0)

Has anyone's ecom sales recovered?

Still "dead as" here... a very unusual quiet weekend. Big fat ZERO sales, no emails (except for spam).

4 ecom sites, 4 eBay stores (Electronics, Australia).

Adwords?... i am so broke after this latest round of Google assault, i could not afford it even if i wanted.

Busy shutting down whatever ads we have running. Whats the point...


1:27 am on Feb 24, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Over the past few weeks, we've seen a very welcome increase in search traffic mainly from Google. We haven't made any real changes except for daily updates across many pages. Most recently (starting on Feb 14-15), a nice bump up. Googlebot activity seems to have slowed down a little bit, though and updates seems to take some time to be reflected in the SERPs.


Your 'time spent downloading page' numbers are ghastly. If you're experiencing any traffic issues, that's probably the main reason, if not a very concerning secondary reason.

Martin Ice Web

8:05 am on Feb 24, 2014 (gmt 0)

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@goodoldweb, no sales didnīt recover since the last big !quality! update. We had only a couple of sales since friday.
We stopped adwords we couldnīt afford to spend more money into it.


11:13 am on Feb 24, 2014 (gmt 0)

No recovery here. At least the foreign junk traffic has died down. Gbot seems very quiet though, never a good sign.


11:48 am on Feb 24, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I am seeing an increase in my e-com but I wasn't penalized. It could be my site is performing better or more of my competition has been penalized.


11:58 am on Feb 24, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Lead generating supersites seem to have received another boost this week, zero local traders on some of the local serps I watch!


2:47 pm on Feb 24, 2014 (gmt 0)

Will it was nice for a day. Back to normal over the weekend and the traffic spike has been changed to fit the normal pattern. BUT, sales were great for that same day whatever the heck happened. I’ll take it again any day.


2:40 am on Feb 27, 2014 (gmt 0)

Thought I'd share my stats from semrush. There is a clear dive in organic traffic (blue line) from the 13th Feb, for both my ecom site and one of my competitors. Note, this flux is identical for many of my competitors. (and it matches the graph of SlashFilm which Matt Cutts identified as a bug - [seroundtable.com...]

We are based in AU and in the adult industry. So perhaps something to do with spammy adult words?

My graph - [i.imgur.com...]

I'm interested to see comparisons of other industries.

Still trying to work out if this is due to page layout algo. We both certainly have no ads on our pages.

[edited by: aakk9999 at 11:53 pm (utc) on Feb 27, 2014]
[edit reason] Changed image hosting [/edit]

Martin Ice Web

10:45 am on Feb 27, 2014 (gmt 0)

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the graph that u Show is similar to all the Graphs i have seen since 14.02. All have a sudden decline in traffic. And all of them are ecoms. The worse is that bounce went up and sales went down.
Mybe ecoms are vulnerable to this page layout algo. I mail with some webmasters and we think it could be something like the basket on the top identified by the algo as an ad?


11:26 am on Feb 27, 2014 (gmt 0)

@ibeau, had a site down the 13. also just like your graph. Somewhat adult, with many occurrences of a word witch is also used in the film industry. So I think you are into something with your theory about spammy adult words.


11:39 pm on Feb 27, 2014 (gmt 0)

@martin @nettulf

Saying that, there is one domain (a competitor) that has shot up and is now ranking #1 for pretty much every main term I could ever hope for.. it's actually ridiculous how many keywords they are now #1 for - that's why I think it's some kind of bug.

They were nowhere to be seen and now check out their semrush graph - [i.imgur.com...] (Notice their complete lack of ad use compared to the other semrush graphs I posted of my site and the other competitor.. something to think about)

They have zero backlinks, look like a regular ecommerce site (fairly new), have a banner on home page, shopping cart in header, all the "ädult" keywords I do, but have noticed that they are Bolding words and keyword stuffing more than anyone else. They even have 2 sets of h1 tags on the homepage, top and bottom.

I'm going to spend a good amount of time tomorrow analysing my site and their site. Go through the source, page layout, backlinks, index numbers, content keywords, etc. I just want to get to the bottom of this.

[edited by: aakk9999 at 11:55 pm (utc) on Feb 27, 2014]
[edit reason] Changed image hosting [/edit]


12:25 am on Feb 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I find it interesting that the competitor shot up around the same time when there was an update of "Page Layout Algorithm".


10:16 pm on Feb 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

@aakk9999 Yeah something's just no right there. Still no word from Google about any other changes in the algo..

Here's another graph from the biggest shopping comparison site in Australia that my products are listed on. They have been pretty steady over the past 6 months and then a huge drop around the 14th Feb [i.imgur.com...]

I'm wondering if they've been hit and it's affecting sites that link to/from it? Just a thought.


10:37 pm on Feb 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing design changes again (which I mentioned a couple of months ago). This time I made a screenshot.

Larger title text, underlines removed from hrefs.


I blurred out the ad and I suppose the subject isn't something the mods would have a problem with.
This 213 message thread spans 8 pages: 213

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