Instead of everyone posting about how Google is out to screw you, how about we try and get to the root of the update that people are referring to on or around Valentine's day.
What We Know
- Page Layout Update On or Around Feb. 6th
- Another Update Around Feb. 14th - To Be Determined?
- New Google Maps Being Taken Out of Beta This Week
- Google Shopping PLA Campaigns Taken Out of Beta
- Crawl Rates Were Unusually High Prior to the Updates
- Google Analytics Data was Skewed/Reporting Incorrectly for a Short Period Early this Week
- Google Analytics Updated Their Dashboard Design
Yes, I understand that most of the above may likely be completely unrelated, but these are just facts and may lead us to understand what this update was on Valentine's Day.
Additionally, I am seeing quite a few people talking about eCommerce sites being heavily influenced, but this update was not isolated to any particular vertical and not strictly eCommerce related in my opinion. So let's work together to find some commonality to those sites affected by the Valentine's Day update...
Affected Site Profile
Our client who was affected was ranking anywhere from #1 to #4 for the most important terms and has been in this general position for years across Google, Bing, and Yahoo. On Feb. 14th, rankings on Google completely disappeared. For a select few secondary terms, the clients rankings have not been affected.
Background: Client provides point of sale software systems to a vertical that has been singled out in the past by Google (check cashing / payday loans / financial services), although client site was not affected by previous iterations targeting these verticals.
- Client Has No Paid Ads ANYWHERE on the site; however, client did use a professionally created promo video above the fold on the homepage explaining how their system works. This has since been moved to appease any possible conflict with the Page Layout refresh, but if the page layout refresh targeted this, that is just ludicrous.
- Client is running a small Adwords Campaign targeting the same primary keywords.
- Backlinks to client site are normal, and no linking campaigns have ever been run. No manual spam action has ever taken by Google and in the lead up to the Feb. 14th rankings drop, no links have been found that would be red flags. In fact, no SEO work has ever been done to this site other than on-page factors.
- Google Local Listing For the Business Has Completely Disappeared, although in essence, they are not a local business. Doing a search for "Business Name + City" shows no map listing...same for "Business Name and Address". This is very strange to me.