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Google Updates and SERP Changes - March 2014

   
8:54 am on Mar 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

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System: The following 2 messages were cut out of thread at: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4642316.htm [webmasterworld.com] by robert_charlton - 3:04 am on Mar 1, 2014 (PST -8)


@advaith

Embedded video was discussed a couple of pages ago in this thread [webmasterworld.com...] (pages 5 & 6), and focus on news has also come and gone in the SERPs - and in discussions in earlier threads - a couple of times.

My guess is they are still testing these in the results, probably with a view to rolling them out at some point.
.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 6:12 am (utc) on Mar 3, 2014]
[edit reason] added link [/edit]

11:21 am on Mar 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I see another big change this week-end -10%...
8:59 pm on Mar 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

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One of my sites disappeared from SERPs yesterday around 18:00 UTC.
10:27 pm on Mar 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Judging by the effect is a small Panda run.
11:47 pm on Mar 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

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One site is showing a large spike in phantom crawl errors again. Anyone else?


Not a large spike, but a reiteration of all the errors I reported as fixed last time around.

The interesting thing is that the errors are "links" from pages that hadn't existed for months (and in one case years) on the "Detected" date.

I think it extremely likely that historic data are incorporated in both metrics and penalties, which is why recovery is so elusive (and just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water...).
12:13 am on Mar 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Judging by the effect is a small Panda run.


In Jan and Feb, Panda ran on or about the 11th of the month (do a search for Glenn Gabe "Uncovering the Panda Update from January") and all my metrics are showing that what is currently churning is also Panda (again, on the 11th or thereabouts).

One really odd thing is that our google crawl rate plummeted on the 6th and has been very low ever since. Today (the 11th) it's normal again. I hadn't seen a drop in crawl rate before an update before, usually it's a spike. I don't see any ranking changes yet but our traffic has been horrible since Saturday. Lately that's how a Panda update goes for us - horrible traffic while it rolls out, then we're stable again. When we used to get hit by Panda we'd see a spike in traffic before it rolled out. I guess I'll take the few days of loss to not be hit anymore... now if only we could start gaining traffic again.
9:29 am on Mar 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Judging by the effect is a small Panda run.



Aren't we also overdue for a Penguin update?
9:42 am on Mar 12, 2014 (gmt 0)




Aren't we also overdue for a Penguin update?


I had it in my head to expect one around April or May.
11:02 am on Mar 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Since 2 hours we get non https refs from Google including the query string.

Something is up.

ecom, germany
1:04 am on Mar 13, 2014 (gmt 0)



Penguin updates happen in late April/early May and October..
6:11 am on Mar 13, 2014 (gmt 0)



Yesterday, i have noticed that most of our keywords are back again to its previous position which had gone far down in ranking. is there any update on march 12?
6:40 am on Mar 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I saw a change on 11th, so far with my sites I'm seeing some winners & loosers

But also Youtube, Flickr & loads of so called "sites-guildes" ranking for competitive terms that I'm pretty amazed G is ranking
9:50 am on Mar 13, 2014 (gmt 0)



Something is definitely happening - our results are all over the place. There's a bad moon on the rise, as Creedence would say :)
11:28 am on Mar 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

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WMT shows an increase in Impressions and Clicks (both UK-only and globally) on 10 March. What I am seeing in my server logs is consistent with this (both on 10 March and since).

I see some minor shuffling in the SERPs, but nothing that would clearly account for this. Main key term still finds my site on page 4, where it has been lurking for a couple of months: a "recovery" of sorts, as it spent much of last year on page 40+ (I attribute this to the major disavowal I submitted at the begiining of October).
1:07 pm on Mar 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

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On my 17 Inch screen i see 13 Google ads and one organics!
Could they say that Google is interested in displaying organics serps, no way.
The font is so big that there is only space for ads and no organics. Not a good user experience. I don´t like the big Fonts, it makes the page look crowdy and the title have word wraps. And you need more time to read the titles. With the smaller font you can catch the whole title within a wink not so with this big font.

Please change back to small fonts.

ecom, germany

[edited by: Martin_Ice_Web at 1:10 pm (utc) on Mar 14, 2014]

1:07 pm on Mar 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

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haven't read much yet in this thread, but just wanted to post :

+40% increase in blog keyword traffic from Wednesday to Thursday. (40% increase occurred yesterday) This occurred on 15+ blog sites that have content updates bi-daily!

Although, some of the similar sites had 0% increase.

So something good was done, finally. Lets hope it continues.

Anybody else noticing ?
2:41 pm on Mar 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

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@Martin,

I've noticed the large font over the last 3 days on google uk. When I first saw it I thought it was due to a computer crash from a day or two before - and I went round checking screen resolution settings and browser viewing size.

It's not just the font size - google shopping images are larger too.

And the SERPS I'm seeing don't word-wrap the titles. They just chop the end off. So all our carefully crafted sales messages are now ruined. I'm seeing titles like: "Visit us here to get the greatest value wid..."

The setup is a real mess. Worst I've seen in ages.

@Mike

No, I'm seeing pretty much the opposite - last few days very slow, unusual foreign visitors and high bounce. (Possibly co-incides with the font size changes).
2:47 pm on Mar 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

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No, I'm seeing pretty much the opposite


Me too. I launched a new design for my site Monday and it's been deathly quiet ever since. I'm hoping it's not due to the new site design. But either way it's pretty bad.
3:14 pm on Mar 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I don´t like the big Fonts, it makes the page look crowdy and the title have word wraps. And you need more time to read the titles. With the smaller font you can catch the whole title within a wink not so with this big font.


It would be nice if Google Search let the user personalize font sizes under "Search Settings." That would be more convenient than having to make adjustments in the browser.
5:35 pm on Mar 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

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@some_Bloke, that is interesting as we have word wraps and the UK has not.
The new layout looks like a kid has done some html beginnings. Its funny that the font size so big as only the ads are fitting to the over the fold content.
So this is all against their own page layout algorithm where content should be readable without scolling and without to many ads over it. But like every time we are all the same some are more same.
Would like to hear a comment about this, propably many poeple have complained about to many organic result over the fold so they took action on it to plaese the users and yes they get many positiv returns.
5:41 pm on Mar 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

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@EG, i guess 95% of the users don´t customize their google search page. So why do they change a layout that is on reason that they got this popular. Clean layout without blingbling.
5:51 pm on Mar 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tigger is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



pure class on another successful update - one of my old money terms is now 17th - the top 16 all youtube ....pure class G ....
7:17 pm on Mar 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

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So why do they change a layout that is on reason that they got this popular. Clean layout without blingbling.


IMHO, the new layout is cleaner than the old one. (It's a little too clean for my tastes: I still like my links underlined.)

In any case, I'd imagine that Google did a lot of user testing before flipping the "on" switch for the new layout. And they probably know, as newspaper and magazine publishers know, that layout changes often generate complaints but are usually accepted (and forgotten) over time.
8:40 am on Mar 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Sunday 16.03.2014 one of my sites got a 30% UP BUMP on organic traffic!

Finally a ray of hope...
9:36 pm on Mar 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Is just me or It's Been Awfully Quiet Around Here?

I see less and less activity in 2014 on this forum.
Is like everyone got hit by Google moves and there is no hope.

At least this is what I feel...

Panda, Penguin, birds and other secret animals managed to "break the spirit" even for honest webmasters!?
12:11 am on Mar 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

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One single factor I think is very disheartening: that unsolicited third-party links can now trigger penalties.

Anything on page 1 is an obvious target for spurious links and plagiarism, so by penalising the recipients of it, Google makes good placement transient and unreliable for all but those sites with inviolable authority.

My own view - whatever Google's motivation - is that this damages the results (it reduces the quality of sites in the top positions). I think this is clearly observable, probably testable, and supported by widespread anecdotal observation.

All we can do here is keep an eye on the results, with a view to working out between us what underlying patterns there are.

I don't know about breaking anyone's spirit, but I think relying on Google organics as a sole or primary marketing tool - which was never particularly advisable - is less advisable now than it used to be.
2:58 am on Mar 18, 2014 (gmt 0)



I noticed a drop in traffic on March 11th like quite a few of you. It's got to be an update of some kind. About half of my keywords dropped 5 or 10 positions - exactly. It was just enough to push them to page 2. Noticed this on Google US and Google Canada. I don't have any links coming from Spain, Germany, Italy or Poland. I also noticed singular variant keywords took a bigger hit than the plural forms. I also noticed a lot more UK and Australian sites in the Top 3 pages. Did anyone else see this?
9:16 am on Mar 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I noticed a drop in traffic on March 11th like quite a few of you.


I'm not seeing this. Where are the sites that are seeing this located? I had what now turns out to have been a brief spike in referrals/traffic on 10-11 March, but I can't see what accounted for it.

I am still seeing more ghost 404s, however (anyone else?). The latest batch are from a referring page that was itself removed in May 2012. Perhaps, similarly, Penguin's penalties are applied "even unto the third and fourth generation".
10:56 am on Mar 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I have a lot of 404 errors that are reported from pages removed with 410 error a few months ago :(

Internal links report is still listing links from pages removed 3-4 months ago.
It's useless.
12:18 pm on Mar 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Is just me or It's Been Awfully Quiet Around Here?


@Mentant,

it is quiet frustating to see all the efforts are wipe out with a single update from Google.

It is quiet frustating to see a new Topic "softer Panda update coming soon" to help smaller sites and Business when a year ago there is a Topic "Big brands do not have the upper hand - Matt Cutts"? So what? What is the truth right now?

It is quiet frustating to see Google making all things that normal sites get punsihed for.

It is quiet frustating to see all queries in my niche are occupied by Amazon + ebay + 2 big resellers.

It is quiet frustating to see the new layout helping them pushing the organics out of sight.

It is quiet frustating to make a query an see brands poping up without any correlation to the query.

It is quiet frustating to search with Google because it consist of replacing keywords with silly synonyms.

I could do it a lot longer but i think i put up the main reasons .

Oh, i forgot the moral: it is tso frustating that webmaster gave up on Google.
12:42 pm on Mar 18, 2014 (gmt 0)



@Wilburforce
Site is located in the US. We get a lot of Canadian traffic, too. I didn't see any increase in crawl errors or even crawl visits. I traced the traffic reduction back to March 10th at noon. All traffic got reduced by more than half in one fell swoop. We don't have any phantom errors or many server errors. There was no increase in crawls before it happened. No increases in backlinks.

Maybe this is a 'phantom update' targeted to a specific-niche?
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