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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]

4:39 pm on Mar 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

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The very light posting on this thread lately might indicate that webmasters have lost interest in Google updates and in what our good friend Matt Cutts write or say. Because it makes no difference at all. Sites getting hit and then recover and then hit again and then recover etc.. etc... for reasons or for no reasons at all. Better to join my WebmasterWorld good friend Billy S in watching the grass grow :-)
4:58 pm on Mar 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

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@Jake90027

In what niche - generally speaking - were you seeing this?

In the last few weeks it looks to me - this is more impression than strong evidence - that Google's geo-targeting has improved slightly: apart from the spike I mentioned earlier, Impressions and Clicks have followed a fairly steady pattern over the last couple of months, but if I filter for UK-only (my location) there is modest improvement. I am getting a little more UK traffic (my business is location-based), and a little less international traffic.

When you say "All traffic got reduced by more than half", is there any regional variation, or was the reduction centred on US/Canada?
5:08 pm on Mar 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

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


It's probably a combination of factors:

1) Forums always have membership churn to varying degrees. The member-replacement rate or "fertility rate" in forums probably isn't what it used to be, thanks to competition from social networks, blogs that allow comments, etc.

2) Threads in this forum are often in reaction to Google updates. Google no longer has a monthly "dance," and routine Panda updates or refreshes are no longer being announced, so there are fewer events to drive discussion.
6:04 pm on Mar 18, 2014 (gmt 0)



@Wilburforce

It's retail, but advice on buying products - not selling products themselves. In my analytics, I can see a 60% reduction from the US, Canada, UK, India, Australia and New Zealand. It's across all countries (even the ones not targeted).
9:19 pm on Mar 18, 2014 (gmt 0)



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

I don't think it's a matter of them feeling no hope, but no impact. In the era of big brand dominance, far fewer webmasters feel the impact of updates by Google and have simply lost interest. Who knows, maybe Jeff Bezos of Amazon and John Donahoe of eBay will take their places by posting in the forums!
10:03 pm on Mar 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I don't think it's a matter of them feeling no hope, but no impact. In the era of big brand dominance, far fewer webmasters feel the impact of updates by Google and have simply lost interest. Who knows, maybe Jeff Bezos of Amazon and John Donahoe of eBay will take their places by posting in the forums!


This is it. Many niches now are "no go zones" for small business - they just don't feature at all in the organics. So what's to discuss?
10:35 am on Mar 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Wow, something huge just happened in the UK.

I am seeing people who have enjoyed top positions for years banished to page 6 and onwards. Many search terms as well.

Penguin?
10:45 am on Mar 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Just checked 20 clients SERPS. The gap between my clients and their "true local competitors" has widened and been filled in by a few more big brands. Sites like gumtree and netmums have had a boost, the kinda sites you really don't want to see when looking for a local cleaner lol.

Good for me, good for my clinets but bad for the quality of the SERPS, again!

Id say another power up for national brands at the expense of small local business...
10:49 am on Mar 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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@petehall - I'm not seing anything in my niches.
11:00 am on Mar 19, 2014 (gmt 0)



Also seeing a big shake up in the UK. Sites affected are big link builders, although not by dodgy methods.

@petehall - I'd agree, Penguin.
11:17 am on Mar 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Disappointing if it is penguin as I have a few new clients who came to me because they were hit by P and I thoroughly disavowed all the dodgy links, no movement for these sites. And yes, they have more than enough good backlinks left over!
11:21 am on Mar 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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new clients who came to me because they were hit by P


CS2, have you added any new links though? I don't think just disavowing is enough. It's also about diluting what is already existing (anchor text wise) IMO.
11:27 am on Mar 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Apart from getting them on the dmoz and a couple of local links to local companies no, but we are talking about the kinda sites that don't naturally attract many links anyway, say local maid services!
11:40 am on Mar 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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It doesn't need to be hard hitting links. Social media nofollows are ideal. Twitter, FB and Pinterest are what I used. Along with disavow and manual removal. My site came out of Penguin in 3 incremental stages. No movement on this one so I assume I fully recovered after the last one.
11:44 am on Mar 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Sorry I thought you meant follow links! Yes all social is automatically setup and done as standard m8!
12:30 pm on Mar 19, 2014 (gmt 0)



Nothing for us yet, UK ecomm.
6:05 pm on Mar 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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In my sector (UK niche service) I see a couple of newcomers at #1 and #2 for key term and a bit of shuffling, but nothing really radical.

There is quite a lot of difference between what I see from behind a proxy and what I see without one, so it is quite hard to say what the "real" SERPs look like.

However, on unmasked Google it is Ads (the little yellow Ad boxes are very evident today) followed by Google Places, so on a small-to-medium display the organics probably start below the fold.
11:09 pm on Mar 19, 2014 (gmt 0)



@Wilburforce I'm seeing newcomers in postion #1 #2 and #3 for key terms also. One new site in particular is now ranking #1 for over 150 key terms. How the hell does that work?

I've searched in incognito and in several browsers, and also exported a rankings list from semrush for them. I can't explain it.
11:59 pm on Mar 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I'm not seeing any penguin activity in my niche. We've a couple of sites that got hit hard by a few of the penguin updates. We fired the SEO team, took a machete to the bad links back in November (and manual actions were removed) and nothing has moved lately.

We've only branded and random anchor text left, so I'd be surprised (and disappointed unfortunately) if it was penguin.
2:18 am on Mar 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

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We saw a small traffic downturn on the 14th across the board, except for SERP referrals for our own search results (wtf?) which are blocked by robots.txt.

Though across the site, bounce rate has dropped by ~7.2% on average compared to the previous 10 periods. Based on all user metrics, I estimate that since the 14th, users are (on average) ~5.4% more satisfied.
8:53 am on Mar 20, 2014 (gmt 0)



In light of the news re guest blog networks being hit I'd guess the changes in my niche are a knock on effect of that rather than Penguin. Several using that technique who have dropped out of sight (like a penalty).
10:02 am on Mar 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

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@muzza64 I think you are correct. Just with the effects being so drastic, I thought it had to be a Panda update.
10:18 am on Mar 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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For me, yesterday was another Panda run... another 5-8% gone. It visits me each 2 weeks. It's clearly visible on Analytics.

Not much left...
11:02 am on Mar 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Since this morning Shopping serps are tightend to brands. The some small site that appear on the bottom of the first pages are gone.
Now the serps are
Google ads
Google Shopping
1. big brand ( this one is allways frist on all queries in my niche and ist not Amazon/ebay, it is known as a big link builder)
2. big brand
3. big brand
4-6. Price compare engines
7-10 unrelated brands

I think this must have been the smoother Panda MC was talking about.


ecom, germany
11:07 am on Mar 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I'm not liking the way that they have shifted google shopping to above everything on some SERP's (from the right). Namely mine. People click the pictures in this case and it could REALLY make an impact.
1:42 pm on Mar 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Hahaha...What a screw-up on my major keyword in the UK Serps.

The #1 result is a keyword-stuffed titlebar with their version of "Lorem ipsum" ... Way to go G!
2:03 pm on Mar 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Plus, and I've only just checked this out, I would appear to have been wiped-out by whatever has happened meanwhile my scraped sites, codes and images still reign supreme ... Excellent G, up to your usual high standards eh?
2:53 pm on Mar 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Plus here's another for those of you into images.

So far in my niche widget sector for many of the images I have checked, most of the watermarked images have either gone or been demoted with non-watermarked images ranking at the top, sure there are still a few around however nowhere near the dominance they had.

Is anyone else seeing this? No wonder my traffic has been hit.
3:20 pm on Mar 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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So whats going on? Is it a Penguin or a "soft Panda" or both :-)
4:11 pm on Mar 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I've no idea what's going on however I have had several stickies all saying that their sites are dead as well.
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