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Google Updates and SERP Changes - May 2014

     
1:18 pm on May 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

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System: The following 17 messages were cut out of thread at: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4659095.htm [webmasterworld.com] by brotherhood_of_lan - 11:06 am on May 1, 2014 (utc -5)


I know its Labour Day around the world but my god is quiet today, wouldnt be surprised if an update has rolled out also.
12:20 pm on May 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

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What a mess today. Serps are full of site with "widget not found" and pages that have nothing, nothing to do with the search!
What good times this have been 4 years ago. If the can´t do this right how will they ever produce correct answers withhin their KB?

ecom, germany
5:02 pm on May 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

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My business and client sites have all moved up a few spots in rankings in the last couple of days.
5:10 pm on May 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Serps are full of site with "widget not found" and pages that have nothing, nothing to do with the search!


That's good to know, I'm seeing precisely the same, I thought I was going crazy plus my US traffic seemingly has been decimated...what an absolute mess.
5:31 pm on May 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Panda and Penguin are black and white - like a police car. I passed a police car this morning and the guy was looking at the computer in his car. I get this image in my head anymore of these people at Google sitting in their cubicle with those little yellow helmets with the flashing red light on their heads as they are in hot pursuit of the spam violators. Makes me laugh.
10:02 pm on May 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

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same here, search results are very bad again. not even did my main site move down (good, high quality content), but crap sites with thin content and obvious blackest hat linkbuilding moved up. those last couple of month are just a huge mess.
6:46 am on May 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

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my website is back again on the first page, did some kind of update happened ?
9:30 am on May 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Probably part of the same update that dropped it down earlier in the week.
10:04 am on May 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Probably part of the same update that dropped it down earlier in the week.


Yes - for main term my site dropped two pages earlier in the week and has regained one page today.

The longer-phrase search seems to have gained ground again, which is showing in both WMT and my server logs (and in SERPS, when I check against various phrases).

The problem with these for conventional SEO is that they are far more variable (and often unique: if I filter for CTR in WMT, the first couple of pages are filled with Impressions 1, Clicks 1, CTR 100%).

I see this as the benefit of having high-quality content covering my business and reference subjects. That used to work for one- and two-word terms, but now I get almost no traffic for Blue Widgets (Impressions 1,000) and lots for e.g. How Do I Attach A Blue Widget To A West-Facing Gremlin (Impressions 1).

Overall, traffic is still at less than 20% of 2011 levels.
3:33 pm on May 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I am seeing similar results for keywords as you Wilburforce. Main keywords are slightly down from a few months ago but long tail are up.

Google also seems to be favouring forum posts over blog posts (in 2014).

My traffic (US) was originally hit in April 2012 by about 45% and saw a slow decline till late Oct 2013 where it jumped a bit and is very slowly climbing (still at 50% of 2012 levels)
4:15 am on May 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

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What happened to all my indexed pages in sitemaps? They all disappeared! Check yours!
10:25 am on May 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Samwest, nu problem on my account.
11:57 am on May 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

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@samwest

All my pages are indexed.
2:32 pm on May 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

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@samwest

All index for me.
Maybe a glitch. I had a similar issue some months ago for two days.
11:46 pm on May 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

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What the hell happened here.

[branded3.com...]

And the changes got rolled back?

[seroundtable.com...]

If Panda is/was working as advertised, why the need for a rollback (softer Panda)?

Sounds like a classic case of Coke Classic.
12:31 am on May 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Sounds like a classic case of Coke Classic.

So it was smart?

<aside>
Coke moved away from the "Original Coke" to "New Coke", because when they switched from sugar to high-fructose corn-syrup [cheaper] the taste was different. To switch without people noticing, they moved to "New Coke" [totally different taste], did away with the sugar based "Original Coke", waited a bit, then "re-introduced" the high-fructose corn-syrup version of Coke they refer to as "Coke Classic" -- What they sell today as "Coke Classic" is not the original formula -- It contains high-fructose corn-syrup rather than sugar, which makes the taste different.
</aside>
1:51 am on May 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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The worst thing that could have happened to the web is when big corporations started tinkering, manipulating and introducing bias to their search results.

They all do it now, Google, eBay, Amazon and soon (if not already) Bing and Yahoo...

I used to be proud of being a web entrepreneur... i now really hate my line of business and the thought of how fragile it is and how easily manipulated and out of my control.

If only search could be back to what it used to be. "Real search" and not some crappy higher management agenda!

Googl's SERP are a farce!

[edited by: goodoldweb at 1:53 am (utc) on May 13, 2014]

1:52 am on May 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Smart or dumb depending on who you ask. :)

Here's another example of an "update" and backtracking.

[hmtweb.com...]

Here's an update in April that kinda flew under the radar.

[hmtweb.com...]

Rolling out updates like these, and then rolling back, the first thing my brains says is, "What the hell are these people doing?"
3:04 am on May 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I don't think it was a complete rollback. I say that, because I saw very big gains the week of April 30th on a formerly pandalized domain, and today is the best day I've ever had. I still don't know if it will stick, but it has stuck so far.

Edit: I said it happened last week, but really it was the week before.
6:02 am on May 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I don't think it was a complete rollback.

Me neither. I've seen some ranking changes stick, and some rolled back...and then some.
8:33 am on May 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I have seen this update, some rollback but some stick across different sites!

What the hell are these people doing?


Its called “testing” in a “live environment” rather than getting it right then releasing it, all programming companies do this... on no wait, its the other one, none of them do! ;)

I would suspect it’s because the organics are a “free” service so if they get it wrong it doesn’t affect the bottom line.

Of course they “don’t owe anyone anything” so can “do what they want”, lets forget the fact they built their entire empire by wrapping google ads around non google organic sites, not the other way round.

Just my opinion
1:21 pm on May 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Its called “testing” in a “live environment” rather than getting it right then releasing it, all programming companies do this... on no wait, its the other one, none of them do! ;)


To be fair, the scope of search results is so massive that there isn't any great way to test their performance without large scale human interaction. It isn't a simple quality control system -- they have to measure how people are interacting with the results and make adjustments based on that.
8:10 pm on May 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Google told me there is nothing going on there, no updates.
10:43 pm on May 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Its called “testing” in a “live environment” rather than getting it right then releasing it


That has been a feature of G for many years and it's part of the company philosophy as far as I can make out. It goes against every grain of my being as far as software development is concerned, especially as far as a large company is concerned.

It stinks of an attitude that says shortcuts are fine and the side effects such a philosophy cause are of no concern, especially if the side effects affect others rather than G. It's wrong, very, very wrong.
12:18 am on May 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

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It stinks of an attitude that says shortcuts are fine and the side effects such a philosophy cause are of no concern, especially if the side effects affect others rather than G. It's wrong, very, very wrong.


Or maybe not. Maybe it's simply necessary with a Web of 4.11 billion pages, as Sand wrote earlier:

To be fair, the scope of search results is so massive that there isn't any great way to test their performance without large scale human interaction. It isn't a simple quality control system -- they have to measure how people are interacting with the results and make adjustments based on that.
12:18 am on May 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I completely agree with CaptainSalad2, Google had been doing this for years, testing in live environment, that is why there are major fluctuations in rankings for brief time then goes back to where they were. It's happening now here in Australia
3:24 am on May 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

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It is inherent in all modern search algorithms that there be some sort of positive and negative feedback to be used by the algorithm to make improvements. Google tests small, and then scales up.

As I think about it, it's inherent in nature as well, and in fact in any evolutionary system. Life is a constant sequence of predictions, trials, mistakes, and changes.

Learn to live with it. ;)
3:31 pm on May 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

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We appear to be tracking back up after several consecutive months of rankings going down. This is the third or fourth year where the same pattern has occurred.

Rankings start going down in January, take a deep dive in February, and start going back up in mid-May. I'm at a complete loss to explain why it happens because there has never been significant changes to our site during this time, nor any significant link building activity that might affect rankings.
5:53 pm on May 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Google told me there is nothing going on there, no updates.


Something changed. After a significant increase (+100% change) in Google referrals over the last 2 days, (started on 05/12) we did some random rank checking and found several ranking position changes on shorter keyphrases (1-2 words) for several sites we maintain.

Smells like an authority update of some kind to me. We took over position #1 for a few high value phrases that were previously occupied by content farm type sites.

US based sites, informational.

Edited to add: Our sites have been performing healthy as well. The changes seem to be primarily ranking based changes.
8:21 pm on May 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Traffic's been ticking up in the past few days here, but especially today. Regular search traffic is on pace to do about 150% or so of normal, image traffic like 300%.

My site's only a few months old and only does about 500-600 page views a day so I don't exactly have a lot of history to compare to though.
7:15 am on May 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

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From what Im seeing the changes made last week are back, in my opinion its a softer algo, Im seeing the return of sites that have done extensive de-linking and content creation work.
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