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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.
2:53 pm on May 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Re "wild instability" in Google's commercial search results:

The solution is pretty simple. Google could simply bake the biggest players (such as Amazon) into the top search results, and the rankings of the also-rans would no longer matter. Oh, but wait--Wasn't that what people here have decried in the past?

As to why there may be "wild instability" in some (though certainly not all) search results, there could be any number of reasons that don't require conspiracy theories. For example:

- Testing of new search algorithms and filters;

- Constant "SEO churn" as vast numbers of e-commerce sites try to influence search results in new ways;

Or maybe Google has decided that, for some queries, random rankings are as good as any. (When 10,000 online stores are selling identical wristwatch Wi-Fi routers with the same manufacturer-supplied text and photos, how would a human being, never mind a search algorithm, be able to identify 10 as being more deserving of a top 10 search result than the 9,990 others?)
3:01 pm on May 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing a fair bit of action on one particular site I have that could be penguin-related, but not 100%. Another site that we did a lot of work to clean up for Penguin hasn't moved.

UK B2C Commerce
5:25 pm on May 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

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About 10 days ago, the rankings for one of my penguinized sites soared for some key phrases (e.g., from page 16 to page 8). This occurred during the same time that there was a lot of chatter about a possible update (discussed on seroundtable, and later denied by Google). My rankings fell back to their previous positions over the past week; but yesterday, they soared again (this time, higher than 10 days ago, e.g. up to page 4 or page 5). The trend suggests to me that something is being tested, and I have a feeling that my rankings will fall again in the coming days. Maybe we are working our way to a solid update.
5:46 pm on May 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

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seeing a lot of moving around (UK) - although getting fed up with flickr pages ranking! Doesn't G have an image search ! why are these not being displayed for images, after all thats what Flickr is supposed to be
6:39 pm on May 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

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seeing a lot of moving around (UK)


The UK SERPs are a disaster zone for my niche, the last three days I have seen a wholesale massacring of sites and three .co.uk sites I am involved with have seen traffic drop 75%, 90% and 99.9%!

WTF are they doing? These are all well-established sites up to 14 years old and trade on a local/regional basis, they're not even trying to compete at national level yet alone international but one of the sites has been almost completely wiped out, why?
7:18 pm on May 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Seeing significant traffic increase, something happening.
8:05 pm on May 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

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The storm started Friday night, my traffic is incredible low and there is no Holiday.
We are all waiting for a new Penguin, but I do not think is Penguin.
8:09 pm on May 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

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The storm started Friday night, my traffic is incredible low and there is no Holiday.


Started on Thursday for me, Friday went downhill further, Saturday was even worse and today almost non-existent for some .co.uk sites...WTH is going on?
1:05 am on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Our Google referrals took a nice jump today: up 23 percent over last Sunday and about 18.5 percent over two Sundays ago. The jump could be a fluke, of course (tomorrow may be back to normal), but up is always nicer than down.
3:20 am on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Based on what we are seeing this is most likely the 'soft panda', or some other panda variation
7:55 am on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Panda Yes, soft... I doubt.
8:02 am on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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We have english sites showing up in german serps. Big mess.

ecom, germany
8:06 am on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I have seen a site that was slapped by penguin 1 recover to 3rd nationally since Friday, penguin 3?

I haven't done any link removal/disavow because the backlinks have steadily disappeared or gone nofollow over the years without my effort, organic delinking of the web seems to be a natural phenomenon in 2014
9:19 am on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I've followed the rules for years but last month I put up a quick site that was built in 3 days and bought a load of links - its now 3rd for all my top terms, if it last 1mth or 6mths I'll throw it away and move the links onto another new one.
9:22 am on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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WMT is still showing 13 May: that could be an indication that something is going on.

I'm not seeing anything drastic in my sector or on my site, however. I agree about the UK weather...
9:27 am on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I agree about the UK weather...


Yes, it's caused me a drastic drop off of business.
10:13 am on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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From what i can see it seems lika a complete roll back from 16 april update.
10:14 am on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Regardless of the weather anywhere overall my lowest-ever page views at 45.7% of 2014 average with the UK at 37.4% however fortunately not as bad as Friday at 26.5%, what a mess.
12:23 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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there's often no rhyme or reason to Google rankings, and there's a real danger you can read too much into them. What never really changes is human behaviour. I build sites for people, as I know human behaviour does not really change. Even if Google hate my usability improvements, I'm not going to stop doing them.
1:13 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Germany: google-offline now.

serps look like:
-amazon
-amazon
3 price compare engine
to
8 price compare engine
9 ebay
10 brand

this must be the smoother panda algo though.
1:53 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Couple knowledgeable people I know believe there's a big Penguin brewing.
2:14 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I've been watching several SERPs over time, but one in particular is interesting. In most every other case, it'd be a generic word SERP, but over the past couple years a new product has arisen that uses this word as its name.

When the product was new, this SERP took a while to conform to the new product, to reflect the product in all page one positions. This lasted for a while, but because the product is seasonal in nature, it isn't being sold at the moment. Since then, the SERP has slightly reverted to where I see some of the old type of results.

This is despite the fact that, hypothetically, links to and about the product should continue to help those results dominate in the SERP. Clearly something else must be at play to even let any of the old type of result back into page one, and I've seen it for other SERPs as well.
2:32 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Couple knowledgeable people I know believe there's a big Penguin brewing.


We're overdue for sure Netmeg, hope your right. I don't know if it will treat us well or not but I'd really like to get it over with just the same.
3:30 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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over the past 2 - 3 weeks SERPS have been all over the place. Lots of movement day by day (across a mixture of 18 websites) up and down, but since the weekend it seems to have gone up a level. I am UK based.
4:10 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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According to the posts and links to other discussions linked out from Search Engine Roundtable today, a lot of crooked webmasters are seeing their sites go down in flames. Burn baby, burn!

Google Algorithm & Ranking Shifts On Fire This Month

[seroundtable.com ]
4:31 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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We're seeing a US-based site with a big upward swing in non-US traffic. Has anyone else looked at where traffic changes are coming from?
5:56 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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One interesting thing I noticed is that on one particular key-phrase related to outdoor furniture made from a certain type of wood, both Amazon and Ebay have disappeared from the 1st page results propelling one of our client site's to number 3. Could this update have something to do with Google reducing the effect of Brand signals?

edit: Both eBay and Amazon are now at the bottom of page 2. However, I am NOT seeing the same thing for other niches so this could be temporary.
6:25 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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It seems that news/article sites are tanked :(

Also, a lot of warez (software and movies) were targeted. See Webmaster Central Forum (google).

[edited by: Mentat at 6:28 pm (utc) on May 19, 2014]

6:42 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Has anyone else looked at where traffic changes are coming from?


I'm not seeing any significant changes in international traffic, and the slight recent drop in UK traffic is almost certainly due to the weather.

My server logs are recording significantly fewer search phrases (crude referral numbers are about the same as usual), so I suspect Google has started masking search terms in the in some way that wasn't happening before last week.

Overall, it does look as if they are up to something.
7:20 pm on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I don't see any changes. I have a forum in a science market and a forum in a direct sales market.
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