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Google Updates and SERP Changes - May 2014

     
1:18 pm on May 1, 2014 (gmt 0)




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.
2:10 am on May 21, 2014 (gmt 0)



I was pounded by panda 1. It was my main income source, let me quit the day job. Then I looked for work and built more sites.

Now with a site I totally dropped, it's back. Traffic back to jan 2011 levels.

I learned my lesson, new sites that serve my users first will continue on. I consider the old sites boost an inheritance of sorts.
2:16 am on May 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I just did a site:example.com and got exactly the right number of pages for the first time in forever.
2:24 am on May 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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This clearly must be the kinder & gentler promised version of Panda. Many of those posting here about some level of recovery mention that they were hit hard by the early versions of Panda.
4:09 am on May 21, 2014 (gmt 0)



Two updates from Barry Schwartz (see on his comments section):
1. Update: On May 20th we got confirmation from Google that this was an update to the Google Spam algorithm from last year. I'll have more details tomorrow.
/* Written 5 hours ago */

2. And Panda 4.0 just starting rolling out. So Spam Algo started over weekend and Panda today. More details tomorrow.
/* Written 4 hours ago */
5:22 am on May 21, 2014 (gmt 0)



A big hug and welcome back to my beloved good old competitors after almost 3 years! (that says a lot) Great update! great serps good old sites, specialists on their field are back.
5:37 am on May 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Great update! great serps good old sites, specialists on their field are back.


I don't agree. Too many Pinterest pages on the first page for keywords in my niche. Sometimes 4 out of the 10 results are Pinterest boards. Pinterest pages should be pandalized. No original content and little text. Often images "borrowed" from specialist in a certain field.
6:28 am on May 21, 2014 (gmt 0)



I haven't had to compete with Pintrerest, fortunately, but in my niche, Yelp has gone from taking the top 3 to 5 spots to now taking up the top 1 to 3 spots. I'm definitely ok with that.
6:44 am on May 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Google.com SERPs improvement is holding for my site, with further gains on google.co.uk.

Traffic gains (~20%) are more modest than some are quoting, but SERPs gains are primarily confined to short-phrase searches (longer phrases were less affected by the fall).

It would be good to see up-to-date WMT stats.
7:53 am on May 21, 2014 (gmt 0)



My traffic from Google has doubled and I'm finally ranking on search terms that I always felt like I was unnaturally low on. I'm delighted. Hope it stays this way.
7:53 am on May 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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On my niche Some old "cows" are back from the deads and the adware spreading authorities are pinned to the first place.

Is good to be king... :(
8:12 am on May 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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My main site shot up on the 9th/10th/11th, then dropped back, then jumped up again on the 16th/17th/18th/19th only to drop back down again. Im looking UK results.

Do you think the update is done? hope not im back in the no mans land.
8:33 am on May 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Any guesses how long the panda needs to be rolled out complet?

It seems that there are different datancenters some with some without panda 4.

ecom, germany
8:34 am on May 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Matt Cutts said

This past weekend we started rolling out a ranking update for very spammy queries


I guess that means most of the people here are in "spammy query" areas of web marketing? #*$!? Meds? Payday loans? ;)
8:48 am on May 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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My main site shot up on the 9th/10th/11th, then dropped back, then jumped up again on the 16th/17th/18th/19th only to drop back down again. Im looking UK results.

Do you think the update is done? hope not im back in the no mans land.


Now the dust has settled a bit we seem to be back to where we started here in my UK niche, with mediocre big brand pages dominating everything as usual. Hardly encouraging people to search when they get the same junk regardless of the search phrase, but that's by the by. Page 2 onwards is better though. A lot of old sites have risen from the dead, including some of mine which should best have been left buried. It looks to me as though the main purpose of this update was to loosen the penalties on some old sites that broke the rules as they are now, but not as they were then. Can't argue with that.
8:49 am on May 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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So you mean the traffic gains reported are from this update and not from panda 4.0?
8:58 am on May 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I don't understand why either update might have affected ebay. Any thoughts as to why it has or seems to have?
9:12 am on May 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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but in my niche ebay was replaced by amazon. One can say, they pay more behind the curtains....
9:14 am on May 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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TO ALL MODS:

please can someone check why the systems sometimes needs more than 1 minute to add a new post? It got worse in the last time.

THANX
10:02 am on May 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I've had some slight SERP improvements on a few sites, and one site losing 10+ spots on keywords. Overall, not a great deal of difference either way. Like MrSavage, I've had to get used to a new way of doing business that doesn't overly rely on Google. In fact, this is the first major update by Google where my heart hasn't been pounding out of fear to see if I will eat tomorrow or not. It feels nice not to be SO reliant on Google.
10:44 am on May 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I canīt see any improvments with this panda. At 11am our traffic from google plunged about 90%.
Cutts didnīt mention that this is the softer version.

ecom, germany
11:06 am on May 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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"they pay more behind the curtains...."


I'm not buying that. They'd be stark, raving mad to accept bribes directly. There are much better ways that are legal - just.

But to get back on topic; in my UK niches I see no signs of 'softening' in this update, which presumably would give less preference to the big brands. Many high quality, relevant sites have re-appeared in the SERPs but they are still stuck firmly under the 'big brand' affiliates who even greatly outrank the sites whose products they promote. They are, in effect, the ultimate middlemen; taking business from these companies and selling it back to them. Ignore the first page where the high spending companies are and the rest of the results look more reasonable.
11:14 am on May 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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They are, in effect, the ultimate middlemen; taking business from these companies and selling it back to them.


Googles preference for authority/national sites has spawned these "middle men" sites in many niches now, especially the tradesmen niche where, as you say they outrank the sites of the same trade men they then sell the leads onto and who perform the work. They use this organic income to then fund a PPC campaign and price the rest of the trades men out of the equation altogether.

In essence they are employing the nations tradesmen without actually employing them, taking none of the risk but enjoying all of the reward by SELLING the leads they received from the luxury of dominating the local serps nationwide!

What’s even ore ingenious is the middle men sites provide mark-up for the traders to "link to their profiles" so that the local traders who now have no choice but to sign up to the middle men can link to them from their own site (thinking it makes them look good to visitors) without realising they are cementing the middle man site above them in the serps permanently from all the local relevant links!

It’s actually a great business model and something I will be moving into myself, if you cant beat them join them
11:28 am on May 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I hope this is not done. It is more worse than ever.
One big price compare engine ( idealo ) dominates every query now with multiple pages on serps page 1.
All others are amazon/ebay + big brands and some stupid websites. Its a softer panda, yeah for brands to come on first page.
In my niche ALL small ecoms that have been left before this panda are complete gone. Replaced by well known off/online resellers.
I canīt believe that they turned up the knob this hard despite the comment from MC about a softer panda coming soon.
11:39 am on May 21, 2014 (gmt 0)



One big price compare engine ( idealo ) dominates every query now with multiple pages on serps page 1.

I'm seeing a lot of Better Business Bureau and Angies List pages ranking above client sites. Maybe this is because clients participate in these consumer programs and link to their profiles? But other directory type sites are also ranking above clients too. This problem was not the case before this latest update.

Is anyone else here that owns a small business, with a physical location, finding they are now outranked by thin Mapquest pages that are bloated with ads? I'm seeing this with multiple client sites. Yuck!
11:48 am on May 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



@Martin Ice Web

Donīt push the panic button just yet. These rollouts often take a few days or more to settle down. You can expect some more bumping about as it only started yesterday. Itīs a big index so it is not as simple as pushing a button and itīs done.

Letīs see where we are in a few days.
12:26 pm on May 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I see major rankings improvements for a Pandalized site I have been dealing with and some decent uptick in traffic.

But so far, conversions seem to be down compared to usual. Session pages and duration are considerably worse. Anyone else seeing this?
12:48 pm on May 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



@ aok88

This usually indicates an update going on. As we know that is actually the case so you will need to sit tight for a few days to see where you are at then. Expect a lot of this until the update is complete.
1:25 pm on May 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



@ simonmc - yeah, thanks, good idea.

Is it common to see good ranking gains at the beginning of a Panda iteration only to lose by the end of its roll out, or do the gains usually stick if day 2 of the roll out they're still going strong?
1:28 pm on May 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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@aok88: Yes, that's exactly what I've seen. Although today has been better so far compared to yesterday when this started.
2:01 pm on May 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



@Amdem Which? Rankings gains sticking or going back?
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