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Google Updates and SERP Changes - September 2014

     
7:55 am on Sep 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

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System: The following 8 messages were cut out of thread at: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4694139.htm [webmasterworld.com] by goodroi - 3:07 pm on Sep 2, 2014 (utc -5)


Hopefully Google is getting this thing tweaked.
as i see today, they didnīt get it right. Very low and nonconverting traffic.
+ domaincrowding
+ not compelling sites are on page #1
+ Content is NOT king
+ search for bananas and get apples


On saturday a friend asked me to look into his niche and all the ranking sites are like
- keyword town
up to page two
I thought this would be considered as spam? There was not one local Business, there was not one realy -> compelling <- site.
10:20 am on Sept 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I thought this would be considered as spam?


Its high authority spam, that's okay with Google!
8:55 pm on Sept 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Something is BROKEN badly!

My site has -90% since 26 of August, but for a good game search phrase, I get first 3 links from the same spammy domain + the biggest spammers of all!

[screenshot]

The first page has this content! WTF?

[screenshot]

And.. the King & Queen of Spam:
[screenshot]

Hooray!

Thank you google for rewarding the "good content".

[edited by: brotherhood_of_LAN at 10:27 pm (utc) on Sep 1, 2014]
[edit reason] removed images, opinion of spam differs and the ToS prohibits outing sites [/edit]

10:09 pm on Sept 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Mentat, it's sad when Google ranks garbage like that. Google should wipe both those sites off the planet, but instead their engineers are focused on killing real small businesses.
12:12 pm on Sept 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Apparently nobody gets it yet...G is not in this for "great user experience", they are in it for CASH. Their quarterly profit reports prove that. Whatever sites their system thinks will churn the most ads for them, go to the front of the serps.

This usually consists of their adsense partners and incredibly spammy, but well funded content dumps, like Pinterest. That site is outta control right now and getting full pages of results all to themselves. A horrible user experience IMHO.

Having 10,000 photos all with the same tags does not make it an authority, just a spam haus.
5:44 pm on Sept 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

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does anyone still see fluctuations in rankings
5:57 pm on Sept 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

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does anyone still see fluctuations in rankings


Did you mean SERPs or PR? (Yes, in either case).

Current SERPs are still doing vaguely strange things in my sector (niche service UK), and when I see my site returning two pages at #16 and #17 - as I do today - for main key term, the phrase "domain crowding" tends to be used about the results in more maintsream sectors.
6:58 pm on Sept 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

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yes in the SERPS, yes i also see my site at times having 2 pages in google UK, although i am in Toronto, this has been going on for about 1 week, it is horrible, do you think it is google penguin
8:22 pm on Sept 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

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do you think it is google penguin


As I remarked a couple of weeks ago in this thread, some of the patterns in the current SERPs remind me of Penguin, but I can't say anything more robust than that about it.

Somthing is going on - possibly another foray into AI or something like it (again, synonyms seem to be a charactersitic) - but although it might make some sense to whoever engineered it, I don't see much that would make sense to the end user.
9:02 pm on Sept 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I'm noticing a lot more brand name sites climbing again. These are more 'generic' type sites than niche, which is frustrating.
11:20 pm on Sept 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Saffron: When did you start noticing this?
12:34 am on Sept 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Last day or two. Noticed wikihow, howstuffworks and discovery are back to the top of the serps in my niche.
3:17 am on Sept 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I'm also seeing the same sites over and over again. Just now I have seen the same article, posted on two different websites. The original is in no. 6 position, and the copy (they have permission) is in no. 1 position. The site in no. 1 is the current flavour of the year and ranks no. 1 for almost all topics relating to our niche, regardless of the quality.

As for the non niche sites, I'm seeing them listed for 'how to do X at home', when X really should be sorted out by a professional.
3:32 am on Sept 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Last day or two. Noticed wikihow, howstuffworks and discovery are back to the top of the serps in my niche.

x2 - I'm seeing the same. Top two spots belong to howstuffworks, then wikipedia, then a relevant website, then wisegeek, then Yahoo answers, then wikihow, then misterfixit, then a relevant website and finished off with a YouTube video. 20% relevancy = FAIL.
3:36 am on Sept 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

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turbocharged: When did this start occuring for you?
3:49 am on Sept 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

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For a very common niche term I see.

1) Favourite site (the one who is always no. 1, regardless of content).
2) Niche site, good content.
3) Howstuffworks (how to fix it at home, when you shouldn't be)
4) Another good niche site.
5) Wikihow (another how to fix it at home).

These are similar results to what I was seeing last year from January - September, then the SERPS pushed the 'how to' sites down, as they should.

And another very common term, the no. 1 site gets 4 listings out of 10 on the topic. Wow. You can't compete with that.
4:12 am on Sept 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

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turbocharged: When did this start occuring for you?

I noticed it this afternoon. Some sort of shuffle took place between the end of the workday 9/3 and this afternoon that significantly diminished relevancy - and this shuffle is sticking thus far.
7:36 am on Sept 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Niche sites are/have being replaced by encompassing (multi niche) sites that combine many niche topics because domain relevancy has been replaced by domain authority which LARGER multi niche sites have over smaller single niche sites.

Expect to see Google continue to mimic the high street until it is devoid of small business/sites.


Ask not what Google can do for you but what you can do for Google!
;)
7:41 am on Sept 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

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But the frustrating thing is that these 'emcompassing sites' only skim over the information, in many cases they don't offer a thorough explanation on the topic.

The past few days I've seen really good articles bumped down in favour of thin content. I thought G were trying to get rid of that not reward it.

Awful, awful results now.

[edited by: Saffron at 7:53 am (utc) on Sep 4, 2014]

7:47 am on Sept 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Saffron I agree totally, sadly Google doesn't and is fixated on "jack of all trades master of none" websites going forward!
9:21 am on Sept 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I have seen quite a bit of shuffling in my own sector over the last 72 hours, and suspect another change (or at least a succession of tweaks) may be rolling through. The poor results reported above - and which I have seen intermittently in more general searches of my own - also suggest this.

However, in checking my own server logs, most of the referred phrases are well matched (better than Bing/Yahoo) to the landing page, and for those I have checked I am not seeing the obliteration of smaller sites or paucity of information on brand sites discussed above by Saffron et al. Sure, one such informational search returns an ebay page at #8, but as that is "The Experts Guide to...", and is broadly relevant and relatively detailed it doesn't seem to fit with what others here are seeing.

There is some difference between google.com and google.co.uk results, so possibly more changes will appear here (UK) over the next day or so.

Longer phrases mave made up the majority of my referred traffic for quite a long time now, and I think this effect has probably had a substantial impact on searches: it is no longer easy to return a highly relevant result by careful choice of succinct search terms, so in general I think searches (including my own) have and will continue to become more verbose.
9:40 am on Sept 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I donīt know if other ecoms see similar things but since last friday
our traffic is up but sales are down by 90%.
Traffic starts to plump at 4pm right at the time when working poeple coming home.
Even GSA is a dumping hole.
I think google is working hard to route users with buying intention to their ad system.

ecom, germany
9:55 am on Sept 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I think google is working hard to route users with buying intention to their ad system.


Yes. What I said above applies largely to informational queries. Business referrals and converting traffic - having returned to useful levels after 19 May - are currently almost non-existent.
10:03 am on Sept 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

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@Wilburforce, thanx. I hopped - although it is not good for you - that someone sees the same. I know from 2 other ecoms that they are suffering a -90% drop in conversions.
It is getting worse every day.
My questions is: Is google playing with they users and their reputation? When i see poeple coming on my page and directly search the widget they apperently typed into google and donīt find it in my shop. This seems not a good user experience, neither for me not for google.
12:31 pm on Sept 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

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My US based site is getting more traffic and sales from foreign users than US (and that's not sayin much). It's as if they shut me off at 6am, then back on a midnight.

Watching GA, traffic is flat lined at 1 per minute, then zero for a minute, then 1 for a minute and so on...same clamped pattern for hours with small spikes of 3 to 6, but no more. Comparing to past data reveals the change in patterns from natural to manipulated and it's dramatic.

Adwords traffic is a non converting joke. I had the same number of adwords click +/- 1 for the last 7 days and my campaign maxed out daily. I'm finally make less in adsense that I'm paying in adwords. Took them 4 years to do it, but I knew that day was coming.

Everything looks throttled and highly manipulated. Man I miss the days (pre-2010) before this was such a mess. You just can't make a decent living online anymore.

We wouldn't all complain so much if this wasn't such tight lipped, black box situation. Keeping secrets makes for few friends.

[edited by: samwest at 12:44 pm (utc) on Sep 4, 2014]

12:33 pm on Sept 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

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My niche sector is much different. Four slots are for the main producer of the product. Next 3 are for a dealer that does not use adwords or adsense. Next 2 are another dealer that uses adwords then Ebay. Historically there were 3 other sites that were higher than these two dealer sites. It is like they are in concrete - they do not move. The one site is good with a lot of backlinks and social. But not strong enough to get 3 slots. The other dealer site is nothing special. I truly believe Google is manipulating the results. For almost 2 years now I do not see my home page, it is always some other page that ranks. I have seen at least 7 other pages of my site rank on page 2. Normally the home page has the most juice, Home page ranks just fine on other search engines. All my other sites homepage ranks. I think Google is purposely holding that page back. It looks more like there is a human determining page 1. Algorithm kicks in at page 2 and beyond.
12:42 pm on Sept 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

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@Awarn - I'm having a slightly different problem, only the home page seems to rank, all results, unless targeted for the EXACT phrase (and I mean exact, no plurals, no long tail), go to the home page.
1:37 pm on Sept 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

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our traffic is up but sales are down by 90%.


and

Business referrals and converting traffic - having returned to useful levels after 19 May - are currently almost non-existent.


and

Everything looks throttled and highly manipulated. Man I miss the days (pre-2010) before this was such a mess.


Yes! Thank god there are others seeing this too. I've been feeling like I'm going crazy.

An e-commerce site I run finally rebounded in May's Panda and did well for a while, steadily improving till about 2 weeks ago, and since then the traffic has almost stayed the exact same, but the conversions have dropped by 80%!

There have been days where we compare day over day or week over week lately and actually see MORE traffic but with almost no sales. It is crazy. There were no other variables changed (just Google is the unknown). It is certainly a different set of visitors. I know my traffic and sales and type of sales intimately and can clearly see it.

How frustrating. Google does endless experiments and we suffer.

How are we supposed to fix this problem? Make improvements to our sites till they send us the "good" traffic again?
1:51 pm on Sept 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Is the traffic desktop or mobile? Anything strange in the balance there. We had A day here a couple weeks ago where it seemed like somebody turned on the switch and orders flowed like they should. It was so noticeable we all commented on it. There is definitely manipulation.
2:09 pm on Sept 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I've checked that and it's about 50/50, same before and same now.
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