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Google Updates and SERP Changes - October 2014

     
12:00 pm on Oct 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

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System: The following 8 messages were cut out of thread at: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4699490.htm [webmasterworld.com] by robert_charlton - 10:31 am on Oct 3, 2014 (PST -8)


Traffic still lethargic here...funny how the traffic looks human, but acts like bots. I've never seen a human sit on a privacy page for 30 minutes, and yet have bounce rates of almost 70%.
The mobile vs. desktop pie chart shows 25% desktop, 14% mobile and 51% unknown.
5:51 am on Oct 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

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WMT here is still stuck on 28 September. Delays have been characteristic of updates in the past, but the SERPs in my sector (UK niche service) don't appear to have moved since then either.
11:50 am on Oct 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

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So, I grabbed my smart phone, activated the voice search and asked "show me frops to whack a blue widget" and I'm number one. Yet still no traffic. Serps solid, upward or same moves...yet still on the same trickle of traffic.

WF - also seeing the stuck stats. Your serps didn't move, but did your traffic or conversions drop like a rock?
11:57 am on Oct 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

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@samwest - could it be that you are served personalised results? Have you tried asking someone else to do the same search and let them know where you are positioned?
12:01 pm on Oct 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

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@aaakk - unless they changed the way Chrome incognito works...no it's not personalized. Verifies with online services that are looking from various IPs. It sure is a mystery. I'll admit I'm over my head with all these Wordpress technicalities and basically nuking the site 60 days ago, but it should be coming back. It's not.
2:33 pm on Oct 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

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This Panda brought to 1 page a blog that is not updated since 2004, IE5 recommended. There is also another blog riping since 2011 but this one is in 5 place for months now. Aff.Promoting small sites is ok as long as they are trending. This 2 have no pulse for a long time.
6:11 pm on Oct 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

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unless they changed the way Chrome incognito works...no it's not personalized


I still get location personalization with Chrome icognito.

To get around that, I click "Search Tools" (underneath the query entry box), then change my location to "United States" (or "United Kingdom" if on google.co.uk, etc).
9:45 pm on Oct 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

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@samwest

I'm still looking at the Description issue with my site: in WMT there are a lot of terms showing page 1 results (i.e. average position <=10) with no clicks.

In nearly all cases the definition offered in the results differs from the meta-description even - which I don't begin to understand - where the page answers the query exactly, and the meta-description summarises that fact accurately. In nearly all cases, also, the page 1 position verifies: it really is a page 1 result delivering no traffic.

In your case, do the pages that are doing well in the SERPs but delivering no traffic use your description, or Google's? If Google's, does your description answer the query bettter?

I don't think using different descriptions - whether it is limited to my site or more widespread - is a deliberate policy to favour brands, bigger sites, or better revenue streams, but it would be very useful to know what triggers it, and what we can do to ensure that our Blue Widget Maintenance page keeps its meta-description (How to Maintain Your Blue Widget) when somebody asks "How Do I Maintain My Blue Widget?".
9:59 pm on Oct 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I think, that Google not only understands what you are looking for better than you do, but can also describe it better than anyone who supplies it.


Oh come on Wilbur. Google is an algorithm. It's not a human being. It can't "think" or "undestand" anything. And certainly no one at Google knows my products better than me. We make the things, We invent the things. We manufacture the things. And we sell other things that are manufactured by others just like us who all know their merchandise a million times better than any person or persons or algorithms at Google.

Google's algorithm may know how OTHERS search for an item better than the person looking for it, but it's not possible to know something better than the person or company that actually exists for the purpose of selling or making that product.
10:12 pm on Oct 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

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@matt621

I think you misunderstand irony.
11:33 pm on Oct 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

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@Will, I feel you.

I just googled "irony" and I did not have to click any result to get what I was looking for. Your site may try to conceal information on the description but your competitor may not!
12:34 am on Oct 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

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It can't "think" or "undestand" anything.


Thank you, thank you, thank you ... I worked with the early algos in the late 90s, for free!, I/the algo could easily interperet basic questions, and even complex queries were quite simple since there were so few alternative sites with any semblance of itdenitfiable information.

These days there is so much garbage combined with Google's flawed "algo" it's no wonder they get so many more "searches" simply because their results are so bad therefore Joe Public HAS to search within its huge amount of crap that it deems good...huh...locally served crap for the uninformed?

Yes, I am criticising G however it has created its own crap pile and has not a clue, absolutely no clue, how to extricate itself from it since it has, without doubt, developed into to a "Jobsworth Company"!
12:34 pm on Oct 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Google is an algorithm. It's not a human being. It can't "think" or "undestand" anything.
- I doubt Google (or Ray Kurzweil) would agree with that observation. [research.google.com...]
also see - Deepmind AI: [digitaltrends.com...] and Ray's work with Google: [technologyreview.com...]

Keep this in mind if you really want to understand the future Google.
As far as the present? It's either broken or not so bright...yet.
HAL 9000 was smart too, but look at the mess HE made!

Google WANTS to be smart...they also want to mine asteroids for water and eliminate death.
6:54 pm on Oct 5, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Penguin, testing or roll-out happening now it seems.
8:36 pm on Oct 5, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I've got a couple of old sites, untouched for years with lots of same anchor text links (that's what worked in those days) which have just nosedived. It's certainly typical of penguin.
9:35 pm on Oct 5, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Looking at a penguinized keyword we have that has been steady at #90 since october 2013, been bouncing all day today between #15 and #130. Seems like they roll out a test (keyword goes to #15) and the revert to prior to october 2013 results (#130) then back to post october 2013 results (#90). Interesting tests from my eyes.
9:01 am on Oct 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Today the double-page result for main key term has toggled off again, and the single remaining page (this time mysite.com/key-term.html) has come back up 10 places.

From here (UK niche service) it looks very much like something is being switched in and out. It certainly won't be specific to my sector - in fact, I doubt if any humans have looked at my sector at all - but it is difficult to see, from my own pages, what would make a ten-place difference, or tip the balance between mysite.com and mysite.com/key-term.html.

At a glance, the other sites/pages in the top 30 seem to be relatively stable (it is my site that is jumping up and down), but I will be monitoring this a bit more closely over the next few weeks.
2:41 pm on Oct 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

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25% of a Google day gone and 10% of normal USA traffic ... why oh why do I bother?
7:06 am on Oct 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

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has come back up 10 places


...and dropped back again today. Checking, the results are almost identical to yesterday, but my site has approximately swapped places with another that has risen by a similar amount. Curious...
10:15 am on Oct 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

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In my niche the phb pages from ebay are back at #1 again. Seems like the manuall penalty has been lifted.

Second in my niche it seems like google tries to 'read' amazon navigation and take it for the serps. e.g. Searching for a widget amazon servs it in catergory cars but it originally comes from computer accessories. But goggle shows only car related sites and blog for this widget in organic serps. Ads are full of computer access. Ecoms.
I think t makes sense for google as amazon truley knows much more about buyers than google. Also they kill their organics with this.
10:38 pm on Oct 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

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...and dropped back again today


...and swapped back with the other site again.

Now, the top 30 places are as they were two days ago, save that one site on page three has swapped places with a site on page four.

This yo-yo-ing and place-swapping with a couple of sites in a generally stable set of results is peculiar, and very difficult to fathom: barring general business-type, there isn't any similarity I can see between the sites that are swapping places, or anything either that singles them out from the rest. However, something must single them out, and as one of them is mine I must try to figure out what it is.
9:53 am on Oct 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Just saw an interesting serp where the first organic result had 4 lines in the snippet, all the rest had the normal 2 lines. in this search the first result was a wikip page.
8:03 am on Oct 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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...and reversed again.

Is it just me, or is anyone else here seeing this yo-yo effect?

My guess is that something is being tested that affects "a small minority of sites", and is probably small enough and subtle enough to get under the radar of most observers: I only notice because it is my site, and I have only noticed the other couple of sites affected in my sector because, as a result of what my site is doing, I have taken a more detailed look at what is happening there.

I also had the rare opportunity, last week, off using a brand-new laptop on a new wi-fi network near (but not in the same immediate area as) my own system. The results - very obviously tightly focused on location - were interestingly different from what I have seen elsewhere locally, and really do confirm that there is now no such thing in Google as a "neutral" set of results.
10:17 am on Oct 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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there is now no such thing in Google as a "neutral" set of results.


The nearest I've found to that is the Firefox extension SEO Global giving US, UK, IE, CA, AU otherwise you have to mess about with proxies etc.

Unless there is something else out there?
2:33 pm on Oct 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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...and reversed again.
Is it just me, or is anyone else here seeing this yo-yo effect?


October 13 is Columbus Day. Itís an official federal holiday, and some workers are getting the day off. It could affect your web traffic.
3:03 pm on Oct 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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@RedBar

If you use very robust proxies and blank-slate user-history, what you get is unrelated to searcher or location, which is not representative of a typical searcher. If I search for my specific service, I get results that are so strongly location-based that my site's "true" position in the SERPs is impossible to ascertain.

@Zivush

It isn't traffic, but position for a couple of specific terms. Overall traffic has been relatively stable: a massive increase in May - back to about half pre-panda/penguin levels - with a gradual slight slide in the meantime. Conversion rates have also been generally better (again with a gradual slight fall) since May.

The key-term position reversals seem unrelated to any known algorithm changes, and happen independently of other indicators of change (e.g. 9 May, which Mozcast shows as very quiet). They also affect only my own and a couple of other sites in my sector. I don't know about other sectors, but I think it unlikely that my sector is the targe of whatever is being tested.
5:07 pm on Oct 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Is it just me, or is anyone else here seeing this yo-yo effect?

WF- I sure am! Last week, I was on the edge of extinction. Traffic looked un-naturally clamped (again) - back to the old 1 or 2 visitors at a time nonsense.

Over the weekend, the clamp came off, probably during the GA real time maintenance period that was announced for the weekend of the 11th...


Our Real Time reports will be undergoing some maintenance this coming weekend of the 11th of October, that may cause brief disruptions in reporting. Real Time reports you know and love should be back to normal come Monday. Thanks in advance for your patience.


Over the weekend, I experienced what I would consider "normal" flow of traffic. It's so easy to identify, pages are flipping just like a real human would do...not the fake humans they are sending to me now (aka Zombies).

Not sure what black hole all that traffic is going into, but it's not coming here.
5:23 pm on Oct 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I get results that are so strongly location-based that my site's "true" position in the SERPs is impossible to ascertain.


Then you have to make up your mind which one you want to "believe". Are you focussing locally, if so then the local one is the one to believe, if nationally or internationally then SEO Global will give you an approximate idea however trying to do anything else, insofar as I am aware, is fruitless since it doesn't exist nowadays and you're just banging your head against a brick wall trying to fathom it out.
5:43 pm on Oct 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Regarding yo-yo traffic, either they are running multiple data sets or the system just forgets to skim now and then...this assumption reminds me of a favorite movie line (Casino) spoken by Joe Pesci..."I mean, God forbid they should make a mistake and forget to steal."
6:36 pm on Oct 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Ignore (columbus day in the US)
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