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Google Updates and SERP Changes - December 2014

     
11:01 am on Dec 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

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System: The following 16 messages were cut out of thread at: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4712477.htm [webmasterworld.com] by robert_charlton - 5:04 pm on Dec 1, 2014 (PST -8)


I have several sites from May's Panada which received good boosts and have retained their positions but I also have a few new, unique, widget-specific sites that seem to be floundering and getting no traction whatsoever.

Since there were only two Pandas in 2013 and we've already had two this year, do we assume that it may be another few months before we see another Panda update?
10:23 pm on Dec 27, 2014 (gmt 0)

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throttling has always been observed by me. but most of the sources that I have come across states it has denied by google as well as most of the "authority" voices on here. i think because it really cannot be said as "throttle" but rather have an outward looking effect of throttling.

i think it's really a dampening or sandbox or ab testing process that gradually release or grant traffic levels. Who knows what they really call it, as long as they do not call it throttle they can deny it even if it "appears" to be throttle. it's less observable unless you stare at real time analytics for a good amount of time.

observe the amount of traffic into your individual pages in real time, there are some nice rotation going through them like clock work. and somehow, your overall traffic will be dampened to a nice smoother line across the entire site across all pages. you probably need about at least 50~150 active users to note the rotation.

for my case, i can observe 10 active users on one page, in 2~3 minutes all users disappear on the page and distributed to other pages, and in next 2~3 minutes they all appear back on the popular page. If there's no rotation, the incoming traffic should be more steady, I believe that the number should be smoother instead of hitting such extremes. Of courses, unless all the active users on my site on google analytics are bots just traversing through the pages, then it makes sense of what I observed.

I do not buy that all 10 users suddenly decide to click on result 2 of the organics, only decide not to the next 2 minutes. Or they simply searched for some other terms and land on another pages all together in sync.

Maybe some of the bigger players do not observe it due to their own site's brand power, their traffic just goes up with the more marketing that they throw into it. but I observe the phenomenon consistently with my small sized sites.
3:11 pm on Dec 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

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4. Because of #3 the larger and growing sites do not need to come here since their budgets are, generally, larger and use AdWords to generate traffic and business whereas many smaller sites cannot afford to. One look at the SERPs and there is your answer to the top, Pay For Inclusion.

If Adwords is a good investment for large companies, it would also be a good investment for smaller sites. I've firsthand experience with this...

I've been here for over 10 years, but posts are far between. I'm concentrating on the basics... completed responsive design in September, switched to HTML5 and spent the last two weeks making sure 1,900 pages validate (I understand most peeps think that's not a good use of time).

I think these threads are thinner because SEO is simpler today than it was 10 years ago.
8:32 pm on Dec 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Anyone else seeing an increase in traffic? Yesterday I was up around 25% and today is trending higher. I haven't seen much movement in the keywords I watch so I am assuming I am getting an increase in long tail search traffic.
11:45 pm on Dec 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Anyone else seeing an increase in traffic?


Over the last couple of days, our information site's traffic has been up about 25 percent over the same days last week.

I'm confident that it has nothing to do with Google, though. It's just the same post-holiday upswing that we see every year.
3:34 am on Dec 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

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@GreenDog

Yeah, but for me, it's just seasonal. The week of Christmas is typically one of my worst weeks of the year. The week after is a little better, and then the floodgates open up the first full week in January, which is one of the better weeks of the year (in my niche, anyway).
8:11 am on Dec 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

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@Sand - let me guess B2B niche ? I`m seeing the same pattern in the last 4+ years. From 5th of Jan until the 20th the traffic goes nuts.
12:36 pm on Dec 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

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A site of ours has been recovering since Panda 4.0 started taking a small nose dive around the week before Christmas - like -25%. I see some here have noticed a +25% increase as of late. Another Panda?
1:14 pm on Dec 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

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@aok88 - I ran numbers back 8 years and 2 weeks before Christmas there is always a slump, with a huge spike after Christmas. It's playing out the same this year. The post Christmas spike used to last until April 15th...now it lasts about 3 weeks if I'm lucky.
4:37 pm on Dec 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

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after snooping around in WMT and GA this morning (now that analytics has finally refreshed) I see that my traffic surge (which happens annually via direct traffic and completely independent of the search engines) produced an immediate knee jerk reaction in search queries. When G saw my traffic rocketing, they appear to have tried to throttle by cutting off search queries, precipitously I might add. It's nearly an exact match with 10x more traffic and 10x less queries. Funny.
5:19 pm on Dec 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

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@Sand - let me guess B2B niche ? I`m seeing the same pattern in the last 4+ years. From 5th of Jan until the 20th the traffic goes nuts.


Good guess, but no. It's employment / EDU. A lot of people make New Year's resolutions to get a new job or go back to school, I suppose.
7:38 pm on Dec 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I ran numbers back 8 years and 2 weeks before Christmas there is always a slump, with a huge spike after Christmas.


For me, the pattern goes back to 1997. The only difference between then and now is that university vacations have less effect than they once did: Back in the day, when college students in dorms were starting to get 24/7 Ethernet connections and their parents were still using dial-up modems to reach AOL, traffic dropped when the students went home for the holidays and jumped again when they got back.
8:41 pm on Dec 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Sadly, this is not the case for this site. Going back in GA, I see a small a bit of uplift after the holidays, but not enough to match the change I've seen this year so far.

After looking into it, I see that around Dec. 12th things dropped off (literally every day since then the site has had less and less search referrals and visitors each day). Algoroo says that was right after a Penguin update on Dec. 6th that they call a 'Penguin Double-Take', whatever that is. So maybe the Penguin shifting nailed it?

That seems to be the only thing I can find as far as Google updates around that time. Anyone else seeing a similar pattern?
8:50 pm on Dec 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Anyone else seeing a similar pattern?


I mentioned it above, but for me, traffic gets progressively worse week over week between Thanksgiving and New Year's. People just spend their time in different ways during the holiday season.
12:54 pm on Dec 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

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aok88 - yes, I see the same declining pattern in search queries, but strangely enough (via direct traffic) my daily traffic is not bad...in fact it's at record levels for the first time in the past 6 moths. Double Take really hit my site bad...and I was on such a nice easy upward trend just before it was unleashed. Every time I see an upward trend, it is quickly extinguished by G.

Google has admitted it themselves, they are afraid of any site that might be on an upward trend (garage start ups). Apparently they want to be sure they aren't missing out on something else they can quickly jump on and copy.
6:31 am on Dec 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for replies. Traffic is up a little in the past 2 days, not much the orders though (not Google's fault I guess because Adwords sales are down too). Funny how traffic coincides nicely with Google update activity tracker on Algoroo. Big boost in Google traffic starting December, then it all went down after 23rd..now up for the last 2 days. Just like on the graph. We'll see what happens in January.
4:17 pm on Dec 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Google is quickly dropping search queries across the board on all my sites. Here is an example of one site that is gaining in hard earned seasonal direct traffic while Google appears to be reacting as if it's a PID control loop. As the traffic increases, Google is trying to throttle by dropping queries and since they have no control over direct traffic, the PID is overshooting in a futile effort to control traffic. [i1377.photobucket.com...]
4:35 pm on Dec 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

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samwest -- If a site is getting a lot of direct traffic, logically that should be a positive signal to Google, and should therefore improve the site's Google rankings and traffic. But you seem to be saying that it's having the opposite effect.
5:01 pm on Dec 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

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samwest

Have you tried "breaking the loop" with google by removing any method they may have of spying on "non-google" traffic.

If you have several sites acting the same, it might be interesting to purge a couple of them from any google tracking and see how they compare.
6:06 pm on Dec 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

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@aristotle - you would think that is the case, but if you look at the image link, you can see as traffic increased, queries decreased proportionally and has since nose dived to zero. How does one explain that?

@bloke - yes, I'm seriously thinking about going back to PIWIK traffic monitoring alone. That way it's MY data and not privy to Google's prying, manipulative eye.
7:00 pm on Dec 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

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@samwest: I experience the same effect. I already said this a couple of months ago. Google seems to interally rank sites and redirecting traffic to the sites according to the internal ranking. If the site is getting more traffic than it should (according to the internal ranking), Google seems to put a cap on the site somehow. I've experienced this effect myself (though not to the extent as samwest).

I had huge crawling spikes on 28th and 29th. No changes in rankings though.
9:00 pm on Dec 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I had huge crawling spikes on 28th and 29th.


We had a big spike too, but on the 27th. It our first really deep crawl since early November.

System

2:37 pm on Jan 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The following 2 messages were cut out to new thread by robert_charlton. New thread at: google/4726139.htm [webmasterworld.com]
1:18 am on Jan 2, 2015 (PST -8)
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