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Google Updates and SERP Changes - January 2015

     
2:37 pm on Jan 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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System: The following 2 messages were cut out of thread at: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4719320.htm [webmasterworld.com] by robert_charlton - 1:18 am on Jan 2, 2015 (PST -8)


I have absolutely no idea whether it's me, my sites or whatever but Google seems to be totally incapable of indexing and ranking new sites these days other than finding irrelevant garbage and ranking it well.

How have they managed to do this so well?
9:51 am on Jan 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I was just stating that this last major update in the fall, has really simplified the algo for us churn & burn types.


It is what I have been seeing lately with Google. Whether it coincides with Matt's absence I can't say, but it looks a lot like Google of pre-Penguin days, which is more lenient to sites manipulating backlinks.

For a commercial keyword (searches above 100k a month), there are at least 5 pages within top 20 (sometimes 8) that are hacked .edu pages. They just put some garbage content with keyword thrown in between. After a few seconds the page redirects to the money-site. A large number of spam links (wiki, comments, track-backs, social bookmarks etc) are pointed to these hacked .edu pages.
10:58 am on Jan 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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For a commercial keyword (searches above 100k a month), there are at least 5 pages within top 20 (sometimes 8) that are hacked .edu pages. They just put some garbage content with keyword thrown in between. After a few seconds the page redirects to the money-site. A large number of spam links (wiki, comments, track-backs, social bookmarks etc) are pointed to these hacked .edu pages.


Im seeing this but seeing a lot less small businesses and minor spam sites in the search results but like you said a lot more hacked pages which if I do say so myself is a lot worse than just some blackhat "gaming the system" especially as these sites are run by criminals.

I would rather have some affiliate site trying.. which ha some information on it worthwhile than get redirected to some pill selling site any day.
1:54 pm on Jan 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Conversions are down today. Seems like there are only zombies on Google.

ecom, germany
2:27 pm on Jan 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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There has been some noticeable shufffling in my sector (in which SERPs have hardly been affected at all by changes in the last couple of months). My site has moved from #27 to #15 for main key term, and a couple of other sites have moved up or down by varying amounts.

Traffic has been slightly up this week, but emails/calls (conversions, in other words) have been nonexistent.

UK niche service.
3:35 pm on Jan 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Same here. I guess it has something to do with EU Survey Google taking adavantage of beeing a Monopoly.

Give them sugar(traffic) and they will be quiet.
12:57 pm on Jan 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@Kratos are you still seeing the higher levels of traffic? I am seeing something weird today on my site. On just one page I am getting large amounts of traffic for a low traffic keyword. It's really odd. None of it converting so far. Are you still seeing it and is any of it converting for you? I'm UK based.
1:38 pm on Jan 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Update: It's still happening. Total bounces, 0 seconds spent on site, no other pages viewed. Mostly UK but some from other countries. All for a very low volume traffic keyword that I rank #1 for.
2:08 pm on Jan 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Same here, we received very much low quality traffic at tuesday and wednesday for one single page. It stopped yesterday (probably because of the high bounce rate).
2:36 pm on Jan 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@silentneedle. When I do see a keyword, given that they are stripped out these days, it's applicable to the page. What would be making so many people type those keywords? It's not like google is directing searches to the site that aren't from applicable keywords. I would normally get 20 searches a week for the phrase that I am getting like 200 for today so far. I really don't get it.
3:43 pm on Jan 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I have absolutely no idea, I've also tried to figure out the keyword, but I haven't found any combination where the page ranks somewhere between #1-10.

We received on those two days about 7.000 visits from google for that page and now not a single one. It's even not a "fleshy" one, as it contains mostly images showing some products and external links.

It seems like google was benchmarking that page for a specific keyword.

p.s. The target page has zero backlinks.

[edited by: silentneedle at 4:01 pm (utc) on Jan 23, 2015]

3:55 pm on Jan 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Did your WMT show anything? Or has it not updated to cover it yet?
7:10 pm on Jan 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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We received on those two days about 7.000 visits from google for that page and now not a single one. It's even not a "fleshy" one, as it contains mostly images showing some products and external links.

Have you checked your logs? It sounds like these might be visits from some rogue bot using fake Google referrals.
9:00 pm on Jan 25, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The past six months have seen Sundays go from booming conversions to zombie even though we still see the most traffic on Sundays. Now the best conversions are being seen on days with the least traffic. Makes no sense.
1:29 am on Jan 26, 2015 (gmt 0)

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So, nobody else is seeing some major churn today? Traffic is high, conversions non existent. This is a record sales day historically. Made 1 conversion all day. #*$! ridiculous.
7:24 am on Jan 26, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I noticed lot of change today (01.26). I m not sure, but it maybe link-related
8:02 am on Jan 26, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Seeing big changes in serps. First 10 results are only brands now. Related or not. Smaller ecoms are complete out of range now.
In my niche Amazon took a nice noise dive. ebay outranks Amazon in many cases now.
Conversions are non existent at the Moment, even for PLAs.
Something Major is up.

ecom, germany
9:01 am on Jan 26, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Agreed, from around 3 am uk im down around 30% per hour. Fasten your seatbelts Ladies and Gentlemen, I think we are in for some turbulence.
9:07 am on Jan 26, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I'm not seeing anything apart from the massive amount of traffic from low traffic keyword on Friday.
1:33 pm on Jan 26, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I know where my traffic went...it went back to Google so they could sell it back to me for a price. In 2012 (as reported by AWSTATS) I ranked on 14,370 keyphrases. In 2013 that dropped to less than half that at 6889 keyphrases. In 2014 it again dropped to half that to 3931. This year? January has again dropped to less than half or last year now sitting at 1,315.

Our old long tail is clearly the money maker for Google, but they also want my few dozen #1 positions too. The only way to overcome this is to buy, BUY, BUY back those keywords. Can you imagine how many hours it would take to twiddle with over 10,000 keyphrases and how much that would cost? LOL
4:25 pm on Jan 26, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Generalising, i've noticed increases in traffic, but conversions remain steady. It's about time we saw some movement: last time it was December, and there's been a lot of new sites and pages updated since then.
2:00 am on Jan 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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USA ecommerce seeing increased traffic, lower sales and page views. It appears the quality of traffic Google is now delivering is of a lower quality. Hopefully the traffic quality is just temporary and part of the flux.
8:45 am on Jan 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Hmmm my SEO antennas are tinkling, it feels like a small Panda on my sites this week-end.
8:57 am on Jan 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Could you please check your WMT for HTML Double META and title Errors?

WMT suddenly Shows me a rising number of double Meta and title tags whereas it only showed a handfull. All the titles are different but only by one or two words. E.g. Lenght 2m or 3m.
It seems that g. tightend this to more than one character/word. It is a petty because yellow / black / green are different and for sure a big deail when it comes to describe a widget. I donīt wont to make rubber titles only to please Google. Short and pretty on the Point, but this seems to make Panda very angry.

ecom, germany
10:53 am on Jan 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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it feels like a small Panda on my sites this week-end.


I, too, sense some movements, minor but noticeable.
1:13 pm on Jan 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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When I first got into making websites, I didn't know how this all worked. I only recall a friend telling me that he found my site on Google by searching for my name on Google. I didn't know that Google had visited my site and indexed it, and frankly, I would have preferred Google have waited before visiting or at least have asked for permission first before indexing it on their search results. But hey, I as a complete noob to internet only wanting to create a blog about tuxedo cats, should already know how to use robots.txt to block Google, set up a noindex tag and/or present a 503 on my blog while working on it on it locally, despite the fact that the mere act of logging into Cpanel is giving me a headache.


And would you set up as a car mechanic without knowing how an engine worked?
3:03 pm on Jan 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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traffic up from Google in the last few days, especially today, conversion are bad. Seems like a low quality traffic.
5:11 pm on Jan 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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it feels like a small Panda on my sites this week-end


I've just been checking some keyword searches and I definitely have traction and movement on a site launched beginning of August 2014, so 5 months now for new general widget stuff is it?
5:27 pm on Jan 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Nothing obvious here. Our average rankings have been creeping up lately, but that's been the trend since October.
1:06 am on Jan 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Barry Schwartz noted in a hangout John Mueller said traffic flux was not the result of penguin or panda. As Barry eluded to, the major snow storm in the east may have resulted in a lot of people just staying home and browsing the web like zombies. I know many government workers had paid time off, but we all know they browse the web whether they are at home or at work. :)
11:37 am on Jan 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Hmm in WMT I cannot download Latest links for my sites.
I get a csv file with content:


We experienced a temporary problem while generating this file. Please try again in a few minutes.


Penguin preparation ? :)
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