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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?
2:23 am on Jan 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I don't know if I should be worried or happy by today's evens and after reading above posts about Google capping traffic. I am seeing a very nice traffic spike today from organic and direct traffic (direct is misleading because it is most probably Google image search). But on the other hand - my adwords visitors are very low! Sure, the day so not over yet but this is weird. My campaign almost ran out of money - not yet but money was almost depleted.

Could this Google cap be also connected with adwords? For example when I had a lot of organic traffic last month I also added adwords because it was converting well. Then after 23rd traffic fell so I compensated with more adwords spending. The days when I got the most adwords traffic (by setting daily spending cap higher and higher) had the worst organic traffic. But today google sent me very little adword traffic but a lot of organic traffic so far.

These two cant be correlated, can they? I mean Google wouldn't be that unsmart, would they? Because that would effectively mean that it is better to stop spending for adwords and you will get compensated by organic traffic according to how your site "ranks at google".

We'll see if the traffic converts though. For the past days it was slowly rising but conversions have been low. I am still hoping it was low because people spent all money on holidays. Hopefully people start spending again as the new year starts .

For some reason the adsense earnings have been low for the last few days. Lots of clicks , it's just that the per click rate seems to be low. Again, this could indicate that people aren't bidding high anymore (or many adverstisers choose not to big in last week of 2014 because no one buys anyway) because the shopping season is over.

Anyone seeing traffic changed today, up,down? Anyone with similar stats or pattern in the last week?
10:12 am on Jan 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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In the past few days I've gone from over 2300 search queries per day to 20 queries...yes 20. Paradoxically, my traffic (and conversions) have never been higher...mostly direct.

So, by all appearances...Google either hates sites with seasonal direct traffic or Google WMT is absolutely, positively broken.
2:35 pm on Jan 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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[i1377.photobucket.com...]

after further review it must be that G is now listing my sites as https:, which is all good. The question is, how to I tell G that the site is https within analytics? back to digging in the admin settings...any know this one, just shout it out. TIA
3:12 pm on Jan 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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So, by all appearances...Google either hates sites with seasonal direct traffic or Google WMT is absolutely, positively broken.

Lets not be so quick to blame Google for everything!

I understand you have moved your site to https and that http now redirects to https (as it should in this case). So now when you look at your search queries (and other things), you need to look at the https version of the site.

how to I tell G that the site is https within analytics? back to digging in the admin settings...

Log in to Google Webmaster Tools, once logged in, in the top right corner go to "Add Site" and when asked to enter URL, enter the https://www.example.com/

Verify if required.

Wait a few days for the data to come through and you will find your queries reported under https site. From now on, you need to select https version of the site to check how your web is performing.

You should also go back to http version just to check things are dropping out as expected.
3:29 pm on Jan 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@aakk9999 - yeah, I know, that's true about 99.9% of the time. I figured they'd pick up the change without making any settings changes in WMT.
I wonder if I will lose all the old non https data?

Thanks!
3:37 pm on Jan 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I wonder if I will lose all the old non https data?

As I said above, the old HTTP data will be in WMT on the HTTP version of your site.

Since WMT Search Queries show only the last 3 months of queries, eventually these will drop off. I suggest that you export your HTTP queries to excel if you want to preserve this data.

As for Google Analytic, this shows the data combined if you are using the same GA code (which it appears you do, according to your screenshot), so no need to do anything there.
3:44 pm on Jan 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Anyone seeing traffic changed today, up,down?


My traffic levels have been very low for days now except the occasional upwards blip, in fact today's is absolutely dire so far with many of my sites having no visitors whatsoever.

I find this all very strange since one of my busier sites is in India and even that traffic has been down substantially.

Anyway, if the entire world is similar to WebmasterWorld then I can only assume holidays/whatever since people just ain't posting.
5:11 pm on Jan 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@redbar - you and I are in the same vertical, but things are at yearly high levels right now for us. It always peaks the day after Christmas and into Jan / Feb / Mar. ending in April.
7:28 pm on Jan 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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My entire "western" customer base are all on holiday until Monday 5th, even the Chinese and Indians have given up on sending out email offers etc.

This is always the low point of our year, once it hits December for decades it has always slid downhill until the New Year and then, depending on the weather, the retail market picks up and business is usually steady throughout the year until Thanksgiving.

Interestingly over the Xmas period we've had more than our usual volume of project enquiries from North Africa through to the Middle East which is good sign.
11:01 am on Jan 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Why is Google not ranking new sites in their SERPs?

Over the last few months I have uploaded several unique widget sites, all have been spidered and indexed, some only 75%, yet none are ranking whatsoever.

Far, far too many USA results are appearing for my widget search terms, in one case 90% of the first 100 results were from the USA for a UK enquiry.

And do you know what? All these sites are ranking in the Bing SERPs with much, much less USA crap.

Broken or biased, which is it?
2:13 pm on Jan 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Google either hates sites with seasonal direct traffic


This has not been my experience over quite a few years.

Why is Google not ranking new sites in their SERPs?


I've definitely noticed it's taking longer. Launched two new sites of my own and one new one for a client in 2014, and traffic is growing for both of them, but much more slowly than in previous years.
2:43 pm on Jan 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Why is Google not ranking new sites in their SERPs?


Combating churn-and-burn-site strategies maybe?
8:03 pm on Jan 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Why is Google not ranking new sites in their SERPs


It's often a slower grind than it used to be. My only advice is to ask yourself *why* they should choose yours over the others. And don't get caught up with things like 'original content' or whatever. Is your site better than the others in the top 10? Is your value proposition unique? If so, market it. If not, you've got work to do.
9:12 pm on Jan 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Just took a look at WMT, site just had its biggest every crawl, 3 times larger than any other crawl....been a bad sign in the past! eekkkk
11:20 pm on Jan 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Just took a look at WMT, site just had its biggest every crawl, 3 times larger than any other crawl....been a bad sign in the past! eekkkk


Very interesting observation! I just checked mine too and the biggest crawl was on 23rd, exactly when the traffic to one of my sites went down!
3:12 am on Jan 4, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Why is Google not ranking new sites in their SERPs?

I just wonder if Google has had issues with conserving processing power over the recent years for new areas of emphasis. False rankings through link building and promoting poor quality sites might have been a stimulus for equally wanting to clean up the SERP's for better UX in the past.
Question: If I start to improve the quality of our site, how much time will I need to wait to see an improvement in our rankings

John Mueller :There is no fixed time for something like that. We would re-crawl quickly if submitted in site map or feed, probably show it in our index within a couple of days, depending on how much content, what kind of site it is, so we would know about it fairly quickly ... and from that point of view we would be able to show it in the search results ..... but it would be hard to say when that content would have an effect on your website's ranking, because it takes a lot more time to aggregate that information, and to turn that into a general positive signal, where we would say this website has gone from generating very little quality content to a lot of high quality content. So I'd be saying you'd be looking more of a time frame like half a year
[webmasterworld.com...]
New site or improving site, I would think the aggregation of data supporting a site is way more than just a case of indexing it. JM says so.

So lifting the offsite activity may be an important part of this process, as well as other signals that show Google the commitment constantly.
3:41 am on Jan 4, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Why is Google not ranking new sites in their SERPs?

Because it does not need the new sites and they aren't paying.
2:20 pm on Jan 4, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Regarding ranking new sites...

The ratio of spam/garbage to legitimate sites has to be overwhelming. To deal with this problem I could see why Google would intentionally delay ranking new sites. Instead of the innocent until deemed guilty approach Google had taken in the past to rank new sites, maybe they are exercising caution to preserve whatever quality standards they are trying to maintain. Giving it a little time for webmasters to step on a landmine in doing SEO for their new sites may be Google's best defense.

The last new site I launched that hit page 1 took about three months to get there. The site has far better content then the competitors, and I would expect Google to rank the site higher on page 1 in a few more months (even faster if Google were to slap one site for using interlinked websites to artificially boost his popularity). Bing/Yahoo have my recently launched site ranked #1 for the main keyword people would use to find it.
4:53 pm on Jan 4, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Because it does not need the new sites and they aren't paying.


Maybe they're unable to?

If they can only run this Panda thing once or twice a year maximum then that tells me they quite simply cannot do it.
2:23 am on Jan 5, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Because it does not need the new sites and they aren't paying.


Is that possibly the same as maybe, on purpose, they won't do to force PFI?
6:51 am on Jan 5, 2015 (gmt 0)

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If they can only run this Panda thing once or twice a year maximum then that tells me they quite simply cannot do it.


I was under the impression that Panda happens now on somewhat of a monthly basis and that it had become part of the main core of what shows up on the first page of SERPS. Did you mean Penguin?
3:49 pm on Jan 5, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Yes, I think Panda runs a lot more than 2 times a year.

I have an ecommerce site that took a traffic nose dive mid December and has now leveled off at the lower daily traffic rate. And we didn't do very much in the way of site changes around then either.

Strangely, the rankings have not gone down! I check almost a hundred keyword phrases and their rankings and none have really changed at all before, during or after the traffic nose dive. In fact, there are some that have significantly improved even!
(The impressions are down 19% and the clicks are down 29% since mid December).

So it seems like Google all of a sudden throttled our traffic. No dip in rankings but huge dip in traffic. Anyone else experience this?
8:18 pm on Jan 5, 2015 (gmt 0)

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aok88, i confirm the dip ( impressions -18%/ clicks -26% ) this is astonishing as this seems like an extra panda penalty with nearly same impression/click ratio to your sites.
I saw some movements for some pages but nothing big.
Aok is your site https?
I sticky mailed you.

ecom, germany
8:30 pm on Jan 5, 2015 (gmt 0)

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No, our site is not https. The only major change we've made recently is converting to mobile and responsive design, we're about 20% of the way through. The responsive design does hide some content using css - it hides everything but the main column of content and excludes all the boilerplate content found on every page. Could this be the cause of the sudden drop?
9:35 pm on Jan 5, 2015 (gmt 0)

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aok, google implemented a new feature since december in insight speed. Did you see it? There is a new grapg in WMT, too. Telling mobil pages fail count.

Comparing mobil and desktop searches in my niche, does not show any significant differences.
12:47 am on Jan 6, 2015 (gmt 0)

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aok88, same here,it started around 23nd dec.
7:13 am on Jan 6, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Michael, do you have a lot of 404s?
10:16 am on Jan 6, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Martin Ice Web,this is weird. I see 404 errors have been rising since December from 0 to around 30 (1 per day). However they are all from yourdomain.com/author/authorname (it's a WordPress site). I am not displaying author anywhere on site so not sure how this happened, how google started crawling this URL in December. All other pages (more than 1000) have 0 404 errors. I didn't make any changes to URL structure at all.

I dont think this author/authorname 404s make any problems, or? 404 started appearing when we got big boost on 1.December, I have to check why is Google crawling these URLs.

Why did you ask about 404s, is it connected with rankings in any way? :)
11:08 am on Jan 6, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@Michael, one user user and me seeing this 404s and we got hit on same date.
If you are think of it. 404s are a bad UE. Normaly i take Close Attention to Errors, cause i hate it on other pages, too. Rising numbers are a bad sign. Unfortuntelly i pushed an updated without have a full testing. This one produced a lot of 404s. I donīt say that this is the reason but for sure a bad sign. So if our sites are on the edge, this one could be the rolling stone. I see two other things that may have a bad influence but i am not realy sure yet.
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