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Google Updates and SERP Changes - May 2015

     
12:31 am on May 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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System: The following 3 messages were cut out of thread at: https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/3003161.htm [webmasterworld.com] by aakk9999 - 4:35 pm on May 1, 2015 (gmt 0)



Just thought I'd join this thread.

Our traffic from old man google has been consistent +-5% since panda 4 in May 2014. Our main site IS mobile friendly and wasn't hit on the 21st of April, however it suddenly lost 10% of Google traffic yesterday. Many our top 10 positions dropped 1-2 spots.

I'm almost 100% certain it wasn't panda (as other pandalized sites in my niche didn't drop positions in the queries I'm watching).
I'm about 95%% certain it wasn't penguin either as I did a massive disavow in mid Feb and not that many scrapers, weak sites have been linking to us since then


So what the hell happened on the 28th (29th Australia time)?

The rank drops occured on both desktop AND mobile.


@ColdRum

I believe it has something to do with that huge disavow file..

My disavow file is ~ 20 000 domain lines, gathered with a lot of work from a lot of sources, but my traffic follows a very strang downward path in the last 2 years, so I've said that I need to try something.
I've used as source only the info from WMT and I've selected only the worst spammers for 2 of my sites.

Guess what? I see increases in the last week!

P.S. All my sites are mobile friendly.
1:07 am on May 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I bet that once again those famous big sites that will become mobile friendly will gain their rankings back within days while smaller sites will eventually never recover.

Google has said that the "mobile-friendly" signal is applied in real time, and that site owners who make their pages mobile-friendly will see results when their mobile-friendly pages have been crawled. So yes, "famous big sites" that are late to the mobile-friendly party should benefit from their changes, but so should unknown sites.
3:42 pm on May 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Many our top 10 positions dropped 1-2 spots.

I'm seeing the same thing. And what seems to be name brand media sites again that have been pushed up to the top. Maybe this is some kind of "authority" update?
5:11 pm on May 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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In the last 24 hours,my 2 blogs' traffic drop suddenly.Then i read a fresh article that it might be a Google update

[seroundtable.com...]
5:13 pm on May 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing the same thing. And what seems to be name brand media sites again that have been pushed up to the top. Maybe this is some kind of "authority" update?


I lost a few spots here and there. Every one I checked was an ebay /bhp page, or amazon listing that had risen above mine.
9:45 pm on May 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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What are some commonalities between all the sites hit?

I was up about 2-3% from 4/22-4/25 and now I'm down about 8% since 4/26. I also have a large disavow file (3,000+ domains) and I was hit by Penguin 2.0 in May, 2013 - saw no recovery in any update, and disavowed about 1,000 more domains since the last update, so hoping for recovery soon.

My positive theory: Google is processing the disavow files in preparation for an upcoming Penguin update. We all lost some google juice because we have all disavowed a bunch of domains recently, but hopefully recovery is coming soon!
10:32 pm on May 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Today, our traffic is up nicely over Friday, April 17 (two weeks ago). What's interesting is that I'm seeing double-digit increases for most Continental European countries but single-digit increases elsewhere.

Of course, May 1 is a legal holiday in many Continental countries. Still, who would have guessed that so many French, Germans, Dutch, Norwegians, Italians, etc. would be spending their holiday online?
3:20 am on May 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Hi Guys,

Yeah, a few days out now I've been running through a few things and I think the update on the 28th/29th April was to do with links. I'm reviewing the last 2 and a half months worth of new links this weekend.

I think because our sites were hit before google is a lot less tolerate of even slightly dodgy links - even if your site was hit because other people were adding the links, not you.
3:22 am on May 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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ps, I have submitted a number of disavow files previously, i didn't see a full recovery, but I definitely saw improvements. It is hard to keep up with the spammers/ scrapers continually adding bad links to your site.
12:43 pm on May 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Seeing total different serps on different browser, same IP. And there seems allthough a new layout for shopping ads. And serps seems to be much more brands biased as before. google keeps ignoring "important" keywords. eg. searching for "25 plug" google shows many pages from amazon with "9 plug". With moving to page >2 the most matching are found.
3:21 pm on May 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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There's something definitely going on, my site was always affected by the pandas, and now i'm up by 5%, so i guess there was a panda update starting on thursday i guess... The change is not big, but for me it means that after some hard work, finally Panda gave me some love.

ps.: According to my observations the traffic change has nothing to do with the mobile update.
4:04 pm on May 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I noticed that beginning on Monday 04/27 our traffic began to significantly decline. It has gotten worse day after day. Today, 5/2 we are running 30% less hour over hour comparing to last Saturday 4/25. Trying to find more information on the update people have noticed 4/28 / 4/29.
4:23 pm on May 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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For me, if you look at this week compared to same day of the previous week:

4/26: -6%
4/27: -5%
4/28: -6%
4/29: -6%
4/30: -7%
5/1: -8%

I never noticed anything bad from Panda, only Penguin.
4:47 pm on May 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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We were hit with a similar decrease in most of March & April (e.g. down 5-8% day versus day previous week). Then for about 10 days in April we saw a recovery of 10% each day...until 04/27 when we saw drastic decreases of 20%.
8:37 pm on May 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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What I've noticed is that exact key words are being ignored even more than usual. Search for red widgets and you get the top big brands for widgets, period. Ok we've had that for a long while now but it's become more pronounced over the last few days.

I often wonder if this is a deliberate sacrifice of satisfying the query in favour of speed of delivery of the results. Perhaps if they are close enough then they are considered to be good enough.
9:39 pm on May 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Where's someone to say it's the weather? In no year has the spring decline been this drastic. April 1st huge drop...then flat traffic all month, now May 1st another huge drop and traffic movement is as zombie as I've ever seen. The "people" that visit hit one page and sit on the same page for 5 minutes, then leave. Humans tend to check out more than one page if on site for that long. I'm starting to think they've created a visitor bot that is intended to satiate us into thinking we're getting some real traffic while everything else if directed to G's monetization machine.

Anyone else notice the top results are so ad ridden they crash your browser? Nice user experience.
1:31 am on May 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Things are really moving about tonight wonder if its a panda update. Looks like Google Dance
1:56 am on May 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Things are really moving about tonight wonder if its a panda update.

I hope you are right. Google has been sending a lot of garbage the past few days.
6:09 am on May 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I created an account because I am facing this issue too. One of my sites has been hit with serp decreases of 1-3 spots. Now I've done nothing but try and clean this site after it was hit by the last penguin update, I've added content, cleaned up old posts, moved to faster hosting, tweaked all the SEO settings so theres no dupe content, removed bad links, disavowed and it still has less than a 1/3 the traffic it used to get. Not sure why I am seeing losses like this.
9:05 am on May 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Something huge went down in the UK overnight. I don't think it's affected all verticals yet and it doesn't appear to be isolated to mobile search.

Whatever it was, the end result is messy! Authority has gone out of the window.
9:10 am on May 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@seoskunk There hasn't been a Google dance for like 10 years.

In other news, something has happened as of the 30th April. First time we see a 10% to 20% variance (positive/negative) in over 50 websites (which is a positive sign of something big occuring). This is actually the first time we see any difference since the 21st (and before). Can't put my finger as to what it is though. I think it's a spam algorithm that is unrelated to Panda and Penguin. I would be more detailed but I would rather not say much for now as what I think it is is kind of wild and crazy.

btw our non mobile friendly sites have still increased traffic which they got on the 22nd lol

[edited by: brotherhood_of_LAN at 7:57 pm (utc) on May 3, 2015]
[edit reason] re: sticky requested edit [/edit]

9:46 am on May 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Something huge went down in the UK overnight. I don't think it's affected all verticals yet and it doesn't appear to be isolated to mobile search.


Same for Germany. HUGE ranking changes on desktop (haven't checked mobile), especially for major keywords. Looks like Panda to me, since I got a few rankings back, which I had lost after the last Panda update in October.
10:01 am on May 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I have started an adwords campaign because I am making no sales at all with my organic ranks. Looks like they have pushed up amazon and some other big names they do business with. Wow... I hope Google pays dearly with their EU anti-trust suit.
11:07 am on May 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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For many years Google has made huge updates at the beginning of May, last year was a little bit later, May 12/14th? Anyway, my worst was 05.05.05 ... that bad I still remember it and I still have no idea why I was hit since I did nothing to my sites yet within a year I went on to have my highest-ever AdSense earnings and highest traffic until Google's image rip-off.
11:51 am on May 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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This weekend for us has been our worst in over 6 years. Drop of over 80% on averages. No explanation.
12:01 pm on May 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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There hasn't been a Google dance for like 10 years. I pity the fool who follow your SEO advice.


I said like google dance because the results were shifting on each search I did. It reminded me of google dance because sites were bouncing about quite a bit. I think maybe its a panda update. Its like chunks of content are missing from sites that are being filtered. Many new pages have disappeared on the sites I'm watching and maybe thats how panda works. By filtering the new stuff since the last update and re-evaluating your older content. Whatever this is I am sure its some kind of update and it may take a while to settle down.
12:17 pm on May 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Google dance was a term used for the movement of sites when Google would refresh its index every month or week, which was back in the early 2000s. The term is misused by many amateurs who call any movement in SERPs a Google dance. SERPs are dynamic these days and constantly updated, unlike what it was in 2004, hence the use of the word Google dance is not only redundant now days but also tells that you don't know what you're talking about (at least in terms of indexing of documents and ranking) and simply repeat the misuse of the word that is so common in amateur forums like black hat world.

The fact that the results shift on every search you did is in fact a consequence of Google killing what caused back in the day the famous Google dance. Not to mention that Google personalizes results these days (which I'm sure you are aware of).
12:59 pm on May 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Posting in Updates & SERP Changes for May as April is closed already, but:

what I've analysed so far regards SERP and ranking changes between April 24th and May 2nd in Google Germany. (I think the first updates starting April 24th were only targeted for the German market/Language while later movements are seen in Google UK etc. as well)

It looks as if some sites are hit badly while a lot of other sites don't see any movement at all (besides secondary movement while other sites making way etc.).

April 24th-26th looks like the April 12th-14th doorway algorithm update applied for Google Germany as well (a).

April 28/29th to May 2nd looks like Panda or sth. similar content related (b).

(b) Sites with a low text-to-html ratio seem to be hit, especially if they have a low text-to-image ratio. Ecom: Check your category pages rankings if those do not have "extra" text but rather product listings with images/titles and not much extra information (in testing filter out boilerplate content like navigation/menu etc. to get a relevant text-to-html or text-to-image ratio).

(b) Rankings plummeted for high-volume keywords while related longtail keywords see much smaller declines.

(a) Selfgrown techniques with redirects for multi-market domain schemes (targeting different languages/countries/regions) that are not following the Google hreflang guidances are seem to be misinterpretated as doorway spam.

(b) for many longtail keywords (and some shorttail ones as well) page 1 of SERPs are not relevant anymore while page 2 (ecom death) are highly relevant results.

(a & b?) in Google Germany, Google seems to have problems with english words used in the German language and probably filters them.

(b) lots of keywords used in search are filtered (as reported already by several members here) (probably related to the last two findings)

Incidental note: WMT has lots of data errors these days (e.g. indexed pages vs. google site: operator a.s.o.)
1:04 pm on May 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I said like google dance because the results were shifting on each search I did.


I think that's just the data centres not being synced yet.
1:12 pm on May 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Regarding Google dance:

Instead of just falling on one day it looks like hit pages move down more every day (like a steep stairway instead of a slide).

DC not beeing synced could be another reason, for sure.
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