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Google Updates and SERP Changes - Oct 2015

     
9:28 am on Oct 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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System: The following 8 messages were cut out of thread at: https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4765618.htm [webmasterworld.com] by robert_charlton - 11:46 am on Oct 1, 2015 (PDT -8)


Another long time lurker here, interesting to read all of the previous comments about this and we've definitely seen a big shift.

We operate in the UK market and took over a client from another agency about 6 months ago. Everything seemed ok, link profile wasn't too bad etc. The one glaring thing that worried me was that they had a lot of location-type pages -- e.g. keyword-location.html. In fairness, the company operates across 4 cities, but nevertheless, these pages seemed a bit excessive. I advised our client about this and they wanted to keep the pages as is because they were obviously working for them.

They were doing pretty well in the SERP's -- usually in the top 3 for keyword + location queries. They also had the beginnings of a national footprint and were at the bottom of page 1 for some competitive terms.

All pages have unique content, around 750-1250 words and aren't keyword stuffed so I'm not sure if it's a Panda thing, but my instinct tells me it is.

They saw a HUGE drop yesterday -- pretty much obliterated all rankings. Then a slight recovery today.

Just wondered what people's thoughts are on what this update is. Seems like a mix of reactions from positive shifts to negative shifts.
11:52 am on Oct 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Back to zero already...that was quick or a fluke.
12:33 pm on Oct 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Makes you think that google monitors this forum now like they said they do/did with black forums to see if they are messing up people rankings or not for what they determine as spammers. Google now considers anyone who does seo a spammer.. me thinks so.
1:04 pm on Oct 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@samwest. Same here. This is really weird. I should post a graph of our CR over time. It jumps up at the beginning of Sept (like @Nutterum says happens) and jumps right down on 18th Sept. Little peak yesterday.

But based on other comments, there appears to be lots of different things going on here and all of them fluid. There appears to be some correlation between some shops, but lots of other stuff happening too. Maybe Google is experimenting with baking Panda and Penguin into the algo but making a complete mess of it, which hopefully means things will return to being sensible if/when they get it right. And I still believe there is an impact on paid, possibly unintentionally as a result of iOS9/ad blockers and possibly intentionally by Google. @samwest, when I mentioned ad blockers earlier, I didn't mean that you used ads (we don't). I meant that ad blockers have a habit of also removing non-ad content, hence breaking sites, hence reducing CR without affecting traffic.
1:51 pm on Oct 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@Simon H - good point on the ad blockers...my "signup" buttons are generated using a shortcode, so I think I'll go back to just a simple image button to see if that works. I've always wondered about those shortcode buttons.
4:06 pm on Oct 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Blast from the Past - Food for thought :)

The Quality Update: Google Confirms Changing How Quality Is Assessed, Resulting In Rankings Shake-Up
Earlier this month, many webmasters noticed significant Google ranking changes. Google has finally confirmed those ranking changes with us.

It’s not your imagination. Google’s results have changed since the beginning of this month, and Google’s officially confirmed to Search Engine Land that this is due to a change with how it assesses content quality. Call it “The Quality Update,” if you will.
[searchengineland.com...]
Dated: May 19, 2015

[edited by: aakk9999 at 5:06 pm (utc) on Oct 1, 2015]
[edit reason] Added article date to avoid the confusion [/edit]

4:26 pm on Oct 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Blast from the Past - Food for thought :)


Reference to that update would then suggest that Google now evaluates quality one way one day and a different way the next, because that's what's apparently happening. I think the article quoted is related to a loss of SERP positions, not related to the effect we (at least some of us) are seeing with ON / OFF patterns. If this were a quality issue, we should see a total drop in SERPS, yet we don't, only a drop in traffic volumes and quality over certain, random periods of time. I personally think it's more a part of the new everflux, so we might as well get used to it. It's a new day and everything is OFF again. Turned off about 4pm CST yesterday.
5:08 pm on Oct 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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"everflux"

That term reminds me of a post exchange I had with GoogleGuy back in 2005 :)

msg#:719663
[webmasterworld.com...]
8:36 pm on Oct 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Reference to that update would then suggest that Google now evaluates quality one way one day and a different way the next, because that's what's apparently happening.


That might indicates that Google search quality engineers are busy in implementing and testing new tweaks to the search ranking quality update which has been rolled out around 2nd September 2015. As I mentioned in a previous post, I guess the update is still underway.
12:48 am on Oct 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@RS - the old everflux took weeks or months, then "new everflux" seems to happen every few hours or days....but again, it's all speculation.
8:46 am on Oct 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@reseller - I hat this thought at the back of my head for some time now. I believe that this "quality update" is actually the evil(or good depending on how you view the proverbial water in the proverbial glass) brother of the Panda algo. See Panda looks for poor quality content pages right. But since Panda can`t distinguish linguistics what it can do is more or less judge whether you have thin content or not, or whether you have overly spammy content or not (despite what some Google execs. listed..let's be realistic here). I think the quality update operates at the other end of the spectrum. It looks at "good content" pages and evaluates whether the content is relevant to the available traffic that Google has to distribute. It's not solely about the websites anymore, it is about hammering the "traffic square" into the "content circle hole". Hence the quality update was born to take the shame of the mentioned hammer.

Thoughts?
8:49 am on Oct 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@charliekoen

They saw a HUGE drop yesterday -- pretty much obliterated all rankings. Then a slight recovery today.


I saw quite a significant change in the UK yesterday - to me it appears Panda has rolled back again. This hasn't affected all sites, but any I have worked on that were starting to see positive movement have slipped back to where they were months ago.

This is becoming so frustrating now.
10:44 am on Oct 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The 28th and 29th of September we saw Google doing a good job of matching visitors to our content and products. As you noted petehall, we have seen what appears to be a rollback to irrelevant traffic. Adwords traffic quality has also dropped substantially, which leads me to believe Google is extremely challenged to display relevant search results to their users.
1:10 pm on Oct 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Seems like Google has been testing a roll out of their latest penguin that they are hoping to get working in real time. This would explain the drops people are seeing lately.

This is great news for black hat marketing as we would be able to see in real time what works and what is a waste of time. Hope they get it live soon.
1:59 pm on Oct 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Seems like Google has been testing a roll out of their latest penguin


What leads you to believe this? The only confirmation we have right now is that panda is still rolling out.
2:05 pm on Oct 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@petehall

I saw quite a significant change in the UK yesterday - to me it appears Panda has rolled back again. This hasn't affected all sites, but any I have worked on that were starting to see positive movement have slipped back to where they were months ago.

This is becoming so frustrating now.


I found that a lot of the pages that were ranking had duplicate elements (e.g. a list of product types, blocks of text about legislation) etc. I'm fixing that and hoping that's the reason and that it somehow bounces back.

Looks like a quality thing to me
2:59 pm on Oct 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Back to bad Google traffic on october 1st for me. Algoroo shows a change on that day but Mozcast does not.
3:14 pm on Oct 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@Nutterum

Welcome to the new era of Google data updates!

From what I read on current and previous threads of Google updates, I guess we are dealing since around 2nd September 2015 with a very powerful search quality update (I called it Orangutan).
It is affecting ranking of what Google considers as "Quality sites". It rewards quality sites by pushing them to the top of the SERPs. I guess at present we witness Google engineers implementing tweaks to Orangutan, which might result in unstable SERPs for sometime.

It could be that Google wouldn't need Panda and Penguin anymore in future. Just the super intelligent Orangutan :)

With all due respect for the feeling of people whose sites have been affected by Orangutan, I find it very exciting to follow the rolling out of the said update.
4:06 pm on Oct 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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What leads me to believe this is from our testing of what is happening to our back links and what the gorg reps saying at smx.

It makes perfect sense to what our testing has been showing.

Sites dropping? Get more links, pretty simple fix.
9:41 pm on Oct 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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We don't have very many links at all to our website and I am now witnessing a tsunami of very bad traffic - few page views, traffic routed to pages other than our products and no sales. Something is definitely moving and I can only hope when it's over our product pages get some traffic.
10:06 pm on Oct 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Not an update more a massacre, Google new faceless head of spam gone wild.
1:20 am on Oct 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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From what I can see, this update is favoring the big websites which have thousands of pages indexed. At least that's what I am seeing in my niche.
3:45 am on Oct 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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It is favoring websites with strong backlinks, once again its all about the links.
4:18 pm on Oct 4, 2015 (gmt 0)

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hi all,
i've read all posts, unfortunately i've the same problem with an Italian Website, since 1 october i've lost 20% of organic traffic. I'm very worried about. The "Search Console" seems ok, no messages, no bad links, no errors. I do not know what is the cause, maybe google panda 4.2, the website has a subscription overlayer, and many ads (but all with asynchronous code) but also has really quality content.
5:09 pm on Oct 4, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Tomorrow Monday 5th October.- Google update Orangutan could be giving love to your affected sites!

If you have studied the short history of Google update Orangutan, you might have noticed that, once (or maybe twice) a week, it use to send healthy-traffic (not Zombie) to the sites which have lost part of their traffic since around 2nd September 2015.

I guess tomorrow Monday 5th October would be one of those days where several people would post happy posts on this thread :)
5:27 pm on Oct 4, 2015 (gmt 0)

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^ I'm going with Tuesday. Oddly enough, my swayback shaped graph from Sunday through Saturday now looks more like a humpback graph with Tuesday / Wednesday giving up the most conversions...exactly opposite of years past. So far Sunday has been a trickle of mobile & tablet only and long zero runs. Desktop is gone.
5:38 pm on Oct 4, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@reseller Totally agree with your analysis. We see the same thing, i.e. intermittent days where traffic converts amazingly and those days seem to correspond with @samwest and @glakes. But may I please request you don't label this 'orangutan'? It's very confusing - especially to new visitors of WebmasterWorld - and doesn't really follow the rules. Panda and Penguin are both algorithmic spam penalties that result in a sudden large decrease in organic traffic when a threshold is reached and both sit on top of the core algo. Whereas what is happening now is unclear; potentially either Google playing with baking something into the core algo or testing. Probably isn't right to give it an animal name.
5:44 pm on Oct 4, 2015 (gmt 0)

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^ agree, no need to name it as it's nothing new other than an ongoing evolution of SERP's being phased out, presumably by "better " content.and or continued traffic shaping to confuse your SEO efforts.
8:30 pm on Oct 4, 2015 (gmt 0)

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And I thought Google folks might either confirm or deney the changes which WebmasterWorld have been reporting on the Google Updates and SERP Changes threads since around 2nd September 2015. Not at all.

However Google’s Gary Illyes said few things about Panda and Penguin which are worth looking at in an effort to understand the change since around 2nd September 2015.


Google’s Gary Illyes said at SMX East on 1st October 2015:

- "We did expect the Panda 4.2 to roll out very slowly over “several months.” It has been less than three months since it started rolling out, so I’d expect it to take a few more months to finalize."
[searchengineland.com...]

- "...next Penguin update will be in the “foreseeable” future, adding “I hope” by the end of the year, and it will be the real-time version of the algorithm."
[searchengineland.com...]

Here are my thoughts:

- I assume Panda is moving very slowly and can't be responsible for those remarkable changes reported on this thread since around 2nd September 2015.

- Google might already be testing real-time version of Penguin.

- Already in January 2016 both Panda and Penguin could be history :)
.
7:35 am on Oct 5, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@reseller - I fully agree. I follow the simple rule: if something is integral part of something else, then it should not be viewed as a separate entity. In our case Panda and Penguin will be come the ever-slow-moving re-evaluators of the internet. I assume they will move at the crawl rate itself (which despite what many think is not that fast). Hence once that becomes a reality (early 2016) Panda and Penguin will effectively cease to exist. That is why I like the Orangutan name and reseller as the person whofist spotted it as an actual manualy-tweaked update has the full right to name it. (not to mention this is not the topic of this post so please refrain from passively sulking that he didn`t choose your favorite brand of animal).

I do expect Google to go public with their new algo in a few months, considering how vague the new head of spam is.
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