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Google Updates and SERP Changes - Feb 2016

     
8:18 am on Feb 1, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Continuing from:
Google Updates and SERP Changes - Jan 2015
https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4784754.htm [webmasterworld.com]


I just started checking my properties when I realized most of them experienced a crawl uptrend starting from 20th of Jan. No big spikes just 20% or more pages being crawled on a daily basis. Something that I am not sure how to interpret yet, as since the 20th there were ~2-3% of the pages being de-indexed, which is always sad to see.

That being said can you guys check your crawl rate and index status in the period 20-30 Jan?


[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 8:34 am (utc) on Feb 1, 2016]

9:58 am on Feb 1, 2016 (gmt 0)

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This last week I've noticed an increased crawl rate some much more than 20%, indexing seems to be about normal.
12:06 pm on Feb 1, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Zombies are back. After a constant week of sales something changes last sunday.
Bounce is back > 90%, sales dropped to Zero.

Seeing some new sites enter first page, all of them just copies of the manufacturer descriptions.
Lots of "404 pages" and foreign site ( .at .ch ) in germany serps.
1:08 pm on Feb 1, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I will confirm what Martin Ice Web is seeing from Google - zombies in full force. I also see a lot of irrelevant traffic coming from nations we do not do business in.
2:02 pm on Feb 1, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing the opposite this week. I am overrun with whatever the opposite of Zombies are today. Last month, however....

Takings were the same as last year and Jan and Feb are always the worst 2 months of the year so not that much seems to have changed (apart from every other month is better than the same month last year).
2:30 pm on Feb 1, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I have seen the same thing, some better traffic but getting a lot of foreign visitors that aren't really doing anything. It could be the time of year, but with all the changes in January, this always turns into this type of poor performance until things begin to settle.
3:00 pm on Feb 1, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I have seen a pretty nice size increase in traffic, but unlike what others are saying my traffic is converting really well, a lot better than the end of January.
9:41 am on Feb 2, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I've noticed an upward trend in 1 penguin hit site as well as a new one. Sales seem to be somewhat regular, although I had a large surge of quality conversions yesterday which indicates zombies are still in effect. It's possible that my daily conversions 1-2 are a result of the increased traffic but its hard to say at the moment.
9:52 am on Feb 2, 2016 (gmt 0)

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had a large surge of quality conversions yesterday


So did I, also on a Penguin affected site. I put it down to being a new month - and the month after a dismal one like January. I will often see a surge at the start of a new month.
10:27 am on Feb 2, 2016 (gmt 0)

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One good day of conversions followed by multiple days of bad traffic from Google is a cycle I've seen for months. I think Google does this to pacify website owners, to give them some small sliver of hope and to keep them spending in Adwords. Since I saw good sales yesterday, I'm expecting Google to throw a lot of rubbish at my site the next 3+ days.
12:18 am on Feb 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Noticed a search result tonight I've never seen before. Searched for a product. Amazon came up on most of the first page, with different Amazon country sites making up the listings. For example, .com, .ca, .in. Wonder what this was about.
12:33 am on Feb 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I just spotted this - 4 ads at the top of the page. When added to the local pack the organics are way out of sight. Has anyone spotted this before?

<serp image snipped>

----

Mod's note: Search (exemplified) is for...
[keyword1 keyword2 cityname]

Sorry, we can't publish specific searches or links from new users, and specifics are unnecessary for this example.

See Google Forum Charter [webmasterworld.com].


[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 1:40 am (utc) on Feb 3, 2016]
[edit reason] Post shows specific search terms... per forum Charter [/edit]

12:53 am on Feb 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I just spotted this - 4 ads at the top of the page. When added to the local pack the organics are way out of sight. Has anyone spotted this before?

It must be the cream rising to the top.
12:59 am on Feb 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Just as I suspected, today Google sent junk for traffic. Is it how Google re-writes titles - confusing searchers? Or is it Rank Brain having a stroke? I believe it is something else that only those people caught up in this traffic pattern can understand.
3:22 am on Feb 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Other long time readers who feel they have something to contribute may find this exchange instructional.
4:56 am on Feb 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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glakes, I had good conversions today and the day before. I'm trying to get to the bottom of what is causing this, so I am going to invest in a tool to find out what keywords I rank for that I don't know about. If I can track what long tails are losing/winning then maybe we can conclude something that we suspected earlier (that long tail is being manipulated).

There is also the question of ads... I've now seen up to 4 ads for a single search and also a nice large shopping section to the right on more and more searches (even for some informational queries) which is very irritating.
5:05 am on Feb 4, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I just spotted this - 4 ads at the top of the page. When added to the local pack the organics are way out of sight. Has anyone spotted this before?
CIWebMarketing - Again, sorry I needed to edit your post. It's frustrating that you can't use specifics as a new user, I know, but many long time users actually prefer to use examples, as they sometimes paint a broader and more conceptual picture. We also generally prefer avoiding specifics when they're not necessary.

This has been discussed here recently....

Google testing 4 ads above the organics
Dec, 2015
https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4780693.htm [webmasterworld.com]

Note that in the article cited in the thread above, there's this update from Google:
Google confirms that this is part of their experimentation with how they display ads within the search results. They are displaying 4 ads for some desktop search queries. It isn't a permanent change and Google is only testing this for a small number of search queries.

I gave your search a shot, and also the search described in thesempost, and I couldn't reproduce the four ads above the map for your query or for others I tried. I also took a look at a general range of queries that relate to your search... over different cities with slight variations on the query, and I did get the distinct impression that Google is using some queries to test for user intent, and that these queries might be part of this.

I'm curious whether you're seeing these four results consistently, or just at particular times, or just that once. Was the search for sites you monitor? I ask because, if they are, it's very possible that you could be experiencing some "zombie" traffic related to the search. I'm also thinking that chances are that you wouldn't notice it.
9:53 pm on Feb 4, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Just had a rare sighting of a site not seen in the serps since April 2012... might be calling penguin...
12:37 am on Feb 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Was short lived, maybe a test or a glitch.
8:18 am on Feb 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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My good conversions are still holding up. I have had a week like I would at the height of my niche's season - in what is historically, a horrible month. Hope it continues! How is everyone else doing that reported better conversions? The question is, is this something to do with something Google is doing or just coincidence and start of a new month?
8:50 am on Feb 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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-> Offtopic <-

May i allowed to ask you if you can check your IP entries on the IP Range 38.96.*.*
Since about two weeks i see this IP range get only one page without any roworder. It is calling itself an safari browser. I doubt so. It seems like a bot with human behaviour. It is hard to track as it only fetches about 100 pages a day.
IP resolution says it is US located. ( we are german )
Thanx.
9:47 am on Feb 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Martin, in addition to posting your question here, you may want to try asking it in our forum dedicated "to id search engine spiders"....

Search Engine Spider and User Agent Identification
[webmasterworld.com...]

Good luck.
1:39 pm on Feb 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Jez123, I saw good conversions from Google on Tuesday, but since then back to very bad traffic that does not convert.
8:34 pm on Feb 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Someone wrote:

Seeing some new sites enter first page, all of them just copies of the manufacturer descriptions.


I noticed new sites within the first page a few weeks ago for a quite competitive RE search phrase. I think Google did a good job on this new arrangement of sites.

I can't spot phony sites on Google's top 20. I do have a site of mine in positions 140+ (currently adding relevant and original content to send it to the top) so my observations are pretty much unbiased.
7:02 pm on Feb 6, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Been in business for 12 years. Having a terrible Feb. Have not made a sale in 10 days. Whatever update this is, is killing me.
1:02 pm on Feb 7, 2016 (gmt 0)

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mboydnv, I feel your pain.I've been in business a while too and for whatever reason Google refuses to send us people that want to buy (mostly zombie traffic most days and one good day of sales over 5-7 days). February has been exceptionally bad for sales originating from Google. Thankfully we are converting well in Bing/Yahoo, our social efforts and word of mouth. The degree to which Google manipulates my sector is to be abhorred.
11:40 pm on Feb 7, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Been in business for 12 years. Having a terrible Feb. Have not made a sale in 10 days. Whatever update this is, is killing me.


mboydnv, I feel your pain.I've been in business a while too and for whatever reason Google refuses to send us people that want to buy (mostly zombie traffic most days and one good day of sales over 5-7 days). February has been exceptionally bad for sales originating from Google. Thankfully we are converting well in Bing/Yahoo, our social efforts and word of mouth. The degree to which Google manipulates my sector is to be abhorred.


+1

It simply feels like Google are hiding our products from prospectus buyers. 3 ecom websites. Two ebay stores (approx more than 500 products). The worse February on record!... 10+ days with 0 sales.
2:35 pm on Feb 8, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Something strange I noticed comparing several high traffic websites this past week. All of them (even though thematically different) had an almost capped traffic of ~91% from the average daily. Now I know this could be some weird coincidence but It is strange to see 4 very different websites with tens of thousands of visits per day behave the exact same way.

On the other side of the web, a smaller website I monitor for some time now just got a decent bump of ~15% while the two main niche competitors got either penguinized or pandaed (I think it was Penguin as both websites had abysmal link building done to them). Some of their traffic was naturally redirected towards my website. Now the punchline is that the conversions since this new influx of traffic were made almost exclusively made from these same new visitors, while suddenly my other pages received nothing but window-shoppers. (I was bumped from page 2 to page 1 after those two websites disappeared) . Bottom line my conversions fell while my traffic increased. Never seen this and will update when I have more data to work with.
3:15 pm on Feb 8, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Bottom line my conversions fell while my traffic increased. Never seen this and will update when I have more data to work with.

This sounds eerily familiar (zombies).

I will toss my two cents in on comments regarding Feb. Google traffic. I am seeing very poor converting traffic. It also appears that those of us who have complained about zombie traffic are the ones seeing a terrible start to Feb. Coincidence, thoughts or opinions?
5:09 pm on Feb 8, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Glakes: mboydnv, I feel your pain.I've been in business a while too and for whatever reason Google refuses to send us people that want to buy (mostly zombie traffic most days and one good day of sales over 5-7 days). February has been exceptionally bad for sales originating from Google. Thankfully we are converting well in Bing/Yahoo, our social efforts and word of mouth. The degree to which Google manipulates my sector is to be abhorred.


That is exactly what is happening to me. Google knows everything about my business. Google analytics, to us highlighting products. I also think adwords has something to do with it. If we don't pay for adwords, we lose organic. Those that are paying for adwords alot of money I always see in organic top ten. I'm also seeing in my sector, the top ten are the walmarts of my niche. Some companies have two organic positions, and they dominate the ads too. It's getting to be a rigged game. You got to pay to play.

I get nothing from bing/yahoo. Not a thing.

Working on a letter to google webmaster forum. I really believe we are being throttled by a filter set forth by a human editor. We have complied with the guidelines to the smallest detail.

very sad over here. Good luck to all my fellow webmasters. The 1% in the USA is winning. The walmarts of the world are eating up small business. Very sad.
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