Google's Search Results Rocky This Week...

Nov 22, 2013 • 8:58 am | comments (65) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google PageRank & Algorithm Updates

Google Logo RockingThis week has been a mess for Google's search results, despite Google denying anything is going on to me.

There were some tools that sparked up on November 14th that I didn't see from the webmaster chatter.

This whole week, I've been seeing a lot of sporadic complaints in both WebmasterWorld and Google Webmaster Help forums. Typically, these sporadic reports, at least I think, mean Google targeted a link network and some sites were majorly impacted by it. It also may be a weird Google bug. But not necessarily a Google update. Of course, it could be that Panda was updated, which Google stopped confirming.

It is hard to tell.

The tools are all lighting up over the past few days. Moz has warmer than normal temperature the past couple days, has higher volatility numbers than normal, SERP Metrics shows higher flux than normal and Algoroo is in the red the past couple days. Something seems to be up.

Is it a major algorithm update - I don't think so. If I had to guess, maybe Panda was rerun or maybe Google squashed some sort of link network.

I am honestly not sure but Google is indeed a bit rocky the past few days.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld and Google Webmaster Help.

Previous story: Google Not Indexing Your Home Page? Remove The NoIndex Tag.


Gregory Smith

11/22/2013 02:14 pm

well? Any findings?

Jonathan Morales

11/22/2013 02:34 pm

A bit off topic but I was wondering if anyone had reported discrepancies or glitches in their Google Analytics data? For example, a bunch of my clients' sites had a handful of visits yesterday from different sources but when I go today to check it, all of my sites are showing 0 traffic for yesterday which is impossible...I assume there's a glitch in Analytics now?


11/22/2013 03:13 pm

I've noticed that in a corporate site with over 80k visits per day. Happens for over a month now. Data aren't available for the same day and they appear 1-2 days later. Seems to me that it depends on the number of visits, because in other sites with 5-10k per day, everything is normal. I haven't upgrade the accounts to universal analytics yet and maybe the problem is because of this

PM Fiorini

11/22/2013 03:20 pm

There definitely was an update of some sort. Keyword rankings are all over the place in many domains. It just seems the more Google "messes" with their algorithm, the worse things get at this point.

Agent Blare

11/22/2013 03:29 pm

RRI shows high activity on Nov 15th, higher than last penguin update, it is also showing that today something is warming up. If all tools report that there was an update on the 14-15th, why Google is denying? does this means it is the end of official announcements by Google?


11/22/2013 03:32 pm

"It is hard to tell." Then why was this post written ? You could just read this thread : , if you wanted to know our opinions.


11/22/2013 03:36 pm

Google for Dummies Google SE has about 500 updates per year.

Durant Imboden

11/22/2013 03:54 pm

"Google's Search Results Rocky This Week..." You've still got a keyboard with a macro key?

Agent Blare

11/22/2013 03:59 pm

Marketing for Dummies SER publish 500 posts like this a year


11/22/2013 04:40 pm

Are you talking to yourself or did I say, that we need more posts like this ?

Li Ma

11/22/2013 05:06 pm

Some update regarding the DNS errors from all the chatter. I received a notice from Akamai (CDN) regarding the DNS errors on Nov 14th. Here is part of the message " "For approx. 25 minutes between 0350 and 0415 UTC on 14 November, client requests for Akamaized hostnames may have encountered intermittent DNS lookup failures. We are investigating the cause and will update you as we make progress."

josh bachynski (SEO)

11/22/2013 05:37 pm

Barry, thanks for your reporting as usual. Could you do us a HUGE favour and track the big fluctuations like this in an algo report like moz has - even if we dont know what it was for sure, if we can have a record (and you can annotate it, e.g., say "might" be panda, not sure - nothing reported) then when we are looking in our analytics we can check your list on ONE page and see a list of big fluctuations and then see we were hit at that time and make an educated guess as to what it might have been. thanks!!! this would be extremely helpful for thousands of webmasters affected by these. thanks man

Barry Schwartz

11/22/2013 05:40 pm

Not sure if I understand

josh bachynski (SEO)

11/22/2013 05:46 pm

i will email you


11/22/2013 06:54 pm

The Google Spam Team needs to take a very close look at the hacking/redirect issue. I see more and more hacked pages ranking, and the recent update made it worse. For the phrase [Bad Credit Personal Loans] I see FOUR hacked pages from some electric/power website ranking on page 2 of the SERPS. I see other hacked pages from different websites on page 3 and higher. Even hacked pages from Berkeley's website are ranking for this phrase and numerous other phrases in this niche. All of these hacked pages do an immediate redirect to spammy lead generation forms. Please, Google, do something about this mess so everyone has a fair chance!


11/22/2013 07:43 pm

He is talking about the income opportunity for you. Create the list : 1st column - I heard there was an update on date X ; 2nd column - I heard it was about A or B or C or D or Z ... It is hard to tell. SEO experts will pay you monthly subscription fee to get such list and they still will visit your blog. Enjoy )

Barry Schwartz

11/22/2013 07:44 pm

income - blah


11/22/2013 08:38 pm

"For the phrase [Bad Credit Personal Loans]..." That is a query which is and, most likely, will always be spammed to death. You can't use an example like this to evaluate the relevancy of Google Search as a whole. It is like saying you are amazed to find spam while looking for little blue pills or online payday loans...these queries are a complete mess and have been known to be for a long time. You are really going to point to [Bad Credit Personal Loans] as an example of "the recent update made it worse"? Come on man, think.


11/22/2013 08:52 pm

yes, I am going to point to this as an example. The serps were fine a few weeks ago. The POINT is that hacked sites with spammy redirects are ranking. Google should address this issue, irrespective of the industry. Come on man, think. Some of us have been in the game for over 15 years, and haven't seen serps this bad in a very, very long time.


11/22/2013 08:56 pm

If you have experience in this niche and you say this is worse than usual, than alright. I disagree, but I will accept what you are relaying about the quality of those SERPs.


11/22/2013 09:06 pm

The most discouraging aspect of my observation is the fact that there are up to 4 hacked pages from the same site appearing on page 2. Even Berkeley's site has hacked pages ranking (I see one on page 3). This is definitely worse than usual, and after the most recent Penguin update, NONE of these pages were appearing (except the Berkeky pages, which have been there for a few months-- mainly page 3 or higher). It was only last week when 4 hacked pages moved to the second page. You're right, this a notoriously spammy industry, but there's no real excuse for hacked pages that redirect to rank for any term. We went through the whole redirect problem back in 2005, and now it's back with a vengeance. I think consumers expect better results, and shouldn't be redirected immediately upon clicking from the SERPS. It's just not right.


11/22/2013 09:10 pm

I think the problem is, it is an easy money niche and the spammers are very adept at exploiting their churn and burns, regardless of how fast they are identified and penalized/removed from the index. It is never going to be completely free of spam. Perhaps the spammers in your niche have seen an uptick in activity as the UK payday loans niche was targeted for a rather intense cleaning up quite recently?


11/22/2013 09:16 pm

yeah, that's possible. I know the spam will never be completely eradicated, but there has definitely been an uptick in this particular type in recent weeks. I've always accepted the fact that there may be one or two pages like these ranking, but I certainly don't expect to see the 4 urls from the same domain on page 2. Good discussion, though. I hope the Google team can work on identifying this type of spam, if for no other reason than to limit how well these pages can rank and the amount of domain clustering on one page. It seems like the redirect issue would be fairly easy to spot, algorithmically.

MARK again

11/22/2013 10:27 pm

RobL is no God. He want's his own site/ client site to rank for the term [Bad Credit Personal Loans], so he is crying foul here. This is a new type of negative SEO which is in the rise lately. Show your competitors activities to Matt Cutts. De-rank their sites, so that your ranking will improve from 2nd page. I have an advice for you all. "GO GET A REAL JOB"


11/22/2013 11:36 pm

Mark, You sound quite ignorant. Instead of telling people to "get a real job," you might consider some college education and work on your grammar. I can assure you that Rob is set for life and doesn't need your cubicle and rush-hour lifestyle. Move along. -Nancy


11/22/2013 11:45 pm

NancyInCarolina, You sound quite ignorant. Instead of telling people to "consider some college education and work on grammar", you'd better try to study any language except your native.

Akash KB

11/22/2013 11:48 pm

It's definitely that innocent animal who born on Feb 2011. He has come out from the jungle and roaming around. But Google has promised not to report anymore :)

MARK again

11/23/2013 12:05 am

Oh Boy! It seems I ruffled some feathers, don't I :-)? Looks like what I said hit home. That's enough for me.


11/23/2013 12:54 am

I have an advice for you - build websites, so Matt Cutts has no reason to "de-rank" them even when someone shows your activity.

Social Media Manager

11/23/2013 01:53 am

I am beginning to believe what Bill Gates said recently in a Charlie Rose interview. Bing is simply better than Google now after the work they have put into it. Google's top results mostly include forum sites and "ask and answer" sites that are of little value. Unfortunately, everyone is still drinking the cool aid. With power comes great responsibility, but Google has blown it.

Jannatul Ferdous Shumi

11/23/2013 06:35 am

Its true, for our website I also observed the same thing.

Aunty SEO

11/23/2013 02:58 pm

Yes its a rocky mess this week. Even Google can't tell. They always come out with this wrong'un a.k.a googly.


11/23/2013 03:48 pm

or matt cutts have lied us again about 6 monthes before next big update... or big google boss ordered to improve financial results again...


11/23/2013 03:53 pm

surfers and webmasters need a new search engine!

Social Media Manager

11/23/2013 03:57 pm

I like which draws results from multiple search engines at once, including Google, Yahoo, Bing... but organized the results by their own algorithm.


11/23/2013 08:29 pm

google hacking our brains with their pets.


11/23/2013 10:57 pm

meta-search is a good thing, but we need new traffic source. Google is changing to be the adwords search engine, bing is ok - but they have much less traffic than google.


11/24/2013 02:43 am

This is funny. Where I live and the business I am in, I can see a chinese owned amazon type product e-portal (you'll have to guess who it is) turning up first, second, third, fourth and sometimes 5 times for the same search term on the first page. Hilarious but sad! What happened to diversity in search results?


11/24/2013 03:02 am

Cause then he will really listen

Gregory Lancaster

11/24/2013 01:25 pm

I actually agree with you, and I am not one to talk negatively about google. I found myself using bing (as a second choice) when I couldn't find what I needed on google search. That being full size veterinary medical charts, as well as some reviews that weren't total BS marketing material. It may turn around though, google has a reputation for regular updates now so maybe some better (less spammy) results will begin to float to the top. I think because they linked all the google properties together, it caused an authority shift towards all google domains. I see a LOT of blogger and google sites spam ranking. Hope they fix it for my sake. Who knows if users will ever switch to bing, or another competitor, and until that happens I get most of my traffic from google.

Yo Mamma

11/24/2013 11:56 pm

I so agree: When Google was a start-up, they were nice to almost everyone. Now that they're rich, they're typical aholes. Money destroys. Find the money and you find destruction. You also find the modern Google

Yo Mamma

11/24/2013 11:58 pm

No new Google animals escaped from the spam zoo?


11/25/2013 01:39 am

I guess over time we will come to know what transpired to cause the volatility in search results

Renee Nicole Girard

11/25/2013 01:52 am

Which industries have people noticed volatility in? I saw major fluctuations in the gifts industry.


11/25/2013 04:42 am

It could be that the algorithm was targeted Niche wise as the result much of the webmasters did not noticed the rocking, and also it depends what type of sites the tools are tracking, Its very complex now to come at a conclusion but its all data.....

Gaurav Srivastava

11/25/2013 05:04 am



11/25/2013 05:31 am

Completely Agree! But people still don't want to "move on"!


11/25/2013 11:56 am

You know the scene out of "12 monkeys", where all the animals from the zoo run wild through the city?


11/25/2013 02:03 pm

yes i agree Mr.Hazel

Dan Patrick

11/25/2013 04:30 pm

I run in Automotive sites all over the country and I've noticed that a lot of them are losing rankings specifically in keywords that they own. i.e. their own business names. I thought it was strange, although seeing this across several industries makes me think that I wasn't the only one affected over the weekend.


11/26/2013 12:42 am

google need more money and blood... (vampires?)


11/26/2013 12:43 am

no! algorithm just targeting money in the niche :)


11/26/2013 12:44 am

when they will change name to something like 'zoo home and best adwords search engine"?

Kundan Bhardwaj

11/26/2013 06:21 am

My blog has been going up and down in the serp since September 2013. I am not talking about a big popular website but I used to get 200 hits a day and now I get 100 - 125. What have i done wrong ? I have been trying to figure out.


11/26/2013 07:33 am



11/26/2013 04:20 pm

For me it happened on November 12 or 13. Take a look at the difference in traffic results. A little frustrated with this because nothing has changed in my approach to SEO and there was never a need for disavow with my site.


11/26/2013 06:42 pm

Mine got hit 11/22. I've changed nothing except that I added Adsense to the site on 11/19. It's still ranking for about half of the previously ranking queries but not for the money phrase. :'( I'm going to let it ride for another week or so before I make any changes at all.


11/27/2013 12:51 am

I noticed some decrease this past week around Nov 20th. The drop off in traffic from Tues to Wed was about 20%. I'm trying to figure out if the seasonality of holidays has anything to do with it


11/27/2013 06:56 am

Excellent answer, Direct to the Point :)

Matt Dimock

12/12/2013 11:24 pm

Marc, what is your URL? I want to check to see if it may be Penguin related (due to poor quality or unnatural backlinks).

Matt Dimock

12/12/2013 11:28 pm

Dan Patrick: I saw the EXACT same thing. I actually talked to Dr. Pete about it on Twitter - I noticed big changes early in November, but only for keywords related to the brand. And then around November 24th-27th, I started seeing Penguin related changes.Can you give me an example URL to check, so I can see if it lines up with my theory? @dr_pete Also seeing large improvements for keywords within brand name. i.e. (if brand = Alpha Heating & AC, heating & AC keywords improved)— Matt Dimock (@Matt_Dimock) November 12, 2013

Matt Dimock

12/12/2013 11:31 pm

Think he's suggesting you create something similar to

Dan Patrick

12/16/2013 07:27 pm

Sorry for the delay. My sites regained rankings across the board in Mid-Nov. It certainly points to a algorithm change for brand-related terms. I even saw the drop for my own company's site(!). But all sites recovered during the last week of the month. It was strange. I had to explain to clients why they saw a huge downward turn until their rankings all climbed back out of the toilet right before December - just like you Matt Dimock.

Dan Patrick

12/16/2013 07:27 pm


Matt Dimock

12/20/2013 04:58 pm

HVAC, Plumbing & Electrical.

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