More Changes To Google Search

by updated 2012/01/07

The Google algorithm change in October really hit hard, cutting off about 1/2 of search engine traffic to this site. I have tried to make many changes that Google seems to be looking for, but so far only have a modest rebound in search traffic. One of the annoyances is Google’s approach to dates on pages. Sites that have obviously plagiarized or copied my web pages now sometimes show up earlier in search results because those page have newer dates. I gave up the battle against this problem years ago since it was labor intensive and pointless. Plus, Google used to recognize those illegal sites and not display them in search results.

This morning I read about some additional changes Google has already made in 2012.  The following caught my eye and confuses me:

Google has made improvements to image size signal. [launch codename "matter"] This is an improvement to how we use the size of images as a ranking signal in Image Search. With this change, you’ll tend to see images with larger full-size versions.

Now, if you use Google’s Page Speed or Yahoo’s YSlow tools to analyze your site one of the main things both tell you is to reduce your image size to one no large than what is needed on the page. I have always used the approach of uploading a large image and then using page html to reduce the display on the page, arranging things so if the image was clicked on, readers got the full size image to look at. Now that seems like the wrong approach and I should probably upload both a reduced image and a full size image and link the reduced image in the post to the stored full sized image.

Trying to maintain a presence in search results when you are a small or medium sized site has sure become a time-consuming chore.  Google, in particular, seems to have really started catering to the big websites and to have made other changes, (like the date algorithms), that sometimes cause the opposite of the intended effect.  It used to be said that what should be concentrated on is just writing original content. Now there is so much else involved, the content sometimes gets lost in the confusion.

Will Sig
1 Bert

Someone in a comment on one of your other posts on this topic said it best – they seem to be throwing the baby out with the bath water. I am very interested in this whole SEO thing because I want to start a website for my 2 person business. But it seems like it will be too much work to get it right and I can’t afford to pay someone. You really need to be rich or successfull to be able to do it in a way that works.

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2 Robin Henderson

Well there’s no doubt it ain’t the same Internet we knew in ’95. The sheriffs and storekeepers and schoolmarms done showed up, and now this place is like New York City. Still, it’s free, and it’s accessible, so that’s something.

The flow of Internet traffic is a constant source of fascination for me. I’ve also experienced fluctuations recently. But I wonder how much of that is real, and how much is just my _stats counters_ ? For example, I recently had a dramatic surge in hits, accompanied by my stats telling me I had zero redirects from Facebook. This isn’t possible, as the great majority of my traffic has always been Facebook-directed. So the inability to “calibrate our equipment” is a major flaw in our research capacity here.

Robin

Rusty Ring: Reflections of an Old-Timey Hermit
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3 Will

Calibration may be a limited factor, but overall I think it is obvious what the trend is. I have had about a 50% drop in visitors. It happened overnight on October 13 and has remained about the same since. Went from what was an average of almost 20,000 per month down to 12,000 to 14,000. All of the drop was is Google search engine traffic. That is where the biggest percentage of traffic has always arrived from.

How are you so successful with Facebook traffic Robin? I don’t see a Facebook link on Rusty Ring. Do you have an active Facebook account? I looked and Rusty Ring on Facebook is a guy in Virginia named “Rusty Ring”. And there are thousands of people named Robin Henderson so I did not see you there.

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4 Binky

It is seemingly getting more difficult to keep track of what you should or shouldn’t do. My ad revenue has gone way down the last month.

The image size requirement is difficult to satisfy, too. I have a site with thousands of pictures, but I don’t get the traffic I probably should. And how large is full sized? People now have much larger monitors, and much smaller smart phones. How do you accommodate everyone?
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5 Will

Yes the phone issue is becoming big. I have been looking at plugins that detect when someone is viewing a WordPress site with a handheld and provides them with a mobile version of the site. Seems like there are still some bugs with the plugins though.

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6 Cindy

Really interesting text, I have recognized a lower traffic since this fall, too. Now I know that it was because of the algorithm-update. I haven’t heard about the importance of the images size before, but now on I want to take care of the images size, thanks for the idea;)

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7 Tony McGurk

It all tends to get rather complicated for me to understand this SEO stuff. I just post & hope for the best. However I can see how their constant changes must really make it difficult for sites to know where they stand with regard to what search engines want from them
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