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Major SERPs changes [Wednesday 26th]
Major serps drops and rises experienced as of Wednesday 26th
webby2001




msg:137822
 11:52 am on Aug 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

I thought the postings from page 13 on the thread Google PR -- Next Update? [webmasterworld.com] deserved a new thread as it was getting off topic and imo is important enough to merit its own thread.

Many webmasters in the thread above are reporting significant drops in traffic, up to 80% in some cases within the last 24 hours. In contrast others are reporting significant rises in the SERPs which indicates a big change (which imo is not sandbox related).

Rather than having a "I've dropped/risen too" thread, perhaps it is a good idea to attempt to work out what has been happening. I personally have seen big changes on numerous travel booking related sites. One of the theories appears to be too high keyword density. This may have some merit, as on some sites ranking drops are not across the board on all themes/phrases. So it could be that templates focusing on one term have a much higher density than others. I'll certainly be looking into this. I'm also wondering if this is somehow theme related as as I've mentioned it defintely has affected the travel theme. or perhaps it is based on just highly competitive terms as a whole.

It would also be interesting to see if there is a concensus from those sites that have lost traffic on..

1. Are they affiliate sites with many links to the affilate host.
2. Do they have satelite domains which they cross link/one way link with sites particularly on the same ip c-block.
3. Are the drop in serps keyword specific or site wide.
4. Are some inbound links on mass from single domains. For example, a great number links from a footer link on a major site.
5. Have changes been made to keyword density recently.
6. Is there a distinction in ranking between major and minor terms.
7. Has there been any PR changes or backward link changes.

Google isnt likely to give us the direct answer, but maybe they wont need to if we work together in cracking this change.

If your site has been affected from wednesdays update, it would be helpful for all, if you could perhaps answer the 7 points above relating to your own site.

Cheers
Alan

 

zoltan




msg:137852
 5:10 pm on Aug 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

Anyone else noticed that Googlebot stopped crawling?
I usually receive at least 4-5 hits / minute and in the last 7 hours Googlebot only visited 5 pages!
Is it just me?

zoltan




msg:137853
 5:44 pm on Aug 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

I noticed that none of my sites get good traffic from Googlbot, only max 8-10 hits in the last 7 hours. Usually only visited the main page or another importan page and went away without visiting any link. Strange, very strange.

freejung




msg:137854
 5:46 pm on Aug 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

All of this speculation about algo tweaks has to take into account the fact that some people are not seeing these changes at all. As I've said before, the SERPs I watch have been quite stable, not just my own rankings but those of competitors as well.

One would think that a significant change in the algo would have noticable effect across all the SERPs, but this is not the case. I'm not saying that there has been no change at all, but things are pretty much the same, and I'm definitely not seeing lots of spam sites rising to the top like others have reported. So I think the changes must be specific to certain topics somehow, though how this could be accomplished I'm not sure.

Spine




msg:137855
 5:55 pm on Aug 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

Same here, no real changes.

stevenmusumeche




msg:137856
 6:00 pm on Aug 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

I would normally get GoogleBot hitting 5000+ pages a day, but for the last 4-5 days, it has only hit 1-2% of that volume.

freejung




msg:137857
 6:24 pm on Aug 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have a new site, clearly sandboxed, Google crawled it extensively yesterday.

outland88




msg:137858
 6:39 pm on Aug 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

>One would think that a significant change in the algo would have noticable effect across all the SERPs, but this is not the case.

After the Florida update fiasco I personally don't think Google updates that way anymore. Its not politically smart to do everything at once and have complaints flying at you from all directions. Now they do things piecemeal as I predicted they would. Thatís why some people will be arguing they see changes where others donít. In effect they direct the complaints back to the users and Google catches less heat. The site owners in effect blame one another for ineptness. Without a doubt Google uses areas as test beds and guinea pigs you.

I have no doubt the areas I do business in are hot test beds. What people gripe about normally appears in my areas 1-2 months before it moves to larger areas.

As an example in my areas Google has driven out any site using order pages under three major keywords. Previously you could find 40-60 sites in the top 100 but now you find none under any of these keywords. This is definitely greater than chance in research methodology. On the other hand I would expect many people arguing this is absolutely not true based upon their areas. Google employees are prowling forums. They no when to ease back and when to go after an area to increase their revenues at key times.

bether2




msg:137859
 8:05 pm on Aug 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

So I think the changes must be specific to certain topics somehow, though how this could be accomplished I'm not sure.

I have a group of about 12 pages on the same topic that are new in the past 3 months or so. Some of these pages are holding their positions in the SERPs for their keywords and some have tanked.

The only difference that comes to mind about is that the group that's holding position was added to the site before the ones that have tanked.

mikeD




msg:137860
 12:22 am on Aug 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

anyone see a link between Google stock market release and these serps. I cant see one but I wouldnt be surprised if there was one.

shri




msg:137861
 4:06 am on Aug 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

>> anyone see a link between Google stock market release and these serps

Men wearing tinfoil hats for sure. :)

bears5122




msg:137862
 5:52 am on Aug 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

Maybe I'm in the minority here but I'm not seeing a dramatic change in any of the SERPs. They are the same crappy, spammy SERPs I've grown to love.

norton j radstock




msg:137863
 6:24 am on Aug 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have seen a catastrophic collapse in traffic on one of four sites I run (and a drop on two others). It is a UK domain and has completely dropped out of searches from Google.com although remains in the index and still gets traffic from Google.co.uk. Numbers of visitors are down to about 35% of July (which was my best month ever for all the sites) -mostly MSN and Yahoo.

I made no changes in the last month as I was on holiday, apart from adding Google Search (through adsense) to the site that bombed!

The sites all carry some affiliate links and all exchange links with related other sites. The sites are are individually made up on a page by page basis -nothing is automated -and in four years have never suffered from any significant changes on Google updates.

I can only conclude the drop is related to the subject area -the site with the big drop is on travel.

dirkz




msg:137864
 7:08 am on Aug 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

> The thread he referenced is [...]

Thanks for the link.

drall




msg:137865
 1:01 pm on Aug 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

MikeD, we to have sustained a large loss across a swath of verticals, the fact that this happened only 5 days or so after G went public leaves me no doubt that the future of G as far as a search engine "for the people" is limited.

They are a public company now and they only have one true source of revenue. To manipulate there serps to increase adwords sales has not only happened but was expected among many I know who have been in "the game" years now. Thus the reason only some are seeing this hit.

This reaffirms my commitment that the hayday of G and free traffic is coming to a end.

You see Bill is coming to town, and I do not care what anyone says, when Bill says hes going after G they are going to milk there baby for all shes worth before they loose, they already lost Yahoo, they are soon to loose AOL as they are already in talks with Bill. They have lost CNN and a large handful of network sites. It started over a year ago and will really pick up steam now that they sold out.

Within 2 years G will be 10% if even that of what it was for raw users. So expect it and look to other business models for traffic and or revenue now while theres time because in a year or two the only ones who will receive free traffic in any quantity are html spammers and mega corps.

phpdude




msg:137866
 2:36 pm on Aug 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

--This reaffirms my commitment that the hayday of G and free traffic is coming to a end.--

What a crock of Bull!

Every time people lose a site or the algo shifts, the nay Sayers come out with impending Google doom!

One thing is for sure, each time that has happened, Google did not go belly up. In fact, now that they are public, they have a bigger incentive to stay in business.

Yahoo didn't go belly up, why would Google.

The Google forum is no longer interesting to read because there is never any useful information anymore.

Nothing but the sky is falling BS and a bunch of theories that can not be proved.

drall




msg:137867
 2:55 pm on Aug 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

G had 90% plus market share a little over a year ago, today they have barely 50%, if you do not find that as proof of my statement phpdude you never will.

There growth rate has decelerated from double digits in earnings to single digits.

There is a litany of warnings coming from G itself saying far more than I have said on there risks over the next few years.

I wasnt crying, I honestly am so big that a 30% drop is just part of the game. Heck I could drop 90% and would understand, its not my traffic, its free which was the primary point I was trying to make, free traffic in quantity is going bahbye.

europeforvisitors




msg:137868
 4:01 pm on Aug 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

its not my traffic, its free which was the primary point I was trying to make, free traffic in quantity is going bahbye.

My "organic" site is getting more free traffic from Google than ever before, and the same pages get top 10 (often #1) rankings and Google referrals day after day, week after week, month after month. (And yes, some of those pages involve very competitive keywords.)

Over the long haul, my pages have tended to creep up in the Google rankings, with only very slight up-and-down variation from month to month. That doesn't mean other Webmasters aren't feeling pain; it does mean that such pain isn't universal.

IMHO, the more you optimize for specific factors (anchor text, keyword density, etc.), the more vulnerable your pages are to even minor changes in the Google algorithm. And as Google continues to refine its techniques for distinguishing between artificial and natural patterns, the harder it will be to manipulate Google's search results.

mahlon




msg:137869
 5:04 pm on Aug 28, 2004 (gmt 0)


Hmm, well, we were doing very well for a keyphrase for the last month, now its back on the 3rd page from a #2 result.

You have to search for the good results after doing a search.

dirkz




msg:137870
 7:04 pm on Aug 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

In every industry there is plenty of room for about 2 players. Google will be one of them.

Kirby




msg:137871
 7:12 pm on Aug 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

>G had 90% plus market share a little over a year ago, today they have barely 50%, if you do not find that as proof of my statement phpdude you never will.

Completely unsubstantiated claim. Losing mediums isnt the same as losing market share.

suggy




msg:137872
 7:44 pm on Aug 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

Europeforvisitors is right; people make the mistake of jumping onto the next cheat (bandwagon) and wonder why it's all so up and down for them. Follow Bret's original advice and make a good website, well marked-up with a sensible quantity of good quality links and life's much more serene, but less sensational!

synergy




msg:137873
 8:01 pm on Aug 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

...theories that can not be proved.

What's wrong with theories? Theories are the basis of scientifically solving a problem. The boards are here to post your thoughts so other people can expand on them. It doesn't really matter if you are right or not.

PhpDude:

If you don't like the update threads, don't read them. You can see the title of the thread just as well as everyone else. YOU made the choice to click on the link.

Now, let's get back on topic:

It would also be interesting to see if there is a concensus from those sites that have lost traffic on..

1. Are they affiliate sites with many links to the affilate host.
2. Do they have satelite domains which they cross link/one way link with sites particularly on the same ip c-block.
3. Are the drop in serps keyword specific or site wide.
4. Are some inbound links on mass from single domains. For example, a great number links from a footer link on a major site.
5. Have changes been made to keyword density recently.
6. Is there a distinction in ranking between major and minor terms.
7. Has there been any PR changes or backward link changes.

suggy




msg:137874
 9:09 pm on Aug 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hi Synergy

RE: 1) My affiliate site with 32 links to the affiliate hosts on every page is doing better since the latest update.

So a red herring I fear, as I mentioned previously.

Suggy

WebBender




msg:137875
 11:49 pm on Aug 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

It's always good to remember that for all the people who post negative results from Google...there are sites filling those slots and they are happy.

After Google banned one of my domains for no reason was the first time I really understood FREE traffic is just that...

wb

rfgdxm1




msg:137876
 12:02 am on Aug 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

>After Google banned one of my domains for no reason was the first time I really understood FREE traffic is just that...

Are you sure you really were banned, and that your site didn't get temporarily zapped due to a temporary Google glitch? I had a site vanish from Google for a while once due to such a Google bug.

eyeinthesky




msg:137877
 12:39 am on Aug 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

... the primary point I was trying to make, free traffic in quantity is going bahbye.

Can't agree more with that :)

europeforvisitors




msg:137878
 12:50 am on Aug 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

... the primary point I was trying to make, free traffic in quantity is going bahbye

If that were true, how would Google continue to bring in the search traffic that creates revenue opportunities for AdWords?

AmericanBulldog




msg:137879
 4:32 am on Aug 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

Anyone else think it is another tweak to reduce internal anchor text?

I noticed a tweak a few weeks ago and another this week, on one site y traffic now surpasses G traffic, interestingly, sales have increased.

Had serps that were solid for months (6-10) drop 20-30 spots.

willybfriendly




msg:137880
 5:32 am on Aug 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

What's wrong with theories? Theories are the basis of scientifically solving a problem.

No, one starts with an hypothesis. For any problem there can be an infinite number of hypothesis.

The scientific method takes the hypothesis and test it against known, or discoverable, facts in order to try to prove/disprove it. Until then, the hypothesis is nothing more than...an opinion, and everybody has one.

A theory takes proof. Something lacking in most of these threads.

That is a shame. Between us we have a broad view of the web. If we share our observations of what is happening we can begin to gather the facts necessary to move towards a theory.

Fact - I have a site that is 6 levels deep in the G directory.
Fact - This site/category consistently lags 2-4 days behind showing SERP changes after others begin reporting them on these boards.
Fact - The site in question shows a toolbar PR of 5 right now (it has been as high as a 6 at one time)

Hypothesis - The changes in SERPs propogate through different categories over time. This is based on the G directory structure.

Theory - well, there isn't one, because the above facts are not enough to support it.

We, together, could prove or disprove it simply by noting what category we operate in, or see changes in, when posting.

It may have nothing to do with the directory. So, an alternative hypothesis.

Hypothesis - The changes in SERPs propogate based on PR value.

Again, we could prove that hypothesis by noting the PR of the sites in question.

Too much of what we see here are nothing but opinions, with nothing to back them up.

WBF

dirkz




msg:137881
 10:13 am on Aug 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

Even opinions without background can be useful. It gives some more ideas, and with the facts often lacking in SEO you can't have enough ideas of how it could be.

Of course some theories get wiped out in my brain the second I read them.

MHes




msg:137882
 10:17 am on Aug 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

willybfriendly

Fact - If you build a website based on yesterdays facts, you will rank well for yesterday, not tomorrow :)

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