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This 196 message thread spans 7 pages: < < 196 ( 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 7 > >     
Dec 7 - sudden drop in rankings
Anyone experiencing the same thing today?

 8:57 pm on Dec 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have a site that yesterday ranked very high for many terms, today it is nowhere for any of them.

Things I'm seeing that changed, ...

In google sitemaps, it's saying many pages have low pagerank, or many pages have not been assigned pagerank yet, but the visible PR is very high across the site.

It has many high quality links, pr5 across the whole site.

The allinanchor searches used to show the site ranking high, now it is nowwhere for those searches.



 3:23 pm on Dec 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

luckily (?) we're just never that busy around xmas time.. but honestly I haven't seen drastic changes at all..


 3:32 pm on Dec 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Logic says that if all you folk are going down,then someone must be coming up... Comparing the two may indicate what's going on

OK, I've taken a sampling of authority "green widget" retailers (well-branded industry leaders, long standing rankings, PR 6 to 7, high link popularity) for keyword phrase "green widgets"

On 72.14.203.*, these sites rank 2,4,7,15 and 18
On 72.14.207.*, these sites rank 413,420,424,430 and 431 respectively

So who's taking all those vacated topspots?

In this case, vacated spots are occupied by shopping directories/comparison sites, blogs/news articles, and minor retailers (PR 3-4).

Anyone care to explain why Google has two drastically different indexes since the end of November, and why Matt doesn't believe anything unusual is going on?

[edited by: Umbra at 3:35 pm (utc) on Dec. 11, 2006]


 3:40 pm on Dec 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Yes, there are two significantly different indexes right now, we have the old index where several of our authority sites hold the top 10 ranks they have had for many years, and the other index which rolled out Dec. 3 (with our sites nowhere to be found).

To be honest, I don't see how anyone could deny that something happened to the index recently, given the amount of replies to this thread.

Frankly I don't consider going from being #1 for years to 500+ to be 'flux'.

[edited by: Inspired at 3:41 pm (utc) on Dec. 11, 2006]


 3:43 pm on Dec 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Any of you guys also seeing a domain search coming up less than no1?
i.e search G for www.yourdomainname.com


 3:45 pm on Dec 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Nope, this problem i can't see, not with me not with my competitors..


 3:46 pm on Dec 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Quick side note guys...

Seriously, slamming Matt does no good. I know, he's really the only public face we have, and sure, he might be used to it, but it still won't help what's wrong. Odds are that HE isn't the one that screwed things up, and I'm sure he has very strict guidelines on what he can or cannot say. We have no way of knowing one way or the other what he does or does not know about the problem. I mean, the number of things that could possibly cause something like this accidentally are huge, especially with the amount of code that the engineers are working on, the number of engineers themselves, etc.

I mean sure, Google has probably lost the pure joy that comes with coding an elegant solution, and is more focused on the bottom dollar now, but that's not any one person's fault, and even if it is it certainly isn't Matt's.

</end nice guy fluff speech>

Any of you guys also seeing a domain search coming up less than no1?
i.e search G for www.yourdomainname.com

They quit making www.domain.com synonymous with info:www.domain.com months ago.



 3:49 pm on Dec 11, 2006 (gmt 0)


Quite right Matt shouldn't be slammed for this, but I don't think anyone here really has, they're just concerned and don't know whats going on.
Its amazing we do get someone from Google posting!


 3:57 pm on Dec 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Seriously, slamming Matt does no good. I know, he's really the only public face we have...

Agreed, but we're talking about a problem that has been:
a) around for 0 to 3 weeks (depending who you talk to)
b) occuring just before Xmas, with peak season sales at stake
c) well-documented on four major threads on this forum

I just think that under these circumstances, NO response from Google is almost better than a brief flimsy response that comes across as playing dumb.


 4:08 pm on Dec 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Umbra, this heavy rank drop certainly isn't just you...in the example I had listed previously, the 2nd page ranking is now on page 58. For a brief period it was not #1 for its own unique domain name, but that has recently come back. PM me if you want me to look at a specific example and I'll let you know if I see any commonalities that would cause for such a drop. At present, my drop was on an example where title is an exact match for the search phrase...sad if that is the reason, but we shall see.

DD, old data and scrapers are what seems to be comprising this refresh. In some cases I'm seeing defunct scrapers that were pulling old data. LOL :)

From G's viewpoint, I can see how it would be difficult to even know that something big is going down, given the CTR is probably pretty close to what it was before the update.

If I had to guess what happened, I'd say that there was a slight tweak in filtering where they want less than an exact match on title -> search phrase, coupled with old data being pushed, and topped off with a load of false authority scrapers. G will get this problem fixed in due time I'm sure; it is just frustrating to see any error, and something we have a tendancy to fixate on.



 4:37 pm on Dec 11, 2006 (gmt 0)


That is very similar to what we are seeing.

The result of our index page for our main keyword is gone. The cache date is Dec 4th. The other results are the same (we had a second result on that page that has moved into the 8th position that was previously clustered at the top). On Friday all of the cache dates for that page were older than our Dec 4th date. Today they are all newer.

I cleared cache and cookies in FF and searched it from the ff start page. It showed the old set of results. Going to google.com showed the new set. A refresh on FF's start page resulted in the new set of results. There is 13 mil+ results in the old set, 6.5-7 mil in this set. I've chased numerous theories and I am stumped.


 4:37 pm on Dec 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think we can pretty much scratch everybody's ideas that "making changes" may have affected their sites. This is a classic Google pre-Christmas move. Sites may come back, but may not.

One of our sites had nothing unusual change, and we lost a #3 position which we had held for years. I think at this point all we can hope for is a January move to return things to the way they were.

Another note: Seeing a lot of upward movement for sites with "entire sites" linking to them. As in, non-relevant sites with clearly bought links. i.e. jacksjewelerystore linking to databackupsnow.

Anyone else see this?


 6:50 pm on Dec 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Guys, get used to it.Its a data refresh.happens all the time.some sites get tanked, others come back.
Whether its a google glitch or not it shows your site is vulnerable to google's algo.
Try to make it stronger.


 7:10 pm on Dec 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Try to make it stronger

I find that to be a really inappropiate comment. I have built up the biggest and best collection of information on my topic over many years. It has become the most well known site because of it. And no, I have done no 'seo', just simply added all those pages gradually.

The real question is, if Google is chopping sites like mine, there is something seriously wrong. So I won't be making anything stronger. If anything needs to be made stronger it is the way Google is obviously unstable. I won't be making any changes.

And to be honest, even if he is from Google, that Matt bloke breezing in and out as if everything is really ok doesn't impress either.

We just have to take the attitude that it is their loss that they are not showing the most appropriate site for the search anymore. We'll move on without them.


 7:54 pm on Dec 11, 2006 (gmt 0)


I'm back

well all my positions are back, across all data centers


did nothing still got cache date of 4th

Wish you all luck


 7:55 pm on Dec 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Oh, cmon, I think we are way to nice to Matt - he is in charge of the spam dept in Google - so all this is his fault.

Do you know what I see today - spam! We went down on average about 10 spots, not because we have a bad website, or G doesnt like it, but because there are 10 spam-results infront.

I see a website looking like this:


ranking in an extremely competitive keyword, before many websites that have been around for 5-6 years.

Or another one like this:


Come On! Out of 70 000 000 results this is the top choice for google?

Are you kiddin me? Matt should be fired for allowing simple spam like this to enter top results and be shown to their clients. Obviously the spam team is doing an awfull job - and there should be heads falling down.
For example - what would a car dealership (let say Honda) do with a manager that keeps hiring salemen who insted of showing to their customers the new Civic they asked to see, they show 1990 Toyota?


 9:46 pm on Dec 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

I had been #1 for a long time based on my url, I havent changed anything on my site for a long time, its been dormant but was still #1 now Im not anywhere to be found now on google, any hints? Im a newbie, thanks.


 10:28 pm on Dec 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

I agree with atlrus. Spam sites are taking over G's serps. Our site is also down by 10 positions, and all spam results are infront. It's a shame what they've done...


 10:49 pm on Dec 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Yep I agree - these results subdomain.anothersubdomain/dirctory/-_/../garbage.moregarbage-keyword_morekeywords.htm Have no place in any of the SERPS

With all of the resources they have why should this garbage break into the top 1000 results?


 11:11 pm on Dec 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

"Obviously the spam team is doing an awfull job"

No, that is VERY wrong. Matt and the spam team are not responsible for all those nothing redirects appearing in the serps. The responsibility falls with:
1) the Trustspam/trustrank aspects of the algo that "trust" freehost websites, which to be kind, is just stupid searc engineering.
2) the new idiotbot in place since Big daddy. It's weak crawling combined with absurd crawl priorities ("blog comments, please feed me more PR0 blog comments...") lead to valuing garbage with 100,000 PR0 links over pages with three PR6 links from authority sites.
3) the delusional attitude at the plex that everything isn't turning straight to excrement there

---The spam team is responsible for
4) the filtering of high quality websites/sections/pages due to exact match and other penalties (its no coincidence that those spam redirects use gibberish filenames)---

The spam team then does battle with all the redirect spam the inept algo spits out. Those weird long file name "sites" regularly get thrown out of the results... but it is a revolving door. The spam team can't get rid of them as fast as the stupid trustspam algo and idiotbot add them.

Google has lost its way, and at this point are still clueless how poor a job they are doing (most because their competition is far worse).


 12:28 am on Dec 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

There has been no update, your site has just been put in its proper position because you were caught buying links to manipulate PageRank.

It doesn't matter that you've never bought a link before in your life, and never needed to. Or your site is regarded as an authority in your field and has been around longer than Google.

You've been caught, you need to learn a lesson. (At least this is what I was told about my site.)

Welcome to the club, it's not a lot of fun but more and more people are joining all the time.


 12:51 am on Dec 12, 2006 (gmt 0)


I didn't buy any links but I suspect that my problem is that I became overly aggressive and got too many too fast. Which I imagine is probably the same thing in Google's eyes.

Even if it was white hat (article submissions), I think I tripped a spam filter. Just a theory but I have no idea what else it could be.

If I'm right about that how can I recover from it?


 12:58 am on Dec 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Google doesn't make mistakes. Google is God. Have you seen their stock price lately? You're all obviously practicing black-hat SEO and trying to game Google for which you've been caught because Google is so much smarter than all of you. Now stop your whining and go back to begging for links so you can gain Google's trust again.

</end sarcasm>

And you're right, the party is growing.


 1:11 am on Dec 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Two points made in this thread made me smile when I read them.

Pamela2 said:
We just have to take the attitude that it is their loss that they are not showing the most appropriate site for the search anymore. We'll move on without them.


stevieb said:
Google has lost its way, and at this point are still clueless how poor a job they are doing (most because their competition is far worse).

They made me smile not because I'm filling the vacated serps where others less fortunate have lost out, it was because I couldn't agree with them more.

One particular site I have has a half and half type relationship with G.

Certain pages remain steady whereby others seem to fluctuate greatly and there are other pages which have done pretty well for long periods (years) which suddenly disappear into the abyss - some return, some don't. It can be very frustrating but I feel very much like Pamela2, it is their loss. My bookmark rate for this site is consistently high which tells me I'm doing something right, pleasing my visitors.

One other point I noted from this particular site is when checking my logfiles the amount of referrals from 11-30 on google serps has increased dramatically over the past three months. To me that indicates that many searchers aren't finding what they want on the first and often the second page of the results, leading them to search further down to find what they want. (these aren't longtail keyphrases either)

Google traffic is now treated as a bonus...........September 22 2005 made me a broke & broken man. ;-)


 1:39 am on Dec 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

-> Oh, cmon, I think we are way to nice to Matt - he is in charge of the spam dept in Google - so all this is his fault.

I have a different view. I think the newest implementations by Google have correctly stopped adding junk to the index -at least at a furious rate- and have seriously affected the work of site operators who were adding low value pages. I also think that they have correctly determined that real sites are the ones that get maintained, the rest is 'air' or satellite sites that add nothing. So if you were creating a network of linked sites of low value in the hope of achieving link mass, the recent changes took care of this as webmasters are now being forced to focus on only a core group of sites. Kudos to the webspam team. Yes, and my ban was correctly applied.


 1:47 am on Dec 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Are you kiddin me? Matt should be fired for allowing simple spam like this to enter top results and be shown to their clients. Obviously the spam team is doing an awfull job - and there should be heads falling down.

Spot on!....Google has been nothing but an unstable/weird/spammy/cluless since this guy took over. IMO, you can no longer find what you are looking for as quickly as it used to be.

Feels like the king of search engines has lost its way (and it is a real shame).

[edited by: Web_speed at 1:48 am (utc) on Dec. 12, 2006]


 1:59 am on Dec 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

I was not talking about the index - I honestly dont care about the index, I care about the 1000 top results returned from that index.

I am not complaining about my website either - it's a great website, I know it, Google knows it, my visitors know it...

The point is that out of the 70,000,000 results, 10 out of the top 20 sites are simillar of those I mentioned above.

Those are HACKED websites. Mostly .edu sites, too.
Now, if you visit Matts blog, you will find a great topic on how they banned a legitimate website, because they were hacked and hidden text was inserted.
This is a double standard - why not ban those .edu domains, too?

And if they do ban them - how far will that go? Are they going to ban every website that has been hacked? I even saw a MSU website with a hack in the top 5...

With all the resourses in their disposal, they cannot prevent a hacked page such as text.text.webmaster.edu/file/file2/keyword.html from showing #1 out of 70,000,000? If they cannot do that - they might as well just sell off all they have and go sell oranges on the freeway...Seriously!

I mean, a page like that should not even be crawled - when the bot gets to fetch that URL he should be like "Whaaat?!?" "Are you for real?" "No way!" "You so crazy..."


 2:22 am on Dec 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

I am not gonna knock matt, but I would suggest he chooses his friends more carefully in the future, some people are just plain dirty and you had plenty of warning.


 2:53 am on Dec 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Crummy serps means more adwords clicks. Google still needs to find the right balance.


 3:19 am on Dec 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

I agree with Google banning hacked sites. If your not good enough to keep your site from getting hacked in the first place, you shouldn't have a site.

It's all the stupid hacked sites and computers than generate over 90% of spam email on the Internet. So, if them getting banned causes them to open their eyes and button down their sites, then more power to Google.

Great job banning hacked sites Google, keep it up!


 3:55 am on Dec 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

This can't be a penalty to the website for buying links etc, because most people have lost some ranks and still maintain some of their old top spots.


 4:57 am on Dec 12, 2006 (gmt 0)


Google is here to make money. If sales slow down for Adwords, well guess what, they drop people that have the misfortune of not having old sites so those people having once benefited from good rankings and are now on page 20 start to pay Google. If you want to give it back to Google tell your clients to use MSN or ASK and let them pass it along. Google will then understand that it was communities like this one that made it what it is today, and now they have abandoned us. Then they may actually do things to help webmasters instead of pressuring them to buying ads.

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