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This 120 message thread spans 4 pages: < < 120 ( 1 [2] 3 4 > >     
Dec 2006 Google Changes - Data Refresh or Penalty? (part 2)
SEOcritique




msg:3199165
 1:13 am on Dec 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

< continued from [webmasterworld.com...] >

Perhaps, based on Matts recent post [mattcutts.com] where he says:

....expect those (roughly monthly) updates to become more of a daily thing. That data refresh became more frequent (roughly daily instead of every 3-4 weeks or so)....

it is time to coin a new term, EVERFRESH. Google, it's full of Everfreshness. :)

---------------------------------

Seriously though, let's take Matt at his word (if you find that difficult then for a moment at least) when he says:
I know for a fact that there haven&#8217;t been any major algorithm updates to our scoring in the last few days, and I believe the only data refreshes have been normal (index updates).

Instead of saying Google is broke why don't we ask ourselves what could be the causes that produce SERP fluctuations or the reports thereof?

For example:

  1. SERP results for queries that produce smaller result sets are more subject to large changes because those queries enjoy less competition, documents are more likely to not be optimized, and changes to documents (or the addition or deletion of documents) may have a deeper impact on the SERPS.[/li]

  2. SERP results for deeply contested search queries are more likely to change because active optimization is widespread. That means there are lots of link changes, content changes, and content additions afoot, changes that will change the SERP results.[/li]

  3. People on these forums are actively optimizing documents hence they are more likely to be a part of group 2.[/li]

  4. People who are unhappy with the SERP results or who are affected negatively by SERP changes are more likely to post such on SEO forums than those who are perfectly happy with how the universe is treating them.[/li]

Now that we are in the EverFresh era with daily updates I expect that SERP changes have become more obvious for the exact opposite reason that movement in film becomes more pronounced when you slow down the rate at which frames advance. We have been watching the length of time between SERP changes shorten with each Google upgrade. We have also witnessed, over the years, communication between the data centers improve and accelerate. Now, these have combined and moved so close to real time (when compared to the Google Dance days) that data center watching has become virtually meaningless over the last six months. (The Google Dance has become a GoogleRave.)

I&#8217;m not saying that Google never sticks a hot iron poker into their works (and I definitely think they have made some silly choices like, ahem, their no-follow policy). It&#8217;s just that there are far more, a near infinite percentage more, changes happening to the content and population of the documents on the Internet. I expect to see lots of change to the SERP results.

So, assuming that Matt is as honest as he is nice, what do you see as non-Google causes that can be responsible for noticeable SERP fluctuations?

[edited by: tedster at 3:23 pm (utc) on Dec. 25, 2006]

 

activeco




msg:3199596
 12:19 am on Dec 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Taking Google's words as truth (no algo update), it smells badly towards some technical problems.
Any recent disaster in G data centers?
Moving some data to the new center?

It is expected to be cutting-edge and was supposed to go live in 2007.

New "top secret" data center [computerworld.com].

mcskoufis




msg:3199623
 1:44 am on Dec 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Guys... Didn't go through this thread...

But a quick observation after a TON of food and drink today...

I only checked my very competitive keywords for 2 of my sites... I have a third as well which ranks top10 for one of those keywords...

The 2 are sitewide-linked and were -40.... the third is not sitewided...

Only the third survived...

Then I go to MC's blog... There an image of EC and a weapon called "High voltage blinking neons"...

So... Maybe I am drunk, but this image says it all... I would advise that we revise linking policies...

Good night and Merry Christmas to those who were sort of actively or passively celebrating... (others for religion and others for their day off from work)

tahiti




msg:3199680
 5:12 am on Dec 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Guys,

As i tried to look for what changes i made in the past one month that cause my site drop out from the top ranking in Google, i recall adding a bunch of 301 redirects in my .htaccess file to direct users to the new webpage (lots of incoming links bringing in traffics to the old page). i had also added a 404 redirect to my index page to avoid error 404 for my website.


RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^example\.com
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.example.com/$1 [R=permanent,L]
Redirect 301 /abc/def.html http://www.example.com/abc/notdef.htm
Redirect 301 /abc/def.html http://www.example.com/abc/notdef.htm
Redirect 301 /abc/def.html http://www.example.com/abc/notdef.htm

ErrorDocument 404 http://www.example.com/

Personally i dont think these changes are related but... is there any possibility that this might be the cause of my drop?

reseller




msg:3199739
 7:54 am on Dec 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

mcskoufis

Then I go to MC's blog... There an image of EC and a weapon called "High voltage blinking neons"...
So... Maybe I am drunk, but this image says it all... I would advise that we revise linking policies...

It must have been the food and drink :-)

I guess you are refering to the SEO-Card of Emmy Cutts (Matt's 2 years old cute cat) better known as "Spam Killer".

Btw, Matt and Brian White (member of Google WebSpam Team) are trying to figure out [mattcutts.com] how to map spam sites into laser pointer dots, and Emmy will be all over them! :-)

"High voltage blinking neons" might refer to the blinking neons all over the streets in Eastern Kentucky where Matt grew up. Matt is still facinated of those colourful blinking neons, as far as I recall.

In fact Matt has another cat, one year old Ozzie, better known as "bouncing Oz". Rumour has it that Ozzie has subjected Brian White to very intensive training in how to identify and kill european subdomains spam :-)

I hope this helps :-)

Beachboy




msg:3199740
 7:56 am on Dec 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

When Google was contemplating an IPO, way back when, there was rampant speculation hereabouts that its then-superlative search results would suffer at some point, due to the need to drive advertising revenue to keep Wall Street happy.

If things don't dramatically improve soon, then I submit (for your consideration) that the current inferior SERPs have been intentionally created in order to force webmasters to buy advertising. Truly, I hope I'm wrong, but time will tell.

reseller




msg:3199743
 8:35 am on Dec 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi Folks

Allow me to do some interesting Google Datacenters Watching on this thread!

Things keep changing fast on the DCs!

Try site: operator and link: operator on the following two DCs:

[64.233.189.104...]

[64.233.171.104...]

Can you see the difference in your indexed pages and number of backlinks?

Long live "X-Mas Data Refresh" ;-)

MHes




msg:3199782
 10:20 am on Dec 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

tahiti - We haven't touched the robots.txt but have crashed. I still think that because the new data push is corrupt, the pr flow and themes has been distorted throughout our site and is causing the problems. Some themes through the site are being picked up and have maintained ranking, while others have been lost. We target cities in the UK and a page will rank for "Birmingham widgets" but not "london widgets". It is as if the 'London' theme carried forward from the home page is missing, while the 'Birmingham' theme is alive and well. The competitiveness of the search has no bearing, so if there has been no algo change, then the data they are working with seems to be incomplete.

Reseller - Site:search shows:
[64.233.189.104...] shows supplementals top

[64.233.171.104...] shows supplementals top .... but with our robots.txt number 1.

Back links are the same for both dc's. Anybody else seeing robots.txt showing for a site search?

Wibfision




msg:3199793
 10:36 am on Dec 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Reseller, both those datacentres start with supplementals for my site.

However, I have noticed that if I use the site command and select "within the UK" (I don't think the datacentre makes a difference), I see the correct ordering of my pages. Unfortunately, this does not cross over to the within the UK rankings, which are still gone.

reseller




msg:3199798
 10:59 am on Dec 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

MHes & Wibfision

Try to run this command on both DCs which I mentioned. You should see the same number of indexed pages on both DCs WITHOUT supplementals

site:www.yoursite.com www.yoursite.com

MHes! do you still see your robots.txt at the top?

PS. time for a walk beside the sea. Talk to you later ;-)

b2net




msg:3199813
 11:37 am on Dec 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Another data refresh last night? As if it wasn't hard enough now I lost even more sites - sites that survived the previous DRs and have been doing fine for weeks.

MHes




msg:3199820
 12:01 pm on Dec 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Reseller - Site: domain domain shows

[64.233.189.104...] has supplementals at top but 3 normal pages scattered inbetween.

[64.233.171.104...] Totally normal and no robots.txt.... what could this mean?

OptiRex




msg:3199830
 12:42 pm on Dec 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

I don't appear to have seen any further overnight movement here in the UK. Have they switched everything off to let it cool down before starting again?

If these are the new SERPs then I feel sorry for search users in my sector. Fortunately my directory core site is still #1 for most keyword terms however even that has lost some pages. My other core site remains the same, #1 or nothing anywhere...still 66% down in direct comparison.

Absolutely bizarre.

MHes




msg:3199858
 1:36 pm on Dec 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

> #1 or nothing anywhere

Same here. An on theme broad match search will miss us completely. I wonder if the Google objective is to limit sites appearing for many search terms around a theme, thus giving other sites a chance with different keywords?

Overall, I still think it is a bug in the datapush.

tahiti




msg:3200003
 4:47 pm on Dec 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

MHes,


I wonder if the Google objective is to limit sites appearing for many search terms around a theme, thus giving other sites a chance with different keywords?

Perhaps, the site i was talking about remain rank #1 in one search term but sink deep for other search terms.

Supplementary pages show on top of other webpages when checking site index in Google. does it mean anything?

europeforvisitors




msg:3200050
 5:47 pm on Dec 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

When Google was contemplating an IPO, way back when, there was rampant speculation hereabouts that its then-superlative search results would suffer at some point, due to the need to drive advertising revenue to keep Wall Street happy.

We hear that argument on Webmaster World about every four hours, but it probably says more about the members' own mindsets than it does about Google (or Wall Street).

Does 3M use a cruddier adhesive on Scotch Tape every time it needs to meet analysts' forecasts? Does McDonald's substitute ground-up mice for ground beef when earnings are down? Does Volkswagen stop using galvanized steel in its cars when it needs to placate institutional investors or banks?

Real companies don't intentionally destroy their core products for short-term gains.

arnarn




msg:3200067
 6:06 pm on Dec 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

.. this thread is an important one for a lot of us now, and I for one would appreciate it if OT comments could go to sticky or elsewhere.

itloc




msg:3200121
 7:01 pm on Dec 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

My input:

Both DCs server different data for my website. But one hast around 150k sites indexed - the other has 120k.

site:www.mysite.com www.mysite.com returns 17k

Thats just awful...

itloc

MHes




msg:3200191
 8:17 pm on Dec 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

To recap on the position, effected sites:

1) Show supplementals top for a site:search
2) Rank for some keywords but nowhere for others.
3) Google state (MC) that there have been no new algos and any changes should be minor.

The fact is that for a significant few (who have noticed) there has been a dramatic fall in traffic and yet the sites do not appear to have been dropped from the index or been subject to an algo change. The problem seems to be that the sites are being totally ignored for some searches (an algo change would show a drop in rankings rather than total loss). There is no evidence that this could have been self inflicted, our site has had little changes except normal content tweaks. For me, the new datapush has lost information about our site in some critical areas.

Last Christmas we had a sudden drop but recovered a few weeks later. The pattern was different but my gut feeling is that we will return to normal as before. I have yet to see any deliberate objective in Google dropping us for some searches, so I am putting it down to "sh.t happens".... reasons:

1) Other similar sites are uneffected.
2) Matt saying there has been no significant change.
3) Weird site:search that is inconsistent with previous 'penalties'.

The fact that sites still rank for some searches suggests to me we are dealing with lost information or a bug of some description. If we look at the bigger picture, we would all accept the odd loss for a few weeks in return for free traffic for most of the time. Frustrating as it is, we all appear to still be in the 'game' and we should let time take its course for a few weeks. I don't think we can do anymore than continue to develop our sites as normal and hope our luck returns.

I think we are all looking for a signal from Google that something odd has happened, that would be appreciated as we do contribute in someway to their success.

europeforvisitors




msg:3200232
 9:01 pm on Dec 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think we are all looking for a signal from Google that something odd has happened

If we assume (see ronburk's previous posts on this topic) that Google uses data mining and profiling, the search staff at Google may not yet be aware of every ommission or change in the recipe, simply because those ommissions or changes are being made by a computer, not by the people who feed in the examples or guidelines that help the computer adjust the recipe.

Wibfision




msg:3200292
 10:04 pm on Dec 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Reseller,
site:www.yoursite.com www.yoursite.com

No supplementals and the site in the correct order when I use that command on [64.233.189.104....] [64.233.189.104...] was down when I tried.

Interestingly, my default google.com, [64.233.183.104,...] yields the same result as [64.233.189.104....]

knoir




msg:3200296
 10:14 pm on Dec 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Last Christmas we had a sudden drop but recovered a few weeks later. The pattern was different but my gut feeling is that we will return to normal as before. I have yet to see any deliberate objective in Google dropping us for some searches, so I am putting it down to "sh.t happens"

I totally agree with you. This seems to happen every single year around the same time, Christmas/New Years. As a matter of fact, this has happened the past 2 years. My site has been affected all three times now. I'm used to it.

For those of you worrying, don't worry. Things will be back to normal in no time.

observer 24 7




msg:3200297
 10:14 pm on Dec 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Previously we had someone called GoogleGuy who would hint on whats really going on at the big G. Do we have anyone here like him anymore? This is such an esteemed forum and I think the web is what it is today because of webmasters and site owners and it would have been great if someone from G (officially or unofficially) gave us some insights into whats going on.

We are not looking for exact algorithms, atleast if we could know for sure that things will be rolled back to where it was or its a permanent change. This would surely save us some soul searching and let us (the affected ones) have a nice holiday :)

I, for one, lost the rankings on all those pages which were performing the best on adsense. I hope google is not cross referencing data between adsense and their search engine. Out of my top 10 adsense revenue pages, I lost atleast 9 of them. If someone could tell me the change is permanent I will use my holiday to fix and modify my site. If I know its a temporary glitch, I will wait for things to improve. In the past couple of days .. my pages which were out of the top 1000 came into top 50 atleast. So something is going on. These were in the top 5 for the keywords I was tracking.

I am now just monitoring the keywords and the webmasterworld forum...

mattg3




msg:3200306
 10:26 pm on Dec 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Real companies don't intentionally destroy their core products for short-term gains.

Some do some don't. Googles crunch time will come when the quarterly results will go down severely. And this will happen, it always happens. In the moment Google still rides on the growing ad sector wave in a world without real competition. We have no real data on what Google does.

I, for one, lost the rankings on all those pages which were performing the best on adsense.

My ecpm has doubled, although I lost pages. Maybe they optimised their smartpricing, culled pages that they consider irrelevant. But in endeffect we can just sit and wait what happens.

itloc




msg:3200332
 11:13 pm on Dec 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

one more from my side: heavy crawling since several days.

itloc

followgreg




msg:3200403
 12:34 am on Dec 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

>>Reseller:

Sorry for the late reply ...holidays :)

I totally agree with you, if Google can't pinpoint textlink buyers with their algorithm they might want to try human computation :).
not going to be that easy though I assume.
I would gladly spend 30 minutes a day, everyday reporting spam or cheats if I though it would be effective everytime.

The fact is that it's been a very long time that I look forward to seeing textlink buyers, link spammers, mirror domains being punished but no improvement yet.
...Yet it's a global issue. Since I oversee sites based in multiple countries I can see different procedures but the patterns are similar every time and as a human being I can easily recognize a cheat, not sure how the GG algo sees it, BUT I hardly see how spam/cheat patterns would be more difficult to pinpoint than building a whole indexing algo.

In the meantime, each update surprises me with no major improvement on that part. If I hear well, such cheats/spams should be GG priority considering what they say.

Fortunately the overall SERP's are never totally cr.p and GG does a much greater job than Yahoo, MSN. Yet I keep a bitter taste in my mouth each time I watch the SERP's, they should be able to do better than that! At least filter the obvious cheats!

steveb




msg:3200428
 1:34 am on Dec 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

"The problem seems to be that the sites are being totally ignored for some searches"

I don't see this. I see the same thing that has been happening since at least September 2004... pages moved to the last 100 results, normally about 950 if 1000 results are shown.

This is an old, very common phenomenon with data refreshes. If pages were/are disappearing completely from the top 1000, that would be a new issue, so I hope folks are precise with their language. if you aren't in the top 1000 say that, but if you are, don't say "disappeared".

AndyA




msg:3200522
 4:20 am on Dec 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

I see the same thing that has been happening since at least September 2004... pages moved to the last 100 results, normally about 950 if 1000 results are shown.

This is what I'm seeing as well. And when it happens, the drop is drastic. Like from #4 to #150, then an hour or two later, the page is at #215, then later in the day you can find it at #475. I've been watching one particular term that I've watched for years, and I have two pages doing this. There are a total of 736-778 results returned for this search, prior to the "Similar pages omitted" message. Both of my pages are in the 700s, now.

So is this a penalty, or what? I've also seen these same pages jump overnight back to #200 something. The site these pages are on has been in Google hell since November 2004. I've found multiple problems with it, all minor and all innocent, but the fixes so far haven't restored the site to it's original top 10 ranking. (I do have some pages that still come up #1 for fairly competitive search terms.)

zegiv




msg:3200705
 10:45 am on Dec 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

Many of you said that they see Supplementals Results for their website on the top of Google listing on many Datacenters.

It's the same for my website.

I've do a lot of search for every website in my sector that lost many positions in one day (like 80 positions for one keyword). In each case, the web site have SP in top of the Google listing with the site: command.

I've do the same for others websites on my sector which haven't lost their positions, no one of them have SP in the top of the Google listing for the site: command.

So, what that mean? what is the relation between :
* SP on top of the listing <=> lost of rankings
* No SP on top of the listing <=> no lost of rankings

Any Idea?

reseller




msg:3200729
 11:53 am on Dec 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

Talking about site: operator and supplementals!

For few days ago two of our kind WebmasterWorld fellow members DazzlinDonna and Graywolf have had few comments exchange with Matt on his blog. They were mainly about few operators and supplementals.

Part of Graywolf's first comment [mattcutts.com] was:

The ďsite:Ē command is especially screwy pushing supplemental results much higher. In many cases it also seems to be scrambling the SERP much more. Previously there was some rough hierarchy to the way the results were ordered, now itís wonkadoodle for example:

(an example)

clearly not the most important or linked to pages are first. If youíre just going to ďrandomizeĒ the results since you think SEOís are using the data, say so itís just easier for everyone involved. However I would suggest giving a more hierarchical option available in the webmaster central console. Sure SEOís will use it but it will only be on their own sites, plus it gives regular site owners some diagnostic tools about their site. Much the same way people want real back link information for their sites.

Matt's reply [mattcutts.com] reflects how Googlers see the said subjects:

DazzlinDonna/Graywolf, site: used to show purely random pages a year or so ago. Now site: tends to show shorter urls higher instead of a random order. Iím happy to see an example if anyone wants to post an example where a site: search looks strange, but Iíll pre-ask people to step into Googlersí shoes and realize that supplemental results by themselves donít indicate badness/penalties/problems.

Of interest was Graywolf's comment to above:

>supplemental results by themselves donít indicate badness/penalties/problems

Unless of course the pages that are supplemental are the pages you want to rank ;-)

>show shorter urls higher instead of a random order

Thanks for the explanation, but from a site owners perspective the most useful metric would probably be ďimportantnessĒ within site. Length of URLís? well thatís just wonky.

As you might have noticed, sites owners don't always see supplementals and operators in the same way as Googlers do ;-)

Fox_Mulder




msg:3200746
 12:52 pm on Dec 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

@reseller

Interesting that the given example from Graywolf now is in best shape and order without supplemental results. ;-)

zegiv




msg:3200751
 12:58 pm on Dec 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

Thank you for all this informations.

but Iíll pre-ask people to step into Googlersí shoes and realize that supplemental results by themselves donít indicate badness/penalties/problems.

Yes, I'm completly agree with this : Having supplementals results doesn't mean that the website have a penalty.

But, what I said is that all websites I find where SP are before non-SP results on the listing are websites which have lost their ranking.

Have you see website with SP before non-SP on listing which haven't lost their ranking?

Maybe I'm wrong :/

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