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January 2007 Google SERP Changes - part 3

 3:26 pm on Jan 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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

I have a few terms left in google that rank well, I wanted to find out why they still ranked well. Here is my conclusion so far,

using a site:#*$!x (keyword here), I search for keywords that used to ranked well in google.

Some keywords pull up as much as 15,000 pages, some 11,000+

For keywords on MY site that was UNDER 400 result or so (not a few thousand), the results REMAINED in Google ranking, top 10 or so.

For internal searches on keywords with more than a few hundred, it dropped off the chart.

I think I am being penalized for heavy internal linking or keyword usage on my pages, but I am not sure how to overcome this since I have a large site and I am using product titles to navigate

for example

home : department : Product a:

product b
product c
product d

and product b would be

home : Department : Product B

product c
product d

Now if you multiply this by a couple thousand products, you can see why there will be a lot of links to any particular keyword and I think I am being penalized for it.

IS google tell us to kill good navigation to get ranked

Basically, all the pages will be

home : Department
Product (x)


I guess they are trying to get rid of affiliate farms, but legitimate sites are getting penalized.

[edited by: tedster at 9:13 am (utc) on Jan. 22, 2007]



 9:57 pm on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

Like I said, what I am seeing in the example of the widget hotels is that the site that has reviews or whatever has been devalued and the actual hotels have taken it's place. I guess then Google can show more results on one page, hence more AdSense income for Google themselves instead of showing a page with links to hotels.

It kind of makes sense but it sucks.
Most of my keywords/key phrases have been "given away" and I am looking at a possible solution right now.


 10:08 pm on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

>>I say: Google is playing around with clusters to detect spam

There are a ton of papers out there on clustering algos, and if you look at results with 100 per page and click to see the omitted results because of similarity - and and see some pages from a site on the first page and some on the last page, you can see the clustering in action.

That fits right in with number of documents with related phrases on sites (and redundancy), especially as it relates to hotel sites. There may be nothing wrong with affiliate sites, some of which really do include unique and valuable features, but they're likely to have pages on the site for each and every locality possible, while the actual hotel sites will include only the locations in which they have facilities.

SO - if Google can figure out what's a "normal and average" range of related phrases for a given market space, let's say it's 50-100 or even 500 for hotel sites (like Marriott or Hilton), then an accommodations site with 18,000 pages all with related phrases is well over the threshhold of acceptable range of non-spam sites, it's very logical that clustering and filtering will kick in.


 10:44 pm on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

That seems like a very likely explanation!
I'll have a very close look at that and see if it also fits into my area. It seems like it does so.......


 11:12 pm on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

if i search google uk i get multiple same sites listed with all their different geo-domains..like tripdavisor.de .com .fr tec..and sites with multiple subs all getting a listing for the same search...


 4:57 am on Jan 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

@ Marcia

Right, I do agree. The idea behind this is that someone that is looking for "Widgets that are ABC" shall be able to find those listings easily with Google. Nothing wrong with that - that is also my philosophy.

My main problem is that people are getting no longer my pages that are listing those "Widgets that are ABC" in a way that is presenting those widgets in a standardized and familiar (metaformat if you like) way. As someone who knows his industry very well I was able to provide that content in a way that was much better then the actual content providers (truly). In my industry, these providers relied on sites such as mine for years. I started in april 1998 and never was an affiliate. I don't sell these widgets ...

Now, I don't believe that this will sort out as it was before. I don't believe that my traffic from Google will come back - neither. I believe that anyone else who has (had) a model that is similar to mine will stay on the current level - or that level will even decrease further over time.

So, what are the consequences for me? There are some knobs I could play around with - just to see how far I can get. Some other guys in my industry are quiet successful by doing things that have no value for users - but will provide visitors from Google. Im talking about taking content, meshing it up all together and pumping up your site count. Mostly it's keyword and page stuffing the monkey way. It's funny to see that those who are doing that the wrong way are getting most of the visitors currently - because they are not able to bind their content focused on a certain topic. They just mesh (mess) it up and create "unique" content by that. That's why I said Google is favouring the wrong sites currently.

I don't want to turn that knobs. I'm not interested to do SEO the whole day just to earn some pennies more. Traditional SEO is dead anyway...

One day it had to come that way. I expected that. Not exactly that way - but hey... no search engine is interested to index the same content 10'000 times - right?

Nuff said, now what will I do?

For me there is only one reasonable way to continue. Doing something completely different which is not relying on Googles traffic. And yes, Jaccard, Tanimoto, Leventhstein and many others are deeply involved. Let's see how far I can get...

I do wish you all good luck and all the best...



 5:59 am on Jan 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

Ok, here is my story. Have any ideas?

My main site is now 4 years old. It is an ecommerce site. For the last couple of years I've been number one and two for many keywords in my industry. Over the last few months, my site has been moved way down in the serps then back up and now mid January is way back down again.

Nearly all my 700 plus pages are supplemental. The ones that are NOT supplemental are pages that are not product pages. Pages with size charts, return policies, credit card information, etc. are all NON-supplemental, but the important pages of products that I sell are now all supplemental.

A couple of days ago I regained my main keyword at number one status but for most keywords I am way down somewhere, I did not keep looking after the first 50 or so.

A couple of months ago when Google had an update a similar situation happened to me, but I then corrected the .www versus non-www situation and my site came back.

I have no idea why no again my site is messed up, with less than half the traffic I used to have.

Over these last four years, I've tried my best to be white hat and go by Googles standards for what was appropriate. What I used to do that was right in Googles eyes, is apparently now wrong. I have no problem with changing with the times and if Google would let someone know what they expect or what has changed then I'd be happy to change my site.

So, now that most of my site is supplemental, is all lost? Does adding new pages help any? Anyone know?


 6:21 am on Jan 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

WolfLover, do you have any regular content pages about your products that are useful and informative for visitors?


 7:53 am on Jan 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

WolfLover, do you have any regular content pages about your products that are useful and informative for visitors?

Marcia, yes, I do. I struggled at first thinking, what can I add to an ecommerce site as far as extra pages of information. After all, my site is a store and each product page has information about the product. It's not like I'm a directory or something. So, I came up with a few ideas and made some content pages about things pertaining to the type of customer who purchases from me. Things that might be of interest to them.

Right now, all product pages except the home page are supplemental while my links pages, size chart pages, information pages are mostly all NON-supplemental. It makes no sense to me that links pages of all things would be NON-supplemental while my product pages are.

I mean, when one sells blue widgets, green widgets, widgets with collars, short widgets, and tall widgets, and you have hundreds of variations of the same widgets, just how does an ecommerce site have a chance of staying out of supplemental hell? I have checked my competitors pages and they have a lot in supplemental as well. They are still ranking above me for most things, however, I have no idea looking at their pages as to why they should rank above me. Also, the usual shopping sites and directories are above my site, which is an ACTUAL shopping site, not a site talking about other sites. Makes NO sense and I've not done anything wrong that I know of.

It's just crazy that you can be on top and doing things "right", and change nothing about the way you write copy on your site, then suddenly you are "penalized" or whatever this is.

It's just really disheartening. I'm not sure what to do nor do I know if this is another temporary issue or something permanent?

Also, is there a recommended number of pages that are content pages one should have on an ecommerce site? OR perhaps a percentage? I have about 700 plus pages of products. Thanks for any help and advice.


 11:08 am on Jan 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

They now have completely lost it. 2 weeks ago sudenly high traffic. This collapsed then, then on the weekend it went bananas followed by a week of normal traffic then last Friday it went nuts again stayed like that for a week and today again 80% traffic reduction. How shall you plan in these conditions.


 11:31 am on Jan 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

"How shall you plan in these conditions?"

Plan that all the search engines stink.

Actually it is easy to plan if you understand this reality. What you get from the engines is gravy then.

Besides that... plan for longtail searches. send more pagerank and link power to more pages rather than concentrate on one or a small number, since losing one page now is easy, while losing whole domains is less common (even if it does happen).


 11:32 am on Jan 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

The update the last few hours has been really weird, and junkier than usual.

Lots of pages are showing up under the wrong language, and not English either (like a Finnish page showing up in an Italian only search).


 2:14 pm on Jan 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Things just got turned upside down in the last 6 or so hours... SERPS + Site command are showing very strange results.


 3:24 pm on Jan 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yes there most likely has been a new datapush.
If I do a site: command then I see all new pages I have redirected. None of the old pages show up anymore which is good! Hopefully that'll help if I had a duplicate content penalty or something.
What I see from my hits (keywords people have used to find my site) is that people need to go to page 4-5 to find my site, which is no good since I used to be on first page for most of my key phrases.


 3:30 pm on Jan 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Search for seo on google.de and you will be very scared by the first result.

I can't take them serious anymore - no way...



 3:48 pm on Jan 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Out of 126 million pages they (Google) promotes a half naked guy in string underwear laying on a pool table.... HE HE... I think it is FUNNY if it wasn't for that it shows how bad Google is right now.
I bet it is the new algo for removing googleboms that did it.
SEO must have been a real googlebomb before and they don't want people to do SEO anymore!


 4:11 pm on Jan 27, 2007 (gmt 0)


May be we should wear these too? THE secret behind all current number one rankings?

I do know the guy who made this website (former employee) and now he's very proud. :-) I do say it's kinda funny - and some could even say that it's something intentional. Google telling seos what they think of them..

But I'm sure i'ts their new algo - and that algo stinks. It stinks heavily.

Something is very clear: onsite factors are not responsible for that ranking. If you rank number one for a certain term I always thought you must have a website / page that is on topic.



 4:20 pm on Jan 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

I myself are on the two day on and two day off cycle.

I get very good traffic and sales for two days and then two days everything crashes.

There is no understading when or why it hits in waves like this. I now get more traffic on weekends than I do Monday or Tuesday, when in the past it was never this way.

My site performs how Google wants it too. It is very difficult to understand how to counter act the down days because you do not know when its going to happen.

How is one suppose to survive any type of online business, if there is no stability?


 4:43 pm on Jan 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Lots of pages are showing up under the wrong language, and not English either (like a Finnish page showing up in an Italian only search).

has been happening all week in the uk. and together with multiple domain listings for different extensions like tripadvisor getting half a dozen listings with its different country extensions.,,then there a 'horse' domain that is getting mutiple subs listed alongside each other in non-english languages for uk searches...


 4:52 pm on Jan 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Seeing a real surge in .UK sites here in the Northeast of the US. I'm usually a pretty strong supporter of the Google results overall, but the past three weeks has just been a real change. High quality sites pushed back, low quality sites moving up, and if I'm looking for consumer products in the Northeast, and 35% of the sites returned are .UK, as a user thats not really helping me.

I'm sure they have a master plan, but whatever it is they have been implementing in the past month, has caused IMHO a dramatic decline in the quality of the results. Perhaps what were seeing is just part of the process.


 5:18 pm on Jan 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Search for seo on google.de and you will be very scared by the first result.

lol ... yeah the beautiful Emil from the Bodensee... :)


 5:21 pm on Jan 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have been shouting out for weeks that they are looking at links, anchor text in IBL, OBL and internal linking.
Matt The Obfuscator came out and were talking about the Googlebombing but this is more than that. A LOT more than that! Who really gives a damn about Googlebombs? Nobody! So what if Google get some emails about Google bombs (maybe if the President would call about he didn't like to be called a liar, then they would listen and handpick the bomb to go away).
What they have done is to look at all the links that go to a site, check to see if it really is about that anywhere on the site/page and if it not then they have either totally removed the weight for that link or devalued the link or maybe both.
This update is all about link spamming, and you might want to call the Googlebombing a link spam, so if you have a lot of links with the same anchor text going to your site then you are screwed. Now you have to go to all sites that have a link to you and ask them to change it to be more specific.


 5:21 pm on Jan 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

How is one suppose to survive any type of online business, if there is no stability?

Yapp exactly, no feedbaackloop + no stability, the only one making reliable money is Google. This then supports the hobby sites Google wants in their index as their algorithms only work in a web full of academia, hobby sites and the mix which is Wikipedia.


 5:34 pm on Jan 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

No stability equals more google adword ads.

Lets face it Google is in the business of making money and lots of it.

Now it would not be good business sense for google if we all new how to stay at the top of organic google rankings on a long term basic.

I truly think it is now part of google's algo to shake up the index often because those of us who rely on online revenue streams from google are now forced to buy their ads.

We don't have to like it, but its just good business.


 5:40 pm on Jan 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Look like I might be on a cycle too. Was back for two days, now today it's really low again. Arrrrrgh!


 8:42 pm on Jan 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

This new datapush has shoved many pages with just link collections to the top. Heaviest keyword stuffing seems also helping now.

Again big trouble for whitehats.


 9:05 pm on Jan 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

This is one of the worst overall quality changes in quite some time... not spammy (although it is), but ranking boosts for weak quality domains.

Updates for the longest time have favored the blog/hijack spam, reflecting Google's new pathetic crawl priorities and blogspam-favoring algo. But now there seems to be a turn from not just the hijack/redirect crap (like with 100,000 blog comment links), but also to real pages with low quality content and corresponding low quality linking, primarily from blogs.

We are kinda going back to Dominic territory, where volume of links is all that mattered.

The index being awash with hijack/redirect spam is one thing, but the ranking of trivial sites because they have a lot of low quality links is considerably worse.

It kinda gets ya wondering: when will Google do something that is clearly an improvement? It's been an awfully long time...


 11:38 pm on Jan 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

I still have a little trouble with my old site, I just made a search widgets bla there im no.1, but for my old keyword widget bla im not in the 100 pages, but competition is there with both searches, so something is wrong here, can be google related be cause of the update


 4:19 am on Jan 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

I've been following this thread closely as I've been hit too .. and still scratching my head. I know it's a stretch at this point to say Adam's quote:

"What value is this site providing that users can't get from other sites or even the 'mothership'? (originator of content)"

is in any way indicative of what's going on but, if so, it is not a sensible conclusion. Certainly, if a site is just scraping content from the "mothership" it may be perceived to have no value.

However, what about a directory of widgets that lists thousands of widgets from different brands, complete with descriptions and links to purchase (ok: affiliate links to purchase)? Say it's the only site of it's kind or simply the most comprehensive. To a computer algo it may seem unoriginal and therefore flagged, but does the end user care if the descriptions are all copied? He's found an incredibly large and useful resource.

Sorry to stray, but it had to be pointed out: What a machine considers redundant or of little value can be completely opposite to the end user. So if Google tries too hard to nail sites with seemingly little original content, I think they will (have?) missed the mark or at least overshot it.


 4:36 am on Jan 28, 2007 (gmt 0)


I just have to announce a "monthversary" of my Google SERP's drops.
On 27th Decembar I lost 80 % of traffic on tons of my sites.

Since then I have lost arround 2400 $

What a great 30 days :)


 4:51 am on Jan 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

I just have to announce a "monthversary" of my Google SERP's drops.
On 27th Decembar I lost 80 % of traffic on tons of my sites.

Since then I have lost arround 2400 $

What a great 30 days

Almir, not sure if you are joking to make yourself feel better or what! :) But I guess if we cannot smile once in awhile, we are really lost!

So many of us have lost a lot of money here and it really does hurt. Heck, I can't even get a response to an email requesting a refund that I really need, but hey, let's all be really as happy as we can. I guess people we perceive as rich, maybe they got that way by keeping every penny that comes there way......... anyway...... not to stray.......

I hope it gets better for all of us, Almir. I guess Google really does not owe any of us anything, however, without us, there would be nothing on the internet to search for. I find it incredibly disheartening, that the sites that are directory and shopping comparison sites rank above my site which is an online store that actually sells the products these other sites are "comparing".

I, too find it incredible that a 7 day auction can be at the very top of the serps while a 4 year old authority site is way below. I am also a web surfer. If I were in the market for what I sell, I would much rather have online stores that sell these items come up in the search rather than auction sites, directories, etc. If I wanted to look at the largest AUCTION site in the world, I'd just go directly there. It seems very unfair for week long auctions to come up so high in the serps.

But alas, all of life seems to be unfair, and I leave you with this item below:

Two Wolves
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between two "wolves" inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."


 6:24 am on Jan 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

One more observation from my side regarding my biggest problem - pages that are supplemental.

On January the 25th I have bookmarked 15 pages from my site right after Googlebot read them. Just to track what exactly will happen. All of these pages have been supplemental before with cachedates from around January 3th.

Yesterday, around 10 of them had a new cachedate (25th) and have made it out from the supplemental index. Today, all of them have the old cachedates and are marked as supplemental again.

Don't like...


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