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March 2007 Google SERP Changes (part 2)
eschulma

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3280284 posted 7:53 pm on Mar 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

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

Our site is bouncing up and down in the SERPs. One minute its #4, then the next it's vanished...I'm off to check the datacenters, I can't imagine what else would be doing this.

[edited by: tedster at 5:49 am (utc) on Mar. 13, 2007]

 

Bewenched

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3280284 posted 8:23 pm on Mar 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

Ours has finally moved up about 4 spots since late last week ... for a very specific term. ... but for a few others .. down a couple of spots.

But it's all probably just another flip-flop.

Sir Bert Orchard

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3280284 posted 9:26 pm on Mar 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hi everyone - I run an established regional 'widget' directory site, which for a number of years has performed consistently well in Google and built up a loyal customer base.

Like so many others it has been badly affected by this recent 'change/problem' with visitor numbers down by 50%.

One thing in particular has got me really confused:

1. I have 2 'widget suppliers' that subscribe to my site, one sells 'blue widgets' in area A and the other sells 'red widgets' in area B.

2. They each have a dedicated 'optimised' page on my site and each page is constructed and optimised in the same manner.

3. The content, whilst similar in some respect (they both sell widgets), is different, and so are the keyword phrases - 'blue widgets in area A' and 'red widgets in area B'

4. Up until last week each page acheived similar top 10 placements in Google for the relevent search phrase.

But now......

1. The 'blue widget in area A' page is performing better than ever acheiving #2 in Google

2. The 'red widget in area B' is now down on page 4 and getting no traffic whatsoever.

Why/How is Google's filter or Algo or whatever it is rewarding one page whilst punishing another when they are formatted/constucted and optimised in the same way.

Has anyone experienced anything similar?

I would appreciate any advice on how I should explain to my 'red widget in area B' client why he is no longer receiving traffic from my site :-(

chelseaareback

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3280284 posted 9:47 pm on Mar 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

Sir Bert,

googles new strategy appears to be to change the results every so often

they are doing this as and when they feel like it, probably randomly

we had a bad two weeks at start of jan, 5 good days, another 2 weeks of rubbish, a great february and then this morning we are now back exactly where we were at the start of the year

so exact is it that the same strange search terms that were generating traffic for us during the 'black' period are now returning once more

it is interesting to see that few of those who shared this forum (and our concern or in some cases desperation) are commenting now because for me it is as though they have turned back the clock 6 weeks.

I wouldnt worry were I you. If your site is good it will return.

This is the future of a free relationship with google I reckon

eschulma

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3280284 posted 9:49 pm on Mar 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

In our case, it turns out that we are #4 in most datacenters, but completely missing from several of them. I hope this does not bode ill for the future... the impact has already been terrible.

Sir Bert Orchard

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3280284 posted 10:09 pm on Mar 12, 2007 (gmt 0)


Chelseareback,

<I wouldnt worry were I you. If your site is good it will return. >

I appreciate your optimism - unfortunately I'm the eternal pessimist :-(

I would really love to know what is happening and why - I think Google should at least 'have the courtesy' to inform us of 'work in progress' and to expect 'changes' in results and whether or not these changes are likely to be temporary or permanent - this would at least reduce specultation, minimise the inevitable 'rumour' mongering and enable me to either sit back and wait for normal service to be resumed or to start re-thinking my strategies etc...

Sir Bert

chelseaareback

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3280284 posted 10:22 pm on Mar 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

"I think Google should at least 'have the courtesy' to inform us of 'work in progress' and to expect 'changes' in results"

you're joking surely?

then everybody would stop using them . a classic shot in the foot

ed146

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3280284 posted 10:34 pm on Mar 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

This is unbelievably crazy. My site is out of serp for almost a week now on a very competitive keyword. I am still indexed and google continuously indexing more pages. Numerous top ranking sites have linked to my site but my site is no where to be found. 2 years of my time just disappeared over night. Google is dangerous indeed.

Sir Bert Orchard

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3280284 posted 10:40 pm on Mar 12, 2007 (gmt 0)


Chelseaareback...

You're right of course - did'nt think about that one long enough.

I suppose I'm just p***ed off at losing 50% of my traffic overnight for no apparent reason - I still think there should be some way of 'getting the message out' though - possibly a subtle hint via Matt Cutts' blog - after all I do not imagine that your average surfer has ever heard of him let alone read his blog - Ok...it would never work...I'll shut up before I dig myself a deeper hole here :-)

Sir Bert

Undead Hunter

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3280284 posted 12:39 am on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Bert:

No, I think someone SHOULD approach Matt Cutts and ask what's going on. If anyone is ready to step forward and "out" themselves. Given that we went from making enough each day to buy a gourmet dinner for 4 to buying a cup of Starbucks for 1, I'm just about there. Because if my style of site is done for, I'd sure like to know now.

I expected trouble in the future. I was trying to diversify, obviously not hard enough. Last place I expected to get in trouble was from Google by doing what we've been doing for 4 years. We're losing more and more pages, and nothing's coming back.

Play_Bach

WebmasterWorld Senior Member play_bach us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3280284 posted 4:51 am on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

I just wanted to report that my sites look to have regained their former positions today! Amazing how catastrophic the few days when Google put them into oblivion translated into drops in visits. So for those thinking this update/correction of Google is permanent, I'd like to suggest that it appears (thankfully) to be more a work in progress.

[edited by: Play_Bach at 5:02 am (utc) on Mar. 13, 2007]

kidder

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3280284 posted 7:32 am on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Play_Bach -

I thought exaclty the same as you until my site dropped again - then came back - then dropped again - then came back only to drop again - Almost to the day each week. I expect there might be some corrupt data floating around out there or something. I hope you stay in so let us know how it plays out for you. I just hope things settle down soon.

leeparker

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3280284 posted 7:24 am on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

My site was listed in the top 5 positions for certain keywords for more than a year. Recently the site ranking is fluctuating. At some point of time , it is in top 5 position, while at other time - it is no where in the top 100 positions. Please advice how to get my ranking back again.

[edited by: tedster at 7:43 am (utc) on Mar. 13, 2007]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3280284 posted 7:47 am on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hello leeparker, and welcome to the forums.

Sorry that such difficult circumstances brought you here. You can see from this thread that many people have started to have a similar problem, but so far there's no direct answer for it.

I expect there might be some corrupt data floating around...

I'm thinking bigger than mere corrupt data, kidder - more like a buggy infrastructure change. They may be trying to accelerate the pace of indexing and are not getting the coordination of events handled properly. That's pure guesswork, by the way.

MHes

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3280284 posted 9:37 am on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Sir Bert Orchard -
>Why/How is Google's filter or Algo or whatever it is rewarding one page whilst punishing another when they are formatted/constucted and optimised in the same way

If the search for both pages is equally competitive, then the answer to your question must be that both pages are not optimised the same way.

Tedster
>I'm thinking bigger than mere corrupt data, kidder - more like a buggy infrastructure change

If google had no bugs or achieved it's goals perfectly, there would be no need for SEO. Seo is all about understanding the inefficiencies of google and exploiting them.... bring on the bugs, this is why seo exists and we have the opportunity to beat worthy competition. The infrastructure change probably does have bugs, but sadly less than before.

I've never understand people wanting google to get better.... affiliates, directories and (lets be honest) our 'average' content probably would never make it into the top 10. When you see google make a mistake, rejoice. When it's you they have hit, seize the challange, don't whinge. Forget the worthyness of your site, it's all about seo. If it wasn't, then bottom is probably where you should be.

graeme_p

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3280284 posted 9:40 am on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

I've never understand people wanting google to get better.... affiliates, directories and (lets be honest) our 'average' content probably would never make it into the top 10.

I, for one, would be perfectly happy to compete only on the quality of my content. A world without SEO? One less thing to worry about, one less expense.

Play_Bach

WebmasterWorld Senior Member play_bach us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3280284 posted 11:54 am on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

> I hope you stay in so let us know how it plays out for you.

So far, things seem back to where they were pre-March 7th for my sites. As with the Florida update, my keywords were affected in such a way that my sites would not be returned no matter how many Google pages I clicked through trying to find them - and I clicked through a lot! Then all of a sudden, yesterday there they were again back on page one and two. I would add that unlike with Florida where I scrambled to find anything in my sites that may have caused the problem and change them, this time I didn't change a thing. Not that I have a lot of evidence to back it up, but I suspect changing sites during an update is not the best idea and may actually make things worse.

thecityofgold2005

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3280284 posted 12:04 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

just to say that i am also seeing a return to last weeks results across all datacentres.

there have been 3 sites within the serps i monitor that has been coming and going for a while. they are all back as of today.

whether this is the result of an update or a rollback is a good question. the serps i am seeing now LOOK like a rollback.

blueskypartners

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3280284 posted 2:03 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hi all,

I'm a novice at this... but, I noticed something strange with Google last week that may play into the idea that there is a bug in the system.

Our site, after being ranked in the top on many competitive keywords, took a sudden and drastic hit on March 7th (I personally didn't think this was possible, until I saw it with my own eyes).

At the same time, I noticed in Webmaster Tools - that in the external links there were hundreds of links from legitimate, off topic sites, that did NOT, in fact, link to us. I actually checked with one of the site owners, just to be on the safe side.

In a day or so, these links disappeared from Webmaster Tools, but our rankings have not returned yet.

I don't know if these things are related, but I thought I would share this with the hope that someone else can make some sense out of it.

Fugazi

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3280284 posted 2:58 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

How many of these sites were ecommerce sites, strangely enough the sites of mine that have been hit are all ecommerce ones, and all the other ones are fine..... another rouse for google to gain more cash via adwords.... probably not, but its bloody annoying :)

[edited by: Fugazi at 2:59 pm (utc) on Mar. 13, 2007]

netmeg

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3280284 posted 3:16 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

For one of my sites that had supplemental/filtered results issues, I'm seeing mass quantities of pages come back into play over the last 48 hours; about 20 to 30 pages every couple hours.

graeme_p

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3280284 posted 3:30 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

How many of these sites were ecommerce sites, strangely enough the sites of mine that have been hit are all ecommerce ones

I had a pure information site hit very badly. It did have Amazon affiliate links. I also have social bookmarking links on each page. Is there any evidence that either of these are bad?

walrus

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3280284 posted 3:33 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

I am totally stunned, all my clients sites have retained their rank through this whole mess while my own site is lost in the deepest recesses of the serps. What is really discouraging is that they were all patterned after my original site, and i am the only one using g analytics. Now i am beggining to wonder about a previous post about sites using analytics being a commonon factor in this. None of my clients have analytics.

alvin123

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3280284 posted 3:46 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm not seeing any change, however, I'm pretty sure I know what happened to my site, looks like Canonicalization issues.

Matt Cuts covers this on his blog [mattcutts.com ]

Arkanoid1984

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3280284 posted 6:11 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hi ,

My ranking is back to normal, I m stable for the past 2 hours. All the keywords I was used to rank high work again on Google. Hope it doesnt flip flop again.

Martin40

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3280284 posted 7:25 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Seo is all about understanding the inefficiencies of google and exploiting them....

"Done right, SEO helps the search engine" is what MSN says.

Forget the worthyness of your site, it's all about seo.

In view of Google's present War On Content it does look that way.

madmatt69

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3280284 posted 8:09 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

I put up a site about a week ago with zero links, one page with one paragraph on it, and a few links (outbound) to an affiliate program.

It's a site I plan on working more on, what I put up was more or less the place holder.

It now ranks number 4 for it's primary keyword and is generating sales!

Sure that's great, but I admit it shouldn't be there. I can't for the life of me figure out why it's ranking. There's nothing on it.

Meanwhile another site I have, targeting the same keyphrase, and is a PR5 with many backlinks is sitting two positions behind.

kidder

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3280284 posted 8:57 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

"I'm thinking bigger than mere corrupt data, kidder - more like a buggy infrastructure change. They may be trying to accelerate the pace of indexing and are not getting the coordination of events handled properly. That's pure guesswork, by the way."

Tedster - history tells me that your guesswork is a safer bet than mine. I will add that today my site has popped back into the top of the serps just like clockwork - that makes it now 3 weeks in a row it vanishes on a Monday and then is back by Wednesday. It's almost predictable, something new that I have not seen in the past.

Robert Charlton

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3280284 posted 1:14 am on Mar 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

My site was listed in the top 5 positions for certain keywords for more than a year. Recently the site ranking is fluctuating. At some point of time , it is in top 5 position, while at other time - it is no where in the top 100 positions. Please advice how to get my ranking back again.

leeparker - Several things here. If your site is just vanishing and then jumping back, with no movement in between, it's likely that you're seeing results from two different data centers.

When you get the results where you're gone, try adding &filter=0 right after the Google serps page url in your address window... so that the url ends with...

=Google+Search&filter=0

instead of with...

=Google+Search

Then click the "Go" button up by your address window. Don't click the "Search" button on Google.

The addition of &filter=0 will show the serps with duplicate pages included. I've been observing that when Google's dupe filters are set high, a page that's been scraped a lot might drop out if Google encounters what appears to be a well-linked dupe. This is one way of detecting that.

If this happens, you'll want to locate the duping pages as well, to confirm that that's what's happening.

In my experience, Google sorts out such dupe issues in two or three or four days. Note that the drop-out is query specific, and happens in particular when Google's link authority "dial" is turned down. At that point, pages ranking by virtue of junk links seem to rise to the surface. This is conjecture, but that's what I think is happening.

It can also happen if your links to a page for a given query are a little bit iffy. It might also happen when Google is re-valuing links, as I think it does periodically, to check algo variants. Again, this is conjecture, but it's based on a fair amount of observation.

Undead Hunter

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3280284 posted 2:16 am on Mar 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Matt: Gee, if that's all it takes now, why are/were we sweating out the hard stuff? Cool, I'm going to try this, too. ;-) Silly us, focussing on content and relevant links. *L* Nice work Google!

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