We are facing the same problem. Can someone throw light on this...
I have noticed some similar symptoms. My results are even more peculiar.
24 hours after putting a new site online I has some 150 pages indexed and was #1 search result for < a particular search term >
That was pretty wild, and wholly incomprehensible.
I attributed it to a google sitemap and some very good luck
The search has gradually dropped out of sight. I expected that, really.
The number of pages indexed goes up and down like a yoyo. It was over 200, now it is down to 16, this morning it was 72.
I suspect I am seeing some sort of google indigestion rather than a problem per se, but I'd welcome thoughts from a wiser webmaster than I.
My only thoughts so far is that we are at the end(ish) of a month and a quarter.
<Sorry, no search terms.
See Forum Charter [webmasterworld.com]>
[edited by: tedster at 3:05 pm (utc) on Mar. 29, 2007]
Are you checking which data center is returning each number? That would be my first guess - different data centers using different data sets. Sometimes the data sets are pretty similar and stable, and at other times lots of data is moving around their huge global server farm.
To notice which IP address is returning a set of results in real time, I use the ShowIP extension for Firefox. Checking even a second before or after a search query can give you a different IP address at times.
I guess the answer to that is "I am now". I somehow expected google to be swinging everything around the world at the moment.
Sorry about the search terms earlier. No malice aforethought.
Odd to be listed #1 24 hours after opening a new site, though. Just a weirdness, do you think?
My site is 3 year old, with good PR and good traffic. What I notice is that there are two sets of results stored across different datacenters. I have the number of pages inflated in both, i.e. more than the site size. This started to appear two days ago. Traffic is not largely affected by that. Quality of visitors in terms of how long they stay, is not affected either.
In my opinion, I suspect that may be google is cleaning the index, as the smaller number is more reasonable and close to the actual number of pages I have.
I think data centers can be the reason for it.
Still more suggestions are always welcome:)
I've seen even some strange results for the same server.
Depending on how you type the command, the result are different.
On 188.8.131.52, for my site.
#1 site:example.com - total: 7760
#2 site:http://example.com - total: 8570
#3 site:http://example.com/ - total: 19000
Search #3 doesn't always give the highest number.
And sometimes numbers are very similar.
This is reproducible on most data centers, but they don't behave similarly at the same time.
Achernar: Their site: command has always been broken. They just failed again to fix it.
I have websites whose page numbers has ranged from 13,000 to 1300 during the past year. However, when I search for anything on my website in Google using the site: command, I can find almost everything, except for a few pages being dropped (perfectly acceptable since these were not well linked anyway).
In other words, page count has many errors - if your traffic is unaffected, then nothing to worry.