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This 187 message thread spans 7 pages: < < 187 ( 1 2 [3] 4 5 6 7 > >     
September 2007 Google SERP Changes

 10:16 pm on Aug 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

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

Hi, I am not sure IF this is relevant or not.. but here goes... I have suffered with a website dropping like a stone in Google.. and this happened on August 25th/26th. At the SAME time my website error Log seemed to crash and 100 core files got generated. I deletede these files... and have checked my current error log and I am getting about 100 error message an hour... and Google is picking up on these errors as shown in my site index... I have the IP addresses and can block them but they are from numerous sources... and they try to find an impossible url... any suggestions?

Could there be more to these changes in Google serps than meets the eye?

[edited by: tedster at 4:44 am (utc) on Sep. 1, 2007]



 1:41 pm on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

The significance is that with long tail traffic you need thousands of pages. The more pages you need the more internal links are necessary.

Rethink your internal linking strategy.

[edited by: SEOPTI at 1:45 pm (utc) on Sep. 7, 2007]


 1:57 pm on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)


"This is a strange thing to me - something that may be old but I just never noticed it before."

I think abandonment of the explicit exact search is a huge structural change in what one expects with a search engine.

I am seeing three-term exact searche "keyword1 keyword2 keyword3"

returning results without the exact search or any combination of only these three terms anywhere in the code!
The closest you get is a four-word string; keyword1 otherkeyword keyword2 keyword3.

Why has G made this change? Is this a bug or does this deviation from standard convention have another explanation?


 2:10 pm on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have never seen anything like this in the 4 or so years I have been following this one keyword. The results are all over the map... currently craigslist holds 6 of the top 10, wiki is #1, yahoo shopping, gumtree and MY old blog rounds it out.

Truly the worst top 10 results I have ever seen on any SE for this keyword.


 2:32 pm on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

SEOPTI - regarding the long tail, yes, I have thousands of internal pages linked in a pure hierarchy pyramid form. Thus, the pages at the bottom of the pyramid are only getting one internal link from the site.

The problem is with adding more internal links to those at the bottom of the pyramid is that I have diagnosed the problem for internal pages as a 950 problem, where the consensus seems to be deoptimization. Not sure pointing more links is going to solve that.

Plus, the penalty is entirely sitewide except for the homepage, which is gone for all relevant queries but still ranks #1 for its domain name. Pages near the top of the pyramid have many internal links pointing at them but are still 950'd.

What I think happened is google somehow ripped the authority for the main keywords from my homepage and now the internal pages are sitting out there without the vertical authority that used to pass from the homepage down the pyramid to them. This doesn't really fit with the 950 theories that are on the 950 thread, but I don't know how else to explain the homepage losing all authority in the niche... and not being 950'd, and on the same day all of the internals get 950'd.


 3:40 pm on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

Is everyone seeing a drop in ranking *and* an increase in supplementals? I wonder if they always go together with whatever issue we're experiencing, or if some people experience one or the other.


 3:57 pm on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

A drop in ranking is not related to supplementals. Either you dropped in ranking or your page went supplemental.


 5:07 pm on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

"A drop in ranking is not related to supplementals. Either you dropped in ranking or your page went supplemental."

And here I was thinking that if a page went supplemental, it's relative importance dropped, & could cause a drop in ranking.

Back to Watching,


 5:34 pm on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

Of course if your main navigation URLs dropped into the suppl. index, this might affect other URLs. But think of it this way, suppl. URLs are just compressed URLs where only a few keywords have been index. Therefore they are not completely searchable for the public.

[edited by: SEOPTI at 5:35 pm (utc) on Sep. 7, 2007]


 6:13 pm on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)


Have you tried anything from this query? (URL edited out) I was directing your attention to Spy Fu and other similar utilities.

I've read that a newer version website can scrape/steal/publish your content and the newest version gets the credit and the older authority sites (targeted) lose their place to the newer pirated version. I may be mistaken though.

I found my site completely copied (large portions anyway) and that was followed by a DMCA type of email to site owner (told me to "stuff it" and "Happy New Year" since it was a day or so before the holiday) - then to the webhost (best choice in my limited experience) - and then to their ISP.

After about the 2nd or 3rd copy to his webhost and that was it. They must have been "reputable" hosting company - don't want to mention the name. It was down the next morning after getting a response from the webhosting provider.

Just thought I'd throw it out there for possible consideration. If a possibility - maybe an SEO expert can explain better.


[edited by: ronin100 at 6:28 pm (utc) on Sep. 7, 2007]


 6:14 pm on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have to agree with you on your post the searches are just horrible I have switched to yahoo as I can't take it anymore.

When I am looking for an item I am sick and tired of the ebay junk that is worthless now.

I really believe they are doing this to get clicks on the ads being displayed.

The only close searches I see are the ppc ads and we all know the worse a page is off topic searched the better the clickthrough you have....


 6:29 pm on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

<<I really believe they are doing this to get clicks on the ads being displayed.>>

I doubt it. Google's primary revenue stream depends on quality SERPs. I can see where they might choose to detune the quality a bit to motivate AdWords buys, but to throw quality out the window means searchers will quit Google altogether. I am quite sure they understand that.

Therefore, I believe these ridiculous search results are likely an unintended consequence of some experiment, or there is some other issue going on. In any event, I doubt Google is interested in committing corporate suicide, and so I believe the problems will abate.


 6:30 pm on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

I understand why the AdWords theory comes to people's minds. However, messing with organic search quality to this extent would be a very short-sighted play - and eventually it would destroy Google's user base who depends on quality results. Google is not so short sighted.

I think the current troubles are much more likely some new approach of theirs that's gone horribly wrong. It won't stay like this.


 7:14 pm on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

I do agree that it won't stay like this and I doubt AdWords has anything to do with it. The problem I'm having is the amount of time it's taking to fix it. This is the longest I've seen this particular kw screwed up. In addition, every time they "seem" to tweak it, the results get worse not better. So much for my much wanted (and needed) back to school organic search rush.


 7:26 pm on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

I lost a lot pages too in the index. About 30% or so but G got about 500 of them yesterday so who knows. Maybe just data refreshing. I seem to be at #1 for many words so I don't know.


 7:30 pm on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

I was just working with a client on a conference call, with interested parties in several locations. The results for each of us were wildly different for several search terms - often well known trademarks owned by this major corporation. That much variation over geo-location all within the US is also something quite new.


 7:51 pm on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think what people are seeing is here to stay. Once Google gets it fine tuned in your area you'll know it's Universal Search. You'll like it even less than what you're seeing now. From what I've been watching over the past three months Google literally has to turn the algo upside down to get the subpages of Answers, My Space, Encyclopedia, Netscape, Your Tube, to rank well. That's when you get the yo yo effect, page drops, junk surfacing, etc. All rollouts with large companies start with test areas.

I have to agree with one poster. To Google everybody is just a lab rat when it comes to enhancing their fortunes.


 8:05 pm on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think that google removed influence of paid (in google opinion) links, It's reason that all sites with natural links such as wiki and others in top.
Also google can use "link time" for determining paid link - more PR more time for considering this link for site's rankings.


 8:09 pm on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

Universal Search is a joke...

Universal Search as it is envisioned is exactly what outland88 just said..

(Disclaimer) I am not an engineer and don't play one on TV ...

But the future of SERPS is not throwing all the garbage into the algo and hoping that the user will find what they need or that the algo will guess what they are looking for.

Since the algo cannot anticipate intend, the future of a good SE would be one where it's horizontal... Meaning that there is one search box and different tabs as illustarted below for the searcher to identify the "Area of Interest":

[Commercial] [Blogs] [Books] [News] [Social Search] [Create Your Own]

My two cents....


 8:46 pm on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)


You are right on the money!
I actually started creating an SE like that a couple of years ago but gave up because it was just too much work, but I think that's where they need to go.

For the Search results right now, they are just a joke. Don't think anyone can find anything right now. I see SOME sites that hasn't been affected and can't figure out why they haven't been devaluated (yet)especially one I helped to get where he is right now which suxx even more...
Everything seems to be a mystery so far and I haven't seen any goox tries to explain whats going on.
For my site I am guessing it is a lot of things like penalties for something I don't have a clue, chinese spam pages pushing it down, link re-evaluation, broken algo with lots of filters removed... just a huge cluster-f@ck from Google. Probably all of it.


 8:48 pm on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

Arc I love your break-down because it greatly limits the bias that Universal Search is bringing to some areas. I think many organizational specialists would agree.

Below is just a test I ran for a what I call a medium importance keyword in my areas and the returns.

Number of Pages Listed Per Domain In Top 100 Search Results For Specified Keyword.

netscape.com -2
indiatimes -2
wikipedia -2
youtube -2

*Google itself occupied 20% of the top 100 results.
*Fourteen domains occupied 51% of the top 100 results.
*No domain containing the keyword phrase appeared in the first 83 results except with Adwords. The keyword searched for appeared in numerous Adword domains.

Google argues that its new Universal Search is to give people a broader range of information but is this true? This particular search may show Google is just increasing the footprint of sites that already had a large presence on the Internet and in Google Search. The notable absence of sites that devote themselves in entirety to the keyword subject is indeed a glaring omission.

I am personally skeptical that Universal Search the way it is so far can be incorporated without giving a definitive bent to certain web sites.


 8:53 pm on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

This looks like a trusted feed in the old inktomi days :)


 8:53 pm on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

Never mind... I was typing to fast. Please feel free to delete this post.


 9:01 pm on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

"outland88" & "gehrlekrona"

Thank you for re-affirming what I see and thank you for the compliments...

The search that "outland88" has just run is exactly what I am seeing except perhaps with a slightly different bend based on the KW.

"outland88" said:
The notable absence of sites that devote themselves in entirety to the keyword subject is indeed a glaring omission.

This is near and dear to me because this is how I make my living...I sell 1 item - that's it... in many variations - but 1 item.

I can't help from wondering why G would even make such garbage visible when they can contain it to small regional areas until it actually LOOKS good.

They could release this DB to say Rome, New York or Naples, Florida or Brooklyn, Ohio instead of infecting everyone at once.

What ever happned to incubator tests?



 9:24 pm on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

Google is clearly "broken" at the moment. There are several sets of results appearing to users, they are changing all the time, and they include a lot of stuff Google wants to be filtering but right now is not filtering. They are doing something, and for some reason, showing it to the world. It only affects some searches, I think mainly single word searches.

If your stomach is in knots, relax and look back in a week or so. Unless if you like watching this stuff trying to learn something. There probably is plenty to learn.


 11:00 pm on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

SEOPTI wrote:

This looks like a trusted feed in the old inktomi days :)

I was thinking the same thing! Right on!


 12:02 am on Sep 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

I don't know if Google is broke ornot anymore. I don't see a lot of posting in this thread so does that mean there are just a few people seeing what we see?
Does everybody else accept it or just don't care about it?
One thing I see for one phrase I use is that it looks OK, actually. The usual sites are there just not me and I don't even know where I am.

My site has not only been replaced by spam sites but it also seems that I have got some sort of penaly for whatever reason.....

As if it could get worse :(

[edited by: tedster at 2:22 am (utc) on Sep. 8, 2007]


 2:30 am on Sep 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

It's been like this since May but not this bad. Seems to only be single word KW's. Had been #1 for over 2 yrs with (2) single word KW's and then last Feb it was over. Went to 2 then to 5 and settled at 4. Data Centers show me at #3. Actual Google site shows what it wants to. Not what is showing in Data Centers. Now gone and a junk internal page ranks better than my home page.. Only thing I can really see is that they have tossed many of the external links that I was getting credit for. None were paid links but most have been tossed. Many were fairly relevant PR3 and up too.

Have done everything by the book. PR 4 site but it's the highest in my industry. Same site ranks #2 on MSN and #3 on Yahoo for those same single word KW...

So, I've been told on this board that Google doesn't owe me anything and that I should stop complaining.

So I have... Sold my G stock...


 2:37 am on Sep 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

internal page ranks better than my home page.

I've been noticing this on several searches. For a long time, I complained about Google's preference for showing the Home Page, or at least a higher level page that was a couple clicks away from the best page for the information.

Maybe they're trying to get more specific again (if so I applaud the motive) but those newly ranking internal pages are often not the best, either. Yes, the search words are often there on the page as a pure character match - but not really as the page's overriding topic. Almost feels like AltaVista in 1996 sometimes.


 3:07 am on Sep 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

The internal pages issue is clearly a problem, not a reasoned choice as the internal pages chosen are often completely different from one day to the next -- in fact, they change during the same day.

There may be something like...
"okay, we know this domain should rank a page here, let's pick one of the seventeen from this domain that have the same relevance score, even if they don't have the same link text, PR and authority/hub scores... we'll just give them all the same score as the root URl for those."


 4:05 am on Sep 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

"bhuckster" wrote:
It's been like this since May


Someone who has been experiencing the same thing as I have...

How come there aren't more people posting this?

Has this issue by some chance become mired in everything else that seems to be going on?

In May, I noticed that the SERPS were clean... but our listing had dropped a few positions. From No 2 to 8

In June, I sat tight.

In July, I tinkered - would see the site rise from bottom of first page to top and then within an hour - it would fall back down to where it started - it was like it was MANUALLY labeled somehow to show in position 8-10.

In August I tinkered some more... But the results were same as July.

Now in September - I see garbage during business hours and clean SERPS at night till the next morning.

What this tells me is that G is obviously tinkering during the day...At night I now see the results of all my tinkering moving the listing up... but again... only till the next business day where I see nothing but garbage - some good listings at the top but essentially all the rest is garbage.



 4:11 am on Sep 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

<<Almost feels like AltaVista in 1996 sometimes.>>

Progress! Hahahaha.

My prior post, my site that had been ranked third for a single kw that vanished to page 7, is now back on page 1, altho sliding up and down the page. At least that idiotic page from Craigslist, the rant, is gone. Looks like they are trying to fix the damage.

The page that did get ranked on page 7 was not the homepage, but a page only semi on topic for that single kw. Pretty embarrassing screw up! Here's hoping they actually do fix this mess.

This 187 message thread spans 7 pages: < < 187 ( 1 2 [3] 4 5 6 7 > >
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