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|September 2007 Google SERP Changes |
< 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]
that must mean we've done something right then
Great, haven't had that much good news in the SERPs for a while. Seeing a small traffic spike with it.
I'm seing some changes as well.
One of our sites, probably the cleanest and more prominent is loosing all rankings and is replaced by garbage including but limited to:
1.sites abandonned with no content (I mean at all, empty database!) but keywords 3 times almost in a row in the meta description and backlinks from automated link exchange scripts...
2.sites in other languages that by chance for them mentioned the keywords once somewhere
3.and some other garbage again :)
On the other hand some sites really deserved to be demoted..but *not* if they are replaced by even much worst as it is currently from my standpoint.
This isn't collateral damage, it's random damage.
Google doesn't show any improvement and once again it seems like it becomes extremely easy for your competitors to demote your site. That's not good.
Looks like Altavista back in the days in some industries. I may be a little rought but that's really what I think.
To Google I'd say that it is time to stop the witchhunt over regular SEO and think about what IS a quality site again, and not to forget that yes Google isn't a superior entity...they are manipulated quite easily unfortunately.
I also forgot to mention another detail that is rather ridiculous in addition to the mess:
We have 301 permanently redirected one of our domains almost 2 months ago. The old domain never had any rankings whatsoever.
Guess what? Not only Google still shows the old url but also for the 1st time in 5 years....the old site ranks incredibly well on 12's of keywords lol (Reminder: site does not exist anymore....)
Not to mention that the old site was of a really low quality, just industry keywords listed there with almost no user friendly content. That's why it was redirected to a cleaner nicer site.
Now sure...the old site had no H tags, well if Google is after H tags they can very well go after the w3c as well. From my prospective good taxonomy is a sign of quality.
This may or may not be right, but it seems with all the new data centers google is getting smarter.
They seem to be building an ability to draw an assumption of associations without direct inter-linking by seeing the links on the same pages.
we have had a site on top for four years for the two target phrases, and it has for the first time dropped.
we have been linking to the site along with other sites that we have had a strict - NO INTERLINKING policy on.
we made those links on ebay pages and it is the only explanation I can come up with.
System: The following message was spliced on to this thread from: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/3450495.htm [webmasterworld.com] by engine - 3:36 pm on Sep. 14, 2007 (utc +1)
I've just noticed some fairly big shift on .co.uk - the serps seem to have moved back towards how the .com results look.
Anyone else seeing this?
there has been several comments during August that Google is crawling/indexing/refreshing SERPs unusually. For example, when we have done a link building campaign in April, the results were visible within a month. This time - after whole summer spent tweaking our content, getting more one way links from white hat places etc. - no change for any of your major keywords optimised whatsoever.
We are simply stuck on the same SERP for almost 3 months now, so the question is - does anyone observe the same?
[edited by: tedster at 7:19 pm (utc) on Sep. 14, 2007]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]
It is probably better to be stuck than seeing all the bottom level garbage of the internet being pushed up to the top and reach page 1.
The switch they turned on yesterday or the day before shows some seriously ridiculous websites. In a way Gooogle has been educational to me, I did not waste such time wondering WTH such cr.p is ranking on page 1 since I stopped using altavista years ago.
for me, I'm seeing the opposite. More rubbish being removed
Well, I did a search yesterday and got 6 results. My site was on first place, and the other 5 were chinese spam sites!
Did another search and got 210,000 results.
First site was a for sale by owner, totally nt related to my search.
Next one is a chinese spam site, next is actuall not bad, a competitor but not bad.
Then there is my site.
After that comes 3 more spam sites and some other unrelated results.
Just did another search and here's what I see:
Out of 16 pages and the seach is not that narrow at all, 14 are chinese spam sites!
Has anyone else noticed big changes in an "example.com" or "example" search? When I search for my domain name either of those ways I only get 5 results along with the "we have omitted some entries" message. Less than a week ago I was getting multiple pages of results for these searches although the vast majority were crap.
Is this Google getting rid of the crap, or are people seeing legitimate sites being omitted as well? If legitimate sites are being omitted this might be a "reputation management" countermeasure on Google's part.
[edited by: tedster at 7:47 am (utc) on Sep. 15, 2007]
[edit reason] moved post from another location [/edit]
I'm not seeing those kinds of changes, Tonearm. Were those sites heavily scraped?
|It is probably better to be stuck than seeing all the bottom level garbage of the internet being pushed up to the top and reach page 1. |
Well, we are on page 1 at 7-10 positions (occasionally getting to top 3 position for a day or two). The real business leads are at top 1-3 :( I must admit that our website is relatively new, a bit more than 1 y.o. The total volume of pages optimized for our keywords is about 4 - 5 mio.
So, maybe G just put stronger aging filter to younger websites, maybe they just put on a minimum link age (of several months) filter for new links due to their paid links fight... who knows. As we are not the only ones, it is likely not be our fault only :)
|I've just noticed some fairly big shift on .co.uk - the serps seem to have moved back towards how the .com results look. |
Anyone else seeing this?
I'm also seeing this but my sector might be anomolous.
We are seeing a big increase in competitor SEO activity which coincides with the Google changes. New sites and sites redone to modern standards seem to be doing very well. I've been trying to work out why and am coming to the conclusion that Allinanchor is now more important in our sector than PR or on page factors.
For terms that rarely if ever occur in anchor text on page factors dominate and we are #1 for all of those terms. For the biggest 2 word term many of the relatively new compatitors (less than one year old) and, because of CSS rollover effects which allow anchor words rather than images to be used in rollover links, many of the reworked sites have markedly increased the number of anchors using this term within their sites. This has had a marked effect on SERPS and whereas we used to be #1 on both standard web search and Allinanchor we are now #5 for both of these.
I've added many links using the term as anchor text to my index page and will report on results in a few weeks.
I wonder if the killing of the well known Google bombs has allowed Google to turn up Allinanchor.
Tedster >> In my case yes these sites were scrapped pretty heavily and there's also been some bowling attempts.
But we are not talking about huge bowling or scrapping, let's say 50-60% of backlinks maybe.
It seems to be enough to demote 3-5 years old websites that never had serious issues before. I can't find anything alse in common for both our sites and competitor's except actual targeted keywords.
I really have a bitter taste in my mouth when I see this because there is nothing we can do. Some of sites have been targeted so they do not rank for some keywords anymore - while they were getting legitimate and natural authority, it worked so easily and wihtout too much efforts I am sure. Now they seem to drop for related terms as well which leaves almost nothing.
It also looks like sites dropping are the same as 15 days ago.
This all would be fine if sites that took over were not, I insist, of extraordinarily low quality or would not just buy textlinks. I would love to put MC in front of the top 20 positions across 30-40 keywords I've checked so he can tell me that it's perfectly legitimate/useful/relevant.
I did not think that bombing a website was so easily, now I know...just choose some keywords on which your competitor starts to rank well, place backlinks on low quality sites - no need ot invest any money, just subscibe their sites in a link scheme using a free email...no problem at all - cheapest promotion ever.
As long as you don't target main industry authorities but mostly niche leaders it seems to work very well indeed.
wow...i just did a search and got nothing but chinese spams sites..if you want to check i searched for..'chinese spam sites'..
soapystar, I think you are on to something here, was there 6 results?
Back to Watching,
[edited by: WW_Watcher at 1:22 pm (utc) on Sep. 15, 2007]
Very old authority site, lost about 3/4 of its daily traffic in last 24 hours. Rankings are all almost gone, and no real change in actions on the site except for lots of new content and navigation changes, as well as a site map.
However, some rankings remain extremely high, and there is no batch trend (some pages with no new content are gone) while some pages with little content are still high.
Should I be worried? If I hear that others are experiencing a strong flux that is seriously affecting their traffic, maybe I'll rest easy.
[edited by: tedster at 3:54 pm (utc) on Sep. 15, 2007]
[edit reason] moved to this location [/edit]
I realized that the titles of all the pages that lost the rankings were slightly altered. I am certain this is the reason for the drop. I am baffled that Google would drop all the pages like rocks immediately upon title changes (made about 4 days ago).
I've reverted them all back. Does anyone have any suggestions or insight into this issue and when i can expect a resolution/restoration?
I'm seeing about a 5%-10% loss in traffic from google in the last two days here in the US. 10 year old site, no major changes in the last 6 months.
I don't think that any of the changes in your pages have resulted in movement. They are playing with the algo and nothing that you do can change that. I had 3 days at #1 this week for 2 single KWs ( where I should have been ) and then #21 and #41 and today #2 on west coast but #11 on east coast. Multi-word KW phrases still seem to be unaffected.
Did see some movement in the data centers yesterday. First time in a long time for me and I've made changes all summer trying to combat this movement. BUT the data centers don't come close to matching the SERPS..
Who knows.. searchmash.com doesn't match anything either.
Guess their too busy with the robot on the moon contest or doing deals with NASA for jet parking or designing Cell Phones to worry about what made them all the money.
Let's see....... Wasn't that GREAT SERPS! Doesn't that draw people to the SE so they can sell AdWords to people like me. When the SERPS go bad, the people don't come and when the people don't come, I don't advertise and when I don't advertise, they won't have to worry about where to park the jets!
Doesn't anybody get this - Google!
My traffic has been so low this last month that it matched that of last year and my site usually increases ever year. My major work related keywords were almost non-existant in searches this last month and no work either. I was getting worried.
I had the non-www to www installed a couple years ago but just installed a redirect of index.html to root on the 11th and then traffic increased the next day by 3% each day till and now its 17% more 5 days later and major keyword rank increased and more job inquiries too.
However, now I'm not sure if this increase in traffic was related to the google dance or my redirect or the usual August doldrums with vacations ending and life returning to normal or what.
I also reduced the occurance of my major keyword in case it was over optimized several weeks ago but didn't see a change till I set up the last rediect so I doubt that was it.
I'm fairly certain mine is unique to my actions as all the pages that were not slightly altered are pretty much exactly where they have been for a while.
Therefore, the assumption must be that the title change caused Google to dump them from the SERPS for some odd reason.
Does anyone have experience with this and are there any timelines I should be looking forward to? Also, I've restored the original titles... will that speed up the process or extend it?
I saw G remove some filters yesterday and this morning but now they're back in action. For a while I was ranking on page 2 for my unique site name. Wow! Now back to last page.
I get the feeling that the first 30 results are randomized somehow. I did a search for "flight to [city x]" and page 1 had a forum post from 2005.
|Does anyone have experience with this and are there any timelines I should be looking forward to? Also, I've restored the original titles... will that speed up the process or extend it? |
In case the title change really was the (only) trigger, it'll take about a week or two, depending on how fast they'll crawl them again. You say the change to the version that caused the drop came in, what... four days...? Then you can expect a similar timeframe. ( If it took a month... expect at least a month. )
Actually as far as the algo is concerned, you're not reverting, but changing the titles again. Unless you trip the "oh geez, stop experimenting with the title tag" filter you needn't worry.
There's this crawl/cache/analyze/filter/refresh ride which they have to go through first. If you catch the beginning of this cycle with your update... they'll be back in a flash.
But... with all that said, I'd be suspecting the navigation, not the titles. You said you've changed it. How, and to what extent?
We have an authority site that has ranked at the top for three target terms for four years.we have, in august achieved the "multiple listing" criteria for a variation of one of our target terms.
It dropped dramatically at the beginning of the month (still on the front page #5 - but when you are used to being number one for so long - it seems dramatic)
in the last three days it has begun to come back to where it "should be" (imo) although has not recovered fully , there is some juggling going on with google.
My ( ok - conspiracy theory) personal opinion is google is using the power of it's 142 new data centers, many secret, to be able to draw lines between sites that have not been interlinked.
I added a sitemap and made it easier for users to access certain pages (some of those pages were the ones affected) but based on all the actions taken, only the titles are unique to the pages that have been demolished.
For example, I have a page on widgets, and then have a sub-page for users to comment on that central page on widgets. Obviously the central page has a higher PR and is the primary page for that topic on the site. However, when I do a search now the comments page shows up and the main page is nowhere to be seen - yet, the comments page has been affected by the navigation changes just as much as the main page.
The only underlying difference is the title change. I was going to try to optimize the titles for all the pages - thankfully i was too tired.
My guess is this - google spiders these pages, and sees that their titles are different and then doesn't know how they weigh against the current listings. So a trigger goes off and they remove them from the listings until that is finalized.
It is a very viable "hack" to prevent sites from ranking dissproportionately to their content.
But my assumption is the same - about a week. Although I would like to know if anyone has actually experienced this exact phenomenon (changing titles just a little bit causes you to be put on Google hiatus).
Also, since the turnaround was so quick I'm considering that Google will recognize that I am reverting. That's the risk I'm taking as I'd rather not leave the new ones up, in case they triggered some over optimization filter or something.
[edited by: Decius at 8:25 pm (utc) on Sep. 15, 2007]
Wow. I rarely step into these types of topics as they are too stressful for me. But, I have to comment on this...
|I realized that the titles of all the pages that lost the rankings were slightly altered. I am certain this is the reason for the drop. |
Are you 100% certain? Is that the "only thing" that changed?
|I am baffled that Google would drop all the pages like rocks immediately upon title changes (made about 4 days ago). |
Four (04) days ago? That's 96 hours ago. Do you really expect to see results in 96 hours? I've got to let ya'll know that it just doesn't work this way. I'd wait at least 60-90 days.
|I've reverted them all back. Does anyone have any suggestions or insight into this issue and when i can expect a resolution/restoration? |
Ouch! Worse thing anyone can do is make changes like this on a regular basis. It doesn't work and you're going to throw your pages right in the SI because Google cannot figure out what the hell you are doing. Remember, this is an algo you are dealing with. Its a computer that is reading the words on your page in simple terms. Everytime you change those words, now it needs to recalculate. That doesn't freakin' happen in 96 hours or even 30 days. Yes, there may be results seen in short time periods but they will fluctuate while the "meaning" of the page is recalculated.
If you keep making changes, I think you create these layers, each with a different meaning. How long do you think it is going to take for a bot to peel back the layers and come to a conclusion on what that page is about? Remember, there are multiple datacenters. For example, if you've made 10 changes to a page title in the past 45 days, there are 10 layers now floating about amongst the datacenters. How long before those layers get merged and the meaning of the page remains somewhat constant?
A shift in the construct of the <title> Element can have a dramatic impact. I'd think about any inbound links too which may be using the <title> Element as your anchor text.
P.S. You cannot effectively survive in this industry while chasing an algo and making knee-jerk reactions to changes that happen every minute of the day. You just cannot do that. You'll be burnt out on the whole deal in a short period of time.
Crap! I just checked and I'm down a position from #1 to #2. Okay, I'm off to start changing my <title> Elements to see if I can get that #1 position back. I report back in 24 hours. :)
<added> Wait, you did make other "major changes".
|And no real change in actions on the site except for lots of new content and navigation changes, as well as a site map. |
The above is an oxymoron. :)
I don't think you quite read all my posts to make a well-informed response, although I recognize that your response is "generic" and is applicable to most queries of this nature.
However, I do not make changes abruptly, and the site in question has been around for 7+ years with lots of optimizations and title changes, amongst other things, that have never, ever resulted in the effect we are seeing right now.
Obviously link-building is important and in the field the site is in, every top resulting site is newer than mine, AND cross links about 3 times as much (every single one of the top sites is cross linked with each other).
Therefore, the argument that my link exchanges could be the reason for this is extremely unlikely based on my experience. And unless you can provide some reason why i should believe that my site, an older site, an authority site would be targeted for 15% of the linkbuilding other sites do, there's no point in bringing it up.
Content changes are also constant and have been site-wide.
The only dramatic change was the title changes implemented 4 days ago. All the URLs in question are spidered very often. In fact, a majority of them already reflect the new titles when I do a site: search. This furthers my belief that the titles did indeed cause the problem.
Your assertion that "slight" changes in the title tag cause DRAMATIC problems for the spider is not really relevant, since I stated the changes were extremely minor (the addition of one word and the first-letter capitalization of some of the words). Even if it was to cause the spider to change things, they would not be ABSENT from the SERPs.
I think that you mean well but you didn't address my specific situation with very much accuracy.
Again, as always, I seek some raw experience from anyone who has witnessed such odd and dramatic behaviour based solely on title changes.
That's a really interesting addition. Except for the fact that NAVIGATION CHANGES AND CONTENT CHANGES WERE MADE TO THE WHOLE SITE, and only THE SPECIFIC URLS WITH TITLE ALTERATIONS HAVE BEEN AFFECTED.
Please, read, absorb, then respond. There is clearly a problem with your responses given the facts I have provided.
Decius, you've been making major changes and are seeing normal fluctuation based on those changes. Ever stop to think that things have changed with Google in the past 90-120 days? For one, the SI is no longer visible. That in itself is a major change. It leads to other things that may be happening.
|Therefore, the argument that my link exchanges could be the reason for this is extremely unlikely based on my experience. |
Link exchanges? The thing that Matt Cutts hates with a passion? The thing that is highly targeted right now in the algo? The thing that is the bane of every Webmaster's existence?
|And unless you can provide some reason why i should believe that my site, an older site, an authority site would be targeted for 15% of the linkbuilding other sites do, there's no point in bringing it up. |
Are your link exchanges recent? In the past 6-9 months? Did you all of sudden garner an unusual amount of IBLs during the past 90-120 days?
Based on all of your posts so far in this topic, you've got a lot of things going on. I feel strongly that its a compilation of the various things you are doing along with "major changes" that I think Google is doing in preparation for the holiday season.
|THE SPECIFIC URLS WITH TITLE ALTERATIONS HAVE BEEN AFFECTED. |
Well then, since you want to SHOUT ABOUT IT, that must be the issue.
|However, I do not make changes abruptly. |
But you just said a few replies ago that you reverted them all back after four days. That's an abrupt change.
|since I stated the changes were extremely minor (the addition of one word). |
Hmmm, one word. Its all relative. The addition of "one word" can change the meaning of a title. It all depends on what that word is and how it interacts with the text surrounding it. If you split a keyword phrase, of course that will have an impact.
Back to our regular scheduled programming...
|Wow. I rarely step into these types of topics as they are too stressful for me. |
Now I know why I stay out of these topics. Too many emotions involved and way too much stress.
Uncheck that box "Do you want an email notification of replies".
I guess I'll spell out an exact contradiction to everything you are saying: A page with no content changes, no inbound link changes, and very minimal internal navigation changes, BUT with the same title change that was on the first page of results for about 3 years is now gone.
I suppose I was trying to say "hey, i've analyzed the permutations and am aware of everything you are saying, and it doesn't add up" but you just couldn't take my word for it. Understandably so, but my tone should also permit you to take the leap of faith that maybe I'm not new to this.
Regardless, I doubt the answers will come because it's now mixed in with trying to explain my position repeatedly, but hopefully someone who has experienced some sort of drastic short term change in regards to title alteration can speak up. I think I read somewhere on here before that someone noticed that Google temporarily banished them after making small title changes, but I can't remember the details completely.
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