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This 185 message thread spans 7 pages: < < 185 ( 1 2 3 4 5 [6] 7 > >     
Update Dewey: April 2008 Google SERP Changes - part 2

 5:26 pm on Apr 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

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

Seems to be a lot of consensus that the shuffling is about links and link value. I am in a highly competitive industry and I definitely concur. I've spent the past three days doing in-depth backlink analysis on the competitor sites that jumped ahead of our site (pushing us to #11 from #6) and they exhibit obvious link building practices that Google supposedly frowns upon...mainly link purchases. I'm coming across a lot of run of sites. We have been steadily cleaning up our paid links, which seems to have been a mistake.

I've had this nagging thought in the back of my head that just gains more credence with each new Google update. I think Matt Cutts accomplishes through PR and dictum what Google is NOT able to accomplish algorithmically. You can only program a machine to do so much, evidence by the fact that we still don't have robot servants or cars that can drive themselves.

So how could the largest ad agency in the world (oops, I mean search engine) control the factors that they can't through algorithms? Why not create some sort of demi-god that respectable, white hat SEOs will flock to and follow without question? I think a lot of us have been duped and now the spammers and less-than-white hat SEOs are reaping the benefits.

Seeing as how many of us are seeing poor quality sites with poor quality backlinks beating out older, quality sites, is it too far-fetched to suggest that maybe Google had turned off a big portion of their algos that try to filter out paid links? Perhaps because after several months of launching a PR campaign against them, maybe they feel that enough sites have cleaned up those links? Or maybe because they only real filter they have the "Report Paid Links" database that they've been building?

PageRank isn't the biggest PR in SEO anymore, it's Press Relations and we all know what that's about...how to "spin" things.

[edited by: tedster at 6:37 pm (utc) on April 5, 2008]



 12:25 pm on Apr 17, 2008 (gmt 0)


Adding &filter=0 does nothing to affect my pages when they take a dive. I have a lot of pages affected by this, some seem immune to it.

I suspect that they are doing this to collect data on user behavior but I wonder what the criteria is for determining the switch. For me, it seems like the more popular the search term is, the more likely it is to see shifting. Less popular terms are extremely stable for me.

It's like they have two very different implimentations of their algo and are switching between them, tweaking along the way (perhaps until the two are merged?).

In any case, I feel like I'm playing a Vegas money wheel. Every so often my number comes up but the wheel just keeps on spinning around.

BTW, I don't see any connection between time of day and shifting. It's like you said, they seem to be on their own cycle.


 1:19 pm on Apr 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

I thought all sites of mine were unaffected.

But in fact for some of the most competitive phrases they see additional sites injected above them in the top 10 ( none of the big players fall out though, perhaps pushed down but stay close ). This happens every day, only to revert back to the regular SERPs without these URLs later on.

It's interesting to see, for these injected sites are indeed garbage, nothing I'd ever consider as examples to follow ( neither for SEO, nor user friendliness, not even design ).

One of them is full-flash. No text on site. Has same links, just fewer of them ( 30% ), worse anchor text than my site. As for content, it's actually way too regional to be where it is now. Looks cr@ppy. Navigation is in flash.

And we're talking about a competitive phrase here.

another interesting find, which might be completely off-target, let alone off-topic: yahoo site explorer showed a backlink from a site that was also in full flash. I've tripple checked it, it wasn't a previous design, it's not cloaking, it's not a redirect, it's a full-flash link shown as a backlink in Yahoo! I wonder if there's some new technology to follow flash links or this is but a coincidence.


I'll wait until Google settles down.

And if it won't, then I'll try to find the pattern in its shifting, no problem. But don't want to adjust to an environment that's temporary.


Note: I'm seeing the biggest changes on SERPs where the asterisk character would bring up a whole different set of results instead of just seemingly turning stemming and synonyms on/off. ( I think that perhaps that's what it does ). e.g.: mycity hotels [Vs] mycity hotels* - that asterisk doesn't really alter the SERPs that were NOT affected, at least not where I looked but I'm pretty busy so no further testing for now *smirk*

[edited by: Miamacs at 1:21 pm (utc) on April 17, 2008]


 1:20 pm on Apr 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

Latest observation is that stolen text and images combined with adsense at wordpress is outranking the original content.

Google should credit these pirated earnings to the content owner and ensure, that the original comes on top and not that fake copy.


 1:32 pm on Apr 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

One of the largest changes we have seen with this recent update is that our position has remained virtually unchanged for our main domain name, about 60 or so, while a domain we released is showing up with a domain squatter site at a #2 position. This I might add really irks us as we have really tried to address all issues with our site, yet we remain penalized and this other squatter that has zero content takes a #2 position for our unique company name.


 1:46 pm on Apr 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

You know I think Google might be contextualizing competitive keyword searches based on its recent suggestions obsession.

Round #1: suggestions at the bottom of the search page.
Round #2: suggestions in Google Toolbar+Search bar
Round #3: suggestions at the top of search page

For example, for the keyword widgets, Google knows which related top searches that word gets, say, red widgets.

So then it reranks the searches for just widgets with a higher weight on the sites that rank for red widgets, or, better yet, when it's a commercial site that sells red widgets.

I'm seeing a recent boost or dial-turn for commercial sites.

It's not such a bad idea in principle. A pretty reasonable filter.

Why should a site rank highly for a single competitive word if it doesn't offer anything on the most relevant related phrases (which in some cases are searched for more often)? Those related searches anchor the site theme.



 1:49 pm on Apr 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

Heh, ok, my search term that was #2 behind my WebmasterWorld profile yesterday fell down to #4 and then back up to #2 again - in the last ten minutes!

Good thing I have my seat belt on; things are lurching around like a drunken sailor.

Also, my primary (event) site is still ranking #1 for everthing, but all my sitelinks are gone this morning. Hope this means they're being reorganized, and not just disappeared.

Also, oddly, results from my site are the top two searches, but not indented - just like #1 and #2 as if they were different sites. I saw that when I had the sitelinks, but not like this. It's all very weird.


 5:22 pm on Apr 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure any of this is to do with user behaviour as a very competitive term I watch has a site CLIMBING up the serps and @ #1 for slightly less competitive terms.

And it's been doing this whilst it's SERVER IS DOWN

Their site has been inaccessible for about 10 days now (at least) and yet they are climbing in serps. Their bounce rate in Google must be 100% so I don't think it's that (unless a high bounce rate means a good serp)


 6:13 pm on Apr 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

Its really difficult to analyse what is going on in the UK because at the same time as changes are happening on the main algo, changes are also happening on the UK filter.

For example for our top target term a new site has come in at #4 on google.co.uk which is #27 on google.com. This is another site that has bought thousands of backlinks from one site. Google even lists 6 pages from this multi thousand page site, which is an ecommerce catalog/shopping cart, when I do a link:www.domain.com search.

So much for having a solution to bought links. I wonder why Matt Cutts is keeping so quiet.




 7:45 am on Apr 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

A short note from Google DCs Watch Tower :-)

At the moment I see some serps difference between [72.14.207.***...] and the rest of DCs in the sectors I watch. Take a look. Maybe you can see the difference too. For example:




Guess Update Dewey is still on the move, as expected. The current flux will continue for the rest of April, IMO ;-)

It isn't wise at all to make changes to your site(s) while Dewey on the move, IMO.

Best thing to do for the rest of this month is just to sit back and watch the grass grow. Or to view what was said about the "Rotaing Algos" back in 2005 during Update Bourbon [webmasterworld.com] !


 2:48 pm on Apr 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

I don't know about anyone else but I am starting to see similar behavior on some .co.uk datacentres.
I have seen my sites bonuce up and down over the past two days and poor quality or brand new sites jump in and out of top 5. SERPs seem to go back to normal after a while and then I won't see the behavior for around 2-3 hours then the cycle stats again.


 3:37 pm on Apr 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

seeing the same thing here in Canada. Results change 2-3 times a day.

also still seeing almost the entire first page of serps dominated by .co.uk sites.


 3:45 pm on Apr 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

I feel like I'm playing a Vegas money wheel. Every so often my number comes up but the wheel just keeps on spinning around.

Yes! And yesterday it slowed way down at my dream serps. Alas the wheel moved on. :o

It's like a really sloooooow version of the old Google dances. I always felt the thrill of Las Vegas during those dances.


 4:10 pm on Apr 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

Udi Manber says:
What frustrates you when you do a search?
"Whenever I don't find exactly what I need. It's frustrating. We're very concerned with that here. When someone finds an example of something that doesn't work that should work, we think, "How can that happen? How is it that we missed something?" - Sometimes it's a weakness in the algorithm,"

And delivers for Canada:

seeing almost the entire first page of serps dominated by .co.uk sites.

It seems to me that Google wants to deliver excellent results for the US and generally does with some notable exceptions but the rest of the English speaking World is just an irritation that throws up "weaknesses in the algorithm".



[edited by: tedster at 4:21 pm (utc) on April 18, 2008]
[edit reason] fixed charset issue [/edit]


 5:18 pm on Apr 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

has anyone noticed negative effects on non .com addresses?

my site is a .biz and traffic plummeted after March 24 and stayed down (roughly about 20% of what it was this time last month)


 5:50 pm on Apr 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

has anyone noticed negative effects on non .com addresses?

Yep, I have an authority keyword .in site for one of my products completely disappeared now in G but still #1 in Yahoo! and Live.

Like everyone else I have no idea why, it's a unique 20 page site, no duplicated pages anywhere, sometimes I find it -950 but most of the time it's MIA.


 9:30 pm on Apr 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

My site is a .biz and I absolutely have noticed a decrease in traffic. Come on Google, get your stuff together.


 9:45 pm on Apr 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

funnily enough the (dramatic) decrease in traffic happened across G, Y and M

someone suggested that Y and M rankings may in some way correspond to changes in the G rankings. is this nonsense?


 10:01 pm on Apr 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

someone suggested that Y and M rankings may in some way correspond to changes in the G rankings. is this nonsense?

I can't imagine Udi Manber of Google is in control of rankings on Y and M too.


 11:14 pm on Apr 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

>>someone suggested that Y and M rankings may in some way correspond to changes in the G rankings. is this nonsense?

Yes. More likely due to holidays...


 12:28 am on Apr 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

>>someone suggested that Y and M rankings may in some way correspond to changes in the G rankings. is this nonsense?

Not necessarily


 5:59 am on Apr 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

"Google wants to deliver excellent results for the US"
the US results looks very stable and really excellent (check at cnn or comcast net or aol) if you are out of the US


 8:39 am on Apr 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

My site is a .biz and I absolutely have noticed a decrease in traffic. Come on Google, get your stuff together.

Ummm ... sadly, all these .infos and .bizs are mostly low quality sites. I'm fine with them being devalued a little, the same as 40+ characters domain names and those with 5+ hyphens in them.


 7:17 pm on Apr 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

*** 72.14.207.xx ***

Hmm. Thats the datacentre where all the testing for the big changes back in 2006 April was first carried out.

Robert Charlton

 8:26 pm on Apr 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

has anyone noticed negative effects on non .com addresses?

The tld itself does not affect rankings. This has been borne out in numerous discussions on WebmasterWorld and elsewhere.

While a .biz or .info doesn't necessarily suggest a low quality site, as internetheaven points out, most of these are low quality. At best, it's likely that sites with these tlds are newer and have less established links; at worst, they are often used as throwaway domains.

But I am seeing good quality sites built on .biz, .net, etc, currently doing a lot better than many competing .coms.


 6:14 am on Apr 20, 2008 (gmt 0)


I'm hoping past performance IS indicative of future results.
It'd be nice, but I won't hold my breath waiting. :)


 7:19 am on Apr 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

Hi, for the two main terms I watch pulls the dodgy site, that bought its way to the top, off top slot and pushes it back to #3 and #5. Also another site that employed and SEO firm that promptly went out to but sitewides for it has drops from #4 to #30 when I look through a proxy but comes back when I go direct to the IP from my browser in the UK.

The one thing both of these sites have in common is a link back to the SEOs site on each page.

Google has said for a long while watch out for who you link to. ;)




 4:39 pm on Apr 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

Just yesterday I was searching for something personally and google here in the US kept pulling up japanese and chinese sites... what's up with that. I got so frustrated I went over to yahoo.


 9:30 pm on Apr 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

A Google Data Centers Watch short note.

For sometime now, I see [] display the same serps as [72.14.207.**...] (a leading DCs, IMO).

Above mentioned DCs, still display different serps than the rest of the DCs, for example [] .

Update Dewey is still on the move, IMO.


 10:22 pm on Apr 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

When do you think guys Dewey will settle down?


 1:18 am on Apr 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

Dewey's been over for two weeks.

Google continues to update every day.


 6:32 am on Apr 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

Getting Killed by Dewey over here, just check in with you guys as this weekend was the first time my postions got hit, lost a lot...my older sites lost some pages back, my newer site got hit the worst going from first page to close to ten back....

Those who think this algo is over, it is not...This is the biggest dance I have had in years and the biggest by far...

I am a white hatter...all sites marketed the same, content each day added by me and article distribution... This is for all sites....

Lost major ground that I have worked a year to build, but that is the game....just sux when you finally get there and then get kicked back like this....

anyway, from what I see this is just starting...everything was fine till this weekend...

This 185 message thread spans 7 pages: < < 185 ( 1 2 3 4 5 [6] 7 > >
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