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May 2008 Google SERP Changes
Hissingsid

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3639486 posted 7:20 am on May 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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

annej - I am very suspicious they do some link buying and wonder if Google is playing around with some algos they think might catch that.

I'm seeing similar signs this morning but I think that this is in reaction to the effect Internetheaven reported above. ie a devaluation in internal links caused an overvaluation in low value external links. I've seen a few sites rise to the very top of Serps that seem to have done it through link buying and link exchanging with off topic and/or poor geo location sites. Those now seem to be dropping.

Also one site that, out of the blue, got sitelinks for a very competitive 2 word term where there is no way it should be top of serps never mind be given sitelinks for that term. I'm pretty sure that this was an indication that external outgoing links, with the right anchor text, was given an undue boost. Today they have lost sitelinks. Lets hope they don't get them back!

What I'm seeing this morning looks like they are either tweaking down the weight of external outgoing links and incoming links or turning internal link anchor weight back up a tad.

Cheers

Sid

[edited by: tedster at 3:16 pm (utc) on May 1, 2008]

 

dickbaker

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3639486 posted 3:27 am on May 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

mfishy, for one of the phrases I'm watching I saw one of my pages go from #4 to #11 in less than five minutes.

zaqwsx3

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3639486 posted 6:56 am on May 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

Hi all - I've been reading the threads here in an attempt to find some answers as to why I have observed a significant drop in traffic in my website in the last 3 days.

Here's my story - I've got a small website hosted in the US using an Australian domain (com.au), and over 90% of visitors were from Australia. Google Analytics tells me my traffic (daily visitors) has dropped by 90% since March 9 (was doing an average of 200 visitors May 6/7/8, then it suddenly dropped down to approx 20 on May 9, and it has been like that ever since - yes, its only a small site).

I've checked how many pages are in the Google index via searching for site:[domain] and this number has not changed. My PR has not changed according to the Google toolbar (although I don't believe this is updated all that regularly anyway). I've searched for a couple of my keywords to see where the results place me, although to be honest they were never that good anyway. The site has been up constantly with no downtime.

I just cannot explain the sudden drop in traffic. Can anyone suggest any other tests or checks to perform, or reasons as to what might cause this?

tedster

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



 
Msg#: 3639486 posted 7:43 am on May 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

Something definitely shifted on Friday May 9 - See this thread: Traffic May 9 dropped 75% [webmasterworld.com].

But so far, this shift is hard to pin down. My best guess currently is something significant in regards to Google's geo-location of search results. None of my sites were hit like that, but there are several reports about last Friday's shift rolling in, and they are all puzzled about the cause of the traffic drop.

I think some of the geo-location search strategies discussed in the following thread might be worthwhile looking into: How to search for US results from outside [webmasterworld.com].

Especially note the use of the "gl=" parameter, proxy servers or VPNs, and the Adwords Preview Tool at https://adwords.google.com/select/AdTargetingPreviewTool

zaqwsx3

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3639486 posted 10:55 am on May 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

Thanks for this tedster - its appreciated. I guess the wrong thing to do would be any knee-jerk reactions ... best to sit it out for a while and just observe.

dudibob

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3639486 posted 10:58 am on May 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

"Best to sit it out for a while and just observe."

How long is Google taking with this update!? A little bit of clarity from Google will go a long way right now

c41lum

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3639486 posted 11:05 am on May 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have been online since 1999. And I can honestly say I have never seen such swings in the results. I just had a phone conversation with a client and during the convo we jumped from 4th to 33rd then back to 5th. Fantastic.

trinorthlighting

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3639486 posted 12:08 pm on May 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

I am seeing the singular/plural changes as well in our sector.

reseller

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3639486 posted 12:21 pm on May 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

Folks!

The reson for the continuous changes in your sites positions on the serps, might be due to the application of sucessive data refreshes after implementation of software update Dewey.

webmasters might describe the current situation as "continuous unstable serps" while users might describe it as "continuous fresh serps" ;-)

[edited by: reseller at 12:26 pm (utc) on May 13, 2008]

chrism

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3639486 posted 12:21 pm on May 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

Hi all

Been reading the forums for a while now but dont think I've ever posted until now.

I have hundreds of sites which also got axed on May 9th - we've been building them over a period of a little over two years, adding 4 or 5 at a time, building the content and moving on to the next ones. We then drip feed content into each site every couple of weeks to keep things fresh. Interestingly though mine seem to be barred altogether, a site: query seems to return no results for any of the domains.

I wont post a url at this stage as i'm not sure of forum policy.

mfishy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3639486 posted 1:13 pm on May 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

The reson for the continuous changes in your sites positions on the serps, might be due to the application of sucessive data refreshes after implementation of software update Dewey.

Thought about that intitially but I am not so sure that's the case. I am getting my new stuff popping up too.

This morning the serps change (a lot) nearly every time I hit the earch button!

drall

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3639486 posted 1:41 pm on May 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

Clearly this is a perm change in Google, we are seeing phrases we could have never dreamed of ranking for come out of the woodwork across our enterprise for months now while longstanding phrases are in chaos.

Age is one very big factor that seems to be coming into play for these phrases, even with little pagerank or IBL's to target pages which are ranking well.

We also noticed that the pages that are ranking well for these phrases are also the pages that are most popular with our user base but never linked to much nor have much internal pr.

This leads me to believe Google is now using to some degree some form of user behaviour tracking within the serps, probably something that was acquired from Doubleclick. Just my 2 cents.

[edited by: drall at 1:52 pm (utc) on May 13, 2008]

HuskyPup



 
Msg#: 3639486 posted 1:45 pm on May 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

IMHO whatever is happening is out of control, and not for the first time I must remind people!

I have one 30 page site with a totally exclusive product including the keyword domain.tld and the entire site has gone missing. There is not one page in the Google SERPs now.

Another 60 page site I run, 13 years old, has disappeared from the first 100+ results for every keyword. It's all still indexed by Google however may as well not be since it is getting no traffic from that source.

My core site's #1 keyword has been taken by a generic page with about 70 thumbnail images with keyword.jpg, keyword alt tag and keyword title tag and that's it, one thumbnail image, no technical specifications, no history of the product, no knowledge of the product therefore certainly no authority status...hmmm.

For those who understand the game of cricket I adopted a new terminology in our office the other day for this fubar: Googly.

For those who do not know the game a Googly is describe thus: It is used infrequently, because its effectiveness comes mostly from its surprise value.

I reckon this just about sums-up these so-called on-going updates - Surprise, Surprise!

Hissingsid

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3639486 posted 2:09 pm on May 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

Hi,

Are you analysing what the new top sites have done to be so blessed by the new shake up?

In my niche its links links links that have done it. Doesn't matter if they were bought, exchanged or given away backlinks with the right mix of anchor text does it.

Others have commented that there research shows that internal linking has been down weighted. This has skewed the emphasis massively towards backlinks but what I am seeing is quantity not quality and many dodgy practices being rewarded.

I think that my main site had a particularly "good" internal link structure under the old algo, now it is not so good and although I have quality backlinks and some quantity I am not competing with sites that are buying backlink packages and/or having folks in 3rd World countries getting them links and $1 a chuck.

I've been trying to get more backlinks but as I am doing others are getting 10 times as many dodgy ones.

Cheers

Sid

dudibob

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3639486 posted 2:28 pm on May 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

Perhaps these regular data refreshs are the future for Google to keep the best results or 'result freshness'. Maybe the day of 'top 10' SEO based models are dead? Maybe Google's trying to move people on to concentrate on traffic levels and ROI rather than Google positions

potentialgeek

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3639486 posted 2:50 pm on May 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

> My best guess currently is something significant in regards to Google's geo-location of search results.

I've noticed Yahoo is now geo-locating results too and this is new, and basically since it started cooperating with Google (following the MSN saga).

Google may be having problems, though, determining geographical significance for certain keywords. In other words, some search results are best with a weight by geography; while others aren't.

In the process of ramming through a new geo algo, Google is messing it up, primitively weighting non-geo words as if there's some kind of geographical significance.

They're getting carried away. Why they can't just base results according to the geo-based google engine (google.com or google.ca or google.co.uk, etc.), I don't know.

You know that's the easiest way for the Google user to say they want geo-based results. Let the user decide, not Google. Google should not make any assumption on geography when it's not necessary or even helpful.

Google could offer to rerank results based on geography instead of thinking it's so smart. eBay, for example, lets you re-order search results by geography, i.e., closest to your zip code.

How on earth does Google think it can figure out which words and phrases in the entire dictionary and common use should be weighted by geography?

Tedster, does its geo patent shed any light on why it thinks it's so genius?

p/g

HuskyPup



 
Msg#: 3639486 posted 2:57 pm on May 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

Are you analysing what the new top sites have done to be so blessed by the new shake up?

This is where it becomes hilarious!

I'm in the UK with servers in the UK selling to a global market.

Keyword phrase in Google.com I'm #1 and indented #2, this is THE authority page linked all over the place by my industry including Wikipedia etc.

Google.co.uk I'm #3, #2 is one of my customers displaying information copied from me.

#1 has 15 links like ebay, bizrate, 192, moneysavingexpert...'nuff said, garbage.

Perhaps these regular data refreshs are the future for Google to keep the best results or 'result freshness'.

Ok this is from Google's Company Overview:

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.

All I can say right now is that it may be accessible however useful it certainly is not!

c41lum

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3639486 posted 3:06 pm on May 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have noticed the same thing as HuskyPup. .com results seem to be better that the geo results. I have had the case where a image with a ALT tag is listed high than my in depth news content page. Very Strange.

rocco

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3639486 posted 5:29 pm on May 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

Google is in the beginning of using the geo-loc-data on a large scale. There will be trouble. But if I look at the situation in Switzerland, the German part of, then the SERPs look pretty good: While the German part of Switzerland uses German as a language - same as Germany and Austria, you mostly want to see different results as there are different regulations, laws etc. for many things in daily life: insurances, lawyers, doctors, schools, online-shops (many do not deliver to foreign countries), sports, tv, travel and many other topics and aspects. In the past, results from Germany were dominating, as a matter of scale: there are about 6 million Swiss-Germans, but 80 million Germans - the web-space might be proportional.

Now, with the geo-loc-data, I am seeing totally different SERPs for the German part of Switzerland, Germany and Austria. The SERPs make a lot more sense.

In my case, neither the server location nor the TLD nor the Whois info plays a significant role for my SERP placement; but the linkgraph does: While I have a stronger linkgraph than most Swiss competitors overall, I have a relativly weak Swiss-linkgraph, therefore I rank pretty well in German SERPs but pretty lousy in Swiss SERPs, most IBLs are coming from German sites, so Google makes out a German-linkgraph for me, which makes sense as I target Germany but I am located in Switzerland.

Now imagine I decided to hire some Indians to build up massive IBLs for my site. They probably are not German-speaking so I will end up with non-German IBLs, even worse, with IBLs from Indian sites. This will change my linkgraph into an Indian-linkgraph. Combined with my German content, this will not make any sense and my site would loose my German rankings, although having a good TBPR. Probably the links from my website will also pass German-language-Indian-linkgraph-TBPR and will not be of any use as this combination of Google user is extremly rare (Users looking for German-language Indian sites).

So my conclusion is this:
-IBLs actually MAY hurt you, they will build up TBPR but shift weight to other Google-User-Profiles
-Some IBLs may provide you with unexpected juice as they may have an odd geo-loc-PR power

Pico_Train

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3639486 posted 5:35 pm on May 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

Very interesting Rocco, you raise some very good points to think about and implement in the near future.

tedster

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



 
Msg#: 3639486 posted 7:18 pm on May 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

How long is Google taking with this update!?

Udi Manber, Google's VP of Search [webmasterworld.com] tells us that "Last year we made over 450 improvements to the algorithm." So I assume that we are not looking at just one "update", but a continually shifting set of algo factors and weights.

zafile



 
Msg#: 3639486 posted 7:40 pm on May 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

For about 48 hours I've noticed 2 different sets of results for my beloved <snip> search phrase.

The first set is the normal one I've always seen. Very small incremental changes and nothing exciting at all.

The second set differs quite a bit from the first set. I could describe it as more up-to-date in relation to changes on the Web pages shown on the results.

Needless to say, quite interesting to watch.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 6:15 am (utc) on May 16, 2008]
[edit reason] removed specifics [/edit]

Miamacs

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3639486 posted 9:40 pm on May 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

have a problem site here too. it's not falling but others are passing by.

and yeah... links. lots and lots of (low quality) links.

there's a competitor, which on top of being completely irrelevant is in full flash.
on-page factors don't seem to play a role at all, and that includes navigation.

...

I'll be running this specific campaign in PARANOIA:OFF mode from now on.

bbd2000

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3639486 posted 9:57 pm on May 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

rocco,

That is a very interesting observation.

It has generally been the consensus that IBL can't hurt you.

Does anyone else have any experience with geo-loc-data that would confirm rocco's observations?

annej

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



 
Msg#: 3639486 posted 11:13 pm on May 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

Looking at how the serps are jumping around it seems irrelevant to anything. IBLs don't seem to matter nor does words on the page.

Again, I have to wonder if they are experimenting with clicks and bounces.

mirrornl

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3639486 posted 11:18 pm on May 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

rocco,

That is a very interesting observation.

It has generally been the consensus that IBL can't hurt you.

Does anyone else have any experience with geo-loc-data that would confirm rocco's observations?


yes
iknew a few months ago...

i have a dot.com hosted in the UK, site is in english, but it is treated as a dutch site cause of dutch IBL

HuskyPup



 
Msg#: 3639486 posted 11:29 pm on May 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

Yay, yay, yay...comparing Google.com then Google.com using Google.co.uk I am getting two completely different sets of results, the .co.uk results are an absolute mess at the moment with diabollically irrelevant forum boards dominating the SERPs!

rumblepup

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3639486 posted 11:36 pm on May 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

Well, I know that this shift has come at probably the worst time during the year. Our business is seasonal, and this is the season! One day before this change I was on the first page of search results, and I had been working for that for three years. Link building, creating content, blogging, articles, and now, I'm replaced by the crappiest sites I've ever seen, with the spammiest links I've ever seen. One company with 30 sites all interlinked to each other, no "real" outbound links at all, no blog reviews, to newsarticles, nothing but links to themselves.
Is Google rewarding this behaviour? Do I have to buy 10k a month in order to get back in SERP's?

From what I've been reading here, we've all done what Google asked us to do, create content, get natural links, add value, and now some algo switch tells me I should have spammed google the whole time.

petehall

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3639486 posted 11:39 pm on May 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'm starting to become scared...

I am losing confidence that this won't stick.

Then gain, I have seen this go on for much longer 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#: 3639486 posted 1:01 am on May 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

Others have commented that their research shows that internal linking has been down weighted. This has skewed the emphasis massively towards backlinks but what I am seeing is quantity not quality and many dodgy practices being rewarded.

I'm seeing not just a down-weighting of internal linking, but in some cases almost a reaction against it.

It almost appears to be a phrase-related penalization... If your internal linking is too precise on a phrase you want boosted and your target page is on the brink of overoptimization for that phrase, then the internal links appear to backfire and actually push the target page down for longer phrases which contain those target keywords included in your internal anchor text.

This is based on limited observation, but it appears to be happening consistently for several phrases now on sites I'm watching, where I've tried varying links to the overoptimized pages.

So yes, it does appear that in relation to the internal links, backlinks are currently much more effective.

I would expect to see pages like Wikipedia stubs drop because of this, but it may be that Wikipedia has so much juice that these are unaffected.

trakkerguy

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3639486 posted 1:35 am on May 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

Does anyone think that part of the change may be more extensive use of overoptimization penalty, where the penalty is proportional? For instance, slightly exceeding the threshold may drop a site 1 spot, and a little bigger problem drops the site 2 or 3 spots?

One reason I ask is, I've seen a big reduction in sites/pages hit with -950, and think there may now be a more subtle penalty.

edit_g

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3639486 posted 3:03 am on May 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

Weird - I'm now seeing UK and US sites popping up prominently for searches run on .com.au.

This 224 message thread spans 8 pages: < < 224 ( 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 7 8 > >
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