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May 2008 Google SERP Changes

 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.



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



 11:41 am on May 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing pages drop out today. Seems like the suffle hasn't stopped yet.


 12:54 pm on May 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

Same here, some pages recovered 2-3 positions.


 1:40 pm on May 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

I am seeing a large drop in traffic today that I first started noticed yesterday afternoon. I was hoping it was a fluke yesterday, but there is definetely something changed as this is our lowest traffic levels since December.

I have noticed about 20,000 indexed pages have dropped out. Last week we has a severe decrease in the amount of visits by Googlebot for 3 or 4 days. Googlebot activity has increased a great deal since then, almost back to normal levels.


 2:10 pm on May 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

A site I thought was stable dropped around 10 pages down today after having a small positive boost on Wednesday. I hope it is temporary.


 2:27 pm on May 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

Still bouncing around between #4 and #6 for a single generic keyword where previously I've been down around #100 the past three years. Traffic through the roof; too bad it's not translating into better earnings. It's been a week now; I won't be too surprised if it goes away. The keyword is really *too* generic for my geo-targeted site.


 2:40 pm on May 1, 2008 (gmt 0)


I'm new to this forum and am experiencing a big fall as well.

Looks to me that at this stage of the game where Google completely dominates the market it would be beneficial for them to have "inconsistent"/"moving" results in the natural search so people would click on the ads as those are consistent. When searchers will get the idea that they will not get the same (even though still relevant) result every time they search, they will most certainly pay more attention to the ads. Google getting richer?


 3:33 pm on May 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

Not sure if its relevant but my google serps seem directly correlated to my natural traffic. By that i mean for X% increase in natural traffic i get x% boost in serps ratings. As soon as the natural traffic lowers the serps lower.

My guess is there is a new link for some hot deal site that has decent pr and i get that PR boost when googlebot finds that link however when the "algo" or "filters" actually process that link the position is re-evaluated.

It could also be reduced for sandbox/site age. We re-did the entire backend/site in february so it may be fluctuating on that note as well.

Either way, it seems very much trended against natural traffic for us. Yes, i also run google analytics.


 4:40 pm on May 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

From the looks of a few SERPs I monitor, blogs have been cranked up. They had improved significantly but now it's as if someone at Google decided blogs should dominate once again. And, in one particular set of results I've monitored for years, the same blog post has three top 10 positions on the three different sites it was published on. How useful. Have dupe content filters been turned off or something? I had suspected something like that and to me this points in that direction.


 5:27 pm on May 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

Anyone else notice sites with fairly obvious link exchanges recently take a hit?




 6:18 pm on May 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing spots that were held by very appropriate internal pages being replaced by the home page... yet again. Very frustrating. This kind of issue has cycled in and out of the SERPs over the past year, and right now, it's back for several sites I work with.


 9:09 pm on May 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

I've found one instance where a page that objectively should have outranked every other page on its domain for a term finally being the top result for that term, after literally years of being only the third best page for that term.

That is not similar to tedster's observation above, but perhaps it relects current churning regarding this issue of trying to find the most appropriate page on a domain for a query.


 11:37 pm on May 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

"I've found one instance where a page that objectively should have outranked every other page on its domain..."

And now it has been removed from its top five spot and replaced (as it has been for years) by two less relevant pages.


 11:56 pm on May 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

> I'm seeing spots that were held by very appropriate internal pages being replaced by the home page... yet again.

I think this happens when algo tweaks or some kind of updates re-value internal pages and/or the home page.

Is there a Dewey thread still? I just noticed the Google Toolbar giving my site SERP #4 for my target single word; whereas on a google.com search it's not even in the top 20.



 3:17 pm on May 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

anyone else seeing significant declines in traffic beginning midday on apr 29th? there was some mention of it on the first page of the thread, and I'm currently experiencing a 10% drop for the past 2 days, which translates to a big number, since it's a heavily trafficked site.

i can't pinpoint any particular instances of keywords that have tanked for this particular site (hard since the site is so big), seems more like an overall small decline across the board for a lot of terms, but certainly not all. For some keywords that have shifted a bit I see informational resource pages/forums etc. moving up a little, or coming out of nowhere. This is for serps that were displayed yesterday. Looks like Google reverted back to previous results, or at least that's what they're serving me up right now.


 3:19 pm on May 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have seen some crazy SERPS results in the last 48hrs here in the UK.


 3:40 pm on May 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

anyone else seeing significant declines in traffic beginning midday on apr 29th?

I did on the 29th and May 1st. Seems to be getting back to normal today.


 4:16 pm on May 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

surfer67: probably has to do with the index reverting back like i mentioned. hopefully it stays that way. i certainly was not a fan of the past 2 days.


 4:19 pm on May 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

i saw about a 15% dip in traffic from google yesterday (when compared to the previous thursday)

my site's PR was dropped from a 7 to 6 earlier in the week, though i don't think the traffic decline relates to the TBPR change

googlebot activity is way down as well

appears that big change is afoot ... not exactly of the kind i was looking for


 4:23 pm on May 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

yes - we are on the move too...downwards. Have 10 sites - the two big ones took a 50% hit in mid march and one of these has been murdered again today.

However here in the uk its a bank holiday weekend and in 2008 I have seen huge natural traffic drops when any kind of holiday kicks in (am thinking easter for instance) and am also wondering whether the 'credit crunch' (its a recession isnt it?) might be taking its toll

suppose it depends on your niche


 5:10 pm on May 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

For two days it's been pretty much settled in my sector.


 7:13 pm on May 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

For most of my sites traffic is about the same month over month but in the last few days the nature of my long-tail traffic seems to be changing which is resulting in a much higher ad click-trough rate and a much lower purchase volume.

The $$ is about the same for now. I'll continue to monitor the situation and will post any conclusions or theories if one or the other develops.


 4:35 am on May 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

My Sites are still in the dark and have not recovered from the downfall last month.


 7:34 pm on May 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

My PR is now 7 (+1 update), but my traffic is 20% procent lower and I'm talking about a really big site.

Something has happening since Saturday.
Also Google Bot reported activity is still low !

[edited by: Mentat at 7:35 pm (utc) on May 5, 2008]


 8:28 pm on May 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

The fun is over. It seems to have finally happened. Do no evil has finally given in to the dark side.

- SEO has been directly attacked with most black hat filters being lifted just to complicate things even more.
- Commercial sites are being devalued so they have to buy Adwords.
- Google has monopolised PPC with their Yahoo "purchase" (let's be honest, this was the only way they could take over Yahoo without getting into trouble with anti-competition laws).
- Results are being rotated so that people give up trying SEO and buy Adwords.
- Results are being rotated to confuse users so that they look harder on the page and hopefully run into more adverts. (opinions?)

Google is no longer part of the online user experience, they have positioned themselves as the only choice and turned off the usability. They are making Microsoft look almost friendly. They got to the top by making us like them and providing relevant results and now the sheep costume has been thrown off ...


 10:04 pm on May 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

For two days it's been pretty much settled in my sector.

My sector is still bouncing about all over the place with different results everytime I check my keywords and shopping sites, useless for my industry, popping in and out like crazy.


 6:51 pm on May 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

Following the recent Google update, like most webmasters Ive seen an influx of sites into an established sector that have a presence purely and simply because of their sponsored link campaigns.

New generation sites with NO Trust, NO authority, NO content of any use (rehashed same old same old) and very little to offer in a competitive business area. Yet they are doing just fine thanks to Google's apparent inability to spot the bleedin obvious.

These sites are seriously flawed and even a cursory glance at the link history reveals - in some cases - completely unrelated blog links in their thousands. The blogs are obviously owned by the same people in many cases because certain phrases / patterns / image ads keep cropping up.

Now normally I wouldnt give a toss because I do very nicely in Google regardless of one or new diners at the top table. But this is different. Were not talking one or two but probably around half a dozen sites in the top 15.

Maybe Google is offering enough rope before they act. Maybe this latest update has something wrong with it - work in progress possibly. Or just maybe they are fighting a losing battle and it really is that easy to game this search engine.

Its hard to turn away from cheap, simple tactics like this when others are doing so well. I dont intend to screw my top sites but I may just gamble on a few low profile ones just to see what can be done.

[edited by: tedster at 10:16 pm (utc) on May 5, 2008]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]


 9:09 am on May 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'm starting to think that desperation set in with my competitors over the last year or so and I didn't even notice. I was complacent because we stuck at #1 no matter what.

Its almost as though they have realised if they are not in the top 3 they might as well be nowhere so who cares what rules Google sets.

Now they are getting good feedback from Google (and Yahoo) and they think that they now have proof that they can get away with it.

This last update from Google has rewarded people who are basically putting two fingers up at them.




 10:21 am on May 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have followed this thread with interest and regulary refer to Webmaster World if I need advice, but this is the first time I have felt compelled to make a comment. I was #1 for a highly competitive keyword. It will be 3 weeks on Friday that my site began to fluctuate, first it droped to #2 then back to #1 for 2 days then has fluctated between 5 and 14 sometimes at the refresh of the page, as writing this I am 9 & 10. I have noticed the new top spots are also advertising for the keyword.

For the same keyword without the plural I am now #1 sometimes dropping to #2, I was not in the top 10 before and I have never made a play for this keyword as it is less of a search term.

indias next no1

 11:26 am on May 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

most of the top keywords in my niche is occupied by bookmark sites like digg, propler, netscape and other local "made for google" bookmark sites

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