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This 212 message thread spans 8 pages: < < 212 ( 1 2 [3] 4 5 6 7 8 > >     
Google.com SERP Changes - June 2008
annej




msg:3663831
 8:24 pm on May 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

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

I've wondered too as to why some search terms are affected more than others and some result pages are changing around while other barely move.

Has anyone seen any relationship between how popular a search the term is and how much movement is going on?

As to when it will end I don't think we can predict as nothing quite like this has gone on before.

[edited by: tedster at 2:48 am (utc) on June 1, 2008]

 

outland88




msg:3669432
 10:03 pm on Jun 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

I think you misinterpreted. Iím never said everybody or you. This was an observance with some people who were recently having problems. Remember with statistics and any analysis there are always cases to disprove the hypothesis. Rarely do you find a 100% consensus with anything especially in Google. You can disprove all theories with a lone case. Itís the percentage you observe.

I think you need to read the many threads where people claimed just changing anything cost them rankings.

Are you telling me all designs are the same?

BillyS




msg:3669566
 1:18 am on Jun 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

>>Are you telling me all designs are the same?

No, I telling you that Google is logical.

>>I think you need to read the many threads where people claimed just changing anything cost them rankings.

I've been reading threads like that for four years now and I used to believe them too. In fact, I was so scared to make a change that I never changed anything.

Then one day it dawned on me that Google wasn't evil and I realized that Google didn't care much about the way a page is arranged.

Lovejoy




msg:3669592
 2:30 am on Jun 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

"Then one day it dawned on me that Google wasn't evil and I realized that Google didn't care much about the way a page is arranged"

Well that maybe your perspective BillyS, but I've seen more than one of my sites go from number 19, page two to number three on page one on google for major keywords by simply making a title plural from singular.

Many times I've thought to "tweak" a page that really didn't need it, only to have it drop rank. Now I always keep a copy of the old page in on the server ( EG. index_old ) just case I have to pop it back in
to pay the bills ;~)

Lovejoy

Robert Charlton




msg:3669646
 7:05 am on Jun 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

In my experience, changing a page template is very different from tweaking the content of a page.

Clients have made some fairly extreme template changes, including changing from a tables-based layout to css relative positioning (which included moving some top nav down to the bottom of the code), with no apparent ranking effects at all. But in these redesigns, no text changes, url changes, or navigation changes were made.

On the other hand, changing a few key phrases on some pages has sent the rankings of the pages cycling up and down for weeks. Other onpage text changes have had no effect in rankings at all.

I'd say that the volatility of a page with regard to text changes depends on how competitive the phrases in question are, how close on your tail your competition is, how much of your positioning is due to onpage vs off-page factors (and how strong your inbound linking is), how close you are to tripping an overoptimization filter, where on the page you're making the change, and the timing of when this happens in relation to whatever Google is "tweaking" in its algo.

oasisfan




msg:3669653
 7:28 am on Jun 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

Our traffic has fallen alarmingly.

I just checked our google account (the manage webites) and I just discovered that lots of our sites pages, including our home page couldn't be crawled.

Help is there anything I can do?

Is this the same problem as everyone else

This page lists URLs from your site that Googlebot had trouble crawling. As a result, these pages have not been added to our index, and may not appear in Google search results. Googlebot found these pages either in your Sitemap or by following links from other pages during a discovery crawl.

Not all errors may be actual problems. For example, if pages are blocked by robots.txt, this may be because you've deliberately chosen to block them; if that's the case, there's no need to fix the error. Similarly, if unrecognizable URLs appear in the 404 report, it's fine to ignore them. However, it's still worthwhile to review any errors you receive, and to examine any affected pages for problems. For example, Not Followed errors can be a clue that some of your pages contain content (such as Flash or images) that Googlebot can't easily crawl, or that their URL structure is not Google-friendly.


tedster




msg:3669656
 7:41 am on Jun 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

I doubt that that's the same problem others are having, oasisfan. I'd start checking your server logs to see what they say has been going on with googlebot requests. You might have a technical problem - or you might recently have had a technical problem that's been cleared up.

Hissingsid




msg:3669667
 7:58 am on Jun 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

LovejoyNow I always keep a copy of the old page in on the server ( EG. index_old ) just case I have to pop it back in
to pay the bills ;~)

You need to be careful those don't get into the Google index. I'm not sure I would keep it on the server just in case.

Cheers

Sid

confuscius




msg:3669680
 8:43 am on Jun 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

Oasisfan - just a stab in the dark but it would not surprise me if you find that the Google message is not being created by your site but by others creating links to your site. We know that Google is looking to generate search box queries but these can be created remotely and if they do not resolve properly then this would generate an apparent error on your site. I have seen some evidence of this on one of my smaller site's logs and it seems that Google have opened themselves up to another possible exploit.

oasisfan




msg:3669682
 8:46 am on Jun 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

Thanks, I have generated a sitemap and submitted that.

I think its a coincidence though as our drop in traffic started at the same time as every one elses.

oasisfan




msg:3669683
 8:50 am on Jun 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

confuscius, sorry I don't really understand what you mean?

Is it people could try to search for our site and generate not found errors (how would they do this though?) and so google would think that our site can't be found.

I think I get what you mean-if this is true anybody could sabotage a site by making google think pages can't be found.

Mark7144




msg:3669688
 9:17 am on Jun 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

Has anyone else seen a major slow down in crawling since 1 June? I've seen my site and my competitors cache not updated since that time when usually I would notice changes on a daily basis being reflected on the SERPS and cache.

Is this happening to anyone else?

confuscius




msg:3669690
 9:36 am on Jun 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

Oasis Fan - an example - I create a page of links to a well known auction site and that auction site accepts a search query link. Google spiders my page and then adds the links for its subsequent crawl BUT if I did the same to another site that does not accept a search query link then Google would not find these pages they would be 404's or Google may have a difficulty because of how your server set up processes the incoming request!

Having re-read your post then can you not see the specific pages that Google is having a problem with? You should be able to but I only have one warning at the moment for a page missing from a sitemap on one site BUT it does tell me the specific page. Can you not see the construct of the pages that it is having difficulty with? If you do not recognise the construct then it is probably being generated remotely for an unknown purpose.

I have a current rogue scraper trying all sorts of constructs on one small site, my guess is thay are trying to get my site to create in effect a mash of my content for use on their site. If they backlink to it and then Google spider their mash page of my content then I get a new page in the index that I did not want. I know of one widely used site plugin that uses this approach to bolster their content because I was able to track down the footprint of the request and then found what my and other sites had in common - their plugin!

confuscius




msg:3669691
 9:37 am on Jun 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

Mark - I see this too - I just reported the stasis on the June 4 issue post.

outland88




msg:3669697
 10:00 am on Jun 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

Clients have made some fairly extreme template changes, including changing from a tables-based layout to css relative positioning (which included moving some top nav down to the bottom of the code), with no apparent ranking effects at all. But in these redesigns, no text changes, url changes, or navigation changes were made.

Absolutely, thatís the way you do it. But what I'm seeing now is a change in direction. Itís like in some cases Google is wrongly identifying certain elements of a page design as suspicious or skipping over it for some reason.

g1smd




msg:3669711
 11:12 am on Jun 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

Servers at 74.125.45.nnn and 74.125.77.nnn and several others, seem to be way ahead in indexing new pages compared to the rest of them.

Mark7144




msg:3669717
 11:18 am on Jun 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

That does indeed appear to be the case.

[edited by: Mark7144 at 11:18 am (utc) on June 8, 2008]

oasisfan




msg:3669745
 12:16 pm on Jun 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

confuscius-I looked at the pages google couldn't index and all apart from 1 are legitimate and I can explain.

In the google dashboard I also looked at the top keyword searches for our site and now none of them show us anywhere in the serps.

The thing is that our pages are a lot better than the ones now showing-OK I would say that but honestly there is no way our content is inferior in anyay to what they now present bu we are no where.

Its still early days though so I hope its just google tweaking filters..

g1smd




msg:3669758
 12:39 pm on Jun 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

*** *** I always keep a copy of the old page in on the server ( EG. index_old ) *** ***

*** You need to be careful those don't get into the Google index. ***

You do need to be careful, but I have a (PHP script) system where such pages automatically get a meta robots noindex,noarchive tag added to them as they are displayed.

They also have their GA code omitted, and a user-centric "you are looking at an old page" message added to the top of the page.

Lovejoy




msg:3669842
 4:09 pm on Jun 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

In ten years I've never had a problem with an old page being picked up, or even showing in the first 100 search results. But any action I've had to take is generally taken within days. If the new page does all right the old one goes into an archive. If the new page tanks, the old one goes right back up with a simple name change, the new one dumped.

Lovejoy

outland88




msg:3669923
 6:28 pm on Jun 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

I use the same methods Lovejoy and have accidentally left pages on servers with no ill effects. A month ago I cleaned it all out which was about five pages. Now I wish Google would police its on back yard. Google loves that duplicate content on scrapers. To be more accurate Google just plain loves stolen content with Adsense on it. I say this because I am dealing with absolutely none of this in MSN and Yahoo. Regardless of what Google maintains about it not hurting a site its to their advantage people not filing DMCA's against it.

Robert Charlton




msg:3669934
 7:04 pm on Jun 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

To be more accurate Google just plain loves stolen content with Adsense on it. I say this because I am dealing with absolutely none of this in MSN and Yahoo.

I've seen just the opposite, but we may be talking about different things. Yes, I do see Google Adsense a lot on pages with scraped content.

What I don't see as much in Google, though, is scraped content having a longterm effect on the original page's rankings. Sometimes, a scraped page will flicker in and out for a few days on Google, but (thus far), the originals have always come back.

On the other hand, on MSN in particular, I've experienced scraped pages with a bunch of junk links taking down an entire well-establish site.

outland88




msg:3670022
 10:52 pm on Jun 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

I know what you mean by the flickering but plenty have now found exploits in Google.

The ones that are becoming particularly obnoxious to me in Google are those that steal the meta tags, make a thumbnail, and add a little bit of info such as PR rank, Alexa rank etc. Because there's so little to grap on to penalize many rank in the top fifty. They could pass any OOP filter. They're basically glorified doorway pages that nobody links to but seem to gain rankings because they aim a few links outward. None of these sites are particularly gunning for top rankings but settle for hundreds of pages doing just well enough to generate a healthy Adsense income.

All search engines have spam and doorway pages. Google though seems uniquely tied to overlooking whatever profits them in regards to stolen or hijacked content. Bottom line is Google's got incredible gall penalizing anybody for anything with all the things they're overlooking that profit them. MSN and Yahoo have no observable ties with the spammers I see nor can I loosely suggest they do by just an ordinary view of the page.

[edited by: outland88 at 11:29 pm (utc) on June 8, 2008]

oasisfan




msg:3670027
 11:15 pm on Jun 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

Is there any way to contact google to ask them why this has happened, been a week now.

I can honestly say That I have done nothing knowingly wrong and that for some reason they have penalised our site which provides better content that most in our field.

I am so proud of our site. We have 1144 pages indexed by the way and we have nearly completed a site wide update.

[edited by: tedster at 1:34 am (utc) on June 9, 2008]

oasisfan




msg:3670053
 12:22 am on Jun 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

sorry for double posts, I can't see how to edit posts.

What I also wanted to say was that when I looked in google webmaster tools for our site they list the top keyword searches for our site.

They are obviously out of date as none of the keywords now show our site up. The page they use to show up in the top 10 for this particular search was probably one of the best on this search. I just don't know why its gone. It makes me wonder if its worth continuing with our site as I can say that some pages which have lost rank in the past were not that good and I can see why they lost positions. That didn't worry me.

But this is worrying as I can see that even if we produce brilliant pages for some reason google won't list them. I don't know what google is up to but this one baffles me and they are not returning the best, in our particular field anyway, pages to searchers.

We have been compleatly open with google and have submitted our site through their webmaster tools dashboard. They know all about our site, we have been compleatly transparent

Their adsense team have even emailed us to take part in their surveys (OK I suspect many others would have taken parts) but still we have done nothing but fully co operate with google and followed their doctrin of basically "if you build it they will come".

I do also accept that maybe we have inadvertently done something wrong but I don't know what.

All our pages still have page rank though, nothing is greyed out.

Anyone know of an email to google so I can ask what's up?

Hissingsid




msg:3670217
 8:10 am on Jun 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

we have nearly completed a site wide update.

What exactly have you done in this "site wide update"?

Cheers

Sid

Mark7144




msg:3670243
 9:02 am on Jun 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

You can't email Google, you'll just have to try and figure out what is wrong with your site and do a reinclusion request.

oasisfan




msg:3670255
 9:49 am on Jun 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

We have basically made our site look more modern and useable with breadcrumb navigation. Our site is 10 years old and this is our third major redesign to keep it up with the times. We are really pleased with how it looks and have used Css throughout. Its taken a year to update as we have done it page by page and also updated the content as we go. It a 1400 page site so it couldn't be done overnight. OK not that big a site but its all written by ourselves and we have thousands of photos.

I have joined the supporters forum and will submit our site to review.

We still have google page rank and some top 10 results but for others we are in the cold.

Hissingsid




msg:3670257
 10:06 am on Jun 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

Hi oasisfan,

In your redesign what exactly did you do in terms of changing URLs, titles, descriptions, H1 tagged words etc?

You may have inadvertently changed something minor that has made a significant difference on Google.

Sometimes when moving to css positioning folks tidy up their tags, including H1 tags to correct errors in earlier coding, sometimes the document flow is different so your search terms are more or less prominent, or at least more or less dense early in the document. Take a look at an old page compared with the equivalent new page using lynx or a lynx simulator or a "how a robot sees your page" tool. It might show up some differences.

If it does your problems then really begin because you have to decide what if anything you are going to do about it.

Cheers

Sid

oasisfan




msg:3670271
 10:20 am on Jun 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

Hi Hissingsid,

we did use css before but one of the reasons we redesigned was taht it looked ok in I.E we had terrible positioning problems in firefox. As firefox became more and more popular we had to do something about it.
We basiclaly left our URL's the same, just moved the content to the new design (which was done using Dreamwevar CS3). Now we have asite which looks OK in all browsers including safari.
We didn't do anything with h1 tags or titles, just updated content where we needed to.
I do accept we may have done something bad but as I said before we do pay little attention to seo as Google says that you should just design a page for users and ignore search engines. This is what we have done.
I'll do as you say and take a look at the page but I thought google's bots were intelligent enough to have see the content in the order it is presented on the screen, not neccessarily in the raw order its in the website without the css to format it?

The redesign has taken over a year. We started slowly to see if there was any major effect and as it seemed OK we gradully rolled out the ew design.

I do see what you are saying that maybe we have done something bad to our site as google sees it but as there seems to be other people in this June 4th traffic fall it may be something else?

oasisfan




msg:3670272
 10:22 am on Jun 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

Apologies for my terrible spelling- I am mildly dyslex...

Right Reading




msg:3670480
 3:25 pm on Jun 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

>> "I run a non-profit site so paying for Adwords is out of the question."

There is nothing preventing nonprofits from using Adwords.

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