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This 242 message thread spans 9 pages: < < 242 ( 1 2 3 4 [5] 6 7 8 9 > >     
Major Ranking Losses on 2008 June 4 - 5

 12:34 pm on Jun 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

I can now join the catastrophic loss club! UK site, PR6, rock solid rankings, 400k pages indexed, fast loading - 90% loss of traffic since 2 days ago. Last time the site went AWOL was early February for a couple of days.

Looking up what I used to rank for approx 20,00 medium to long phrases then all top listing just disappeared BUT results can now only be described as awful - in fact on one query results 11-20 contained sites from Poland, Germany, Czech, .info and not a single .com or .co.uk - when will Google admit that they really screwed up big time this time?

As my site is a .com hosted on uk servers then it seems that I have now moved to the index for Mars. Time to move to the dark side methinks rather than stay in the Google lottery.

[edited by: tedster at 7:08 pm (utc) on June 6, 2008]
[edit reason] moved from [webmasterworld.com...] [/edit]



 10:25 am on Jun 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

For the kind of changes we're disussing here, no one has mentioned a slow down in either spidering or indexing speed. So I'd say you might be seeing this same phenomenon hit your website.

But you should definitely keep an open mind about other more established types of problems. It might be important that the trouble kicked in for you five days ago - that's a couple days later than the reports that started this thread.


 10:32 am on Jun 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

To sum up my current position :

1. Approx 400,000 pages indexed
2. Dual function - small part free individually reviewed compact dirctory + larger product based price comparison site.
3. 10k visitors down to 1k but now mainly image searches + non .com and .co.uk
4. .com domain, UK products, UK VPS hosting on its own IP.
5. WMT reports 15 short titles but has done for months + 247 duplicate title tags where product is no longer available - cannot get product name as it is no longer available! Not statistically significant and the figures have been like this for months.
6. I have just geo targetted UK, the only change in months apart from the product mix moving around.
7. PR6, subpages PR5, PR4 etc and some n/a but lots of pages to sell links on if things do not change.
8. Authority backlinks to main directory site from .edu and even Google themselves for recognition.
9. Acronym + word domain name which gets full authority listing.
10. tons of deep content as I try to list lesser seen products leading to why the long tail searches WERE so effective.
11. No sitewide penalty as I stll rank no 1 for some 2 word phrases with 2.5 million results and where I rank the results are a bit of a mess with many websites that I would have expected to see there just gone as well.
12. My results seem to have been replaced by lots of smaller sites where results relate to say 2 of the 3 words of a 3 word search with the last word tacked on.
13. The hit was instantaneous and not gradual and happened at 5.00pm on 4 June
14. No signs of any recovery whatsoever.
15. Google is still spidering 25,000 pages per day on my main site.
16. At the same time some of my smaller sites with similar structure but less indexed saw their traffic go up 4 to 6 times from 40-50 visitors per day to 200-300 visitors per day.
17. It seems that people are having to go well past page 1 or 2 to find relevant results as my visitors are converting and when checking back I sometimes wonder if the results are remotely relevant other than the pages returned contains the words - it is as if link relevance has gone and a lottery system has been put in.
18. I am seeing fairly awful results that are varying by the hour, I see sites visible then not then back as if the results have a shuffle function applied to them.
19. There seem to be a lot less double listings than there was before 4 June for ALL sites not just mine.
20. My brain hurts!


 11:44 am on Jun 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

Were are the pages now , 950, 350 position or a new one ?


 12:05 pm on Jun 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

I've spent all morning trying to find out the exact position change, but it seems pretty random to me..

ie. previous position 1-10 keywords are placed at approx position 15,60,175,600+ can't seem to check results over position 800 because the result seem to end?


 12:25 pm on Jun 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

Is it the same in all datacentres, or can you find some that have completely different results still?

No need to check all 70, choose a random small selection.


 12:39 pm on Jun 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

I now have access to three large sites that were hit and two large sites that were not. All with similar content and focus.

They are all informational.

What we are seeing is a significant loss of long tail searches, mainly words that saw less than 3 visits per month. Searches that bring more visitors than that seem to be totally unaffected, many have even improved some.

The main thing I am seeing that differenciates these sites is their internal linking structure. The sites that lost traffic have a very linar structure. Like a wheel. The link path to any page starts at the home page and drills down through two or three category pages to indivdual info pages. These info pages then link to each other or back to the cats that link in to them. There is no variety in the type of links a page gets.

The sites that did not lose traffic have a much more diverse internal linking structure. Any single info page may have links from a variety of types of pages on the site and link back out to a variety of kinds of pages on the site. So it looks more like a a big, tangled web.

Also, the Analytics thing I mentioned earlier turned out to be purely a glitch with Analytics. Seems it just can't handle tracking the traffic on large sites. And the site just got very small, very fast.


 12:45 pm on Jun 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

Well, we only rank well in .co.uk so if you can let me know uk only datacenters (if there is such a thing) then ill do some testing.


 12:55 pm on Jun 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

No. I was referring to [webmasterworld.com...]


 12:56 pm on Jun 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

I hope GG or Matt could give more info about this (I would call it a glitch rather then phenomenon) since I see no patterns here.

handsome rob

 1:27 pm on Jun 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'll join the list, this update is a disaster. A site that has been broken for WEEKS... broken as in the entire page including the title and description is nothing but code... actually got moved to the first page for a competitive search term I monitor.


 1:53 pm on Jun 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

I was happy because my site was appeared on 950 page for a very competitive term. When i was reading 950 thread i have realized it is not a great event :) I eliminate onpage spam and now is ok.

Now i think is another Google filter.I see some competitors vanished from top 100 only from some keywords .It is 950 updated or a new penalty ?
Anyway , my advice is to look on your site and ask you which elements are for Googlebot and which are from users.

Sincerily, would you like to make a search and to find a page full with keywords and artificial things? I don't want.


 5:26 pm on Jun 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

I take offense to the generalised comments that it seems that all the "crap" has risen to the top. I have several UK sites and I was unware that there was such a huge problem until I logged into WW and saw this thread on the main page. Traffic is up or unchanged on all my sites. My sites are good with unique content (real unique content!), relevant advertising methods and always centered around the user experience. My sites never grew beyond what was needed (i.e. I don't allow Google to index the 1,000,000 pages of the price comparison site I run as the site is only a PR3 with 400+ inbounds).

I noticed two steps in my stats, one on the 2nd June and one on the 9th. Traffic increased on 14 out of 19 sites I monitor closely, ranging from 15% to 100% rises. So no, I don't think Google have screwed anything up.

I'm finding it hard to believe people when they say "there is nothing but junk for a competitive term I used to rank for". Competitive doesn't always mean 1000+ searches per month and a high bid of $5 on Adwords. I think you should quantify your meaning of competitive. When I see someone saying "the top ten results for the phrase car insurance shows nothing but broken links" then I'll sit up and take notice.


 6:29 pm on Jun 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

When I see someone saying "the top ten results for the phrase car insurance shows nothing but broken links" then I'll sit up and take notice.

Point taken. That said, why does Wiki appear in the top ten for health insurance?

Like you, I am not seeing the major issues others are discussing here. However, I do see some significant changes.

In one niche I monitor there are a few pages that serve as a sign of "deteriorating" results.

One is an old .txt page that may have been "authoritative" in its time - about 8 years ago - and which seems to live off of ancient, albeit "authoritative" links (.gov and .edu). It doesn't even belong in the top 1000 these days, but from time to time it burbles up to the top 10 (currently #6 for widget and #9 for widgets).

Another is a 2001 bankrate article. Out of date and useless. Currently #1 for making widgets and #3 for widget making.

Then, of course, there is Wiki, with all of its misinformation being presented as fact. (Oh how I do wish that Wiki would go away. If I wanted to search Wiki for an article, I am sure I could use their search function rather than relying on G to serve them up for me...)


 7:08 pm on Jun 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

Now the dust seems to have cleared a bit, I see numerous scraper sites that had been out of search results for a long time, back up and ranking and they are ranking on page 1 and 2 for a wide range of keywords associated with my industry. It is a sad day.

I have not lost much traffic to my #1 site, it is only a trickle down. While I was an authority site on the #2 keyword, and rightly so. I still have #1, but the weak listing is causing some traffic loss.

It is my #2 site that was beaten nearly to death. That site earns five figures a year, and while I know that is not much to the big guys, or compared to my #1 site, it is still a major loss to have that site now earning only $3-5 a day. With the dog days of summer upon us, and that site always hit the hardest of all my sites by weak summer traffic, I am looking at summer days of a buck. I could just frigging cry, if I was not so angry.

The #2 is still ranking for many minor keywords, so Google is sending a trickle. It is not like it was hit with a 950But, most of the traffic is comling from Yahoo.

As reported earlier one served results was down to only 478,000. Then later yesterday it was down to about 300,000. I think the update is still in progress, and things are done rocking yet. I am holding my breath hoping when it is all over, we are down $7000yr on the #2 site.

The big thing I noticed yesterday was the Google searches coming from Yahoo sites dominating search traffic on the #2 site and the smaller sites, as well as Google image searches, which I NEVER get. I have very few images on my network of websites.

I think this disaster is tied to the new partnership, making adjustments, and with all these scrapers on top, it is obvious they are not done yet.

With the domain name on #2, it had the same problem all my sites had at one time. We registered the hyphenated and non-hyphenated names many years ago. I used the hyphenated ones, and all my initial add url entries were for the hyphenated names. Somewhere along the way, an engine picked up the non-hyphenated ones pointing to the sites, and added them to the pile.

At that time, we ranked in the engines for both names in each set. It was the non-hyphenated names that had PR4 and PR5.

Then, Google decided to dump the hyphenated names from their search, BUT they gave the PR to those names, that could not be found in search, and instead ranked the non-hyphenated names and took the PR away from them. All non-hyphenated names, ranking #1 in search for thousands of terms, had a PR0. This was years ago.

Now, the #2 site is ranking for the hyphenated name, out of the blue (since June 4), as well as for the non-hyphenated name (for minor keywords). But, the traffic is not coming into the dot com, as it has alwasys done in the past for major keywords, instead to the index page specifically. What it means is the changes at #2 are wide and crazy. None of it makes any sense.

Last go-around, we were getting supplemental results (again!) from more pages on this site, and now there is zip, zero, nada.

I guess it is time to hunker down. I can only hope when the summer renovation project is done next week on my #1 site, I didn't zig when I should have zagged. Any major loss there, would be devasting. I'm hesitant to launch the new renovation, until I am sure that this wave of updates at Google is done and see if #1 gets clobbered yet. Right now, it looks to me this is not over yet.


 7:48 pm on Jun 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

Then, Google decided to dump the hyphenated names from their search...

There does seem to be a dirth of hyphenated domain names these days.

Checking across a number of terms including travel, debt, cars, guns, etc. I can count the number of hyphenated domains on the fingers of one hand.

Back in January I switched a site from a hyphenated domain to the non-hyphenated version. While I am still dealing with the (well anticipated) fallout of the switch, I am certainly glad I made it.

A single hyphen does not of itself mean spam, particuarly on an old domain (in this case 8+ years) but the writing was on the wall for a while, wasn't it?


 7:54 pm on Jun 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

The search results for the term covered for my biggest web site have not deteriorated. Except, my site has mostly dropped 10 to 100 places for the important search terms. It is a very high quality site with original content. But it does have a logical internal linking system, with all the pages linking back to the main sub-groups, and to the home page. Using keywords for the internal links most of the time.


 8:18 pm on Jun 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

The positive may also help in what is clearly a major upset in the google results. My site is informational, 1,000 pages, .co.uk, hosted in the UK, totally white hat, updated frequently, PR4 home page plus many other PR4 pages. Navigation is mostly linear but some pages would appear to be linking randomly to others. Huge inbound links, lots of outbound links.

I am roughly 50% up on last year incomewise and I can almost predict to within $10 each day what the income will be from Google based on last year plus the improvement %. This applies even though I have significant differences depending on the day of the week and and the time of the year.

¦ also have a PR3 site almost the same, absolutely no variation other than an improvement over last year. It has maybe 400 pages though.

That's rock solid "no change" against which "changed" sites maybe can work out why their income has changed. Hope it adds to the melting pot on this subject.


 8:22 pm on Jun 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

There does seem to be a dirth of hyphenated domain names these days.

Interesting observation.

For my core site #1 I have used the hyphenated name for 12-13 years with the unhyphenated name used for testing, this site has seen no adverse reactions other than some very wild AdSense swings.

However another, site #2 and 10 yrs old that has always used the hyphenated domain with the unhyphenated parked on top it from day 1, the unhyphenated has suddenly started appearing in the SERPs for keyword phrases.

Site #1 unaffected on June 4th, site #2, the heavy losses reported here.

Site #1 10,000 pages trade widget informational and directory site.

Site #2 200 pages trade widget retail brochure site.


 8:34 pm on Jun 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

Point taken. That said, why does Wiki appear in the top ten for health insurance?

Ah, the chink in Google's armour ... or is it? Despite it's flaws I do use it quite alot, though I've never clicked on it in any search results for things I'm looking for.

I think Wikipedia ranking in the top ten is an indicator of "stable" results i.e. right now nothing is being tested. It has all the links it needs, a strong internal linking structure and naturally optimised content for each page. It just so happens to match all the basic SEO pointers that a top ranking site should have plus the added "aimed at users" mystery ranking factors.


 8:51 pm on Jun 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

So who thinks this is a major attackt against dynamically generated pages? Those pages in most cases use linear linking and not random links.


 9:14 pm on Jun 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

It could very well be that, although our affected site doesn't contain any dynamically generated pages, the links to each relevant page are dynamically generated, so would you say this falls into the same category?


 9:28 pm on Jun 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

The machine can't tell if a site is dynamically generated in most cases by reading the page content. But it can read patterns, in this case the pattern is the linear links.


 9:28 pm on Jun 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

wow, a lot to read and digest

Anyways, it sounds like this has not affected full-on ecommerce websites. Am I correct?

Over the last week and a 1/2, our site (a full-on ecommerce site) has returned to its previous good rankings that we had 3 months ago for generic popular keywords. Now we did not lose a lot of traffic in the last 3 months but we did lose some.

So if I am correct, it appears that Google has taken a swipe at aff. sites and Adsense sites. It must be on purpose because they have not posted here on this topic.


 9:42 pm on Jun 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

The one site that was affected is not dynamically generated, only contains two pages and is connected to 1shoppingcart by one product only. NO long tail terms. hosted in US - a dot com site. AND VERY niche...very niche

it has been rising gradually for some thing it was #1 for but as someone else said in a differrent way.... nothing to write home about.
google traffic is 10% of what it was


 10:09 pm on Jun 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

Yes, I like 10%, this fits perfect. For me it's the 10% penalty.


 10:29 pm on Jun 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

"Anyways, it sounds like this has not affected full-on ecommerce websites. Am I correct? So if I am correct, it appears that Google has taken a swipe at aff. sites and Adsense sites. It must be on purpose because they have not posted here on this topic."

confused - which sites are left from this analysis..whats a full on ecommerce web site when its at home?

my tuppence worth

1million+ pages indexed - 10 year record
20 million uniques last year
disrupted last year for a couple of months. Strong since sept 2007
50% traffic reduction march 2008
traffic returns fri 30th may
goes again to march 08 level june 4th
traffic drops by 75% (of 2007 level) on 13th

what can I summise ?

bugger all!


 11:17 pm on Jun 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

Im starting to see some traffic returning and getting some number 1 position for search terms i've never noticed before in that position.


 2:39 am on Jun 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

Is anyone else still dropping? My traffic has been odd since last week...it was lower most of last week, dropped again on Monday, surged back on Tuesday and stayed strong until Friday when it plunged by almost 50%. My thursday and Friday traffic has been lower than normal for two months now, but I have never seen such a huge one day traffic shift. I have also notice that Google images seems to be surging in traffic while google search is decreasing.


 5:01 am on Jun 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

Well, it is seems to still be rocking. My #2 site is still #3 for the main two word keyword, and it now #1 for the main three word keyword, but both are coming in on the index page, not the dot com, and still coming in on the hyphenated not the non-hyphenated.

On my #1 site keywords, there is a competitor ranking on our main one word keyword, TWICE within the first two pages of results. I haven't seen this type of ranking for years.

Earnings are up a little on the #2 site, woo hoo. We are over $5 today. Only did $3 yesterday. I can't even begin to wrap my mind around these revenue losses.


I saw somebody mention Statcounter. Could it be that we all had so many dead links when the Statcounter server went down (along with many others) that we all got hit for excessive dead links, if we were indexed while Statcounter was down? Anyone else using Statcounter on all their sites and was indexed on May 31?

Sites not yet indexed have not been hit. Site wide, those dead links accounted for millions of dead links, which is really excessive. I know, I know, I am grasping at straws here, in trying to make sense of this. But, at least if it was related to Statcounter, we might recover in the next indexing. For me that is tomorrow.

In answer to another query, none of our pages are dynamically generated.


 6:32 am on Jun 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

1million+ pages indexed - 10 year record

The one site that was affected is not dynamically generated, only contains two pages and is connected to 1shoppingcart by one product only. NO long tail terms. hosted in US - a dot com site. AND VERY niche...very niche

So if I am correct, it appears that Google has taken a swipe at aff. sites and Adsense sites.

400k pages indexed

it's editorial info but many pages have photos and about 50 words of text.

My sites consist of local infomational pages (state, city).

with millions of pages indexed. We've noticed a large drop in traffic starting a couple of days ago.

Of course this could be part of the Google masterplan to fill the results with loads of tiddlers to suffocate the bigger fish into buying air from Google!

If anyone has a site where it might actually be strange for them to have dropped in ranking or if anyone has a site where a huge search sector has been affected please speak up. All I'm hearing is that sites with hundreds of thousands of pages of auto-generated content are losing traffic. Where is the surprise factor here?

sites are hosted in Europe but target US market

The only valid issue I've read so far. Yes, geo-targetting has been a priority over the past few months for Google and there have been several huge changes. I was very surprised that there were not a whole bunch of threads on this as the search results across country specific google.tlds has changed dramatically in recent weeks.

This last concept is the strangest:

So who thinks this is a major attackt against dynamically generated pages?

How is that possible? Nearly all pages in the top ten these days are dynamic. Do you mean an attack on pages with query strings? There has been an increasing level of preferring mod_rewritten URLs to ones with query strings on Google. I saw no extra surge of this preference over the past two weeks. That dial is being turned up very slowly.


 7:03 am on Jun 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

So far I have seen no improvement. As i said in a previous post, my new pages are indexed very fast, but no return of traffic. I also gained 4 good links, PR5 links, however I dont think this will help very much.

This 242 message thread spans 9 pages: < < 242 ( 1 2 3 4 [5] 6 7 8 9 > >
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