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Google.com SERP Changes - July 2008
sunroof




msg:3686975
 4:22 pm on Jun 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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

Has anyone recovered from June 4th catastrophe?

[edited by: tedster at 5:43 am (utc) on July 1, 2008]

 

RedCardinal




msg:3688360
 10:46 am on Jul 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

Interesting - we had a brief break for about 2 weeks during which time things went quiet and settled nicely. But for me anyhow this has returned, and I can say hand on heart it's the biggest pain in the rear ever trying to explain this to clients who don't care about explanations, lees still when you cant point them at anything official.

The only reason this isn't being talked about is that I think it's only hitting a very small number of SERPs. I'm only seeing this on one particular keyword, and I've a few ideas why/what Google may be testing. My greatest fear however is that this is something new they are going to roll out that would absolutely change SEO as we know it. And from what I hear recently from Googlers this wouldn't surprise me at all.

baaa




msg:3688362
 10:54 am on Jul 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

Tried all the DCs mentioned above for various keyphrases where we used to rank well before June 26 but no difference...

@pageoneresults

thanks for the tips. unfortunately, we did indeed lose 90% traffic on a site that received over 90% of its traffic from google. so yeah, now that site is on around 450/500 visits per day. Luckily it is not one of our main sites but it obviously hurts revenue - a lot.

blackhat - i meant shady link schemes, hidden text, stuffing, blablabla

we will go through the website again to see if there is anything else that could be hurting it and file a reinclusion request.

One thing I thought of when reading another thread: we have a "mega menu" on the top. Each category page probably has about 250 internal links, product page has about 140 internal links (not just in menus, but around the page).. is that too much? i know they say "keep it to 100" (+-) but this has worked quite well in all our country sites so we havent really bothered changing it... many times, our pages rank well in SERP simply due to a good site architecture and strong internal linkage going around.... but is it time to change? any experience on this?

Timetraveler




msg:3688953
 10:29 pm on Jul 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

@ FriskUK - Im seeing the exact same problems you are, and also for other authoritative sites in my sector.

This happened last night or possibly this morning so it seems to be hitting people randomly through the month.

The sites involved do purchase links but nothing all that blackhat so to speak. Genuine link purchases.

I've noticed 3 sites so far that have been hit which include sites that used to be #1 ranking for extremely competitive keywords, now on page 6-7.

Searches for Brand Name return no results unless .com is included.

SEOPTI




msg:3688965
 10:58 pm on Jul 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

They will keep this June 4 penalty, I'm quite sure. You can loose your rankings every second. I think it's better to build up a second business offline. Google is getting more and more ignorant to webmasters.

[edited by: SEOPTI at 10:59 pm (utc) on July 2, 2008]

pageoneresults




msg:3688972
 11:12 pm on Jul 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

Ya know, there surely has to be something in common amongst all of you participating in this topic. I'm going to guess it is industry related? Multiple sites within the same industry? That's what it reads like going through this topic. Are many of you in "highly volatile" markets that have come under heavy scrutiny by Google lately? What gives? There are some pretty drastic pleas in this topic and there has to be a common denominator, there has to be!

Timetraveler




msg:3688976
 11:20 pm on Jul 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

@pageoneresults - Im just now sifting through it and plan to analyze it tonight. But, to be honest Im not going to beat my brain in again....not after what Google did with the -6 "bug" which we all thought was a penalty. Matt Cutts said there was no penalty and it all turned out to be a bug in the algo.

jackson992




msg:3688982
 11:43 pm on Jul 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

Someone said to contact Google but didn't think there was anything you could do except submit a reinclusion request which I've done to no avail.

pageoneresults




msg:3688992
 12:12 am on Jul 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

Ya know, there surely has to be something in common amongst all of you participating in this topic.

Okay, so let's look at what "might" be going on.

1. A bug in Google which is a possibility but likely not a probability.
2. You've been manually banned. Definitely a possibility.
3. You've fallen under a new algo routine that was meant to rid certain sectors of "parasites".

And please, don't take #3 personally.

If I were to "guess" the common denominators amongst those participating, I might have a list that looks like this...

1. Real Estate, Travel, Highly Competitive Industry
2. Similar site architecture, all followers, no leaders
3. Thousands of pages of regurgitated content based on region, etc.

While that may not be the case, I think I may be on to something. If any of you are in the Real Estate industry, one look at your site from anyone familiar with the current upheaval in that space and they should be able to immediately point out your problems. There's a whole bunch of agents right now that have been relegated to the depths of The Gorg probably never to be seen again. That applies to the Travel Industry too.

And, since Google's algo is so freakin dynamic, this happens regularly. Its just someone starts a topic about it and every now and then that topic becomes the sticky one for everyone who has just been banished by Google. At some point a common denominator comes into play. If I look at the history of these topics, I don't think I'm that far off. But, you never know...

Oh, and many of you have probably uncovered some interesting results when searching for your domain, huh?

SEOPTI




msg:3689020
 12:55 am on Jul 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

It is definitely NOT industry related, I run sites across 10+ industries (less and more competitive, all long tail) and all of them have been hurt in this June 4 algo push.

You can be 100% sure, it is not industry related.

[edited by: SEOPTI at 1:23 am (utc) on July 3, 2008]

pageoneresults




msg:3689034
 1:23 am on Jul 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

Okay, that rules out #1 for you, now, how about #2 and #3?

2. Similar site architecture
3. Thousands of pages of regurgitated content based on region, etc.

SEOPTI




msg:3689036
 1:32 am on Jul 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have a feeling it may have something to do with the logical URL structure after looking at competition. Coud you please check your competition and their URL structure.

Google seems to love long logical URLs now.

Also do you use numbers in your URLs or in your pagination instead of letters?

Jane_Doe




msg:3689043
 1:44 am on Jul 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing more emphasis on authority sites, including U.S. News and journal articles replacing some heavily SEOed sites in some of the top ten positions for fairly competitive terms.

pageoneresults




msg:3689049
 1:51 am on Jul 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

Google seems to love long logical URLs now.

Huh? Does that mean that we're going to go out and change our URIs now to meet the latest fad? Are we talking those funky /multiple-hyphenated-file-naming-conventions-like-this-stuff.htm? Nah, that can't be so. Google actually likes the opposite. Short logical URIs.

Also do you use numbers in your URLs or in your pagination instead of letters?

For bots, neither (for smaller sites anyway). But, when it does come into play, I've had no issues with /2/, /3/, /4/, etc. Your website is like a book. It has pages. Its only natural to number them, don't you think? ;)

Timetraveler




msg:3688928
 10:01 pm on Jul 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

<moved from another location>

This all happened last night, but I'm seeing some sites being filtered out of the search results for competitive keywords. This includes authoritative sites and mid-authoritative sites for respected keywords.

It seems to be a penalty, some pages going from position 1-3 to page 5-7 (almost like a sandbox filter on authority sites).

Site name searches are also not returning the website unless .com is included. I was one of the first to notice the #6 "bug" until google fixed it and as far as I can tell so far this might be something similar. I imagine others will notice soon.....and hope to God this is another bug to combat spammers and normal sites are getting thrown out by the algo change.

[edited by: tedster at 2:02 am (utc) on July 3, 2008]

Lesedar




msg:3689193
 6:33 am on Jul 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

Timetraveler, I noticed this change in the SERPs too. One of my sites is totally devasted by it without making any significant changes to it. First, I thought this is -950 penalty. But I noticed that for searches the pages of this site used to appear between first 10 results, now they appear somewhere between 150-200 results. All pages of my site are pulled down the SERPs by this algo change, filter or whatever. I hope this is a bug Google will fix, but I do not believe.

Lesedar




msg:3689214
 7:02 am on Jul 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

I forgot to mention that to my site this happened on 1st of July. For its domain name (with and without .com) it still apears in the first position of the SERPs. All other pages disappeared from the first 100 results and the site lost almost 100% of Google traffic.

stockexperts




msg:3689427
 2:25 pm on Jul 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

No SEOPTI this could not be true
I have a feeling it may have something to do with the logical URL structure after looking at competition. Coud you please check your competition and their URL structure.
Google seems to love long logical URLs now.
Also do you use numbers in your URLs or in your pagination instead of letters?

My site is recovering Slowly and Gradually it has most of articles finance related and lots of affiliate content and
has structured URLS example.com/23/90/87/
I was struck on June 4 and the recovery started on 20 June it seems to be well on the way I am seeing most of my key words return results and traffic

SEOPTI




msg:3689477
 2:52 pm on Jul 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

This is the picture I see, long URLs and alphabetical pagination. Those sites survived. Maybe they target the numbers in URLs and in pagination.

whatthefunk




msg:3689503
 3:08 pm on Jul 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

My Site's SERP rankings seem to be back to normal today, at least those that I've spot checked.

This is after losing most of our traffic 2 days ago. Yesterday, I found and addressed 2 possible problems for my site in Google's index.

1. An indexed page on someShadyProxySite.com which had essentially the same exact content on the page as the Google cache of my homepage including the same style header that Google uses. Only the name "google" had been swapped with the name of the proxy site. I submitted a DMCA complaint about this to Google.

2. 1,700 indexed pages of my site's search results page. Someone hacked / manipulated the page to show various adult keyword searches and posted links in Russian forums in order to get those pages indexed. We excluded the search results page via robots.txt.

I am pleasantly surprised to see that the SERPs seem to have bounced back so quickly...and given that the problematic pages are all still showing up in the index, I wonder if the recovery is related to our actions yesterday or just a coincidence.

pageoneresults




msg:3689517
 3:18 pm on Jul 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

whatthefunk? Welcome to WebmasterWorld!

Feed me Seymour!

Tell us more, please! That's a rather quick recovery period.

Someone copied your content? NO?!?! Really? And regurgitated it on an offshore domain somewhere? That doesn't happen and it surely wouldn't have an effect on the target domain, would it? :(

Okay, so let's look at what "might" be going on.

1. A bug in Google which is a possibility but likely not a probability.
2. You've been manually banned. Definitely a possibility.
3. You've fallen under a new algo routine that was meant to rid certain sectors of "parasites".

I forgot, I need to add...

4. You're a victim of search sabotage.

kcguitar




msg:3689663
 4:46 pm on Jul 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

My largest $$ site fully recovered on June 30 from a sudden 90% loss on June 4 (phew!). No significant changes were made.

I have two other sites that decreased around 20% from June 4-7 and have not recovered.

zeus




msg:3689878
 8:10 pm on Jul 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

I noticed today that in my country that my site dont rank for anything, internal pages also dont rank, but a site:domain search is correct, but I dont rank at all, never seen that before, I dont even make link exchanges, more clean as my site it dont get.

Timetraveler




msg:3690165
 4:49 am on Jul 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

I still think there was a major change on the night of July 1. Multi-million dollar sites don't just get vanquished as if they are "sandboxed" for no reason...on the exact same day. So far I have found 5 of the most authoritative sites that got hit with this all at the same time.

pageoneresults - I could see it as a possibility of the sites being part of a parasitic cleanup and somehow the sites got thrown into the algo (#3). I've seen a cleaning up of parasitic spam for certain keywords these domains were competing for.

The sites penalized do nothing above and beyond "blackhat" than other sites that did not get penalized.

Penalized sites also had their subdomains pushed down to page 6-7 if they were ranking position 1-3.

If anyone was involved with the #6 Bug they'll remember that a search for their site name resulted in the same type of penalty...a #6-7 push back in positions. The only thing different with this one is it's pushed back 6-7 pages! So, my theory is it is a bug and Google will resolve. Hopefully quicker than they did with the #6 bug.

Whitey




msg:3690167
 5:00 am on Jul 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

Somethings up - a new Google algo for some changes is having problems, maybe . My observations are :

1. For an "Exact Match" result a site with no meta title and no content is ranking [ yes folks a blank page - completely white with a "dot" for the meta title ]. A description is provided, but again folks, there is no content - neither meta , nor on the page.
2. A .com site is appearing in "pages from .uk" - the .com site has no Whois UK connection , or TLD . However the site does link to a UK site.

I'm sure there's more, but these are just some random observations.

tedster




msg:3690177
 5:40 am on Jul 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

The mystifying obervation, reported now by quite a few websites, is an increase in traffic on short query terms but a DROP in long tail traffic. This does seem to point to something new in the Google universe.

RedCardinal




msg:3690186
 6:00 am on Jul 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

@Whitey - the UK issues are known at this stage. Google seems to be having some difficulty with geotargeting. Same thing was happening on google.ie - we had .co.nz sites appearing in PFI

I've also seen some very odd results, such as a page with only 'No search results found' within an authority site's usual boiler plate ranking for a specific term.

@Tedster - given some of the comments from Googlers recently, and how they see SEO, and it's place in the future, I would imagine that some large-scale changes may be in the pipeline...

Did you listen to JuneTune? They covered "why would my site drop in rankings" (ties into recent changes, and related to the increase in why is my site dropped in rankings queries over on Google Groups and elsewhere?), and there were some interesting comments on the future role of SEO - makes me wonder what changes are afoot?

Whitey




msg:3690200
 6:35 am on Jul 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

Same thing was happening on google.ie - we had .co.nz sites appearing in PFI

Did this get resolved or is it still outstanding ?

I wonder if Google was trying to "group" your sites as one and got confused.

zeus




msg:3690269
 9:13 am on Jul 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

That a whole site can wanish from the serps, is pretty bad, but once again I think this is some fluxing even a problem with Google so I will not change ANYTHING on my site, why should I everything is by the book, so once again we have to wait for google to fix a problem.

It also seems that in the last 1-2 year the problems are getting more and the time to solve those are getting MUCH longer, not like the normal dance before.

rden17




msg:3690281
 9:44 am on Jul 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

here's what I have noticed in the SERPS:

yellow**ges .com used to show up in the top 3 for pretty much any local search you could think of. They were everywhere. now, I don't see them showing up until at least page 3 now.
Same goes for eb*y listings. There are some very specific item searches that would consistently show current listings on eb*y for that item, and now those results are down to page 3, 4, 5 or 6.

I have a site that has consistently had many page 1 keyword phrases, many in the top 3, that are now page 5 and 6. These terms were all US local stuff.

RedCardinal




msg:3690282
 9:45 am on Jul 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

Did this get resolved or is it still outstanding ?

Haven't noticed since TBH. I post a lot on the Google Webmaster Group, and I know that the Googlers are actively monitoring the board, so I imagine they know about the issue.
I wonder if Google was trying to "group" your sites as one and got confused.

Nope - this was just random searches, and Google returning both non-IE ccTLD and .coms which were in different IP space (e.g. US IPs, Canada IPs appeared in PFI).

There was also a very strange issue with .coms on UK IP space - they would rank in every Google property at #1 for [widget], all that is except google.co.uk - there they would rank much lower. This, I believe, was another manifestation of geotargeting woes (or perhaps a bug in its own right).

zeus




msg:3690291
 10:01 am on Jul 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

I think its incredible that a WHOLE site can wanish from the rankings all at once, not to be found anywhere, if they update they should be more carefull or atleast finish it in one day where it can happen that whole site is gone from the serps.

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