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|Google.com SERP Changes - July 2008 part 2|
< continued from [webmasterworld.com...] >
I run a large, well-established website that has been around for years, generating millions of visitors per month across millions of pages of documents. We have always been diligent about tracking all of our website metrics so that we understand user behavior, where our audience is coming from, and can use the data in order to improve user experience.
Recently we have been experiencing *very* erratic Google organic traffic which jumps up and down by 30%-80%. The cycle has now repeated itself 6 times over about 6 weeks time. While there have been times in the past where our Google organic traffic has increased and decreased, it always has done it in a measured manner; we have never before seen erratic behavior from Google.
Here are the traffic specifics:
•June 3, Google organic drops by 30% vs. normal
•June 4, Google organic traffic returns to normal
•June 9, Google organic again drops by 30% vs. normal
•June 17, Google organic returns to normal
•June 19 , Google organic again drops by 30% vs. normal
•June 27, Google organic returns to normal
•July 9, Google organic again drops by 30% vs. normal
•July 11, Google organic returns to normal
•July 12, Google organic again drops, but this time by 80% of normal
•July 13, Google organic returns to normal
While we are constantly in the process of refining our site, the only major change over the last couple months has been to our “related articles” component which does what it sounds like: if you are looking at article A, here are a handful of other articles that are highly relevant to the one you are viewing. Over time, we have been tuning the algorithm that generates these links so as to improve relevancy.
I have also noticed some other artifacts:
•Google bot spidering activity has increased, reaching a plateau of about 140% of pre-link change levels; on some days approaching 1 million pages/day.
•The number of page indexed in our Google Webmaster site map reports jumped by 12%.
Any ideas about what might be going on here?
[edited by: tedster at 8:03 am (utc) on July 15, 2008]
""Google picked this up and our external link count went from about a half-million to three and a half million and then our partner fixed it and our link count went back down to a half million. That happened some weeks ago. We only discovered this when we saw our external links report in Google Webmaster console. Since that system will only output 1 million records (and we had 3.5 million), we weren't able to fully confirm that all those links were coming from our partner, but it sure seemed like it from the million we were able to review""
I havea notice here, i have a small website, but almost same of what your saying happened to me, one of my friends linking to us, we have about 50 thousands backlinks from his community, the link removed by mistake, we lost those links, which is about 70% of external links in the webmaster tools, and the search results positions for our main words, droped from # 3 and 4 in first page to pages 2, 3 , 4 and more.
the strange thing, that these words, still showing good position in top search queries, not only that, in the last 3 days, 2 updates happened to these positions, and were for better!, this means my webmaster tools show the words going better positions in top search queries, while on the ground, the serach result positions is going down.
yesterday, i was trying something, to search for the words many time, refreshing search page, lets say im searching for the word (X) , its position on top search queries is 4, i search 10 times, 8 times i see it in page 3, and 2 times i see it in the first page 4th link!
I hope this is just a shock because of the lose of the external links, and situation will return good again.
dont know what u people think.
|search for the words many time, refreshing search page, lets say im searching for the word (X) , its position on top search queries is 4, i search 10 times, 8 times i see it in page 3, and 2 times i see it in the first page 4th link! |
This is something that quite a few sites are reporting - and it often (always?) involves position #4 during the periods when the url is on the first page of the SERPs.
This seems like it must be some kind of statistical testing to me. but if that's the case, how does a url get picked to be tested - and even more, how can it "pass" the test? Some urls have been on this Google yo-yo for weeks and weeks.
The yo-yo has afflicted sites that were regular fixtures on page #1. Maybe it is unusual fluctuations in backlinks that triggers the test - that's worth watching!
Thanx for replay
backlinks, or exactly (external links) is the main SERPs from my experience, as i mentioned before, my site is new and small, targeting a single keyword, but making a freind of me give a backlink from his forum to my site with that word, created a great jump in mu SERPs for all words related to it. almost all words related to that became in first and second page.
when the backlinks disappeared from external links by my friend mistake, the disaster happened! all my words went back to 3rd, 4th pages.
still there is something strange, why webmaster tools still giving words high position in top search queries position? and updated 2 times in last 3 days, each time moving them to better place!
anyway, my freind link is back, i will wait till his links appear in the external links again, and see what changes will happen.
[edited by: tedster at 11:11 am (utc) on July 27, 2008]
[edit reason] remove specific keyword [/edit]
Ok, since Matt Cutts posted in his blog that old penalties will be removed on some sites [mattcutts.com...]
Has any one who got penalized on 3rd-4th June got their serps back ?
My results went crazy over the weekend. Went from nowhere to 29 over the weekend, now back to nowhere again. (site is pretty new and in a very competitive niche)
Looking at different datacenters, the results are really different and I'm ranking better than 29 in some of them. I hope the version where I rank better is the one that prevails :)
[edited by: SEOMike at 1:44 pm (utc) on July 28, 2008]
SEOMike looks like I was as well lifted from the filter [webmasterworld.com...] but for now they have pretty much stuck for me.
SEOMike I quit long ago going to all the DC's worring with my placement as there isn't anything you can do to change it other than keep working at it. I figuered the time I was wasting worring with the DC's I could spend a couple hours a day working the site.
I don't know but is sounds like it is a new site as I saw some newer sites moving in and out of the serps. I feel you keep on top of the game it will be popping soon.
Thanks bwnbwn. I know, I try not to watch it too much. It's hard not to sometimes after you get excited about a bump. :)
Understood I think the filter/penality I was placed under a couple years ago broke me of that habit. I remember when it happened I most likely almost shut the DC's down I was hitting them so much but now I am a a little more mature there and just keep working and not looking.
I do tend to spend to much time looking at referrals but looking at the search terms your showing for gives you ideas on how to human search terms you need to target or content you need to write about, so actually I do use that as an SEO tool. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.
Anyone else seeing a drop in traffic today? We're down about 20%
[edited by: tedster at 6:55 pm (utc) on July 28, 2008]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]
I'm looking at a couple different DCs to see what's changing and I notice that the position of the news results is changing. On some DCs the news results are #4, on others they are at the bottom, and on some, there aren't any news results listed. It looks like I'm seeing about three variations on the results. Also, in some results I'm presented with shopping results though the industry is mostly service based. The shopping results are for brick & mortar signs for the industry.
Very interesting stuff.
Watch that #4 position on the SERPs that don't have Google News in the spot. It seems to be the position of choice for some kind of testing. I see urls that yo-yo between page 2 and position #4 during different times of the day. Then the SERP sometimes changes and Google News is back at #4.
But it's always #4. Universal Search technology, I assume, allowing Google to force feed certain tests into specific positions - maybe even the same kind of goodies that blew up a few months ago and gave us the position #6 bug.
So as I've asked elsewhere, if it's a test, then how does a url get chosen for testing? And even more, how can it pass the test and graduate to a full class citizon on the first page somewhere?
|Martin Ice Web|
up to now, nothing has changed with google serps?! Jo-Jo effect goes on.
a) Serps are dominated by price comparing sites
b) never seen befor sites
So i did have a look at the b) sites. And what i saw, was all the pages do have static-domain href links (e.g. http://example.com/xyz.php) for their inner navigation. Whereas all my site that have been hit are all <Base href= > ( e.g. /xyz.php )
I have gotta agree with Tedster,it always seems to be position 4 that yo-yoing in and out.
My position seems to go from #4 to page 3.
|But it's always #4. Universal Search technology, I assume, allowing Google to force feed certain tests into specific positions - maybe even the same kind of goodies that blew up a few months ago and gave us the position #6 bug. |
In general I'd agree, but I'm watching it now on a very generic SERP (i.e. not newsworthy) and it's the #3 position getting shuffled.
I've also seen sites get caught in this that are aged authority sites with 1m+ very natural backlink profiles. On other SERPs I've seen sites with the spammiest backlink profiles imaginable getting shuffled in. I dont think this is related to backlinks personally.
One theme I see is the query lacks intent - very often it's SERPs that pull up Wikipedia pages I see this happening on.
|I've also seen sites get caught in this that are aged authority sites with 1m+ very natural backlink profiles. |
Me, too. One I've been watching is a household name in the US - most people could sing their TV jingle with no problem. However, I know that they recently did some work trying to better target the very competitive keywords where they are currently stuck on the yo-yo.
They were not on the first page before, so that may be at least one kind of reason for a yo-yo test. All of a sudden the algo calculates a rank that is a good bit higher than it has been historically. So now there's a new logic that says "hang on a bit, let's, not just award that high position, let's test it for a while".
|So now there's a new logic that says "hang on a bit, let's, not just award that high position, let's test it for a while". |
Nice theory, and one which would be a sensible approach from Google, but I'm not bought on that myself for now. There would just be too many outliers to fit from what I've observed.
In some cases I've seen the shuffling occur only within top 10 results, and the frequency and patterns I've observed suggest that it's not algo-driven, but some form of post processing on the results set. Of course I'm speculating 100% here.
I tend to subscribe to it being some sort of test, just cannot tell what the true subject matter is (i.e. whether it's on the sites shuffled in, or on the effect of that shuffling on lower positions - the latter might support some Universal Search connection).
All I do know is that they've been running it for quite a while now, and you'd expect that whatever data they'd need to pull for this is already in the bag.
Almost 3 months now, and surprisingly the only real chatter is here?
Are we sure that we are not just seeing results from different DCs?
|Are we sure that we are not just seeing results from different DCs? |
During June I spent some time tracking this across mutliple DC's - they were in sync, and the shuffling could be seen across DCs.
I've no doubt this is quite real.
My site that came back on the July 16th now lost 70% of it's keywords once again today. The strange thing is it came back on July 16 between 10-11am and now today the traffic went away again between 10 and 11am. Very strange.
seeing big changes in the serps from 12:00 today
tigger:: glad to know that, are you 3-4th june victim? what changes did you make into your site after getting penalized ?
other way for me, my site got pulled around the 3rd and now has just been dropped again - would be interesting to see if webmasters that got dropped on 4th start to recover.
I'm seeing a lot of other sites pulling back, just glad I don't have all my eggs in one basket
< continued here: [webmasterworld.com...] >
[edited by: tedster at 2:21 pm (utc) on Aug. 1, 2008]
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