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This 87 message thread spans 3 pages: < < 87 ( 1 [2] 3 > >     
Google.com SERP Changes - December 2008

 11:59 am on Dec 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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

Does Google refresh pages linked from Sitelinks more often? I think it already does, but if it doesn't it should.


[edited by: tedster at 3:26 am (utc) on Dec. 3, 2008]



 3:15 pm on Dec 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

There is a new patent where a "Novelty Score" is assigned based on the determined amount of novel content, can't remember the link.


 3:16 pm on Dec 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

JS_Harris, I use that same strategy and it works well in Google (and I am in the car niche too)

It seems that the age of content matters a lot. i have multiple sites with mostly targeting car model + car part terms (an example: 2015 Volkswagen Beetle steering wheel) I noticed that when I get my pages out there on a car model + car part before other sites do, my site(s) ranks better in the long run.

Also, there are large competitors that are hard to outrank without getting some good external links. But I do have a handful of pages that outrank them with just the usual amount of internal links and no external links, those happen to be the pages that I created very early, sometimes before the car even came out.


 3:38 pm on Dec 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have been seeing two sets of results for a few weeks. One set is filled with lots of SPAMMED out .edu sites. The other is an older set of results that have more weight on authority sites. All our traffic is coming from the index with the .edu spam. I can tell b/c we are not ranking for some terms in the SPAM index. However, all of the DBs I search from one of those sites that allow users to search multiple DBs all return the older authority DB. Appears as though only the www (obviously the most important) are returning the SPAM results.

Anyone else seeing this?


 1:51 am on Dec 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

#JS_Harris re being first with a topic in an article--I have noticed this on several articles I have written were, and still are, in top ranking even after 6 years because I wrote the article first. My site is almost 9 years old however so that may have a lot to do with it. Even have a wikipedia link for one of them.


 4:00 am on Dec 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

Something curious just happened for one of my clients. For most of the year, the principle search for their name brought up a universal search result for videos. Most of those videos are from their podcasting site, which is on a separate domain. This week, the universal search video listing was replaced by the podcasting domain - which never ranked higher than page 4 in the past.


 7:05 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

This week, the universal search video listing was replaced by the podcasting domain - which never ranked higher than page 4 in the past.

To clarify are you saying your client owned both domains and they switched places in the results or one domain vanished and the other moved up?


 1:39 am on Dec 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

The Universal Search listing was for a YouTube url, where the videos were also posted. The podcasting domain is the original source of those videos, but it never ranked well on the important keyword before this week.

So what happened was my client's podcasting site just got a page 1 result and took it away from YouTube and from a Universal Search listing altogether. The YouTube page had all the usual "channel" information and links to the main site, but the direct link in the SERP is preferable by a long way.

Note that the podcasting site serves it's own verion of the videos rather than embedding the YouTube hosted version.


 2:07 am on Dec 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

As of today Google is showing a date as the first couple of words in the snippet. This is on a site where content changes rarely. It is not a forum or blog. It is showing the date the individual page was last modified. I don't know if it is getting it from the "Last Modified" info visible in the footer, or from the date in the HTTP Header. As of now, about a third of the pages listed have the date in the snippet.


 4:31 am on Dec 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

So what happened was my client's podcasting site just got a page 1 result and took it away from YouTube and from a Universal Search listing altogether.

Iíve interpreted in the past year that can happen in Google. Plus the situation could reverse itself overnight. At the least there might have been just a slight tweak in the OOP filters for those particular keywords.


 5:10 pm on Dec 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

Domain like keyword.ccTLD, website totally on-topic, top 1 in google for that keyword for nearly 6 months. not any SEO black-hat done.

this morning Google gives me sitelinks on top 1 for the kw, and this evening I am in top 1 without sitelinks but in 2nd page of the SERPs!

any ideas? someone seen anything similar?

[edited by: tedster at 6:36 pm (utc) on Dec. 15, 2008]
[edit reason] moveds from another location [/edit]


 11:47 pm on Dec 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

The only big changes in the SERPs I have seen recently are on MSN, where MS seem to be having a difficult birth of their new baby....


 1:31 pm on Dec 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

Has any one noticed that Google has started taking forever to update all it's servers lately?

I have found that in the past 2 months the rankings between servers has changed drastically because the Google server that I get is not up to date with info.

It is a funny thing but in a few servers I lose 9 positions for a word which I think is crazy.

Which result do I believe?

[edited by: tedster at 7:19 pm (utc) on Dec. 17, 2008]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]


 8:47 pm on Dec 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

Seeing some pretty big shuffles in the SERPS here today. My sites are taking a moderate hit (3->5 for two sites, 10->12 for another).


 11:51 pm on Dec 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

ok got big movement going on again today / this evening like back at the end of Oct until mid November. my own site tends to exagerate it because of the fairly experimental nature of a lot of it, but am seeing it on a good cross section of the portfolio too.

although strangely a lot more positive than negative results, just a few isolated drops.

anyone else?

indias next no1

 2:47 am on Dec 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

yes, something happening, my visitors are also down yesterday ?

nick the novice

 4:42 am on Dec 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

Ditto here. Down from 3 to 6/7/8 for a main key phrase on Google Australia (com.au). Very volatile though, seems to be a lot of sites yo-yo-ing in and out of the top 10, bumping me up and down in the process every few hours or so.

I did a fair bit of reciprocal linking a few months ago, so wondering if I raised a flag with google and now those links are being discounted :(


 12:28 pm on Dec 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

If some of your traffic is from Asia/Middle East then this cable break might have something to do with it:


When this happened earlier on in the year I also noticed a drop.


 2:59 pm on Dec 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

Thanks for that news item. This incident highlights the value of knowing not just that Google Search traffic fell off, but WHICH traffic fell off. Was it regional? Was it for some keywords and not others? Was it entry traffic to some urls and not others? Was it across the board? Just some browsers, even?

That's the kind of analysis that helps you decide whether there is any action you should take. Just knowing that traffic fell off leaves you in a passive situation, where you just suffer or celebrate in a helpless state.


 4:48 pm on Dec 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

Huh, since yesterday, about half the domains I'm watching dropped about 10-40 places. While some domains which are almost only "optimized" by linking on web-directories are coming up even on difficult keywords.

Anybody seeing the same?


 9:21 pm on Dec 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

Regarding the SERP changes yesterday (Dec 19):

One of my main keywords has also dropped, while another main keyword has risen. This might be pure speculation, but does anyone think this has anything to do with Google placing more emphasis yesterday on the location of backlinks on the page?

I just noticed many of the links for the keyword which dropped are footer links.. while my other keyword (which rose) has more in-context and sidebar links.

Probably a longshot, but who knows..


 11:52 pm on Dec 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

yes am seeing the same, some huge rises and some significant falls in other areas. like a rebalancing of the site due to a weighting change or something.


 12:16 am on Dec 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

There is a new patent where a "Novelty Score" is assigned based on the determined amount of novel content, can't remember the link.

Looks like mostly a news and blog search factor - determining what gets clustered among a group of very similar articles and what gets a unique link. The patent was filed for over two years ago, and granted in November.

Consistent with aspects of the invention, a temporally ordered sequence of documents (e.g., a sequence of news articles on a given topic, or blog posts) may be returned as the result of a search of a corpus of documents by a search engine and then may be analyzed to identify documents that include content that is novel relative to prior content contained in other documents in the sequence. For example, in the context of news-related documents, the novel content may include facts that were missing from earlier articles on a topic. A novelty score may be assigned to each document based on an amount of novel content contained in the document. This novelty score may be used, for example, to rank documents among one another."

USPTO page [patft.uspto.gov]

nick the novice

 3:29 am on Dec 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

For those out there whose rankings have dropped, has anyone noticed that their external links in Webmaster tools has dropped off? I read that Google have been having some issues lately:



The number of external links reported in my Webmaster tools dropped by about 85% (although not by 100% as others webmasters have reported). This coincided with a drop in a few of my key phrases.

[edited by: tedster at 5:07 am (utc) on Dec. 21, 2008]


 2:50 pm on Dec 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

< moved from another location >

Anyone else noticed anything today in GOOGLE SERPS? I have had numerous search terms (relating to 100+ website pages)from No. 1-50 bomb out of site in October.. and today they are all back to post October positions... I have been tidying up lately... and somewhat annoyingly some pages that are back in SERPS were actually deleted about 3-4 days ago!

Should I do anything about the deleted pages (mod-rewrite php pages)or just wait until Google picks up the replaced pages with same content...

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 7:19 pm (utc) on Dec. 21, 2008]


 8:53 am on Dec 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

< moved from another location >

Has anyone else seen a complete reshuffle of google on main competitive words?

I have seen it on a very competitive word over the weekend and found 3 websites which were once upon a time banned and now in the top 15, how is this possible?

It is another google glitch or is this for real?

I have been looking but no answers have been found, please help as my site moved down and am not happy.

[edited by: tedster at 2:58 pm (utc) on Dec. 22, 2008]


 3:28 pm on Dec 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

I've been looking into this most recent change in the SERPs. For the past threee days, I'm seeing what I would call a "diversity" tweak on quite a few keywords.

For example, queries that showed one universal search result (say Books) are now showing two spots for US (Books and Video - or Books and News).

Queries that need disambiguation are showing a heavier intermixing of results for the two or three possible user intentions - either different meanings for the query or different intentions (such as commerce or information). It even seems like there's a heavier presence for detractor sites on brand searches.


 3:35 pm on Dec 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

My online store was just getting better and better in the 2 years since I started. Only 2 weeks ago I estimated that half of my 3000 items were on page one of google. Then on November 11 my site vanished into obscurity for exactly three days to return to normal. Then it happened again on December 11 and has not recovered yet. I have decided not to do anything radical. I lengthened all the short meta tag descriptions and reduced the number of appearances of each page's keywords in alt tags and image names. I see similarities with what has been described by others.

[edited by: tedster at 6:43 pm (utc) on Dec. 22, 2008]


 5:02 pm on Dec 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

this looks to me a lot like a watered down version of the one they attempted to play with at the end of Oct, lots of inner pages jumping upwards, but some of the "main domain" rankings dropped a bit.

with regards to universal search Tedster, there's one search I've seen where fully the whole first 5 results are universal now, organic number one starts (only) just above the fold.


 5:46 pm on Dec 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have noticed that the pr engine is old, I had a page with a pr 3 on Friday and now is back to 0. everything else is the same.

Has any one else noticed this?


 10:40 pm on Dec 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

Some of the higher traffic pages on my site have jumped up in the last few days.


 11:27 pm on Dec 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'm assuming G is continuing to refine their understanding of the actual intent of search queries. So far that doesn't seem to be working out too well for me.

On queries where the intent is unclear, G seems to be favoring commercial sites over info sites, at least in my (info site) case.

Last time I commented on this some of my pages had moved down from 1 - 3 to 5 - 7, now many more seem to have moved down even further to 7 - 10.

I wonder if, or how much, they are using (anonymized) data gathered from logged-in searchers to refine their understanding of these ambiguous queries.

Another thing I just noticed today, and don't recall reading about here (maybe I just missed it) is that G is now showing showing a last modified date on some sub-index pages. They are showing this date right at the beginning of the snippet. These are not forum pages or anything like that. Just topic indexes 1 or 2 level(s) down from the home page.

This 87 message thread spans 3 pages: < < 87 ( 1 [2] 3 > >
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