homepage Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from
register, free tools, login, search, pro membership, help, library, announcements, recent posts, open posts,
Become a Pro Member
Home / Forums Index / Google / Google SEO News and Discussion
Forum Library, Charter, Moderators: Robert Charlton & aakk9999 & brotherhood of lan & goodroi

Google SEO News and Discussion Forum

This 76 message thread spans 3 pages: < < 76 ( 1 [2] 3 > >     
Google.com SERP Changes - January 2009

 4:42 am on Jan 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

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

Google is giving SERP #2 in a very competitive sector to a site that uses browser "hijacking" (back button disabled by redirects/forwards to same page). Not sure if it's a javascript trick that loads when you hit the back button. This site also has a mirror site in the top 20! lol.

Shouldn't Google by 2009 be able to detect and not reward these old-as-the-hills schemes?


[edited by: tedster at 3:43 pm (utc) on Jan. 1, 2009]



 9:56 pm on Jan 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

T'was the Holloween update, running to about the 4th Nov. See the Nov thread for full details.

This doesnt look as fundamental or as widespread. Trust was completely discarded for a while back then, sitelinks disappeared, rubbish was everywhere and some major domain homepages weren'tt returnable in SERPS (and appeared as though their existance was completely discarded when ranking other pages).


 5:24 am on Jan 19, 2009 (gmt 0)


definitely a shift in whats in and whats out,
i'm seeing some duplicate pages in the serp's indented duplicates at that, the first of these has a cache date of over a year and the indented results has a cache date of a few days.

some of the pages that i witnessed drop out of there serp's on the 23rd Dec are suffering from this issue but not all, i'm assuming at the moment that this was the problem for those web pages,
still seeing some funky page totals return for some very competitive search terms first page displaying 25 mil results return but if you dig deeper there are only 500 pages before the "omitted results" link comes up.

nothing concrete yet i'll do some more digging



 8:21 am on Jan 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

It occurs to me that I wasn't fortunate enough to see whitenight's ghost dataset. Wanna weigh in on that buddy?

lol sorry, haven't been reading as much lately.
Busy taking advantage of the ghost dataset. ;)

Since only a few saw it, i can give this piece of advice.
Get links from them and watch your rankings soar.
The first few sites I have tested this with have also gotten tons of sitelinks for multiple keywords virtually overnight.

I WILL try to pay more attention to what's currently going on with the SERPS so I can give my usual enigmatic advice. :)
FWIW - This minor update "looks" like the continuation of the Nov 4th update that was never completely finished.

I expected it a bit sooner after New Years.
But hey, Goog has more than one thing to do at a time, so I guess a week or two off isn't unforgivable.


 8:38 am on Jan 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm looking for new (or at least improved and defensible) theory since my last stab at an explanation was met with rapturous silence (apart from an encouraging critique from the afore-summoned whitenight)

lol, not sure how to answer this other than I already have.
The REASON is utterly unimportant. (and 50 people are going to argue against me anyways)

The SOLUTION -- i gave in the first 2 posts of that thread.

Get BETTER links.

If you can do this and you're STILL yo-yo-ing, you're over-optimized SOMEWHERE.
De-optimize THAT and you'll find yourself "stuck" where you want to be.


 9:35 am on Jan 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

Oh, I'm not yo-yoing. Never have been. Watched it happen to others, and it looks like a good artifact to learn stuff from. Like the #6 glitch. So I'm looking for a theory, not a solution.

Because I can study it dispassionately, I'm able to avoid the "why is google punishing me" and "I must be special somehow" mentality that yo-yo-ers tend to get. Also, I'm in no particular hurry to figure it out, I'd rather just learn all I can, and I'm happy chasing tangents as I discover them. Also, as I'm not yo-yoing (and have no intention of deliberatly causing a yo-yo), I can only watch others trying to escape. BTW, most people I've watched try to escape the yo-yo by INCREASING KW denstity, particularly in tags, and by increasing internal links to the page in question. My observations suggest that not only does this not help, but internal links might spread the disease (although that might be due to other co-occuring factors)

Better IBLs you reckon? Better due to relevancy or better due to authority/trust? Or just prosaic PR? Going by the attributes of the Ghost Dataset, I'm guessing authority. Interesting... thats sparked off a line of thought about 'Good Neigbourhoods' (as opposed to the well-known 'bad neighbourhoods'). I guess thats more backlink research that needs doing. Yey :)

BTW, a whole bunch of of URL-specific (i.e not domain based) penalties got lifted over the weekend. Actually, that will be where some (most?) of the rubbish has come from. So, it might be semi-permanant until URL gets penalised again, or very temporary if the penalties have been suspended rather than lifted.


 3:26 pm on Jan 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

BTW, a whole bunch of of URL-specific (i.e not domain based) penalties got lifted over the weekend. Actually, that will be where some (most?) of the rubbish has come from. So, it might be semi-permanant until URL gets penalised again, or very temporary if the penalties have been suspended rather than lifted.

Depending on whether they are re-penalized or continue to be set free will tell alot about what direction the algo is going.

Keep us updated.


 6:35 pm on Jan 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

The localset for some industries has drastically changed; in one instance a commercially focused one word generic phrase now has more .edu sites in the top 100 pages than .com -- this has only occurred three times that I'm aware of, and neither time lasted for more than 10 days.

I know what you're referring to whitenight, in terms of the links...it would have been great to push the dataset through our internal tools to see all the commonalities. *sigh*

It does remind me of a saying I'm fond of; quality links are akin to getting a shot of penicillin -- it can cure a variety of problems one isn't even aware of having.


 8:54 pm on Jan 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm thinking there's a possible newish emphasis on keyword frequency spread out across a site. Higher frequency leads to greater ranking points. It could just be an old part of the algo I'm seeing more clearly.

For example, one site that's ahead of me doesn't have too many pages but it has a certain phrase in the title of many pages (whereas it's just about only on my site title/home page). It also has sitelinks for the competitive phrase.

I'm hoping one day to learn how to kick a site off its sitelinks. I'm guessing site titles/domain names are a fairly big factor for who gets the top spot.

Has anyone here caused mayhem and whacked a site out of first place and taken its sitelinks? :)



 9:11 pm on Jan 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

p/g have you considered that phrase co-occurence frequency may be the factor at work here, more than keyword frequency?

Knocking a site out of #1 -- for a generic keyword, I assume -- and acquiring sitelinks of your own for the same term? That would really be something. Can't say I've had the pleasure.


 5:09 pm on Jan 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

I am seeing a very strange occurrence for one keyword I follow. The top 10 has been pretty solid (and of good quality even though I'm on page 2) for a few months now (probably much longer). The 8th result is now a thin content site. The kicker is that it's a different site every day. When a new site is shown I'll start digging down the SERPs for the previous site... can't find it in the top 200. Very strange.


 6:26 pm on Jan 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

I know what you're referring to whitenight, in terms of the links...it would have been great to push the dataset through our internal tools to see all the commonalities.


Just be vigilant and ready for the next update.
I probably won't announce it play by play, but there's a strong likelihood, you can see the important sites again. ;)


 2:44 pm on Jan 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

this thread seems pretty quiet given the swings i am seeing.

of the sites i follow, i am seeing weaker sites showing increased traffic and stronger sites with a decrease. all of this seems to be in the longtails - the stronger sites seem to have actually moved up in the serps on their primary keywords but overall traffic for them is down about 20% - conversely, the weaker sites have slipped on their primary keywords but have enjoyed big traffic increases.

i am looking at the longtails and specifically how google blends in the sup results - i think those dials have moved quite a lot since friday


 3:12 pm on Jan 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

Everything is fine here. Ranking up for primary and much longtail. Traffic up, though possibly not quite as far as corresponds to primary increases.

Some quite random rubbish floating around (especially mid-tail), but some high ranking competitors that I have always thought weak have gone, and some good sites have just broken though to page 1 (watched them come up slowly, so good for them!)

All in all, this is an evolution not a revolution.

Most unpenalised pages remain unpenalised, although a couple have been dropped (I stopped looking after 10 pages cos they're not mine).

Robert Gentel

 9:52 pm on Jan 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

An old site of mine is having the number of pages indexed (as reported by a site: query) drop like a rock. It's gone from hundreds of thousands of indexed pages to 50,000 today and continues to drop each day.

The thing is, search traffic has not dropped, and I know that more pages than that are indexed because I can't find any page (out of millions) that isn't indexed.

Anyone have any idea what that might be?


 1:49 am on Jan 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

Robert our 10 year old site had the same thing happen about 60 days ago with zero effect on traffic. I wouldnt worry about it unless you see a drop in traff.

Robert Gentel

 4:32 am on Jan 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

Did the count start to rebound? Or does it go all the way to zero? Does it stop at a certain point? I'm not particularly worried yet, it's not a site that does any seo, much less any blackhat seo but if it's some kind of penalty I'd love to get it resolved.


 9:43 pm on Jan 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

Look in Google Webmaster Tools for a true count of indexed URLs, site: command is normally pretty unreliable for me.

Robert Gentel

 10:48 pm on Jan 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

Where do you see that in Webmaster Tools? As far as I know they just point you to the site: query.


 12:32 am on Jan 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Robert, ours dropped to about 10% of normal levels then stopped and hasnt grown since. Traffic never changed.

Robert Gentel

 5:13 am on Jan 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

That's reassuring, thanks.


 11:34 am on Jan 23, 2009 (gmt 0)


Webmaster Tools > Sitemap > Overview

Sitemap stats
Total URLs: #####
Indexed URLs: #####


 11:35 am on Jan 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

BTW the data only shows if you submit a sitemap. Which you should be doing anyway if you want your site fully indexed.

Robert Gentel

 5:11 pm on Jan 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

That would be why I don't see it then. We're working on the sitemap, but with millions of urls, it's not a simple task (though Google's new sitemap generator from log files is interesting).


 8:04 pm on Jan 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

I now see Google Sitelinks for more than one search phrase. Is this new? I'd only previously seen one site get one set of sitelinks (for one word/phrase).

It's getting stupid--there's an awful site that has sitelinks for several phrases. It is by no means the authority on the subject, has very little value, uses stolen images, and the site itself commits Adsense TOS violations. (Ads appear right below a site heading.)

I wouldn't care if the website had content 10x better than the competition's for every search phrase, but it doesn't.


P.S. Meanwhile after more purging of my site I'm seeing 950 recovery for one of the few remaining penalized phrases. Top 25 after oblivion.


 12:37 am on Jan 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

Potentialgeek, I have been observing the same with a competitor site for about 6 months now. This site is the oldest in the niche but it is by no means the authority site for some of the phrases that it has been given Sitelinks for.

It is an on/off thing. One month they'll have sitelinks for several phrases and the next, sitelinks don't appear at all - not even on a domain search. Sometimes they'll have sitelinks for several search phrases but not have any sitelinks for the primary keyword. At other times the number of sitelinks shown is reduced to only 4.

Looks like Google has decided to make some changes to when Sitelinks are shown but are having some difficulty with the implementation.


 2:19 pm on Jan 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

Searching for a domain name will now return about 1 to 5 results from the site and show the site's favicon in front of the green url text. If the site doesn't have a custom favicon Google will show a globe icon. This works in Firefox but not IE 7. Looks cool if you have a good favicon. Making a custom favicon is becoming more important part of the overall site design.


 11:32 am on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

I have noticed that many of my website has dropped a few positions for a few of my top keywords. Looked at everything else and it's still the same, number of links, allinanchor etc.

Am i worried for no reson or would it be that I am being punished for something?

It is very strange as other top keyprds are still there, I am talking about 2-3 keywords which have dropped 5-6 places (down to second page).

[edited by: tedster at 5:42 pm (utc) on Jan. 26, 2009]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]


 6:26 pm on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

We have noticed this also, could be the same thing as eljacko is seeing.

The top 10 results in at least 2 verticals we work in are dramatically different over the weekend. The top ten in one vertical, for the very broadest term, 'widgets', has always been a mix of sellers, reviewers, and some manufacturers. This weekend a slew of big name manufacturers are now in the top 10, and the retail sellers are all on page 2. We see this is 2 different industries, both with lots of SEO and link building activity by the sites that used to be in top 10.

Searchers for 'widget reviews', 'widget sales', 'buy widget' are not populated artificially with these Big Name manufacturers, only the broad term.

Anyone else seeing this? eljacko, is the top 10 now populated with manufacturers or other big players in the industry?

We have some theories on how and why it is happening, this could be massive.


 6:30 pm on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

Should also say that these results are still popping in and out, in some regions and not in others, and showing up for me on Sun AM, not Sunday afternoon, and then again Mon AM.


 8:10 pm on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)


Were the manufacturers publically traded companies?


 8:59 pm on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yes, they all are publicly traded.

This 76 message thread spans 3 pages: < < 76 ( 1 [2] 3 > >
Global Options:
 top home search open messages active posts  

Home / Forums Index / Google / Google SEO News and Discussion
rss feed

All trademarks and copyrights held by respective owners. Member comments are owned by the poster.
Home ¦ Free Tools ¦ Terms of Service ¦ Privacy Policy ¦ Report Problem ¦ About ¦ Library ¦ Newsletter
WebmasterWorld is a Developer Shed Community owned by Jim Boykin.
© Webmaster World 1996-2014 all rights reserved