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Google.com SERP Changes - May 2009
Pass the Dutchie




msg:3903868
 8:05 am on Apr 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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

Something is up. We monitor google.de very closely and the SERP's have remained very static for a couple of weeks now. No jumping around of sites as we have seen over the past months with the exception of a few sites that should not be ranked as highly as they are. Last time I saw this there was a big shake up. Lets hope for the best results ; )

[edited by: tedster at 5:39 am (utc) on May 1, 2009]

 

randle




msg:3913575
 3:04 pm on May 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

Anyone else noticing anything unusual

Just an awful lot of movement with major brand sites going up and down, and up and down, and up and down. Itís like they just canít seem to get it adjusted the way they want. Over the past few days they are a lot more up than down, even sites that were page 4 or 5, are now rising up to the first page.

This Vince thing kind of came and went discussion wise, but for the neighborhoods we hang in, itís been very significant, and seems to gaining steam.

jgold454




msg:3913602
 3:32 pm on May 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

A few of my older sites have lost all their rankings. These are sites that still maintain their site links and PR but their keyword rankings have dropped to anywhere from 30th - 70th position. Again, these are pretty old authoritative sites. Should I just sit tight a few days and see if this sticks? Kind of freaking out over here..

BPethullis




msg:3913635
 3:52 pm on May 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hi,

Just to focus this discussion on a particular time period - did anyone else notice anything happen over the weekend 25th April?

Dramatic and sudden drop in rankings, and particular pages no longer showing up in the rankings?

jgold454




msg:3913715
 5:27 pm on May 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

Do you think any of this is related to the Google outages people are reporting?

outland88




msg:3913742
 5:50 pm on May 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

did anyone else notice anything happen over the weekend 25th April?

Actually the changes begin around April 18. Seemed to have coincided with maintenance in Adwords and possibly in Adsense. They seemed to pick up real steam on April 25 weekend and continued into May. From what I can tell Google may be devaluing some links. Iíve also noticed in my areas that heavier optimization keyword density is being rewarded as well as their branded search partners.

johnnie




msg:3914027
 12:09 am on May 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hmmm... I surely like what I'm seeing now! After the recent drop from 5 to 9 for my main keyword, I suddenly bounced back to position 3. Long-tail positions seem to be holding as well, so I'm doing very good at the moment!

Seems my hard work is starting to pay off!

tedster




msg:3914047
 1:02 am on May 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

Do you think any of this is related to the Google outages people are reporting?

Not directly, not at all. The outages were apparently a problem in Google's load balancing routines.

I am happy for those who are seeing better rankings and I certainly can empathisize with those who went down. Has anyone got any observations about what KIND of factors are causing the movement? For instance, johnnie, can you give a top-level idea of what you're hard work was all about?

A lot of times this kind of shuffle looks more dramatic at first, and then over time it does even out - so I wouldn't immediately jump into action. But it is a great time to see what factors might be making a difference because the contrast is still strong.

Across most SERPs this has been a relatively calm period, so those who are affected might be able to give us some interesting tidbits.

AG4Life




msg:3914140
 5:21 am on May 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

tedster is right, if it is a shuffle, then it always looks chaotic during the middle, and with the before and after looking quite similar. I've made the mistake of trying to fight the tide during the middle of a shake up, and it usually makes things worse. Best to just sit back and then observe things when they calm down, so you know exactly what's wrong.

I also haven't noticed any major movements in SERPs for my top keywords. In fact, I would say they are eerily stable, almost as if Google has stopped updating them. But traffic from Google is definitely down and it's hard to track where the losses are coming from. The weekend of April 25 also seems to be the start of something major for me as well.

AG4Life




msg:3914144
 5:25 am on May 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

Forgot to say that there seems to be some upwards movement about 10 hours ago, and I don't have the full stats yet so I can't confirm, but it would be due to increased Google traffic and not some other factor. Don't know how short-lived this one will be though.

AnkitMaheshwari




msg:3914153
 6:16 am on May 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

For one of my sites, traffic is declining from past 1 week although I can see rankings have improved (slightly, with most of them on top #3) and G trends show upward movement for those keywords where traffic has declined

johnnie




msg:3914176
 7:56 am on May 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

tedster, my hard work has been all about content creation and the resulting aggregation of natural backlinks. That's really all there is to it.

zeus




msg:3914212
 9:18 am on May 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

still missing my Homepage in rankings, only show up with domain name search, I hate when that happens, visitor stats always goes way down, now it has been a week.

maddawg




msg:3914307
 12:10 pm on May 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing a lot of authoritative sites that aren't showing up for their own company name until page 5. This is very recent. Zeus and Jgold454, what do you think is causing your sites to suffer so much? Does it have to do with link manipulation (selling or buying) or automated website creation?

jgold454




msg:3914311
 12:33 pm on May 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

maddawg, these are sites that have been around for a while and have real good professionally written informative content, one of them has a real active community forum. The only commonalities between them may their back link profiles. My initial guess is that their has been some backlink devaluation of sorts. The sites still have sitelinks but the main keywords they have always ranked for has fallen to page 4 or 5 across the board. Right now, I will just wait to see what happens..

zeus




msg:3914612
 6:50 pm on May 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

maddawg - I have seen this many times, I also know my frontpage will be back in max a weeks time, if not there is something wrong, but now this is only caused because not all sites are valuated yet for rankings, so it will get back when google are finished.

jgold454




msg:3914634
 7:29 pm on May 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

so zeuss, are you saying that you think things are still in a state of "flux" for the moment?

tedster




msg:3914639
 7:35 pm on May 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm not zeus, but I sure hope we're still in a state of flux. In the past 24 hours I've received at least 5 contacts from site owners who fell from top rankings to pages 4-6, and in some cases, even for their brand name. And that's in addition to the reports here on the forum.

If it's not just flux, or a data bug like we saw back at Halloween [webmasterworld.com] (remember the ghost data set that was improperly imported by Google?), then something new has developed. And yet, the great majority of SERPs seem to less churn that they have for 6 months.

zeus




msg:3914642
 7:42 pm on May 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hello tedster Im pretty sure, they are still playing, nothing to worry about, but as said if this goes 7 more days we could have a problem.

Im 85% sure about this

jgold454




msg:3914656
 7:54 pm on May 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

I hope you are right zeuss!

potentialgeek




msg:3914740
 10:47 pm on May 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yesterday I had SERP #1 for a keyword phrase plus eight sitelinks. Today I am #2 and have no sitelinks. Maybe it's a test.

I'm also seeing a reversion to old SERPs across several different searches to what they were a few months ago.

p/g

StevieB




msg:3914941
 12:53 pm on May 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm also seeing a reversion to old SERPs across several different searches to what they were a few months ago.

Me too. I hope everything should be back to normal by the end of the month.

maddawg




msg:3915290
 10:29 am on May 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

A run down of the sites I've seen go down to page 5 for their own keywords:

1) Two sites that were just recently sold at an online auction - both had similar backlink profiles, so I'm not sure whether the public auction sale was the cause.
2) A legitimate authority site - this is the first time I've seen Google penalize a quality site and an established brand before for what seems like link buying.
3) An established website and some of its smaller sites within the same niche - They had links from the same websites.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 7:45 pm (utc) on May 17, 2009]
[edit reason] removed specifics [/edit]

Prudence




msg:3915391
 6:18 pm on May 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

One of my old sites, which was penalised, is now back in the top 10 after a two-year absence. It's puzzling because I haven't made any changes to it since it tanked. I wonder if this could be part of the reversion to old SERPS that people are talking about.

tedster




msg:3915434
 8:00 pm on May 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

what seems like link buying

That seems to be the issue with the examples I've seen, too. The SERPs as a whole are still remarkably low-churn, but we've also got this flurry of 4-6 page penalties.

I suspect that Google has tried to further automate their paid-link detection and that is causing some collateral damage. The cases I've looked at have unpaid backlinks that are formatted in a way that could appear to be paid, and there are also common domains involved in the backlink profiles - domains that have been known to sell links.

walkman




msg:3915445
 8:35 pm on May 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

On my main site traffic is down about 20-30% from normal, after going up 20--30% from normal. One old site is back (at least for "domain name") after being penalized for ages. Google uses summer to experiment since it's slower so give them a few more weeks to fine tune it.

maximus12




msg:3916059
 9:26 pm on May 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

I know I am joining the discussion a little late but I just went through the whole thread and all of this sounds similar to what happened to one of the sites I manage.

Everything went as planned and I have been optimizing that site for 15 months with a spike in positioning the beginning of April. Page one for at least 4 highly competitive keywords. On April 30th exactly, traffic dropped to a crawl and all keywords were gone! Could not find them, then after 2 weeks time (exactly 14 days) everything shows back up again but this time not in Page 1 but in Page 5 (some in 6 and 7 as well). Has been like that for 5 days now.

Rufus_dog




msg:3916284
 7:55 am on May 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

Does anyone notice that the drop in traffic is associated with the loss of page rank of the inner pages? It seems to me that many inner pages got indexed just by internal links in the past. But now, they disappear in the main index. I've checked my competitor's site. Their homepage has a PR of 5, but their 1st level inner pages already show a grey toolbar, not to mention the 2nd level and 3rd level inner pages. These inner pages cannot be found in google search. Is Google reducing the value of internal links?

tedster




msg:3916296
 8:24 am on May 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

I am looking at a few domains that just got penalized down five pages - these sites at least are not gray bar for internal pages, they still have toolbar PR.

SEOPTI




msg:3916511
 3:30 pm on May 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

tedster, in all cases where a -50 drop happened the URLs will drop to PR 2-3 with the next visible PR export. They are not allowed to cross PR 3.

I saw all this with my own sites and it opened my eyes about this -50 stuff. Google disconnects the PR flow for the domain itself, not for the sites which link to the domain.

I have spent more than 4 months diagnosing this -50 nonsense and the best advice I can give if a reconsideration request fails is a 301 to a brand new domain.

[edited by: SEOPTI at 3:32 pm (utc) on May 19, 2009]

stinkfoot




msg:3916526
 3:37 pm on May 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

Just an observation but, I am seeing lots of old sites pages in <my market> re-appearing. This includes my own.

I have a range of site that have had 5 years of penalties. This has lead to few or no incoming links in that time. I have over the last few weeks been inundated with new link requests.

So, I went to have a look at the SERP on G. My rankings are back to top 20 for some "very competitive keywords", although they were number 1 for some 3 years. My analytics data confirms this with a small peak from G.

I have also noted that some old sites, from my old competitors in those days are back in the rankings. I have not seen some of these for years. Most of the ones I have noted have removed a lot of "product" pages and are now ranking with area pages.

It could be rather than just you guys are being penalised, other older penalties may have been dropped. This of course leading to many more pages of competitive content.

I would not worry to much though. I certainly am NOT expecting my rankings to last.

G hates me with avengeance. It is like I stole one of thier babies and took it to Africa. They just wont forgive me ... ever .. I am sure.

[edited by: tedster at 5:53 pm (utc) on May 19, 2009]
[edit reason] make specifics more generic [/edit]

randle




msg:3916555
 4:09 pm on May 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

This minus 50 thing is for real. Last night a competitor in one our niches thatís been rock solid top three for years, often at # 1, dropped 50 places. Most internal pages still have some PR, along with a few grey bars.

No clue what causes this but these guys have always used a very aggressive linking strategy. One that should pass any algorithmic checking, but a visual inspection could be another story.

I am a believer that Google doesnít much care for manual labor as policy, but could these be hand checks?

This 219 message thread spans 8 pages: < < 219 ( 1 2 [3] 4 5 6 7 8 > >
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