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This 210 message thread spans 7 pages: < < 210 ( 1 2 [3] 4 5 6 7 > >     
Google.com SERP Changes - June 2009

 12:35 am on May 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

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

I want to echo Outland88's comments on the previous page:

...Google is rotating results, changing the positioning daily, and showing sites on a day/night schedule with many keywords. You canít tell what youíre going to get whenever you do a search. It can explain traffic drops. Google probably has the rankings tied to weather conditions and the price of oil to name a zillion things.

Just finished putting together a spreadsheet that draws from a sampling of ranking positions for eight keyword phrases (3 words) that normally drive substantial traffic for a specific site. The "normal position" for each phrase is between 1 and 15, and I've seen occasional jumps of as much as 10 positions in a single day.

Taking about 15 samples each month for the past year, averaging those results and putting it into a fancy graph, it seems that each phrase has generally kept a particular trend (up/down/equal) for a period of 3 months, followed by a "bump" and then either maintaining the previous trend or establishing a new one. The phrases consist of 2 sets of closely related, nearly interchangeable keywords.

I don't think anything can predicted from a single SERP drop unless the site itself has undergone considerable changes or the webmaster is engaging in aggressive and possibly greyhat marketing/SEO tactics.

If you worry too much about a sudden drop, maybe it's time to take a step back from it all...

[edited by: tedster at 5:47 pm (utc) on June 1, 2009]



 9:03 pm on Jun 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

That's right I didn't notice it, old site punished back 2 years ago, rightfully so, back on top position....still the same link schemes but apparently now Google loves it. Odd.

I also see a lot of Blackhat strategies taking over, not filtered at all.

I looked at my pages that dropped and the difference in IBL recently was NATURAL and increase, so no keywords in IBL...that makes you drop, talking about odd results...


 12:29 am on Jun 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Actually now that I looked at it in depth: all new first page spots across the board are taken by:
1. Older sites that have been penalized (rightfully) in the past: agressive link building, obvious domain network interlinking, keyword stuffing and probably more.
2. Brand new pages that benefit from very agressive link building.

For example I see 1 guy that now holds 3 results on page 1 for all variations of a major keyword: 2 domains and 1 youtube video (obvious fake views and comments of course).
The pages ranked have nothing else than very old type of on page SEO with exact matches in the internal links and on the target page.
The domains otherwise are very much unrelated and most IBL come from totally low end unrelated pages as well. Pages are quite new, like 3 months old and have really nothing to offer but of course Google can't parse videos.

If I wouldn't see it with my own eyes, I wouldn't believe it! And it definately seems to stick...after all Google is still in beta.

If I understand correctly if you are not a super hyper mega authority (we are just autorithy with sitelinks for a long time) then you can be hijacked by anyone with a webcam and a couple of automated software. Nice!


 12:46 am on Jun 10, 2009 (gmt 0)


Have a quick question for you. My site is still in the -50 penalty and I am preparing a re-consideration request. One thing I wanted to ask is" Will adding rel=nofollow to all outgoing links on my site be good or give google a shock and mess things up even more? I do have nofollow on my forum but also have a articles on the site that sometimes link to external sources I am not 100% are "good neighborhoods"



 1:53 am on Jun 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Not 100% that your links point to good neighborhoods? Not enough time to vet each and every one? That's exactly why rel="nofollow" was first created, so have no fears about using it.


 2:02 am on Jun 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks Tedster, you da man :)


 11:40 am on Jun 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

I simply do not believe what is happening to me. This must be the mother of all the bad luck in the world. I mean like it is not enough that google penalized from God knows what reason my seven sites, now I'm finding that blogs that have copied my entire articles are ranked extremely high while I'm nowhere to be find. All hard work down the drain...I'm already getting sick of reporting spam sites that rank high because of my content.


 11:52 am on Jun 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

In my SERP the top 3 sites all have an identical mirror on a .com /.co.uk domain with interlinking. There was only 2 at #1 and #2 and I was at #3 but now I have been pushed down after the update and replaced by another duplicating site. I thought G was supposed to be good at spotting dupe content?

I noticed that G has in fact cached some of the pages of the secondary sites as the primary site but has missed several. It seems to be a powerful cheat that I hoped G would penalise instead of reward in this update!


 1:04 pm on Jun 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Please, please, please let there be a big update be going on right now. The biggest pile of rubbish you've ever seen is being listed above me. It's infuriating. The No.1 and No.2 spots are filled with relevant information for one particular search I'm monitoring but the rest between them and me is scrapers, sites on "possibly-related-through-99-degrees-of-separation" and even sites not in the english language!

Either there is a big update on, Google has lost their mind ... or I have the mother of all penalties to be listed under that stuff ...


 2:46 pm on Jun 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

I can't believe that the guys at Google are going to leave this algorithm as it is for long.

To be honest for my main 2 word term although I think the SERP is poor I don't think that ordinary users would think it is particularly poor. From a Google point of view though, if they left it as it is it wouldn't be long before it was really poor and users would start to notice.

I think we should all hang fire and see what happens next week. At the moment it looks like the guy who keeps the anti spam sauce safe has gone on vacation with the key for the cupboard that they keep it in. Perhaps he'll be back next week and they can squeeze a bit out of the bottle.




 2:58 pm on Jun 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

I too have noticed a huge increase of poor quality websites in google results recently. I have been so disappointed that I have actually been using bing the last couple of days for my daily searches.

Maybe We should all post our displeasure on the official google webmaster forums, maybe someone from google will actually listen and realize they are headed in the wrong direction.

I noticed some of my old neglected extremely poor quality websites have been receiving more traffic, time to take advantage and benefit from this.


 3:12 pm on Jun 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

I have been so disappointed that I have actually been using bing the last couple of days for my daily searches.

OMG! Have google's results really got THAT bad? :)


 3:45 pm on Jun 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

I think that brinked must be Bill Gate's favourite nephew. Google would have to get pretty bad for Bing to be an alternative.




 3:50 pm on Jun 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hi everyone! I'm completely new to this forum, but everything I've read this far is really helpful :)

Today I realised my e-commerce website has dropped from PR 4 to 3, without us making any major changes. We have NEVER used ANY black-hat tactics and follow all the usual "do's" and "don't"'s of seo. At the moment we have dropped 1 page for our main keyword (10 positions) while a newer competitor, with more or less similar content ranks higher than us. Last month we found they have hundreds of hidden links in a random page.

Somehow doesn't seem fair :(
Any suggestions? (other than maybe... life isn't fair!)

Thanks :)


 4:17 pm on Jun 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

haha Hissingsid,

Don't get me wrong, google is still my search engine of choice. However, if I can't find a result I am satisfied with on google, I have been using Bing as an alternative and surprisingly, have been able to find a few good results on bing that google did not have.

I am sure what we are all experiencing is some sort of a google dance or update and I am sure google will be restored to its quality self.

Inathens, I wouldnt worry so much about PR as I would actual rankings. Dont do anything major, wait for this "update" to settle down and level off.


 4:55 pm on Jun 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Although it is very difficult to ascertain the changes that this wave has brought, I definitely see here that one portion of this change was about links, and how Google values links.

For one website I watch, who received a recent batch of editorial links from a well known news website, the website has tanked for those exact phrases, but none other. The phrases I am referring to match the domain name (since that is the name of the business, but happens to also be the competitive keyword)

Other keywords have improved for this website during this update.

I am also seeing other websites -50, or off the charts altogether that used to be competitors.

Really difficult to say what this could be, but my sense is that G is testing out new changes with the algo that try and better detect whether a link is paid.

For some websites, Google may have simply tried devaluing particular links. For others, it is as if a penalty was handed over for it.

All that being said, this could be a botched test or push of data as well. The 'big' paid guys in our competitive fields never budged.


 6:32 pm on Jun 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

cangoou - are you referring to sites being released from old penalties? Or existing sites being penalized?

Sorry: It's existing sites from the Top10 being penalized. Some got a lot of links from 1 or 2 networks only, but for some I just can't see a reason.


 6:40 pm on Jun 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

I've just been reviewing two threads about SERP changes in June 2008:

Major Ranking Losses on 2008 June 4 - 5 [webmasterworld.com]
Google.com SERP Changes - June 2008 [webmasterworld.com]

It's almost as if an entire year hasn't gone by. First page sites dropping down, 90% traffic loss and junk sites floating to the top. OK - last year there was a lot more noise about it, but the patterns sound very much alike.


 6:41 pm on Jun 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

@inathens: Welcome to the forum. Well, you can do everything right and even drop in PR - it could be that sites linking to you dropped in PR (so your PR is dropping as well), or (because PR is calculated over ALL pages google knows) there a just very much more pages in the internet - and eventually you reach the border from 4 to 3.

It seems that google is spinning the wheels right now, so it's hard to say if the results may change again in a few days, but it seems likly. The suggestions can only be general: Try to make your page accessible for google and relevant in your topic, and then try to get high quality-links pointing to your site.


 6:42 pm on Jun 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

It's almost as if an entire year hasn't gone by. First page sites dropping down, 90% traffic loss and junk sites floating to the top. OK - last year there was a lot more noise about it, but the patterns sound very much alike.

What happened then? Did Google change their algo again or did they keep it?


 8:13 pm on Jun 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

It's almost as if an entire year hasn't gone by. First page sites dropping down, 90% traffic loss and junk sites floating to the top. OK - last year there was a lot more noise about it, but the patterns sound very much alike.

Tedster, nice catch. What are your thoughts on this? Is this possibly part of the summer testing that seems to happen close to the time when schools are out?


 10:30 pm on Jun 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Is this possibly part of the summer testing

That's what I'm thinking. Just some conjecture on my part, but we do see this pattern at various times - junk sits floating up and then vanishing. It seems to happen at relative "lull" times, such as the beginning of summer or just before the holiday season kicks in at the end of fall.

I wonder if there's a tie-in with the quality raters - the humna editorial input staff. Google makes a change that can possibly float potential junk sites to the top ten on competitive phrases (as well as some potentially under-ranked urls) and then see what kind of reports come back on those SERPs.

Whatever it is, I'd say it also involves some kind of statistical modelling.


 7:10 pm on Jun 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

The search results were stable here for the last days (Germany), but the quality of results is at least questionable in my opinion. Strange sites have risen into the Top10 of high traffic keywords. Some older domains have up to 3 pages in the Top20 of search results, something I have never seen before. I can see many things that are described in this thread, too.

I cant believe these results will stay for long...

[edited by: tedster at 10:35 pm (utc) on June 10, 2009]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]


 11:03 pm on Jun 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Interesting take Tedster. Our owned and operated site had about an 8% jump up Monday (Big site - 8% is material). I thought it was because of our increased content, but it looks like sites in our category seemed to all jump as well. These are large sites with a very broad content range.

While we only have three years of data. It appears that sites in our category grow more quickly the second half of the year and then slow down until June/July.


 6:53 am on Jun 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hi guys

Interesting reading, what concerns me about all this is it doesnt seem to be effecting some sites, but yet just about all my sites have been hit and lost positions in google.com, is the advice to just sit and wait to see what happens for the time being ?



 6:55 am on Jun 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

@brinked I'll have to restrain myself from making any major changes and wait.. cheers :)

@cangoou Thanks! It's so frustrating, but I guess that's SEO! If you want predictable results you have control over, stick to PPC, right?

Thanks for the welcome and the replies. I'm definitely keeping a watch on this forum from now on. Keep up the good posts ;)


 8:28 am on Jun 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Google makes a change that can possibly float potential junk sites to the top ten on competitive phrases (as well as some potentially under-ranked urls) and then see what kind of reports come back on those SERPs.

Google Depth Charges(TM)

I have a new site with five lame backlinks ahead of my eight-year-old site for a very competitive KW. lol.



 9:53 am on Jun 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

It looks to me like some type of relevance score at the site level - am am doing about the same for highly relevant keywords, but a lot worse for tangentially related and ambiguous ones.


 1:05 pm on Jun 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

One page recovered back to position 3 in Google.co.uk from 40 but another one dropped the same day from 4th to 44th.

Very up and down at the moment. Although I'm getting extra traffic from Bing at the moment, so it's not all bad.


 4:47 pm on Jun 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

< moved from another location >

Hello, and I hope you can help, or shed some light on my problem. When my website was set up about 4 years ago, it took a while to get to Google's front page from our main keyword, obviously, I accept that. Nothing happens overnight.

For the last few years it's been at position 6 or 7 on page 1, under my competitors. But I was relatively happy with that.

About a week or so ago, it just went to page 3, not dropped one or two places but 2 pages, and has taken about a week or so to go back to where it was. This morning was the first day it went back to where it was. However, this afternoon much to my horror and absolute frustration it has gone to page 8! in one day. No drop, just page 1 to page 8.

Is this common and why me and not my competitors, some of which are far newer sites than mine. The pages 1 to 8 are all irrelevant to the subject matter and are not even relevant. Nothing has been done to the site in recent months, so can any of you helpful people tell me what may have happened, or shed any light. It's happening at a time when business is hard enough to come by.

Help appreciated, or if anyone knows if Google has done something in recent weeks to make these things happen.

Thanks for reading


[edited by: tedster at 7:53 pm (utc) on June 11, 2009]


 7:58 pm on Jun 11, 2009 (gmt 0)


I am experiencing the same exact thing with one of my websites. was result #7 for a few months and top ten for over a year and was going in and out of the 3rd page every day. On a positive note..my crappy neglected sites have gotten a boost. So I'm updating them to take advantage.

Just wait it out...its most likely an update that should settle down soon enough. just hang on till the ride is over


 10:33 pm on Jun 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thank you, I hope you're right. I think the worst part about it is that none of my competitors in the same business, have moved an inch. After the disappointment of dropping to Page 3, last week, then the relief of going back where I was this morning, to just going to page 8 in a matter of minutes, it's a real nause. For some reason Yahoo is a lot kinder, but as we know, it's Google that can make or break you these days....


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