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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]



 10:05 pm on Jun 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

With great relief my homepage has reappeared and is ranking again. It was obviously a small glitch on Google's end.


 11:35 pm on Jun 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

mine isn't... : (

How long was your homepage gone for Troy?


 11:58 pm on Jun 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

about 1 day


 5:37 am on Jun 17, 2009 (gmt 0)


I was visiting this topic last week. My site is bulgarian /language/

My situation is the same:

28 may: Google traffic went down 5-10 times. I had 1500 unique visits from G. per day and after that date dropped at 150.

28 may: The Google page rank went up /3->4/
I think this is not a penalty, because does not make sense:
SERP - down, PR - up! I think it's some kind of a test: "What's up with this site without Google backing up?"

I have site and forum, both on one domain. The drop affects
certain categories of the manus /Joomla/, including the forum, which has 100% unique content.

Searching the forum headings in Google with commas /"HEADING"/ shows many many sites and my site is at the very last page at the bottom. Last result.

I have one page that returned at the 1 page at sunday.

No paid links. My links come 90% from forum signatures. I know that this is very unlikely to cause penalty from G. I have some link exchange with well reputated bulgarian sites.

I have 4 other sites /different niche/ and often links to all five sites appear on same pages, because forum signatures allow copule of links to be placed under the forum posts.

I have also links on my main site /the site with the "penalty" if this is a penalty/ to the other 4 sites.

I was wondering if I have to remove all the forum signatures links and stop all this SEO thing.

I decided to keep the forum signature links, and just to remove all the outgoing links /to my 4 sites and the 2 exchange link sites/ from my footer and the menus.

Hope all this SERP down is just a test and all sites will be back soon on their good positions.


 6:05 am on Jun 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

My links come 90% from forum signatures. I know that this is very unlikely to cause penalty from G. I have some link exchange with well reputated bulgarian sites.

Forum link aren't good neighborhoods and maybe Google discounted them ( or discounted your exchanges.) God knows what else was linked from those forums so be careful and get more links from reputable sources.


 7:32 am on Jun 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

Home pages can and do disappear, don't stress, they usually coem back in under 4 days.


 9:00 am on Jun 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm well past the 4 days now


 9:21 am on Jun 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

McQueen79, welcome to WebmasterWorld.

As noted, your backlink profile is extremely vunerable to algo changes, due to its lack of diversity.

If everything is forum sigs and link exchanges, you really could be heading for trouble. One cause could be your forum sigs have become common enough to be profiled, and have now been ignored en masse as link spam.


 9:50 am on Jun 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

My .co.uk site is set to United Kingdom in Google Webmaster tools geographical targeting.

I was wondering if I changed it, if it would make any change to the positioning where I've seen a drop and seen other non UK sites appear.

How do you change it once it's set? Any ideas? There is no option to change.


 9:58 am on Jun 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thank you, Shadow.

Months ago I asked at Google's help forum do the signature links help or I have to remove them.

I had some answers meaning that signatures don't help much, but there was no information that they could be harmful.

It's no problem for me to remove them, and I will, but I don't think this will bring any good as the site is already penalized.

I still can remove the links to my other 4 sites, because they are not penalized yet. They also have forum signature links.

Year from now a forum signature link was a part of the good SEO and a prescription to any new site.

Shadow, what "algo changes" do you mean? The "nofollow" thing? I don't understand how exactly this affects my site.


 10:09 am on Jun 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

The venerable Matt Cutts mentions in his blog post on Pagerank sculpting that Google changed how it handled "certain types of links" about a year ago.

Could this include forum sig links I wonder?




 10:23 am on Jun 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

Right, first thing I would do is go read everything under "the Basics" in the Google Hot Topics - FAQs [webmasterworld.com] area. That will save some repetition that would detract from the Monthly thread.

Suffice to say that G makes tweaks every day, and major updates frequently. A non-diverse profile is susceptible to changes.

Second point is that a devalued link is not a penalty- it just seems like it.

Take this as an illustration- none of the figures are real. Any similarities to real limits or values are coincidental. Say you had 999 links each averaging 3 ranking points. You add one more. At 1000 links, G notices the similarities, creates an 'imprint' of that link, and decides it will only give 0.1 points for every instance it encounters that link imprint.

Suddenly your inbound link power is 100 units, rather than 3000. You take a dive in SERPs, and traffic dies. You feel you have been penalised, but you haven't. And its not an algo change either- you have simply tripped a threshold that previously existed.

So, no use getting rid of those links. They're profiled already. Just get MORE links, from diverse sources. The Link Dev Forum [webmasterworld.com] and especially its Library [webmasterworld.com] will be helpful to you here.


 11:48 am on Jun 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks again ...for the links, Shaddows.

I will consider this. The only thing that bothers me is that all the forum headings show at the very last page of the SERP. And this are headings, not just a part of the content. If this is not some kind of a filter /as you suggest/, or a test... it must be a penalty.

Only one thing: For the MAIN keywords of the site /at the main page/ the site is still on 1-st page of the serp. And this page /the main page/ is the mentioned forum-signature link page. The forum links lead to the main page and the main page is the only page that's not affected by the serp down.

I'm writig about this to make things clear about the exact situation with my site.

Also info from GWT:

Links (12,264)

12,002 to the main site page /about 6000-7000 from forum signatures/
65 to my forum
Rest are to other pages.


 7:11 am on Jun 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

"I am hearing whispers around that some of the sites hit with a Google penalty was from buying links from a couple of companys that offer EDU links."

I have heard some whispering about this, although I would agree with Tedster - it is more about calculation of and automation of factors that are in common with standard paid link profiles. Paid EDU pages simply fit the profile so well that they may have been an easy find.

"The strange thing is that there are domains which are still listed for some keywords very well, but are gone for other keywords. "

I see this too, but it seems as though those that took hits are slowly rising back over time. Is this in line with what you see?

"With great relief my homepage has reappeared and is ranking again. It was obviously a small glitch on Google's end. "

I seen the same thing on a website recently as well, interesting phenomenon. The website ranked in position one for the business name -.com, and for the business name +.com and some keywords. However, copying text directly from the homepage and pasting into search in quotes showed no homepage found.

A day later the website returned and unique text was search-able.

There definitely seems to have been an atypical folding in of data, or re-calculation of rankings.

Robert Charlton

 6:26 pm on Jun 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

I seen the same thing on a website recently as well, interesting phenomenon. The website ranked in position one for the business name -.com, and for the business name +.com and some keywords. However, copying text directly from the homepage and pasting into search in quotes showed no homepage found.

Just a long shot here...

I've occasionally noticed that a page which behaves as if Google were filtering it out as a dupe and which doesn't rank for an exact search in quotes, may nevertheless rank for a search on which it is extremely well optimized. The phrase would need to appear both in the title and in inbound links, as a domain business name might.

In such cases, taking the further step of turning off the dupe filter... ie, appending &filter=0 to the search url... would generally restore all rankings.

This makes me wonder whether the missing home pages might also reappear with the dupe filter turned off. I'd be curious to hear if this has any effect.


 9:32 pm on Jun 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

I seem to have been victim to this strange event with google as well. My case however seems a little different.

I have checked my PageRank and it has stayed at 3 on the sub directory and 4 on the main site.

I have also checked my traffic and there hasn't been much of a drop, there was a drop around May 29th and some drop in the last week with it rising up a bit recently.

I have checked Webmaster Tools and it doesn't show anything about errors related to my domain aside from the ones it normally shows (pages blocked by robots.txt).

I haven't done a single layout / seo change on my site I mean not one in months. We have however added new content at a slow pace.

Here is the strange part:

Only a sub directory was affected which is the most relevant for the term where I have seen a sudden drop. I was 11th and now i'm 37th but I was only affected on the sub directory as the main page is still 17th which is where it was before all this started. However my main page is not as relevant as the sub directory for that particular keyword. The sub directory is entirely focused around that keyword due to the nature of the content within.

The drop in position has lasted at least one week but it could be longer.

Thanks in advance for any help or direction anyone can provide.


 7:38 am on Jun 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

Have noticed a similar phenomen on one large site. 100's of pages literally disappeared from the index for a few days but are now back and ranking better than before. Certain Major keywords however are filtered by 4-6 pages.


 8:12 am on Jun 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

Just received this answer from Google in my webmaster tools:

We received a request from a site owner to reconsider how we index the following site: http://example.com.

We've now reviewed your site. When we review a site, we check to see if it's in violation of our Webmaster Guidelines. If we don't find any problems, we'll reconsider our indexing of your site. If your site still doesn't appear in our search results, check our Help Center for steps you can take.

Of course nothing happened with reinclusion or something, and my site is still nowhere to be found on google. This site is three years old, lots of quality content, and the worst part is that some blogs that have copied my articles are ranking extremely high, and though i have reported this to google they still haven't removed these blogs. I'm really utterly disappointed with google lately. What has happened to them? I mean three years of hard work down the drain, and now I have barely no traffic from google for one month, though I haven't done any black seo technique but writing original content all the bloody time.

[edited by: tedster at 8:17 am (utc) on June 19, 2009]
[edit reason] switch to example.com - it cannot be owned [/edit]


 8:22 am on Jun 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

pelizden, there is one piece of information you might take from that response. Google staff did manually review your request, so it's not as likely that your disappearance is a bug or a false positive of some kind.

I'd suggest taking a hard look at any way in which your site may unintentionally be violating some guideline. There's a lot of good discussion referenced in the Hot Topics area [webmasterworld.com] to help you - it's always pinned to the top of this forum's index page.


 8:51 am on Jun 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

I have checked all possible reasons dozens of times, the only reason I could find was three links from this site of mine to three my other sites but this has been removed a month ago, so I really do not know what has happen. Also, none of the people that are really good in seo could come up with the reason for possible penalty when I talked with them.


 8:58 am on Jun 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

There really seems to be no reason at all for it. I got the effect over sites which are highligh optimized as well as sites I didn't touch over 4 or 6 month.


 8:59 am on Jun 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

And I forgot to mention, yahoo and bing - I'm still among top results, but they are sadly giving not enough traffic...


 10:42 am on Jun 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

Pelizden - there should be no reason why your sites can't have links to each other on them as long as it's not OTT spam and especially if your users are benefiting from their presence. Remember, you are supposed to build your sites with the user in mind and not the SE's - which is cryptic at best I know.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 5:27 pm (utc) on June 19, 2009]


 12:30 pm on Jun 19, 2009 (gmt 0)


Just wondering if anyone has first hand experience of how long you should expect to wait to see your site back in google if your re inclusion request had been processed...is it generally immediate, how long do you wait before deciding you must still be violating guidelines?

Martin Ice Web

 12:32 pm on Jun 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hy folks,

where are the poeple who cry: Well done my traffic boosted up 7 times? Some poeple must be winners?

[edited by: Martin_Ice_Web at 12:58 pm (utc) on June 19, 2009]


 1:15 pm on Jun 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

"Just wondering if anyone has first hand experience of how long you should expect to wait to see your site back in google if your re inclusion request had been processed...is it generally immediate, how long do you wait before deciding you must still be violating guidelines?"

Got hacked in WP, 8 days from request to reinclusion. Obviously I removed hacks!


 2:18 pm on Jun 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

great thanks for that.


 11:55 pm on Jun 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yikes! Not sure why this happened. All of my images are still in Google, but they completely shot down 40 of my URLS in web search which were just starting to place nicely in the top ten. I made some very tiny changes to my site last night adding a download page for podcasts and adding a link to it on some of my other pages. That's it.

Any comments are greatly aprpeciated, or if anyone else wnet through this today.

[edited by: tedster at 2:21 am (utc) on June 20, 2009]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]


 5:07 am on Jun 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

It's been two month now since I started posting about my problems. And as far as I can tell, it isn't the same as what most people are reporting (-50 or other types of penalties). I'm noticing almost no changes with SERPs for major keywords, but traffic from Google has dropped by 30%. The only major change from Google's results is the number of results returned by "site:", which has dropped by 50% and it continuing to drop.

There does seem to be a correspondence between each drop in "site:" results and traffic drops (and similarly, when "site:" goes up, traffic does as well - traffic going up has happened a few times, but overall, it's still down). Also, it's mostly the supp index results that are dropping. And the data of the drops seems to fit into with the dates that people here got what appears to be penalties.

GWT is useless because it still shows the correct (?), high number of "indexed URLs".

Anybody else experiencing the same thing, and if so, has anybody got back their "site:" numbers?


 5:07 am on Jun 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

FYI, my non-supps are completely back to normal now. Must have been a small "blip" on Google today. Strange.


 6:17 am on Jun 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

Noticing tonight a few sites that were seemingly gone for the last 6 months are now back for keywords they rightfully ranked for before. Anybody else noticing this?

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