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Google Updates and SERP Changes - October 2009
jd01




msg:3998938
 10:47 pm on Sep 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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

What is the Caffeine Update?

Google File System v2

A couple of years ago at the first Seattle Conference on Scalability, Google’s Jeffrey Dean remarked that the company wanted 100x more scalability. Unsurprising given the rapid growth of the web. But there was more to it than that: GFS – the Google File System was running out of scalability.

[storagemojo.com...]

Background Here:
[storagemojo.com...]

[edited by: tedster at 4:05 am (utc) on Oct. 1, 2009]

 

tedster




msg:3999005
 12:23 am on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the link, jd01. Normally we don't link to blogs from this forum because they are notoriously not dependable sources of information. But keeping that in mind, let's make an exception to policy for those two articles. They offer an interesting viewpoint that members may appreciate.

aristotle




msg:3999028
 1:31 am on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

If my understanding of Caffeine is correct, it doesn't involve an algo change, but SERPs could still be affected by the fact that more data will be collected and fed into the algo. The additional data will be collected by deeper and more frequent crawling activity.

It occurred to me that this could theoretically hurt the rankings of sites that depend on backlinks from high PR pages for most of their incoming link juice, but might help sites that have a lot of backlinks from low PR marginal pages.

jd01




msg:3999036
 2:12 am on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks for letting them stay tedster.

I stumbled across them this AM and had to sit and read, because as soon as I realized what they were about and the information they presented I was blown away. IMO it's the best 'Plain English Synopsis' of what the Caffeine changes entail.

I usually only try to post links to 'official documentation' references, but there's a bunch of information there I thought it was good to share, since there seems to be sooooo much confusion about what's going on.

@aristotle

If my understanding of Caffeine is correct, it doesn't involve an algo change, but SERPs could still be affected by the fact that more data will be collected and fed into the algo. The additional data will be collected by deeper and more frequent crawling activity.

It occurred to me that this could theoretically hurt the rankings of sites that depend on backlinks from high PR pages for most of their incoming link juice, but might help sites that have a lot of backlinks from low PR marginal pages.

My personal opinion is:
Yes and No.

To the best of my understanding the changes are basically an upgrade to what is largest, fastest, most robust information processing, storage and retrieval system ever created...

IOW: They took the best and are making it better.

The preceding stated, the reason I think yes and no, is because it's not like G has stopped growing it's database while still using GFS v1, so:

Yes: IMO it could theoretically hurt (or help) the rankings of *some* websites, *sooner* than they would have been affected using the current GFS.

No: IMO it will not hurt (or help) the rankings of websites, which would not have already been affected with the current GFS, at some point in time.

So, in short, my basic feeling re website rankings and the Caffeine Update is:
The Google Caffeine Update Accelerates Inevitable Rankings.

Robert Charlton




msg:3999048
 3:01 am on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

jd01 - Thanks for the post. The article is a great read. I'd be remiss if I didn't include, for reference here, a link to the Google Research Publications abstract page for 2003 paper that was a source for much of the article, and which also links to the pdf of the paper....

The Google File System - Abstract
Google Research Publications
[labs.google.com...]

Hissingsid




msg:3999207
 12:26 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Doesn't this topic deserve a thread of its own. It is much more important that SERP Changes 2009

Cheers

Sid

barretire




msg:3999277
 2:14 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks for Moving this to October Tedster. I bet this thread will be hot this month.

AlyssaS




msg:3999452
 7:26 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Rather than speculating in general, it might be worth people checking out their own site to make sure everything is in order.

Here's the test url for Google Caffeine:

[www2.sandbox.google.com...]

First use the site operator to make sure all the pages of your site are indexed in the new engine. Then put in the urls of your backlinks to make sure they are there too. And then you can set up a spreadsheet to compare rankings between the old engine and caffeine engine for your main keywords.

Of course you can't check everything - my hunch is that Caffeine will be good for long-tails if your site has a lot of content - but till someone actually searches for these terms and they come up in my analytics, I can't be sure.

For most people their rankings should be exactly the same. But if you are one of those affected, at least you have time to work out why and attempt to fix it.

IMO Google wants people to check their sites like this - that's why they've given us access to Caffeine ahead of time. They want to avoid the shock and controversy that Big daddy provoked.

Anyone shocked by the time Caffeine rolls out has only themselves to blame for not checking things out beforehand.

internetheaven




msg:3999487
 9:01 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Here's the test url for Google Caffeine:

[www2.sandbox.google.com...]

Don't suppose there's a country specific one for the UK?! ;)

My rankings look okay ... I think ... but not sure how this Caffeine thing affect country specific Googles. Most of my traffic comes from Google.co.uk

AlyssaS




msg:3999544
 11:34 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

internetheaven - sorry - I initially thought that the little blue link saying "go to google uk" below the search box was the Uk version, but it isn't.

Will check M Cutts blog to see if he has anything to say about local versions.

Edit: OK here's the entry:

[googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com...]

and here's what they say:

If you have language or country specific feedback on our new system's search results, we're happy to hear from you. It's a little more difficult to obtain these results from the sandbox URL, though, because you'll need manually alter the query parameters.

You can change these two values appropriately:
hl = language
gl = country code

Examples:
German language in Germany: &hl=de&gl=de
[www2.sandbox.google.com...]

Spanish language in Mexico: &hl=es&gl=mx
[www2.sandbox.google.com...]

[edited by: tedster at 12:49 am (utc) on Oct. 2, 2009]
[edit reason] add quote box [/edit]

mirrornl




msg:3999551
 11:44 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

[www2.sandbox.google.com...]

tedster




msg:3999571
 12:54 am on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks everyone for sharing what you know about Caffeine. I think that should clear up some of the questions people have.

Now let's take further discussions about Caffeine to the thread that's devoted to the topic: [webmasterworld.com...]

...and return the focus of this thread on updates and SERP changes.

c41lum




msg:3999590
 1:46 am on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

good idea

Hissingsid




msg:3999748
 9:33 am on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

AlyssaS New User
Here's the test url for Google Caffeine:

[www2.sandbox.google.com...]

First use the site operator to make sure all the pages of your site are indexed

Do I put the words I want to search for in that box in the middle of the page?

Back to the topic of the thread.

Has anyone else noticed an upturn in the weight given to keywords in URL at directory and file level. I have a term that I have been #1 for over the last few years. Even when other terms had a blip this one stck at #1. Now it is at #3 and has been overtaken by pages that after analysis only swing it because of directory and or file names.

Cheers

Sid

PS Tedster please don't edit my sarcasm its just a bit of self policing.

jd01




msg:3999773
 10:46 am on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

Do I put the words I want to search for in that box in the middle of the page?

I've heard you get better, more consistent results if you write the words on the screen, then click the bookmark link to your site... You always come up first!

##### ### #####

Actually, Sid I haven't seen that definitively in the terms I usually watch... I have noticed more in some 'fragments' of the terms, but not overall, so I don't know if I would personally attribute the differences to the URL words or not.

Hissingsid




msg:3999787
 11:03 am on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks JD that really made me chuckle :-)

The reason I was asking about keywords in URLs is because I'm considering making a new page at /key-word/key-word.html and doing a permanent redirect in my .htaccess from the old page. The alternative is to leave my on site well alone and go mad on building back links to see how many I need to overcome the competitors URLs.

Cheers

Sid

AlyssaS




msg:3999873
 12:50 pm on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

HissingSid

Do I put the words I want to search for in that box in the middle of the page?

LOL Sid. Apologies for teaching you to suck eggs. It's just you were acting so obtuse on the Sept thread when you asked "why would Google want to index more pages", I thought perhaps you were a beginner :-)

jd01




msg:3999909
 1:48 pm on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

The reason I was asking about keywords in URLs is because I'm considering making a new page at /key-word/key-word.html and doing a permanent redirect in my .htaccess from the old page. The alternative is to leave my on site well alone and go mad on building back links to see how many I need to overcome the competitors URLs.

I'd opt for plan 'B' personally, for these reasons:
1.) I think it looks obvious you are trying to influence rankings by making the change when it's just adding a duplicate keyword to the URL... (A new page on a new URL that's more 'keyword rich? Maybe, but then you run the risk of being too similar and displacing your self into a nice balanced 12 and 22 if they're both really good pages.)

2.) If they 'turn the dial' on the URL keyword weight a bit and you show up as 'overweight' you could tumble into the 'triple digits' or at least into the land of 'no clicks'.

3.) If you build the links, it's much tougher for anyone to overcome... If you can outrank your competitor by adding a keyword to your URL, what's to stop them from adding another and outranking you again? Would you add a 3rd then?

I would personally build the links.

Glad you got a chuckle... I was having one myself while I was typing.

hitarizona




msg:4000254
 11:20 pm on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

< moved from another location >

Noticed today that the SERP for my top targeted keywords are completely different coming from different ISPs, as much as 10 positions in some cases! My company name is actually showing behind WebMD for some reason (even though our company name has medical in it, but other than that, there is no relevancy) - and it's always shown in the #1 spot. There is also no business relevancy there.

Also noticing on the "bad" results that the whole first SERP is filled with a bunch of terrible results... old (2002) news articles, old forum posts, it's awful. And not just saying that because it's negatively affected my site.

Searching in the caffeine sandbox, all is ok - so is there some major update going on? Also noticing like other posters mentioned, that subresults are indented on the primary result... taking up nearly all of the real estate above the fold. In my case, these subresults for my main competitors are OLD OLD news from 8+ years ago.

Any insight?

[edited by: tedster at 1:48 am (utc) on Oct. 3, 2009]

jd01




msg:4000322
 6:27 am on Oct 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

I just read hitarizona's post and started thinking about this thread:

Is there such a thing as too much content? [webmasterworld.com]

It almost sounds to me like there is something going on with the Stale v Fresh portion of the algo... Maybe it's just me, but it seems like there's quite a few comments about old outdated pages ranking lately.

jd01




msg:4000370
 10:27 am on Oct 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Just a lil note on my previous post, so you know where my thoughts were coming from, because it's easy to miss what I was looking at if you don't read the initial post carefully and I don't want to get flamed out...

(The 'old pages' being ranked for some searches are specifically referred to in the last post of the thread and indicates they can be brought up for searches by the OP at least.)

But, in the first post, there is a reference to 'new pages' *appearing* to 'rank quickly' without traffic increasing, which indicates to me there are a couple likely possibilities:

The 'old pages' are no longer generating the traffic they used to as the 'new pages' take their place and traffic remains 'status quo', or (what I get by inference from 'appear to rank') is the old pages are still ranking and generating their average amount of traffic, and for some reason (possibly due to some type of targeting) the 'new pages' are ranking for the OP (and possibly others) only for a short period of time, but the new pages are not ranking nationally (or not ranking nationally for a long period of time).

In either case, page age / frequency of page updates (part (not all) of stale v fresh) seems to be a factor in the thread and here in this one...

Here's an interesting little point about stale v fresh in the algo: Part of the stale or fresh determination of a single document (page) has to do with the stale or fresh determination of documents (pages) linking to the document (page), so if the pages linking to another page are considered 'stale' it will influence the determination of the page receiving the link(s) to the 'stale' side and if the pages linking to another page are considered 'fresh' they will influence the determination of the page receiving the link(s) to the 'fresh' side.

How could adding new pages which are 'more relevant' (or newer) to a search cause well aged pages to continue out ranking them, even though they are 'old pages'? If the 'new' (fresh) page(s) link to the 'old' page(s) in a search where 'fresh' is considered a benefit the 'fresh' links from the 'fresh' page(s) keep the determination of the (old) page (document) receiving the links tipped to the 'fresh side' and the inbound links the 'older, but determined to still be fresh' page is likely to have acquired make it appear the 'strongest' choice to return in the results where there is a choice between similar pages from a single site to be returned in the SERPs.

Hissingsid




msg:4000373
 10:43 am on Oct 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Anchor text in outbound links pointing to on topic pages can be very powerful.

Cheers

Sid

BillyS




msg:4000383
 11:04 am on Oct 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Is the Google network struggling this morning? I can't seem to get into Analytics, Adsense and search is extremely slow...

jd01




msg:4000384
 11:08 am on Oct 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yeah, I just tried to check my gmail, but got tired of watching the blue line stall, so I tried iGoogle, no go, finally ended up switching to html view to get into my mail...

BillyS




msg:4000391
 11:19 am on Oct 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Nothing in the Google domain is loading correctly for me...
East Coast U.S.

jd01




msg:4000397
 11:27 am on Oct 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yeah, there's something going on here on the west coast too... I was trying to access the php.net website and kept seeing 'transferring data from ajax.googleapis.com' ... Seems to have come back up while I was posting, but for a while everything I tried to access was basically down, except G.com, so there must have been something big going on with the back end.

ADDED: Gmail's still not loading for me in the reg. view... Tried analytics after you posted and it's a 'no go' out here too.

BillyS




msg:4000398
 11:33 am on Oct 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

I couldn't reach Youtube either.

jd01




msg:4000401
 11:46 am on Oct 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Ditto... Search just went down for me.
ADDED: Search is back up now (post time +5 min), but at a crawl.

ADDED x 2: Crawl = 2+ Minute Load Time
(@ post time +10 min IOW 56 after the hour)

ADDED x 3: Everything's back up now.
(On the hour.)

Probably deserves a 'Good Job Googlers' since you were back up on the hour on the button out here...
I wonder what ya'll were doing while we were supposed to be sleepin' though?

[edited by: jd01 at 12:12 pm (utc) on Oct. 3, 2009]

Hissingsid




msg:4000405
 12:12 pm on Oct 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

This could be serious. How will World leaders make a decision without Google?

Sid

jd01




msg:4000408
 12:31 pm on Oct 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

This could be serious. How will World leaders make a decision without Google?

They'll probably have to use a lifeline and phone a friend...
Or use their Bing-Go boxes to try and find the answers.

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