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This 358 message thread spans 12 pages: < < 358 ( 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 [8] 9 10 11 12 > >     
Google Updates and SERP Changes - January 2010

 1:07 am on Jan 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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

the SERPs were different in the past few days for sure.
changed mid day today.



 6:23 pm on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

That just seems like a ton of work to me and makes things more complicated than they need to be

It IS a ton of work. That's the point.
I'm not using hyperbole when i say 24/7. Check my posts archives on what _I_ was doing Christmas eve.
What was everyone else doing?

Have you heard my speech about lazy SEO lately? =P

If you want to try and keep up with the Gorgs algo then for sure that sort of research is needed, but, since the algo is ever changing you may never get the answer you are seeking.

Again, i wasn't using hyberbole.
When you do the work, the Algo becomes EASY to Understand.
It's Not some mystical black box that one can only hope to reverse-engineer.
But Gorg and SEO Gurus want you to believe it is.
I wonder why.....

And answers ARE apparent.
(See below)

I never do well playing chess against computers, but people I beat all the time... know what I mean?

Exactly my point.
You haven't done the work to beat the ALGO (Computer, 0s and 1s)

You may beat the other competitors, but suddenly the ALGO
throws a -30, -950, Yo-Yo, #6 bug or Update at you and one is SUDDENLY LOST.
Scrambling around on SEO boards looking for advice....
Begging Gorg Employee #1-#3 to impart some FUDDY info...

I also suspect that you haven't/can't used your knowledge to GROW YOUR BUSINESS and DIVERSIFY
into 10s to 100s of other industries and keyword terms.

That's leaving money on the table considering it takes a MINIMUM of effort/money to translate ALGO-WIDE knowledge into keywords/industries profits you might not even care about.

BTW - the better than average chess player can only think 4-5 moves in advance, the computer algo chess player thinks 8-9 moves which is consider "Master" level and necessary for "3rd Tier thinking"


 8:30 pm on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

The best way to learn is to fail. I have been running websites for over 12 years now, I have been hit with probably every kind of penalty you can be hit with. Every time I have failed, I have learned something new. Every time I have been hit with a penalty, I have managed to come out of it (some quickly, sometimes months). The point is, you won't learn anything unless you go out there, try it and fail over and over again.

When I fail, I try to look at my website from a search engines perspective "If I was google, and I were trying to filter out the nonsense, what measures would I take? hmmm....first of all if all my links are coming from only directories, or only blogs, that most likely looks artificial".

Google is not going to straight up tell you what can get you penalized. Ignore link packages, link schemes, 1000+ link packages etc...if they really worked then everyone would be on that wagon.

If there is anything I have learned is that buying links is not a good gameplan. Buying content / tools that produce natural links is a much better investment. You are still buying links, just not directly. Sorry for babbling.

Whitenight makes good points in that you must work smarter, not harder. Its the little things that can add up to make all the difference in the world rather than just having tunnel vision and getting to aggressive with links.

Anyway...I wish google would fully roll out this update so I can sleep at night and stop haveing nightmares about getting a penalty haha.

if anybody is interested in seeing caffeine results, try different proxys until you see caffeine results and then you can see what you should be in store for.


 9:09 pm on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

There are definitely some DCs showing some fabulously odd results. I am getting tired of it though but as I look at the results I must ask myself are the results worse just because I dropped in rank for keywords I care about or are the results themselves worse.

If the answer is the former than you must resolve yourself to the fact you have to do better and this is sometimes daunting as a site beats out my site by 10:1 in traffic and brand recognition. Wouldn't be a challenge then would it!



 9:18 pm on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Whitenight, you've spiced up this thread for me while hitting the nail on the head. :) I have just been spanked with -60 on a 6-year-old site, but I am hopeful it's temporary. I have seen it all before. Penalties can get lifted as quickly as they appear, and lasting SEO takes hardwork/dedication.


 9:26 pm on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Tedster said:

There is the possibility that Caffeine changes are making access to accurate link data
problematic on Google's back end. That's one kind of correlation that just might be in the picture

Do you suspect that problematic link data during this Caffeine transition could cause temporary -30/-50/-60 penalties?


 10:23 pm on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

In the past, Google's reporting data (Webmaster Tools, or the link: and site: operators, etc) were always a second layer of data access, one that was performed after the ranking calculations, and not before. So that kind of report data was not causing anything.

That fact certainly does not rule out a deeper bug in the process right now, because something out of the normal run of things does seem to be going on. Google is moving a lot of data around, and sometimes the data imports are buggy. However, I would not assume that any ranking drop that lasts more than a few days was an error.

[edited by: tedster at 2:47 pm (utc) on Jan. 18, 2010]


 12:57 am on Jan 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Nice initial post White.

Like anyone who has been and continues to thrive in this business, it becomes much like anything else you intend to master - immerse yourself in it. Good teachers might give you the occasional useful tip. Masters might give you a rare gem.

Whether you take screenshots daily, sift your logs 10 times a day, collect and analyze a rank of websites covering the top 50 queries, study how to be more effective in connecting with authority webmasters, or simply just read - you are moving towards, taking steps, turning stones - and as you pointed out, really BEING SEO.

And anyone who does this will be successful in this game, let alone any adventure they choose in this book called life.

And anyone that enter into it just for money might reach some success, but will likely never glean the same level of impacts, or personal enjoyment, as those who love doing it, to an obsessive level, every day.

Makes me think, we almost need to create a thread on own WebmasterWorld version of Jeff Foxworthy's "You might be a redneck"


How about WebmasterWorld's "You might be an SEO"


 2:44 am on Jan 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

I am seeing results from the regular google.com on this datacenter


and the other ones that have been mentioned instead of Caffeine results.


 3:10 am on Jan 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

yeah its weird. I was using a web proxy that was seeing caffeine results all week. Just now I checked and its showing the regular google results I have been seeing all along. Could this mean google was doing a test on some data centers and is now ready to start rolling it out everywhere? Only time will tell


 3:28 am on Jan 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

So what's the consensus? What did we see late last week? The serps are very different this week


 3:43 am on Jan 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

I am seeing results from the regular google.com on this datacenter

and the other ones that have been mentioned instead of Caffeine results.

Help me out here: what is the search string (search?q=) in this url doing? With it (using the url you provide), I see an index I have never seen before. Without it (going straight to and performing my search), I see completely different results; I see the index I have been looking at for weeks/months.


 3:53 am on Jan 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

This url was provided earlier in the thread to look at the results from Google Caffeine.


 3:57 am on Jan 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

That just seems like a ton of work to me and makes things more complicated than they need to be. If your objective is to get ahead of other sites in the serps then it is much less work to watch them, not 100's of unrelated stuff.

Kelowna, whitenight's point was not as I understand it to be about JUST beating your competitors, it was about acquiring a sophisticated system whereby one can henceforth be able to predict future G* ranking ahead of time. It is a ton of work and does make things complicated (in the beginning of the learning curve, which is understandable), but imagine if after years of study, testing and application, you are then able to predict even with 20% margin of error a ranking mechanism or be it the algo pattern upon which the SE itself is built, then you have hit a diamond mine on your own owned land!
whitenight's point is about standing away from outside your own sites and look at how G* works with any and all sites, a point I referred to on one or two threads before when people are praising G* as "Got it spot on" when their own sites and client's sites are doing well, and "G* is absolutely poor" when they are not doing so well. In short, his/her point is about being PROFESSIONAL not EMOTIONAL about SERP changes and G*'s algo.

There are more complicated things for which it is difficult to produce any accurate forecasting, stocks and shares, the weather, economic growth and decline and so on, those are in my view a lot more difficult as they entail a lot of outside and inside variables, pressures, forces, macro and micro as well as political decisions, climate change etc. BUT we have the science for it and that's called operational research or statistics and probability. Historical events which requires data gathering over the years, study and analyze the data, add or take away possible outside influences and in time you have a fairly reliable model


 4:08 am on Jan 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

I am seeing results from the regular google.com on this datacenter
and the other ones that have been mentioned instead of Caffeine results.

That's still Caffeine the results are much different for me.


 4:12 am on Jan 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

i am seeing caffeine once again..it has returned


 4:16 am on Jan 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

I am seeing Caffeine again also.

Looks like they were showing results from the regular google.com for about an hour.


 7:31 am on Jan 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Do you remember waaaay back in late Nov./early Dec when MC told the world that Caffeine was being delayed to "save stress on webmasters before the holiday" and it would be rolled out soon afterwards?

Do you remember what I said was the reason back then?

So here's the question for you, IF as MC said Caffeine was "ready" a month and half ago, where is it now?!

We're halfway done with January...what's the hold up?

As I'm too "lazy" to find the original thread where I pointed out the issues, I'll point to my first and second post in this thread

Are they "testing" or simply screwing up?

With the Caffeine datasets being LIVE (ie sending actual and large amounts of traffic) for periods of time, one wonders what the hold up is....again.


IMO, The Caffeine infrastructure update is a complete mess right now.
(which is probably why they are hesitant to rollout the dataset now)

As several threads indicate and I observe,
If the old infrastructure is called "Big Daddy 1.0"
And Caffeine is "Big Daddy 2.0"
(aka superfast indexing, etc)
Then, again, after trying to roll out Big Daddy 2.0 in mid Dec, it was such a disaster that they reverted back to Florida 3.0!
Which is the nonsensical indexing and updating that's been occcuring for the past month or so.

Psst. I said back in Oct Goog was having MAJOR problems with getting Caffeine rolled out.

It's been over 6 MONTHS since dev.goog was showing Caffeine
(and according to MC in a NATIONAL interview, the engineers had ALREADY been working on it for months before),
you figure it out...


I'm not even going to go into why the current Caffeine showing is an OLD Caffeine dataset compared to what was shown on Tues and Weds.

Hmm, how would anyone be able to prove that? =P

[edited by: tedster at 12:12 am (utc) on Jan. 16, 2010]


 11:31 am on Jan 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Watching thread with interest.

My 0.02:
Watching UNrelated words FORCES you to get out the "rankings changes cos I did this and he did that" mindset. You also notice when crap sites appear/disappear from competitive/uncompetitive SERPS [thats a diagram with 4 cells], as well as when certain techniques work better or get slammed, and when attributes like internal structure are particularly useful (such as when Google needs to sticky-plaster poor SERPs). Most importantly, you are automatically aware when churn is related to you and your niche, or to some structural algo change.

Google cannot do a glorified SEO affiliate scheme. What would happen to their reputation when "approved" SEOs using "approved" techniques get slammed by an algorithmic oversite? And what information would they have over their "hotline"? Same tripe they peddle through existing channels, or actual truth like "our core business sometimes goes tits up- but don't worry, it isn't noticable to the average user"?


 12:11 pm on Jan 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

I found massive increase in PR of this website <snip>. Before this update index page has rank 1 but now index page has PR 4. inner pages have PR 2 or 3. Thats great 4 me

[edited by: engine at 12:56 pm (utc) on Jan. 14, 2010]
[edit reason] See WebmasterWorld TOS [/edit]


 12:42 pm on Jan 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Well it certainly will be a good traffic day for that site thanks to your posts.


 3:41 pm on Jan 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

[] for me mixes .co.uk and USA and some .au results together.


 1:29 am on Jan 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

I am seeing Google Caffeine results on Google.com.


 2:26 am on Jan 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

I am also noticing that the amount of white space on the left side of the results in the SERP has decreased.

A visual change.


 2:37 am on Jan 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

I can confirm some brief changes in SERPS. They go right back as far as I can tell


 3:26 am on Jan 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

Matt Cutts said at Pubcon that Caffeine was not so much a change to SERPs but more a change of the technology behind the search results... allowing for faster and more efficient processing of the results.

So I am not sure we will be able to see as big of a change as some folks are looking for... I would guess much of what folks see (changes, etc) are also probably linked to personalized search results.

It is just too difficult to say anything with certainty about SERPs today, except maybe that there is no certainty. ;-)


 5:04 am on Jan 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

HissingSid mentioned,

When did the max width columns start to appear?

i've been seeing these on an off for well over two months now, pushes the number one organic serp well down, absolutely horrible. Fills the page with Google's products and leaves nothing else.



 7:16 am on Jan 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

As i said before, WAIT UNTIL IT RELEASES if you're losing sleep over "what's going to happen next".
try to gain some knowledge by watching the screw-up to see what patterns you notice.

Great advice, both timely and historic. Patience truly is a virtue in SEO.


 12:04 pm on Jan 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

caffeine is available if you reach google tru a certain proxy called pagewash, its been on for over 5 hrs...


 12:18 pm on Jan 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

I am getting different results using pagewash ...what does it mean? is it caffeine for sure?


 12:38 pm on Jan 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

these results are similar to results i used to see(for my keywords) on caffeine when it was available


 5:23 pm on Jan 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google tweaks in minor ways all the time - pretty much every day.

This 358 message thread spans 12 pages: < < 358 ( 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 [8] 9 10 11 12 > >
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