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This 395 message thread spans 14 pages: < < 395 ( 1 2 3 4 5 [6] 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 > >     
2: Google MAYDAY Update - SERP Changes May 2010

 10:22 pm on May 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

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

Puh, this is really strange: I still see 2 resultsets - and after 7 days I can say that SERPs #1 are shown from right at 0am to about 5am local time and SERPs #2 the rest of the day. I thought this was some kind of dancing around again but it seems to be quite stable now for 1 week.

Funny thing is: SERPs #1 are better then before, SERPs #2 are worse (in rankings of main keywords).

Google is no longer following my robots.txt file. It has indexed hundreds of pages that I have disallowed.

Same here, got a complete set of new pages with robots=noindex in the index.

Generally it's best to make any changes when SERPs are stable, never within an update due to panic!

In general I would agree, but I haven't seen something like "stable SERPs" since January... This makes it quite hard not to panic ;-)

[edited by: tedster at 7:43 pm (utc) on May 13, 2010]



 6:48 am on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Tedster i really think you are on to something with AI, it would stack up & make Googles job easier in the future. Reno, i think the fact they havn't said anything is a GOOD thing, if it was all complete & working how they wanted i would expect them to be shouting it from the rooftops (just preying they do not announce anyhting until we see things as "normal"!). Just one point-did anyone else experience erratic traffic prior to this all happening? Looking at analytic data i could plot next weeks vists to within +-5 which smacked of traffic throttling.


 7:22 am on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

On a large site I'm seeing the query: " site:example.com " * returning a rapidly decreasing page count.

(* I know this is not a reliable or even accurate number - just looking to see if anyone else is noticing the same.)

28th April ~1,000,000 pages
15th May ~500,000 pages

Each day has been a steady drop - a few hundred thousand less. Each page corresponds to unique content (community site). WMT listing is stable. Traffic is fluctuating with Caffine/Jazz - but not following the same trend.

The same thing is observed for " site:example.com intitle:keyword "

I haven't been tracking any other large sites to compare this with.

Exactly the same here, site: number of pages is reducing. Sitemap pages in webmaster tools is however increasing. Before may 1st they were always very similar.

Going back to page 2 or so of the original thread I posted that webmaster tools reduced pages down to 0 then back up to its usual level over a 24 hour period at the end of april. I belive the same is happening on the results but is taking longer, large sites will go down to reporting 0 pages as listed then build up in the new index with positions restored.

Interestingly while site: is reducing clickthrough isnt.


 7:34 am on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)


We have the same problem and so have other big websites.
The strange thing is that WMT does not decrease that much.
I think we just have to wait and see what will happen.


 7:48 am on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing a major increase in junk in the search results for several word searches. Pathetic. Are some spam filters turned off? Are quality and relevance factors being ignored? Are the results somehow randomized so that low ranking stuff (including junk) has a chance to be seen or evaluated by users?


 7:59 am on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Same old iridiax,
I loved google for a while last night as they had turned the spigot on, I was getting amazing referrals from Google's B dataset.

It's not over though and we have no choice but to wait

[edited by: walkman at 8:13 am (utc) on May 17, 2010]


 8:03 am on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Just had a visit from Googlebot which tracking claims was over 4 minutes in length, that doesn't sound right at all?! Still seeing MSNbot all over the place, have Bing got word of Google's issues right now?!


 8:05 am on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Just had a visit from Googlebot which tracking claims was over 4 minutes in length, that doesn't sound right at all?!

How many pages were indexed? Any idea? It may sometimes so happen that a bot visits twice at a gap of few minutes and the tracking software sees it as one session lasting several minutes.


 8:07 am on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

2 pages according to the stats, just checked another site, MSNbot seems to be going mad for us!


 9:38 am on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Reports on other forums of people seeing the old interface over the weekend, all is not well at G!


 10:13 am on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Same reports in this forum about the old interface. I'm seeing it on and off in UK at this very moment.

I don't know if it's a bad thing however. Google may be doing some testing.


 10:17 am on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

I don't know if it's a bad thing however. Google may be doing some testing.

That's the only thing that keeps me going. I'm just waiting to get back to where I was before March..

I really don't want Tedster's AI theory to be true. That would mean this is the new reality...All my months of hardwork would yield zilch.


 10:24 am on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

I don't know if it's a bad thing however. Google may be doing some testing.

They have been doing two weeks of testing on a live audience and still not got things sorted, some would argue these are some of the brightest minds in the world yet the last two weeks have been dire in terms of user experience. The results that have been shown are more like pre alpha testing results which should have never gone to a live audience. I guess it would be difficult to go back to the old system now as they have crossed the bridge of no return, the only answer is to fix whatever is wrong with the new system.

The good news from what i can tell is that content is still being spidered and added to the new google database successfuly, the problem is retreiving that data for a user search. Ie it is the front end which has the problems not the back end. This could mean that once the problem is found and resolved it will be like turning a light on, instant.


 10:34 am on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

thats probably why its got a lot to do with factoring in user behaviour. you can only gather so much info from toolbars, analytics and google chrome, because they don't reach everywhere, to all sites. at some point you have to put the whole lot in the serps and get data from the clickthroughs and bounce rates.

maybe thats why some sites are suffering more than others. if you dont get much chrome, toolbar and analytics traffic then google are basically starting from scratch when it comes to user behaviour, whereas some busy sites already have a bit of info to begin with.


 10:34 am on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

now it is getting strange:

site:mydomain.tld mydomain

returns 0 results and without the second:


returns double the amount of yesterday, like 1.3 Million!



PS: appeared for 1 minute and has not returned now for 10 more tries...

[edited by: pontifex at 10:36 am (utc) on May 17, 2010]


 10:35 am on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Despite I'm loosing users and the indexed pages are decreasing constantly, I've noticed that the most common keywords are instead getting more hits, so what I'm loosing is the multitude of "uncommon" keywords, that were about 50% of the pre-April referrals.

So basically Google wants my site to be popular with just some topics. And this is not good.


 10:37 am on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Brightest minds in the world? That's just a bunch of PR fluff. The same thing used to be said about Microsoft and every other high-tech business at one stage or another. It is a moronically badly designed interface.



 10:40 am on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Sadly Monday is turning out how i feared, dead. Usually one of the best days of the week for us, 1 sale thus far. I'm now seeing IP's from Microsoft Corp following the MSNbot activity.


 10:42 am on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Reports on other forums of people seeing the old interface over the weekend, all is not well at G!
Some of this could be due to the Firefox startup page being set to its version of the Google interface.



 10:51 am on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

I can't say i can replicate it, when i first saw the new interface i could easily get back to the old by clearing cache etc but i've not seen old faithful for quite a while now. Incidentally, i wonder if chromes incognito mode would make the old interface appear IF they are still testing without the need to clear cache etc?


 10:58 am on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google.com is giving me the old layout right now, .co.uk is always giving me the new look sidebar(in chrome). In IE they are both ging the new layout!


 11:08 am on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

I hope google do not roll back to the old layout... it looks so old now! New one is much better


 11:16 am on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

I don't care what it looks like, i DO care about earning a living though(which at present we are not doing). To be honest seeing the old layout on .com right now make me remember everything i liked about Google..........


 11:37 am on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

One of our .com sites has had it's first sales since last Wednesday, coincidence?


 11:43 am on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

@ohno... it might be a coincidence yes...

John Webster

 12:13 pm on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Is anyone elses seeing different SERPS with Firefox (3.5.8) & IE8? An Aust. pages search for "abseil window cleaning" on both returns 3,390 p on Ff and 682 p on IE. I believe Google is delivering a specific results page for IE8. Results page contains <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=8">.


 12:29 pm on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

In the new look G im still seeing lots of duplication. These dup pages were never at the top of the seprs in my niche they now rule. Very strage.

Anyone else seeing this in there areas.


 12:48 pm on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

@ John-IE was the first time i saw the new layout. I'm still getting the old layout in Chrome for .com.


 12:52 pm on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

I just discovered that google seems to tune in searchresults for what they think are synonyms for the words beeing searched for. When we searched for a term "airwidgets alu", for which we have a document with exactly that term in the title and in the text, we become a very strange mix of answers in the serps, like "widgets alu" "aluwidgets" "flexwidgets metal" etc. What we see is that google highlights all those different terms (which are indeed also different things!) in their serps.

This leads me to believe that google, whenever it sees that the number of hits from their database is too small, they
1.) start building a set of search terms with synonyms (airwidgets= widgets, aluwidgets, flexwidgets,... alu=metal, aluminium etc.)
2.) get the results of these queries too
3.) mix all results into one.

Now by the last step, they make a horrible error IMO. They do not check the closelyness of the result to the searchterm being searched for by the user. instead, it seams to me that they just use their original ranking criteria like backlinks etc. to merge the final result list.

For those who had documents that are optimized for long tail, they will suddenly find their document to compete with documents for (slightly) different terms too. In the worst case, these slightly different terms are being high volume words where people have been optimizing for a lot (backlinks etc).
This would then lead to your ranking getting worse.

We have a multilingualsite that has been hit massively in the german part, but not at all in the dutch part. When comparing the results from google.nl and google.de, we found that in the german google, there is often/always a list of synonyms on the top of the serps. In google.nl, there is none. The behaviour described above can not be found in google.nl, meaning, when you search for airwidgets, only documents that contain airwidgets will be listed in the serps.


 1:35 pm on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

That might explain why people are getting to my squeaky clean site through adult terms. Something is seriously wrong with Google. Personalized search might be partly to blame.

[edited by: cien at 1:47 pm (utc) on May 17, 2010]


 1:46 pm on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

i think the fact they havn't said anything is a GOOD thing, if it was all complete & working how they wanted i would expect them to be shouting it from the rooftops

I certainly would not expect any details from MC or anyone else at Google, but they have to know that there is a general perception (among most webmasters, and part of the public) that there are serious problems, so something as short & sweet as "Our engineers continue to fine tune the Caffeine/new format rollout" would buy them a lot of patience, as people would take that to mean that things could improve in the comings days/weeks. It's the sickening feeling that this current status quo may be the "New Normal" that is making some of us (myself included) so nutz.



 2:06 pm on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think the fact that chrome was giving me the old style on .com earlier(now new sytle) suggests it is still in progress...

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