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This 571 message thread spans 20 pages: < < 571 ( 1 2 3 4 5 6 [7] 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 ... 20 > >     
Google Updates and SERP Changes - February 2011

 11:19 pm on Feb 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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

Related AdSense Farm Update < continued from [webmasterworld.com...] >

It's a new month and our regular SERP watching thread has been neglected a bit lately. Most of the posting right now is on dedicated threads focused on specific changes - especially the Scraping algo change [webmasterworld.com] and the promised (but not yet active) campaign against Content Farms [webmasterworld.com].

But Google's perpetual update machine keeps on turning. I'm particularly wondering about sites that publish a lot of legitimately syndicated content rather than a lot of original content. Did your rankings and traffic wobble with the "dupe content update"? If they dropped, did they rebound?

I'm watching one such website and though they are mostly republished content, nothing seemed to change.

[edited by: tedster at 6:00 pm (utc) on Feb 4, 2011]

[edited by: tedster at 8:38 pm (utc) on Feb 26, 2011]



 11:14 pm on Feb 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

and what could it show us about the current algo?

It's getting self important!


 11:45 pm on Feb 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

LOL - that's funny.

Here's my point. That result is wildly irrelevant but still the algo picked it. Yes, the query is crazy long tail and not likely to be anyone's ranking goal. But why would the algo weight things that way at all, even in an edge case?


 2:13 am on Feb 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

"On Febuary 21st, 2011, GOOGLENET Became Self Aware..."


 2:29 am on Feb 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

More like "On Febuary 21st, 2011, GOOGLENET perfectly simulated clinical narcissism..." In other words, "Enough about me, now what about me?"


 3:05 am on Feb 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

Wait until it gets cocky and does that will all 10 ... "You think you want to visit another site? I can't let you do that ... Start over ... google.co.uk is the answer you were looking for ..."


 3:19 am on Feb 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

From a SEO challenged perspective. What we are continuing to see on one of our sites at about position 6 in the U.S. but at 1 or 2 in other places, for example Canada and the U.K.

I can only fathom that G is thinking (well if the algo can really think) is that the site is of less relevance in the U.S. contrasted with Canada and the U.K. Thus a government controlled site, wikipedia, old U.S. state dept docs from 3 years ago etc. ride to the top.

The funny thing is that most of our business AND organic traffic comes from the U.S. then the U.K. and Canada - thus for this site G has it upside down - at least in our view.


 3:47 am on Feb 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

Shouldn't you also factor in that there is no google.us? That means google.com has an entire world full of potential URLs to rank, so you're up against a lot more competition on google.com.


 4:02 am on Feb 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

These terms only appear in links pointing to this page: ernie plasterer manchester

OMG, it looks like google never wants to get away from links..rather they use it for everything and now the latest additions are "Page title alters" and erroneous stuff like these!


 4:08 am on Feb 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

Why haven't they altered the page title to "ernie plasterer manchester"?

1) User searched for it.
2) It looks like they are present as anchor text to google.co.uk.

But those words are not present on page, and that could be one reason the title might not have been rewritten.

Yet they rank google.co.uk for that search because someone felt it is a page about "ernie plasterer manchester"! It looks like they trust those third parties (who link) more than the page owner or themselves (in this case google.co.uk) now!

If google.co.uk can be gamed, why not lesser mortals like us?


 7:41 am on Feb 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hi Tedster,

I'm surprised in the importance that you are giving to this anomaly. In the past I seem to remember you dismissing the occasional odd observations from members as temporary and relatively unimportant issues that will eventually be address by Google.

So why the sudden change?


 8:13 am on Feb 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

Mostly because the site involved is a google search home page. I thought it would be interesting to look at this search result anomaly because the on-page content barely exists - limiting most of that side of the ranking factors, and that makes analysis a bit easier.

Also it's less likely that anyone is trying to game the thread to help themselves or hurt their competition. I do personally study search anomalies that I come across, but the amount of potential gaming that would go on if we allowed such posts as a regular practice here would be destructive.

I didn't want to de-rail this thread into some big side conversation - sorry about that.

Earlier internetheaven mentioned seeing the SERPs change with each page refresh. Tonight I saw the Suggestions change as I typed and backspaced my query. The very same letters in the search box triggered different suggestions at different times. Could be related?


 9:27 am on Feb 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

if you look at the cache

"These terms only appear in links pointing to this page: ernie plasterer manchester "


 9:41 am on Feb 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

Yeah - sort of breaks the "backlinks should be on the same theme" idea, doesn't it?


 9:53 am on Feb 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

But isn't this more likely to be an external hack that just illustrates the weight of anchor text rather than a google weighted conspiracy ... or am I just reading something into your comments that isn't there ?

All I am seeing is a weight change towards links coming from digg.com


 10:04 am on Feb 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

No conspiracy theory here at all - it's a bug or an edge case in what the algo does. You can sometimes learn something new by looking at the edge cases instead of the normal ones.


 3:11 pm on Feb 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

< moved from another location >

Did google makes some changes to it algorithm, in the last 24 hours?

I am starting to get worried, i use to have a website rank very well on a specific keyword and just disappeared this morning... no changes were made to the website in the last 6 months and to me it looks like google just put a new filter ...

Does anyone have any information about that ?

[edited by: tedster at 4:41 pm (utc) on Feb 23, 2011]


 4:52 pm on Feb 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

It does look like there are changes almost every week, if not every day.

Unlike what you had experienced, I see some new pages popping out to the front page from nowhere, for some searches I track.I only noticed them within the last 24 hours.

[edited by: indyank at 5:07 pm (utc) on Feb 23, 2011]


 4:57 pm on Feb 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hi Member22,

I've seen a couple of forwarded domains that used to rank very highly completely removed from the index over the past few days. They didn't seem to be involved in link farming or keyword stuffing etc. so I'm assuming it has something to do with the forwarding (possibly flushing duplicate pages).


 8:47 pm on Feb 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

What with all the odd fluctuations, the reports of brand dominance in some quarters and other odd reports (thinking particularly of Tedsters client who got major traffic fluctuation which he couldn't pin down), is it not possible we are seeing a ramp up of social media awareness and Google taking into account who/what is being talked about? Just a thought.


 9:53 pm on Feb 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

It's a decent thought, too. In my client's case, it would have to be adding niche, regional social media to the mix. No big changes in volume on the top shelf social sites.


 10:15 pm on Feb 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

Probably unlikely in that case but might partially explain big brand-boosting.


 1:43 am on Feb 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hmm, did some test searches to see when google.co.uk appears in resutls and when not.

ernie plasterer manchester (Yes #9)
manchester ernie plasterer (Yes #9)

ernie manchester plasterer (No)
manchester plasterer ernie (No)
+ernie plasterer manchester (No)
ernie +plasterer manchester (No)
ernie plasterer +manchester (No)
"ernie plasterer manchester" (No)

ernie plasterer manchester1 (Yes #8)
ernie plasterer manchester 1 (Yes #7)
ernie plasterer manchester 2 (Yes #7)
ernie plasterer manchester 3 (No)
ernie plasterer manchester 4 (Yes #8)
ernie plasterer manchester 5 (No)
ernie plasterer manchester 6 (No)
ernie plasterer manchester 7 (Yes #6)

ernie plasterer Lancashire (Yes #12, second page - note the word Manchester was replaced with Lancashire!)

Perhaps it is to do how Google classifies itself as a site? A bug in the new site classification?

Compare first two pages of the following searches:


It seems to me that google.co.uk is more related to other services such as small business directory, national rail enquiries, route planner, property portal, shoping site etc. For google.com such sites are much less prominent on the first 2 pages of results.

So maybe it is to do with site classification gone wrong and in very non-competitive queries google site just popped up top?


 4:33 am on Feb 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

Has anyone noticed a loss in rankings as of today (Feb. 23rd) around 3pm PST?

I got half my keywords wiped off the face of the map. The other half went down a few places.

<<edit>> I'm in the Los Angeles area


 6:06 am on Feb 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

It's nice to see that webmasterworld gets listed for "ernie plasterer manchester" now also :-)


 8:32 am on Feb 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

Has anyone noticed a loss in rankings as of today (Feb. 23rd) around 3pm PST?

Yes I saw a loss in rankings tonight, first time this year.


 8:56 am on Feb 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

yes did noticed some changes in the search results for my keywords, but what is wired I sometimes appear and sometimes don't appear on google, it seems that google is doing some kind of testing of some sort...

what I also noticed is that whether I do the search on google classic or google encrypted or type my keyword in the search box of my navigator I sometimes appear sometimes don't appear....

Did anyone noticed that too ?


 12:19 pm on Feb 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

I saw an across the board drop of about 30% (so far this AM) on a 2 year old site with a VERY solid link profile....


 2:13 pm on Feb 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

I am still analyzing results but it almost smells like link age is a factor. Older more established pages SERPs seem to be benefiting. My newer pages with new links that ranked well seemed to have been hit.

Also your sites authority/trust seems to be a factor but I do have some really strong authority sites that lost rankings also.

So its a mixed bag and still trying to figure it out.


 2:24 pm on Feb 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

We have one complete removal ! No site: listing whatsoever. This seems to have happen on the 17th of February. The site is 6 years old, a personal artist page with no adverts, 4 links to our other sites / services and a good bunch of art site incoming links (PR2 - PR5).

According to the site stats there does seem to have been a surge for 2 weeks prior to the 'kick'. The site only gets around 10-20 visitors per day, so not of much interest to us ... but it might ring a bell for someone out there :-)

I'm wondering whether the recent ups and downs have been the result of a large purge (maybe bad behaviour reports being acted on) and the resulting loss of link juice.


 3:24 pm on Feb 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

Drop of 60% in rankings here. Homepage gone and other sections of the site still ranking but dropped a few spots. Looks like the overall authority of the site has been affected.

Site age 9 years. The other sites that I do see up are mostly established/old sites. So link age does seem to be a factor here. But our other sites that are new are holding their positions, so I am not too sure..


 3:37 pm on Feb 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

@darkroom, would you say that your site's link profile has more or less anchor text diversity than the average?

This 571 message thread spans 20 pages: < < 571 ( 1 2 3 4 5 6 [7] 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 ... 20 > >
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