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Ranking only while google dances?

 4:04 pm on Aug 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

i have a website which ranks in google for 4-10 days at a time, every few months. this has been going on for 2 years now. someone theorized that it must be a time when google was doing a bigger than usual update to their algo and during that time some filter is taken off, but once the dance is over the filter goes back on. anyone else experience this? how do i find out what this filter is?

here are some recent dates:

aug 20-29
may 12- june 14 (this one was unusually long)
march 9-17
jan 4-7
nov 5-7
sept 5-8

normally the site gets about 300 organic google visitors. during the above periods, this jumps to 1000-1500 only to drop precipitously back to 300




 3:11 am on Sep 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

That's an unusual report, cupid. Have you been able to track it back to specific ranking changes?


 10:31 am on Sep 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

Check your analytics in those periods , and outside those periods and compare the data variances.

Pay special attention to traffic referral sources , top ranking keywords & destination pages.

What do you see?


 2:22 pm on Sep 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

i see similar sites going up and down along with mine, talked to some fellow webmasters and confirmed the same situation for these sites.

when my site does rank, all top level pages get first or second page positions for the targetted keywords (2 words). when it drops off, i rank for my domain name and a bunch of long tail queries for internal pages.


 5:43 pm on Sep 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

Your observations are possibly very important. They sound like a further evolution of what we originally called "yo-yo rankings" a couple years ago. Those only affected a small subset of sites, but what they were all about never became clear.

Now you're seeing the good rankings (the high point of the yo-yo) for only a limited period - except one time when it was more extended. One of the theories we tossed around was that this kind of ranking is a type of statistical test, and if the metrics for the high rankings "pass" the test, then they stay for a longer period. If they don't, then they go down again.

What's not clear is:

1) Why only a few sites get this treatment and not the rest, and
2) What "passing" the test means

I have occasionally seen this happen to very strong sites, Fortune 500 company for example. But in that case it was only when they began ranking on a new generic keyword and only that keyword was on the yo-yo. It was only after about 5 months that the yo-yo stoppe and the high rankings stuck, in that case.

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