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And when I say different, I mean different Direct Hit listings, different number of ODP listings, and my two top 30 listings rotating in and out, sometimes you'll see my first page as #23 and second page as #26... then first page as #20 and second page a no-show.. etc
As I gather more data into the spreadsheet and look for patterns I'll let you know, but right now I'm stumped (not tough for a dumb pixel-jockey)
For example... One of my pages was bouncing back and forth from the bottom of page 2 to the top of page 3 depending on what set of results you came up with. (I've noticed 3 or 4 different sets I think) At one point, I must have spent a little too long on page two of the results (a set with mine listed on page 2) before moving to page three... low and behold the reults rotated on me while I was on page 2, when I hit the "NEXT" link to move to page 3... I was there at the top of page three AND the bottom of page 2 (I was careful to use the BACK button on my browser NOT the "BACK" link on the page itself. Indeed, using the back and forward button on my browser, I was #20 (bottom of page 2) and #21 (top of page 3). Once I confirmed that I was NOT crazy, I used the "BACK" link on page 3... the new version of page two that it brought up did NOT have me listed at all.
I will continue logging my results on the spreadsheet if anyone thinks it will be helpful to see... what worries me though is a few things. There are some URLS that are available in ALL the results.... and some URLS that drop in and out. My pages are ones that are dropping in and out... does this mean they're on the way out of the database? How do I get the lucky position of having 'em show in ALL sets of results?
Is this old news? Am I just now catching on to something everyone has been seeing for a while?
A few of those values "float". I believe the string is time base encoded and ip hash encoded. Sure, you have your standard search values and a few power search values, but the rest of those are not needed. I've not studied it close enough to tell what the pattern is, but the string values change with the hour of the day. Some times you can do searches and see entirely new form/value pairs popup (sq, xt, and zx are popular)
Why would they do that? So that any click throughs coming BACK to Hotbot that are "stale", they throw out those in the direct *hit counting. Any click over say, (guessing) an hour from the time the search is processed is thrown out.
I've about given up on click through chasing. It just isn't working anymore because of those Hotbot changes.
Geeze man, I didn't even think of looking at the strings, I was too focused on the results. I probably should have been running tests on keywords that I don't have a personal interest in, keep emotions out hahhaah.
Still not sure exactly how it works... but any thought on why some of my competitors are staying put at, say #20, every time, and my two listings are bouncing around and bouncing out from time to time?
As always, Thanks Brett, I was getting tired of staring at that neon green on HotBot's page.
Maybe they are pulling an altavista - switch the results just to get the webmasters to come back and search for thier site. Always run with graphics off on the search engines - don't give them the satisfaction of .01 of a cent on the ad view