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Major, Sub-Major, and Minor Google Updates

The 'continuous update' as discrete events.

     
1:42 am on Sep 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Feedback welcome on my observations:

Every three weeks google goes through a 'major update' - today is the day for it.
There is a 'sub-major update' weekly. And then 'minor updates' almost daily (what may be considered 'fresh updates')

Listings change gradually with the 'minor updates'. I suspect they are either mixing in local page rank updates (based on fresh crawls) or slowly combining the old and new indexes over that period to avoid webmaster upset.

If next week your total site serp referrals goes up (from 'minor updates' that is, or between 'sub-major updates' not from tonights 'major update'), that will likely continue for the next three weeks. If they go down, they will continue downward until the next 3 weeks until the next 'major update'.

This has been the pattern for about 4 months over many sites that I have seen. It happens like clockwork.

9:55 am on Sept 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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you are spot on with the schedule, but I haven't seen the following:

If next week your total site serp referrals goes up (from 'minor updates' that is, or between 'sub-major updates' not from tonights 'major update'), that will likely continue for the next three weeks. If they go down, they will continue downward until the next 3 weeks until the next 'major update'.
10:39 am on Sept 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>This has been the pattern for about 4 months over many sites that I have seen.

Either time flies very quickly or you had some deja vue. I think you are right that since the end of June there has been a fairly consistent pattern, but between March and late June it was chaos.

>If next week your total site serp referrals goes up (from 'minor updates' that is, or between 'sub-major updates' not from tonights 'major update'), that will likely continue for the next three weeks. If they go down, they will continue downward until the next 3 weeks until the next 'major update'.

I had to read this several times. But I think what you are saying is that "fresh sites" can gain or lose between major updates, but only powerful sites will see gains out of the major updates? (not sure that if any clearer than the way you wrote it ;) )

For me fresh is good, keep it fresh and you keep it high......no downside at all :)

Same is also true in most cases if you keep it "powerful" with large numbers of backlinks. That's a bit harder to achieve though ;)

10:59 am on Sept 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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For the keywords I check, there is indeed some change in the SERPS today, but not as much as there was about 10 days ago. That makes me wonder whether there are indeed both big and small updates. I tend to think that there are just frequent updates, which affect your sites to various extents.
11:46 am on Sept 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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My observations. (I should say that my site is quite a bit smaller than most people's here, so I may be seeing slightly different things.)

Fresh updates occur most days.

"Deep" updates, yes, about every three weeks.

Pagerank updates also about every three weeks, but a different schedule.

My experience is that while the fresh updates can discover new pages, they don't "stick" unless they're continually refreshed, at least until the next big update.

12:18 pm on Sept 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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well I was expectign to see new sites listed on sat or sun night like usal and it didn'T happen, but a lot of spiderign of new pages took place, that differs from my experience for the previous 4 weeks.

SN

12:44 pm on Sept 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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If next week your total site serp referrals goes up (from 'minor updates' that is, or between 'sub-major updates' not from tonights 'major update'), that will likely continue for the next three weeks. If they go down, they will continue downward until the next 3 weeks until the next 'major update'.


What I mean is that rankings tend to increase for a site over the 3 weeks between major updates or decrease - but not both (well, possibly stay constant). For some volitile sites it will make your traffic chart look like a sawtooth wave with a period of 6 weeks (two 3-week cycles).

It is as though the trend in ranking is pre-determined at week 1 of the three week cycle - that is, they are just MIXING in results to the current results (or averaging rankings between the current and the new) in order to make a gradual change.

NOTE: This only applies for large sites ( > 5,000 uniques a day) with great keyword diversity. Smaller sites I've seen have a much more random pattern.

12:48 pm on Sept 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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"God doesn't play dice with the universe, but G does with the world wide web" :)

p.s. update? those dinosaurs still alive?

12:51 pm on Sept 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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p.s. update? those dinosaurs still alive?

Yes. They are just shuffling the cards slowly.

12:55 pm on Sept 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Either time flies very quickly or you had some deja vue. I think you are right that since the end of June there has been a fairly consistent pattern, but between March and late June it was chaos.

Yes, right... three months - 4 update cycles - sorry.

9:47 am on Sept 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

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p.s. update? those dinosaurs still alive?

Reading one of the forums [webmasterworld.com] I thought that Google "dance" (that's what they call google major update) was dead and they only involved freshbot.

Or am I missing something?
Val

[edited by: Freshman at 11:15 am (utc) on Sep. 9, 2003]

9:47 am on Sept 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I thought google doesn't do "comprehensive" update of all 3+ billion pages in its database anymore, simply registers new sites and updates those with changing content more or less regularly.
6:45 pm on Sept 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I totally overhauled an old website two and a half weeks ago. Every day since, Google was coming along once a day and grabbing the index page then running off again. The index page was already in Google.

Two days ago (Sunday) Google came along and took just under half of my sites new pages (it's a pretty small site).

This seems to fit in with the pattern that Google will update existing content daily if the pages refresh that often. But will only go hunting out new pages every three weeks.

7:43 pm on Sept 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

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This seems to fit in with the pattern that Google will update existing content daily if the pages refresh that often. But will only go hunting out new pages every three weeks.

No, Google will pull new pages near-daily as long as they are linked to from a page that is being crawled daily and perhaps under other circumstances (submissions, toolbar, etc).

Reading one of the forums I thought that Google "dance" (that's what they call google major update) was dead and they only involved freshbot.

The dance IS dead... sort of. The 'major update' is not quite a dance - there is often very little noticable change before and after it for any particulair key phrase. I suspect that it is a recalculation or correction of the page rank estimates made on the fly during the sub-major and minor updates, and that the magnitude of the change depends on the accuracy of these local PR estimates.

[edited by: jcoronella at 7:48 pm (utc) on Sep. 9, 2003]

7:48 pm on Sept 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Not sure about to name it major and minor cycles, but there are two regular periods between deep crawls: one and three weeks. At least in my logs from July.
High pr pages visited daily.
7:50 pm on Sept 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

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The toolbar thing is "officially" a myth...
8:07 pm on Sept 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

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martinibuster

I don't understand or you're confused with another thread :)

9:21 pm on Sept 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

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From message #14
No, Google will pull new pages near-daily as long as they are linked to from a page that is being crawled daily and perhaps under other circumstances (submissions, toolbar, etc).

My response:

The toolbar thing is "officially" a myth...

;)

9:54 pm on Sept 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>"officially" a myth... <

Googleguy is on the record I believe in stating that visiting a page with a toolbar enabled browser doesn't give googlebot a heads up.

Some of us "officially" disagree.

Sorry to take the thread OT a bit jcoronella, I think I see your observations. Will keep a closer eye.

11:24 pm on Sept 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I don't have anything good on this except an anecdotal observation, but I have one page that has been doing this for five weeks at least... Google does a middling update, it drops to 18th or 19th as "fresh" spam is introduced. Nothing happens for a couple days, next several days it climbs about one slot a day as spam is filtered out (or pagerank added, same effect) until reaching 12th or 13th, then Google has another "let's add some fresh crap" middling update and it drops to 18th. And then we go through the process again.

It's 13th today, except a jiggling tomorrow...

12:51 am on Sept 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Another observation:

Four days ago I added a page which the way is linked will get pr4+, intended to rank as a separate section of site with different keywords, etc...
Today I had "daily" googlebot for the usual pages with fresh tags from 64.68.82.xxx (crawlerxx...) and this page was visited from 64.68.88.xxx (crawlxx...) alone.
It was like "out of schedule".

I read around here something about crawler/crawl but I thought it's pertinent.

1:27 am on Sept 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

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p.s. update? those dinosaurs still alive?

Yes. They are just shuffling the cards slowly.

Thats funny, I look at it as if the cards are being dealt much faster.

1:41 am on Sept 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Google does a middling update, it drops to 18th or 19th as "fresh" spam is introduced.

Well put. I've had fresh spam go straight to number one, sometimes for just a few hours. Did I belong there? Heck no but it was cool.

There are certain competitive categories where the usual sites have dropped way down in the serps. Could it be there is always a constant flow of fresh spam pushing back the sites that belong at the top?

10:58 am on Sept 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

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An update of some kind has occurred across www, www2 & www3.

>edit< Just checked - all data centres are now showing new results.

11:17 am on Sept 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Hi, deep crawl today after three weeks exactly.
3:57 pm on Sept 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

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the toolbar can be used as a bot whistle.

DaveN

4:03 pm on Sept 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I also noticed some changes in serps.

My web site is jumping fron 4 to 12 ranking on a leyword in Google :)

9:04 pm on Sept 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

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IMO, the SERPS change over a cycle period as the different update functions are processed (ie. freshing, indexing new pages, processing backlinks, etc..) This is all spread out over the cycle, making the index more dynamic. This all seems to get done in at least the amount of time as the old monthly updates.
The only thing I see as a current problem is the amount of spam still not filtered. :(
5:40 am on Sept 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>bump<

This thread has some merit. Let's try not to forget about it and keep it updated over the next few weeks.