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Huge changes today

We've seen some massive changes this afternoon, anyone else?

     
2:50 am on May 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Is anybody else seeing some very different results right now? It doesn't appear exactly like previous results.

We just saw some major un-sandboxing but now it seems like we're back in the dirt, sort of.

We're seeing hundreds of positions type slides for sites that ranked very well as of last friday.

A few sites are showing no noticable change in rankings however.

Possible penalizations?

10:06 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Huge changes all right, down for us, way down on hits from
google, what happened Google?

Don n Cherie

10:16 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Whiterabbit, there are at least two designs but I'm guessing they're from the same people (or people of the same mindset: fill the search engines with tens of thousands of pages of over-automated junk and hope for some easy cash). One of the designs seems to have hundreds of sub-domains and each is basically a search results page with the phrase (their sitename) "has hunted for details on": (what seems to be hundreds of different subjects). They have a "sponsor" box on the right hand side and they seem to describe their site as "search made easy".

Wooohooo - I just checked on google again and all the sites seem to have disappeared from the results! One of them had adsense banners so even more reason to celebrate their demise.

My site is still buried for the search term I mentioned in my previous post but hopefully that may come back.

Oh shoosh! just checked again and the spam junk is there again. Looking in more detail there are loads of different designs and domains but basically all built around a keyword-search auto-generated page with search results combined with ebay/adsense/affiliate links to make them some cash.

Darn, I'm an affiliate myself (trying my best to do decent sites) and this is exactly the type of thing that gives us a terrible name.

[added:
Ok....checking -1111111 site:(sitename).co.uk google finds Results 1 - 100 of about 342,000 for just one of these domains (feedback form used to report this one). Another domain shows Results 1 - 100 of about 24,200 (reported) - ack - too many of them though...will have to do this bit by bbit otherwise I'll spend all night at it).

Thanks for the idea of a subdomain instead of a new site for my newest site by the way - good idea which I may use in the future if this sandbox keeps messing up new sites.]

11:29 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

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The results that made me start this thread have changed again. We went back to our top 20's and top 5's and even some good number ones as of a day or two ago.

The results look exactly the same (to me) as they were the day before I began the thread.

Not sure why things would go so south for us, then all the way back, I'd think they would just be tuned a little. Either way, I'm not complaining (anymore).

11:45 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Incredible amount of new spam today. Third level domains (ie. kw1-kw2.domain.com) are flooding the serps. Each third level domain is a doorway with one search phrase, redirecting to affiliate sites. I can't believe Google allowed this stuff in. It's 2004 isn't it?
11:52 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Sounds like you're seeing the same type of thing as me, Yankee. Flipping awful junk!
11:58 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

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All my clients are shifting and have been for about 24 hours. But seeing big changes over the last 5 hours.
12:02 am on May 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing big changes in the travel searches

Hamster77, I'm seeing my main travel related site jump into the top 10 from down at 100 for my main keyphrase.

Another travel related site in another language is right back in the top 10 from oblivion.

It definately looks to me like they've rolled back the Florida filter.

12:10 am on May 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I too have an affiliate site that took a 75% drop in traffic as of last Thursday. My keyword searches, which used to rank in the top 10, are now ranked 30 or below. It seems I was replaced by those keyword-search auto-generated page style sites as well. Also, I have noticed that some of the other sites that used to rank well using some of my keywords are no longer to be found in the top 100 results. The thing in common with most of these sites is they have a low pagerank (4 or under).
2:05 am on May 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

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>From where I'm sitting for my tracked keywords things seem to have gone back to post Brandy. Is anyone else seeing this?

I'm seeing the same things you are Hissingsid.

I was seeing these things a week ago because my areas were hit hard by Florida before the big crash. It seems this one started caugh steam Friday and still growing. You go up and down for a while.

2:46 am on May 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I started seeing this on the Friday as well. One site was released from the sandbox or whatever it was in, and two others completely disappeared for their main keywords and dropped for secondary keywords. It looks very similar to post-Florida to me, with the same sites being hit, even though I completely rewrote one of them after Florida.
5:02 am on May 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

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unfortunately with the amount of importance google is putting on an index page of a site, people are starting to use sub-domains alot more;;; because they will be seen as a different identity and also have the added advantage of being an index page.

personally i have no problem with this site structure if they are done properly; eg good unique content & are not doorway's eg: have to be linked via navigation on your site.

i have seen a few changes within the past week or so with sites coming back in; just that waiting period kills you (;)

12:11 am on May 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I think, definitely we are experimenting a dance. One of my sites has gone up 200 positions in the last 10 days and I'm experimenting big changes in all my KWs.
About the spammy subdomains the only thing we can do is wait for the googles to fix it. A good spam report will be always welcome.
5:16 am on May 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I am hoping that Google will return to pre-florida results. I still see no evidence of this. I also do not see evidence of a sandboxing of sites. I personally feel it is just a filter and has nothing to do with the newest of the site. I see many older sites affected by this as well.
I strongly doubt Google will ever go back to pre-florida or sensible results there is just too much money for them not to go back. So far the general user hasn't really taken note so there is no motivation to produce good results.
10:16 am on May 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Man, am I glad I found this thread! I thought it was just me - as of last Thursday, Google traffic dropped by 50%, dropped in the SERPS for many of my keyphrases, started to panic...thought it was due to some changes I made two weeks ago, which at the time seemed to have a positive effect.

Just about to roll them back, when found this thread...and breathed a sigh of relief. Well, kind of - although drop in SERPS appears to not be self-induced, it's still a drop in SERPS! However, gives me the confidence to ride this one out before making any changes.

Surprised that more people aren't commmenting on these changes in the SERPS, perhaps it's only affecting certain themes?

10:36 am on May 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

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on the themes idea,

were i have most seen changes is in the travel turism sector.

1:03 pm on May 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Yeah, I'm amazed too that this isn't being talked about. But of my 5 sites, 1 stopped being filtered (it's been in oblivion since Florida), 1 is still in the sandbox, 1 was left alone, and 2 began being filtered. So it's a mixed bag. None of the sites is in the travel sector though. All are targeting very competitive keywords.

One thing I've noticed is that the two sites that are being filtered now haven't had fresh tags for a few days, despite being mostly PR5. I hadn't made changes to either of them for a few months. Perhaps that was a contributing factor.

1:30 pm on May 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Yep, I'm in the travel sector...

strangely, since this morning some of my phrases are back where they were before, some not. bouncing around all over the place...

If it is a filter, it's weird - it effects some phrases, but not others which are almost identical e.g. "red widgets" is affected (dropped position in SERPS), "blue widgets" not...very odd. I guess this is one of those Google jigs where it's best to go sit on a beach for a few days and see what it's like when I get back...

3:16 pm on May 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Has anyone got anything like this:

Referrals to one of my sites dropped by 25% this week but no apparent change in the serps.

Client is worried. Any suggestions?

3:26 pm on May 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Referrals to one of my sites dropped by 25% this week but no apparent change in the serps.

Go to a library, a wireless hotspot or an Internet cafe and try looking at the SERPs from there.

Don't log in or otherwise identify yourself in any way which Google might be able to recognize.

You will very likely see a completely different set of SERPs than what you see from your own computer and from your client's computer.

3:49 pm on May 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

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My opinion was always they weren't going to run something like Florida and not use at least a modified version of it sometime down the road. I think they learned their lesson and you're seeing it piecemeal to some degree, to quite the crowd. They had everybody howling the first time around. The targeting I'm seeing is so specific it looks like a money thing to me. Adsense can't keep growing at the pace it is and Google not try and force more sites into Adwords.
3:58 pm on May 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

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>Don't log in or otherwise identify yourself in any way which Google might be able to recognize.

I get a kick out of that quotations. I bury more of my tracks with Google now days. I noticed with an old Restore program I had that programs removed were not restored. The exception that got restored was the Google toolbar which I had removed like the others.

4:13 pm on May 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I tend to think this mostly has to do with some of the websites getting out of sandbox simultaneously.

2-3 days ago I noticed 4 of my websites getting unsandboxed at the same time - the sites were all launched after December 2003 but with the interval of like 2-3 weeks each. They are not spammy, not affiliate directories and absolutely legitimate whatever angle you view them from.

They had been showing #1-3 in the sandbox serps for over a month and had been nowhere in sight in the normal search before this Monday. I have been recording sanbox top10 listings for a while and was always weirded out by how greatly they differed from the normal search top10 - on the average only about 20-25% sites coincided.

Now as older sandbox filter has been lifted I'm seeing 75-80% change in top10 serps for those keywords with my sites kicking the survived oldies' bums.

However the new sandbox search seems something pretty much like older results now...

Can that possibly mean sandbox is developing and new link filters other than just time suspension are being introduced?

5:24 pm on May 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

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[quote]Don't log in or otherwise identify yourself in any way which Google might be able to recognize.[!quote]

But that is evil. Maybe I'm stupid and ignorant but I hadnt realised they would do that. Are you saying they serve up different results based on.....what?

6:51 pm on May 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Okay, I give up - what is this "sandbox" that everyone mentions so casually?!? I've not been keeping up with something, for sure...

Also, to echo someone above, I too am seeing a much bigger drop in traffic than the drop in SERPS suggests. Weird, but not sure if I buy into the "Google knows who you are and shows you different SERPS" conspiracy theory...though it would certainly explain a few things...and there is that toolbar thing, which I use to check my site's PR...and I do check my sector's SERPS a lot...and I'm on a fixed IP...and I don't block cookies...hmmm, maybe....hey, what's that knock at the door? Be right back...

7:05 pm on May 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

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serve up different results based on.....what?

Yes, of course.

How do you think they know things like where you live when you are searching?

In Adwords, you can do geo-targeting. Do you think all they have attached to your lifetime cookie is an IP address?



"Dare to be naive."
- Richard Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983)
American architect, inventor

7:12 pm on May 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I know they can get that information. I can get that information. But I had never heard before that the results from google.com will vary depending on location (unless your searching in google.countrydomain of course) let alone on what you might be regularily searching for in the Google toolbar.

And although I have never checked it out, I have looked at the serps from other people's computers and they have always matched up with what I see on mine.

I am going to check it out. But I will be surprised to fine any differences.

7:13 pm on May 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

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based on what?

As a simple example:

At the local library here, all queries I have ever performed on google result in the

"Did you really mean this?" inquiry at the top of the results and a different set of results pages than what I see at home.

Searching for Widgets yields a list of three other guesses for what widgets might mean.

Were you really looking for wodgets?

Were you really looking for spackle?

Were you really looking for widgetry?

7:27 pm on May 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Has anyone started to analyse the changes and reach any conclusions.

The only real conclusions I have come to is that many, many sites which were previously banned or penalized (not to be confused with sandboxed) are back in the SERPS again. :(

Very disappointing to say the least. I thought Google was cleaning this stuff up? Obviously, I was either wrong or something has gone "off" with the algo. Maybe its a temporary hiccough? Pleeeease be a temporary hiccough!

4:18 pm on May 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

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In the area I'm surveying old spammers are back but definitely not to the positions they used to hold pre-florida.

I still cling to the idea this has a lot to do with simltaneous unsandboxing of many sites - at least from what I have been observing recently.

Anyone care to propose your ideas on what else apart from time factor keeps you in the sandbox?

4:24 pm on May 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

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> back in the SERP's again...

It could be that some of the filters are not fully engaged right now. We've seen that before, during these rolling update-ish thing-ies...then it sorts itself out over the next few days. Kinda.

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