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Every 6 months they do a shift.
This "shift" brings in a bunch of new sites and does a bit of "rotating" to fit them in.
They also said that it effects thousands of sites.
I showed them my sites and they told me (i will keep the email of course) that "not to worry, in 3 weeks my sites will be back online the way they were before".
So, I am counting the days.
All the webmasters here are under 30! ;)
That "every 6 month shift" thing sounds a bit suspicious. As I remember, GG told us to expect the constantly updated algo (back in Feb?); that dances were a thing of the past.
Still, it would make a lot of sense for G to periodically shake things & webmasters up a bit, cleaning out the obvious riff-raff that makes it way into organic SERPS.
Doesn't sound like the typical Google reply. Are you sure this wasn't via Google Answers, perhaps?