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But is that true?
Every now and again i see a comment from a member that say's "we have no problems".
Now if that's true, we'd love to hear from you. And if it's not true - well I guess this thread will remain empty!
One new client did come to me with the loss of important traffic on a single "trophy keyword" that had been working for several years. They had recently tried an aggressive approach and probably must shoulder some responsibility for that loss -- although it is still a bit puzzling.
Despite the fact that my long-term clients have not been hurt, the shifts I see on the SERPs that I monitor do show me that there is trouble afoot for some sites -- and I am not clear about what that is, altogether. Missing home pages and "all supplemental" troubles are certainly affecting some folks, but not having an in depth history for those domains makes analysis difficult.
Our most competitive keyword phrases have either held firm or increased positioning in the Google SERP and feature on Google News regularly.
We're strictly white hat, with some strong on-theme links from PR4+ pages, our editor is building 3-5 new pages per day (news related).
We submitted XML sitemap to Google around 4 months ago, no problems whatsoever.
Site went from 50,000 pages to around 1,000 last week, but was due to a rogue script causing problems, however, we fixed the error and we're almost fully indexed again within 4 days.
Just hoping the bubble doesn't burst.
I've experienced the problems people have been reporting on my other site, so I'm left scratching my head too!
One is recovering nicely, now nearly all pages are back in the main index, having gone supplemental. The other three are still supplemental.
Of our clients sites, it's about 50/50. Some have dropped pages, disappeared, gone supplemental etc, while others have remained totally unaffected. Go figure!
As for my own site's rankings in the last six months, I've seen only a few minor changes for the keywords and keyphrases that I track. Google referrals follow the normal seasonal patterns and are much more stable than, say, Yahoo's.
Come to think of it, the only two big changes that I've witnessed on my own site in the last several years have been the Allegra update (which gave me a 30% jump in Google referrals overnight) and the mini-update of March 23, 2005 (which resulted in a 70-90% drop in Google referrals until everything got straightened out two months later, possibly because I'd fixed the www-vs-non-www duplicatation problem with changes to my .htaccess file).
I do see weird things in Google's results (such as a vastly inflated number of pages for my domain in the index), but they don't seem to be having any real-life consequences.
Sites with the same title and/or meta-description on multiple pages are suffering with Supplemental Results, or with 90% of their pages being hidden behind &filter=0 on a site: search.
Sites without a 301 redirect from non-www to www, or with all pages linking to /index.html (and with the root page actually indexed as www.domain.com/ instead) are really suffering with dropped pages, multiple supplemental pages, and loss of PR.
Sites with hardly any inbound links, and with poor internal navigation have been culled from the index, with only the pages that have a direct link from another site showing up in the site: search, even with &filter=0 applied.
The sites with problems have been advised as to what they need to fix - but you can only advise people so many times, and be ignored, before you have to walk away.
One of the sites did some cleanup of titles and meta descriptions and improved the internal linking and it looks like they are better indexed some time in the last few days. They had been down to just a few pages listed, and a few more as Supplmental. Now they have a few dozen properly indexed, and just a couple of Supplemental. Still have a few pages missing - but two weeks ago all but 5 pages were missing.
That does not mean that the Google results are perfect. Not even that they are better or worse than they used to be. Just that these sites aren't really affected by the changes.
Similarly, there are some sites that are very much influenced by even small changes at the Googleplex. But that does not say anything about the quality of Google search either, it only says that these sites are more easily influenced /more volatile than others.
No wonder as there are so many people producing so many of them. I'm not thinking about anyone here, of course ;)
If that's what the web is filled with google has to show it, don't they? Or produce better pages themselves...
Sites with quality, on-topic, inbound links, good internal navigation, with all pages linking back to "/", and with quality content, and a unique title and description per page, as well as proper non-www to www 301 redirects are all fine, with maybe a very few pages filtered (only appearing when &filter=0 is clicked).
That's a good check list. I have a few sites myself and many client sites, and they only one out of around 20 web sites that had supplemental problems was one who left his user comments areas open to spammers and had links to spammy web sites (pharmacies, adult, etc) for a few months, which I had to do a big clean up recently.
My sites are all 100% white hat in terms of optimisation.
On a "page" basis, a few have simply cratered including one that continues to puzzle me.
Other aspects - crawling (especially over the last few weeks) has been bizarre. Whether Google indexes my sites and whether it assigns me some rank or other is one thing - but it cannot make those decisions unless it has current data. And, to be frank, it damn well doesn't.
I've just started writing some code to analyse my logs and generate a CSV file to build a spreadsheet - a row for each page and a column for each search engine spider. I think I know in advance what it wil tell me - Google is between one and four weeks behind the other search engines.
Over time, once the relative age of Google's database becomes known, this will seriously impact their image. Yahoo and MSN have copies of my pages that are much newer than anything Google has read.
Unfortunately, it's my client's sites that have been up and down and in some cases tanking so terribly of late.
SEO? What's SEO? I just build a site that is fast, error free, standards compliant and beneficial to my users with a strong backbone of incoming index and deep links. I've not experienced a huge drop in Google since update Florida, Nov. '03 (when I took the gloves off and decided to give the beast what it really wants).
P.S. My site is ranked #2 out of 549,000,000 (current) results.