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Sudden ranking changes in FAST

Site doing well everywhere but here



11:00 pm on Aug 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have a web site that is currently on the first page of my target keyword in Yahoo, Google, Altavista and a few other SE's, but it seems I can't do very well in ATW. In fact, it appears that my site has been booted from the directory altogether...

What are the most common reasons for getting kicked out? Are they trying to "encourage" me to use their pay for submission service?


11:08 pm on Aug 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member heini is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

>booted from the directory
I'm assuming you mean the Fast index here? If so - did you lose positions, or is your site out of the index altogether?
These days I, along with other folks here, see some updating, some major position changes, and some rather awkward serps in general.
Not sure what's happening at this point.


1:19 am on Aug 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I am in a similar situation. I have no sites listed well in alltheweb. However, for the same keywords, I am doing very well on google. Plus, the sites that rank high on alltheweb results are not even related to the specific keyword. My main competitors aren't even listed (my main compeitors and I dominate the top 5 listings in google).

I don't think the algorithm could be this bad. Maybe the sites ranking high are using Lycos In-Site? I am not using it, although I am not sure about my main competitors.


8:59 am on Aug 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

me too, I have several sites that have dropped positions in ATW for no real reason. I haven't paid for any of them. looked like 2 sites had the index page dropped. This may explain some of the drops but I can't really see any clear pattern.


3:04 pm on Aug 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Well at least I have some validation from others here that this is a huge problem with the results in Alltheweb.

I too rank well in all the other major search engines for our keywords and I have paid for inclusion with Lycos Insite, and I too seeing very different and very irrelevant results..and no I am not complaining about rank, I am seeing sites which have absolutely nothing to do with what I searched for.

The only option that works at this time is to use the "exact phrase" button to the right of the search box...then it works...

But that should not "have" to be clicked to get even closely relevant terms as most common users will not know that.

I have been in correspondence with Alltheweb (who will answer you almost immediately, which is good). But the answer is vague and they just tell you to use the "exact phrase" option, and that they do not guarantee rank (of course we know that).

It might be a good idea if we are all having concerns that you email Alltheweb as maybe they will take notice of how we feel if they receive it directly.

I have been monitoring Alltheweb daily for months and these are by far the worst results I have seen to date, and they are the same bad results in Lycos, so it is definately a FAST problem...who knows, may change tomorrow...this engine changes more than any I have observed in my short but concentrated time engaged in these boards.



4:01 pm on Aug 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member heini is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

as I said before, I see strange serps coming up. Interestingly those exact serps do also change on me - and show very relevant listings.

Simply I can't tell what's happening, but my guess is there's something going on behind the scenes.

>email ATW
Chances are the more emails ATW are getiing the less good are the chances they have the resources to look at that problem and answer those mails. I do not think that is a very good idea.


11:40 pm on Aug 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member heini is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

More ATW strangeness:
german example site comes up top5 in unrestricted search, all languages.
same site, when restricting search to sites in german language is buried.
Seen quite a few examples of this, where ranking in restricted search do not at all correlate with general search.


3:19 am on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


I'm new to these boards.

I've been playing the search engine game for about 6 months now. Having reasonable success with Google and Inktomi. Having nothing but problems with FAST(Lycos).

I submitted using the free FAST submitter but nothing seemed to be happening so I used the Lycos paid inclusion. After about 3 weeks and lots of phone calls finally got my home page spidered. Despite their promise to respider every 48 hours some of my updates took much longer to be indexed.

During this time my free submission took hold and I then had 2 incarnations of my home page in the index. FAST had also spidered my other pages, although at first they were old pages.....then they were new pages......then they were a mixture of new and old pages....currently they are VERY old pages.

The ranking of my home page on my chosen search terms was doing quite well, between 5 and 10, although a variety of incarnations of my home page were in the index. Each time I did an update FAST seemed to keep the old versions. Then about 3 weeks ago the search results started showing GERMAN sites with no connection to the search criteria. (Worth noting that when you submit under paid inclusion you do so under a German Lycos website.) The German sites disappeared only to be replaced with more irrelevant rubbish.

Total confusion and disillusion led me to these boards! Now at least I know that I'm not the one going crazy.

I had read in various articles that FAST was supposed to be the competition to Google - err, I think not! (God knows some is needed - a World wide monopoly on information retrieval has to be worse than World Government).

At least I know the competition also appears to suffering the same fate. No need to email Fast. The partner websites will see such a reduction in search traffic as users realise that Fast couldn't find the right information if it jumped up and bit it that they will simply switch to the other engines (sorry, meant Google).

Can't wait to see what surprising websites pop up next!


3:52 am on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks for your contribution and welcome Merlin.

Sent you a sticky mail (personal email) which you will find the link to at the top of the page.

I think you will enjoy these forums, I know I have and I am very new myself.

Great place to learn and participate with a wonderful group of very professional and generous individuals.

Best, Linda


6:11 am on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

It is good to know that others are seeing something strange going on with Alltheweb's SERPs.

It seems to me that Alltheweb’s SERPs have gone back in time or something. I was first included in their SERPs a few weeks ago and now those rankings have completely vanished (although I am still in the index). Also, I noticed that on average, the number of “results of web pages found” has dropped by about 5-10 percent when compared to a couple of weeks ago.

I’m hoping that for some reason they are using an older database to generate the SERPs that I see tonight. Maybe they are having some problems or maybe they are getting ready for a new update or maybe they are planning something big. Anyway, I wish things were back like they were a few weeks ago.

Edit: I did a bit more reading of the Fast/Alltheweb posts on this forum and it appears that Fast/Alltheweb acts quite a bit moody and strange every few weeks/months or so. The advice I seem to hear is to just sit back and let Fast work its way through its crazy spells. You know, one could use this advice in relationships as well . . . I just hope Fast isn't trying to break up with me.


12:42 pm on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi all..
I thought that was only my problem :)
So, is ther somebody who has good rankings on Google and Fast?????
Please, tell us your "small" secret :)

For me it seems like they take Google results, and change the order. Take the last one from 3 000 000 Google results.. and here we go - first place in Fast. And so on :) Kust kidding!

BTW, I could not find my site even in the first 1000 results, althouh ranks high on Google


12:54 pm on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member heini is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Hi Merlin welcome to the board.

It appears we have at least two different problems to deal with here.
One is the paid inclusion. If you read around this forum a bit you will notice quite a few people being unhappy with the InSite service provided by Lycos. I'm not sure if the problem is on Lycos or Fast/ATW's side.
Anyhow, the administrative end of things should hopefully improve with PT jumping in.

Then there's the serps coming up at ATW and Fast's portal partners. Now lets be careful in analyzing the problems here. Fast ranks diferently from Google. Just because Google thinks a page should be ranked high doesn't mean all engines think so. When saying ranking is high in Google and Ink, but not in Fast, I have to say I watch serps, where Ink and Google are pretty similar, those being serps where Ink doesn't have too many paid listings.
Fast is not Google. Though I have many times great success with high ranking Google pages in ATW.

But then Fast does in fact return strange serps these days. There are things happening that lead me to the conclusion that something is happening at Fast, some technical changes underway, or simply bugfixing.


3:00 pm on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thank you Heini.

I received a couple of emails yesterday from the Fast Team, one to say they would look into what was going on with the SERPS and the other to confirm that indeed they have a bug and are working on it at this time. "... plan to have it within the next Alltheweb revision, approximately 9/18/02."

Just a liitle side note: I have tried the same searches on Lycos and Alltheweb, both showing very wierd results...but noticed that if I search with quotes around keyword term, that normal results are showing; for those of us checking on url status.(some of you probably already know that, but being new it was an interesting observation for me.)

Thanks again, Linda


4:52 pm on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

“So, is their somebody who has good rankings on Google and Fast?????” – NeoN

Simialr to heni, often times my high ranking Google pages rank well in Fast too. You may want to look at the following post where we discuss this a bit:

However, hopefully this “bug” thing that lindavh is talking is the reason why my rankings are virtually non existent in Fast at the moment.


9:24 pm on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


I am not the expert here, but maybe this "bug thing" that FAST is working on is why we are not seeing the usual relevant results at this time.

Try using "quotes around keywords for your search term" and see what comes up.

For me, I am able to see the usual relevant results this way, and so feel a bit more relaxed knowing that I am still listed (till this bug thing is resolved)...and like you, with results comparable to Google (albiet different).



11:49 pm on Aug 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Linda, I tried the quotes thing again and it definitely gives more reasonable (and reassuring) results. I agree with you that “maybe this ‘bug thing’ that FAST is dealing with is why we are not seeing the usual relevant results at this time”.

For those interested in some data relevant to our discussion, two weeks ago my site was ranked #3 in Google, #3 in Alltheweb, and #4 in MSN for my favorite key phrase (without quotes). The Google and MSN results have stayed the same. However, now Alltheweb ranks me at #920 (#26 with quotes). This major discrepancy between Alltheweb and other SE’s is true for all the keywords I am targeting. I believe that my rankings are most vulnerable to this “bug thing” since it was just recently included into Alltheweb.

Fortunately, with the help of this thread, I am not worried and with peace of mind I can sit it out and wait.


4:38 am on Aug 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Perhaps a Google informant working at Fast has sabotaged the algo in time for the Yahoo deal... :)


4:57 am on Aug 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

or maybe they are in preparations for the takeover :)

"And, like bright metal on a sullen ground,
My reformation, glitt'ring o'er my fault,
Shall show more goodly and attract more eyes
Than that which hath no foil to set it off."

Redeeming time when men think least I will.
Prince Hal - Henry IV Part 1


8:50 am on Sep 1, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Don't know if this is part of the bug, but for the first time ever Google is showing more links to my site than ATW.


11:38 pm on Sep 1, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Side note...

I have two domains that I turned off over 6 months ago that are really doing well in FAST now.

Am I good or what? ha ha :)



3:52 am on Sep 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Okay...today, I don't think I bothered to check yesterday...but today...

Fast is now showing relevant results for our keywords, in both Alltheweb and Lycos.

So...now I will wait a week (okay maybe in a couple of days) to see if this holds for a while.

Anyone else seeing the changes in their results?



4:13 am on Sep 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks for the info lindavh,

I just checked my favorite keyword on Alltheweb and it is back at #3. However, I checked it a short while later because I didn’t believe my eyes and sure enough it was gone. Then I hit the refresh button a few times and eventually I saw it back #3. I hit the refresh button again and it was gone etc. etc. Can anyone explain why hitting the refresh button changes the SERPs in Alltheweb? I’m guessing that this happens during updates but I would like to know more about it.

Anyway, it is good to see that Fast/Alltheweb is making progress.

Robert Charlton

6:21 am on Sep 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Thanks for the reports. I'm seeing results returning to normal too, along with some evidence of deep spidering. Results were completely haywire even a couple of days ago.

Looking now at a very well linked, large database site on a variety of engines... free inclusion in all... the extremely competitive general terms, targeted near the root, do better on Google than on any of the other engines... then maybe are next best on Teoma. I don't see them on Fast or Inktomi anywhere high enough to be useful.

On the slightly less competitive terms on the same pages (or pages one more level down), for the terms with an additional modifier... I'm now seeing somewhat similar results on Google, Fast, Ink, and Teoma. Several days ago, Fast wasn't even slightly relevant for these searches.

Further down, there are two kinds of deep pages, competitive and non-competive....

On the non-competitive deep pages, there's evidence of indexing on Ink, Google, and Fast, but not on Teoma. Both Inktomi and Google are returning the exact pages, and Fast is returning pages that are a level or so higher up... pages that don't contain the target terms... which makes me believe that the very deep page has been spidered but a higher page is being returned.

On some of the more competitive deep pages, Inktomi is returning the targeted pages, ranking well, whereas Google results for these same pages (lacking deep incoming external links) are a little further down. On Fast, the "how to make pizza" effect takes over... a not relevant phrase like "how to" seems to drive the results... and I can't find the pages. Because of what I observe above for the non-competitive terms on pages in this same level, though, I assume they're indexed.


10:40 am on Sep 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

It seems like the SERP`s are back to normal now for all of our sites.


2:48 pm on Sep 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

the last week, I have lost about 80% of traffic coming from Lycos, somethink was wrong.
Now Lycos shows ALMOST the same results as before, but still some trash links.
I think that Fast is making a change on its algo, but what?


2:57 am on Sep 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Well, all my keywords are finally back to "normal". My favorite one actually moved up from #3 to #2.:)

Linda, your 9/18/02 estimate in msg#13 was pretty close.


7:48 am on Sep 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

My section of the DB has just been updated and I have slipped from #1 to god only knows where.
Something strange has happened on this one. My homepage has not changed and neither have the pages appearing in the first 10 places. This is either an algo change or a bad bad update.....


5:07 am on Sep 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Well...I am close to giving up on this one.
I haven't checked the search results for a couple of weeks here on All the Web...and so tonight thought I'd take a look...
Unbelievable...this is the most ever changing search engine regarding results...that could be seen as a good thing...new fresh information...but after checking out the sites that were listed...lot's of irrelevant results once again.

My concern...it's still September...it's still possible that Yahoo goes with some other engine than Google (although lot's of comments about say that Google looks in with Yahoo). It would not be a good thing for me if Yahoo started using FAST as a back up...so...

I am still fancinated with FAST and how it is praised for it's relevancy...and yet...I still don't GET it...anyone else out there that does?

Thanks for any input,


5:50 am on Sep 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

For all it's worth, I'm down one position to number two.

I'm number one when I put quotes around the keywords. ;)


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