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Massive change in SERPS - Nov 19



12:25 am on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I am really surprised that there are no threads about this, but in my niche there have been a huge shift in the SERPS.

Anybody else see anything strange?

My pages lost about 80% of their traffic about 10 days ago or so. Nov 16/17 I noticed a few terms popping back into the top three positions...

Hope it continues to gets better...

Nobody else had any problems?


1:35 am on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I see changes in my sector almost daily, although it's more of an ongoing reshuffle than a "huge shift."

But strangeness, yes. The site in the #1 slot, which has five subsidiary links, has for the last few days had one of those same subsidiary links in the #2 slot. It certainly seems strange that one page can be in the top two places. I guess Google really likes that site!


2:07 am on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Traffic from Google has stopped completely, since the middle of this week. I still show 2450 pages indexed with them, with just a few supplemental.

My page ranks are shifting back an forth, and the caches are showing old stuff.

I have checked my sitemaps, and see no problems. I did change my sitemap from google to sitemap.com on Thursday. When the numbers dropped, I moved it back to google, hoping that was the problem.

I'm at a loss of what to do now. If it is a data push, or if it is an algorithm change to push the ecommerce sites ahead of the information sites for the Christmas season, then I wish someone from Google would just let us know.

To have traffic drop so drastically without cause or explanation is scary and has really ruined my weekend.


2:20 am on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

We have no changes in rankings, but are shwoing a drop in traffic compared to other sources. Something is up...


2:30 am on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Most of my sites have been adversely affected to one degree or another. I saw much the same effect during the last major update. All sorts of shuffling of positioning back and forth, sometimes for days at a time. It finally shook itself out and stabilized. At the end, we were back to our usual positions. I recommend a stiff drink and patience. :)


2:38 am on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

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

I'm not seeing any changes right now...

I recommend a stiff drink and patience. :)

I'm going to follow that advice, just in case. I suggest others here do the same.


3:39 am on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

floating at #4 or #5. happy where i am, but yes, looking at some rank checking tools, there seems to be movement although it looks like a rollback to a couple of months ago.


3:51 am on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

It might be some kind of rollback, my ranking have finally recovered from a few months of being nowhere to be found.


4:24 am on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

My traffic is down about 20% but I am not worried. Finally getting use to the monthly refreshes. Down one month up the next.


4:34 am on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

Whats the location of people seeing this. I am in the country of cornwall at least it will be when we finished digging our trench to the rest of the uk and seeing no change.


8:25 am on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


I lost 90% of my Google traffic in 2 Days (loosing 100/200 places on each keyword :/).

My website always keep it's positions on 6 DC / 74 :/

Today it's moving, up on some keyword (100 places) and down on some others.

Hope it will go back to old positions...

PS : This is my first post on WebmasterWorld ;) I'm french :p


9:06 am on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I'm seeing a 350 percent increase in traffic on 1 of our websites.

It started yesterday, Sunday.

Traffic for this website got nailed in the September 2005 shuffle and dropped from about 750 unique visitors a day to 200-225 average.

It has keep that average for the last 14 months and never varied by much.

I only made a few changes & improvements to the website since that time, opting for a "if it's not broken, don't fix it" SEO strategy.

Back in September 2005, when the big drop happened, I had a feeling it would come back some day to those levels, so I didn't do much to the website. I added some new content now and then, and picked up a Health on the Net certification for the site (HON), and changed a few links across all 200 pages.

There was a thread about (paraphrase) "Hands Off SEO" sometime earlier this year, but I can't remember the precise name of it.

I've been a member here since 2002 (different names) and have seen this Google Love & Hate relationship cycle with not only my websites, but several other senior members here as well.

Almost Forgot this Important Back Story:
One other thing I did back in September 2005 to study the drop was look on copyscape to see who was copying my material. I found a couple of sites that were and sent them Cease & Desist letters. They removed their duplicate copy of my content and then I posted CopyScape buttons and text warnings (Page Protected by COPYSCAPE DO NOT COPY!) on every page to prevent it from happening again. Those CopyScape buttons link to a "Copyright Warning" page where I told "the story" of how I nailed those content thieves and that we check regularly and being in a foreign country won't help you.

One of the content thieves was particularly bad. He had 27 keyword domains related to my subject. On those 27 domains he had taken content from about 50 of my best pages and served it up cloaked to the search engines - so only the search engines would see it. But those cloaked pages would then redirect to some of the most god awful "MFA" pages except they were MFYPN - Made for Yahoo Publisher Network.

I tracked down all those domains, found the guy's name that was associated with the DNS, and discovered he was in Canada. I then tracked down the name of a lawyer who was in his home town and posted a cc (carbon copy) at the bottom of the C&D letter to that lawyer. I also cc'd a copy to YPN with his YPN client number that I got from his ads along with quotes from their TOS that applied to content thieves.

Within about 24 hours, the spammer deleted all 27 domains from his server and wrote me back to tell me so.

I really don't know if all that content theft hurt me in Google back in September 2005, but I know it didn't help either. And content theft is still content theft, I couldn't let them get away with it.


9:08 am on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

It looks like the most recent changes took place on 15 November, probably at the exact moment I was getting my 90 seconds to discuss the situation with Matt Cutts at WebmasterWorld Pubcon. Unfortunately, as I found out when I got back home, I was losing another site from the index, to add to the six of my eleven currently being penalised out of existence.

So I guess we have a new date to add to this summer's list:
June 27
July 20
August 16
September 30
October 20
November 15

(I think that's about right)


9:17 am on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hmmmm I'm now seeing no homepage and all other pages supplemental with a site: command. This doesn't look promising. Looks like google are rolling out the xmas gifts for the spammers again in my sector.



9:28 am on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I dont know if it's the same for you, but my website whose is loosing 90% of it's Google traffic is now at the 80th place when I look for:

search on google : www.mydomain.com

If I do the same search on a DC where my website have not loose it's positions, it's on the 3rd place.

I know an other person who have lost 80% of his Google traffic several month ago, and who have the same problem when look for it's URL on Google.

Have you the same problem when you look for your url?


11:02 am on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member piatkow is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

No significant change for me (UK) but G seem to be indexing deeper into my site so I am seeing a greater variety of search arguements with better targeted landing pages.


12:01 pm on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

My site is going up and down like a yo-yo about the 23rd of every month for the past few months. It alternates between average of position #1 and #9-ish.. so far this month it's been down, but perhaps in a few days they'll shuffle it back to the #1 again :) Up, down, up, down..


1:02 pm on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thank you for the time you spent on your post. And the information.


8:58 pm on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I too have lost a lot of traffic in this time period. But I'm not seeing a decline in rankings. So is it Google, the data centers I'm hitting or something in the world and economic events that is just slowing things down more than normal in some areas?


9:09 pm on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

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

You've got to study your server logs to get insight into questions like that, adamxcl. Are certain keywords underperforming compared to the past? Certain geographies? If it's a general traffic decline with no ranking decline at all, you might consider DNS cache poisoning.

Suppose it's a certain bunch of keywords that are now under-performing. Did the title or snippet change, even if the ranking did not? Are there other changes elsewhere on the SERP, such as a new OneBox pushing even a #1 result down the page, a new dynamite title from a competitor that's now grabbing people's eyes, etc, etc.


10:17 pm on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

One of my primary keywords (2 word phrase, very competitive) dropped from #1 to #6 mid last week (around 15th or 16th).

Another similar phrase dropped from #1 to #2 a few days or so before that.

So definitely a change for me, but less so than the ones this past summer.

As I see it, these monthly shifts are Updates. Why WebmasterWorld won't call them that anymore I don't get. Matt Cutt's cryptic use of the phrase Data Push just confuses the issue.

The simple fact here is that the index is changing approx. every 3-4 weeks, sometimes significantly, other times less so.

Changing Index = Update.


12:16 am on Nov 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

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

>>As I see it, these monthly shifts are Updates. Why WebmasterWorld won't call them that anymore I don't get.

Because the index is in a constant state of flux now. Just because one sector sees a change doesn't mean every sector sees the same thing. The algo hasn't been changing so all we see are data pushes and refreshes.

At one time a true update was apparent to nearly all webmasters at the same time. It was a massive adding of cards and reshuffling of the entire deck - not just hearts or clubs.


12:29 am on Nov 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The areas I watch, the changes have been beyond dramatic. Shocking, in fact. A search on "widgets" used to show 10 stores that sell widgets, now it shows one wikipedia article and 9 other pages from sites having nothing to do with widgets, but which just happen to feature a page on widgets. Amazing.


1:34 am on Nov 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

My sectors are health, beauty, adult sex products, toys, home and garden, books.

In all of these sectors, the keyword rankiings we watch are stable. So,not noticing a wholesale shift in who's in what positions.

There remains an issue in the last 10 days or so with respect to the amount of _traffic_ we're receiving relative to other sources, despite stable rankings...


2:02 am on Nov 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The sector I monitor:

Not so much as a change in ranking as a change in the # of pages indexed.
A keyword that would usually pull out ~50 mill. shows 14mill, 70mill, and sometimes - 449,000
pretty big differences if you ask me...

Other than that - rankings are somewhat stable - the occasional spammer would pop up and disappear, and we are climbing one spot a week :)


11:06 am on Nov 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

We monitor one of the same markets as Helpnow and we have seen a lot of movement in the results. For a couple of years the top 5 slots were held solidly by the same retailers for for the biggest keyphrase in the market, now there's a mixture of news sites, different retailers and information sites.

Maybe Google thinks its good to show places to buy our keyphrase or to find information on keyphrase.

I can't help feeling (and hoping ;-) ) the current results are a work in progress and I think Google would admit that - on page 2 of the SERPS for the key phrase, 4 of the results are single-page blog sites with domains:


Or maybe Google has decided it likes the ways that MSN does it ;-)


11:24 am on Nov 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

It seems with the natural listings in google is mostly directed at adult eccommerce sites, as all 6 of our clients sites have tanked from the first page to page 50 and above and there have been no changes.
Even the top sites have vanished that have trustrank, something is definitely going on.
Informational sites have took over with a lot of junk, presedence seems to be on news sites and blogs at the moment.



2:09 pm on Nov 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

My Health site has tanked in the SERPS and traffic since the 15th. Traffic is just about non existent since then. It's as if Google just simply turned off some of our sites

To address the comment from zegiv, the same happens for me when I type in www.mydomain.com in google, All my IBL's show up and my own domain doesn't come up until the bottom of page 3.

I also have 4 new domain/sites that I started about 6 weeks ago that are being crawled on a regular basis by google, have plenty of inbound links, but are not getting indexed at all. I know they can take time to get indexed, but I've never gone this long before, especially with plenty of IBLs and Google has been crawling them several times a week.


2:28 pm on Nov 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

With rankings still there, my leading suspect in my own case is the holiday economy being conservative. This time of years tends to slow down with one of my markets, business people, and the slack is picked up by a consumer increase. After some number crunching, I'm not seeing the private consumer pick up that I normally see right before the US Thanksgiving holiday.


5:36 pm on Nov 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I had a site that always ranked #1 or #2 for "MyDomainName" as a keyword. That's now position #43 in google.com (and ROW) and #12 in google.co.uk.

I was suddenly granted a big increase in traffic (all from google) on the 13th November, and then at midnight on the 15th I stopped getting the traffic, and also seem to have been punished as regards the domain name "keyword". On the 14th I had 298 searches, 15th I had 255 searches, on the 16th I had 33. (Stats from HitTail search referer log)

Searching for MyDomainName.co.uk still returns it as #1 in all googles.

Until I read this thread I felt this was a punishment for duplicate content. This particular website had various (paid for) articles on it, which I'd published as an experiment and to test a script I'd written. Most of the articles hadn't been changed at all. The site is a few years old, but these articles (over a thousand in approx 30 directories) were published at end of October.

I'm in the process of editing them now, I immediately did a "quick" search and replace job, but need to go through and really rework the material, changing a lot more of the keywords and phrases.

I should add that the site has a Google PR of 4, which doesn't seem to have been affected (as yet).

This 80 message thread spans 3 pages: 80

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