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But there were no changes since then to account for the boost this week, and no competitor made a dramatic drop from the results either. Mostly our rankings leap-frogged upwards. We're not sure what that came from - possibly some trust or age-related factors kicked in around the 301s we used for new URLs.
And our site was hit bad earlier this year due to our own bad duplicate content issues (which are now fixed), and we jumped around like a yo-yo for months.
But now, all is well, and has been, and we have had zero flux with each occurence reported here, like "December 7", and so on... Nothing, perfectly stable.
So, we haven't gained per se these past few weeks in rankings, but although our site was affected lots this year, lately, no issues.
I am perfectly happy with stability. ; )
I hope all works out well for you guys soon...
Unique visitors have jumped by almost 30% aroung Dec 7th, but it is hard to filter out how much of this is just "panicking" christmas shopping.
I alomost doubled my number of pages by the end of July by importing a very good catalogue of one of my suppliers into my database. The pages got indexed relatively quickly, but my webmaster central console for month showed quite a bunch of pages with "pagerank not yet assigned."
I have the suspicion that these pages were in a sort of "unusual growth waiting loop" and got PR quite recently, because we received an interesting bunch or orders of those niche-items these days. But again its hard to tell whether this is only due to christmas.
Since some others except me reported some irregularities in their webmaster central console the past few days, I believe that google performed some major operations on their database, tried to transfer the results to wherever the webmaster central console draws its data from, but for whatever reason stepped backwards, now showing the old results again.
Nevertheless interesting changes to be expected around christmas. Same procedure as last year.
[edited by: Oliver_Henniges at 10:32 am (utc) on Dec. 18, 2006]
What we noticed in our niche is that websites that were in position have been replaced by directories that have been scraping meta content.
We see it flip flop every few days. We think google is playing with some meta tag part of the algo attempting to get the scraping directories out.
FWIW, I hardly ever see dramatic changes in my Google rankings or referrals, though I did have a "canonical issue" in spring of 2005 that knocked me way down in Google for about two months.
There is one client's site that seems to have tanked severely - unfortunately we didn't create it nor do we host it and they themselves don't make time to actually pay attention to it unless something goes wrong (I just run their PPC for them) and I will make a few recommendations, but this happened to them back in March, and they recovered after a couple of weeks before they even got around to doing anything about it.
One of my own sites is having some problems as far as supplementals and duplicate content, but I think that's mainly because of a typo on my part that caused some bogus urls to get spidered before I caught the error, and hopefully it will recover when it's re-spidered.
One client site has given me food for thought. This site is in an extremely lucrative (and competitive) niche - SERPS are *always* dancing around, and we're always fighting for best position on a few dozen choice keyphrases. I'm *always* tweaking things trying to either move up, or recover, or get found on some new search terms. Anyway, the owner of the site had some personal business to take care of and had to put his business aside for a month, which meant we had to turn off all the PPC, and put up a little banner across the top of the home page "sorry, we'll be back at the beginning of 2007" - all the other content remained the same, but I haven't been doing any tweaking. THAT site has gone way UP for almost every search phrase. The lesson that I take from that is that I'm probably over-tweaking, and when he gets back to business, I'll have to restrain myself from messing around with the titles, tags and text so much.
Ever since modifying the code and using Apache mod_rewrite to develope search-friendly URL's, we've been booming. We get about 40,000 uniques a day and just about 45% come from Google, with 27% from all other search engines. Since the bulk of our traffic is non-members, Google performance is very valuable to us.
And ever since we started generating live sitemaps twice a day, new topics are appear on Google within 24 hours.
On a hunch that my home page was over-optimized (accidentally -- I'm strictly whitehat and don't really do much SEO) I decided to cut down on keyword density. The result was a slide from around #6 to #11. I changed things back more or less to how they were and I'm back to #9 or #10. I think my site deserves to be higher, but traffic overall is still very good.
On newer less established sites of mine, traffic is more volatile though with a general trend sharply upwards. I've no bad news to report at all I'm afraid.
jan - may: no changes to rankings. Held on to the good rankings we had for years. For our most competitive keyword, we ranked #11 on google.com.au and #3 when "Pages from Australia" was selected.
may-late june: back and forth. Sometimes #1 on google.com.au, sometimes back to the old #11. About that time I discovered McDar's DC tool.
late june: Appeared #1 on all Mcdar DCs for our most competitive keyword. Almost seems like they did an major update. They also started using DMOZ titles and descriptions.
July - start of october: We slowly lost ground and slipped back to #5 on google.com.au
Start of october: after a mod_rewrite produced a lot of duplicate content, we were penalised, and dropped to about #7 on google.com.au, and funnily enough 30 places on google.com for our most competitive keyword.
October: We robots.txt'd out the duplicate content and started researching and writing unique, well referenced (eg outbound links) content and bought some local directory links.
mid-November-December: We shot up in the rankings. On google.com (not google.com.au) we went from around 55 to 30, then from 30 to 18, now from 18 to 15. We now outrank some of the big, publicly listed US based companies on a really, really competitive keyword.
Lesson of the story is to produce quality content with outbound links. If you are an e-commerce site, get listed in relevant directories (it's easier in Australia as there's heaps of small local web directories with heaps of trust on google). Oh, and having a 1998 domain helps too.