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Dec 2006 Google Changes - Data Refresh or Penalty?



11:52 pm on Dec 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

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My site has taken a big hit this evening, losing the majority of google traffic. Artefacts are: when doing search on site:www.domain.com, the first few pages of listings are supplemental, followed by the homepage and other listings which are not supplemental. The none supplemental listings start on results page 61-70. The homepage is at the top of this page.

Is this a penalty or a bug? Have any other sites been similarly affected?


12:28 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I hope that you are right, but stranger things have happened. Unless you fully understand what Google's intent was here, there is no telling why they did what they did.

Very true doughayman. Sure don't want to give anyone false hopes either.


12:30 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

we have the same problem our site lost position after updating your sitemap in google!


12:31 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

I've seen some keywords returning to #1 however, most mysteriously, the recognised and very serious authority pages are absolutely no where to be found.

Their spiders have been all over my site using up bandwidth like a demented idiot just as though they can't seem to be able to collect anything or not knowing what to do with it!

They have to sort this issue sorted soon since I've already been receiving e-mails from AdSense advertisers who target our sites therefore not only are their enquiries reducing, my AdSense earnings are and the knock-on effect to that is Google's receipts.

None of the other so-called new top results have AdSense therefore they are committing financial suicide at the moment in my sector!


12:58 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I have several obscure keywords at the top of the Google heap, but all my top authority keywords, result in my nowhere to be found.

I am starting to assemble a list of things to try to get me out of this hole, but at this point, prudence is the overriding factor, and I'm just going to do nothing at this point.

I hear cries from a bunch of people, but this doesn't seem to necessarily be a pervasive problem -- not all the boards are posting this.

If the dust settles, and things do not revert back, then we should probably start comparing notes.


1:18 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

doughayman - if it's any consolation I don't believe it's any changes you have made.

All my sites are evergreen, none of the pages have been changed in ages since once the information has been posted there is very rarely any necessity to change the information and only the index page has been changed in the past couple of weeks with some new factory production details.

There does not seem to be any logic whatsoever about what has been removed and what has been reinstated. All are built precisely the same around my own CSS template.

I have noticed some of my smaller sites and several trade customers' sites have been elevated quite highly. Another thing is that I seem to have had a lot of images removed from Google too...and those sites that have been elevated have their images, copied from my site, in place of my image results.



1:41 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


Hard to say if this is a coincidence or not. During periods of frustration, it is very easy to over-analyze a lot of things. I've gone through dropped rankings before, but never anything like this (as far as I can remember).

Since I am going through an analysis and fact-finding mission at this point (but doing nothing), I have the following observances:

- For my MAIN site, 6 or 7 of the subordinate key pages are no longer
indexed. My home page, and secondary important page is, however.
I am not sure on the timing of the removal of this page from the
Google index, since I have been just looking at this stuff for a
couple of days now.

- The site:www.domain.com command is yielding approximately 15 %
fewer pages, and for some reason the Supplementary pages are
listed first now. Is there some significance to this all?

- My obliteration from the SERPs seems to be coincidental with the
updating of 100 or so pages of mine, to include a copyright
disclaimer. I updated the <LASTMOD> date on the these pages in
my SITEMAP - most of these pages hadn't been updated in about
4 months or so.

- As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have a single domain, and
about 9 websites which are in subdirectories (folders) below
the root. All 9 of my sites have been adversely effected of

- My domain has been in existence for over 10 years.

- I have seen SERP drops before over the last couple of years, but
I always wound up bouncing back, doing a minimal (and probably
inconsequential) # of subsequent changes.

- My entire site(s) have been spidered several times over the last
2 days, but none of the spidering sources reverse DNS to
"googlebot". My sitemap, however, is read at least once a day,
whether I manually invoke this or not.

That's all I have for now, and I know it is not much. Not exactly the Christmas present that my family and I were looking for......


2:05 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

doughayman - I have found a common factor with some of my missing pages!

All the ones I have checked that have been demoted, nevertheless still there in the index, all have a cached crawled date of 20-28th November, all the ones that have returned now mostly have a cached date of 12th-22nd December.

Now just why that should be I have no idea however it lends more to the credence of an almighty GFU...insofar as I am aware my servers were not down.


2:16 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


I am off to my daughter's school, so I will check and report on my cached dates later in the day.

I do have to add one thing, although it seems to be obvious -- in the past, whenever I added additional content (pages) to my site, this always had a (small) upward bias adjustment on my rankings. To the extent that some of my pages are now "missing in action", may have an overall detrimental effect on my rankings, no?

GFU's seem to more prevalent now than ever before, so you may be on to something.

I will research more later.

Thanks for the update.


3:19 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

These “date refreshes” are certainly a very bizarre occurrence. When these things come around a site will vanish from some data centers for its most popular keyword, but still be found right where it always was for a secondary keyword. How or why is that? Either your site is in the index, in that data center, or it isn’t, no?

If it’s any consolation, these things have historically shaken out after a few days and everything comes back.

Does anybody really, I mean really understand what exactly happens with these “refreshes”?


3:38 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

Does anybody really, I mean really understand what exactly happens with these “refreshes”?

Simplistically I would query that if Google has introduced a new algo, does that new algo only display cached results from the index say, after December 1st, and all other cached indices are simply left to wallow until the next time those pages are updated by the new spidering.

Is this why I'm seeing the bot hitting me every two hours? Have they realised they've made an almighty GFU and are trying to rectify as quickly as they can without admitting anything to anyone?

Not that they would of course:-)

Interestingly for some of my keywords I am seeing a retail site I constructed for my sister's business only within the last few weeks, ranking at #1 for these keywords.

And these are my products!


3:57 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

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

One client site went WAY UP. That's the one I had stopped tweaking because the client had to put his business on hold for a month. If it holds, he'll have a pleasant surprise when he comes back at the beginning of the year.

One ecommerce client site completely tanked, and lost thousands of pages. I emailed them and asked if they noticed whether or not their orders were way down, and sure enough, they were, and the client had had no idea why. That site has a ton of issues, from multiple domains being spidered, duplicate content, duplicate titles and meta tags, and I've been bugging them for months and months to let me fix things once and for all. Now maybe we can.

It never ceases to amaze me how many ecommerce clients are so dependent on their websites for sales, specially this time of year, and yet will devote so little time, thought and effort to the maintenace of the source of their income stream. But that's a topic for another item.


4:27 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'm on the wrong track with the cached pages!

I have tracked one page which has a 12th December crawl date and after drilling down to only 28 results it still does not appear in the results although it is supposedly in the index!

What a GFU...something more amiss is occurring. Yesterday, Thursday, I was down 66% compared to average and how my other sites performed. Today I seem to be at about 50% in comparison.

To say I'm puzzled would be more than an understatement.


4:35 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

wibfision, i have same problem as you except, the situation goes like this - I put a new pages on my domain and they appear when doing search on site:wwww.domain.com at first behind the homepage, they are getting traffic from google, but after few days all new pages disappear only to see them few days later ranked behind all supplemental pages from mydomain.com and they get zero traffic from google.


5:03 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

The videostats at video Google constantly go awol. Maybe they have hardware problems .. Wild guess of course.


5:42 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


My main pages, which showed up high in the Google SERPs before December 20th, were indexed (cached) between December 14th - December 16th; hence, pretty fresh, and not stale.

Some of my other meatier pages are missing in action - not in the Google index at all, and that is worrisome.

Still, really no solid evidence of anything that I did wrong of late.



7:13 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The online holiday shopping rush is over and for the most part Google kept its promise of no massive upheavals. As of today all bets are off. Look for new implementations, updates, and the occasional magma flow. I suspect that Google has held-off on implementing more than one update. A post-Christmas flurry could spell fury.


7:34 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Hey Komodo,

Speak for yourself. Some of us have been crushed!


8:03 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

We run a well established technology web site. Doing site:domain.com returns supplemental results for all pages. We have a high PR and over six years online (we have links from web sites such as zdnet, silicon.com etc.) - Is there any point to contact Google or should we wait for a while?


8:22 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I haven't posted here before, but, my site has been online over five years. I held a number one spot on google search results for a year or more on two keywords. The google dance earlier hit me really hard, and I had just started to come back for a month or so, and those keywords came back in spot two. I could deal with number two.

Now with this recent, (whatever it is) I have got hit really hard again. Dropped down to number seven, and all my major pages disappeared in the search results.

I noticed one night about a week or so ago, everything came back, for about an hour. Then disappeared again.

I noticed yesterday, that ONE of my main pages, other than my home page came back again where it normally was.

What really burns me up, is that Google will not say what is happening, so all of us are wondering what is going on. Why can't they say, okay we made changes, and you may or may not come back where you where? But they say nothing, which makes everyone start scrambling trying to figure out what is wrong with their sites, and trying to fix them. So, what we do, does it hurt or help in the long run? Sometimes, if you change ONE word, it can help or hurt.

I first noticed my traffic went WAY down on Dec 07 2006, like others have posted. But, that doesn't mean it wasn't starting before that. I just didn't notice it until then. It may have dropped a bit for a few days or even more, but nothing major. Then Dec 07, it was almost non existent from Google.

So, what I am hoping is, that is some kind of updating, and we will maybe all come back again, some day.

Another thing I really don't understand is, a lot of webmasters use google adsense on their pages. A lot of those sites have been affected as well. Some of them with a lot of traffic before this. If theirs sites are affected, then their earnings go down, so Google's earnings go down as well. Make sense? Not to me.

In my opinion, I think it's something we have to wait out again, and again and again.


8:38 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

This morning a site: search for domain.com returns all the pages from my site starting with homepage but only for hl=en.If I change to hl=ro the listing start with supplementals.
Also I noticed that for site: search with hl=en the supplementals disapeared.Nowhere to be found.Maybe becouse I request manual deletion of outdated pages URL at [services.google.com:8882...] on 19.12.?


9:05 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Looks like to me, Google is becoming a monopoly, kind of like Wal-Mart, but on a much larger scale, maybe?

I'm sure a lot of you think that okay, it's a free listing, they don't charge you to be in their index, so, get over it. Optimize your pages, etc.

I have optimized and optimized, and it still isn't making any difference. That is why I think this is a major update with Google, and they are just not talking about it.

But, again, in my opinion, even giants fall. It may take a while, but!


9:08 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

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

Looks like the gfe-eh.google.com stuff was old data. The messed up data is now on that too.

Poor Google. Their bungling is even dragged out over a period of time rather than just an instant thing. It's like they have two choices in front of them, flushing or drinking, and they just can't stop themselves from bending down to drink.


9:14 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Well, in my opinion, again, they are giants in a large world, but, if they keep going the way they are, they are going to lose a lot of respect.

I used to use Google for my start page, search results, etc.....but I have now switced to another serch engine.


9:14 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think it's something we have to wait out again, and again and again.

Well, one thing's for sure, we can't do a darned thing about it!

G won't admit to mistakes even when they've made huge GFUs...they'll not reply except maybe with the usual canned responses which are the biggest load of crock ever written.

They really do forget who provides all this quality information for them to spider for free and deliver to the waiting world. They don't construct these sites and write these pages, we do, and if all they do is start serving up a load of invalid or low quality information then people will move their mouse elsewhere.

In the past couple of days I've had to resort to Y! MSN and a few others since I could not locate information that USED TO BE on G.

I'll give them a few days to sort out their mess, if they cannot then I do have some ideas up my sleeve.


9:18 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

What's truly amazing is that Google thinks they are helping the user experience with their algo tweaks, but in the process of implementing their infinite complexity, have allowed more spam in their index that I have ever seen. The black-hatters have totally duped the Google Chief Scientists, at the expense of the honest schmo's, who are just trying to play within the rules. Who wins in the end? Perhaps Google does in the short-run, with increased Google Adsense revenue, but in the long run, upstarts like ask[dot]com may wind up taking away loads of market share.

Remember, it wasn't all that long ago that Yahoo owned the Search Engine community.....


9:19 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Forgot to add....

Google keeps getting such negative results, and do NOT listen to webmasters, which are the MEAT of their business.

So, I'm not going to keep scrambling for them anymore.

To me, I feel like Google thinks they are God. Sure, they have lots of money, have their hands in a LOT of deals, but, if a lot of people would finally say, okay, that's it....then what would happen?

Think about it...

observer 24 7

9:48 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I think the main symptom that identifies the problem is:

on a site:domain.com the first few listings are supplementary pages.

Can the gurus please tell us:

What do we do now?

Wait till everything is sorted out at google's end?
Try to play around on our side. If yes, how?



9:49 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

more spam in their index that I have ever seen

I'm not seeing spam, I'm seeing irrelevant, invalid, poorly written, invaluable pages of no use to anyone and none of them are even using AdSense so there's not even anything to click on to get away from the garbage to a possible relevant site.

It's weird, it's gone through this specific site as though it knew precisely which were the high-earning AdSense pages and removed them manually yet still left me #1 for all the less frequented pages.

Certainly something is in a huge flux because a site I launched only last weekend has already come into Yahoo! and MSN in the top two positions and is already on the second page of G.

That ain't normal by any G standard!

Graham Wellington

10:01 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

My site came back after vanishing from the serps but was bumped up two spots. Another site, though it didn't vanish, was dropped from #1 to #2.

The one that achieved a better ranking now registers a PR of 0 according to several *unmentionable* google ranking tools. Just a few days ago it was PR3.


10:16 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month


That ain't normal by any G standard!

May be we should allow for all possibilities.

It could be that what happened since 20th December has been a Bad Data Push!

Accordingly our friends at the plex are working now on "Reverse Bad Data Push" if one may say so ;-)

This 165 message thread spans 6 pages: 165

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