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January 2007 Google SERP Changes - part 2



12:16 pm on Jan 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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< continued from [webmasterworld.com...] >

A very interesting article (including comments by Matt Cutts) has been posted over at PBS. It may be possible that it is related to the December/January changes

[edited by: tedster at 8:00 pm (utc) on Jan. 11, 2007]


5:30 pm on Jan 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

@ Undead

I saw the exact same thing - Record highs for the first two weeks of Jan, and then a couple days ago, gone.

I'm sure it's a google thing. I'm keeping my fingers crossed it doesn't last more than a few days though..


5:35 pm on Jan 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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madmatt69...same thing with us. We've had record sales over the past 2 weeks and today dumped. Although, a majority of our keywords are in positions 30 - 50 in all data centers.

madmatt69 are your keywords still hanging around in simular positions?

I've seen this with other domains and they have bounced back within a few weeks to a month.


5:38 pm on Jan 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

It sure is a Google thing, BUT what if this is the results we have to live with in the future?
We're talking about "sit tight and wait it out" but for how long? A week, a month, 6 months?

Can everybody do a search for their key phrases with double quotes and without double quotes and check and see if you, like I did, get tons of spam sites when I use the double quotes.


5:59 pm on Jan 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I checked with double quotes and we're in the same position (with or without quotes)....any ideas....anyone. I'm going to check back on other posts but this kind of changes in the result have been happening for sometime one day number one next day 40+. It was just our time....i guess.

I think others have seen there sites jump back within a month. It happened with one of our other domains.


5:59 pm on Jan 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

In the main keyword SERPs result for my oldest site there are two spam sites in the top ten. If I add quotes they are still there, but Wikipedia drops out...heh.

On another note, during the time period that many of you had very high traffic to your site there were 5 spam sites in the top 15 SERPs results. Before the second week of January none of the spam sites were there.

I'm staying roughly in position to the spam sites (13 when there are 5 spam site, 10 with 2 spam sites, 8 with none).


6:05 pm on Jan 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Damn, I don't like this update. My traffic from Google is considerably down since yesterday.


6:08 pm on Jan 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Our site lost 70% of traffic today after a huge January. We had record visits. Now it's all gone.

Many results went down from #1 or #2 to #8 to #20.

- 7 years old
- >3000 unique, self written articles
- dupe content problems in Feb 2005 and Sep 2005, each one solved after three months
- heavy internal linking to related articles

I tried that quote thing - same results as without quotes.

For me it seems as if one filter had been switched off and somebody forgot to switch it on again.


6:10 pm on Jan 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Me too!
We have seen most of our keyphrase rankings disappear over the past couple days.
The site is still listed using the site: operator, but only shows two pages + the omitted pages link. If I click on the "include the omitted pages" link, all pages appear and none are supplemental (never have been).
The site is a highly trusted site, PR6 rank, and has lost 80% of Google traffic this past two days.
Not sure what to do, as I have already combed over everything I could think of (checked code for hacks, server responses, robots file, css hacks, and anything else I could imagine)
I'm hoping it is a Google thing and they'll get it straightened out soon.


6:18 pm on Jan 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I have posted several times after an update about what I have seen and I guess others are seeing it now too :)
You get a sudden influx of hits and you think it is good BUT it is NOT!
What is happening is that Google takes their new results, mix it for a while with the old results while their doing their downgrade and when the downgrade is done you end up with the difference. So whatever your new influx was, that's what you'll end up with.
I have also posted that Google is doing their downgrades by theme/category/spam sites/ and that is why we see different sites being hit at different times.


6:23 pm on Jan 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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southernmost welcome to our group. I really dont think it's anything we've done to be dropped like this. I'm just hoping that google is testing various filters and will switch back.


6:29 pm on Jan 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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yeah, but wierd though that it spread across all datacenters and doesn't show any datacenters changing.
but maybe i'm not seeing it yet.

Undead Hunter

6:34 pm on Jan 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks for sharing, guys.

Hey, you're right! We're at the bottom of Page 4 for one of our longest ranked articles. How interesting.

Strangely enough I take this all as a "good sign".

Meanwhile, I guess we'll keep adding content, and work harder on those PPC-driven websites we've been planning. :-)


6:40 pm on Jan 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

There still are other keywords where we rank #1 as before. However it seems as if price comparison sites have gained.

I will force myself not to change anything in the next few days. Wait and see... and lose money :(


7:10 pm on Jan 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I have a theory that I would like to test so anyone here that has been hit can send their url to me and I will have a look and let you know what i find...
Maybe I am onto something........


7:31 pm on Jan 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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gehrlekrona is onto something!


9:10 pm on Jan 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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yeah, looks like you are on to something all right.

Our site is totally duplicated all pages and original content! so you may want to check your domains. It seems that it is a proxy server doing it and that Google somehow got hold of their cache...


matt or anyone at google can you help?



9:19 pm on Jan 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Looks like something is wrong at Google and that they don't obey the robots.txt files anymore.
Over at that site with duplicate(?) content they have user agents disallow / in their robots.txt file but still Google is indexing their site and, what it looks like, all their sub domains, which is nothing but a copy(?) of your site.
If you don't use fully qualified paths on your site, all links go to the "sub domain" within the other site!

Not sure what is going on but a lot of sites I see that have disappeared from search now have a "sub domain" within that proxy server!

It is not as bad at MSN since they "only" have about 500 indexed so far.
MSNDude, can you have a look at it and see if it is a problem over at MSN?


9:28 pm on Jan 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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You can do that cob-web-stuff with any domain:



9:50 pm on Jan 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I agree with taps .. the price comparison sites are getting stronger.

What is particularly troublesome to me is that I've seen this trend over the last year and it is something that is hitting all product areas.

So, whether you search for electronic widget or garden widget, the same sites are showing up to do their "price comparison".

Why doesn't G have a filter so that if a consumer wants a "price comparison for products", they get such sites, but not for every keyword that is a product!

I still believe all the shuffling is to get price comparison sites to the top so Froogle / GB will be able to take the cream off the top.



9:52 pm on Jan 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I don't think the cob-web theory is correct unless you can find the cob-web pages in the Google index. I checked two of my sites that are not affected by the recent SERP changes. They're on cob-web, but the cob-web pages aren't in Google's index.

Are you finding your "cob-web" site indexed by Google? I did a site:cob-web.org and there are 2940 sites listed that are copies of other sites. Google is one of the sites...heh.

[edited by: freelistfool at 9:56 pm (utc) on Jan. 20, 2007]


9:53 pm on Jan 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

yes you can do that with any domain. It is some kind of redirect, not sure yet, but it looks like it's being trated as subdomain with duplicate content of your site.....

Sites cached on a proxy server shuld NOT be indexed by Google at all especially if you have User-agent * diasallow / in your robots.txt like they do!

To me is seems like a mix of different things that has gone wrong. That proxy server and their cache and Google not obeying robots.txt file. Maybe Google is indexing all sites now as sub domains to that server? Somethings weird is going on here or maybe it is just me that don't understand it.

Anybody else who can try to figure it out? Am I just way out?


9:58 pm on Jan 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I have found at least one site, and northweb can verify this, that the cob-web site is listed ABOVE the real site if I do a search for the domain name!


9:58 pm on Jan 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

yep, i have all the mysite cob-web pages indexed in google....this is sick especially if we received a dup. penalty because of it.


10:47 pm on Jan 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I am seeing some realy strange stuff from midwest US

Matt Cutts Blog PR 0

and site pages gives 342
but only 16 show with
repeat the search with the omitted results included.

to get the rest this is not just his on some other sites normally PR7

unsure how to check which datacenter though



10:51 pm on Jan 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I dont think its cor.web problem.

Niether one of my affected sites is not on corweb


11:05 pm on Jan 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Both my main servers are on that cobweb thing one had the highest traffic ever the other one is dying a slow death.

These constant changes annoy the hell out of me ..


11:49 pm on Jan 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have contacted the cob-web folks again today and they responded quickly. They say they take all steps so this does not happen, but long story short this is the last sentence of the email:
"In any case, we'll follow search engine instructions to remove cobwebbed content from their indices."
I showed them the problem was with all of the search engines. I asked them to contact the search engines and have this resolved so it doesnt kill us.


12:27 am on Jan 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

All I can say is wow.

My site has dropped a rank, from pr 5 to pr 4

All the search keywords which we used to rank 1-5 in, either they disappear completely or found in the 10th-30th page of ranking. I did a search for all of our pages and we still have 141,000 page listed, just not searchable. If I put my domain name in with the keywords, it comes up #1.

I see 3 data centers with me still at PR5

I see some of my competitors still in the top spots we used to adjoin them with, them without any changes in ranking (GO FIGURE!)

I had keywords still ranked 2-3th spot this morning, I check now at 7:30PM and they are GONE! Within 15 hrs! I cant even find it within the first 20 pages.

I am not sure what is going on, but it is affecting our sales greatly and to further, the changes are happening within 15 hrs (from this morning to now) and it has worsen since last night when I checked.

10 year old site - very stressful. Anyone else want to post their horror stories? Anyone lose their ranking and has since recovered?


1:42 am on Jan 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Just checked some of my affected sites.

None of them rank first for its own URL, all of them are on page 4-5 for it

Sites that have 200-300 indexed pages are showing only 2-3 results when I search for [mydomain...] com

There is no chance I can understand how some site can rank on page 5 for its own URL


2:56 am on Jan 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Here's some additional information and my story, for what it is worth:

We have a site I started in 1998, with a PR 5/6 (seems to fluctuate recently).

We are still ranking at #1 for our two top-traffic terms, but we have dropped off of the radar (to the 80's or 90's) for almost everything else.

A couple of our important terms will still show us as #1 IF I put quotes around them.

For example, we currently rank at #88 for area widgets (no quotes), but #1 for "area widgets" (with quotes). Any ideas on this phenomenon?

I am also anxious to see if anyone is slowly showing improvement. Having weathered several of these updates, I am optimistic overall but I haven't seen this exact thing happen before with our site.

This 247 message thread spans 9 pages: 247

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