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January 2007 Google SERP Changes - part 3

3:26 pm on Jan 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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

I have a few terms left in google that rank well, I wanted to find out why they still ranked well. Here is my conclusion so far,

using a site:#*$!x (keyword here), I search for keywords that used to ranked well in google.

Some keywords pull up as much as 15,000 pages, some 11,000+

For keywords on MY site that was UNDER 400 result or so (not a few thousand), the results REMAINED in Google ranking, top 10 or so.

For internal searches on keywords with more than a few hundred, it dropped off the chart.

I think I am being penalized for heavy internal linking or keyword usage on my pages, but I am not sure how to overcome this since I have a large site and I am using product titles to navigate

for example

home : department : Product a:

product b
product c
product d

and product b would be

home : Department : Product B

product c
product d

Now if you multiply this by a couple thousand products, you can see why there will be a lot of links to any particular keyword and I think I am being penalized for it.

IS google tell us to kill good navigation to get ranked

Basically, all the pages will be

home : Department
Product (x)


I guess they are trying to get rid of affiliate farms, but legitimate sites are getting penalized.

[edited by: tedster at 9:13 am (utc) on Jan. 22, 2007]

2:25 am on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

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

skweb I still have trouble with a single site, but as said before that often happen to that site when google is updating. example on some DB a internal page rank on page 6 for my main keyword and index page nowwhere to be found, normaly the index is place on page 1 as no.3
2:29 am on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

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same here...2 sites still around 30 - 50 but I'm starting to make changes will take weeks or months. i dont like this waiting idea.


2:45 am on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Still visiting but have nothing to say. Came out partially 3-4 days ago, completely 2-3 days ago and have been out since. Wish you the best.

I have been reading some common tones though. Mostly about

1. Affiliate linking (we have none)
2. Paid link farm linking (we dont do it)
3. A problem with cob-web.org
4. Over optimization

2:58 am on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

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None of my sites came back, all gone from 27.12
4:06 am on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Did yo say your site(s) disappear aroung 12/27? Most sites I think disappeared January 15th but it seems that it started long before that.
Like I have said before, I think Google is doing their updates by themes and I can see in my branch that there are still huge changes going on. In and out and in and out, up and down in DC's every day and even every hour.
Like I also said, my site(s) has not come back and it has been getting a little bit worse actually. If this downgrade from google is going to go on like the other ones then there won't be any changes until March 15th plus minus a week.

BTW, anybody who knows what is the latest craze in SEO? I'd like to know because that's the next thing the Internet Police (Google) is going to get you slammed with. Things you do today that is white-hat will be black-hat tomorrow.

4:49 am on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

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On webmaster tools under Ouery stats my site ranks look good, but in regular search is deep buried.

Same reports was on Jan 18, Jan 20, Jan 22 with minor changes(+/- 2 spots)

6:13 am on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

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

In the night Jannuary 24 to 25, 2 more subdomains out of the filter.

Now 4 of 10 out, most important, one is a major earner.

6:44 am on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

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

This patent is full of clues of what to look for

New Patent Application - Spam Detection Based on Phrase Indexing [webmasterworld.com]

Not saying they're using that - who could know if they are? But there's a lauundry list in it of factors to take a closer look at.

8:34 am on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

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

>>latest craze in SEO?

How about mass distribution article farms?

11:46 am on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Massive shake up for my site last night, lost many keywords and it appears my PR is finally changing (down by 1 :( )
Anyone else seeing big changes today?
12:01 pm on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I see changes as well.Link: command gives me decreased number of links in times for all sites.PR is finally set i think for almost all my inner pages now have some PR and one PR0 site is now PR3...still moving i think.
12:48 pm on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Maybe the fact that Wikipedia just added rel="nofollow" to all their external links is the cause of the shakeup. Just visit any page there that's got external links, do a View Page Source and then a Find for "External Links".

Wikipedia has, let's see... about 3.5 million articles, many of which are the top hit or at in the top ten for the relevant keywords. I've also seen many pages that that are PR 5 or 6.

For such a site to remove its links from its contribution to the rest of the Web's SEO would be like setting off an atomic bomb at the GooglePlex.

I think that ultimately it won't matter, that is, if your site ranked well before, it will rank well after Wikipedia's contribution is gone, because it will be gone for your competitors as well. But it will take time for the dust to settle.

1:04 pm on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Lou_N_Gerat - That is a good point.

I do (did) have several wiki links, but I assumed the effect would take longer that this to show.

Anyone else with ex-wiki links taken a hit?

1:52 pm on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Yes, I'm smelling the sweet aroma of an Adsense mafia-- use affiliate links and your site will end up in the trunk of a of a Chevy in an unknown swamp.

We have a very, very content rich site that is highly acclaimed in the media. As a reader service, and source of income, we also offer (no follow) affiliate links to products which we hand select to correspond to the editorial topics. You like it, you can click for it rather than find it on your own-- simple. Except in the eyes of Uncle Barney Google who thinks its random quasi-topic related ads are king.

We have repeatedly been mysteriously dumped from Google over the years and then reinstated after many, many months. Again, last week, we were dumped again.

Thankfully, Yahoo continues to love us just the way we are. And we love the hundreds of thousands of referrals they send us monthly.

Each time Google dumps us, our Page Rank and back links also get dumped. Instead of relevant authority sites that link to us, we see teenybopper blogs and scrapers, but nothing real or descent. Coincidence?

If one was supposed to live by Adsense income alone to please Uncle Google, you would think they would want to keep the referrals coming in to boost the traffic. Instead our Adsense revenue for this AM was a whopping $1.87.

It would be the least that Google could do if they bothered to have humans look at content in relation to affiliate links, or anything else for that matter, and not rely on an algorithm thatís only merit is taking the money out of our kidís lunchbox. They get bigger, we get creamed.

2:11 pm on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

To me it seems that Google just want to crush the competition.
If I put up an affiliate link and make 5 bucks on that click then why would I even want to have a google ad that pay me 1 cent for a click? It seems obvious what to choose here.
I am pretty sure that google doesn't want to promote other revenue streams than AdSense so what do they do? Mess with our income. Wonder if it is even legal to do the way google does it?
It is time for Google to live up to their motto "Not to do any evil" and start "Doing some good" one of these days.
I have started to remove a lot of my AdSense since it is not even worth it anymore. "Enhance your users experience by placing their ads on my site", yeah right......
2:46 pm on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I am now befuddled. I lost most of my traffic on Jan 14 (which on/before Jan 13 was really strong). I have a bulletin board type site where there is a great deal of user-generated content. I write my own content for the site every day and I have over 100 inbound links recognized by G. I don't do affiliate stuff, I don't do a link exchange program. Every thing I have done to the site has been very white-hat. The site is very obviously useful but the number of user postings on the site every day. I have always seen the site as a long-term investment of my time.

So, last night, my pagerank went UP by 3 (I know PR doesn't mean a ton), but at the same time, the dismal rankings for whatever long phrases were still showing up have all but disappeared.

I have decided to give up obsessing about it, because it is obviously not in my hands, and nothing my site has deserved. It sucks. Page rank up, inbound links up, content up, but my site has been blindfolded and shot without a last meal.

The site is close to a year and a half old, so the only thing I can think of is that they have tweaked the age factor in their algo.

Guess I'll go get some coffee.

2:48 pm on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

PS - My site: shows almost all of my pages, and almost no supps.
3:06 pm on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Here's my today horoscope:

Passing judgment on others is easy, but identifying whether you're judging them or projecting bits of your own unsavory self onto them -- well, that's not so easy. Think before you critique someone's actions.

So, I'm thinking! :)

3:11 pm on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

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

I have seen a few former hurt sites, from the googlebug 302 and hijackers, has got there PR back, like example PR5.

Still my personal site is hurt, special the homepage, is missing power, but still I think it will come later.

3:43 pm on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I think you are right on the money here "have tweaked the age factor in their algo"
That goes well with what I am seeing in the serps (that is getting worse every day! used to have at least 10 google visitors per minute, now it's one every 10 minutes....!) and that is that Google seems to pay more attention to sites with a lot of incoming links and have given up on a lot of things.
What I see is that if you have a hotel review site or a hotel directory site and you have all these links out to the sites you are reviewing for example, then I see sites that I have reviewed get better ranking than my own 3-4 year old site with a PR5
Something big is going on with the SERP's and if this is going to stick as the new results then all ALL need to add the rel=nofollow to ALL outbound links. Then what is Google going to do when a huge piece of their algo get's broke?
This time I see tons of eBay sites in the Serps and it seems like subdomains are the way to go.
When I search for a key phrase I see hundreds of eBay site, hundreds oof kijjji or however it is spelled subdomains.
So, all sites that lost ranking over the last 1-3 months and haven't come back yet (like mine!) we are all screwed now and we might as well get a day job :(
3:48 pm on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

So you think age is now THE factor in Google's recent behavior. I wonder if we did a search on specific keywords, and then checked the domain age of the top 10 results, how would they turn out?

Would be interested in seeing what results would appear..

3:57 pm on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I don't know about THE factor but it could be that they have removed the age factor as a measurement.
My site is 6-7 years old and has been in the top 5-10 sites in my area and I see other top sites replaced by sites that they, like me, must have outbound links to.
I see sites that are newer than mine replacing my site and since I haven't changed anything but adding more content it must be something in their algo that has totally changed the way they do things.
I am kind of amazed that there are not so many people complaining here and other places so did this only affect 5-10 sites?
4:08 pm on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I agree, it's not age. my site is 6 years old and the other 4.

I looking more towards:

heavy use of anchor text on all pages
one way linking (own some old directory sites)

anyone elso have this?

changing the above for me means months of work and lots of new content added. Just hope it is the right direction.

5:29 pm on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

In all honesty, I doubt anyone is going to figure out what exactly the problem is (i.e., too much anchor text, too many links, not enough unique content, high keyword density, planets aren't aligned, etc).

It's just my opinion from past experience that that is a futile attempt at playing the Google Guessing Game. Also, I would NOT change anything without waiting a substantial amount of time, unless otherwise noted that there is a factual issue that can be resolved with proof.

This happens with Google constantly, and everytime I've encountered it, my sites always came back as normal or stronger after waiting a certain period of time.

In this particular instance, I'm planning on waiting a month or more. If Google doesn't come around then, it may be time to proactively take steps to resolve the issue. Besides...if you don't really know what the problem is, do you really want to go and mess around with your site - not knowing if you'll do more harm than good?

[edited by: ConfusedWriter at 5:30 pm (utc) on Jan. 25, 2007]

5:47 pm on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I think ConfusedWriter is correct. We all have our assumptions, and I have my suspicions. But like I said before, I am going to try to stop obsessing about it.

If I just continue to think about the site long-term, add my own content and photos, make sure I have no duplicate content issues, encourage people to link to me because the site is useful, and not do anything stupid or spammy, the site will stay ahead of whatever curve there is. Like a 401k, there will be ups and downs. But at the end of the day I am up over where I started, I will be happy.

The input on this thread has been great, encouraging, and helpful.

Thanks to all.....

5:47 pm on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


fully agree with you but I am waiting since Dec. 15...


6:10 pm on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

@confusedwriter , you have a vlid point but after analysing the results since December for not only my site but other sites I see changes that seem to sticking, i.e. not change a lot and if it changing then it is for the worse.

What I see is Google getting more targetted in their search result, something we have been begging for for a long time, not knowing that it'll effect our sites as well in the way they have implemented it.

I see sites being evaluated by their IBL and the anchor text of the IBL and when I look at the site giving them all the IBL value I look at the anchor text and you know what? We all have helped them push our sites down by beeing nice, giving them all these OBL's.

I'm going to follow Wikki's recipe: use rel=nofollow and then we'll see what Google does with their algo. If everybody used a rel=nofollow their stupid algo would break down! PR ranking would go hay-wire because now they have no way of doing their weighting of OBL's and IBL's anymore!

Anybody else here can do whatever they think is needed. Wait? That's fine but for how long? 1 month? 2 months? and then change? 1-3 months is LONG time in Internet time. I know that my site(s) has come back after 2 months, but what is saying that this is the case now? What if they say that this is it? Then you'll be sitting there in the bac-wash and you'll have 6-12 months to get back into the serp's again.

Just my 1 1/2 cent.

7:13 pm on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


You hit the nail on the head. It's definitely and 100% related to that.

I say: Google is playing around with clusters to detect spam and it is not working. In fact - it completely backfired. Is that the stuff they bought from Israel? The system "that knows related schtuff"?

A good webpage is containing links to related articles, widgets whatever. If that is done in a proper way on a very high level it generates a big value for visitors.

Looking for a hotel in widgetland, widgetbeach and it shall have 4 stars? If you found one - and there are more hotels on the same page that EXACTLY match what you're looking for - thats great. It saves you time, gives you more options. It also makes people klick. Great for users and for webmasters but not for Google.

They think it's spam and will drop that page out - because of too much related keywords ... or inflated links .. or whatever they want to call it.

I call that: an algo that is able to filter out scrapers to a certain extent - but unable to work properly for high quality websites. It's favouring the wrong results from the wrong pages.

It's definitely not working in my industry. No way. )/Á(&"Á*)!


8:25 pm on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

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gehrlekrona - yes, my sites dropped on 27.12 , and only change was on 15.1 when all came back for 5 hours, and then dropped again.
9:31 pm on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I am seeing a different set of results that seem to have reverted to Jan 14. My site that had completely recovered on the 17th and then better than ever on 1/22, is now back to the collapse on 1/14. It almost seems that Google tried something, didn't work, and is now trying yet one more time. In the meantime, it is producing stupid results for good websites. It is frustrating to see that Google is struggling as have Yahoo and MSN for years.
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