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June 2007 Google SERP Changes

     
3:31 am on Jun 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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

And now it has all completely changed to a result set similar to what wwas around a week ago.. gone are all the trivial bits of nothing.

Seems like somebody woke up down at the 'plex... "Oh crap, forgot to flip the 'make the results better' switch."

(Again, this only really applies to one word searches.)

[edited by: tedster at 4:37 pm (utc) on July 1, 2007]

3:36 am on June 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Seems to me we are looking at a classic Google Dance. Let's see what happens over the course of the next couple days.
4:10 am on June 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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agree with beachbum,
it seems like Google had some nostalgia. The next week will be crucil in determining the results. They could spread or have some filters applied as well. Either way, I would guess that this is an algo update so some sites will come back for good.

Steve, are you checking other terms too, or just the single term ones when you say that results aren't sticking?

5:01 am on June 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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well thats got to be the fastest u-turn I've seen all the strong single keyword searches I had have gone and 2/3 comb's have got better - you know I just wish G would leave things alone so that at least webmasters can at least enjoy their new traffic - or not!
5:12 am on June 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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The numeric DCs have crap results, and really aren't worth paying attention to anymore. They never serve the same results as google.com.

So then what are you looking at Steve?

5:46 am on June 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Do you guys think this could have anything to do with the infiltration of universal search?
5:50 am on June 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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for the record: my traffic is still up from midnight till now (1.50 am) so I don't know about the u-turn ...
7:16 am on June 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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All back to normal this morning. Results for the '2 word' phrase I monitor like a hawk are back to how they were two days ago.. Rock steady across all DC's

That was exciting! Oh how I miss the good old days.

Regarding the numeric DC's, I think they are still relevant. I still see results on them that do eventually migrate to google.com. I take them as an indicator though, not a cast iron prediction.

As we've seen, nothing is certain with Google anymore.

7:19 am on June 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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>As we've seen, nothing is certain with Google anymore

agree you can't rely on G traffic, unlike Y & MSN at least when it updates or changes it sticks around for a while

10:19 am on June 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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"So then what are you looking at Steve?"

Google.com and search.comcast.net mostly.

walkman, there have been changes for two word and other searches that I watch, but those have been changing rather normally like in past weeks... I suppose definitely a little more volatile, but i haven't seen completely trivial sites rocket up the results for most other searches like they did for the biggest one word searches there are. In other words, I think there is a significant update going on, but what happened with one word searches was probably the result of some unique new thing that they were trying, which clearly failed very badly (or perhaps even more likely, it was half baked, like some ingredients were not added properly).

3:44 pm on June 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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still holding on the (partial traffic) increase so I am happy. For those checking: are all DCs the same?
4:21 pm on June 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I wish I road the rollercoaster more than I do. Everytime I see big changes on Google I'm hoping for a traffic surge but it's always steady as she goes...
4:24 pm on June 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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For our media related industry more mfa link sites have gone into the top 20 whilst quality pages go further down.

Some irrelevant sites stick to the top like glue and more others with any sort of crap are also on their way up.

4:45 pm on June 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Yesterday my new sites where ranking really well now all of a sudden they are back to like 200 & 300, these are all real non spam sites.

My main domains are still ranking well with no movement up or down during any of this google shuffle.

Anyway, I hope these old results stay... thats my vote (not that it matters).

5:10 pm on June 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Yep, across a broad array of categories we look at, the worst results I've seen on G in years.

Just one example: Lots of local sites emerging where they don't belong, while well known national entities have taken huge hits. Many of the newly emerging sites that should not be there feature old school spam tactics (kw repetition and spam links above header and below footer).

When one searches on "blue widgets" and there are 20 or 30 reasonably well known national and regional companies to choose from, it should not be the case that a third of the well known, well established and long-ranking companies drop out, while unknown, tiny companies from Podunk WY, Funkville IN and Codie's Corner CO all hit page one. ;-)

And on lots of searches, by the time one gets down into page 3 or 4 of the SERP's, it's like the algo has gone completely haywire. Obscure spam sites, asian sites in EN language SERP's, all sorts of kooky stuff.

7:04 pm on June 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I agree with Caveman. Curiously, some of my sites are listed multiple times in a single set of SERPs, for example the index page maybe #5 for one keyword phrase and #25 for a subpage. That plus the issues Caveman mentioned. At the moment, I'm not very impressed with the SERPs.
7:52 pm on June 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Flopped back to the nutso results on google.com, so either they haven't fully purged the screwed up data, or they still haven't woken up to the fact that it sucks very badly.

Comcast is still showing the established, normal, better results though.

8:05 pm on June 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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the index page maybe #5 for one keyword phrase and #25 for a subpage.

That sounds normal to me. There is a filter that limits a domain to 2 results in any search, but 2 results is pretty common. If they end up on nthe same page of a SERP, that's were you get the indented listings -- the filter clusters the two pages into two adjacent rankings. So if you can raise the #25 to #10, it would immediately pop to #6, indented just under your #5 ranked url.

9:29 pm on June 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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We had about 20 new clients (less then 7 months) move up on May 31 (morning) many into or near the top 10 for relatively competitive key words. The results seemed to be consistent across half the datacenters. Last night around 6pm PST - the results returned to the previous index (or the stable results from the last couple weeks).

A number of things could have happened.

1) This is a new data push and the new results may re-appear over the next couple days (low chance).

2) The data and filters are not applied at the same time, so what you see may be data before the entire algo is applied (short term results) (fairly likely).

3) There is a big change to the algo - (probably not) - we have not seen any movement on a 100 plus other sites we manage.

4) It was a test by Google - turn a knob, does things change the way we want them to, no - turn the knob back and continue internal development until the next test (entirely possible).

Anyway you look at it - it is a good idea to have multiple startegies running at the sametime, then when these things happen - you have an insight based on experience across domains.

I do think that the change had something to do with the supplemental index - (I think too many new pages were ending up there, and G is trying to fix the issue). Watch for a change in the next month or so, and more people talking about pages coming out of sup hell.

[edited by: tedster at 11:11 pm (utc) on June 1, 2007]

11:12 pm on June 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I saw changes on May 30th for sites I watch on google.co.uk.
Some sites have shot into the top 10 for some very competitive keywords with a hundreds of off-topic forum footer links (as analysed on yahoo), and others which were doing well (including some of mine) have gone down substantailly.

Also I see better results to the UK akin to what there used to be before this happened when I click on "pages from the UK". So maybe a regional filter is turned off?

1:05 am on June 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Isnt this just pages and sites coming out of the sandbox?
3:06 am on June 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Isnt this just pages and sites coming out of the sandbox?

I do not believe that there is a sandbox anymore, maybe you would like to discuss this in a new thread, as my thoughts would certainly take us way off topic.

If anything, it might be sites coming out of supplemental, which I feel has somewhat replaced the sandbox.

I am not seeing the movement that you guys are. None at all. Maybe my widget kw/kp is not effected and yours is?

6:31 am on June 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

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coming out of the sandbox?

For new or completely retooled sites to start ranking - or regain their rankings - they need to prove their mettle for a while first. Many of the sites popping into strong spots for the first time don't even have any mettle. :P

Things this bad won't last; they never do.

5:41 pm on June 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

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When I check the data centers to follow the one word results that I am watching MOST of them still show the old rankings. Just a few show the new shake up but when I search on Google.com I always get the new shake up. Do these data centers mean less now? I keep hoping it means that the old results will come back.

The new results seem to favor directories, free stuff and wikipedia over deep sites with extensive information on the topic.

I just checked comcast search and the old traditional results are showing there. I hope this is just something Google is just trying out as it seems to me that people who search the one word term want some information on the overall topic. If they wanted free stuff or a directory they could add one of those words to their search.

As far as my own site it really doesn't hurt me much as what I get through one word searches is just a drop in the bucket in terms of how people find my pages. More specific searches bring far, far more people to my sites.

11:44 pm on June 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I wouldn't describe things in the same way as you, annej, unless I'm misunderstanding you. The results I see on comcast are what I've been seeing on Google for only the last two weeks or so, while the results I'm seeing on Google are similar to, but not identical to, the results that Google was showing prior to that.

It seemed to me that the comcast results favored Wikipedia and one-page-wonders, with sites like my own (in depth, in other words) being pushed down. Now that we're back to something resembling the configuration we used to have my site's back up again.

But like you, although I've lost a couple of hundred visitors a day because of dropping for that main single keyword, a much larger number come from other search terms. Overall my traffic's as high as usual. Still, I wouldn't mind that couple hundred visitors back!

11:53 pm on June 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

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There was a big cleanup this morning followed by a datarefresh and new -30 and -60 penalties.

Thank you Google for giving a -30 penalty for a page under construction. I was just working on it when I noticed it.

12:53 am on June 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

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It seemed to me that the comcast results favored Wikipedia and one-page-wonders, with sites like my own (in depth, in other words) being pushed down.

So we are seeing much the opposite results. I'm seeing wiki, directories and such on Google and the old rankings on Comcast. I just checked again to be sure. It's all beyond comprehension what Google is trying to do. Hopefully it will get sorted out eventually.

I don't think I've ever seen such an extreme change on Google and I've been watching for several years. But so far I've only noticed it on one word search terms.

1:47 am on June 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I see equally pronounced problems on 2-3 word phrases. I would not think in terms of number of words here. Some big thing is being toyed with.
7:17 am on June 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

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something is still new...as far as I can tell. Not sure if it's a few DCs or what though
8:00 am on June 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

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This morning I see a slight change for my 2 word term. It might be interpreted as somewhere in-between the anarchy of a few days ago and the relatively stable results of the past few weeks. A lot of the spam is back again but just not pushed so high.
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