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July 2007 Google SERP Changes

     
11:38 pm on Jun 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I am the owner of a large < specialized topic > news website. We have seen continuous good traffic from Google ever since we started, 5 years ago. However, on the 27th June 07 our Google referrals dropped suddenly to around 1/7 of what they had previously been. It has remained the same for each day since. We are still number one for < our main keyword phrase >, but all our article rankings seem to have vanished.

We have staff, who we pay each month with revenue earned from Adsense. Obviously, with the drop in traffic our Adsense revenue has gone through the floor. So now we are faced with the possibility of not being able to meet our costs in the coming months.

I guess it is possible, if this happened at the same time last year to other people, that Google may just be using the holiday season to make some alterations to their servers (taking them offline?) or something like that. It really makes no sense, so that is all that I can come up with.

It seems as if this has happened to a lot of other people. So, my question is, for those of you who have seen this before - do the rankings come back? If so, how long does it normally take?

Thanks

A Worried Webmaster.

[edited by: tedster at 4:36 pm (utc) on July 1, 2007]
[edit reason] make specifics more general [/edit]

12:06 am on July 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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allyhazell,

last year it took Google from June 27 until December to re-discover our 6 year old rich content and authority site.

2:12 am on July 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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just to share some information,

I echo what I noticed tedster say a couple weeks ago... that he was surprised at how quickly new urls were ranking. A new page linked from the root of a PR5 for a 2 word phrase, medium competitive term, ranked and held at 13-15 within days of linking (2-3 days maybe).

6:53 am on July 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I'm not so sure...I've had a page up for 9 days now and it still hasn't been indexed, hard to rank without being indexed.

This is not at all normal compared to previous new page releases for me. Even a sub-page, related the irst page is indexed.

Wait and see I suppose.

11:15 am on July 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Last year when the same thing happen to us. We recovered about two months later. I hope we recover faster this year. I wish I new what caused this. I thought maybe it was because our site produces dynamic URLs but it now sure because this drop also happens to sites without dynamic URLs also.
3:15 pm on July 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I echo what I noticed tedster say a couple weeks ago... that he was surprised at how quickly new urls were ranking.

I published a new multi-page city guide late Friday, and this morning (Sunday) two of its pages--the ones that were linked from my site's home page--are indexed and ranking. That's pretty typical of what I've seen over the past couple of years: Indexing within 24-48 hours for new pages linked from the home page, with "inside" article pages taking a bit longer to show up in Google SERPs.

4:06 pm on July 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Indexing within 24-48 hours for new pages linked from the home page

Yep, this is an essential piece of advice even for authority sites, get the page(s) linked direct from the home page and then after a few weeks link normally otherwise it will take that extra few weeks for it/them to be picked up...IMHO

4:39 pm on July 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Mine is linked from the homepage...so that's not it.
5:50 pm on July 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I think we need to be a little more specific with some of these suggestions. Based upon what I have been shown pages that are indexed and listed within 24-48 hours normally relate to Adsense code. If the site is not using Adsense it can be much slower. Placing the new url on the index page sometimes can get it indexed quicker but you can be playing with dynamite. Constantly inserting and deleting url's or content from an index page can lead to a loss of rankings unless you're one of Google's ordained.
6:15 pm on July 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Placing the new url on the index page sometimes can get it indexed quicker but you can be playing with dynamite. Constantly inserting and deleting url's or content from an index page can lead to a loss of rankings unless you're one of Google's ordained.

I don't think anyone has suggested "constantly" inserting and deleting URLs from an index page. At the same time, though, it's unlikely that Google would penalize a site for frequent index.html changes, since such changes are standard operating procedure for news sites, review sites, forums, etc.

6:55 pm on July 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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such changes are standard operating procedure for news sites, review sites, forums, etc.

Agreed - and if a site is in a category like this, frequent home page changes are fine.

However, Google does measure "types" of sites, and they maintain benchmarks for frequency of change in each type. Some types of sites actually NEED frequent change to do well. Other types may raise a flag if they change too frequently. The oft-repeated SEO "rule" of regularly updating your home page is not a truth that applies equally to all kinds of sites, IMO.

7:00 pm on July 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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allyhazell,

I think you are losing a LOT of long tail keywords. Ths is the same case as mine. I still rank a lot of main keywords, but the 3-5 long keywords are losing rankings.

7:00 pm on July 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Quite a few sites can change their index page constantly at see no ill effects but the vast majority I doubt. Pointing out that certain pages do not experience rankings drops does not preclude others from dropping.

My suggestions were just potential warnings if the method was utilized to often. Google knows from the past SEO's engage in unlimited changes to index pages to achieve rankings so they have appropriate controls in place.

[edited by: tedster at 8:28 pm (utc) on July 1, 2007]

8:11 pm on July 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Quite a few sites can change their index page constantly at see no ill effects but the vast majority I doubt.

Again, nobody has suggested changing index pages constantly. As for whether the majority of sites can change their index pages frequently and not encounter indexing problems, there's no way to know.

Tedster suggested that Google looks at different types of sites differently, but that brings up the question of what's meant by "types of sites." Common sense would suggest that any number of factors could come into play, and that (for example) two widgets sites might be treated differently depending on inbound links, PageRank, history, etc. There's a tendency here for people to want simple explanations, but Google (like life itself) isn't simple.

[edited by: tedster at 8:29 pm (utc) on July 1, 2007]

8:45 pm on July 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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If you are adding new pages on a frequent basis, and if you are always using a home page link to get those pages indexed faster, then that would require very frequent changes. So let's drop the quibble, the points are made.

I'm still looking for the exact reference about frequency of change for a url. As I remember it was both in a patent (probably the historical data patent) and in a comment somewhere from Matt Cutts, Adam Lasnik or maybe as far back as when Googleguy posted more often.

The discussion about frequency of change was looking at e-commerce sites, versus news, versus corporate "brochureware" as I recall - and in those types of terms. Unfortunately our link to the historical data patent has been whacked (by the USPTO apparently). I will post the exact language when I find it.

8:49 pm on July 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I think you are losing a LOT of long tail keywords. Ths is the same case as mine. I still rank a lot of main keywords, but the 3-5 long keywords are losing rankings.

This is quite interesting -- some members have reported a recent surge in long tail traffic. What is that shift all about, I wonder? URLs sliding into or out of the supplemental index? We know that supplemental urls are indexed much less completely than a regularly indexed url. I would go for that, except we're talking about changes of 4 to 7 times in traffic, both for those who went up and for those who went down.

Any ideas?

9:03 pm on July 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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This echoes my experience from 4 weeks ago.

Drop very marginal on google(my country).
Home page dropped slightly then more on google.com, but inner pages totally wiped, 950 penalty applied.

Problem was inner pages were overomptimised, whilst home page was not.

De-optimised.

Submitted reinclusion request to Google.

was back in within a week.

The similarities are too close to ignore. I would ignore however, the way this thread has gone more towards a "how fast are your pages indexed and ranked?" thread. While interesting, and topical, I doubt itís relevant to the current case.

its not a matter of other pages getting in, and then ranking above an authority site, it about the authority site TANKING.

1. Check the way your cms works. Does it result in repetitions of the main words throughout the page?
2. Check the style of your writers. Is the writing nonsense for search engines? Or are they writing for people.

With Google under fire with so many of the serps being taken up with nonsense sites for AdSense, you can expect their filters for overoptimised sites, to get better, and sites to get hit more often.

3:11 pm on July 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

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In general, how long is it taking for sites to recover from various filters that are pushing them to the end of the SERPs?

I changed one of my sites and over-did the internal anchor text to my /widgets/* pages. Since getting hit, I reverted back to the old pages and basically undid every change that I made to cause the penalty. I expect it to take up to 3 months, but it looks like some people are reporting it might only take a week?

3:22 pm on July 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Overuse of internal anchor text which leads to -950 will usually take 1-4 weeks to recover, even with large sites.

[edited by: SEOPTI at 3:22 pm (utc) on July 2, 2007]

8:09 pm on July 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Noted some jumping around this morning in some single-word searches, with shifts on all data centers I observed, and results fairly different from what I've seen for a while on at least one data center that was occasionally returned. On the latter, mostly the usual players, but with different shuffling.
10:02 pm on July 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I saw a wierd hit from google in the stats : www.google.com/search?hl=xx-hacker&q=MY+SEARCH&btnG=Google+s3a%7C2ch also everything related to google just not the search results, but everything els, images video, all text, was n0rM4L s34rCh Im4635 6r00pZ d1r3c70rY like that
8:03 am on July 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Still after 13 days of being published, with adsense and a link from the homepage and my bottom include navigation and a drop-down and I use the google toolbar, the page is still not indexed. Index, Follow for robots, my .htaccess file is not blocking it and my robots.txt is not blocking.

A page published at the same time is indexed but not the other...

Hmmm...

10:59 am on July 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

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bottom include navigation

...bottom?

Does it work for you?
I've been seeing bottom links get devalued/downgraded by default for a year...

btw. is your site trusted for the theme of the page/link you used? Or is it possible Google considered that particular new page to be off topic ( eg. travel site's new anchor text saying "buy car wax" or "cars" without the "...rental in mycity" )?

If you had another page with similar parameters get in, at the same time, you have all the info for some comparison testing.

11:03 am on July 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

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It's the same as any other main page in the site. Besides, why would one page uploaded the same evening be indexed and the other not?

Pages that have a link to the new page in the bottom include return in the search results with the keyword of the new page used as the anchor text highlighted?

Devalued - So? Usuability wise, they still help, if they are devalued then that's fine, doesn't affect the site, since they'll just get ignored. Unless someone else has some tested, proven, changes that resulted in an improvement.

Bot/spider/crawler on vacation or hitting a wobbly perhaps?

12:20 pm on July 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Since this morning or yesterday evening I see that Google has 'un-penalized' some famous 'spammers' especially in the SEO industry.

I also find that some websites rank with very little relevant backlinks, mostly based on their content - which content looks 100% written for search engines.

I also wonder if someday they will finally get rid of those sites that place content for Google BELOW the fold so visitors can't see it...
I think that the latest should be penalized as well since the intent is more than obvious.

6:31 pm on July 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Since this morning or yesterday evening I see that Google has 'un-penalized' some famous 'spammers' especially in the SEO industry.

On the ohter side, the strongest subdomain of my online magazines just got penalized.

I was a victim of 27th June 2006

Recovered Octover 2006, again in filter November 2006

A very hot Jannuary with wild in and out of filter movements.

Mostly stable sinze end of Jannuary 2007

7:15 pm on July 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Since this morning or yesterday evening I see that Google has 'un-penalized' some famous 'spammers' especially in the SEO industry.

I also find that some websites rank with very little relevant backlinks, mostly based on their content - which content looks 100% written for search engines.

I'm seeing very erratic G traffic on my sites since yesterday. Abnormally heavy yesterday, abnormally light today.

8:05 pm on July 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

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> I also wonder if someday they will finally get rid of those sites that place content for Google BELOW the fold so visitors can't see it...
I think that the latest should be penalized as well since the intent is more than obvious.

Each case is unique and without seeing an example is difficult to judge. But perhaps what was left below the fold wasn't as relevant to the visitor as what was placed above. The owner of the page may have the right to use it as needed and may have compromised by showing what he wanted to communicate above while leaving the rest below. Since the scroll down bar would still be shown to the right, anyone could see it by choice. Why do you think this is *hiding*?

9:43 pm on July 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Each case is unique and without seeing an example is difficult to judge. But perhaps what was left below the fold wasn't as relevant to the visitor as what was placed above. The owner of the page may have the right to use it as needed and may have compromised by showing what he wanted to communicate above while leaving the rest below. Since the scroll down bar would still be shown to the right, anyone could see it by choice. Why do you think this is *hiding*?

The content I am talking about, below the fold is also below the footer (contact us, privacy, etc...) and it is certainly for spam purpose.
There is not much above the fold except flash and images that say actually nothing. just some text that describe how good the site is.

If you have to place repeated keyword combinaisons, that don't make much sense to users below your footer - then what a search engine sees is not what a human sees >>> therefore it should be penalized, this is just another form of spam.

I assume that this is not possible filter automatically - however it is as misleading as font color = background color from the search engine standpoint in my opinion and I see more and more of those tricks.

may have compromised by showing what he wanted to communicate above

My take is that if what you show to visitors in the first place is what your site is about, if it is 'compromising' then may be these sites may not be worth ranking at all. Which is probably what's happening is they wouldn't spam below the fold / footer.
9:51 pm on July 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Besides, why would one page uploaded the same evening be indexed and the other not?

All depends on where Googlebot wanders to. It can grab a page seconds after it's put up and index it within hours. Sometimes it takes it a while (read days) to follow a link.

That happened to me recently. I put up two articles. One was spidered immediately and in the index by the end of the day, the other took 6 days to make the index.

Give it a while longer, G should grab it eventually.

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