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September 2007 Google SERP Changes



10:16 pm on Aug 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

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

Hi, I am not sure IF this is relevant or not.. but here goes... I have suffered with a website dropping like a stone in Google.. and this happened on August 25th/26th. At the SAME time my website error Log seemed to crash and 100 core files got generated. I deletede these files... and have checked my current error log and I am getting about 100 error message an hour... and Google is picking up on these errors as shown in my site index... I have the IP addresses and can block them but they are from numerous sources... and they try to find an impossible url... any suggestions?

Could there be more to these changes in Google serps than meets the eye?

[edited by: tedster at 4:44 am (utc) on Sep. 1, 2007]


2:04 pm on Sep 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing a lot of spam and broken links in the results today also. I just wish this summer yo-yo would end soon. Last year I lost most of my keywords from begining of June to the end of September. Everything returned to normal near the end of Sept. 2006. I just hope the same happens this year also.


5:09 pm on Sep 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I can't believe people aren't talking about what is going on. Google is doing something bizarre, delivering not-ready-for-prime-time results right now.


5:40 pm on Sep 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

My sites lost rankings. I make search for domain name without zone (mysite, not mysite.com) and my domain isn't #1.

Could somebody give the same information or try to do the same and post here results?

Best regards,


6:30 pm on Sep 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I think it has just started and are effecting just certain areas vulnerable for spam and the area I am in has been infected by spam sites.
I thought in my ignorance that Google fixed this crap, but I guess they just blew smoke up you know what when they said that had thier algo fix it. Now it seems that they just ran a DB query and deleted some sites to keep people happy for a while. If the spam is back then it either means that they fixed nothing, old results are back because of a crasch, they restored old data from a year ago...... or MC has gone crazy.....


6:37 pm on Sep 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I am seeing a reverting back of link profiles back several months. The sites I monitor look like they have kicked back several months ago. If not more.

One word $$ phrase is an absolute nightmare. Completely irrelevant, changing every couple hours, random pages that should not be there. Very, very odd things going on from my end.


6:41 pm on Sep 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


I am seeing exactly the same it seems like the results have yo-uo'd back to pre July. If G's results stays like this Y will be picking up market share fast.

We are waiting for the yo-yo to swing back up. Fingers crossed it does.


7:36 pm on Sep 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Does anyone else who is affected by all this have a lot of keywords on their home page? I have a lot of anchor text on my home page which contains keywords. I added it at the exact time that this started to happen to my site.


8:03 pm on Sep 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

2 Tonearm

It is only coincidence


7:51 pm on Sep 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hey Guys...

So what gives with all this garbage I'm seeing on a 1 word KW search?

I get..

A blog about a dog sitter
My space

All the above has the KW soemwhere on the site... but certainly is NOT about that KW...

What kind of junk is Google pushing out there?


[edited by: tedster at 8:21 pm (utc) on Sep. 6, 2007]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]


8:31 pm on Sep 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


I have seen this on one of my Scandinavian site. For some reason the long tail searches vanished and now only have 1-3 keywords. Maybe they are trying to "fix" something that wasn't broke?

Google's new motto: "If I can't fix it, it ain't broke!"


8:40 pm on Sep 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

For some sites when you search thier domain name, you see those 4 quick links and then more results. Im seeing this for certian keyword searches now for the first listing.


8:44 pm on Sep 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

"tedster" - Thank you for splicing my question to this post.

frup - You are correct - why isn't EVERYONE talking about this junk that keeps coming across?

Not only are the results all garbage (at least for a 1 kw search that covers my business) but.... since Goggle is still accepting through AdWords commercial listings for this KW and many others tells me....(Careful - Conspiracy Theory - Take with a grain of salt) that they don't care about the cr*p - they are still making millions on Adwords and if someone can't find it in the SERP they will click on the ads.

From what I have experienced this has been going on since May 26 and waiting it out has shown that the results have gotten exponetially worse till today.

Why aren't people seeing this?



9:28 pm on Sep 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Sounds like Universal Search is beginning to fully arrive in other areas. It will dredge up the junk. A lot of the universal sites you mentioned don't fit well into areas like Travel and niche areas or even some very popular caregories.


9:38 pm on Sep 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

i think september has come.
it will be like that until november now.


9:40 pm on Sep 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Either people have given up on Google and their inability to get valid search results or they are getting used to go to page 5, 10 15 and above just to find anything that ever resembles what you are looking for. It might be a tactic from Google since they can show more ads. Who knows.
Another reason could be that not all areas have been infected yet with all the spam sites. A lot of people have been complaining about loss of ranking, index pages disappear and everything in between and to me it only shows that Google is too big for itself. They are not able to handle all the data anymore, not able to see what is spam or not or what is a good site or not. I am thinking that as long as they rely on "link juice" they are going down a apth that they can't get out of again. As for their algo, if they don't do anything to fix it, they will always have spam sites showing up tricking whatever they have come up with to stop it. Spammer will always be steps ahead of Google. It's just like the people who creates virus......

There is a lot of crap in their results and have been since June last year when they said they had things fixed. Too bad it is like a secret society where you can't get hold of anyone. They tell you to put your company information on your web site so people can get in contact with you, but what do they do? Hide behind doors in their Towr of Babel....... Wish I could sue them for ruining a business... Yeah I know... a lot of people say Google can do whatever they like, they don't owe you anything.... BUT they need to be held accountable for what they are doing....


9:53 pm on Sep 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I got to say about a week ago, Google suddenly displayed very clean adult serps.Almost no spam over a variety of kws.Best adult ever serps I have seen ever.
It lasted only 2 days.And they are showing irrelevant and spammy results now.
I also can only suspect that they didn't like having their results too good.Maybe it impacted on the sponsored results too much.


9:55 pm on Sep 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


While G doesnt owe anyone anything.... They are certainly the largest now of the SE and as such should be held to a higher standard - of which I am not sure I'm seeing from all the garbage.

Our traffic for our commercial site is derived 60% from G and the remaining from all other search engines.

We are unable to control the preferance of searches by the people who visit - however with G making these foolish and incomprehensible changes - I think they should be more aware and responsible for their foibles - however as I said before - they are leveraging their changes with an increase in AS revenue...



10:45 pm on Sep 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


Thats exactly what i noticed - Last Thursday for about two days very clean bang on target results, some sites had gained some fell back but all the cr@p was gone - then some kind of roll back?.

You may be onto something ref Adsence - if results are to good, visitors will use them rather than clicking on sponsored adverts.

What ever the case something doesnt look right. Also, we are well overdue a green bar PR update, isnt this the longest run yet?


12:13 am on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

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

One word searches are still the most fascinating "look under the hood" phenomenon going on.

The one word results change dozens of times a day.

Besides crap sites appearing, it is often the case that totally odd pages from a domain are ranked rather than a root index page (in general normally the most likely page for a one word term), and those subpages change during the day.

Pages migh have internal pages ranking #51 and #64 one minute... and then have an index page at #10 a minute later... hours later the index page could be at #25 and an entirely different internal page a #70... etc etc.

Clearly this means the wildly different serps are not a "randomizing the results" phenomenon.

Additionally pages go in and out of 950 while this other junk is going on.

Google seems to be in the mid-stages of making its most significant change in years, and they are completely failing at it on a consistent basis. For every good bit of "fixed" resut where a correct page is ranking sensibly, there are at least five bizarrely ranked pages that are either the wrong page from a domain or a trivial site that doesn't belong.

The only clear positive is the results are not spammy.


1:24 am on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


Finally! - Thank you for confirming this.

Someone is finally seeing the same thing I've been seeing all summer.

I wonder why we just have'nt seen more posts like this over the past several weeks.



2:13 am on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

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

This is a strange thing to me - something that may be old but I just never noticed it before.

On a search in quotes - "word1 word2" - Google is sometimes returning pages where the phrase is in a different order on the page - "word2 word1". That sort of defeats the whoe purpose of the quote marks, doesn't it? In the case of the search I was doing, the meaning of the switched word order phrase is COMPLETELY different.

I'm wondering if this might be side effect of some other tweak Google's trying out.


2:21 am on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


I have seen this almost regularly with a 1 word KW which can be split into two words.

It seems that the quotes "" seem to imply that words which can be split can be returned as a valid search result regardless of order (at least that is what I thought) almost as if to say...here is some loosening of the requirement.

I thought nothing of it.... but you may be onto something else...



2:25 am on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

It's too bad when the whole world is being used a "lab rats" for Google :(

Like a fool I clicked on one of the sites I reported being a chinese spam site and of course it installed a virus on my computer (Js/Psy.. something)
Toook me a while to get rid of it. Google used to have a link telling you that "this site maight install.... " but this one didn't warn, just installed it. Glad I have 3 different virus checkers running.

I clicked on it and I am an avid user, so how many more clicks on a link and get viruses installed today?

To me it looks like their search is "broke". It's been a long time since you could find what you were looking for in Google. You have to go to page 50 to even come close. I used to use it a lot at work (DBA at a Mortgage Broker Company) but not anymore. Too hard to find what you want if you don't type in a mile long sentence.....


4:01 am on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

First I thought it was me that did something wrong to loose rankings/hit but found all these sites from china(?)
Then I thought that it was just the industry I am in but now I have found at least 5 different industries that has been infected/affected by this spam cycle. I get more pages for every search so I don't think Google knows about it yet since they keep adding pages all the time.

Wonder how long this mess is going to on before they realize that something is wrong :( Might as well file for bankruptcy :(


7:29 am on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

This is insane. I have a number of business interests. One of my sites has ranked third (behind two entries for Wikipedia), which essentially makes us the first biz site for a one-word kw. Yesterday, after several years, we dropped to the seventh page of the SERPs.

What is #4? A Craigslist rant, related to the topic, yes, but a rant? Results below that are only lightly relevant to the topic. For those of you unfamiliar with CL, posts usually remain on that site for a week only, and generally a CL post won't rise high on Google in competitive SERPs.

I know this is only temporary. I'm pretty sure Google hasn't lost its mind, but what I am seeing is laughable.

Google: WHAT are you doing?


Mods: Correct me if I'm wrong, but I know Wikipedia has been mentioned by name in these forums, and Craigslist is so pervasive in the www community that mentioning it by name would confer no advantage. Edit if necessary, thanks.


9:17 am on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have a blog as subdomain, I keep updating the blog in an average rate every month... But after almost 10 months I got PR1 and the SERPs have never been good for me...

The content which was on the blog was written by me and it was not even copied from somewhere.

Any insights


12:05 pm on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Wow... today Google hit me with a huge stick. In one of the most competitive niches online, I had a site that had ranked well for years. In fact thousands of pages across multiple directories. Top 3 result for a couple thousand competitive queries.

I wake up and suddenly rank for nothing. Not in top 1000. No 950 penalty, -30 penalty. Nothing. Has to be a hand edit, but usually I read people who get a hand edit don't rank for their domain name either. That is the only thing I rank for now.

There isn't a paid link on the entire site. Granted the inbounds aren't the greatest but not bad enough to warrant a penalty. Didn't think there was much that I could do off site to hurt my site, but can't think of any other reason. The site is missing regardless of page structure and on-page factors... so it has to be based on off-page factors or a quality review where a human told me to get lost.

Site was making about 25k/month. Ouch.


12:15 pm on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

kdobson99, have you been targetting long tail traffic?


12:18 pm on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Absolutely. Geo-termed long tail. What's the significance... please?


1:32 pm on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Ok, getting to the bottom of this a little. I was wrong when I stated that this wasn't a 950 penalty. In fact it is the ultimate 950 penalty. My homepage always ranked for the base keyword and it isn't 950'd... it's just gone for all keywords it used to rank for. Thus my quick conclusion that it wasn't a 950.

However, each and every other page on the site is 950'd for the words they used to rank for. That's about 10k pages sent to 950 land. (based on a sample of 25 pages across multiple directories that were 100% 950'd)

I was in 950 land before, but only with a single page. In fact I posted on the first page of the very first 950 thread ( I named it "end of results penalty, but that didn't stick). Since it wasn't a problem for my long tail words, I stopped following the 950 threads so I guess that is where my problem will get solved and where I will direct further comments.

I just hadn't seen 950 applied sitewide before regardless of internal page structure. But perhaps that is being addressed on the 950 thread which I hoped to never have to revisit again.

This 187 message thread spans 7 pages: 187

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