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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]

4:11 am on Sept 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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<<Almost feels like AltaVista in 1996 sometimes.>>

Progress! Hahahaha.

My prior post, my site that had been ranked third for a single kw that vanished to page 7, is now back on page 1, altho sliding up and down the page. At least that idiotic page from Craigslist, the rant, is gone. Looks like they are trying to fix the damage.

The page that did get ranked on page 7 was not the homepage, but a page only semi on topic for that single kw. Pretty embarrassing screw up! Here's hoping they actually do fix this mess.

1:19 pm on Sept 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I'm still not seeing any difference. Internal pages ( different ) are ranking. Originally looked like KW had to be in URL but that's not true.

I sell an industrial product and a very popular one too. Site ranks tops in the industry in Alexa and Most Popular at Yahoo Directory. On G, I've been replaced by some Lesbian book whose authors last name is my KW.

Hope that this "shopping experience" is good for all of the "engineers" and "homeowners" who buy thousands of my products monthly.

I laughed when Google dropped to number 2 for "User Experience" last month being kicked out by Yahoo. Maybe they're spending too much time trying to sell me Newspaper, Radio and TV ads, not to mention getting into the PHONE business.

This whole natural SERP issue has made my AdWords spend more than double and I'm now talking 5 digits monthly.

I guess the FREE ride is over.

PS.. Hope that Lesbian book author is selling alot of those books to the industrial engineers that search for this product.

1:50 pm on Sept 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Here's another good idea... Let's all go out to searchmash.com [searchmash.com] and give them our feedback for your KW. I just did and it made me feel better.

I wonder if Matt Cutts still reads this or if he's too engrossed in hacking his iPhone to see that they have BIG PROBLEMS!

[edited by: tedster at 3:41 pm (utc) on Sep. 8, 2007]
[edit reason] make a live link [/edit]

2:45 pm on Sept 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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bhuckster,

I totally agree about MC.... if you look at his blog right now, nobody really cares to post comments anymore and it hasn't been updated for days so I am hoping that he is BUSY fixing the search right now working 24/7 and BTW, who would want their search on their iPhone anyway?

I just happened to see this in the search result:
.html - 31k - 14 hours ago

Notice the 14 hours ago thing! Why would that be interesting to know except for some news pages? Are they going to show "5 years ago" if it is an old page that haven't been updated in 5 years?
Why is this important to show in the results?

NOTE: As of like 5 minutes ago my traffic suddenly came back without me changing anything. Checking my placement with a tool yesterday revealed that I was at 800 or so and as of this morning it is at 21.
Hope it'll last but who knows with Google. They do as they damn well pleases. "It's just math anyway".... Geesh... I wish I wouldn't have skipped that lesson in school :)

Here's another thing I noticed:
In my stats I saw this: blue widgets ma -<a classified ad site>
Seems like people are getting tired of page after page with subdomains from this site......

[edited by: tedster at 3:43 pm (utc) on Sep. 8, 2007]

4:11 pm on Sept 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Thanks Ted for editing my post! I kind of knew I couldn't post that but didn't know what to put there instead!
I think Arctrust has found something interesting. In one of his posts he mentioned different labels in the search result and one was that it said BOOKS instead of web.
My site (keeping my fingers crossed it will last!) suddenly came back this morning and what I see is that it seems to have been "re-labeled" and belong to another category now. What I see is more sites like mine and not the usual misch-mash of sites.
Is it that they are trying to categorize sites differently? Sites about books will have their own label now? To me it seems like it is the way to go (like I said, I have been toying with that idea for years!) so when you go to search for something you usually know if you are looking for some PHP code and you know if you want samples or a book to read. Then you should have an option to choose from so if this is what they are doing, then it's fine. If it is just the usual screw up, then it's bad.

UPDATE: Matt Cutts IS reading his blog and have reacted to the chinese spam sites I have reported! They are testing right now. A lot of them is still there and I haven't seen any decline yet, but at least they are aware of it!

6:14 pm on Sept 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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gehrlekrona

How do you know that MC is reading and responsing?

9:04 pm on Sept 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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See comments on his last blog post :)
11:43 pm on Sept 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Question:

Why does Google add "&as_q=Kentucky" at the end of the query?

This is what shows up in the URL:
[google.com...]

If I look in the search box it says: blue widgets for sale Kentucky

Is this new or has it always been that way?

12:35 am on Sept 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Ok, my page number is increasing. It appears to be a temporary thing, but only time will tell. Traffic is way down though but then my page number was drastically down.
12:50 am on Sept 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I can't believe my eyes. I'm back to #2 on the west coast and #1 on the east coast. WOW... Haven't seen those numbers all summer..

I'm happy now but I know that it won't be there tomorrow..

BUT I did do a "Happy Dance".

1:13 am on Sept 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Plenty of results have been blended in the sectors I watch. Over the last 6 weeks I've had very good results penetrating competitive verticles with fresh content that in the past have taken some time to crack. One of our sites got proxy hijacked about 12 months back and in the last week has recovered into the serps as if a penalty has been lifted, right back at the top. Our PR6 forum with over 300,000 pages dropped to 70,000 pages but traffic seems about the same? Probably just the site operator command buggy again. I've seen a lot of older sites recover in the serps as well. These are just my observations.
3:13 am on Sept 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Seems like whatever they did to posters in this thread has been reverted. My site came back this morning and has been good all day. Maybe even gained a few positions, so I am happy right now. Don't have to go from house and land :)

Not sure, and will probably never find out, what they did to us. Maybe we were digging to deep so they decided to let us in from the cold again. I hope that it'll last and that all of us that deserve to be there at the top get back to where we belongs and that they GOOG stops jacking with our sites. Should be someone else turn next time, right?

One observation thoug, like I have said before, is that GOGG seems to be trying to do some "web site typing", i.e. trying to find a way to clump sites together in a taxonomy. Maybe they ARE planning to have their search categorized, just like I tried a while back? It would be a good thing, not to mix each and everyone on the same page. People usually know if they are looking for a book about widgets or the widget itself or a place to buy a widget... whatever you would do with a widget, I don't know :)

6:13 am on Sept 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I've been seeing some major churn in single word searches again, and the results aren't looking like what we discussed back in May [webmasterworld.com], nor like what I've seen since.

Several shifts could be attributed to paid link penalties, and these previously high ranking pages appear to be staying down amidst other movement. The reason for some other churn, though, isn't really clear right now. This appears to be very much a work in progress.

6:43 am on Sept 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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GOGG seems to be trying to do some "web site typing", i.e. trying to find a way to clump sites together in a taxonomy. Maybe they ARE planning to have their search categorized

I think this idea deserves its own thread - so I started one:

[webmasterworld.com...]

10:27 am on Sept 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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UPDATE ON CURRENT SERP PATTERN

Domain Age Counts

It seems as though, that the current 1 word KW search is still being fully integrated into the Google results with BOOKS, BLOGS, MAPS. etc.

The top 3 or 4 results do seem to be on target - but a check of domain age, KW optimization, and backlinks shows that the results are based on strictly the age of the domains. The rest of the results still contain relevant sites but also a lot of garbage sites.

Naturally, this domain age thing seems to be just one of the DIALS that G is experimenting with to get the 1 word KW in synch so this could also be different depending on the DC setting.

For reference:

"marcia" has posted a link to the Google Blog concerning the integration of "digitized out-of-copyright books"

[googleblog.blogspot.com...]

Also - "marcia" had a post in May about 1 KW searches (sorry, I can't seem to find to include it here) which is interesting because here we are 4 months later and we are still dealing with this.

and

[googleblog.blogspot.com...]

"tedster" has started a new thread concerning Google trying to classify sites based on what type of site it is such as a Book, Blog, Commercial

[webmasterworld.com...]

ARC

11:37 am on Sept 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I seen some minor improvments yesterday but my keywords still haven't returned to anywere near the levels pre June 28th.
12:03 pm on Sept 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Hi Northstar I am seeing the same as you very very small improvements. Since the 28th we have stopped yo-yoing up and down and are now just completely out of the SERPS all together.

Was all the yo-yoing in July and August just a test and big G has now decided that it likes the result when most of our sites are out.

I have had troble with G since Dec 23th 2006.

12:24 pm on Sept 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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"Happy Dance" over...

Starting with the same issues this morning.

12:29 pm on Sept 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I see some positive changes :)

Yesterday I've discovered that one of my two sites is ranking #1 of 10,400 for the primary keyword (one word keyword) -- for the first time since I launched the site about a year ago.

Before yesterday it ranked between #8 and #6 for the primary keyword.

6:45 pm on Sept 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Instead of #3, right behind Wikipedia, for our primary single kw, we are now #13...and six books (books.google.com) are listed ahead of us.

Way to go, Google. Why do you assume that's what people are looking for? Unbelievable.

7:09 pm on Sept 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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The dance is still going on, and like I said several times, it is done buy "web site typing", i.e. depending on what theme your web site is about.

[edited by: tedster at 3:01 am (utc) on Sep. 10, 2007]

7:17 pm on Sept 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I've taken a serious hit these past three days. Needless to say, I hope it changes :)
2:44 am on Sept 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Seems like my up this time lasted about 26 hours. As of 20.23 PM my site is gone for my search term again.
Like always, you hope it'll last but guess not :(
I was hoping I could settle down for a while and actually get some work done at work tomorrow...... now I have to worry about what they will do next....

Google depression sets in.....

3:21 am on Sept 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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In my case, I now have at least a dozen books ranked ahead of the homepage for one of my sites for a single kw. There is no way in this world that this shakeout is finished. I do not believe Google would be so incredibly dumb as to throw book listings at someone who is seeking a professional service.
3:31 am on Sept 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Using different IP addresses gives different result.
If I use this IP: 72.14.207.99 the results are good but If I use this IP: 64.233.167.99 it is jusr crap....

Question: Why is the result different when I use my ggogle.com and the IP address a ping gives different? DNS resolution?

Here's how to get your Google IP.
Click Start button and the RUN
Type in cmd and hit enter
type in ping google.com in the DOS window.

Just in case you don't know

3:39 am on Sept 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Thanks!

I did't know.... But using the IP addresses I get when I ping google from my machine give me clean results.

When I enter the search term from my browser... in my Google toolbar - Not signed in - I get garbage....

OH NO! Google has taken over my browser!

Just kidding... but can't figure it out.

g1smd - any ideas?

ARC

[edited by: Arctrust at 3:41 am (utc) on Sep. 10, 2007]

4:47 am on Sept 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Quick note - a ping will not necessarily give you the IP address that just delivered your results. Many times, yes, but not always, because Google's load balancing and whatever else they do can change things. There is a Firefox extension called "ShowIP" that will display the IP address of the currently displayed web page down in the bottom right of the browser.

Interesting to see that the toolbar but not signed-in results are where the "garbage" SERPs are seen.

5:32 am on Sept 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Tedster..
Thank you for clarifying.

Guys...

From all my tinkering I have only come to this:

TEST
A search for a 1 word KW on a direct IP (and I'm trying 4 different ones)
The SERPS are clean and my listing is fine.

Searching for the same from my Google toolbar - signed in or not
The results are garbage.

So.... what do I know after 21 hours of work today?
Not much other than what we all previously discussed on a wide variety of posts at other times...

Apparently - from those Data Centers it seems that G may be applying a filter that was previously discussed here about x years ago then known as LocalRank - which doesn't really mean that it's a GEO filter rather it's a re-ranking of the top 900 -1000 results that the algo finds in the first "CUT" long before displaying the final results you see.

So in conclusion - the results seem to be somewhat filtered right before they are shown.

It is in this final filter where I belive Google is now sending the additional sites that they are looking to integrate... which seem to be blogs, books, craigslist entries and myspace posts.

Is this something I think I can fix - probably not. Yes there does seem to be some listings in position 1-3 that actually do belong there but then there are 3 or 4 garbage listings, 1 more listing that probably belonged where the fisrt garbage listing started and this pattern repeats throught the results.

This pattern that I notice is where the real problem seems to be.

Where is GoogleGuy or anyone else from G when you need them.

I think that this attempt is definetly a Franken-Google gone wrong but there doesnt seem to be any haste in correcting it.

ARC

5:46 am on Sept 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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One Last Oddity....

An asterisk before the keyword in the search box (*keyword) produces different - but clean reults...

ARC

1:40 pm on Sept 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Now today i'm seeing tons of junk again. For certen keywords I get spam, virus sites, year old forum posts and wikipedia of course.
This 187 message thread spans 7 pages: 187