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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]


2:23 pm on Sep 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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

I haven't seen any major changes yet. Interestingly, my site dropped down from #41 to #241 for a one word keyword search that I wasn't even trying to get, as it seemed too unlikely, but it went way up (to #2) for a two word search that also seemed out of reach.

Also, the site: command reports different numbers of pages every time I invoke it - anywhere from 300 to 520 (the correct number is probably somewhere in the middle) and it just bounces back and forth. I don't think my pages are bouncing, so I think it's the site command.


3:12 pm on Sep 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Weired results are back this morning.


3:19 pm on Sep 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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To me it looks like NEW backlinks are not playing a factor to increase a pages rank in the SERPS.

Has anyone seen evidence that new backlinks of late have increased a pages rank?


3:35 pm on Sep 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Is there a RELIABLE way to check on Google all IBL from other sites through a G command?


4:52 pm on Sep 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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4 days ago I was #4 and #5 for one of the most competitive one-word and 2 word search terms on the internet. Now I am back on the 2nd page.

It is a fluid situation.

I am in the top for a week or 2 or 3 then I disappear then I go back into obscurity like a yo-yo.

This produces wild gyrations in traffic and revenue and I am at a loss to explain it. This is not a google dance, I reckon; the results seem to change each time they spider my site which is often.

BTW - 100% white hat, back links from good neighborhoods; crusty old site ( 7+ yrs)

To me fellow webmasters, all I can say is hold fast. The only thing that is guaranteed is that serps will fluctuate.


4:55 pm on Sep 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Update - just checked it again and I am back on the top ten. I was down for 10 hours.

If anyone has insights, please share them - I am popping klonopins like M&M's.

And no, I don't sell ye klonopin.


4:56 pm on Sep 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Try your 1 word KW with an asterisk in the front (*keyword) and let us know what you see.


5:11 pm on Sep 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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What is with the asterix?

I get much better results (and not just for me, cleaner results, perhaps more commerce orientated) using the asterix..


5:33 pm on Sep 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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So... Is Google filtering commerce results again as they did in November 2003?


5:58 pm on Sep 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Just tried some searches with the * asterix and yes, results are different, in my opinion better.

Why is that?


6:05 pm on Sep 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I had between 120 and 125 pages non-supplemental for two weeks, but yesterday it was at 135 and today it's at 155.


6:09 pm on Sep 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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It is my not very humble opinion that something is happening..

Rankpulse shows more movement than at any time since May, and this is the time of year that major updates have happened before (e.g. Jagger in 2005).

The lack of movement since Google started asking for paid link reports suprised me. Perhaps we will see some movement now.


6:00 pm on Sep 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I'm seeing about 30 of the pages on one of my sites suddenly appear in the Google SERPS. Over the last couple of months almost every new page I have written has not appeared anywhere in the SERPS for expected key words. Suddenly today they are there. No rhyme or reason to it. What I also don't understand is that the PR is either grey or white with no ranking. For some reasonably good keywords I'm coming around 6th in the SEPRS with no PR shown.

I've only had one set of 6 pages appear in the SERPS over the past couple of months (until today) and the lead page hit No 1 for the keyword but also was immediately assigned a PR of 3.

Probably no connection, but after several months of pages very slowly going into supplemental I suddenly see today a 3% decrease in supplemental. Not much but it bucks the trend of the last 3 months (supplemental = "site:example.com" minus "site:example.com/*").

Any thoughts about what is happening?

[edited by: tedster at 6:26 pm (utc) on Sep. 10, 2007]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]


9:11 pm on Sep 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Interesting stuff about the * asterisks

I tried :

my keywords
*my keywords
my keywords*
*my keywords*

all four with completely different results

the best results for me are by far: *my keywords*
2nd best is: my keywords*

without asterisks I am penalized with the minus something phenomena.

What does it mean?
Anyone knows?


9:51 pm on Sep 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Here's how Google explains the use of asterisks in their search:



10:11 pm on Sep 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Another factor to consider in the large jumps in the SERPS could be due to the recent large banning and penalization of directories that were selling links and interlinking amongst themselves (not mentioned much on WebmasterWorld).

If you've been buying a lot of links from those directories it could have resulted in a drop in rank due to those links no longer being factored into your rank (remember that Google sees immediate results re links but doesn't report them only every 3-4 months),.

It could be that Google implemented a lot of different tweaks to the algorithim all at once just so the changes are harder to detect.


10:51 pm on Sep 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Last week I reported that one of our client's sites had taken a substantial blow in the SERPs, and not only did the rankings plummet, but their home page was de-indexed.

We did some digging and found that the site had become a victim of a proxy hijack. We quickly implemented the fixes listed in webmasterworld, and come this morning... the site is back in action, home page indexed, and the rankings have returned.

The proxy site with the client's home page has disappeared.
As far as we can tell, all rankings have returned (give or take a position).

I don't completely understand how the proxy hijack would happen. I always figured that when google finds duplicate content, the site which has a higher PR and/or had had the page indexed first, would receive the higher placement, and not become filtered/de-indexed.

The proxy site in question has far lower PR than the client's site.

Anyone suspect that maybe there was an overall flummox at Google in the past week?


11:38 pm on Sep 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Something must be happening. I'm up to 165 in the main index. That's a 32% increase in less than 48 hours.


12:36 am on Sep 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Here's something odd. I noticed it about a week ago. The index pages of a couple newer directories have their index pages indexed with the file name instead of just dir/ which is how I link to them with absolute paths. It's only the two directories. Both created this year. Here's something else: When I access the url dir/ I see PR but no cached page. If I access index.html I get no PR but a cache is there and it's returned when I execute a site:domain.com command.


12:47 am on Sep 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Atomic, nothing strange there, sounds like a classic example(well documented) of what happens when you do not do the redirects to control how a site is accessed & indexed.

Back to Watching


12:52 am on Sep 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Hmmmm, first time it's ever happened, though. I will look into redirects. I did finally discover, thanks to today's Webmaster Tool update, that they've linked to the index page. My sitemap generator probably threw out the page names and I neglected to remove them.


1:02 am on Sep 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Atomic, Tedster has pinned to the top of the Google Search News A thread with some of what you will be looking for, check out the threads.

Why "www" & "no-www" Are Different - the canonical root issue

Domain Root vs. index.html - another kind of duplicate

That should get you started.

Back to Watching


12:02 pm on Sep 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Not bad on Sunday but Monday and now today it's really bad. My page 1 website is now page 4 with another internal page.

These are the worst serps that I've ever seen. All I see is craigs list ads and the multi-million dollar mfgrs of my KW aren't to be found. This is SAD..

Search on "firearm" (*ted using this as an example not my KW ) and look at the book.google.com returns. I think that if I wanted a "book on firearms", I would have typed that in.

Buy Yahoo Stock... Price is cheap and I think for search, they may now be the best.


1:02 pm on Sep 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


Same here. For some reason I got kicked to the end of the results again. Thursday-Friday was bad and then I came back Saturday-Sunday up until late in the evening Sunday and now it's back to oblivion.

I did a search yesterday for "boxer in Kentucky" and to me a boxer is a dog, but not to Google. A boxer to Google is the fighting kind and has almost nothing to do with a dog. Seems like they are trying to do something semantic. Could be interesting to do some more research there since there were a few other sites than boxing sites to see why these other sites happened to show up.


2:23 pm on Sep 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Those of you experiencing recent drops might want to check out this Google Groups thread [groups.google.com]. People are seeing

URL timeout: DNS lookup timeout

in the webmaster console and it's possible this is just a Google error. Susan Moskwa is checking into it.

I see it for one of my sites, which coincidentally, lost rankings at the same time.


3:39 pm on Sep 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Good find!

So far - I'm not sure that anything can be ruled out....

I have chased theories for the last 4 days and this is just as good as anything else that would provide some guidance.

Please keep us posted.


[edited by: Arctrust at 3:40 pm (utc) on Sep. 11, 2007]


5:16 am on Sep 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Seeing huge changes in our results. Maybe our page rank will even come back?
Is it an update - anyone else seeing significant stuff. It feels like it's been in the air for a while now.

[edited by: tedster at 5:34 am (utc) on Sep. 13, 2007]
[edit reason] moved post [/edit]


5:44 am on Sep 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Not seeing anything significant in the results I track, but then changes that I see tend to occur in the wee hours of the morning, and we are some hours away from that time. I'll check things out when I crawl out of bed tomorrow.... After some coffee. lol


4:40 pm on Sep 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Nope, I see no changes in the SERPs I track.


5:29 pm on Sep 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Nothing here either :( Same old, same old..... around 800 or so....
I DID have a visit from Google today so I am hoping that my changes has helped. Maybe they read re-inclusion requests?
I removed a lot fo duplicates that I thought was removed using 301 but for some reason they didn't do what was intended :(
I removed a lot of internal links, trimming down the site as much as I could. My reasoning for doing this is that my site is (was?) too close to a "spam profile" and got a collateral damage penalty. It is not gone since it has some clout still to make it to the last page.
For some key words/phrases it is still on the first page, just not the ones it used to be so I am guessing that these keywords/phrases are not in the "spam profile".

Keeping my fingers crossed that it won't go the other way... even deeper into the mud.

This 187 message thread spans 7 pages: 187

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