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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]
Most of the pages on the other site that have been lost are gallery pages. I manually add a title and description to all my Gallery pages. Sometimes I forget to do this before I upload them. In some instances, I've gone back a few weeks later to add titles to these pages, after it's already been indexed. Pages that have not been edited are all doing very well.
Some of these pages also have Amazon text links on them, so this may also be a factor.
If it's not broken, don't try to fix it!
Provided that I spent the past few weeks making it look nicer, hired copywriters to make the content more appealing. Also removed some of what Google would eventually consider evidence of SEO...
Obviously Google is neither god nor even close to artificial intelligence because what's ranked instead now is either clearly manipulated or just would not be trusted by human beings.
Does Google have problems feeding trust or what?
Or does it have something to do with indexing problems?
Or do our competitors send 12's of baseless spam reports and it works based on whatever criteria?
On monday, I will ask for some black hat SEO budget, nothing to loose anyway and we don't rely so much on Google anyway for this site.
I am considering it seriously because everything seems to work except hard work and following the so called guidelines.
1) almost all of the changes seem to be due to external factors, so that in-site SEO does not seem to matter all that much
Knowing as to what that external factor is would be extremely valuable.
DMOZ/Google directory changes do not fit the profile of the likely cause.
2) the site's themselves seem to be evaluated on a site-wide basis for this (likely external) factor (which also means that there are sudden, dramatic changes to the rankings)
3) the changes do not seem to have anything to do with so-called sandboxing factor
Our site dropped from the 2nd page to +100 page for two word generic keyword, yet it didn't move at all for a more specific keyword, also 2 words. Basically the first keyword describes the business we are in in general, while the second one exactly describes what our site is all about.
Obviously, the generic keyword phrase drives more traffic so we focused on optimizing for it, and it worked fine till yesterday. Somehow Google figured it out and properly classified our site.
Does it mean they started implementing their search patents? Is google a semantic search engine now?
I changed the keyword Widgeting to Widgets. My site has always stayed on the first page of results for this keyword. Now today, I find it at the 850 mark.... Some of these pages also have Amazon text links on them, so this may also be a factor.
I'm not convinced keyword changes or anchor text modification necessarily is considered evil by Google. In recent months I changed five-year-old internal navigation links, including Keyword 1 Keyword 2 to Keyword 2, and the SERPs are about the same.
I did this for consistency in the top navigation bar, so each link is a single word (so many categories fit in a single line).
I believe it's more likely for Google to suspect overoptimization if you're doing something else besides adjusting navigation link anchor text. I suspect Google engineers are smart enough to realize not all anchor text changes are done to game the system.
Let's face it. A lot of websites could use a makeover now and then in both visual design and nav links.
Is google a semantic search engine now?
Google has been folding in various kinds of semantic indexing since they purchased Applied Semantics in 2003 [webmasterworld.com]. The effects of semantic factors in the SERPs are becoming more and more important to understand IMO -- at least in a broad, top-level way. One of the Information Retrieval (IR) approaches that uses semantics is co-occurence [webmasterworld.com].
In a pure text-match algorithm, when you want to rank for a given keyword, you focus on including just those words in your copy and anchor text. From a semantic point of view, this approach can generate an unnatural page -- because it does not include any of the related words that would naturally be expected to "co-occur" with the target phrase. For example, if you want to rank for "garbage collection", then with a co-occurence algo you would also expect to see on the page at least some words like "truck, waste, refuse, route, sanitation, regulations, recycling, compactor" and so on.
In some cases I've worked with, significant ranking improvements came after we took the restraints off the copy and folded in more of the naturally related vocabulary. It's something to think about, and it's a lot less risky than removing the actual words you want to rank for.
Caution - don't overdo this. One of the signs of an automated scraper page is that, by collecting snippets from many different sites, they can end up with TOO MANY different co-occuring words. I'm pretty sure that Google looks for this unnatural signal - high co-occurence - as much as it looks for zero co-occurence. So this approach is really a "non-technique" technique, and there's a big fat sweet spot.
In basic terms, you might just say "write good copy that communicates effectively to your users."
Some major changes at Google this month.
Looking forward to some official announcement.
[edited by: TheSeoDude at 10:34 pm (utc) on Sep. 1, 2007]
I got a lot of traffic to pages like "widgets for sale in New York" but not anymore. Even if thepage is there it seems like they just care about the main page, kinda' saying that we have a page where "widgets for sale in New York" would fit in but you have to search for ut your self. It's in there, somwhere, instead of sending them to the targeted page. They used to, but not anymore. My pages are newly cached, not like the other so called update where they had a several month old cache dates.....
If it is going to stay this way, we might as well give up and turn to black hat. No reason to stay white when black hat always seem to win the battle.
UPDATE: Search for widgets for sale now has 15,500,000 pages....
It looked to me like the uk serps were updated on Thursday and then rolled back Friday?
I noticed some sites got moved up on Thursday meanwhile some got hit and fell out the index. It now looks like its back to how it was prior to the update.
Anyone have a clue whats cooking?
Also, are we not very long over due a green bar PR update? This has to be the longest period ever between updates?
- Crawls have been slow during the second part of august
- cache for a large number of sites was not updated since the first 10 days of august
I've seen sites getting back close to where they belong historically (sites that would not have any reasons to be filtered IMO) starting last night.
Looking at it closer some of them were on close IP ranges, while unrelated in terms of keywords.
So that makes my think that some huge infrastructure changes are taking place during labor day, Gooogle taking advantage of the slower traffic to perform the switch.
Not sure if this makes sense, somebody with large scale database server experience could give a better explanation?
My 2cts....does not change my opinion concerning some new sites that do not deserve their rankings whatsoever.
Also noticed this when a couple of my sites (UK) had a decent increase in positions, same thing, Thursday to Friday night/Sat morning.
I also thought this talied with an increase in pages over same period on a search for site:www.mydomain.co.uk when "pages from the UK" was selected (could be mistaken though)
Google continuously shows more of my sites pages on a site:www.mydomain.co.uk when I DON'T have "pages from the UK" selected which is possibly a bug as there is no sense in it otherwise
As a matter of fact, I notice a continuous decline of pages proposed in the SERPS, as well as number of backlinks in my webmaste central.
I believe, that for a couple of months now google is performing strong efforts to erase large parts of the web from the index, parts, which have obviously grown simply for the purpose of providing links.
The challenge for google is, to find means to do this automatically, not by hand.
[edited by: Oliver_Henniges at 7:40 pm (utc) on Sep. 3, 2007]
Also, I moved up on another keyword that many link me. I suspect extra credit was given to anchor links this update.
25/7/2007 results re-appeared at prominent positions
8/8/2007 results returned to levels prior to 25th
12/8/2007 results back up again
13/8/2007 results down
14/8/2007 (around 1pm) results up
17/8/2007 down again
21/8/2007 back in.
28/8/2007. knocked out again.
30/8/2007 back in again at good positions
4/8/2007 results down to perhaps the lowest positions since this whole dance began
5/8/2007 a slight recovery on a couple of keywords that are reverting back to high positions but genrally no real movement from yesterday.
I was on page 1 for almost all my keywords.
The page that has suffered the most is my index page. I used to hold the number 2 or 3 spot on the first page of Google for my main keyword on my index page and now I can't even find my site for that keyword.
The index page can still be found with a few other keywords, on page 2, 3, or 4 so it hasn't been banned. I also used to rank on page 1 or 2 for these other keywords, so they have moved down in the listings.
I don't use any black hat techniques and I follow Google guidelines strictly.
I made changes to my navigational menu on August 27th. Ever since then my traffic has decreased slowly and then around Sept 1 dropped quite a bit. I added two new pages. One of the pages has as a link out to an affiliate.
I've had this affiliate link on many different pages of my site for a couple months and didn't have any problem with it. No loss in traffic.
The affiliate link doesn't really look like an affiliate link since they gave me a subdomain instead of an affiliate link. For example it looks like this.
There was no loss of traffic from this affiliate link for the past two months.
I'm wondering if the loss in traffic could be that the affiliate link is now present on too many pages?
Or is it just a google dance and I should wait it out?
Many of my other pages are still ranking well for their keyword. However some of them have disappeared from the search results as well and others moved down a notch or two.
Overall I've lost about 300-400 uniques a day, which mostly are a result of the index page not ranking for it's main keyword. I'm still getting about 900 uniques a day.
Any thoughts would be appreciated.
One of our client's index page is no longer indexed in G. The page dropped out sometime in the past few days. This sounds like a similar problem to what many are having and countless others have had.
Our client was at the top of the second page for several heavily searched for terms, and on the first page for many others. I'm crossing my fingers that rankings for the home page come back the same or better. But you never know.
Outland88, can you elaborate on how the trouble may be about to begin?
For me this experience raises several questions:
1) What's to say that the home page won't come back?
2) Could the volatile SERPS be related to the multi-link testing going on over at business.com?
3) Has anyone else had their home page de-indexed and reappear with minimal negative results?
A couple of days ago, GWT started reporting there were no pages indexed for these domains. One of 'em predates Google by at least half a dozen years or so. And the pages ARE there - if you do a site command with the www, you get one page for each domain, and if you do the site without the www, you get all the pages for each domain. And they come up just as they always have for searches. But GWT thinks there are no pages indexed - ONLY for those two domains. It's been that way almost three days now.
So just for the heck of it, I set the preference to www. We'll see what happens. Neither site is anything terribly important as far as losing ranking goes, so I'm not risking anything I care about by making changes.
Even the big boys can lose databases... That might be a reason why some sites disappear for a few days, get recrawled and reranked.
The September SERP changes moved us from #2 for a top search term to #1, a spot that our oldest competitor has always held, so we are wondering if a slower product rollout would have a different effect than a faster rollout. Any thoughts on this?