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September 2007 Google SERP Changes - part 2



1:24 pm on Sep 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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

So with all of this discussion about what's happening, has anyone heard anything about what G is "trying to accomplish"?

I had heard that they were headed for "all inclusive" search where they wanted to bring images, videos, books and "normal sites" into a single listing. Not to say that I think that's a good thing but is this the beginning of that? Yahoo and MSN surely aren't trying this.

I've never ( 5 years experience ) seen anything like what is showing up. Craigs list entries, books.google.com entries, entries that I can't even see a KW. My site has been Page 1 for 4 years of over 5 million pages and still is on Yahoo #7 with 7 million and MSN #2 with whatever. I can't see that there is a solution for this right now and have decided to ride out the storm ( which I believe started in Feb and got worse in May and just got worse now ) AND this is ONLY happening for single KW, my phrases have not been touched. Even the guy with www.KW.com which used to rank really high ( not a great website but he ranked high ) has joined the rest of us bobbing on the high seas.

There are about 20 really good companies in my industry and about 6 have really good websites. These guys have been my website competition for the past 5 years ( our company is 30 years old ). I know their sites inside and out and not many of them make changes that often and have not made any that I have picked up. I made changes thru the summer trying to combat what I preceived as a simple algo change and managed to stay on page 1 as I watched some of my competition drop to page 2. Now we are ALL bobbing up and down with no reason. Yesterday, I was in 12 different positions ranging from 2 to 46.

Google - I'm getting seasick. Please let this end.

[edited by: tedster at 11:18 pm (utc) on Sep. 16, 2007]


1:32 am on Sep 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Yes, the spam sites are all over, not only in obscure searches but on top of a lot of good sites.

Google doesn't seem to worried about it, which is strange to me.
If people start getting infected by viruses and sites want to install spyware scanners om their cmputers, then Google will be see upon as NOT SAFE anymore, and what are they going to do then?
If they loose their good-will with ordinary people, then it'sgoing downhill fast..... It will take alooooong time before people trust them again!


7:06 am on Sep 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Could someone please give an example for a keyword to see the cn-pages?


11:08 am on Sep 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Obscure enough to not be competitive, but the point is made.
Hope this is politically correct.
If it's not, sorry, please remove the post.

These results show up of course for many kinds of searches.
( Note that they didn't invade the top in the sectors *I* monitor. )

Also, while browsing the SERPs don't click the results!

[buy sell review blue widgets red widgets purple widgets new york london paris tokyo beijing where ever whatever]

Looking at them is safe... *cough* navigate the SERPs but keep your distance.
If you click, they redirect and might try to install malware on your PC.
You don't want to spend the rest of the day cleaning cr@p / reinstall your OS, do you?

[edited by: tedster at 4:27 pm (utc) on Sep. 19, 2007]
[edit reason] switch link to a query [/edit]


12:27 pm on Sep 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Just a quick my 2c ( and have'nt read the whole thread)

Re: decius and hissing sid post.

Is anyone noticing how google is only selecting unique titles to give a broad match for single keywords.

ie kw widgets in the top 100

Google seems to be fetching its best and unique match for

black widgets
stylish widgets
rubber widgets
widget directory
table widgets
sexy widgets
mens widgets etc etc etc

And theres very little duplication in the page titles, if there is duplcation the page appears to be offering somethingelse that is unique to the query and result set.

ie quality wigets inc specialist in black widgets.

Be interested if anyone else is seeing this

ps the last time i say you post hissing sid was florida ;)


1:04 pm on Sep 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

It seems to me that what the spam sites have done is to take parts of every web site in a category and scraped key phrases from them. They added the phrases to the pages and to the meta tags. Then they have a 2 step process, one for Google and one for the SERPs.
If you view Googles cache of a file it looks ok, but if you refresh the cache you'll be redirected, which tells me that there is a script that redirects the second time.
The way they did it is kind of smart because how can google remove the sites without removing the "real" sites? They can't take the phrases and use that to remove sites? The only thing they can do is to run the crawler twice or run the crawler against their cached files and remove sites that redirects/cloaks pages.
Somehow in my ignorance, I thought that Google had all this figured out before, but now it seems that they have removed all spam filters so now they have to do an "infrastructure change" to fix it and that's another one I don't fully understand. Why would you need an infrastructure change to fix it? More computers? Get more offices for people who can review sites?


4:11 pm on Sep 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Looks to me like the patent on key phrase ranking in combination with page rank is coming to fruition. If you check out their patent 20060106792 Multiple index based information retrieval system, a lot of the examples given in the patent (summary 0014) seem to match the current serps using phrase rank methodology. The patent method also explains why single keyword searches are out of whack (to what we have seen in the very recent past) while multiple keyword searches return something a lot more sane. I think they are trying it out.


5:02 pm on Sep 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Anyone going to name this "substantial change to the infrastructure" that's been occurring for the past few weeks?


5:44 pm on Sep 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Back to School? ... *grin*

... naw.


6:27 pm on Sep 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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How about "How do we fix what our summer interns messed up? HEEEEEEEELP!" :)


7:12 pm on Sep 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Should be named after Anna Patterson in some manner.


1:04 pm on Sep 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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How about "How do we fix what our summer interns messed up? HEEEEEEEELP!" :)

Damn students! Told'em not to sneak in the main index. Play only with the Directory they said...interns don't listen :)

Name I thought of for this "thing" going on:

1. Alzheimer: for all these pages not indexed, counted, cached and entire good sites mistaken for a super low quality entirely SEO'ed conterpart from overseas.

2. Beijin / Tokyo: now that almost any pages from these CN/JP sites with english terms rank on top a lightspeed.

3. badware: no exaplanation needed...just for all these sites that are potential risks for your computer that pop up there.

They may have lost some databases, the whole histor of some sites. But I would bet that they are in an infrastructure trouble.

Infrastruture trouble:
a. need to keep the business going on
Google solution: keep authorities, keep homepages and pages that a reafreashed regularly which includes any blog site.
Screw the rest and reintegrate it later(hopefully).
This could also explain the pest of bad sites currently infesting SERP's since they update frequently and have almost no content on their pages except 2/3 keyword that are enough for GG to find them relevant.

b. Some regular business drop because some of their pages are mia and some of their backlinks not caculated or counted as missing.

c. Taking advantage of this: diggs, forums, blogs and quickly setup site with a few cheap backlinks from directory homepages get their internal pageranks...since there is no more tough competiton because of b. then they rank incredibly well.

Since these cheap sites above also never got scapped then their profile is clean even though cheap....Google ranks them right below authorities.

Authorities are given a considerable ammount of credibility at the same time, far too much, too many url's or associated blogs or sites that belong to the same person/business/network - including Google itself.

This does not explain the singular/plural issue noticed that I used to consider as one of the Google strenghts over Y and MNS.
Almost looks like their algo rollback to the pre-florida update just that now the internet nowadays and it is quite different guys!


5:24 pm on Sep 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Infrastruture trouble:
a. need to keep the business going on
Google solution: keep authorities, keep homepages and pages that a reafreashed regularly which includes any blog site.
Screw the rest and reintegrate it later(hopefully).

This is exactly my assessment.

Most of Goog's algo "enhancements" follow this pattern.

Change - realize changes let in alot of nonsense they hadn't anticipated - tweak - more or different issues - tweak some more - etc

All the while throwing massive weight to authorities to keep searchers happy enough so they don't go running to the NYSE to complain. ;)


7:00 pm on Sep 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I have NEVER seen so much garbage bubbling up to the top, EVER, in Google!
Everything you guys said I agree to. I see blogs, google books, sites that has never shown up before and of course, all the chinese (?) spam sites. The spam sites have a major roll in this crap I think. They are so "clean" that Google can't handle them without a HUGE "infrastructure" change and while trying to get rid of them they only keep some authority sites, probably manually edited to be allowed in OR sites that hasn't been scraped (yet) so they gi unhurt through this f-d up mess.

I am thinking about setting up a poll on my sites, asking people what they think about Google and then publish it somwhere where it is VISIBLE to Google... but then again, why would they care when they are showing sites that might infect your computer?

If it is the so called "Universal Search" that created all this, then they should scrap it ASAP. Universal... hmmmm.....

Some quotes I found:

"For example, Mayer said that the first result in Google might get clicked on more than a third of the time out of all the clicks on that page. In fact, Google's search quality team makes it a goal to try and make that first result as relevant as possible. In contrast, the OneBox insertions get clicked on less despite getting prime placement on the page, since they aren't as relevant.

Universal Search aims to fix this through blending. With Universal Search, Google will hit a range of its vertical search engines, then decide if the relevancy of a result from book search is higher than a match from web page search."

This is REALLY interesting!

"As a search engine marketer, the implementation of invisible tabs means that traffic from organic web page listings will diminish over time. The more specialty databases are implemented, the less traffic will fall to web search results.

That needn't be a problem. The skilled search engine marketer's most important asset is understanding how search engines get various types of listings, then helping their clients enter the appropriate databases. Think beyond web page databases, and you'll be prepared for the future."


7:32 pm on Sep 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Do you recall the recent attack that was performed from China against US and British Defense? It was quite elaborate and, allegedly, it was done by the chinese government.

Since China doesn't like the influence of Google and has had its problems with them regarding the self-censorship issue, don't you think this could be a Chinese attack on Google? I mean a Chinese government attack?



8:55 pm on Sep 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Serps change, and it goes up and down, it always has and always will - and if somebody found a way to game the serps, so be it, they did better than google and they got competition.

Or perhaps google is just giving people a lesson in what the internet would be like, if it really was a totally free market without any uhrm, government control or reputation scales, or systems controlling anything.

Oh, if you could just restrict your search to only com, org and net domains.. and only specific filetypes and put some more restrictions and options into it just to give you that feeling of.. wait, no, okay, forget about that, google wouldn't want to give you any options on what to see, and what not to see. that would be unfair competition, and evil, really.

Now, follow googles advice and make sites for users, not search engines, since they'll probably be dead soon anyways.


9:47 pm on Sep 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Not sure what they are trying. Example:-
Popular search term:-

1-3 Three Google adwords at the top (sometimes 2)The standard
4 Google Base / Google Books(now showing on a volume of related searches)
5 - First Organic Result
6 & 7 - same site indented
8 - Google News
9 - 14 Organic results

So as i see it looks like google are testing the effectiveness of increasing exposure to own products whilst at the same time offering less organic result options on the home page which may or may not be increasing adwords clicks (only google knows).

By restricting the results to UK the first two organic both have indented listings plus the google base options.

If you think about it logically if they reduce 10 organic results to 9 they have reduced exposure to non income generating results by 10% chuck in a couple of indented listings and they have improved it further. Two sites with indented listings + Base/Books + News means that only 7 websites get a look in on the first page with a free organic listing - every other click on the page is to either an own product facility or google adwords.

I dont think this is anything to do with search quality its testing methods of driving up revenues higher but they need to balance this against effectiveness - if they turn this up to high, search users will lose confidence in their search facility but then again, wheres the alternative?


11:16 pm on Sep 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

It's not my intention to upset members who have been affected by these changes in Google's SERPs.

However, the sector I watch closely is getting better every day.

I see less obvious spam and new ontopic sites moving there way to the top.

A few months ago, hidden text was still an issue. Recently, I've noticed Google getting better on catching hidden text Web pages.



1:29 am on Sep 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Don't blame the Chinese. Anyone can register a .cn domain and since they're currently cheaper than .infos they're being used for um... larger projects.

Malware in serps is a big problem so it's sad to see G guys checking my hand written article for an affiliate program (gets 2 hits per day) and trying to find a aff link there somewhere instead of targeting the real culprits (malware and viruses and NOT affiliates!)


3:43 am on Sep 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I think that the problem is not chinese sites only. I see some competitors sites with pages in japanese that rank too.

The funny part is that these pages are translated via some automated tool, so some words don't get translated.....pages rank on these specific words (or combinaison) which is kinda ridiculous..hey but it works!

I've noticed that almost all 'cheap' sites that appeared since last week follow this pattern: cheap promotion on free directories, very low number of backlinks compared to other players.

Me talking to Google would say: haha well if you are a tiny little player in your field of course you are not scrapped or attacked ever...nobody knows you.Your slate is clean even if your backlink profile is full of s...t.
If Google would really recognize the real value of backlinks intead of chasing seo ghosts they may find a solution someday, not now obviously.

I am really irritated with all the blogs and blogs+sites from the same companies controlling SERP's with multiple url's, plus all these junk sites/blogs sometimes abandonned for more than a year, never promoted that actually is given credibility now - again not counting You tube videos or site advertising Specifically for local search (ie. city in page title) and rank internationally so they're useless - it's all irrelevant to me.
It's almost like we are back with an algorithm from 3 years ago where anybody can create a flash in the pan with little money.

Now all the black hats that see what some of us have noticed are going to jump on the opportunity I am sure. If it continues like that it will be simpler more cost effective to use what I am seeing that to create a doorway page :)

It's been 1 week that things have gotten worst and nobody at google seems to care. My guess is that the pay per click money must flow.

Another problem is that you can't even file a spam report on what's going on, it is not even spam...it's just low end or scrapping or irrelevant.
Google mostly doesn't act on real manipulations so sending them feedbacks about what they did here is not going to work for sure. Depressing.

Something really KILLS me and I need to say it: some sites I thought were filtered because I filed spam reports (they were spamming, manipulating badly...really!) are now back doing better than ever! How come? Their techniques haven't changed! SO Now they are relevant?



12:04 pm on Sep 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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At my work place we got an email yesterday from our corporate office telling us NOT to use Google anymore! The company has 175,000+ employees all over the world so it is not a small one by any means.

The email told us that the reason for not using Google anymore was the "degradation of the search results", videos were not allowed because of bandwidth, and most blogs are blocked anyway, too much time spent on research.

This is an important change in their policy and it tells me that there is a widespread "annoyance" with how Google works right now and I am thinking that Google might be digging their own grave by their so called Universal search. They are slowly killing their golden egg. People won't go to Goole and search anymore because of all the garbage and when people don't use Google, they won't get any money from their ads. No money from ads, advertisers go to MSN or Yahoo and spend their advertising money instead. This will lead to a downward spiral and when it's started, it will spiral down fast!

Too bad Google doesn't see this but I guess they are too narcissistic to realize what they are doing now.

As far as SEO I'm thinking the SEO business is dead from now on. Google just killed it


2:34 pm on Sep 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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

gehrlekrona - if you're not going to use Google, then what SE did your company propose to its 175,000 employees? MSN? Y!?


2:35 pm on Sep 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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My holiday resort guide had been on the first page of Google for my chosen keyword, (the name of the resort), for the last 3 years. It contains 60 pages of relevent information. I woke up this morning to find it on page 545. Some sites above me do not even contain the resort name, or the country come to that. I agree with one of the above posters, Google reigns no more as the best search engine. Yahoo on the other hand has my site where it should be, 3rd on page 1.


2:44 pm on Sep 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Well, the Q is: What can we do about it? Or will you give up? Some of my pages that went into google-nirwana (> 40) at monday are back this night - without doing anything. So perhaps leaning back and having a cup of tea is a good idea till G gets the problems (which are obviously there) under control.

Another idea: It seems to me that "quality" or "thematic links" are not needed anymore, just bash as much links as you can get - thats how some of my competitors are beating me at the moment. Even "nofollow"-links seems to count.


3:07 pm on Sep 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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We were advised to use LiveDOTcom, Yahoo and more specialized search engines.
Our web monitoring program already blocks lots of stuff that now shows up in Google, things like video, blogs and a lot of forums. From what I have heard is that we got infected from the search results and they had a tough time getting rid of it loosing a lot of bucks. My supervisor said yesterday that he is trying to find a more targeted search engine that will show what he is looking for, not having to go to page 45 or so, skipping all spam sites, blogs, books, local sun ads and other irrelevant stuff.
I agree that is is bad, and Google needs to do something about it ASAP. They'll loose whatever base they have quickly. I used to have Google as startup page but not anymore. I don't want MSN as startup page since it is too cluttered so now I just use my own little search engine I have created.


6:34 pm on Sep 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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An odd thing.......
I have a site in a foreign languge which has been online for ages. The site has changed over the years and pages have changed and some of them are not used anymore.
For some reason, one of the very old pages are ranked again, and ranked pretty high. This really baffeles me a lot. How come this old page has been revived from the dead? Why now?

This old site are getting more traffic now after all the Google changes and I can't really figure out what is going on. I can understand that they show the page if there was a link somewhere on any page right now to that page, but I have searched the whole site and can't find any link to that page and I KNOW that nobody else is linking to the page since it was a page in a frameset. Just weird!

Another thing I have noticed, is that when you use Google UK then you have related searches at the bottom of the page, and if I am not wrong, the same links used to be on Google.com, right? I don't see them anymore at Google.com? How long have they been gone or is that some setting I have, not to show the related searches?

BTW, I wish there was something you could add to the google query that would remove all books and videos and other stuff I don't want in my search.


7:47 pm on Sep 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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google wants you to have those books, videos and images. Google thinks you are stupid and that you have no idea how to search google images or google news or google videos. Because google thinks you are stupid, google shoves those other irrelevant results down your throat just on the off chance that you really are stupid and that you really should have been searching images, or news, or videos.


7:32 am on Sep 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Tantalus said

ps the last time i say you post hissing sid was florida ;)

I've been around but have not had much to say.

The current round of changes are much more subtle (for me) but still damaging and this time I don't think that Google have heard they have a problem. With Florida they picked up that things were going badly wrong pretty quickly and had a real desire to make it right, this time they don't seem to see it as a problem at all.

One worrying feature of these changes is the lack of a consensus here on what is causing the problem. I keep dropping a line about allinanchor but no one else is picking this up so I wonder if it is just a coincidence.

For me it is just one two word term that is affected, I'm still #1 for all of the other 2 word terms and the 3 and 4 word terms I target, and for those I'm still #1 for allinanchor as well as well as being in the top 3 on Google directory for those terms, in fact #1 for most. In my niche no one has a decent PR, the terms used are largely UK specific and quite specialised.

I'm therefore able to narrow my focus to a single two word term and can narrow it even further because one of those words is used in all of the other terms that I'm still top for. This is the same word that caused the problem for me with the Florida fiasco.

Here's my short list of what may be causing the problem in no particular order.

1. Allinanchor turned up in algo.
2. New disambiguation element of semantic indexing.
3. Keyword prominence element of algo more important.
4. A mixture of the above.

1. and 3. I can deal with, 2. is much more problematic.



PS I guess it could also possibly have something to do with changes in their spam filtering algos which is causing collateral damage in the war against spam. Its friendly fire guys.


1:33 pm on Sep 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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But aren't we talking about the same thing? If allinanchor turned up in algo, isn't it the same as what I said that what you need is just links and more links, not matter what quality or theme they have?

I'm not quite sure what you mean with 2.


5:47 pm on Sep 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I am surprised nobody is discussing the 1 word keyword updating of Google. It has been going on for over 2 weeks now, dramatic changes every day, sometime multiple changes daily. The Directory results also fluctuating. Is this the way G will be dealing with 1 word kewords permanently?


5:51 pm on Sep 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

I've been waiting for changes of this magnitude ever since Bigdaddy was deployed. See [mattcutts.com...]

According to Matt Cutts, "By March 29th [2006], Bigdaddy was fully deployed and the old system was turned off. Bigdaddy has been powered our crawling ever since."

Since March 29 2006, changes in Google's SERPs have been quite subtle. Even when Bigdaddy was fully deployed, hidden text was still an issue.

Today, new ontopic Web sites are moving there way to the top. These new Web sites should replace some questionable sites still showing in the top 10 - top 20.

This 142 message thread spans 5 pages: 142

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