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December 2007 Google SERP Changes

     

mr16

2:35 pm on Dec 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



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

Any thoughts on this? Up until recently, my site did not rank in the top 1000 in Google for my main search term. I did a bit of research, made a lot of changes, bought some software to help even. Since then it had a dramatic increase in placement. In the space of around two months it moved up to place 19.

I have not made any changes in last 4 weeks, but it has still been climbing......until yesterday. It has now dropped out of the top 1000 again. The site still ranks for other words and has not been dumped all together.

I am feeling a bit confused. Could any one offer advice please?

[edited by: tedster at 6:18 pm (utc) on Dec. 3, 2007]

tedster

9:37 pm on Dec 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

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



Couldn't it be that rankings for a certain page/term have just fallen x spots? Why does it always have to be a "minus x penalty"?

Exactly the right question, I think. If you can identify a specific factor that makes the -5 drop happen, and then remove that factor and see ranking pop back - I'd say you have a good case for having identified a penalty. Otherwise, it can be difficult to say whether the Google algo changed, or maybe your competition improved, or maybe you made some change that had a stronger effect than you thought it would.

I'm not saying positively that a -5 penalty (or "go to position #6" penalty) doesn't exist right now, but I am asking if anyone who thinks it does can zero in on it a bit more.

[edited by: tedster at 12:29 am (utc) on Dec. 25, 2007]

sandboxsam

9:45 pm on Dec 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



The -5 drop I see is for various search phrases. The associated pages have different competing websites. Nothing else moved on these pages, just my website.

That is why it looks like a penalty. As far the exact number I see -5 & -6 drop, depending on the phrase.

Also, I saw this drop start about a week ago on just a few datacenters. I started looking at other datacenters since one search I did showed this -5 drop, so I wanted to check it out. Then over the course of about 5 days it propagated to all datacenters.

Robert Charlton

10:03 pm on Dec 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

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



To think out loud about whether a -5 exists


Couldn't it be that rankings for a certain page/term have just fallen x spots? Why does it always have to be a "minus x penalty"?

That's what I was just saying in the second half of the sentence you quoted, only I went on to call it "n"...

...chances are that enough of us have seen a drop for any specific number of places that we could create a number of minus-n "penalties" or filters. Any -3 drops, for example?

sandboxsam

10:15 pm on Dec 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



From my perspective we can skip the philosophical debate about nomenclature.
This is a real problem that those affected by it need to get past.

Does anyone have a thought as to what may be causing this?

Is it industry specific?

Dlocks

11:40 pm on Dec 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



At 1 am PST on the 22nd my Google traffic crashed very hard, 80-90%--I have made no changes recently excpt for routine updates.

Same here since the same day. One website (steady/stable for over one year) dropped from 17.000 to 5.000 a day. For some (non christmas or shopping related) keywords I was listed on the first page on position 1, 2 or 3. Now this website comes up on those same terms on page 2, 3, 4 or 5.

This specific website is an online widgets website. I also have another online widgets website (15.000 visitors a day) that is still in the same position for keywords in Google.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 1:07 am (utc) on Dec. 25, 2007]
[edit reason] removed specifics [/edit]

OnlyToday

1:20 am on Dec 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Over the past three years this has happened to me twice before, almost an identical loss in earnings all three times though the specifics differed each time.

One time the loss lasted 54 days and mysteriously returned, the next time it was 18 days. Each time I went crazy trying to figure out what I had done wrong. Now I'm turning my back and retiring from this madness. If the traffic mysteriously returns fine, I'll take the money, but the internet has now lost me because of Google's heavy handed incompetence and arrogance. Merry Christmas and Good Bye!

soapystar

9:44 am on Dec 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



interesting..i wonder if they have a new level for filtering...top 5 sites (not places) being targeted for clean out.....

Wibfision

12:17 pm on Dec 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Unexplained traffic loss has occurred to my site frequently over the past few years, although it has been stable for about a year now.

In fact, the last time this happened, it happened on 20-21st December 2006, when traffic plummeted. The traffic returned on January 6th-7th, 2007.

In conclusion, it is likely that Google are fiddling around with the index at a time when they hope it will do the least damage. Whether we need to await another data refresh, or wait for a "data push" or whatever, I am optimistic that traffic will return again. For my own site I do not believe we have received a penalty.

Happy Christmas to you All!

mikki

1:12 pm on Dec 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



@ OnlyToday
What do you mean with "mysteriously returned"?

@ Soapystar
If there is a filter for the Top5 - should'nt it affect all pages of the domains?

@ Wibfision
It can be that google is playing with the index - a lot of my keywords have gone on 7. December - Now i found the missing key... 95% of them on place 11 - in normal search thats the first result on the 2nd page. I dont know what this mean... maybe they are playing with the top ten :-)

But for me they are using really the time with less damage :)

Mikki

crobb305

3:18 pm on Dec 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member crobb305 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



From my perspective we can skip the philosophical debate about nomenclature.
This is a real problem that those affected by it need to get past. Does anyone have a thought as to what may be causing this?

Is it industry specific?

It is more than a "philosophical debate about nomenclature". Until the "issue" can be identified, it can't be resolved, and no one here has all the answers for you just yet.

OnlyToday

3:33 pm on Dec 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



@ OnlyToday
What do you mean with "mysteriously returned"?

The traffic from Google suddenly quintupled resuming the same level as before the drop, similarly sudden and mysterious. I am hoping this will happen again, but I'm not counting on it and won't resume improvements on the site until I know more people will be visiting.

mikki

9:26 pm on Dec 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



@ OnlyToday

Hi, the last time when your traffic has dropped... was it near the middle of october this year?

The last days i had continued my work at the site... updating data... cleaning internal links... but no big changes :)

Take care
Mikki

OnlyToday

9:42 pm on Dec 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Hi, the last time when your traffic has dropped... was it near the middle of october this year?

No, it began April 15, '07 and ended May 2.

mikki

10:03 pm on Dec 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



My was in October for 7 days. Now it started 07. December and thats 18 days.

For some keys i am back, some other keys are listed on 2nd page... and then other keys have just chaos in the results :)

Often there are Sites on the first places, where i see only the keyword... but some of them not have the Topic...

In Webmaster-Tools its all ok... i dont understand this, really...

sandboxsam

11:56 pm on Dec 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Hi crobb305,

Sorry, you misunderstood what I was saying "philosophical debate about nomenclature". "nomenclature", referring to the naming convention of this "issue". If you read earlier posts you will understand what I am saying.

I agree with you, "Until the "issue" can be identified, it can't be resolved". That is my thinking too.

cheesy snacks

11:10 am on Dec 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



for all those who have lost 5 or 6 positions on the 1st page...have you noticed if google has cut your backlinks?

sandboxsam

2:07 pm on Dec 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



"for all those who have lost 5 or 6 positions on the 1st page...have you noticed if google has cut your backlinks?"

No,

a_chameleon

3:18 pm on Dec 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



.
Last year showed us some heavy movement in the SERPís during this time

So any observations about the actual SERPs, rather than only the traffic in general?


Good point, kamikaze. An almost identical shift in SERP's happened during the '06 holidays.

As to tedster's question:
I have several sites who's SERPs slipped, then recovered, then slipped again.

I'm also seeing varying SERPs in various datacenters, and they seem to be shifting about every 3-4 days or so.

One of the sites which is very heavily searched in my neck of the woods hasn't budged..

FWIW
.

[edited by: tedster at 3:55 pm (utc) on Dec. 26, 2007]
[edit reason] remove specific market niche [/edit]

crobb305

10:03 pm on Dec 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member crobb305 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



I, too, am seeing a -5 occurring on a few 2-word phrases -- moving me from position 1 to position 6. In my case, I am still inclined to think this is a coincidence, just falling 5 spots because other sites moved up, rather than a specific "-5 penalty" like we saw with the -30 and -50, etc (re: "nomenclature" mentioned above)...but who knows. Wierd stuff...I am going to try to look at this deeper over the next couple of days.

Sandboxsam, I apologize for misunderstanding you earlier. I know what you mean -- and I think I am trying to say the same thing.

tedster

10:43 pm on Dec 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

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



This -5 (or position #6) thing deserves it's own thread - so I started one here:

[webmasterworld.com...]

That way we can keep this thread open for other observations.

tedster

7:47 pm on Dec 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

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



And speaking of other observations, has anyone noticed that universal search seems to be toned down to a major degree? I'm seeing lots fewer images, and when there's a video from YouTube or where ever, we still get the plus (+) but not very often do we see a still image.

My guess is that having images right in line with other organic results proved to be too much of an eye magnet and too many users were overlooking the rest of the SERP.

I also notice that when Google's music search takes the top position, it doesn't count as one of the ten spots - that is, ten other results follow it, so it's like the old one box deployment.

It's a kinder gentler universal search, altogether, and it is helping some of my clients get clicks that were stolen by the flashy first deployment. I'm thinking that chasing after "viral video" as an organic strategy may not be the big deal that many thought it would be - although as a social media strategy it can still rock the house.

kamikaze Optimizer

7:55 pm on Dec 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Yeah Ted, I am seeing it as you do. I also notice that when the topic is hot in the news, the news link is at the bottom of the page, not the top or midway like it was.

I do like universal search (as a user) but I like it presented the way it is now verses the way it was. Google was beginning to look more like Yahoo and moving away from its roots of a straight forward and clean search tool.

potentialgeek

9:08 am on Dec 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



Google should keep a clean, uncluttered interface... and develop search profiles. We get to choose how media-rich we want our search results. If we want wiki results included or sidelined.

Essentially incorporate the iGoogle profile features into Preferences. The current Global Preferences are very primitive and underdeveloped. Basically nothing added since Number of Results (10-100). When was that introduced? 2001?!

You could make custom search results with three columns, for example: text, images, video... 10 of each per page. A lot of young people would dig that.

Split screens would work well for news junkies, too. Half text news, half video news, 10 of each per page.

p/g

BillyS

1:14 pm on Dec 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

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



I've been staying clear of these threads but my traffic is up 40% since Wednesday. Friday, which is normally pretty quiet, was my third best day ever. It was up 48% from the prior "record" Friday.

My site does have a bit of seasonality to it. But this was quite a surge since Wednesday. With the US holidays, I would have thought this to be a quiet week.

I just looked, Google is way up compared to Yahoo traffic, so something must have happened.

[edited by: BillyS at 1:19 pm (utc) on Dec. 29, 2007]

BillyS

2:07 pm on Dec 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

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



Just to add to my prior post, perhaps trying to explain why we might be seeing an increase in traffic...

I decided to enter a pretty competitive area (against Brett's 26 step recommendation, but an area that I happened to know and understand). There are lots of "big money" terms in this area - meaning that holding #1 for a one or two word term is going to send a lot of traffic.

My philosophy was to try and target secondary terms. Things I believed people would search for, but only if they entered fairly specific (and long) search terms.
I've noticed that a lot of our traffic is coming from long terms. So I'm wondering if Google is starting to deploy some technology dealing with this recent announcement [webmasterworld.com].

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

[edited by: tedster at 10:36 pm (utc) on Jan. 2, 2008]

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