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January 2008 Google SERP Changes

5:10 pm on Jan 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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

Happy 2008, everyone!


"I've been staying clear of these threads but my traffic is up 40% since Wednesday"

Are we still talking about your same "watching the grass grow" site which had lost traffic in 2005/2006?

[edited by: tedster at 10:35 pm (utc) on Jan. 2, 2008]

7:05 am on Jan 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Something blueskyIS said seems to hit the nail on the head. "Almost as if it was 4 or 5 months ago...". It does seem like the DC's are jumping back and forth. It makes it hard to know whether to do anything or not....my feeling is to just wait it out and see if the results return. Man...Google knows how to play with our heads!
9:25 am on Jan 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Google's index is flat out "DYNAMIC". It's in a constant state of flux and it's not changing, rather I'd say its evolving. Never in years past has Google found links and given them anchor text value without some age to the link. It's almost as if Google is devaluing "OLD LINKS" and favoring "FRESH LINKS". I work a few days of link building and it pays off within 48 hours now. This used to take 3-6 months to see any effect! Now it's like 2 days and WAM, top 10-20 immediately. Google is flat out turning our SEO idealogies inside out. It's funny now days you can even rank a given page for it's keywords without any inbound link having targeted anchor text. Give it an authority link and WAM!, who cares if the anchor text is "Click here!". Your going to rank for title keywords without one inbound anchor text! It's crazy!
2:26 pm on Jan 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

my site is normal on ALL data centers EXCEPT www.google.com, where it is still missing. this same thing happened last week. the site disappeared (for me) from www.google.com but still appeared in all other data centers. then things returned to normal with www.google.com displaying similar results as the rest of the DCs. patience is key.
the current www.google.com results seem to be from months ago, shortly after my site started, before it attained the positions as displayed on all other DCs.

good thing I popped by here. I'm experiencing the same problem. Site is #3 on ALL DCs for a very competitive phrase, but nowhere on www.google.com.

Don't know about the serps being from 4 months ago, but to me it looks like 12 months ago.


2:52 am on Jan 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Had to sign up to add my .02, my site is experiencing these same problems. It is also a fairly new site (domain 1 year but site really only 6 months) which was shooting to the top in a non-competitive market.

About 2 weeks ago I got up to #5 and then dropped off the map for 3-4 days on competitive keywords. Came back stronger at #4 (matched allinanchor) for one day then gone again for a week now. I was trying to mix my anchor text up a little on the links.

That 4-5 month thing struck me too, nobody else in my page 1-2 SERPs is having these probs and have been there a long time with stale sites and very few links compared to mine.

3:57 am on Jan 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Don't know about the serps being from 4 months ago, but to me it looks like 12 months ago.

Yeah, I see this also.

11:14 am on Jan 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Using a ranking check tool, I now notice that for ALL my keywords I'm ranking +800 on www.google.com wherease they appear at top 10 for EVERY other DC.
1:05 pm on Jan 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

So.....we've established that we are all experiencing the same thing. The big question is why are we experiencing it and what is the big "G" up to? I can only say I hope its not an ominous sign of things to come, it makes absolutely no sense at all.
1:34 pm on Jan 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

"minus something" penalty back to bite us?
3:50 pm on Jan 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Serps do look like 1 year ago to me as well.

We have changes planned that will continue to move forward with them that will benefit our users. I'm taking the stance that I will no longer worry about google. I've spent way too much time trying to figure out what the search engines want and not enough time developing what we know our customers need and what we want. Change is good.

I figure as long as we are completely "white hat" we should have no problems. Maybe I'm mis-guided ... maybe just tired.

[edited by: Bewenched at 3:51 pm (utc) on Jan. 30, 2008]

4:17 am on Jan 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Seems to me that it happened around the same time that the #6 glitch started getting fixed. It's as if I am back in the sandbox again with this fairly new site. Unexpected side-effect of fixing the unexpected #6 side-effect?

My site is clean (you always hope): should I submit for reinclusion, wait it out, or start a crazy off topic rant on Matt Cutts' blog?

5:16 am on Jan 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

fairly new site

How new? New sites bounce in and out all the time, this is common.


I would never advise ranting on anyone’s blog, certainly not on the hand that feeds you.

If your site is truly "new", give it some time, work on content and ride it out.

8:37 am on Jan 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Reading back over the messages it looks to me like most of us have one thing in common.......fairly new sites...am I right? There are responses talking about "fairly new", "4-5 months old", "launched 4-5 months ago" etc etc etc....I am also in this group with a newish site.

We add loads of new sites all the time, with this latest one however (launched a few months back) we seem to be experiencing problems (especially with the brand phrase (also in the domain) not achieving higher than #600+ and now gone completely, the other phrases do okay). Some form of trust issue? Some form of penalty? Whatever it is, its a recent thing. I haven't experienced new sites bouncing in and out of the serps to this degree before.

12:43 pm on Jan 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Kamikaze, as I said earlier the domain is 1 year and links/content 6 months. As everyone else said earlier, something is going on. I am aware that sites fall out all the time, this is different. The rant thing was a joke, should have used a smiley I guess. Thanks anyway.

[edited by: Big_Mac at 12:51 pm (utc) on Jan. 31, 2008]

1:17 pm on Jan 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Interesting thing happened today....Google.com was the only one to have dropped us from the results until today. Now our local Google.co.za has dropped us too. Still reflecting in the few DC's that I checked but it doesn't buy me any confidence considering we've now been dropped locally.
2:43 pm on Jan 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

we're still holding tight. fyi, our domain is less than 6 months old, however it is a new domain replacing an old one (301's from the old domain). we still hold #1 position for a key phrase on ALL DCs except google.com, where we are in the mid-teens. On another critical phrase, we are low-teens on all DCs except google.com, where we are who-knows-where (lower than 30 for sure.)

Interestingly, G's Webmaster Tools indicate that our #1 phrase, which fell to mid-teens more than a week ago, was position 3 last week.!?!?!? So, apparently Webmaster Tools is looking at something other than the google.com DC. Or their just flat-out BS'ing.

8:55 pm on Jan 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

We have seen a sudden drop of around 20% of traffic last week. Perhaps some of its due to this cut internet cable or cables?

I can't find any drop in SERP position to explain it.

Surely if large parts of the world can't access the internet then these potential visitors will be missing from the usual web site traffic in unaffected areas of the world?

Is this a correct assumption?

9:49 pm on Jan 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Sorry Big_Mac, I had not seen the earlier post.

Based on what you wrote and from what I experience, what you are seeing is normal for me during the first year of a site.

10:05 pm on Jan 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Don't know about the serps being from 4 months ago, but to me it looks like 12 months ago.

Agreed. As I recall, the big change 12 months ago was many pages going supplemental. The big change last month was a tweak to how they use the supplemental index.

Here's a theory: this is all related to the supplemental index and how juice is passed around between the main and supplemental indexes.

11:39 pm on Jan 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Thanks Kamikaze, but this site was out of the sandbox and was ranking #4 for <top terms in a highly competitive geo-targeted niche>. I had an indented listing covering #4 and #5. I put down <some major portal sites in the niche>.

My site uses only quality one-way links, has auth links (dmoz,y) and had just debuted with PR3 with the early Jan PR update. The site is light years ahead of any other competition around, it is the only site in these serps with a blog for instance. You know how bad most <sites in this niche> are and I am talking about some old ones. I have 1300+ quality links when my closest competition has 500 recips. I also have over 100 pages of some serious original local content and 300+ pages indexed.

Since the 'rollback' to fix #6 glitch my site dissapeared back to the sandbox but still shows up well on all the other DCs. It is obvious to me that G is either literally showing data from 6 months ago or has discounted all links with less than 6 months of age.

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

[edited by: tedster at 8:28 am (utc) on Feb. 1, 2008]

This 109 message thread spans 4 pages: 109

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