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I pretty much know it is not changes to my site, but either different algorythms or different data cantres, because the sites around me also jumped up and down with me in a block.
I also have other sites that dropped or increased in sequence.
So I am guesing different data centers were being used.
How do i know which data centers are being used at each time?
I am sure I have been told this before, but I have forgotten where to look.
I can then tell data center changes against actual ranking changes and avoid the normal knee jurking responses to dropped positions.
The best way I know of is to use Firefox with the ShowIP add-on. That will display, in real time, the IP address that served the page you are currently viewing.
However, you will find if you take that Google IP address and query it directly, the results may still vary from what you just saw. Between the data center and the final results on a Google domain, there are some extra steps in the process that are not all obvious. Some of those changes seems to handle geo-targetting but that's not the whole story. All we know for sure is that there is still some "secret sauce" being applied.
I just did a search where the links for the cached pages are on 220.127.116.11, but the page itself was supplied by a combination of four different IP addresses: 18.104.22.168, 22.214.171.124, 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52. Multiple IP addresses on the same C-block is almost always the case.
Another common approach is to ping google.com just before or after you make the query. But with Google's complex load-balancing, this also is not a sure-fire approach. Every request can possibly be routed differently.
[edited by: tedster at 11:22 pm (utc) on Mar. 8, 2008]
Most of the other methods make some other request, even moments later, and that will often get a different result. Cache URLs are especially dangerous.
There's also differences seen between the various results returned, from querying the bare IP address, the 'equivalent' GFE name, and the 'equivalent' xx-in-fnn name.
I have checked at least 30 data centers all of which put the website in the first page :). Should I be happy or not?
See this thread for more information:
Why these rapid, but small changes are occurring on such a regular basis is very curious. Never thought I would enter this camp, but am beginning to think they are in fact tracking click through rates, bounce factors and general overall user experience and in order to do that effectively different sites get “placed” in different positions. ("placed" is an outrageous word I know, but even done algorithmically there has to be some sort of approach on getting sites in different positions in an orderly testable fashion?)
Any one else seeing this steady churning?