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annej - I am very suspicious they do some link buying and wonder if Google is playing around with some algos they think might catch that.
I'm seeing similar signs this morning but I think that this is in reaction to the effect Internetheaven reported above. ie a devaluation in internal links caused an overvaluation in low value external links. I've seen a few sites rise to the very top of Serps that seem to have done it through link buying and link exchanging with off topic and/or poor geo location sites. Those now seem to be dropping.
Also one site that, out of the blue, got sitelinks for a very competitive 2 word term where there is no way it should be top of serps never mind be given sitelinks for that term. I'm pretty sure that this was an indication that external outgoing links, with the right anchor text, was given an undue boost. Today they have lost sitelinks. Lets hope they don't get them back!
What I'm seeing this morning looks like they are either tweaking down the weight of external outgoing links and incoming links or turning internal link anchor weight back up a tad.
[edited by: tedster at 3:16 pm (utc) on May 1, 2008]
I have noticed about 20,000 indexed pages have dropped out. Last week we has a severe decrease in the amount of visits by Googlebot for 3 or 4 days. Googlebot activity has increased a great deal since then, almost back to normal levels.
I'm new to this forum and am experiencing a big fall as well.
Looks to me that at this stage of the game where Google completely dominates the market it would be beneficial for them to have "inconsistent"/"moving" results in the natural search so people would click on the ads as those are consistent. When searchers will get the idea that they will not get the same (even though still relevant) result every time they search, they will most certainly pay more attention to the ads. Google getting richer?
My guess is there is a new link for some hot deal site that has decent pr and i get that PR boost when googlebot finds that link however when the "algo" or "filters" actually process that link the position is re-evaluated.
It could also be reduced for sandbox/site age. We re-did the entire backend/site in february so it may be fluctuating on that note as well.
Either way, it seems very much trended against natural traffic for us. Yes, i also run google analytics.
That is not similar to tedster's observation above, but perhaps it relects current churning regarding this issue of trying to find the most appropriate page on a domain for a query.
I think this happens when algo tweaks or some kind of updates re-value internal pages and/or the home page.
Is there a Dewey thread still? I just noticed the Google Toolbar giving my site SERP #4 for my target single word; whereas on a google.com search it's not even in the top 20.
i can't pinpoint any particular instances of keywords that have tanked for this particular site (hard since the site is so big), seems more like an overall small decline across the board for a lot of terms, but certainly not all. For some keywords that have shifted a bit I see informational resource pages/forums etc. moving up a little, or coming out of nowhere. This is for serps that were displayed yesterday. Looks like Google reverted back to previous results, or at least that's what they're serving me up right now.