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May 2008 Google SERP Changes

   
7:20 am on May 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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

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.

Cheers

Sid

[edited by: tedster at 3:16 pm (utc) on May 1, 2008]

3:03 am on May 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Weird - I'm now seeing UK and US sites popping up prominently for searches run on .com.au.
5:35 am on May 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

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



It seems like they are trying different kinds of pages, from the yahoo directory page for the topic to a a page with less than 400 IBL mostly from blogs. Could they be ranking a site high on blog links over pages with thousands of inbounds for some reason?
7:30 am on May 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Big changes for me this morning and not for the better. I had managed to get back (on .co.uk) to #1 for many terms and was at #2 for our top target term. Today dropped between 2 and 7 places. Was at #8 for our top term on google.com, now #11.

On May 4th I made some changes to my site, in particular I had a h1 link at the top of each page with top terms in anchor text, I removed the h1 tags that day. Still kept the links but just in <p> tags.

I'm trying very hard to get back to #1 for our main term and it looks like I may be trying too hard. My hypothesis was that the h1 tags looked like over optimisation, so I changed them. I have reverted back to a backup today and will report back if things improve.

Cheers

Sid

8:28 am on May 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

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So much for Google's geo-location of search results I am in the UK, hosted in the UK and with a .co.uk domain, was #1 now anything up to #13 for my main keyword. Interesting to note that I am #1 at google.ro, google.fr, google.it, google.gr and more for my main keyword which is mainly a UK and english based search term.

I have thought since these results began appearing in this order that it is almost similiar to Yahoo results. For my main keyword in Yahoo I am always up and down the results. I though the reason why Google search engine was the most popular is it was better than Yahoo!

2:37 pm on May 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Hi,

It has all gone back to normal for us. I wonder if they had geo-location switched off on google.co.uk and have now switched it back on.

I'm now wondering if I've done the right thing with my h1s as I'm at #7 on google.com for our primary target search term.

Ah hum!

Cheers

Sid

3:20 pm on May 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Hi Sid,

Its still jumping around in my sector on the .co.uk results.

3:33 pm on May 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Without going back through every post, has anyone noticed an increase in queries showing "Related Searches" at the top of the serps? I know it's been at the bottom, but I've never noticed this at the top.

I'm also noticing shopping results rotating from top of serp to bottom almost every other time.

6:44 pm on May 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Still no change here, no recrawl, but a hole bunch of low weight spammy results. Look, I know there is competition, and I'm all in favor of a competitor beating me fairly, but these search results just are goofy. One site has been number 3 for the past three weeks, and the domain age is 3 months, and he has two links. Huh?

So what, I've got to make a website every two weeks to stay in the SERP's?

7:01 pm on May 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

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There is a site at number one for one of my main keywords that's been there on and off for over four years. It's just an image map with no meta tags and about 10 links to their own pages, no out going links and the page hasn't been changed since 2002. I have no idea why they have the ranking they do, I'll have to check their incoming links...

Lovejoy

7:16 pm on May 14, 2008 (gmt 0)



As I reported on #:3649161 , I've seen the second set of results a bit more in www.google.com . The second set has 970,000 +/- 20,000 results.

About 12 hours ago, I noticed a small variation of the second set with 700,000 plus results.

However, the 970,000 +/- 20,000 results of the second set have been quite steady for the last few hours.

I haven't seen the first set of results for the last 12 plus hours.

3:05 am on May 15, 2008 (gmt 0)



Some 12 hours later, I keep watching the second set now with 981,000 results.
5:01 am on May 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Top 10 positions are haywire right now. One of my websites for the first time in 10 years (been number 1 with site links on generic non company name keyword searches) that gets great one way inbound links all the time has recently been bouncing from 5 to 4 to 3 to 12 to no where with a stupid Youtube video url following me in serps.

I'm also seeing tons of new sites (social blog types of sites) making it to the front page of Google but bounce around.

Just earlier today I was searching for some components for some old band gear that I own and none of the sites I have relied on are showing up in the top 10 of Google. I went to ASK and found what I needed and I have never relied on anything but Google for search until now. This is really crazy to me because now I see how I can game Google. Google is re-structuring for social networks and that's why the ISPs and such are now trying to figure out how they can give us paid commercials when we surf the web.

Where is the free web that I got used too?

By the way, Yahoo must have a spy inside Google because they seem to make natural search results change right after Google does?

[edited by: tedster at 5:09 am (utc) on May 15, 2008]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]

2:01 pm on May 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

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



Over the past two weeks, on my one word not-really-deserved generic keyword, I started at #71, rose as high as #3, dropped to #10, #77, and then sank to #101 yesterday, and today I'm at #24.

Think I'm getting car sick.

(this is all without being logged into my google account, natch)

2:13 pm on May 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Junpin all over the place today in my industry.
2:14 pm on May 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

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All over the place right now. There has been movement for the past few months but I am now seeing very different serps across different datacentres. More than could be counted and categorised.
3:07 pm on May 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

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My industry went from 16 million results to about 5 million. All the big players are scattered. Very interesting to watch.
3:56 pm on May 15, 2008 (gmt 0)



My beloved <snip> search phrase went from 3 million plus results to 900,000 plus (see messages #:3650022 and #:36504790).

I just checked and the results are about 970,000.

Indeed, pretty interesting to watch.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 6:11 pm (utc) on May 15, 2008]
[edit reason] removed specifics [/edit]

6:35 pm on May 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

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don't laugh but sometimes its almost like Google would prefer that you couldn't predict where you will be in the serps by manipulating certain factors!
7:25 pm on May 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Hissingsid wrote: On May 4th I made some changes to my site, in particular I had a h1 link at the top of each page with top terms in anchor text, I removed the h1 tags that day. Still kept the links but just in <p> tags.

How does a h1 link make sense? Shouldn't the h1 be the header of that particular page? IMO it cannot be logically the most important information on a page and at the same time point somewhere else? Or may I misunderstand your post?

To continue my post about what I call "weighted local PR": A lot of people refer only to the search term as locally relevant, but IMO the linkgraph of a website is much more important. Maybe the local weight is given to the entire website or just directories.
ATM it appears to me a local newspaper link is much more relevant than a dozen syndicated links from press releases from all over the world.

I also have made the observation that clicks may pay a significant role in rankings: I am watching search terms in google WT and see them rise in the serps to a certain point when they fall back and may rise a little bit again while other fall even deeper. The best search terms have also the lowest bounce rate in google analytics.

Matt Cutts was talking a lot of the new google infrastructure; well, to be able to compute the local relevance of search terms, linkgraphs, click & bounce there is certainly much more computer power needed then before.

It may also be possible that the SERPs are somehow shuffeled and polluted to test the algo improvements, to see if the algo is able to learn and to correct things based on (local) user behaviour.

7:48 pm on May 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

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don't laugh but sometimes its almost like Google would prefer that you couldn't predict where you will be in the serps by manipulating certain factors!

What I can predict is that spammers are showing up in top 3 spots for major industry terms.

8:38 pm on May 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



How does a h1 link make sense? Shouldn't the h1 be the header of that particular page? IMO it cannot be logically the most important information on a page and at the same time point somewhere else? Or may I misunderstand your post?

Many Textpattern blog templates use this technique, which is where I first came across it. The H1 header at the top of the page is also a link back to the home page. Even the default template uses it.

I used it without thinking on a few minor sites I have and it seems to work very well so I tried it other sites with good results and then on my main site. Yahoo seems to hate it, Google may like it, but this may be on the move which is why I am experimenting with removing it.

Cheers

Sid

10:22 pm on May 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Sid, thanks for clarification.

IMO this h1 linking is done with SEO in mind as a link to the home page mostly is called "home" or at least uses the same or a few variations textlink. I would not think this is white-hat. I guess you are on the right track removing it. But of course this in none of my business.

10:28 am on May 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Looks like the results have reverted back to pre May 9th.
12:07 pm on May 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Many Textpattern blog templates use this technique, which is where I first came across it. The H1 header at the top of the page is also a link back to the home page. Even the default template uses it.

I've also seen H1's linking to themselves for pages ranking fairly well several places.
12:41 pm on May 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Yeah, my results are back to pre may 9 and it really stinks! There goes about 70% of my traffic. And I thought my site might have finally made it out of the sandbox... Odd odd search engines.
2:03 pm on May 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

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



>>uberslacker

Nice nic

3:09 am on May 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Not so for me
6:50 am on May 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I have been on the move the past few days with almost a steady #2 for two days, back to #1 this morning, but I will not get too complacement as the only way now is down!
4:29 pm on May 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing bizarre SERPS again for high traffic terms, just like April. This seems a bit chaotic having gone on so long. Just curious... Is anyone writing about this or any major news sites covering this?
4:39 pm on May 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

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For early week of May, my traffic from Google is okay but for second and third week, it is declined.
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