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Google.com SERP Changes - July 2008

     

sunroof

4:22 pm on Jun 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



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

Has anyone recovered from June 4th catastrophe?

[edited by: tedster at 5:43 am (utc) on July 1, 2008]

ray19833

10:05 pm on Jul 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



@jackson992: I'm seeing big changes in my niche, and imagine sites that have a frontpage with 50 unique content "blogs" but with no deeplink to the article attached to it, but only fresh content on the frontpage. I have a few of those sites and they used to rank very well for years.

The competitors have a frontpage with fresh content and duplicate content pages all over it. The only difference is, that they include the product in the site itself (iframe) and don't link to external pages (with the affiliate url in it).

I'm only expressing myself with my thoughts, because i keep seeing over and over the same pattern.

As Tedster stated, let's brainstorm and give as much information here so we maybe can lay our fingers on the "exact" problem. :)

jackson992

10:36 pm on Jul 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



The problem is it will do no good to change anything since the sites are all banned right? I do have some text on my homepage but writing is not my thing lol. My goal is to sell a product not information LOL. I basically just show a product image, the name, the manufacturer, the price and a link to the place to buy the product. Note that products may appear from several different merchants which provides value as does a search where it will display the products a person searches for by the most relevant. This to me would seem to be very useful. I also have not used a description of the product as that would be just a repeat of what is on the merchant's site.

phpmaven

11:04 pm on Jul 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Well at least in my case, the site is not banned. It still exists in the index and will come up for a search on my domain name. It just won't rank for jack squat.

zeus

11:33 pm on Jul 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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



jackson992 - hmm just a with that content and maybe many pages in the same style, you could be filtered for dublicated content.

jackson992

1:01 am on Jul 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Zeus: yeah that would make sense to me if it wasn't for the nothing showing even for a site command. The sites should still show using a site query.

tedster

1:09 am on Jul 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

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



The problem is it will do no good to change anything since the sites are all banned right?

If you used to see results for the site: operator and now you don't, that does sound like a ban. Still, if you can find the problem and fix it, you certainly can be successful with a reconsideration request. The trick is finding the problem.

A ban is an extreme step from Google; they have been moving more and more toward penalties rather than outright bans. I'd think anyone whose site has been banned should have at least some idea about what they did that got them such an extreme extreme reaction.

Have you checked the basics - such as your robots.txt file? No spidering since January is rather stark EVEN for a banned website. Some error in robots.txt (or even a hack job) would be the first thing I'd check.

jackson992

1:38 am on Jul 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I don't think I even have a robots.txt file but what would be the chances something would be wrong for 8 diffeent sites? Like I said Google is still crawling the pages just not indexing anything. I did do a reinclusion request in March but nothing ever came of it.

burns83

4:04 am on Jul 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Just a clarification...If the site was banned, there would be zero traffic right?

If the site is experiencing 25% of the regular traffic, in essence it would either be an algo update or a penalty....

My reasoning also leads me to believe that since this is no direct hit so to say, and it happened to a group on the 26th that this is an update.

The million dollar question is now...what was the update.

It seems like there was a lil buzz about duplicate content recently, could that be it?

tedster

9:27 am on Jul 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

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



I've now collected quite a few examples of sites that were hit on June 4 and June 26. I'll dig into them over time, but my first impression is that these examples are all offering a wide diversity of content/products. All kinds of different keywords and markets are being targeted by one site, either directly from the home page or very top level pages.

Is this a common factor - a wide diversity of markets and searches being targeted by one website?

potentialgeek

10:44 am on Jul 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



Tedster,

My main site targets a wide range of stuff but actually went up x2 on June 4. This could have been a different situation, however, e.g., basic -950 recovery.

p/g

tedster

10:52 am on Jul 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

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



One question I have is when a website targets a wide range, then what does a report of "going up" or "going down" mean? Are these ranking changes being levied on every search where the domain used to rank on the first page?

Also, are we talking about only home page rankings, or internal page rankings, too? A little more precision, please!

AnonyMouse

11:20 am on Jul 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Our main site is a unique resource in our target market, with high PR and high trust rank. To monetise traffic, we added an affiliate-based “widgets” section, on a sub-domain but linked from the main domain’s navigation menu. This did very well in the Google SERPs until Update Bourbon in 2005. Since then, we’ve had zero Google traffic to that part of the site, and have hardly touched it.

Suddenly on June 26th it was like someone turned the tap on, and we started getting 1000 visitors a day – mostly long-tail traffic, but not all. On July 2nd, the tap was turned off again for a few hours, then back on. And today, July 8th, back off again.

We’d always assumed that, as that section of the site was affiliate-driven, we’d been manually removed from the index and there was no hope of getting back in the widgets serps. Now we're even more confused!

Here’s the symptoms:

1. Prior to being banned/penalised/falling foul of the algo in 2005, searching for “round widgets” put us at number 3 for a long time.

2. Since June 26th, the target “round widgets” page was back, but in the number 13 slot. I.e. where it should be “naturally” allowing for degradation of our position over time.

3. Today, searching for “round widgets” currently gives the following results:
- At number 85, a page on the main domain that links to the target “round widgets” page, using the “round widgets” link text
- At number 170, a page on the main domain that links to the target “round widgets” page, using the “round widgets” link text
- At number 380, a related page on the widgets subdomain that links from “square widgets” to the target “round widgets” page, plus indented results from the other related pages (“triangular”, “hexagonal”, etc) using the “round widgets” link text

Weird, right? All main domain and sub-domain pages that use that term in the link text appear in the SERPs, but not the targeted page itself!

BTW, searching for "sitename round widgets" shows us in number 1, as you'd expect.

[edited by: AnonyMouse at 11:23 am (utc) on July 9, 2008]

c41lum

11:43 am on Jul 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Hi AnonyMouse,

This is the exact same senario that I am stuck in. The sites been live 1999 and now it just keeps getting hit every few weeks, then it recovers only to get hit again. One minute I am laying staff off then Im saying no its okay we have recovered only to tell them Im laying them off again. These truly are crazy times!

tedster

12:32 pm on Jul 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

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



That kind of cycling - it's also been called it a "sine wave" or a "yo-yo" or a "roller coaster" - is something that started quite a few months back, and we seem to be seeing more of it these days. Very strange stuff, and I wonder what it might be showing us, eh? Certainly the click through numbers from all those deep pages can't be very different from each other.

So I've been wondering if this isn't some kind of statisticians' game, where different variations of the algorithm get cycled through very quickly and then data sets are gathered for analysis. The step I haven't taken yet is watching how the top ten rankings shift at the same time as the deep rankings goes through the cycle. I have a suspicion there may be a clue in that kind of data analysis.

I'm not sure that analysis would help to identify why a particular url gets flagged to be sent down so deep, but it may be worth a look.

c41lum

1:12 pm on Jul 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Heres what I am noticing in Google Roller coaster every couple of days:

Home Page : No Change / Movement Slightly Up
Level 1 & 2: Lots Of Content: Hit Hard Big Drop
Level 3: Little Content: No Change
Product Pages: Little Content: No Change / Slight Drop
Product Review Pages: Lots Of Content: No Change / Slight Drop

sanveer

3:50 pm on Jul 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



We have added lot of new backlinks in last 2-3 months which still are not showing up as backlinks. We want to know what does it mean that for each and every kw on site from first page has been pushed to 5th or 6th page. Why is home page showing on 4th page and not as page one when you type site name without .com.
Please help!
Thanks.

con771

6:57 pm on Jul 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I am seeing a 40% drop in traffic today(July 9). Yesterday traffic was down about 20%. Anyone else seeing changes?

[edited by: tedster at 10:20 pm (utc) on July 9, 2008]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]

zehrila

8:38 pm on Jul 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I would like to add my story as well.

Well i have a site with about 18k pages indexed in google and about 40k uniques a day but on 3rd June my ranking for 98% of long tail keywords almost vanished which set me back to 20k uniques a day ( most of this traffic is from yahoo now) but amazingly i still rank number 1 for my main keyword which is very competitive, i also rank high for at least 2-3 pages in google.co.uk as well.

I tried every thing from adding more fresh content to adding improved meta titles and stuff.

I also noticed a lot of duplicate meta titles and meta description error in Google webmaster tools which is as per my knowledge has been fixed by now and new site map submitted as well but i still see the dupe errors even though i fixed them few days ago.

So any one found any solid reason to this disaster and solution to it ?

proboscis

9:38 pm on Jul 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I lost traffic on two of my sites, but not on June 4th exactly, looks more like May 30th.

They do both cover a diverse set of topics, on one instead of starting a new domain for each new site, I've just put each "site" in a folder under one domain, there are five of them now, they are mildly related to completely unrelated, I link to each folder from the homepage.

My main site is all on one topic, but covers a wide variety of subjects under the one topic, looks like most of my key searches still show up but they are all depressed by 3 - 10 spots, a few I see have fallen back as much as 10 pages and sometimes I don't see them at all. Then a few appear to be the same.

Another thing is that some of the most popular searches that find my site lately are not on the topic of my site but on the subject of the topic.

For example if the topic were widgets and I had a section of chicken widgets, the page would be found by searching for "chickens".

sahm

11:37 pm on Jul 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Is this a common factor - a wide diversity of markets and searches being targeted by one website?

My site is a variety of related subjects targetted to one market. My site has shown no noticeable changes since June 4th. My home page is still at #14 (previously #1 to #3 for more than 5 years). I have lost all my highest paying search terms, but still rank at #1 for a handful of long-tail phrases (previously 100's). Google is still sending me traffic, but at about 50% of before.

AnonyMouse

11:08 am on Jul 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I also have seen similar patterns to Proboscis, in that I get searches on "chickens" landing on a page targeting "chicken widgets".

Conversely, the phrase "chicken widgets" returns other pages in my site linking with that phrase, but not the target page itself.

Weird.

Arnie_01

10:41 am on Jul 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Hi, A site I've redeveloped was starting to crawl up the Google serps for the competitive key phrase <generic product>. It reached pos 30 then 6 weeks ago droped out of the index all together for the above phrase. It's currenly at pos 7 in Yahoo and still features in Google for other key phrases like <more specific product>.

To be honest I'm a bit lost as to why it would all of a sudden disapear for one key phrase, ny ideas?

[edited by: Receptional_Andy at 12:07 pm (utc) on July 10, 2008]
[edit reason] Moved from another location, removed specifics [/edit]

StaceyJ

6:26 pm on Jul 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Not sure if this will help shed any light on anything, but a site of mine I'm watching for just one keyword now as they're all a mess and it's easier to just track one keyword anymore has been going like this:

Before the stuff hit the fan site was #1 for "blue widgets" with results of approx. 255,000.

July 06 no time - #78 out of 1,050,000

July 07 08:00am - #130 out of 1,050,000

July 07 11:30am - #46 out of 1,050,000

July 07 07:20pm - #67 out of 1,050,000

July 08 06:30am - #43 & 44 out of 879,000

July 09 07:20am - #84 out of 879,000

July 09 12:15pm - #50 out of 1,130,000

July 09 04:00pm - #45 out of 1,130,000

July 09 04:40pm - #67 out of 1,050,000

July 09 09:10pm - #40 out of 1,130,000

July 10 06:45am - #32 out of 1,050,000

July 10 09:30am - #47 out of 1,130,000

July 10 12:15pm - #42 & 43 out of 879,000

July 10 02:05pm - #48 out of 1,150,000

Looking at the above number of returned results it looks like they are rotating through 3 or 4 different groups of data sets, but the placement of the site in the results has no correlation to that data set from time to time.

Most of the larger players in this category are now at the top as one might expect, however I've always been able to beat them for #1 for this keyword. I'll keep watching and hoping things shake out, if not things are going to be ugly.

Hope this helps shed some light on something for someone.

Rlilly

7:48 pm on Jul 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



@StaceyJ

My feeling is exactly as you described above. As Google is going thew this "data push" and algo change they sifting threw many more pages. I think (hope) as it settles down, they will return a lot less results and you positioning will be almost back to normal. If this scenario is correct we just got to wait.

tedster

8:55 pm on Jul 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

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



Welcome to the forums, Arnie_01. There are always mysteries in the Google changes, but it could be important that your ranking dropped for <generic product> but continues for <specific product>. The more generic a search is, the more Google has a challenge providing search results that their users value. So the more generic and high volume searches are where they are often making changes in the algo lately. You may have an example that helps to illuminate exactly what the recent changes are.

I'd suggest you study the current top ten urls for that more generic search and see what they are doing that your site may not be. Look at both on-page and off-page factors. I wouldn't want to prejuduce you by suggesting any more specific factors - just do the comparison and see what patterns you notice.

Kristos

9:06 pm on Jul 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



tedster,
our site that dropped is extremely niche,
a sub-sect of the real-estate religion
absolutely nothing to do with loans or mortgages
just in case we find that now related subjects to majorly dropped subjects may be affected
fyi

Lesedar

8:28 am on Jul 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Hi,
My site was sent down the serps by the second wave on 30th June/1st July. It lost more than 90% of its Google traffic. For domain name (with and without .com)it is still no 1. site:domain shows the same 10100 cached pages. It recovered on 9th of July for less than 24 hours and then was down again. Possible reasons:
- Title tags generated in 7-8 samples with only 1 different word in each sample
- Afilliate links with javascript and rel nofollow - not more than 300 pages
- many pages with poor text content - hudreds of pages have rich and unique text content but the rest have only images and a list with product characteristcs which repeat in different combinations
- Duplicate content with external sites shown by an example-file.php?id=no in iframe. The example-file.php is in a directory which is disallowed for all search engines in robots.txt. But I noticed in GWT that Google knows about 1263 of these pages and shows a warning for them as non-crawlable pages.

Martin Ice Web

9:46 am on Jul 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



What i'm wondering about is, that no one here calls. Yes i#m a winner. My site shot up in serps and gains 200% more users!

Where are the poeple that now get the users? Are they non seo's? Are they weekend homepage makers with no business background?

Alex70

10:24 am on Jul 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Where are the poeple that now get the users? Are they non seo's? Are they weekend homepage makers with no business background?

too busy buing links ;)

[edited by: tedster at 5:44 pm (utc) on July 11, 2008]
[edit reason] add quote box [/edit]

sahm

8:54 pm on Jul 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I'm #1! Sorry...I can't contain myself. After seeing no changes since June 4th, my site's main key word is back at #1! It's really weird...for the handful of long tail phrases I watch, my rankings have returned to almost exactly what they were before, definitely like something was *tweaked* and now it's back to what it was before (thousands of top ranking long tail phrases have returned). I don't see any changes in any of my rankings from before June 4th. I'm not getting my hopes up, but it's definitely good news for a Friday! BTW, I did make some small changes to my sub-category menus, removing some key words. I don't think this necessarily brought my rankings back, but it didn't change my previous rankings either.
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