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Google.com SERP Changes - August 2008

     

daveshap

6:18 pm on Jul 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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

One thing I'm noticing is when I intentionally do a query that is one letter off and then click on the Google "did you mean" link, it returns one set of results, then when I click on the search button again the results are different even though the query is technically the same. The results after clicking on the search button are more in line with what I'd traditionally seen.

Perhaps Google is using different datacenters for query refinement results?

[edited by: tedster at 2:21 pm (utc) on Aug. 1, 2008]

asgdrive

8:49 pm on Jul 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



It appears to me that Google has rolled back its index.

I am seeing thousands of old 301 HTML pages from back in April from our old site that have not been in the index for 2 months now, right back at the top of the SERPS.

We also in May refined a sub link structure on our new site that successfully re weighted our more important pages. The pages are weighted back to where they were prior to our changes.

This may be why some that were hit in June are back in business.

B

rocco

12:38 am on Jul 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



My site that came back on the July 16th now lost 70% of it's keywords once again today. The strange thing is it came back on July 16 between 10-11am and now today the traffic went away again between 10 and 11am. Very strange.

Same for my site: dropped one year ago and came back jul-16. dropped again 12 hours ago.

tigger

6:38 am on Jul 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

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



nice while it lasted ay rocco ;o(

SEOMike

1:23 pm on Jul 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Still looking at other datacenters and the results don't match. Wonder why the DCs are out of sync. Maybe since they lifted penalties they are doing some MVT to see what the new results are like before they sync the DCs?

innocbystr

1:44 pm on Jul 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I just lost a #2 and a #6. There yesterday, gone today. The #2 still shows up in .ca .co.uk and other European data centers. Naturally these two were my top 2 traffic generators. Have a #4 that's still there, at least for the moment....

tedster

2:25 pm on Aug 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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



I'm seeing an increased amounts of "diversity" rankings, usually plugged into spot #4. Looks like Google's diversity campaign is going to stay with us.

Northstar

2:32 pm on Aug 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



rocco, I wonder if our site have any similarities? My site is a user submitted link list/search engine with dynamic pages. I also have reciprocal linking to my site. The content on may pages changes weekly but about half of the page content stays that same. Maybe we can figure this out.

g1smd

4:17 pm on Aug 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



This is different: 209.85.163.107 -- site:domain.com search on a site that has 84 pages.

Normal search has 82 results returned. Click to show "omitted results" and you then get... 22 results. Huh?

.

On 66.102.9.107 it drops back down from 81 to 67 - when it should be showing more.

.

On gfe-rn it starts at 39 results and goes up to 78 when the "omitted results" link is clicked.

Normal behaviour for the last few months has been for about 76 to 81 pages to show up, and for that number to increase by one or two when the "omitted results" link is clicked (if present).

[edited by: tedster at 5:42 pm (utc) on Aug. 1, 2008]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]

JoeSinkwitz

11:44 pm on Aug 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Very interesting, I just noticed several former page 1 ranking sites (a few that were #1 with sitelinks) get slammed...back to page 5/6. Anyone else seeing drastic moves like that?

innocbystr

12:18 am on Aug 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Got my #2 back, my #6 is now #15 and my #4 is now #3. Hmmmm....

JoeSinkwitz

12:44 am on Aug 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Innocybstr,

For the sites you lost, do you know how far they fell before coming back, or were they filtered?

innocbystr

1:57 am on Aug 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Joe, I should have been more specific. These were for three different keywords on one site. Don't know how far they fell, just checked the top twenty. I have a gizmo that checks three US data centers and multiple choice of non-US ones. Just lost the ranking temporarily in the US, for somewhere between 12 and 24 hours.

con771

2:33 pm on Aug 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



"Just lost the ranking temporarily in the US, for somewhere between 12 and 24 hours." are you back to normal now?

con771

4:14 pm on Aug 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Looks as if we've lost even more traffic now. We're down another 20-25%. Last month was our worse month in 1.5 years. So far this month we're continuing the downward spiral.

innocbystr

7:02 pm on Aug 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Yes, back to normal. Except now my DSL connection is flaky. If it's not one thing it's another.

rocco

9:14 pm on Aug 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



rocco, I wonder if our site have any similarities? My site is a user submitted link list/search engine with dynamic pages. I also have reciprocal linking to my site. The content on may pages changes weekly but about half of the page content stays that same. Maybe we can figure this out.

Northstar, mine is also:
1. user submitted, low editorial review
2. link list, main content are links
3. broad topic
4. many recips
5. many inbounds, many outbounds

A few years ago, google loved sites with this setup, now these sites seem to be doomed. My sites along with many other similar type site show exact the same pattern with appearing and disappearing in the serps. Honestly said, surfers still find their stuff in the serps even without my site. But this behaviour shows that some sort of heavy penalty is in play, some sites that I am watching and suffer the same penalty are getting 100k/day visitors from google a day when they are in the serps and may drop to 10k/day when the filter is triggered. These sites were not really built to game the se's (some are built prior to google) but all use heavy reciprocal linking and have gained a lot of power of some kind as long as the filter is not triggered.

Northstar

12:11 pm on Aug 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



rocco: This is very interesting to know. I own two sites that run this way and are both yo-yoing with these penalties every year. My oldest site was before google was king and is meant to be user friendly and not to play the seo game. Both site have thousands of outbound and inbound reciprocal links.
I know my biggest competitor don't seem to be effected much by these penalties and their site is run the same way. They even have double the amount of link exchanges. The only real thing I can see different from their site to mine it they have triple the amount of pages and new content added weekly, not just new submitted links. After this latest change I also noticed that links command shows a lower link count then before July 30th. Even my competitors are showing lower inbound links but it didn't seem to affect them like it did my sites.

One thing I was thinking was maybe it was caused by my page content not changing enough. One about 70% of my pages half of the page stays the same because of sponsor advertising and the bottom half shows newly added submitted link content. I was thinking the google bot was only scanning so deep on these pages and maybe thinking none of the page content changed. This was just one of my ideas. Does your page content change often, Rocco?

[edited by: Northstar at 12:13 pm (utc) on Aug. 3, 2008]

bilalseo

12:25 pm on Aug 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



well folks I found myself lucky as I don't have any change in my ranking, a little drop could be seen there but not major. Yes but can I see a major change on Y! since last 3 weeks. Could someone explain what Y! is looking forward to? is there any algo changing? or Y! updates its database...

potentialgeek

9:03 pm on Aug 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



> I'm seeing an increased amounts of "diversity" rankings, usually plugged into spot #4. Looks like Google's diversity campaign is going to stay with us.

This would amount to having about five different top 5 categories within the first page of SERPs. This may end up forcing webmasters to pick one of the diversities and getting to the top for it. The trick then will be figuring out what are the diversities.

The Diversity Algo may seem annoying but it's actually consistent with Google's earlier and continued thinking and practices of volunteering query suggestions.

p/g

wrightee

12:37 pm on Aug 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



We're seeing as of today all new content written in July gone from the index, but new content written today appearing in 15-30 minutes after pinging a new sitemap.

con771

6:31 pm on Aug 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



wrightee, that's pretty strange

wrightee

9:54 pm on Aug 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Glad it wasn't just me who thought so! On closer inspection it's everything from the last two weeks - all before that is still there, everything published today is listed very quickly. Some pages have rolled back too (titles changed to old version).

con771

1:26 pm on Aug 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Anyone else seeing a huge drop in traffic since the beginning of the month? We have to go back 18 months to find stats as bad as this.

[edited by: tedster at 4:47 pm (utc) on Aug. 5, 2008]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]

dickbaker

3:16 am on Aug 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



My traffic has been steady for the last couple of months, although summertime is always slow for my site.

I had a weird thing happen with one of my pages. For weeks it ranked #7-#8 for the term "Some Company Red Widgets" and #4 for "Some Company."

Yesterday I noticed that the page still ranked #7 for "Some Company Red Widgets," but is nowhere to be found when searching for "Some Company." It just disappeared. I checked hundreds of results using different Google IP's.

If it was a -950 penalty, the page wouldn't rank for the four-word phrase, right?

Unfortunately, the two-word phrase was the one that was giving me the most traffic to that page. Now I've had to restart a paused Adwords campaign for that phrase.

tedster

3:23 am on Aug 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

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



The -950 penalty can be phrase specific. It definitely can affect the 2-word phrase and not longer phrases that include those two words.

dickbaker

3:49 am on Aug 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I didn't know that, Tedster. But why would it be ranking well for a week or two, and then disappear? It's the same page, with the same backlinks and everything else.

tedster

4:16 am on Aug 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

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



There are some new mysteries these days - such as what we're calling the Yo-Yo Effect [webmasterworld.com]. Did your urls completely disappear? Or just go diving to deeper pages?

innocbystr

1:29 pm on Aug 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Where can I find out more about this -950 penalty and remedies. I have two keywords that are in my title tag, an h1 tag, and a few other places that do not show up in the SERPs or in Google Webmaster Tools: What Googlebot sees. When I run a Googlebot simulator it sees them just fine. I'm confused.

Blair

dickbaker

1:34 pm on Aug 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Blair, what do you mean when you say "Googlebot simulator." Are you talking about a tool that shows you what a bot sees, or are you talking about a site that shows your Google rankings?

Tedster, I'm having a "doh" moment here. I'm not talking about the right phrase.

For the phrase "Some Company Red Widgets," I'm still #7 or #8. For "Some Company" I've moved to #12 from #4.

The phrase that disappeared was "Acme Sporting Widgets." It was ranking #1 to #3, but it's gone completely now. The phrase "Acme Widgets" was at #30 for awhile (I just added this product in late May), then it moved to #60, and now it's also gone completely.

I don't think I over-optimized the Acme Sporting Widgets page. I did the same level of optimization that I do for all of my pages. The Acme Sporting Widgets page has been on the first page of Google for nearly two months. It was in the last couple of weeks that it moved to the #1 to #3 spot. Makes me wonder if a competitor didn't find a way to kill it.

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