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Google.com SERP Changes - October 2008

     
8:43 am on Sep 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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

If you want to search G books, videos, maps, news, god-knows-whats-next, you can do it through the appropriate categories - you don't need it in the main serps.

Natural search results do not earn money. Google is spending more and more money trying to monopolise the web as quickly as possible. Therefore, they have to make the natural search results still relevant enough to retain people whilst cramming in as much commercial items as possible to fill the war chest.

--> I notice you are frustrated with the Google-spam but made no intimation that you were going to stop using Google? They obviously haven't crossed that line for you yet. <--

As Google grows, the amount of traffic generated from the No.1 natural search spot will decrease at a similar pace. Remember, sometimes you might be losing traffic because 3 new advertisers jumped on the Adwords program and the sponsored ads are above your listing now. Nothing to do with ranking issues at all.

[edited by: tedster at 11:25 pm (utc) on Oct. 1, 2008]

1:53 pm on Sept 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing some index pages disappear (no longer showing on site: command or within the visible serps for vanity.domain searches) that were previously filtered 4-7 pages deep due to the dupe meta descriptions; this is happening at approximately 2 months post the issue arrising, so I'm curious whether some data is being folded pretty heavily right now. If anyone else sees a major page disappear over the next couple of days, just breathe and wait a bit...it'll probably come back if you weren't doing anything too egregious.
10:34 pm on Oct 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I have done searches for certain keywords on Google and have seen a couple of times that there will be 1 million sites as competition and later in the day there are maybe 2 million sites as competition for the keywords. I have seen that much of a difference.

Is this because the sites that come up as results are coming from different Google Datacenters?

[edited by: tedster at 11:27 pm (utc) on Oct. 1, 2008]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]

8:13 pm on Oct 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

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gouri - yes, that sounds like different data centers, especially if the numbers keep switching back and forth.

---

I'm getting a growing sense that anchor text has been dialed down and on-page factors are dialed up. What I've noticed is that pages that were "Google bombed" into ranking for odd phrases are no longer getting that traffic. And added, I'm seeing more sensibly targeted traffic based only on on-page content.

If this is so, I like it. It makes damage from malicious-intent backlinking less likely. I guess it would also undermine the perfomance of paid text links as a ranking booster.

Anyone else seeing something like this?

9:06 pm on Oct 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Not seeing any changes at all in several verticals I am well versed in and know what has been were so either there has been a roll back or it is only happening in certian verticales.
11:55 pm on Oct 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Quote tedster;

I'm getting a growing sense that anchor text has been dialed down and on-page factors are dialed up. What I've noticed is that pages that were "Google bombed" into ranking for odd phrases are no longer getting that traffic. And added, I'm seeing more sensibly targeted traffic based only on on-page content.

The Google bomb seems to have finished to some extent although I'm still seeing some prime examples of the 'bomb' in my market. For me, I think that variety is the key. One cannot bomb '***** ****' to X.com, as for starters it'd get picked up by the dupe anchor filter. Things are more complicated for spammers, but I wouldn't say it's the end of the 'Bomb'.

[edited by: tedster at 12:29 am (utc) on Oct. 3, 2008]
[edit reason] add quote box [/edit]

4:40 am on Oct 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Tedster wrote:

> I'm getting a growing sense that anchor text has been dialed down and on-page factors are dialed up. What I've noticed is that pages that were "Google bombed" into ranking for odd phrases are no longer getting that traffic. And added, I'm seeing more sensibly targeted traffic based only on on-page content. If this is so, I like it.

I like it, too. Anchor text dial down, although I can't confirm yet, would be a natural follow through of the 950 penalty thinking and/or anti-Bombing code.

Google never should have weighted anchor text highly that isn't significantly substantiated by on-page text.

Speaking of on-page text, I'm seeing major KW ranking recovery after removing repetition of on-page text in bold (strong).

Which looks like the application of the 950 algo against anchor text to bold text. (I'll add more on this later in the 950 thread if it holds.) Excess repetition of any kind seems to be a problem.

Testing may be necessary to determine the tipping point...

p/g

1:36 pm on Oct 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I'm getting a growing sense that anchor text has been dialed down and on-page factors are dialed up. What I've noticed is that pages that were "Google bombed" into ranking for odd phrases are no longer getting that traffic. And added, I'm seeing more sensibly targeted traffic based only on on-page content.

If this is so, I like it. It makes damage from malicious-intent backlinking less likely. I guess it would also undermine the perfomance of paid text links as a ranking booster.

Anyone else seeing something like this?

I am definitely seeing this. Anchor text seems to be dialed down considerably but it seems to be affecting sites less content rich. The content rich sites seem to be holding par or improving.

12:22 am on Oct 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

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If you have a couple of sites that are ranking ok in Google but have not really mentioned them on the homepage do you think in can make a difference in the SERP? That would be on-page optimization.

I think the answer would be yes but maybe you guys can write a little more about it.

1:16 am on Oct 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

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If you have a couple of sites that are ranking ok in Google but have not really mentioned them on the homepage...

Do you mean you have a couple of PAGES that are ranking ok? If that's the question, then a direct link from the Home Page can often help -- and help a lot in some cases. One problem area that might creep in is if the new link uses the same keyword in anchor text that's already in other anchor text on the home page. I am very careful about tweaks to the home page made only to help an internal page. But with that caution, it can be a good thing to do.

1:55 am on Oct 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I'm sorry Ted,

I didn't write the question the right way. What I mean to say is if you have a site that is ranking ok in google for a keyword but that keyword is not mentioned on the homepage do you think including the keyword on the homepage content a couple of times can make a difference in the SERP?

2:22 am on Oct 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Include the keyword on the page that is already ranking for it.
8:03 pm on Oct 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I'll add it to the page that is already ranking for it. Maybe that will help it to rank higher, which would be nice.
8:18 pm on Oct 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

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If you read through this thread and the other monthly threads about Google SERP changes, you'll see that there certainly is no guarantee - so saying "maybe" is exactly the right attititude for you to take. Some people say you're not really doing SEO until you wrestle with an unexpected penalty.

There are so many existing parts to the ranking algo and they are all in motion, getting their relative weights changed, their maths and thresholds tweaked... to say nothing of the occasional appearance of what seems to be something brand new. And the shifts seem to come almost daily, if you watch enough different markets at least.

When hundreds of engineers create a complex and shigting algorithm, the individual or small group never hope to perfectly reverse engineer what's going on. So we're fortunate to have each other to discuss things with, to share what we see or thinh we see.

This thread is a good place for educated guesses - that's what I'm saying most of all. No one should need to wait until they are 100% sure about their idea, because most of the time, that day will never come.

11:29 pm on Oct 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I really agree with what you are saying.

It is great that we are able to talk to each other about Google's algorithm. People on this forum really know what is going on.

12:25 am on Oct 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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"Some people say you're not really doing SEO until you wrestle with an unexpected penalty."

Well said. I personally think you are not black belt SEO material until you have had at least one site tank and then resurrect it.

1:01 am on Oct 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Well said. I personally think you are not black belt SEO material until you have had at least one site tank and then resurrect it.

How can you tell if it's your efforts that resurrected the site and not something Google did behind the curtain?

I suppose you can say that a win's a win, but I've had sites return to their former glory after doing a lot of work but could never be 100% certain that I could take full credit for it.

6:36 pm on Oct 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Hi

did anyone ever solve this one ?

Ranking for some keywords on google.com but no ranking at all in my country.
My site (10 years old site) was hit on June 26th and lost a lot of traffic from Google.
Still, a few key words rank well on .com and locally
Other are somewhere in the serp on .com but nowhere to find on local

Is there an answer to this ?
Is there something I can do about it or is it related to my websites penalty ?

6:54 pm on Oct 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing some index pages disappear (no longer showing on site: command or within the visible serps for vanity.domain searches) that were previously filtered 4-7 pages deep due to the dupe meta descriptions; this is happening at approximately 2 months post the issue arrising, so I'm curious whether some data is being folded pretty heavily right now. If anyone else sees a major page disappear over the next couple of days, just breathe and wait a bit...it'll probably come back if you weren't doing anything too egregious.

Im seeing the same on one of my new websites. Google SERP www.example.com went to page 2, then came back today. I first thought I got penalized, cause my Google PR went to zero as well. The SERP shows up, but my Google PR isnt back yet.
7:16 pm on Oct 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Gandhalf, have you read the -- GEO-TARGETED SEARCH -- threadsthat are collected in the Hot Topics area [webmasterworld.com] (it's always pinned to the top of this forum's index page)? Lots of food for thought there.
12:50 pm on Oct 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Tedster, lots of food indeed.
But no answer to my question.
I use Top level domain and Google WT says geolocation is already set for my site.
The only thing I can think of is a bunch of lines (query_strings) in my logfiles, related to baidu:

here's one

__utma=86547486.1791879148.1222594074.1222594074.1222601299.2;+__
utmz=86547486.1222601299.2.2.utmcsr=zhidao.baidu.com¦utmccn=(referral)¦utmcmd=referral¦
utmcct=/question/21916747.html

could it be that they steal my content and now GG thinks i'm japanese ?

I'm so tired of guessing.
Sometimes I think I might as well start again with a other domain name.
My actual HP has now PR 6 but where have my old visitors gone ?

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 6:51 pm (utc) on Oct. 31, 2008]
[edit reason] fixed long string causing side-scroll [/edit]

6:03 am on Oct 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Something definitely happened algo-wise. I am seeing ranking changes in moderately competitive SERPs including placement changes and previously unseen domains in the top 10.

Some of the new entries into top ten SERPs have keyword stuffing, ugly HTML markup and lots of reciprocal and blog comment links. And yet, based on their content, I cannot argue strongly against their inclusion when compared to some of the other domains that are now in the same top ten groups or recently were.

Over the weekend I saw lots of SERPs differences when I queried multiple Google IP addresses. This seems to have stabilized so I surmise that the update has settled throughout most data centers.

10:50 pm on Oct 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Has anyone noticed large changes in the number of competitive sites for different searches after the update? I mean the variation during the day.

[edited by: tedster at 12:04 am (utc) on Oct. 10, 2008]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]

1:34 am on Oct 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

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With the economic slowdown Google seems to be stepping up its presence of Adsense sites on the first page in the areas I traverse. With three keywords I checked every site in the top 10 was an Adsense site. Most were just scraped content with a few advertisements.
12:37 pm on Oct 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I was hoping that I could ask you a question. Were the keywords competitive?
7:18 pm on Oct 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I consider them of mid-level competitiveness but not low level.
1:34 am on Oct 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Maybe it's just our site because we have information related to economic downturns, but our traffic has increased 50% since 10/09/2008, starting around 3:00 eastern time.
6:31 pm on Oct 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I’m also seeing more and more sites ranked first page and they’re not even mentioning the searched for keywords or the complete keyword phrases searched for.

What’s really getting irritating though is the top 1-50 sites in many areas are almost mirror copies of one another for the searched for terms. The same information repeated over and over just the template has changed. The redundancy in a lot of areas is extremely heavy. To me it looks like when the algo observes the same thing numerous times it says this must be quality info so lets rank it well. No real room for something different unless it has an adequate amount of duplication with the other ranked sites.

9:05 pm on Oct 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing this huge redundancy in the yellow pages sector.
7:47 pm on Oct 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

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just noticed when im doing searches like

"adwords"
"keyword tool"
"google webmaster tools"

usually i get google.com as the first result, and today they are gone. Somehow i dont think its working as intended.

[edited by: tedster at 8:39 pm (utc) on Oct. 13, 2008]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]

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