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This feels like 2001 serps to me - maybe a record roll-back? Though could be random penalties or data storage problems - while the homepage is still there there are section "home pages" that are missing.
Can't see it sticking - other serps that I am not involved with seem to suck too.
could this have anything to do with recent user search behaviour studies that Google was seemingly doing? remember this "results customized to search history" thing? could it be so that the sites that didn't get many clicks being on page 1 got axed for "low value to users"?
ugh. lol, someone had to say it
(note: Strider any "anger" is directed at previous posts on this subject, not you personally)
let's not go down this road again.
We had the exact same discussion via Position #6 [webmasterworld.com] and various other Google screw-ups over the past year.
Besides my own personal data, looking at the various SERPs, and the pages ranking within those SERPs, careful examination will show why this can't POSSIBLY be the answer.
This is the almost the exact SIMILAR rollout as the Position #6 (which is why we were discussing it before)
The more people can remember correctly the details of that situation, the better we can address this one.
I'm not even #1 any more for my biggest site for its name! Search Keyword 1 Keyword 2 (www.keyword1keyword2.com). I'm #2, but still, this is ridiculous.
Another of my sites, however, which was #2 for a different set of keywords (which happen to match the domain name exactly), e.g., Keyword 1 Keyword 2 (www.keyword1keyword2.com), is now #1.
I had been #1 for a few years for two keywords on my biggest site, but just got bumped to #2. The site ahead of me is keyword1keyword2.org.
I had also been #1 for a few years for two other keywords on my biggest site, but just got bumped to #2.
Another site that ranked top 10 for two keywords (most competitive in the sector) just disappeared from top 50. I haven't looked further yet.
Another site still has its #1 ranking (as I write, at least).
It was about this time last year I got hit with a 950 penalty on several sites. One site that was hit with it last year just got hit again. And a keyword phrase that was hit on another site just got hit again.
Not saying it's Google 950 Penalty 2.0 or a derivative penalty from that algo idea; I'm just wondering if trust is an issue that is affecting the new changes/update/penalty.
[edited by: potentialgeek at 8:52 pm (utc) on Oct. 31, 2008]
Difficult to say, to me it looks like the final product of the data folding / testing we have been seeing over the last 6 weeks (test, record, test, fold and serve)
Makes you wonder if there's an authority bug in the new algo/test algo which displaces the sitelinks and doesn't give a site top ranking for its own name (when it had it for 7 years).
Looks like sites that had something to do with link schemes have been penalized. Link selling, buying, link exchanges but also linking from your own sites will cause a drop. If G wants to warn webmasters they have succeeded. I hope to come back but it is not looking good.
Disagree. For the sites Im seeing affected, the interior pages are ranking just fine.
It's the home page that has gone missing/dropped.
Besides, Goog knows they have huge lawsuits waiting for them if they start "obviously" penalizing buy/sell links sites without starting with THEIR OWN STRATEGIC PARTNERS.
Don't let Google's past FUD campaign's scare your analysis :)
Like the #6 of last year, give it til Nov 5th before panicky.
Rest assured, I'll be the first and loudest if this sticks or doesn't improve.
Yep, or lowered. That's a really weird algo bug. It's the part of a site that should be most stable. They're messing with its ranking and authority/sitelinks.
The other sign of the 'Brat Update' challenging authority is the hits to old sites ranking #1 for a keyword/phrase.
Other than that, I'm now wondering about Ranking History. If Google, which collects Ranking History data, for some reason is comparing recent ranking with old ranking. I'm seeing ranking on some things that looks very similar to a year ago.
But can you think of any way that Ranking History data could logically be used to serve up the best SERPs today?
Another thought is that for months I've been partially penalized for something but didn't know it, and now Google is reverting on that old penalty (or dialing it down). If memory serves, Cutts said earlier this year Google was removing a penalty.
Anyway, let's keep in mind that some "new" penalties could actually be deletions/reductions of old penalties. A major dial-down or complete removal of a penalty could look a lot like a brand spanking new penalty.
[edited by: potentialgeek at 10:09 pm (utc) on Oct. 31, 2008]
whitenight: Why Nov 5th? Sorry, don't recall last year's event.
lol, it's just an intuitive feeling.
Assuming Goog is just rolling out a huge test that will be eventually refolded back in,
they are trying it out over the weekend and right before US elections when traffic would be somewhat lower.
Last year, the #6 bug started to roll out right before New Years (before someone forgot to roll it back)
They like to organize these things around long weekends/holidays/etc.
whitenight thats for remaining cool-headed about it. but what exactly in the nature of last year's 950 penalty that happened around this time in 2007 reminds you of this one?
It's mentioned earlier in the thread by me, tedster, and Cain.
I think we were also the main 3 who followed, noticed, and/or correctly diagnosed the Position #6 issue last year [webmasterworld.com].
We all also noticed that this rollout has been remarkably similar
(even to the "authority" sites being affected most)
It's hard to explain without rehashing all my rants about how the Position #6 [webmasterworld.com] roll out originally
(which I'm sure tedster is tired off) =P
Yup, I'm sticking with this until I have better reason to believe this isn't a data folding, glitch or bug.
Lots changes IMHO for the holiday SERPs. What better time to change than on Halloween weekend, when there is primarily less emphasis on search?
I'd still love to get feedback on what people are noticing to figure out WHAT EXACTLY they are testing.
If the results STAY like they are now, (without authorities being reinserted and nonsense being removed),
THEN i would call it a bug.
Time will tell.
the -5 phenomenon seems to be limited to my homepage for a range of keyword searches. I've also noticed that quite a few of my 1st level inner pages on the same site have dropped from rankings 1-3 on the first page to the second pages.
p.s.i'm not participating in any paid/non relevant link ecxhanges.
I don't disagree with the Holiday Shopping Algo idea, but how could home page/sitelinks penalties be related to better holiday SERPs? It would seem to make more sense to set up a holiday shopping algo based on commerce.
Does anyone know from previous years what Google was attempting to do or did for its Holiday Shopping Algo that made sense?
Why would Google want to penalize just the home page (and not the entire site)?
Is it a penalty against something on the home page? Title? Internal links to the home page? Inbound links to it?
Also, are sitelinks tied to something else in the algo (that would cause them to be removed)?
Webmaster Tools shows I still have eight sitelinks for my main site, but SERPs currently don't show even one. That inconsistency hints it's a test or bug.
[edited by: potentialgeek at 11:25 pm (utc) on Oct. 31, 2008]