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Has this happened to anyone else?
Since you're seeing a new spike, it sounds like you're one of the lucky ones who got the yo-yo UP from where you were. Let us know if you see another traffic spike from Google, please!
[edited by: tedster at 1:30 pm (utc) on Mar. 1, 2009]
Something similar happened on Jan 25 and 27 for the same keyword, from 17 to 8 on those days, and back to its "natural" position the next.
The keyword is an acronym for the geographical location this site deals with, and part of the domain name. Looks to me like G is testing if the topic of our site is deemed relevant enough by visitors when doing general "location" searches.
Edit: another site that I track just had this happen yesterday for "location widgets" - from 14 to 8 and back. Have not been monitoring this for long as it's a newly redeveloped site that has just appeared on my radar.
My observations may be off since rankings sometimes change multiple times over the course of one 24hr period and I only track once a day.
...like they were a bit crazy...
Unfortunately, the term has only 1/3 of the search volume of the keyword that is generally used, and 740K results vs 5.7M for the main term.
On the other hand, the "competing" site was yanked to 23 - two consecutive downgrades...
Edit: for clarification, I'm using the Google SOAP API for this...
Edit 2: for another 2-word term, something I'd never hope to rank for because it's too general, I lost 36 positions today - dropping to 49. Since September 2008, the "natural" position is between 12 and 15, with two earlier spikes into the 40's on Oct 14-30 and Nov 13-25. Will look again in 2 weeks :)
I also noticed that while I had incredible traffic last Friday with corresponding click throughs to Amazon, there was no corresponding up tick in actual sales.
...Friday, Saturday and Sunday back at 5 times traffic, the Monday back to normal.
Offhand, this repeated pattern suggests two possibilities to me...
- that the rankings are changing on weekends...
- or that there are more searches for your terms on weekends.
I've seen evidence that both can happen...
- amazingly pronounced and predictable day/time-dependent spikes for certain kinds of searches...
- and I've also seen that Google rankings for some page and phrase combinations have changed on weekends.
I've been seeing this kind of shifting on a minor scale for a year or more, but it now seems that they're rolling out a much more intensive use of this approach.
One day they think it's "the greatest thing since sliced bread," the next it's like "what's sliced bread."
Oh, well that the way things go. I dropped my crystal ball and now all I get is static.
If anything further happens I'll let everybody know.