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Google.com SERP Changes - June 2009

     
12:35 am on May 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

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

I want to echo Outland88's comments on the previous page:

...Google is rotating results, changing the positioning daily, and showing sites on a day/night schedule with many keywords. You canít tell what youíre going to get whenever you do a search. It can explain traffic drops. Google probably has the rankings tied to weather conditions and the price of oil to name a zillion things.

Just finished putting together a spreadsheet that draws from a sampling of ranking positions for eight keyword phrases (3 words) that normally drive substantial traffic for a specific site. The "normal position" for each phrase is between 1 and 15, and I've seen occasional jumps of as much as 10 positions in a single day.

Taking about 15 samples each month for the past year, averaging those results and putting it into a fancy graph, it seems that each phrase has generally kept a particular trend (up/down/equal) for a period of 3 months, followed by a "bump" and then either maintaining the previous trend or establishing a new one. The phrases consist of 2 sets of closely related, nearly interchangeable keywords.

I don't think anything can predicted from a single SERP drop unless the site itself has undergone considerable changes or the webmaster is engaging in aggressive and possibly greyhat marketing/SEO tactics.

If you worry too much about a sudden drop, maybe it's time to take a step back from it all...

[edited by: tedster at 5:47 pm (utc) on June 1, 2009]

5:17 am on June 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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There is no problem with directory submissions that charge for review and have a real editorial process that turns down bad sites.

In fact Google even recommended we add our site to directories a while back. Maybe to help them classify sites better? A directory link it's one link on a low pr page anyway, hardly the stuff that gives Google headaches

If you bought links on sites known to sell, what can I say? You asked for Google's wrath. Stop it, they aren't dumb and now they have a "report paid links" link too.

If you still did: ask the site to remove them, truly confess to Google and you're back in in most cases. If you bought 3154789525478 blog and forum links, start a new domain. This one might come back 2-3 years later, but not anytime soon.

6:38 am on June 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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This has got to be the biggest shakeup I've seen in SERP's in quite a few years. I'm surprised this isn't being talked about more as the Top 30 SERP's that I monitor are like 50% different at the very least. The blog comment links have obviously taken a major hit, FINALLY! The few sites I run where they have yahoo, botw, business.com directory listings have not moved an inch but the one that utilized blog's entirely has dropped over 90 spots from a consistent top 10 for 2+ years.

Okay...Strike what I just said....After monitoring these different SERP's all day within the last 5 minutes I'm back to yesterday's SERP's.

Hmm...Something new coming along G?

[edited by: MLHmptn at 6:52 am (utc) on June 5, 2009]

12:05 pm on June 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Some directories have a free submission and then they charge a couple of dollars to be included higher in a category before the other listings.

Does this appear to be ok with Google from what you guys have seen?

2:01 pm on June 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I am seeing a lot of dc's catching up with the new ranking change. I am not complaining as it has benefitted all my sites but am wondering if it's to stay or if it's a filter which will in a day or so be taken off?
3:57 pm on June 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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May 28th - I noticed a page that wasn't previously in top 10 come in at #1.

Checked it out at Yahoo Site-explorer and found they had around 600 backlinks in exactly same piece of text spread across just 6 blogs. It seems to me to be clear that these blogs are in a link selling group and there's little doubt that the site owner who had a page in at #1 had bought links from them.

30th May the offending page dropped from the top 10. I went back 5 or 6 pages and couldn't find it.

5th June there it is back at #1

I wonder if there is a cusp to where the algo is throwing out link buyers and this page is right on it so as they fine tune things it is being given a yoyo ride.

Cheers

Sid

4:04 pm on June 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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All of this just doesn't make sense to me. Google has always said that there is nothing a competitor can do to adversely affect your rankings. Yet if all this is true, it will be pretty easy to sabotage other sites through link spamming.
5:19 pm on June 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I see a lot of crap in the SERPS after this change. Be careful Google ... this is not the moment to experiment. People might want to have a closer look at Bing when they see too much crap on Google.
8:34 pm on June 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Some directories have a free submission and then they charge a couple of dollars to be included higher in a category before the other listings.

Does this appear to be ok with Google from what you guys have seen?

As someone who has been hit before I know that desperation makes you think all kinds of things, but small issues like links in a directory or two are not the issue. They might be an issue if all you have is directory links, or if you buy ROS links in a directory.

1:38 am on June 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

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On some of the SERPS I constantly watch I am seing the same as mentioned above: websites that used all the dirty SEO tricks in the manual get a better treatment.
It's weird, looks like no filter at all to me.
2:51 am on June 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

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What kind of other links did you removed that were not paid? Can you give me a hint on this? Were they allot of links?

There were a lot of links. We get several organizations asking for sponsorships every week. On occasion we will provide our service for free in return for advertising and the links we removed were mostly of the 'barter' type. We were mostly concerned with ROS and footer links but also asked sites to remove us that we felt may have hurt our 'risk profile'.

3:01 am on June 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

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My computer wigged out and it didn't catch the rest of my post but...

I spoke with Matt at SMX and he turned me onto the notion of risk profile. My take is that every site has an IBL 'risk profile' based on how 'aggressive' you build links. Your site is then put on a spam scale and once you hit the magic number or tipping point you are smacked with a penalty.

I also think it's possible to trigger this filter without buying links. If your IBL profile has certain links that are structured in a particular way, you may also trip a filter.

4:32 am on June 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

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IBL 'risk profile'

This explains why some sites just can't do anything wrong, they have IBL from top sites and their risk profile is still golden with Google.

5:31 am on June 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Funny how MC was commenting about ""Bing" a few days ago and all the crap that produced. MC should look at all the crap G is producing after this latest algo change.
4:04 pm on June 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Funny how MC was commenting about ""Bing" a few days ago and all the crap that produced. MC should look at all the crap G is producing after this latest algo change.

Well said! Google should not be arrogant in the process, they've messed up so many legit websites at each algo change that I know a lot of upset webmasters ready to help bing get more credibility. Bing SERPS are not as bad as used to be, while Google keeps playing around, sometimes it's not better than Bing like right now for the weywords I watch.

4:21 pm on June 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

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There is no problem with directory submissions that charge for review and have a real editorial process that turns down bad sites.

What about directories that are free? I suspect they work negative since some time, because sites I submit to thse directories has been falling in ranking.

5:09 pm on June 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I spoke with Matt at SMX and he turned me onto the notion of risk profile. My take is that every site has an IBL 'risk profile' based on how 'aggressive' you build links. Your site is then put on a spam scale and once you hit the magic number or tipping point you are smacked with a penalty.

First off what does IBL stand for. This makes allot of sense though, this could have been our problem, the last 2 months before the penalty we received we were building links 3 times stronger than before

Hmmmmmmmmm

11:42 am on June 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

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< moved from another location >

Company, Personal and Niche Blogging are very much appreciated in the last Google Dance that happened on 27 May 2009. This is purely by experience effort. Anybody experienced this?

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 5:40 pm (utc) on June 6, 2009]

6:51 pm on June 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

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@marketingagency: Do you mean that sites which do blogging do rank very high or that they are passing a lot of link-power to linked pages?
8:08 pm on June 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

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First off what does IBL stand for.

It stands for InBound Links... usually written "inbound links" without the capital B in the middle. ;)

12:18 pm on June 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

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This looks very much like another change that has caused unwanted side effects. In my niche, for the most important term, the top 10 still includes many of the sites that really deserve to be there but there are 3 sites that have took an easy short cut and bought hundreds of links from groups selling links from blogs.

I'm not seeing anything that would make users complain but rewarding short cutters in this way shows up a significant weakness in the current Google algorithm. I find it difficult to believe that changes will not be made to pull the balance back in favour of better quality sites.

Cheers

Sid

5:35 pm on June 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

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but there are 3 sites that have took an easy short

This is exactly what I noticed as well.
Last week traffic dropped about 30% due to rank drops from page 1 to page 2.
Pages from our site and 2 or 3 competing sites were replaced by (for a human being) unlikely to be ranked pages. There is nothing in common between our site and other sites that dropped.

The only common factor is the relative low quality of the sites that replace pages that used to rank. They all took shortcuts: major social bookmarking schemes, backlinks that are obviously paid or self generated from owned websites and sometimes auto-generated blogs, including low "self-generated" user content, and much more...wow, I felt dizzy when I saw this. Can't find a good reason for Google to rank these anywhere at all.
The worst part is that our pages and those from competitors that dropped ARE relevant, updated and contain accurate info contrary to the new pages Google has decided to rank instead.

One thing is funny, it's so stupid that it's funny: we now rank for keyword variations for which we don't have any good info to provide (I admit), or for keywords that never were on the site!

Obviously we don't convert much anymore, if we can rank only for stuff we have no inventory for or stuff we don't even sell, that's not going to work.

6:44 pm on June 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

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It does seem that the first 5 or so are relevant, but after that the decided to have less relevant websites according to there new filter. Older sites with few links are rewarded, sites with aggressive link building have been knocked down relevant or not.
11:14 am on June 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I've been looking at some of the sites that have slipped into the top 10, at first sight, for no apparent reason. In particular I've been looking at their backlinks.

In each case they have either bought packages of multiple backlinks from blogs and sites that look like blogs, or created real dross sites with a number of links back to the ranking site.

What stands out about them is where the links are on the page. Sites that have dropped a place or two have backlinks from in the footer or sidebar of multiple pages. These could be seen as links in the page template.

The sites that have been positively affected have their links back from other areas within the page. What could be seen as in body text.

My hypothesis is that one of the changes in the new algorithm is a filter that takes out multiple backlinks which are in template areas of a site's pages. Or at least significantly down values these.

Cheers

Sid

12:11 pm on June 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Here's a bit of a curve ball for any IBL theory believers. It may not be just the aggressive rate at which you gain new links that is calculated but also how well you retain them. If the majority of your links vanish within a week, which is what happens when you make a social networks most recent page for a given topic before fading away (example), your retention rate comes into play.

I've noticed Google's WMT has been updating inbound link figures more frequently, it used to take a month or more for a 'refresh' of the data in WMT but I've seen it change over a 4 day period now. See if you can spot any relation between your rank in serps going up and down and your reported IBL's in WMT.

[edited by: JS_Harris at 12:11 pm (utc) on June 9, 2009]

12:48 pm on June 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Hi guys

Im new to this forum and this has proved interesting reading I had no idea of the changes that were going on until today, when one of my sites has dropped dramatically on google.com

Do you think it could have something to do with ur discussion here ?

Woccy

4:29 pm on June 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

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What happened to your site Woccy? Did you drop a few spots or get a penalty? By penalty, I mean did you drop back until page 3,4,5 or 6?
5:05 pm on June 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

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the problem i have is very odd, as my sites fine on google.co.uk but on google.com my sites plummeted and i cant even find it under some keywords, dont think ive got a penalty or been penlised, ive asked around and some people seem to think its down to some google algorithem changes anyone heard anything similar ?

Woc

5:33 pm on June 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing a similar pattern - a large number of sites seem to have been released from penalties, all supported by major backlink schemes. These include the previously mentioned purchased/blog links, as well as links embedded in "free web counter" widgets.

I hope this isn't a sign of things to come from Google - definitely a step in the wrong direction.

8:23 pm on June 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I see a lot of sites which seem to be punished by exactly such an penalty - it's really odd.
8:41 pm on June 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

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cangoou - are you referring to sites being released from old penalties? Or existing sites being penalized?
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