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Google Updates and SERP Changes - August 2009

     
4:52 pm on Aug 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

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

I just came across another anomolous result, just as I was thinkging things were settling down.

Results 1 - 10 of about 4,490,000 for widget

Only 9 results appear on page 1. We see

"Image results for widget - Report images"

Nine listings, with the ever present wikipedia as #1. (No indented results)

"News results for widget" (One totally unrelated listing)

"Video results for widget"

"Searches related to: widget"

First time I can remember seeing Google count to 9 and call it 10.

[edited by: tedster at 10:29 pm (utc) on Aug. 1, 2009]

4:56 pm on Aug 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Is Google still "fluxing" on your keywords, meaning is the update still not over? I see SERPS stable now for 48h in my area (which is more than I can claim in the last 8 weeks ;-)).
7:35 pm on Aug 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Yes, still in flux. I have sites that have returned to #6 & #8 for the singular 'widget' but #13 and god knows where for the plural 'widgets'.

For a two word term I have sites at #1, 7 & 8 (actually outranking Wiki for a change).

All of these results have been in flux for about a week now. I might add that the number of results returned has been all over the board as well, but generally only a fraction of what the number would have been just a couple of weeks ago.

1:32 am on Aug 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

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"Looks like the only wait to get good juice is from front page unique links from authority sites . Everything else seems to be totally exhausted. "

This is great news for those of us who have unique websites, products or services that attract links naturally :)

1:51 am on Aug 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

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"Looks like the only wait to get good juice is from front page unique links from authority sites . Everything else seems to be totally exhausted. "

That just screams paid links to me. If I ever came across a awesome product or service, I would blog about it or create a page for it and talk about it, with a direct link to the site. I would never place it on my home page, and especially not for it's keyword as the anchor text.

2:25 am on Aug 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I am really desperate now searching for all webmaster forums that could address the recent update.

The Google Update and SERP changes last month July 2009 has created a mess with my sites. Now in August, the picture is still not as good.

I guess the dust has not settled yet as I still see wide variations and changes in the rankings.

Whats amazing is that many of my content sites which hasve been enjoying Google Page 1 rankings has been knocked out to page 30-40 or worse, not even in top 1000.

Google seems to be discounting one-way links from social media, forums and blog sites of irrelevant topics in this update.

Now here this....this is whats baffling me ...

Many of my small sites which I have forgotten about has started appearing in Google Page1 for their main keywords I was previously targeting. Mind you, they are really crappy small sites consist of 1 to 3 pages with MINIMAL backlinks.

While my big content sites with thousands of backlinks tediously obtained have been no where in sight after enjoying top 5 rankings all these while. They are still ranked highly in Yahoo and Bing though.

Whats going on!? ...this is truely frustrating.... :(

2:52 am on Aug 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

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anyone seeing a recurrence of proxy websites during this update?

Not so far, Cain - are you seeing this?

One thing I have noticed is that as of July the "penalty formerly known as -950" has ceased to be mentioned here. Instead we have a flood of some new kind of five page penalty (-50), and it's certainly not the heavy-duty kind we used to talk about.

4:29 am on Aug 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Rishi - Do the penalized sites interlink between each other at all?
8:07 am on Aug 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

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One thing I have noticed is that as of July the "penalty formerly known as -950" has ceased to be mentioned here. Instead we have a flood of some new kind of five page penalty (-50), and it's certainly not the heavy-duty kind we used to talk about

that's an interesting observation. maybe the 950 has become more progressive?

lots of people think that its all one filter and it just depends how hard you hit it as to the extent of your penalty.

8:26 am on Aug 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

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-950 gets discussed less because 1) Google is better at more appropriately inflicting it, 2) in competitive areas many pages simply aren't ranked at all because there are so many with 950 penalties, and 3) it is pointless after awhile to belabor it if you are hit with it. It's still right there though, and completely different than other penalties. (Also it is now more likely -1000, as the very last results, regardless of the number, are usually penalized.)
1:43 pm on Aug 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Is there PR update as well?
2:28 pm on Aug 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

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The -950 is definitely still there and the -50 is still there, still two completely different filters/penalties.
2:37 pm on Aug 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

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trakkerguy - Yes, the sites kindda link to each other in a 1-way link process but never in a reciprocating way or even closed loop. They go like 1 -> 2 -> 3 ... etc

Now all busted, as of now still nowhere in sight! :(

I am now testing a new site consisting of a single page to see if google really favors small single-page site after this update. Consisting of a header banner, a headline, a short description and a footer. So far the single-page test site has been indexed within 24 hrs after loading. Going to drip some links slowly next to see if it will appear in page one for my test keyword.

Wasted my efforts in building large content sites and massive backlinks to have them all busted in this update...I hope I am wrong when the SERPs stabilised....:(

My lesson learnt - Google is truely GOD.

It appears this update is a BIG ONE - Mother of all Google updates!

3:39 pm on Aug 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

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My lesson learnt - Google is truely GOD.

Only if you allow them to be.

After years of being a blind follower of the Google gospel thinking that I had nothing to worry about, I've now thrown their the Google bible out the window.

If they don't like my sites, oh well, the others do and since Google seems to like spam, I can make them all the spam sites they want.

I now understand after all these years whey black hats do what they do.

4:35 pm on Aug 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

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The -950 is definitely still there and the -50 is still there, still two completely different filters/penalties.

If you are kicked-back to about -350: Would you count this as -950?!
6:26 pm on Aug 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Hi rishi,

I feel very sorry to hear what has happened to your sites :-(. Hopefully you'll get back some rankings, soon.

Could you tell me, please, why you think that "Google seems to be discounting one-way links from social media, forums and blog sites of irrelevant topics in this update." ?

Do your content sites have many links from those kind of sites?

6:34 pm on Aug 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Not so far, Cain - are you seeing this?

Unfortunately I am, and it started during this update. We are attempting to use a reverse cloaking defense for the website in question that uses a php script to place a noindex, nofollow robots meta tag into the pages of the website based on spiders we approve of. We have tried htaccess, but some proxies don't pass along the user agent so that defense wasn't effective for us.

I have reported this to Google, unfortunately the proxy website shows to have about 50 000 pages now and counting.

7:25 pm on Aug 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

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It soundw like a proxy server that intentionally hijacks the urls, then - is that right?
8:04 pm on Aug 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I wonder if the Google alerts we are seeing relate to this proxy server? We get about 2-3 Google alerts a week for our site, but oddly they are always simply links to our site (random pages). The title is modified slightly, with the dot missing from our dot com in our page title.

We figured it was somehow related to a scraper, but have yet to figure it out, since the links just go to our page. Very strange. Might have to report it to Google and see what they say.

8:20 pm on Aug 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

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"It sounds like a proxy server that intentionally hijacks the urls, then - is that right?"

Tedster it is difficult to say in this case what the intentions are, but certainly the entire website is very spammy and looks to me to be trying to intentionally utilize that (ahem) loophole in order to hijack and gain ad earnings.

Previously this looked to have mostly been fixed, and Google has done a really good job eliminating the possibilities here, but in this case it was unfortunately missed entirely. in this case it is a US domain name (.com), private whois, and a US based host and registrant, pulling in a Chinese domain content using frames.

10:05 pm on Aug 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

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"If you are kicked-back to about -350: Would you count this as -950?!"

Definitely not. Two completely different penalties.

11:54 pm on Aug 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Perhaps they have modified their -950 somewhat. I have a site that got that penalty about three years ago for two VIP keywords that I regularly was in top 10 for. I did NOTHING for these three years. Now back in top 30 starting this past week or two (timing not exactly known... I have not been paying attention to this site.)

Excessive KW linking from subpages to main page is what I thought was the problem.

12:12 pm on Aug 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Holy crap, I like it, I wasn't expecting that big a change with the serp.

A site that's been sitting around #1 for years that is complete spam is gone for one of my primary keywords, finally.

It gets better, I'm seeing image results and youtube results at the BOTTOM of the page, not the top where they've been forever, along with shopping and related searches too. I LIKE all that stuff being down there instead of taking up 50% of the top of the page.

Hope it lasts.

2:11 pm on Aug 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Hi everyone - we're still hit with the -50 for our main site (we were hit with the first wave mid-May). We do not believe that this is the result of an algorithm change, at least for us. We are convinced, 100%, that we have been penalized. It seems like Google is handing out more -50's lately and is more strict on back link strategies. I wish they would finish these changes already, though. It doesn't seem fair at all for those of you who *aren't* penalized to be losing so much in the serps. Anyway, this penalty is getting to be ridiculous for us. We are very close to 301 redirecting the penalized site into a new one.
2:45 pm on Aug 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

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We are very close to 301 redirecting the penalized site into a new one.
I wouldn't do that this will only 301 the same penality to the new domain.
3:11 pm on Aug 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I wouldn't do that this will only 301 the same penality to the new domain.

I seem to recall someone (SEOPTI?) did this without transferring the penalty?

4:23 pm on Aug 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Do you think there is a chance that there is a time limit on these -50 penalties? Like 90 or 180 days or something. I wonder if there are any people that have noticed those kind of trends with the -50 penalty.
4:41 pm on Aug 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I don't think these are penalties at all. I am seeing -30 on some sites that are using really good, natural linking strategies. There is really ZERO reason why I would get penalties. And on some of my others sites (which I haven't touched SEO on in a year) they have actually increased in rank. These sites don't have the best links (most reciprocal). So my whitehat sites are declining and my sites with reciprocal links are rising.
6:50 pm on Aug 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

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bwnbwn,the penalty shouldn't transfer. If it did, then why wouldn't your competition register a domain, spam the hell out of it, and then 301 it to your site?
jgold454, we have tried to get a hold of businesses that have recovered their rankings to see if there is a time limit or any tips they could pass on... but have had trouble getting people on the phone. We saw one domain recently that recovered their rankings after a year of a -50 penalty. So far it looks like there is not a time limit... but, this is using the assumption that this is indeed a penalty and not an algorithm change. If it is an algorithm change then I would imagine it could continue indefinitely until they are done with the update. ::shrug::
7:08 pm on Aug 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

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iamhrh I am not so sure about that why else would it be necessary to search an IP address when moving a site.

I am not 100% certian but I know I wouldn't 301 a problem domain to another one and take the risk.

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