Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from

Message Too Old, No Replies

Google Updates and SERP Changes - November 2009



11:34 am on Oct 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

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

Any fool can slap their favorite keywords into the navigation, and millions do, and it doesn't work for them.

It depends whether you are talking money (competitive) keywords or just made up words / uncompetitive keywords. I agree with santapaws regarding the unique or made up words - you can be ranking in no time just by slapping them in the nav, title, h1, url, etc.

But... when it comes to the money making terms the theory still applies regarding the keyword in navigation but you also need an array of other SEO factors thrown in on top, i.e. high PR, matured inbound links preferably consisting of similar keyword anchor text as the phrases you’re targeting and for those links to be coming from similar themed sites, etc.

What I'm afraid *might* be happening with this update is that due to Google’s new more efficient file structure they are now digging deeper, scraping the very bottom of the internet barrel which is churning up lots of low quality pages (and in turn many more links) that once had to be disregarded.

So a site that has e.g. 3000 poor quality inbound links pointing to it is benefiting much more than a site with only 75 high quality links, which to me seems like Google has shot itself in the foot.

[edited by: tedster at 4:07 pm (utc) on Nov. 1, 2009]


4:15 pm on Nov 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

For a while now it seems that Universal results are being added to the SERP as extra positions, rather than stealing one of the ten spots. This certainly takes some of the sting out for those who compete on the given SERP, even as it creates SERPs with 13 or more results.

But there is still some sting involved when a Universal Result is in the top spot, even if it "doesn't count" as one of the ten.

Has anyone noticed any logic as to what kind of queries trigger a #1 Universal Result, and what kind of queries are content with showing the first Universal Result just below #3?


7:22 pm on Nov 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Our site lost all rankings now on it's minor KW's, the site ranks on the first page for it's main KW though, and the site's name as well.

Can sommeone point me in a direction what could be wrong? I don't see posts of people experiencing similar changes. The loss of these KW's ( red widgets, 3d widgets, etc.. ) started around 26 October.

( old site, many relevant backlinks, updated weekly etc..
nothing blackhat or shady stuff..)

It's so strange, the site did well over the years, and all of a sudden all the related searches are gone completely.
Like someone turned a switch.

If someone is interested in looking at this, pm me for the URL.


7:36 pm on Nov 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

From the queries I am monitoring, there are universal results below #3 usually on major brand searches, where the top two are usually the international version of the brand site, then the local on #3, and rarely the opposite.

It has to do with how Greeks search that cause problems as most searches are in english or with latin characters (google issued a press release here about this issue via its online reputation agent).

On a different niche I am monitoring which is very broad, the image results appear at #4 for the popular searches and #11 for low volume ones.

Can't see any logic in this, but it certainly does make google's SERPs look a bit congested when some queries trigger news, image and video results.

All this of course from my personal experience and I really can't be certain of anything until the "ranking hopping" stops and the fresh results are normalized.

It definitely seems to be a major algo change happening, it just has taken sooo long to sort out.


8:14 pm on Nov 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

The clusters of universal results are artificially inserted into the SERPs, usually, as Tedster said, at the first, fourth or eleventh slots. Since these are artificial insertions, not a naturally occurring part of the rankings, Google can put them anywhere they want. However, one idea that occurs to me is that their "natural strength" for a particular search could be a factor. For example, if there are a relatively large number of independent image searches for the term "antique widgets", then in the general search for that term the image cluster would be at the top.


8:57 pm on Nov 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Front, that is very odd. It's very possible you have done nothing "wrong" here. It sounds more like a Google bug,-- they're moving their data around on the back end and occasionally they have some "issues". At least it doesn't sound like any intentional "penalty" that I've run into.

October 26 was definitely part of this recent period of moving and folding data around on the back end, something that will continue I feel until they've got the Caffeine infrastructure fully activated.

If you have lost a lot of traffic, you might want to post on Google's Webmaster Forums - you can list your domain there and sometimes a Google employee will take a look and offer a hand. If you'd rather not be so public about it, you can submit a reconsideration request through your Webmaster Tools account.

If it is a bug, your long tail rankings will probably come back as mysteriously as they left - and there will be others in the same boat, too - whether or not they post about it here.

The only thing on your side that I can think of would be if you recently changed something about the site's link structure (this includes playing with "nofollow") and broke some deep PR circulation.


4:01 am on Nov 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I am seeing some big boosts in total hits just today (mostly in last few hours), but we have done many related beneficial things to increase rankings recently, pretty much everything that should help... all white hat...


8:00 am on Nov 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Thanks for your response tedster!
From the Pm's I got it seems others have similar experiences, established sites ( ours could also be labeled an authority in it's niche ) loosing rankings for KW's on inner pages.

Noticed that what IS in the serps are rankings for the main page OR very old pages.

We did not change things in the last months, besides the usual updates, adding content etc...


8:47 am on Nov 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member annej is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Hmm, I seem to be doing well, maybe slightly better than usual. Terms that usually came out somewhere on the first page are now showing at first or second.

I've never been sure exactly what makes a trusted site but my site has been there since 98 and is still being added to. Maybe it is affected by the fact I have a lot of old links. Edu, museums and such.

I hate to see all that junk sprinkled in like local stuff and images. If a person wants images or local stuff they can specifically search for that

Anyway I dropped by here to see what people were talking about since the serps looked so different. More like Bing or such.


3:30 pm on Nov 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

More like Bing or such.

Ouch! Not that bad yet.


6:33 pm on Nov 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I hate to see all that junk sprinkled in like local stuff and images.

Me too. I hate the local results and their inaccuracies (most of the time). They're good if you want a pizza and then need to go somewhere by taxi but other than that they're useless.


4:41 am on Nov 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I've noticed that a couple of keywords I worked on a week before the update that were doing really well on Google until the changes, have now been dropped. Has anyone else noticed the same thing?


10:05 am on Nov 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I noticed last night a huge increase in crawl rates on GWT, but today things are back to prior to the weekend. Crawling from 1000 pages a day went up to 3000. The same to other sites I am monitoring (but not all).

Saw an increase in traffic from Google yesterday, but today things are back to before the weekend, and traffic back to normal.

Looks to me like a short-term upgrade or testing of new infrastructure...


11:16 am on Nov 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

What I've noticed is a "fluxing" for certain keywords for my site the past two weeks. Had some great rankings for these keywords for months and months--very stable. Then some of these pages either disappeared completely or dropped significantly in ranking two weeks ago. They remained AWOL for about ten days, then they suddenly came back for a few days last week. Then the disappeared on Sunday. And now they're back.

So who knows what's going on.


7:04 pm on Nov 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Looks like they’re beginning the holiday purge in my areas. Figured something was amiss with all the crawling last week. Looking to see what happens for the next two weeks.


6:23 pm on Nov 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Welcome to the traditional bump of eccomerce websites for the holiday season!


6:39 pm on Nov 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

subway, I have to disagree with you, as most of my sites have lost 50% of their inbound links within the last few months. Only links from good quality websites seem to have stayed. Nearly all the disappeared links were purely natural organic links. A lot of the directory links disappeared too, which goes against Google's recommendation about adding your website to a directory.

Though, saying all that, I have not noticed any of my websites change in the SERPS.


4:57 pm on Nov 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

< moved from another location >

I'm seeing very little crawling the past couple of days.
Is that consistent with what others are seeing?

I'm hoping this usually preceeds some type of update?

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 5:56 pm (utc) on Nov. 5, 2009]


10:37 pm on Nov 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Seattle_SEM, I don't monitor results on a daily basis any more (my traffic has been stable for years now) but I noticed that for over a week now, G has been struggling to crawl websites. For all this time, I thought G was too good at crawling but now it seems that it is taking a week sometimes to crawl pages.


10:44 pm on Nov 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Oh...I wouldn't say that Google is slow, or at least any different than normal. I launched a new site a week ago. It's already in the SERPS...despite zero back links.


4:53 pm on Nov 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


I don't know if its only on my end, but I cannot see local business results on Google pages. No meter what keyword I type there is no local business results appeared. please let me know if anybody else notice the same.

Thank you,

[edited by: tedster at 5:08 pm (utc) on Nov. 6, 2009]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]


7:05 pm on Nov 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Our site seems to have dropped big time since this morning. Lost a bunch of traffic for certain keywords. Looks like serps from over a month ago are popping up.


7:25 pm on Nov 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

wdny, I've run some tests to see the Local OneBox (Maps) and it is still displaying for me, but not on quite as many terms as it once was. I'd say that's a good thing. It was getting pretty silly.

This may also be part of the changes Google made to Local Search submission guidelines this past week. You now can see the revised local guidelines here [maps.google.com].

Apparently they are trying to crack down on the amount of Local Search spam that has crept into Google Maps.

[edited by: tedster at 4:43 pm (utc) on Nov. 8, 2009]


9:45 am on Nov 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

.co.uk results changed over night. The issue in my niche that has been with us since third week in October seems to have been fixed. Pretty sure this was a semantics ontology, UK vs US semantics issue, which was resolved post Florida update but which occasionally goes wrong when they forget to use UK semantics on Google.co.uk.




3:37 am on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

For one of the keywords I watch, one of the sites has 2 listings on the same page (#3 & #10) but no double listing. I've never seen this before, has anybody else?

Maybe this has something to do with it. The page that is now #10 in the results was #1 yesterday. And the #3 page in the results has nothing to do with the keyword (it only has a link to the page that now ranks #10).

The one good thing I see is that the #10 listings now displays an image of the video on the page with a little play button. Very cool. Unfortunately it's not really a video, just a flash slide show.


2:55 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sem4u is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Some UK results are looking a little messy at the moment...quite a few forums and directories appearing at this time...


7:40 am on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

A number of people here at PubCon Vegas are seeing very peculiar oddities in recent SERPs:

Clustering sometimes turned off?
- SERPs where the same domain is at #1 and, say, #7 - instead of clustering.
- SERPs with 5 and 6 results from the same domain

Fast new indexing, mixed with aged data
- New pages can still show up in mere minutes. And then on the same SERP, there's a version of another page that's been a 410 for over four weeks!

Universal Results playing peek-a-boo
- This one is funny. Do a search and you get the usual blended mix of regular results, News, Videos, and what-not. Then repeat the same search and you see no Universal results at all. And then repeat again and they're back.

[edited by: tedster at 7:49 am (utc) on Nov. 11, 2009]


7:46 am on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

These examples would be worth re-trying with HTTP Headers extension turned on, to see if different data centers are involved. The overall picture seems to be one of the back-end programming not being consistent - is something new being rolled out?

At any rate, is anyone else seeing some kind of short term strangeness?


9:13 am on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I can 100% confirm the SuperMegaFast new indexing and ranking. Its been happening since around 10/10/09, when it was possible to get pages into the top 3 within 15 minutes. I noticed unclustering about the same time, but it's hard to replicate.

I assumed it was Caffeine infrastructure at work, but MC has confirmed that there is currently no DC with Caffiene, and no large roll-out until the new year.

Any explanations greatfully received.

Universal results- someone from Google said in an interview at some point (sorry for vagueness) that if someone makes several searches, but never clicks a result, they have to wonder if they were showing the right blend. Perhaps this is a artefact of reblending-due-to-perceived-disatisfaction?


12:51 pm on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

The SuperMegaFast indexing is happening to our most popular website.
No sitemap is used on this site. We add a page or update a page and within 5 minutes it is in and ranking or re-cached. I know Matt said caff isnt live yet so something is up.

Crawling is spikelike, random and very deep. SERP refreshes clearly show separate distinct datasets sorta like the old days during a dance. SERPs I monitor show a big shift in my industry to a emphasis to onpage factors.

This 136 message thread spans 5 pages: 136

Featured Threads

Hot Threads This Week

Hot Threads This Month