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Our established site has been penalized somehow in Google 3 times in the past 2 weeks, each time it comes back, and a further 4 times over the past 3 years, every single time it has come back to its original position.
No point in chasing Google logic, no point in doing any changes to the site, no point in endless discussions as to guessing what the problem is... 90% of the time Google has messed up and will correct it as soon as they realise.
No point in chasing Google logic, no point in doing any changes to the site, no point in endless discussions as to guessing what the problem is... 90% of the time Google has messed up and will correct it as soon as they realise.I'm not sure why you blame Google. There is competition around you. What evidence do you have that it a Google 'problem'?
I put my first site online in 1995. I've had sites, and watched other sites, come and go. My better sites are relatively consistent, but I don't expect the same high rankings *every* day. Serps naturally flux because they're based upon an evolving algorithm, not to mention all the new sites coming online every day.
I don't even check rankings any more. I do see where visitors come from through analytics and my own server log analysis software.
And the last thing I do these days is worry about "chasing Google" (or any other serp). I don't even optimise any more per se. I know how to structure a page so that se's can read them. I depend upon total content and keeping sites up to date with fresh content. I worry about, and make pages for, a good visitor experience.
Does anyone have any ideas about what causes these temporary rankings drops? If it's due to temporary disruptions in the Google database, maybe the problem will go away after Caffeine is implemented.Well, flux has always been in serps well before Google came on the scene. I'm not sure why you assign it as a Google "problem". Is there any se out there where rankings do not fluctuate?
Google apparently maintains distinct data sets for various algo factors -- especially in the areas of trust and semantic taxonomy -- and those data sets need to be combined or folded together during data pushes. Those data pushes or foldings are not always free of bugs in the process. Things like incomplete data imports can sometimes wreak havoc in the SERPs. This can happen even on a large scale, and then we've seen various white-listed domains with their home page gone missing.
If my take is correct, when Caffeine is fully deployed this kind of ranking anomaly should be at least more short-lived -- and we can hope, much more rare. During the Smackdown session at PubCon Matt Cutts even mentioned that one of Caffeine's purposes is to improve the way in which Google folds their data.
It is often best to simply do nothing during those periods of mysterious ranking loss, even though the financial impact can be quite painful.
The problem is (and this is my problem, not Googles), that mine and most other websites are built to rely on Google serps to get traffic (which i'm thankful for), and because i'm thankful for it I try my hardest to stay white hat and create as useful website as possible for visitors inwhich Google have sent.
Why do I rely on Google to get traffic?, because 90% of the population think Google IS the internet, and so to target as much as the population I can I obviously have to rely on Google for it.
I, like anyone else certainly do not have the right to rank high, but it is unfortunate that such as poweful website as Google can wreck a good, honest, very hard working business through no fault of theirs or ours, but then again they also help business' succeed.. but for how long?
I know i'll get replies saying, tough, you shouldn't rely so heavily on Google, but if the general population think Google is the internet then what other realistic options do I have.. yeah I can promote the website some otherway, but which ever way I decide to promote it still doesn't get me back that 90% inwhich I worked extremely hard to get.
This post is not just about me, it's about every business which gets wrecked by relying on something everyone else relies on.
We do have another online business which doesn't rely on Google one little bit, and this was created due to the very reasons stated above... so not all lost :-)
Google apparently maintains distinct data sets for various algo factors --
That's my take. Not sure if this is what Tedster meant but, in cases of ranking instability I've examined there seemed to be a weakness in the site's profile. A site's profile in my opinion is defined by their inbound links, their outbound links, the words on their pages, and external factors that can't be controlled such as plagiarism.
Variety imo plays a role in defining how authoritative a site is. Each KIND of link speaks to how authoritative a site is. News links says a site is newsworthy, worthy of mention. Blog links says a site is judged to be relevant by niche-peers, etc.
Speaks to what a site is relevant for. Also could indicate unapproved activities like link selling, which also opens up the possibility of triggering false positives.
Words on pages
Overoptimization. I think this plays a very minimal role in this kind of issue.
IMO the bottom line is that if a site bounces then that means there is a weak area that needs improvement which becomes revealed when the algo/data sets shift. A review of the remaining sites on page one, particularly new or higher ranking sites may provide a clue.
My point is that if there where say another two equally powerfull search engines then the internet would surely be a much more stable place and encourage more useful online business to grow, without the massive risk of losing everything just because the search engine with the monopoly makes big changes to the algo's to try and weed out the black hat and less relevant websites, and as a side effect wrecks a business which doesn't deserve to be wrecked purely because they are not experts in how Google work.
To be a stable website at the moment not only do you have to create a good useful website for your visitors, but you also have to have a constatly updated indepth knowledge of Google's workings to allow you to change things instantly at the drop of a hat, or have the luck of a lottery winner together with the brains of Tedster :-)
Lets say I eventually find and correct the problem with our website and the ranking come back, and somehow manage to do this intime to rescue the business, how long will it be before another algo change says there is another problem with the website when the old algo said it was ok?.. its a constat ongoing process which most businesses can't cope with.