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Different Google Algos - for Different Sites and at Different Times

     
5:55 pm on Oct 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Over on Google's Webmaster Forums this week, Google spokesman JohnMu (John Mueller) made a comment that can help many people make some sense of what they see happening:

Various parts of our algorithms can apply to sites at different times, depending on what our algorithms find. [google.com...]
It's useful for me to combine that tidbit with another big Google topic we're also discussing Traffic Shaping [webmasterworld.com]. If Google is not yet sure where a site should be "profiled" it may be tested and ranked according to a different algorithm from time to time. In that way, rankings could drop significantly, even though there is no penalty.

A shift in the opposite direction is also a possibility. Google changes a site's profile and all of a sudden it "comes from nowhere" to rank on the first page.

(Thanks to SERoundtable [seroundtable.com] for spotting JohnMu's comment)
1:32 am on Oct 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

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john mu's comments helps to clarify previous thoughts about google determining user intent & that influencing ranking factors. for example someone searches for a local search term gets more local search results vs someone searching for a shopping keyword gets more ecommerce results.

this should help people get a better understanding that each situation can have different factors to consider when trying to do seo.
2:41 am on Oct 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I've been thinking about how this knowledge might change anyone's actions - how does it help a website owner, practically.

The one thing I come up with is just to underscore what we already know: make every signal you send as clear as you can without going into overkill. No mixed purpose messages. Solid semantic mark-up. In other words, DO sweat the small stuff. That way our pages are much less likely to switch from one classification to another, or one algo to another.

[edited by: tedster at 2:25 pm (utc) on Oct 30, 2010]

3:50 am on Oct 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Fresh Content, New articles used to be a major factor in what made a site rank well....
Now it appears that Sites that do not change are ranking better.
ergh
I still have one site that bounces between pos#2, Pos#43 and Pos#54
A static site in the same niche of ours, stays on the front page in position...you guessed it STATIC!
never changing
It seems to me that goofgle (spelling on purpose)
that we are back in the days of 2004, you find what works and never change the site itself again(content wise)

[edited by: Kristos at 4:29 am (utc) on Oct 30, 2010]

4:15 am on Oct 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

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@tedster

the sites that "wait to be profiled" are new sites or old sites that change/update content?
4:19 am on Oct 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Could that quote from him also be suggesting that social media interaction/actions from an audience are playing a larger role in the rankings these days? I dunno, it's just that a recent observation made me wonder if that's the case going forward.
2:31 pm on Oct 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

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@martinacasttro - in the Google Traffic Shaping [webmasterworld.com] thread, you'll read from Shaddows how even a well established site appears to get this kind of testing treatment.

@micklearn - yes, I also see social signals in the ranking mix. See SEO is from Mars, SMM is from Venus [webmasterworld.com]