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Google admits to bugs - accidental traffic drops do occur

     
5:03 pm on Aug 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

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15K to 5K users / day for being the Forum where people copy from ? Why are we being punished ?

I reached out to a team internally and they identified an algorithm that is inadvertently negatively impacting your site and causing the traffic drop. They're working on a fix which hopefully will be deployed soon.
Pierre Far, Google [google.com...]
Could there be other bugs going unreported and unresolved?

[edited by: tedster at 5:25 pm (utc) on Aug 1, 2011]
[edit reason] Whitey's request [/edit]

5:20 pm on Aug 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

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off course there cannot be any software product without any bugs and when you are making so many changes to it, there are always bound to be errors.

To answer you, Yes there must be several bugs still undetected and unresolved.
5:30 pm on Aug 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

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@Indyrank - I just wanted to add to the good point you raised that this was a fair admission from Google , and in my view something that deserves respect.

The thing that also hit's me is that discussions were being monitored and acted upon by Google.
6:52 pm on Aug 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Could there be other bugs going unreported and unresolved?

Undoubtedly there are many.

Many of those that are actually reported are often also unresolved.
8:19 pm on Aug 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

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It could also be that they launched a new algorithm that unfairly penalizes this site. Google has exception lists such that specific algorithms don't apply some sites. The bug "fix" could just be adding the site to such an exception list. I believe that Google has been doing this since at least 2008. A high profile site that I was associated with in 2008 lost about half of its traffic. We complained through our adwords reps. They couldn't do anything directly, but less that a month later our traffic came back. We could never attribute it to anything we did. I now believe that Google just added the site to an exception list for an algorithm they rolled out then.
9:07 pm on Aug 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'm a bit puzzled by this. Why did Google investigate this one case so thoroughly? Is this the only website that was affected by the problem? What did he mean by "an algorithm that is inadvertently negatively impacting your site"
9:32 pm on Aug 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

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@aristotle : It's one case but it must be representative of many other vBulletin based forums. Otherwise it just make no sense. Even in the most general sense: a large corporation wouldn't normally lift a finger unless the sky is falling, why Google has to be an exception? So, I think that site had enough in common with many other sites running the same software to warrant a closer look and a corrective action.

Also, I don't think we can read the response of the Google employee as to mean "negatively impacting your site only". Their statements are usually much more vague than that.
10:28 pm on Aug 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Google will investigate ALL cases so they can be sure that the algo is working as expected - the best feedback is from real cases after all.

In this case they have found a reason for the drop and that in effect there is a problem with the algo that has caused the drop.

These are the sort of inputs into the algo that they use to refine it - and it has clearly highlighted an algo issue in respect of something to do with that site that probably affects other sites with the same footprint.

Hope the reason isn't why my sites have moved up substantially and that it will all be reversed with the "fix".
10:31 pm on Aug 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Vbulletin itself has some major flaws, still unfixed since I first pointed them out in, err, 2005 or so.

I would expect Google to be identifying specific major packages and applying specific rules to automatically fix known crawling, canonical, and other issues.
10:57 pm on Aug 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Um, so you are all assuming a white list exists -which of course it does. he who shouts loudest etc ..