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Google UK Rankings "Flip Flopping" over 5-6 week period

9:52 am on May 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

My ecomm site was hit with some sort or pre-penguin filter on 19th Feb. All of the targeted keywords dropped from page 1 to page 2,3 or 5.

I think my site was maybe used as a sample test bed for the new penguin update - Looking at the backlink profile it is certainly not organic. It has way too many money keyword anchors in it, no where near enough branded anchors or 'click here' keywords used etc. Yes, it has been seo'd and I know this is bad... oh google god.

But, I have noticed something strange over the last two months or so and I'm wondering if anyone else has seen this:-

On 19th February rankings for all over used money anchored keywords dropped 20-30 positions. Then over the next 5 weeks rankings gradually recovered until one of the KW's was at position 11. Then overnight it was as if the filter had been applied again and all the rankings dropped 20-30 positions.

So around beginning of April I started watching my sites rankings slowly recover again until one of the KW's (a different one to the first yo-yo drop) was sitting at position 11 - then they all dropped the 20-30 positions.

It's as if the new algorithm is protecting the page 1 results and somehow running a refresh each day on the results. When my site hits page 1 it is instantly demoted down a few pages.

I'm wondering if it is possible my site does have some other problem other than Panda/Penguin or has anyone else noticed a similar pattern? Or is what I'm observing the normal consequences of some sort of over seo filter?

Other strange details: I've not received the unnatural linking message and all the long tail keywords that were ranking on page 1 before 19th Feb haven't been affected over the last 2-3 months - ie. they are still ranking on page 1.
2:04 am on May 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

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

Yes, I have seen this kind of behavior especially when the rankings are on page two or further. I think it has something to do with Google's statistical and machine learning (best guess for now.) In fact, I've also seen in from the US, not only the UK.

For me there's nothing to be done except to continue to create and market superb content, and serve visitors to the nth degree. Chasing visitors IS the new SEO for Google, IMO.
2:24 am on May 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

I've noticed this over the past 3 weeks also, but in AUS. Long tail keywords are ranking well but highly competitive keywords are jumping all over the place and even disappearing. I don't think I'm being penalized but like tedster said, perhaps something to do with Google's learning algorithm.

I'm continuing to add fresh content and genuine backlinks so I guess I have to just wait and see..