Webmasters Still Feeling the Aftershocks of Google SERP changes for July 2008!

Jul 17, 2008 | 2,518 views | by Navneet Kaushal
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At the beginning of this month, I had reported about the Google SERP changes for July 2008 along with the confusion and chaos it had created. It seems that, the Webmasters are still feeling the aftershocks of the Google SERP changes and according to some, these massive fluctuations are still happening.

Webmaster World had a long thread regarding these fluctuations at the beginning of the Google SERP changes. Now, that thread has been expanded to a 'Part 2' series, discussing the ongoing fluctuations in Rankings in Google SERPs. Here are some of the posts from that thread:

"I run a large, well-established website that has been around for years, generating millions of visitors per month across millions of pages of documents. We have always been diligent about tracking all of our website metrics so that we understand user behavior, where our audience is coming from, and can use the data in order to improve user experience.

Recently we have been experiencing *very* erratic Google organic traffic which jumps up and down by 30%-80%. The cycle has now repeated itself 6 times over about 6 weeks time. While there have been times in the past where our Google organic traffic has increased and decreased, it always has done it in a measured manner; we have never before seen erratic behavior from Google.

Here are the traffic specifics:
•June 3, Google organic drops by 30% vs. normal
•June 4, Google organic traffic returns to normal
•June 9, Google organic again drops by 30% vs. normal
•June 17, Google organic returns to normal
•June 19 , Google organic again drops by 30% vs. normal
•June 27, Google organic returns to normal
•July 9, Google organic again drops by 30% vs. normal
•July 11, Google organic returns to normal
•July 12, Google organic again drops, but this time by 80% of normal
•July 13, Google organic returns to normal

While we are constantly in the process of refining our site, the only major change over the last couple months has been to our "related articles" component which does what it sounds like: if you are looking at article A, here are a handful of other articles that are highly relevant to the one you are viewing. Over time, we have been tuning the algorithm that generates these links so as to improve relevancy.

I have also noticed some other artifacts:
•Google bot spidering activity has increased, reaching a plateau of about 140% of pre-link change levels; on some days approaching 1 million pages/day.
•The number of page indexed in our Google Webmaster site map reports jumped by 12%.

Any ideas about what might be going on here?"

"Its an update to my previous post, well i had fixed the metas errors in google webmaster tool. Its been little over a week now and errors are reducing by like 30-50 a day. its probably going to take a month for google bot to remove it completely."

"it can be a tip of an ice berg before it hit you badly. Start looking for potential problems in your pages e.g dupe content, meta titles/desc and key word stuffing and any thing which is breaching google tos."

"We are not doing any purposeful keyword stuffing of any sort, however we have over 5 million articles on our site and it is certainly possible that when we are pulling over "related articles" that the titles are very similar.

Is it normal to see organics go up and down repeatedly prior to a penalty?"

"I think that's extremely unlikely. Google wants webmasters to use their service – and all it does is give you reports and a way to communicate as the authenticated responsible person. In other words, it's a report only, and not a cuase of anything.

Depending on how you generate a sitemap you may introduce spidering problems, expose duplicated urls and so on – that I can see possibly causing some trouble. But not just a WMT account on its own. And I've got scores of them as background experience, too."

4.thumbnail Webmasters Still Feeling the Aftershocks of Google SERP changes for July 2008!

Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal is the founder and CEO of PageTraffic, an SEO Agency in India with offices in Chicago, Mumbai and London. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet's expertise has established PageTraffic as one of the most awarded and successful search marketing agencies.
4.thumbnail Webmasters Still Feeling the Aftershocks of Google SERP changes for July 2008!
4.thumbnail Webmasters Still Feeling the Aftershocks of Google SERP changes for July 2008!