Google seems to be rolling out a major update which began last night and is running into this morning with a lot of webmasters witnessing “radical” changes within their industries.
In Webmaster World there is a discussion going on dubbed April 2008 Google SERP Changes:
It would appear we are in for an old style Google shake up. From what I’ve seen listed on a variety of blogs a number of long standing sites listed on the first page have been delisted or dumped way back.
I’ve had one site online since 1997 that had a lock on the top spot for my keywords on and off for four years on Google just go “poof”, all that’s left of it is two obscure pages I haven’t changed since about 2001 ;~)
So far I’ve received nothing in the way of messages on webmaster tools, and my site went missing in action after March 16TH. I’m just going to wait it out to see if the old girl gets relisted. I’ve gone over the whole thing and there’s nothing on the site that breaks any Google guidelines unless there is something new in the algo.
I am seeing a 2003 CNN story at #10 on a two word term.
This follows several days of seeing a 1997 text file showing up in the top ten on two different, but related, single word terms.
I haven’t seen stuff like this since Florida…
My 4 year-old site was previously in the top five positions for the phrases I wanted. Some are still in the top five, some are now in the top ten, and a few have moved to page 2.
If I do a search on www.google.com, I’ll come up #1 for many terms, which tells me that Google is watching what I search for. Probably a cookie or something, and it’s probably something that’s been covered in another thread. If I check the datacenters, I’m not #1 for those terms.
The idea that Google is giving lower-ranking sites a shot at the first page is an interesting one. That would explain some of the sites that have come out of nowhere.
Personally, I’ve noticed these changes myself with some search terms that I monitor daily, especially with the results of branded search terms in results : I’m seeing less complaints sites than before and more blogs and social pages which mention the brands, which is good.
While the results for the sites or companies I keep an eye on are ranking the same or even better, I’ve noticed other sites which have traditionally ranked well for these term drop dramatically off the first page of Google and into the 11 to 30 range of keyword results. I’ve also noticed that a good deal of these pages that dropped lack rich content and are dependent upon anchor text links from non-authoirty sites for their placement.
Shedding a little light into what is going on at Google, Barry Schwartz posted on these preliminary changes at Search Engine Land on Monday,
These days Google’s data centers are typically always showing small changes and differences, but the differences between this data center and this one seem to be more like the extremes of the past Google Dances.
So either Google is preparing for a massive update or just messing around with our heads. As of now, these results have not yet moved over to the main Google.com results.
Barry also points out that on the last weekday before these rankings changes occured, Google hosted its first Webmaster Chat session. A precursor of the customer service onslaught the Webmaster Tools team is going to be experiencing if a major update the size of the old Google Dance ones does roll out? Perhaps.
Are you noticing changes in your sites’ rankings or the search results which you monitor on a daily basis? If so, please feel free to share you experiences below.