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Ingie

Weird Serp Movement

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I've got a low search volume keyword that is going from the #2 spot then bounces to #15 or #16 then a few days later shoots back to #2.

This has been the strangest movement I've seen for any kw I've tracked. 

Im use to seeing major movement from 2nd page and down but once a kw hits the first page it's usually more normal movement of up one or down a few spots.

I don't see anything internal or external link wise that would have caused this weird jump.

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How often is it jumping?

I had a site that did something similar from the big G's latest algorithm change, Fred. Only, mine went from position 6 to plain out vanishing. My site didn't have any penalties or any over optimization or anything like that. No bad links either. It took a couple weeks to feel Fred's repercussions, but then boom. In my case, I basically had to just wait it out, and now that site's up to position 4.

I've heard some vague mention of Fred not really liking 301s, but nothing really confirmed.

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Welcome to the Google Dance.

It typically occurs less frequently the older the page and the links pointed to it, less than 6 months old, dancing is typical.

It's always done weird stuff like that.

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2 hours ago, Search Spartan said:

How often is it jumping?

I had a site that did something similar from the big G's latest algorithm change, Fred. Only, mine went from position 6 to plain out vanishing. My site didn't have any penalties or any over optimization or anything like that. No bad links either. It took a couple weeks to feel Fred's repercussions, but then boom. In my case, I basically had to just wait it out, and now that site's up to position 4.

I've heard some vague mention of Fred not really liking 301s, but nothing really confirmed.

Started a few weeks ago and does it about every 4th day.

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1 hour ago, mki said:

Welcome to the Google Dance.

It typically occurs less frequently the older the page and the links pointed to it, less than 6 months old, dancing is typical.

It's always done weird stuff like that.

Yeah I've been familiar with the google dance for awhile but this is really the first time I'm noticing it for a kw on the first page to this extreme.

Im use to seeing it for kws on the 2page and below.

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Could also be unintended keywords picking up for more recent posts, too. You might intend one or two keywords  - but other words will show up as search keys. Those could send you up and down pretty noticeably - and why older links and pages would be so reactive. 

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1 hour ago, Ingie said:

Yeah I've been familiar with the google dance for awhile but this is really the first time I'm noticing it for a kw on the first page to this extreme.

Im use to seeing it for kws on the 2page and below.

I've seen a page bounce from #2 to completely out of the index (I couldn't find my site anywhere in the top 500 results) for about 3 months and when it finally returned it was back to #2.

Edit: New Domain

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Some things to look for that can cause this sort of bouncing:

-Uptime. Is the hosting going down at all? Some hosts have very frequent down times (they go down more than a pornstar), but each duration is very brief. Unless you are monitoring it, you wouldn't notice. However, if Google is visiting enough to notice, that can be a problem. SEOMatique from one of our members here is a great way to track it.

-Dynamic content. I see a lot of sites that post new content frequently and the content is on the home page or a category page that is ranking. As new content gets published, the content of that page gets pushed all around and things shift in the rankings. This can also impact the strength of internal links.

-Strong link vanishing and coming back. I had a site once that had a really great link from a site that experienced downtime issues. It wasn't my site, so I could not fix it, but this site that my link was on would go up and down constantly. I would see my rankings bounce from inside the top 3 to around 18-20. If this is the problem, there's not much you an do about it other than building more links until that single link is no longer such a strong part of the link profile.

-Ghost results. Several years ago Bill Slawski posted a great article at SEO by the Sea about a patent Google had filed to try to catch people who were manipulating search results. The basic gist of it was that if there was a site they thought was suspicious, they would artificially drop that site in the rankings (maybe for just 1 keyword) to see what kind of reaction the webmaster had. Based on the reaction to the drop, the spam team could get a better idea of what the webmaster was up to.

 

Of course it could just be Google acting weird. 

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It could also be...

Your SERP rank checker failing.

I've also found Google ranking a page for a keyword on one browser (ex: Firefox) and the same keyword/page/URL dropped like a brick in the SERPs on another browser (ex: Chrome), both browsers incognito and no history/cache.

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1 hour ago, Mike Friedman said:

(they go down more than a pornstar)

You just made me dribble coffee down my chin, LOL!

Awesome analogy! Can't make it anymore clear than that. :lol:

 

Terra

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2 hours ago, yukon said:

It could also be...

Your SERP rank checker failing.

I've also found Google ranking a page for a keyword on one browser (ex: Firefox) and the same keyword/page/URL dropped like a brick in the SERPs on another browser (ex: Chrome), both browsers incognito and no history/cache.

Okay - question for ya.  Would that be due to a browser's rank checking or can a browser actually alter search results - such as if I google from Chrome I will actually get different search query results than if I search from google, or is that statistical anomaly a result of the browser's own aps? 

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3 hours ago, yukon said:

It could also be...

Your SERP rank checker failing.

Yes. The #1 cause of "ranking fluctuations" is usually faulty rank checkers. 

Can also be geo specific issues in the rank checker. One day it might be checking rankings from a proxy in Los Angeles. The next day it is checking from Ontario. That can alter results.

 

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1 hour ago, HeySal said:

Okay - question for ya.  Would that be due to a browser's rank checking or can a browser actually alter search results - such as if I google from Chrome I will actually get different search query results than if I search from google, or is that statistical anomaly a result of the browser's own aps? 

The actual browser should not effect rankings, but I have seen different results in different browsers. However, that particular browser's history and cookies can.

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48 minutes ago, Mike Friedman said:

The actual browser should not effect rankings, but I have seen different results in different browsers. However, that particular browser's history and cookies can.

Thanks.  Makes sense now. 

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13 minutes ago, Wunderkind said:

Sometimes I think some of the Google engineers just randomly flip some switches and then run to the message forums and Twitter to watch everyone flipping out.

Ha, I can so see that, LOL!

090716_sea_cottoncandy_med_rinnzimd.gif

 

Terra

 

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4 hours ago, Wunderkind said:

Sometimes I think some of the Google engineers just randomly flip some switches and then run to the message forums and Twitter to watch everyone flipping out.

42b4ce2718014308ad74f1184ba13585.png

 

Haha, that's too awesome! I saw a bunch of sites go nuts after Fred. It was a good day at Google. :)

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