More info on updates

I’ve already talked about index updates some in the past. These days rather than having a large monolithic update, Google tends to have smaller (and more frequent) individual launches. So I think my Sept. 8th, 2005 post on the subject of non-updates was just mentioning that some new backlinks were visible, but not much in the way of algorithms/scoring/metadata had changed. After that, some people might have noticed some changes around Sept. 22, 2005. Or some CJK folks might have noticed some changes around Oct. 5, 2005. Or a few European folks might have noticed some changes around Oct. 7, 2005. Or some people might have noticed some changes this past weekend.

My point is that more than ever, we are constantly working to improve our algorithms and scoring. Some changes are hardly noticed at all. Some changes (e.g. user interface improvements) are more visible. Some changes have nothing to do with spam, such as the changes for Chinese and Europe that I mentioned above. Some changes do try to decrease spam or increase core quality.

Just to give you a heads-up, I think a new set of backlinks (and possibly PageRank) will probably be visible relatively soon; I’m guessing within the next few days. I still expect some flux after that though, just to let you know.

Update: Just to clarify, these days with lots of smaller and larger changes happening at different points in time, it’s a little arbitrary to decide when to call something an update. That decision has usually fallen on Brett Tabke’s shoulders over at WebmasterWorld (WMW also chooses what name they want to call it when Brett decides enough has changed to call it an update.) Given that there should be new PageRank/backlinks visible in a few days (assuming no issues at our end), I wouldn’t be surprised if Brett slaps a name on it pre-emptively, even though there will still be some flux to come.

155 Responses to More info on updates (Leave a comment)

  1. Hi Matt

    Thanks for the heads-up.

    “After that, some people might have noticed some changes around Sept. 22, 2005.”

    Yes we have. And you call that “bomb” as only “some changes” ? 🙂

    Have a great sunny day.

  2. “These days rather than having a large monolithic update,”

    From what I see in the travel sector, it is more than the usual everflux. I am largely uneffected so can remain objective but I see a a big shift to larger authority sites and a lot of my competitors have been wiped…hee hee. Thanks. Seriously, If I were one of my competitors I would be seriously pissed off being thrown to page 5 after being on page 1 for years. Seems a pretty hard algo shift to me.

  3. Ah. Sitting here in the UK I often wonder whether we see “European” updates.

    I did notice a new site scraping up to PageRank 1 the other night, perhaps the PageRank update has begun already.

    With respect to the UI changes; love the “remove result” link and the personalisation that offers. I’m certainly not so keen on the split screen results, especially when I’ve not made any spelling errors in my query and the split ‘steals’ from the results I was finding helpful.

  4. After reading an 80 page post on webmasterworld I was wondering when GoogleGuy would give us a heads up. I guess he did it here instead……. 😉

  5. matt, i hope it’s allowed to mention my PageRank Update Contest here in germany:
    it’s free for everybody. the prize you can win is a book. and perhaps you would like to make a guess for the date and time yourself. sure, this will be except competition, but i’ll give you an extra prize just for posting into my weblog 😉

  6. Hi Matt,
    What yo usay makes sense from what we observed recently on our side. It seems like you are doing updates on specific SERPS instead of accross the index.
    Am I wrong ?

  7. and I’d always thought that there were 1.3 bln people in China didn’t give a damn what I did! I was obviously wrong. Thanks.

  8. Dear Matt,

    I am writing as i was interested in translating your interview with Aaron
    into italian, for an italian forum. I wrote to Aaron yesterday, however he
    said that he wasn’t sure it would be fair to copy what you said into other
    languages because of language discrepancies etc. and to check with you.

    Therefore, what is your opinion of this? If you are not happy with me
    translating it i fully understand, i just feel there were some interesting
    points raised in the interview that i would have liked to share with others
    who happen to speak a different language. However, it is entirely up to
    you, just let me know when you decide.

    Kind regards

  9. Must be more than routine if you’re drawing attention to it.

  10. Hi Matt,

    glad to hear that really some changes taken place on sept. 22 some folks all over the different webmaster-forums wondered about the changes that happen that day.

    But what was the change about? Some Emails to Google support being left unanswered.

    Having some sites that disappeared on that day from #1 to e.g. #201 I´m more than interested in more information about that changes that appeared on sept. 22.

    Thanks a lot

  11. In my opinion there wasn’t an update in Europe, we still only see diferent serps fom different IP’s. For example I saw some good serps at the morning an now very bad serps 😉

  12. Intresting read, you always are. For the most part my sites seem to have done quite well through this last update though two have been knocked down the pages by commercial sites (so for an example one site is an arts based site with articles and content provided by international leaders in it’s field with a high number of backlinks, yet it’s been knocked down three pages by the likes of amazon who sell a book with a similar title to the site) and that’s something I’ve noticed more of recently, i ran some comparisons between google and MSN search to see who pulled what for searches about social issues, health, arts and culture and found MSN managed to find a higher number of non-commerical sites with a focus geared towards public information.

    Now i’m no fan of MSN or Microsoft and i understand this is more than likely due to a higher number of sites targting google, but its something that surprised me.

    what worries me most is that I don’t want to massage links and engage in dirty tactics, but there is a limit to the amount of useful backlinking a medium size site can gain whilst still maintinaing the integrity of it’s content in the face of larger more commerical sites.

    (this isn’t a question – just a comment)

  13. You posted “Just to give you a heads-up, I think a new set of backlinks (and possibly PageRank) will probably be visible relatively soon; I’m guessing within the next few days. I still expect some flux after that though, just to let you know. ”

    Thank you for the insight and help/advice you give us Matt.

    Can you comment on the vivid October 16th “Katrina” update in the search results many of us are seeing?

  14. Matt

    You touched earlier on feedback from webmasters stating that Googlebot was not being active enough to pick up 301 etc.

    I have not seen Googlebot for ages and you know that I think I have a canonical url problem – how do sites supposed to recover if Googlebot never visits anymore – Has taken sitemap about 20 times today too but not visiting pages. No doubt when it does finally come it will be the silly little Mozilla Googlebot that appears to do nothing.

    Very depressing.


  15. Although the last update over the weekend may have been a small one, it seems to have had a major impact on the serps. My main site has vanished and we were doing really well (2 other sites gone too). I just can’t see the reason a site like mine (manily forum based and with really useful information to unsuspecting buyers) should have fallen out of the rankings. Some updates are good but the latest one has been very poor. It has kicked out many good sites and left some awful ones in their place.

  16. I have 2 questions:

    1. Just curious: Matt, why don’t you also join adsense? I guess your site has many visitors. Does Google not allow their employees to participate?

    2. For Chinese google, there are many spammy sites (only refers to simplified Chinese and it is much healther in traditional chinese result). Does Google has plan to tackle it?

  17. So I guess this update means I have been somewhat drop from Google’s index and this is after I was getting so many visitors from Google at the end of Sept.

  18. I am livid!!!
    My site is all about search engine optimisation. Just because I have hundreds of links (search engine optimisation) the site has been dumped by Google. It is a term of my contract that I have a link on a client site.
    Google has gone too far

  19. I think you should try to work to improve the spam fighting, expecially about Europe.
    I think you and other engineers should write “versioni greco” in Google and press the search button. Is it possible that from 8th to 1000th position there is the same spamming site with his stupid third level domains.
    I’ve MANY keywords where you can find the same things. If you want another one try “versioni latino”.
    Please Matt, contact me, I think I could give you some advices.
    Thank you

  20. Hey, Matt!

    Thanks for the (timely) update. I’m sure it will be overanalyzed and used to win points and impress impressionable people.

    But you have a large and growing loyal following. Keep up the good blogging!

  21. It sure is nice to hear that some backlinks (and possibly PR) will be released soon. I know that many of the folks over at WebmasterWorld are dying to get this stuff. 🙂

  22. Good points, but have you noticed that more Directories and Google Alert features from the media are out stripping SEO related sites?
    ctabuk Moderator

  23. Matt,

    This is more than just a little flux. People are losing their jobs over this, some people will literally not be able to feed their families because of this update. Many many people have went from #1 to #200 in the results. Could you please give us some more information? Thank you.

  24. no change for my websites 🙁
    no up pr 🙁 but not down to 🙂

  25. Matt,
    Is this weekend’s change in the Google results not being called an update then. I see dramatic changes in some serps and the same is being reported by hundreds of webmasters over on Webmasterworld. This is the first update since Florida that I have seen such a change in the serps.

  26. Thanks Matt, for the heads-up

  27. Wow- Brett gets to decide when it’s an update? LOL, don’t you guys know when it’s a big one, or do ya wait for Brett to say, “Whoa, THAT was a big one…”

  28. Matt:

    Well, my site got hit pretty bad during this past weekends Google update. My site has simply vanished from the keyword “dri wash” (short for a product that I sell). I could understand a drop in ranking, but a complete disappearing act is hard to take.

    I liken it to a map maker removing a city from a map, without telling the folks of that city why.


  29. I pray the update should not be a katrina or rita 🙂

  30. Given the extreme drop by many expressed in the more popular SEO forums, can google make any comment on if these drops are intended of if there was a small glitch that is being corrected?

  31. Thanks for the heads up Matt. Maybe that will help curb the mega posts “I-think-this-is-an-update” threads. Well, probably not, but thanks anyways.

    Appreciated the changing hosts tutorial. Perhaps you can hit on how to remove non-existent pages that show as supplemental results sometime soon.

  32. Thanks for the info. I was pretty confused as to why I was not seeing any updates on any of my sites when others (in many webmaster forums) were able to see some changes.

  33. Unfortunately, some of these updates are incredibly hard on high quality, white hat optimized websites. My website has been around since 1996, has tons of original high-quality content, but was completely thrown out of the Google SERPs in September.

    I’m one of the small good guys, and it’s devastating to lose the revenue and traffic I get from Google without any obvious reason. My wish as a webmaster would be to have a Google account manager that I could discuss my index standings with. Or at least to have the ability to know exactly why I’ve been penalized — especially when I’m left without any clue.

  34. Thanks for the information Matt. Can you tell us what this update targeted? 🙂 Pretty please, with strawberries on top. :batting eyes: G gave the serps quite a twirl on some terms, not to mention when I do a search the bottom navigation to the search results pages disappear.

  35. Many folks in Webmaster forums are upset at the latest Google’s changes.

    However, I’m glad Google has finally taken a non-biased approach to its way of ranking pages.

    Before, it used a kiss-butt approach with white hat and almost black hat Webmasters.

    Now, Google seems to be protecting its own interests.

    Thanks for making a better Web.

  36. Jethro Pallister

    thank you to google for ruining my life with this tweak or whatever it’s called

  37. I am very interested to see the results on the updates. It is really interesting to see the trends and watch the various sites go up/down in rank. I have recently started a website and am interested in seeing what google is going to give me for a PR as well as number of backlinks. Can’t wait till the changes occur.

  38. Dude! You were supposed to wait for WMW so it could be called update Vegas. Now Brett’s going to have to name it “Update Gilligan Resurrected” which is spooky and weird.

  39. Is this a prediction or a fact that you are stating? If it is definately going to happen in the next few days we are really looking forward to it.

  40. Now that is differnet. You are telling us ahead of time now. Thanks!

  41. Yes, am noticing changes for long time, I have also blogged about it here…now eagerly waiting for some changes in the results so that I can see my optimized sites on top 😉


  42. I love that Brett gets to name these “cyber disasters”… his role as master search weatherman obviously comes with this perk.

  43. Matt,

    It appears that things get worse before they get better. Can you walk us through a timeline of typical events that occur during an update? For example, right now it appears that a lot of established web sites are reeling from the initial effect of this latest update. I am also reading frequent reports of spam pages and other listing that one would not expect from a search engine. A similar downturn happened last spring/summer too. Toward the end of that update things eventually settled down and a lot of websites returned to higher serps.

    Can you help us to understand what we are seeing from an end-user perspective?

    Tom from Guam

  44. Google has continued to boycott our site. Even though the majority of other search engines have cached our site on a regular basis Google has continued to either not cache at all our cache it in their secondary supplemental index. In fact the only link in the main index contines to be a blank page where the only way you can access our site is by clicking the text only links. Worst then that we are loyal Google Add Words advertisers spending around $5K monthly. Any sugestions or advise would be appreciated. This reminds of the buy here pay here car lots that despite customers making all their payments on time don’t report to the credit bureaus forcing clients to go back to them paying high prices and interest rates. In Googles case it obviuosly forces you to spend thousands on Add Words in order to drive traffic towards you site. Thank you.


  45. Thanks for the update about the update and providing useful information and insight.

  46. Thanks Matt: I rely on search engines to provide solutions. Moreover, our website provides exact solutions that the Google visitor is searching. As of late, we have disappeared from Google searches under many target keywords that prides itself on providing a positive experience to the conversion. Your post is comforting and I will return to your site to monitor future changes and updates to our SEO campaign.

    Jim Grillo, CMP

  47. Updates are definitely part of the Search Engine, however this time around, it seems as to me that most of the larger players were given a HUGE LIFT in almost all industries. Has google started to creat a list of TRUSTED sites which they feel are more relevant than others?

  48. I don’t get Googles strategy. You guys are pandering to large corporate web sites yet they are the only ones who can afford your paid advertising. Thank god your making yourselves less and less relevant.


  49. “I think a new set of backlinks (and possibly PageRank) will probably be visible relatively soon; I’m guessing within the next few days.”

    The backlinks that show google are not very important if you want to do inverse ingineering of your competetion …

    I think that it was the principal reason for obscure backlink info :

    I think that this tool was useful to view what concept calls to other concept (web pages for google) but in the first momment your link have to be in a webpage with pagerank 4 and in the second momment random links … 😮

    The principal reason that I see to delay pagerank information : spam reason …

    I have got a creativity forum with 150 or more members an growing but if you see his urls … you can see casinos, rx, etc …

    I am the only human member … my pagerank 4 forum … 😮

    Angel S.P.

    Post Data:
    Happy update …

  50. Well, Mick Jagger certainly LOOKS like Gilligan resurrected from the dead so I was very close…

  51. This is interesting!
    I didn’t know about the changes but suddenly a lot of “junk sites” are gone from the search results and our sites have finally got a better ranking/listing.

  52. I wonder if Google has a standard development process for the algorithm changes where they Code, Unit Test, System Test, User Acceptance Test and then promote to production. Do you index an rank a small part of the web with the code, test the results and then do a roll out to all the data centers? It would be interesting to know how that works.

  53. Some of my industry peers sites have gone from page 1 to page 70, including one of my sites. These are heavily SEO’d websites which includes thousands of reciprocal links.

    This would seem to be a rather large update.

    Matt, Is Google now penalizing for reciprocal links?

    Page 70 puts me out of business for that site.

  54. Do you know what extent google penalises affiliate links in their rankings. Do sites that use these get a worse score?

  55. Thanks for Update on Update … 🙂

  56. It honestly disgusts me to think of the masses of people who got NO work done today because they were busy watching G’s toolbar for changes – what a waste!! You and I both know that what shows on G’s little bar – (Backlinks and PR) – means absolutely nothing. It hasn’t meant a bloomin’ thing for ages and probably never will again.

    I know – You know! So why do I bring this up? Because I am sick – to – death of it!

    The truth – as I know it, as you know it, – is that whatever happens with their little green bar update or back link update makes NO difference whatsoever. IF something does show up in the next few days, what difference does it really make? NONE! NADDA! ZIP!

    It is just a matter of G showing (or should I say partially showing) what they ALREADY knew anyway. It does not affect the importance of your website, it does not effect where your site ranks – not now and not in the future.

    I see post after post on every forum known to man about the “google dance” (which is NOT occuring) each and every time there is a small flux in the serps. Of course, these announcements always come from people who haven’t been around long enough to experience a real google dance, so I suppose it’s expected.

    What really bugs me, however, is that someone – someone who is in the know, someone people trust- someone like you – Matt, wants to feed the frenzy. I personally can’t help wondering WHY? For entertainment puposes, for giggles? Seriously, why do you want to start a frenzy over a toolbar update when you know it makes no difference at all.?.?

  57. I must say this latest “update” of Google’s has hurt me bad. My top 3 phrases for which i was listed within the top 10 have been totally obliterated. I found one in the 90’s. My primary kw phrase ranking is not to be found. Sometimes I just plain fail to understand.

  58. Thanks for the information.

  59. This update has led to a two-fold increase in traffic from google to my site, interesting given that overall it is still being punished for its newness (domain registered in July 2005). It has less than 20 incoming links and none of them are reciprocated.

  60. The Big G goes “Evil” again, what a surprise NOT. Lets turn back the time machine to last year. Does anyone remember what happened last November? I can always tell when the holidays are coming, Google dumps a huge amount of great quality sites. I guess they need to make that Q4 number as big as possible to get the stock prices soaring again. Google needs to get a grip! Time to abandon Google and head to YAHOO or MSN. Google = Big bad Brother!

  61. Hi All

    Some of you whos site got/get a hit during Jagger Update might need already to take a look at the following possibility when the update is over:

    – Remove from your site anything which is not in accordance with Google´s Webmaster Guidelines (including duplicates and 100% frames which contents originated from other sites than yours)

    – File a reinclusion request ( subject: Reinclusion Request)
    (x) I’m a webmaster inquiring about my website
    (x) Why my site disappeared from the search results or dropped in ranking

    – Explain what you have done to meet Google´s Webmaster Guidelines

    – Write that it isn’t going to happen again.

    More info about filing reinclusion requests:

    Good luck “you filthy spammer” 🙂

  62. i wonder what Brett is going to call it ?

    Katrina, Rita or Wilma – recent hurricanes names.

  63. well Brett has named it – Update Jagger

    according to – jagger

    A sharp projection; a barb.

    A hanging flap along the edge of a garment.
    A slash or slit in a garment exposing material of a different color.

    To cut jags in; notch.
    To cut unevenly.
    To jab sharply; prick.

  64. Leann,

    You’ve raised a good point that few people seem to notice. Who really benefits from this kind of intense coverage? It’s rarely the site owners and webmasters. More worrying is the relative lack of critical analysis. For example, why does Google get itself into a position where a site can drop, say, 70 pages in a single update? Isn’t this an admission that its original position was wrong, and if so why would we then have any faith in its new 70-pages-down position? Couldn’t this be equally wrong?

    Google are not slow to point out the massive investment in technology they have at their disposal, their 10,000+ Linux servers and the like. In addition a big selling point is the number of boffins plugging away at the Googleplex.

    They also say that in one way or another the Big Updates, like TBPR, are really just exports of data they already use – a point raised by yourself. So why the big shifts? A more cynical (objective?) soul would be forgiven for thinking that in a jaded world this is the best way to garner publicity for something we should expect them to do well without the song and dance.

    As our attention is understandably focussed on where we end up in results, few people are wondering why a multibillion dollar company can get things so wrong. I am always amazed at how few comments I see questioning these tactics. From my point of view I have received no benefit whatsoever from the frenzy surrounding their 4 times a year updates. Am I alone in thinking that Google should be doing a better job of this? In the 21st century am I supposed to believe that a company of their size can’t do updates on a more or less continuous basis, rather than semi-monolithic updates?

    In short, this is simply a marketing ploy. It evidently works, given the acre’s of coverage in the forums and all over the web. In itself I view it as an industrial-scale form of spam designed to boost Google’s “ranking” in terms of perception. A classic case of making people focus on the wrong thing; the more time people spend discussing possible algorithm updates the less time they spend wondering whether Google is working as a search tool.

    Before anyone flames me for being naive I should point out I am looking at this from the point of view that I am a content provider (i.e. I have a website with useful stuff on it), the very basis upon which Google trades. In this supposedly symbiotic relationship Google get to make money from advertising because people like us provide content. Is it too much to expect a bit less messing around and a bit more honesty?

  65. I think it´s good G has taken dup content and spam seriously, though it has hurt some of my sites also (clean, white hat no tricks). As an example one of my sites index page is gone from G search and first listings are sub pages ranking 40 – 70 (My guess is this could be due to scrapers and hijacks, but G doesn´t think so when I mailed the support).

    Anyway a (not new) but existing problem is the so called Splogs (more here and how to report them:

    I just spent some 3 hours of my own time reporting splogs to adsense etc. Now I´m done for today – please do your share of cleaning the internet :-).

  66. Thanks for this note. It is interesting how PageRank updates get more “press” than Ranking updates 🙂

  67. I hope these changes are going to be re-examined. The ranking of my own movie review site has plummeted. Not only is this not good for me, the new rankings make it more difficult to find information. For example, if I were to do a search for the film “Baron Prasil” literally hundreds of sites which merely include the Czech word “prasil” will be given before any site mentioning the movie is. Thanks for your time.

  68. Matt, if Brett’s too tired to name all these mini-updates, let me know. I got a million of ’em.

    For the past five, let’s say:

    El Dorado (Arkansas, leaving other El Dorados available for future updates)



  69. It is interesting to see the updates that come about and exactly how they are effecting different people with different sites.

    I have only been involved with WH (white hat, if you can define it) SEO for about 6 months.

    There are big changes going on at google, maybe this is all part of their plan but I see the big 3 (google, msn and yahoo) all have their place.

    Depending on what information I want depends on what engine I use to search with.

    If I want to find out about something new on the market or just new out I dont use Google anymore because it cannot perform to the same level as Yahoo or MSN can. This I beleive is simply because of the “sandbox” effect.

    No really new information (well for the products I am searching) gets through to Google.

    But if I am searching for research purposes then I will find myself using Google this way, because simply they seem to have the more longer credible sites around.

    Not sure if this is what Google is after but that is what they are getting, and I have also noticed alot of the community is moving away from Google for fresh information.

    That being said Google is still the biggest performer for raw search traffic.

    No longer do I worry about what Google, MSN or Yahoo changes, I just focus on producing good quality for my readers and working on ethical WH SEO.

    And it is working. If Google changes on me, I dont care, if it fits my goal’s online then I will work out what I can do to provide Google searches with a better site. And Google will pay me the respect back in return.

    Simple 🙂

  70. Thank you for writing a nice article update on update keep writing and inform us about google.


  71. “Thanks for the heads-up.”

    “After that, some people might have noticed some changes around Sept. 22, 2005.”
    Great … BBC recommended site
    ..whole directory MIA….Pages from #1-#3 to #200-#300
    can you please send me an email and tell me what i have to do to be a good boy for Google (except killing my life and my marriage every 2 months).
    Please email me and tell me what is wrong with my site.

  72. Why you hate me so much ….a BBC recommended site:

  73. Wow, I don’t know alot about search engines and how the rankings work. I have been fortunate in having someone handle our site and getting it ranked. We were doing really well for a 2 person operation. Now, going into our busiest time of the year, we have disappeared! It’s very disappointing. Just wanted to post that it feels like all the hard work and time were for nothing. Totally disappearing from the rankings will have a devastating effect on my business.

  74. No major pain for me except one site was blown off the first page.

  75. Interesting information! I have long thought that many SEO’s do anything they can to increase page rank and this is having a negetive effect on natural search engine results and ultimately every end user loses out.

    Do these updates address some of these issues?

    eg 1. Some websites have a page for everytown and every country with a mass duplicated introduction to their company. An end user then searches for web design myhometown and gets businesses thousands of miles away for results 1-50.

    eg 2. Some websites sign up to linking companies that simply add thousands of links to other websites and vice-versa thus increasing page rank artificiallly.

    These techniques seem to work so it begs the question if you can’t beat then why not join them ? I personnally would not like to use these methods but on commercial level I can understand why people works!

  76. Lean Pass, I suppose you’re saying that everyone who is stating their sites have dropped off the face of the earth coinciding with recent updates are lying.

    G’s toolbar does mean little. i think the only thing any reasonable SEO has cared about for a long time has been SERPS, not pagerank. Time for you to catch up I think.

  77. So far, this is the worst results we have ever seen.

    All of the real authority sites are missing completely from the Google index.

    Sites which were the authority sites since 1993 have vanished completely.

  78. Sharon, two words:
    Link Partners

  79. Hi,
    I am a little disgruntled with google page rank at the moment. I incidentally have a couple of sites which rank numbers 1 etc for their content, which is good, but other sites don’t even show google as having an updated copy; even though I have google ads on every page, and submit a sitemap every day.
    I don’t rely on these sites for revenue; they are just a bit of fun – but Yahoo is beating Google in getting new and exciting sites into the rankings a lot quicker; we won’t bother mentioning the MSN search toy.
    Moan over, but how about giving the unique sites like mine with unique content a thousand times ranking over the advertising link sites that proloferate and seem to feel they are doing you a service by adding a link in ten seconds to a site that has taken hours & months to build.
    I spend 30/40 hours a week, over and above working full time, adding new fresh material, and it is a shame that reindexing of a continually changing site does not occur.
    Kevan Wilding

  80. Hi Matt,

    Do you know something about major changes for the local language European googles? In the Netherlands i already saw the define function coming in.. Any other major things beside the PR and BL updates?


  81. Page rank has nothing to do with placing high in Google. Period. I just launched a new site that has been fully optimized for 10 or so top keywords. I launched in August. It is now October and I have 5 #1 spots, 2 #2 spots, and 3 first page spots. After explaining the whole sandbox theory to my client, I had to eat my words as she enjoy’s a nice flow of traffic 2 months after launch.

    Bottom line, use good quality content packed with keywords, keywords in your H tags, Keyword phrases in your Title Tags and keywords in your links and Google will love your, with or without PageRank.

  82. Leann, while you make good points about PR & backlinks, but I think most people are less stressed about PR than the fact that their site(s) have completely disappeared from the SERPs.

    I thought I’d be banned at first until I found a couple of KWs – ALL the rest that I monitor have gone from top 3 in Google to somewhere after page 30 or so. Traffic is down about 70% and sales down about the same for that past 3 days, and it happened overnight.

    We’re watching and waiting, not to goggle at PR but wondering is this going to pass and return to normal? Or do we need to make drastic changes? If it’s all just a temporary thing though, will drastic changes make things worse?

  83. The new algorithm is terrible. All the relevant results that were there before have been shoved off the top page, being replaced with mostly irrelevant results and sites with little actual content.

    Whatever you did, you shouldn’t have messed with something that wasn’t broken. For the first time in years I am considering switching my search preference to a search engine that is a little more reliable.

    I hope you consider reversing these changes and leaving well enough alone. Don’t fix what isn’t broken.

  84. I noticed the first Google Toolbar PR updates.
    Cool, everything 5 now, one 6 and my brand new forum 6.
    I bow for dee Google. I know PR doesn’t matter, but it sure looks good when you talk to others who don’t know your site, it’s psychological…

  85. just seen a pr update from 0 to pr 4 on most page of site

  86. You know, our site has greatly benefited from this recent update. We sat around 50 for a couple of our keywords and now we’re top 3 on all of them. So for that I can’t complain, however, I use Google to search a lot of topics for our business. What I’m finding is the results are pure crap! For the good listings, I have to drop down 2 to 3 up to 6 & 7 pages deep to get sites that have legitimate information about our search. We don’t want fortune 500 companies when we search. If I want their info, I’ll watch TV or listen to the radio. The great thing about the internet is the ability to find information that one might never know about unless they find very unique info on a random website on the subject you’re looking for. Google has always been able to produce very unique sites on most topics we search for, until now. Hopefully you guys are still working on things, but my god, you’re killing yourself. I think this elusiveness (sp?) is going to wind up bringing this great search engine down.

    Thanks for the great placement though. 😉

  87. Same here most of my sistes got hit by this update, with one of my site which got hit with the early september updates. earlier i was ranking 1 on google and google uk for “benidorm”. after september it dissappeared form google and was there at 7 in google uk, with jagger it has been wiped out completly. So have all my travel information sites. Have been following WH for, since i took over this site, I wonder what jagger is upto. yeah we do have our sites interlinked to each other, though, this is just as to show our range of sites.

  88. All this update does is favor big corporate sites; which Google already gets money from. Trying to drive smaller businesses to move to adwords, to boast profit will continue to make google more and more irrelevant. I would not be surprise to see MSN and Yahoo take a larger share of the market from Google.

  89. Hi Matts,

    Thanks to provide such amp information to all of your Fans.
    I Think We all are looking forward to listen about freezing the issue at last with some neutral effects for most of the WhiteHat Webmaster’s Resources.

    Mohit Jain

  90. The only thing about PR is alot of sites won’t exchange links if it’s not there. My 4 went to a 3 on home page. Resource page dropped to a 2. I’ve already lost a couple of partners due to PR. One thing I’ve noticed when searching for keywords in my industry, seems like alot of links pages come up on the first page instead of actual sites. What I’ve searched for just takes me to a site that has a bunch of links to sift through. No thanks, I’ll go to yahoo if those are the kind of results I’m going to get. My traffic is picking back up a little and the results are from Yahoo. If the google results are not giving people what they want, they will hopefully change to other search engines.

  91. I just want to mention a few thing I noticed while reading about this update.

    1. It makes sense that commercial sites would jump above smaller sites. I’m sure most of them have their own SEO staff and they continuously work hard at internal linking, content, etc. Also it seems like overall traffic of a site might be starting to contribute to rankings. My site is a small site and I havn’t noticed a change is SERPs at all, but have recieved pr and bl’s (which we all know are continuously updated at Google, just not shown to us). If I were Google I would also reward large corporation sites. There’s a reason why their large in the first place. (MSN PR dropped to 2) (Dmoz dropped to 8)

    2. I’ve noticed a lot people have been hating on Google lately. Kinda like all the anti-Microsoft rhetoric. Bottom line, Google is the best at what it does. I understand you may not be happy with your rankings and would love to prove some conspiracy on how Google tweaks it’s SERPS to get more revenue from Adwords, but they are not doing any worse than Yahoo or MSN so get over it. Don’t PR Hate

    3. I’ve read in a couple places that this update penalizes for reciprical linking. This doesn’t make sense to me as alot of quality directories are based on reciprical links. I think there is another reason why sites may have dropped in SERPs even though PR and backlinks increased. Anyone have more info on this?

  92. Hmmm. Backlinks and PR update.

    So, Riddle me this Batman, how does a site with fewer backlinks, and lower PR rank higher than one with higher backlinks and PR?

    I see this type of thing all the time, so why make such a bigt deal of this type of update?

  93. So finaly we got another google update today ,10/20 5 GMT.
    We gained PR as well as backlink but most of our Keyword listing is gone.

    Matt can you help me, whats this.


  94. Isn’t this simply a blatent way of getting sites that had good rankings to now start spending some $ on Adwords. The sites that had medicore rankings prior to this won’t exactly drop their adwords campaigns will they?

  95. I wanted to make a post that was full of insight, but I’m laughing too much at the consistent cross-site clamour of “not-fair” and other “boo-hoo” type stories.

    Get a clue! Google is not favoring big sites over little sites–not even close! Big sites simply have MORE AUTHORITY than does a small mom and pop site just starting out. I mean give me a break, which site would you feel more safe shopping; Nike or JoeShmoe’s?

    Quit whinning and get back to doing things the right way. Create strategic alliances. Get those inbound links up. Sell products and services that people want. Spend some of your revenue on advertising.

    Irnony? The more things change the more they stay the same.

  96. Deja Vu….Please Brett Get WMW back up so the hysteria can move back there and we can actually continue to use this useful blog wihtout having to wade through post after post of “google are evil”, “google does’nt like Mom and Pops”. I am not too happy with them myself right now but whats the point in destroying what has the potential to be a very useful tool with the same old same old. I would like to see this forum used for useful information and move the drama back to WMW.

  97. So finaly we got google update today ,

  98. Eric & Fionn,

    Despite your jaded tone some of the posters here are raising some useful points. Yes the comments about Google ‘targeting’ smaller sites are at best premature, and almost certainly incorrect. However aren’t people right to question why they are dropping from SERPs? After all that’s what the original article at the top was about – an update and its possible effects.

    I don’t believe Google are guilty of much of what they’re accused of, but the idea that big = authority is just plain wrong. One of the benefits of the web is the (theoretical) level playing field, where smaller sites with useful info get equal billing to bigger sites. If much of your position is down to elements you can buy, like a team of copywriters to produce volumes of content that SEs seem to favor, you’d have to forgive smaller players for feeling left out.

    I don’t believe it’s ever as simple as ‘Google don’t like us’, however there is more to some of the comments than ‘I hate Google’. Google can make a mess of things and because they make such a song and dance of their super-automated bot-central approach to information management they are fair game.

    As for the ‘build strategic alliances’ stuff, yes, you are right. This is in effect what you have to do. However most of those ‘alliances’ are link swaps, with all the strategy and meaning of a lump of wood. The fact is Google has created a rod for its own back by stressing the value of informal votes in the form of backlinks. The strategic alliances I am sure you are referring to.

    Isn’t the point of comment forums like this to question these tactics? Google make hundreds of millions of dollars each year on the back of our content, no matter how badly optimized or linked to it might be. They have also created an environment where the stress is very much on, frankly, questionable tactics that have little to do with providing useful information to potential users. Like many I feel I have spent far to much time ‘optimizing’ pages of text for bots, and linking with sites I don’t even like. Why? To impress a piece of software. The frustrated comments no doubt come from people in the same boat. We reserve the right to be pissed off when we find out little of this effort has helped.

    I believe some of the comments, no matter how naively they might be worded, do highlight how successful Google have been in convincing people to concentrate on the wrong stuff. My site, as a source of information to actual people, has benefited very little from the links and the optimization and the ‘strategic alliances’. Google, on the other hand, have done a fantastic job in convincing people this is all normal – that websites and the info they contain is dependent on how much time you’ll spend linking it up or, more commonly, how much money you have to spend. Google updates, and the vitriol they inspire, simply bring some of the stupidity into focus.

    No-one who has spent any time in the game can have failed to find numerous examples of competitors spamming like hell and getting away with it. If you also happen to be a quality site and have expended effort doing things well (for human beings) this is almost unbearable.

    It might be easy to write off newcomers’ comments as naivety or inexperience, but it can equally be argued that the ‘that’s just the way it is’ mentality is based on a defeatist mentality that lets big corporate players like Google determine how the web is run. The odd comment here and there won’t change this, but Google are spectacularly bad at communicating with content providers like us, so what else are people to do?

  99. Hello Matt Cutts,

    A great blog post from you, make many SEO’s heads up, anyhow we have observed changes in september, and now october as well. Really great prediction. We was checking TBPR from 19th october, but in india its happen the changes at 4.30PM on 20th october.


  100. Yes,

    Its done on 10/20. Seems many sites lost their present ranking positions for their favourate business keywords. And also some sites lost PR also. Anyone comment please.

  101. Just to add to the story, our site dropped to invisible from recent update. Usually ranks top 3. Real estate related and been around for about 4 years. Thank God for Yahoo and MSN where we still rank #1. . .

  102. Google is now feeding DMOZ descriptions in to the SERPS…

    This will cause some big changes. Not a massive update? The CTR rates for natural search listings will be greatly affected by the incorporation of the DMOZ descriptions which appear to be used exclusively whenever DMOZ descriptions are available. Those CTR rates seem to impact rankings greatly.

    The link above is to my blog post where I provide some analysis.

    I feel bad for the small business retailers who are having this massive change thrown at them right before the holidays. Couldn’t this be done in January? We should build a website keeping track of how many of them face huge financial hard ships based only on the bugs that come out of this recent update.

  103. I am finding that to get relevant results for research I have had to switch to Wisenut this week, as Google is throwing up complete rubbish these last few days. I don’t want to have to wade through pages of listings for LINKS pages, I want listings of REAL pages, full of REAL content. I have also had to advise all clients that have rang for advice after finding they can’t get relevant search results and need decent research data fast, to switch to Wisenut too. I should imagine this is happening right across the globe, so the sooner Google get this fixed (and it is definitely broken) the less likely they are to lose their position as a premier search engine. This week serves as proof of the rule that you should always BETA TEST FIRST !!!

  104. Just PR 4 for me 🙁 I was thinking something like PR6 🙂

  105. Hello Matt,
    I have read many posts about this latest update hurting the index for some sectors.
    I tend to agree and would like to add that the fishing, fishing charters and guides, etc sector has been absolutely crushed and 60% plus of the best sites are knocked so far back in the index it is unreal.

    Oh yes I was caught up in it. My biggest competitor was also caught up in it. 6 out of 10 authority fishing charter directories and information sites are gone so it seems.

    I know something isn’t right because all the sudden I have started getting keyword hits in my logs from WAY deep into the index. Not just a few but many, never seen anything like it. That tells me anglers aren’t finding anything in the top of the index like they were before this latest update.
    Not only my website but many charter Captains and Guides were hurt because their sites will never rank very high and their only connections to the top of the index (the directories they list in) are many pages back now.
    Every single one of my secondary pages fell back into oblivion and thats where my guides information resides. I sure hope this update has something left in it for the better.

  106. Lately it seems there is a lot of gossip claiming that ‘SEO is dead’. Those people think that the latest Google updates are aimed just to make more difficult to know how Google ranks a site.

    I’m a webmaster trying to make a living out of AdSense on my content pages, and I’m being hit hard by last update (the infamous Jagger update). So the rumours about we won’t be able to get our pages well positioned because Google is ‘figthing us’ scare me a lot.

    So, can you tell us, little poor webmasters, what is Google trying to do? Is it true that Google wants SEO techniques to be useless?

    I would like to know, because if Google is against me, I should close all my sites right now and get a ‘real’ job.

  107. Mat I have a question – I launched a new site about a month ago and it’s yet to appear in google despite about 40 forums linking to it in posts and some of my other sites linking to it.

    At some time the domain belonged to somebody else and from what I can tell @ it was only used for a short period of time and then had a directory view.

    Is the new update going to allow my site to finally be indexed? Other new sites I’ve launched within the last 6 months have been indexed within days of publishing, it’s only this one that’s having trouble.

  108. Try being in adult entertainment and being on google.
    You guys that are in regular biz have it made.
    Owning a exotic dancer company andskeeping your listing on google is a joke.

    Toi get revelant links is almost non existant as competitors don’t exchange links.

    Also if all our results are message board spam and even sites that have hidden text and multiple domains with duplicate content.

    I know of one thats ranked #3 after this update.

    I read what all you guys say about penalties but I know better.

    This may sound funny but you folks with everyday biz’s should look at exotic dancer listings and see how google lists them for us.

    You will see that google has done nothing about penalties.

    Ive had my site #2 or 3 for 3 years now and now its down at the bottom only to be beaten out by competitors who spam message boards.
    Theres 4 listings in a row spammed with aol city boards and other similar boards.

    My site is clean has great PR and haven’t touched it in years.

    I follow Google Guidelines and I am rewarded by being taken out by people who don’t work hard and spend 30 seconds spamming a message board.

    If Google wants to fix spam just go to strippers Listings. example :Boston Strippers If you can rid the spam there you can for the rest of your results.

    In our category it is rampant every where.

  109. Since Jagger, my site has disappeared completely from a keyword that I was #1 on for month, but if I add the word in to the search I still come up #1. How can such a minor word make so much difference? I’ve been searching telephone systems nj and telephone systems in nj.

    I though maybe I was being penalized for something, but since I still come up first for some keywords I don’t really think that’s the case. My PR is 4 and has not changed.

  110. I have concerns about the way in which this latest update is being carried out. First of all,the secrecy about what is being done. If Google are hitting recip links heavily, or text ads (e.g. Co-op) or link exchanges (e.g. Link Vault), why don’t they simply come out and say so, officially? In my opinion, the secrecy surrounding the changes, far from helping legit sites, actually plays into the hands of Black Hat SEO’s. They can now say, “well, you tried honest SEO, and look where it got you. Come over to our side and let us show you how it’s done.” The secrecy surrounding this update will help to enrich Black Hat SEO’s who promise short term solutions to website ranking problems.

    Secondly, I don’t agree in principle with the idea of nailing webmasters who openly participate in schemes like co-op (if this is what is being done). We all know that Google seems to like links contained within a paragraph of text, but how difficult is it to get those? How many bloggers will say “I found this great site called widgetworld that sells widgets”? A webmaster who is starting out will never rank for anything if, as it now seems, only links within a paragraph of text have any value at all. This also seems to mean that directory links are practically worthless as well (unless it’s from DMOZ, which is a topic in itself).

    I have an axe to grind here because I set up a content driven site in early 2004, covering an obscure business topic. I worked hard at building content, hoping that someday it might be considered an authority or hub site. It’s nothing to do with mortgages, real estate, online pharmacy, or any of the other spammer favourites. The homepage is currently down about 700 places. I don’t know if it will make its way back up or not at this stage.

    I do think that the Google algo needs to be adjusted in some way to cut some slack for what I would call ‘labour of love’ sites. You know the sort of thing: niche site, webmaster frequently adding content, tweaking design, posting blog entries etc. etc. Google’s engineers are much smarter than I am, no doubt they could figure a way to do it. This is important because it seems that sites subject to regular changes have been hit heavily by this update, without reference to whether these changes are simply improvements to content or layout.

    The current situation, where adjustments seem to be applied with the all the precision of carpet bombing, is doing nothing to endear Google to the wider web community.

    I suggest that Google develop a feature which would be openly available where the issues which most affect ranking for each site would be displayed on a graph. The graph could show in a simple layout the positive and negative factors influencing rank. This would bring the whole issue of what is or is not affecting rank out into the open, and would serve as a way of undermining sellers of Black Hat SEO. Such a move would also help to resolve the endless speculation in the webmaster community about what does/does not influence ranking.

    I agree with John Henshaw above. White Hat webmasters are getting a raw deal at the moment. It’s time to put it right.

  111. Google’s Recent Update:

    So Matt, why favor less relevant sites that are larger, over the more specific sites that a smaller, but soley target that exact topic. I noticed this is just what has been done. I now see these huge sites with more pages that I could write about in years, have an unrelated topic to their site concept, but they used a keyword rich title with no content on a page and that got them boosted to a top ten position, kicking out more specific sites that are geared to that topic. Personally, I would think that google users would rather go to a smaller, more specific site, than the same large corporate sites that have some unrelated fringe topic that got indexed. The one thing for sure is that you can find sites like highly ranked under virtually every topic, but good luck in trying to find the more specific smaller sites.

  112. Dan,

    You’ve raised some good points that few people seem to talk about. In my (non adult) subject area the top guys are all spamming to some degree, even to the point of unreadable keyword stuffing text in their pages. In addition their attempts at ‘popularity’ are all along similar lines, pointless linking and forum posts and the like. I have ample evidence that this is working well for them, in one case it is keeping the guy at the very top just because of the sheer volume of this stuff he has.

    Another point, raised above, is the relative secrecy of everything. Why the cloak and dagger approach? If Google are to be believed, this is their stated position:

    1) There are webmaster behaviors that are acceptable, and others that are unacceptable

    2) We are clever – we have the ability to write algorithms to discover artificial methods to boost popularity and/or inflate rank

    Anyone who spends any time reading and finding out about this will have many examples that contradict both the points above. We have all seen examples of people spamming, keyword stuffing, buying links etc., and never seem to be penalized. Therefore certain ‘unacceptable’ behaviors seem to be rewarded and not punished.

    The chaos surrounding updates seems to invalidate the second point. I am far from convinced by Google’s claims of superiority. Their results are as much of a mixed bag as many other search engines.

    However why not take a more open approach? The fact is mystery sells. Every update, even Google Directory updates, generate a vast amount of publicity. This is exclusively limited to non-users i.e. SEO professionals and webmasters. If we assume for a second the general public is oblivious – which they seem to be – then I believe this is all for our benefit. Many people like me feel a little demoralized by the lack of attention from Google, the obscure algorithm changes, unpredictable update frequencies, generally poor communication etc.

    A good example is this blog. Am I supposed to believe the worlds biggest media company can’t do better than one guy posting informal comments about his employer? Is this really the best they can do?

    You could be forgiven for thinking they just don’t care, that their approach to search is so good they don’t need to. However Google, like all search engines, need content. They therefore can’t afford to piss people off too much.

    So what’s the best approach? Keep them guessing. I suspect this entire setup, the crap communication, the frankly odd results after an update, the apparent indifference, is a great marketing ploy. After all I have spent, say, 15 minutes writing this stuff just because I am reading about Google.

    The point is the comments about Black Hat versus White Hat don’t mean anything. I believe the results of updates, which in my experience are rarely clear-cut and a real mix of much-needed spring cleaning, and sites that remain unaffected, are all geared toward publicity generation, not communication. After all it would only take a single page of text on the Google site to explain each update. The premise, that this isn’t done to prevent Black Hat types from finding out too much, is facile. The level of discussion on these updates is so great it is impossible to keep significant updates to the algorithms secret anyway. If anything it actually encourages many people to try different things on their site to see what happens leading to more spam.

    So, the point of this ramble is, Google do care, but they only care about you paying attention. The actual results will always be a mixed bag, some algortihm changes better than others etc. With less and less to distinguish between the major search engines this is just Google’s way of keeping them important in the eyes of the people they cannot afford to lose.

    The fact is Google cannot afford to become ‘everyday’ in the way that Yahoo! and others have. Google’s success is based on it being different, everything from the ‘playful’ logo, to the ‘youthful’ mentality of the company itself. I believe they are paranoid they lose this goodwill element that so many others have. It seems apparent to me that this is far more important to them than the kind of consistency that they seem to lack.

    The results they provide, in my experience, are about the same as Yahoo! and others. In some cases significantly worse, particulalry with new sites which can often encompass new and fresh content. Focussing attention on the technical aspects of an update makes us less likely to stand back from it all and just ask whether they’re any good.

  113. I’d just like to say I think Google is doing a great job. One thing though I think your missing at google is a plush stuffed animal of googlebot… kinda like a stuffed pacman? What do you say?

  114. “Matt,
    Is this weekend’s change in the Google results not being called an update then. I see dramatic changes in some serps and the same is being reported by hundreds of webmasters over on Webmasterworld. This is the first update since Florida that I have seen such a change in the serps.”


    I agree. Florida came right before the holiday season and knocked my site down from its long held #1 position to like #84 or something, starving me and my family out of the blue. Since then, I have creeped my way up to #7 since the Febuary following year (and since I sell romantic items, Nov-Feb was my season, my whole year was lean from Florida update), without doing any major SEO work to be honest (making me wonder why I was penalized in the first place).

    Now I drop from #7 to #25 right before the holiday season (granted, not as bad as Florida). Does google have something about hurting people at Christmas?

    I mean seriously, I been a good boy. The economy has lowered peoples luxery purchases, so this year was especially rough as it was, and now this?

    Luckily I have steadily went up in Yahoo and MSN, so it could be worse, but the timing of these drastic updates (that will prolly be corrected later like Florida, but too late to help) gets me physically ill.

    It almost feels like when Florida hit right after Adwords and hit commercial sites hardest that google is manipulating to get holiday ad buys. I hate to think google would do that, but a trend has been established.

    Bah Humbug google. Please wait until after New Years to make such drastic changes in the future =(

  115. Well, well well, google really likes to put people off the track. Once you are doing fine gradually climbing up the SERP, n boom it does an update and you are lost, and you have start once again the same process of trudging up the which seems to keep on becoming steep. I totally agree with Dude as he has posted i also do believe that if site has been dropped, does that mean that its original postion was wrong?? it just leaves me wondering what is the basis of their ranking!!

  116. hi matt,
    what happened on Sept 22nd?

    you said: “After that, some people might have noticed some changes around Sept. 22, 2005.” – what was applied on this date?

    thank you, sid

  117. I have a couple of question not just for Matt but for anyone that can answer it.

    Question 1
    My company focuses on web design but this last year we have been getting a lot of requests for search engine optimizing, this is mostly because most of our sites appear in the top ten for there desired keywords (we don’t do anything special we just follow the guild lines on the Google webmasters link).

    Since we are trying to follow the rules we decided that it would be a good idea to have control the links on each site so as to not link to any site that is misbehaving so some of our site have a link exchange page which will link to sites we control. So my first question is if all these sites have a link page with the same links and text will that effect there position with all the new changes?

    Question 2
    For the same reason as above we allso host some of these sites by having there domain name linked to a sub domain rather than on a stand alone server of vertual server mostly because while we are building the site we have a preview link on our clients page which links to there work in progress and 9 times out of ten the site will start appearing in the top ten before it is finished so at which point we will just have there domian name point to the sub domain in order to keep their listing position. Another reason why we do this is because some of our clients have been burned bad by some less than legitimte seo comapnays and the site has just been dumped from the searches. So my question is because these sites are appearing in a sub domain should I change them from a sub domain to a /folder name so they will not lose position or will this not effect them?

    If you want to see this in action search google for bay Area Plastic surgery and the first result is one of our sites then just check out the links page, link to our site is at the bottom if anyone wants to contact me directly to answer my questions.

    Thank you in advance for any of your help in answering these questions

  118. Hello-

    I manage the SEO for over 10 different websites. With this latest update our PR increased from 4 to 6 for all our sites (which is great) but ALL of our organic terms that all of our sites were optimized for fell horribly! I don’t understand why a PR 3 site has a higher ranking now then a PR 6 site?

    This update stinks, I have seen business decrease by over 75% in the last 2 weeks because of the update…does anyone have ANY advice?

  119. We saw some significant changes in our SERPs for September 22nd. I’m pretty sure it was connected to the update that Matt mentions above.

    More specifically, many of our hotel listings went from good (top 20) to really bad (not in the top 500) overnight. We are no different than any other site when it comes to hotel bookings (everyone is representing the same hotels). So, I’m curious why our site would have been impacted so significantly.

    Does anyone have any information on what this Sept 22nd update was all about?


  120. Backlinking is undoubtly an important factor in determining the Page Rank and position of a web site in Google’s search engine, but it is inherently flawed.

    A website should be ranked first for the content it contains. Ranking by backlinks give ‘directores’ and marketing companies that have departments that so nothing but look for link-trades – get the favored position(s) in Google, while web sites that focus on ‘quality content’ get a seat at the back of the bus.

    Yes I’m a tad upset that I have lost great position for a great number of search phrases relative to what I do, but I do not have time to purposely seek links to boost my Page Rank or Position. I am hoping Google re-thinks this search result paradigm..

    Maybe Google could create a separte search button for ‘directories’ – ha! – fat chance.

    Google’s credo is suppose to be ‘do no evil’. I have a new suggestion for a new ‘well-deserved’ credo for Google –
    ‘No good deed, goes unpunished’

  121. Well I think it is started to working. I saw some sites are loosing visitors. And going down mostly.

    Well google still have to improve. Basically if u search a keyword term it is still trying to list unrelated site. Same time it is listing same site again and again for the same query.

  122. Matt:

    I recently opted for Google Adsense and optimized my site for this purpose. It has been working good and both Google and I have benefited from the revenue created. Now, with this update my traffic has dropped to about 1/3 of what it was even though the PR went up slightly. It seems like Google is shotting itself in the foot as we are both making less money from my traffic!

  123. I just read something about “Google Bowling” where someone buys large amounts of site-wide text links so that their competitors get penalized by Google. I am pretty freaked out that someone could do this to me! Is there any credibility in this rumour? Could someone do this?


  124. Try doing the same searches in both Google and Wisenut.
    In Google you get nonsense, in Wisenut you get accurate results.
    Why can’t Google see their search engine is basically broken?

    Or, is it deliberate because…

    Why do Google allow people to advertise stating that they are privvy to the Google algorithm ?


    This company has also tried to charge each of my clients £3,925 to buy links that will get them “Top 10 Google UK ranking guaranteed within 7 days or full refund “.

    They even offer Google’s top place – “Number one ranking – £250 per month”.


    Is this why Google has chucked thousands of us who have worked really hard to get good rankings out of the results altogether? so they can pander to companies like the above?

    It makes my blood boil…

  125. Hello,
    My site had been on first position for the term – website design services mumbai
    But from October everything has changed. My ranking is nowhere. Infact some of the sites displayed among the first 40 results are directories or sites that stuff words and use text with same background color.

    Well this surely means Google is not like earlier and is degrading. As per my studies I have seen major design firms in India who have been on first positions from years are no where now.

    I hope Google does something about it or it would end up nowhere.

  126. Hi Matt,

    can you say more about the sudden drop in pagerank with former top-ranked pages ?
    Examples: actual PR: —- was: 6 actual PR: 0 was: 6 actual PR: —- was: 3

    Please advise, this is unexplainable for me – not plausible, so i think it is a google-bug. But google has no 🙁

    Thanx in advance.

    I say 42, Martin

  127. Hi Harish,

    Yes I agree, basically Google is broken.

  128. All we are really seeing is that the scrutiny following an update – that helps Google stay in the mind of so many people – is a double-edged sword. The close attention paid to every aspect of updates, from position changes to speculation on algorithm amendments, can come back and bite you.

    Seasoned pro’s in the SEO world often laugh at the comments they see from those less knowledgeable about how Google, and other big SEs, work. However I have noticed more and more smaller players begin to comment over the last year or so. By smaller players I mean people who are basically not SEOs or even those relatively uninterested in the detail about Google. These are typically website owners or webmasters charged with looking after a site.

    The trend that I am seeing is that Google seems to be working less effectively for them as site owners. It’s important to stress that the group I am referring to, on the whole, don’t really spam – at least not knowingly. This is not the keyword-stuffers, those with tricky doorway systems, or crafty link affiliations. Rather, this is the group that’s basically followed the advice, got all the link swaps and backlinks, cleaned up their site (to the best of their knowledge), and in many cases paid a small fortune to Google Ads.

    Yet there seem to be an increasing number of people in this particular group who are doing quite badly in Google. Conversely there seem to be more people finding themselves knocked down the rankings by the Big Hitters in their field.

    Some of the speculation on here, particularly in the vein of “Google doesn’t work”, have it wrong. However the fact is there seem to be more and more people disenfranchised about Google and its ability to deliver for them.

    I believe the reason is a lot simpler than either Google not working or somehow trying to piss off small businesses. I think they just don’t care. By that I mean their main focus at the moment is tackling Microsoft. Naturally they can’t let their search results slip too much, but I do believe there’s a certain amount they’re prepared to accept whilst their attention as a company lies elsewhere.

    It’s facile to suggest Google would deliberately sabotage their own results; they want them to be the very best. However there seems to be a noticeable trend in increasingly poor search results. My own area has a fair amount of junk it must be said, and as SEs go Google is on a par with Yahoo! and MSN. This slippage can only go so far, however they know most people who use Google have never heard of PageRank, and will never stop for a moment to wonder how their results are compiled. A captive audience in other words. In addition the results only have to be “good enough”.

    So where’s it all going? Who knows. One thing is for sure, Google is now a publicly traded company which means their number one priority is not small site owners or SEOs, it’s shareholders. Looking at things as objectively as is possible Google have to make money, and they have to do so efficiently. Until recently, even after the flotation, it was possible to think of them as basically a very big student project – the very epitome of a good idea put into practice.

    However they are now under pressure to deliver in a way they weren’t in the past. I suspect all we’re seeing is the beginning of a trend that has often plagued companies in this area. As the realities of running a public company under intense scrutiny kick in the first thing to go is the idealism that often got them there in the first place. Apple, Microsoft and Sun are good examples from general computing, and Yahoo!, Alta Vista and many others from the SE world. The shit eventually has to hit the fan, and with Google there’s an even bigger pile of shit than most.

  129. One of my site’s PR hasn’t changed, but thanks for the headsup.

  130. My business disappeared overnight with this update. We seem to skate through all other updates fine but this one is just like the one late in December 2004 when our holiday business disappeared overnight. I’m bummed to say the least.

  131. My Suggestion is don’t do anything until they finish there updates.

    I am waiting patiently. I don’t have lot of sites. But I saw the traffic been lost dramatically.

    Still people get traffic from google but less. And I can see the people are searching on particular keyword only and they see there rank dropped out. But they still don’t realise which keywords get them traffic more.

    So blaming google doesn’t make sense. Be patient to see the results soon. They know what they are doing!

  132. So, any word on the recent updates? or when we can expect the next one?

  133. We have several sites, and one of them completely disappeared from Google a few weeks ago. Is this related to the update? Will our site return? Well we’re not the only ones suffering the same problem in recent weeks.

    Unfortunately our company sells products over the web, so it’s hit sales very hard at Christmas. Sales are down 50% on last year and we will be forced to loose some staff shortly. It would be nice if Google would at least let us know if we’ve done anything wrong on the site or if this is part of the Jagger update. It’s within the Google guidelines, and the only optimisation that we use is to make good use of natural and relevant keywords on the pages.

    No response from Google yet, not even an automated one.

  134. You are unlikely to get any response from Google. They are an extraordinarily secretive organisation. And to acknowledge you, and others with the same problems, would be to admit that this “little change” of theirs has put thousands upon thousands of people out of work. Which gives them more power than most governments…

    I’ve lost clients over this, as have many of us, but I am fortunate in having been able to convince many clients that Google is NOT the only search engine (server stats help there) – and is certainly NOT the most accurate or reliable one.

    Many of my own clients are now laying staff off due to their sites’ sudden disapearance from Google halving normal sale rates for this time of year. A lot of families will be having a very unpleasant Xmas – but I’m sure the Google shareholders will be ok – this year…

    Google should be renamed as Scroogle…

    As for SE’s – use Wisenut, it is a VERY reliable and accurate engine. Google seems to have had its day and has lost its way in its bid to please shareholders by diversifying into so many products OTHER than search.

    Time for us all to realise this is not going away, we’ve all been waiting for nearly 2 months, hoping that this chaos was temporary, perhaps its time to move on and change the favourites in your browser to point to a more reliable search engine.

  135. Harry Adams has a point. At some point you have to acknowledge the effect of an update, and 4 weeks+ seems as good a time as any. I have actually improved this time round, principally because I was released from their ageing-filter/sandbox thing for new sites. That said, after 7 months, I am essentially starting from scratch. Hardly the hallmark of an efficient search engine. I’ve ranked well in Yahoo and MSN for some time now.

    When you take everything into account with Google it really isn’t shaping up. I think it’s a little premature to write them off just yet, but they do seem to be losing the goodwill factor that got them to number 1.

    However if you piss off enough people then they move on. For example Yahoo have struggled to make up for Google’s entry into the search engine world. More importantly with all future Windows apps having MSN search built in as standard I suspect they are “diversifying” because they know they’ll hit a wall at some point.

    Like everyone who goes through an obssessive SE-watching phase I found out very quickly that Google didn’t really stand up to much scrutiny. The top guy in my field spams like hell, and there are relevant sites that never appear in the top 100 results. I don’t care how many apologists Google has, they are definately not producing the goods – the very basis for their reputation.

    As for the “wait and see, give it time” crowd, why should we? Isn’t a search engine supposed to be efficient? In amongst the algorithm angst and technobabble there’s very few people actually asking why there’s so much crap in Google’s results. I keep hearing about link swapping having no effect, aren’t Google so clever, one step ahead etc. Yet in my area, and others I monitor, the top guy is always the one with 12000 really crap links. The genuinely honest brokers, the ones taking time to build their own little network of meaningful connections are getting hammered by people who buy $100 software.

    As for the secrecy mentioned, that is getting beyond a joke. The SE mentioned by Harry Adams, Wisenut, have a “tell us how we’re doing” link on their results page. I have no idea if it gets used much but at least they try.

  136. “I don’t believe Google are guilty of much of what they’re accused of, but the idea that big = authority is just plain wrong. One of the benefits of the web is the (theoretical) level playing field, where smaller sites with useful info get equal billing to bigger sites.”

    ——-> I’m glad that you said theoretical! Also, I am defining authority here as a combination of buying power, trust (brand power) and inbound links. If for just one moment you feel that the larger companies don’t have a greater authority, you my friend are sadly mistaken.

    YES, smaller companies can compete with the larger companies in terms of rankings, but when you like at the things mentioned above, it’s a much more difficult task.

    And perhaps I am a bit jaded and frustrated with people’s “boo-hoo” comments, but it’s only because they are truly misguided or not smart enough to realize that simply putting a website up and offering something for sale means they’ll succeed.

    Also, (being an SEO/SEM pro), I have come to realize that most of the ranting and raving is coming from people who have been penalized due to their attempts to trick the search engines. I guess I have to blame the jerks that give out the misguided information to these people who don’t know any better. Unfortunately, I don’t have much compasion for people that don’t use their brains and then cry “foul” when things don’t work out.

  137. P.S. I forgot to mention that I truly feel that if more people stopped focusing on a link as a way to get better rankings and looked at it as a way TO DRIVE QUALIFIED TRAFFIC, there would be less “i got penalized” stories cluttering up useful resources such as this. Further, I want people to stop asking questions about if paying for a link will hurt them. PEOPLE… if the link you are paying to have placed on another website offers a bonified TRAFFIC DRIVING opportunity, DO IT. If it’s merely a ways to “increase your ranking” DON’T DO IT.

    That is all….

  138. Memo

    To: Matt Cutts

    From: The Official Internet Registry & Optimization Bureau

    Dated: May 2, 2006

    Re: Responding to comments made in your blog on April 14th

    Since you have established yourself as an expert in the field of Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing, we like thousands of others value your opinion, your commitment to SEO education and enjoy reading your blog. A blog is a place where people can voice an opinion, and your carries more weight than some in this SEO field.

    On April 5th, 2006 an independent marketing company sent out a draft document designed for current customers to a small list of non-customers. This company has since been fired. As soon as we heard of this error we posted a note on our website and respond to all inquiries with an apology letter via e-mail and/or fax. This apology letter was also sent to all state Attorneys’ General offices to keep on file.

    We are a multi-national company that is striving to provide an excellent service for those in need of assistance improving the viability and visibility of their website. We were not happy that some of your bloggers were quick to judge us and mock our credibility on your blog.

    The irony is that some of the most read SEO websites and blogs have third party companies advertising on their sites that they can submit a person’s website to “10,000 search engines” to improve their search engine rankings. These same folks like to throw stones and stand as a judge? The average consumer couldn’t think of more than 10 search engine portals to visit or consider viable.

    An when un unknowing consumer purchases their “submission package” for better SEO marketing these marketing firms include their own “false portals” and link farms in the submission process. My observation on these submission services is that they are designed only to market more web services like logo design, keyword PPC or web hosting to ignorant consumers.

    I tried one of these services and received the following day no less than ten e-mails from various “partners” or “affiliates” of the submission company or portals. In fact website SEO submission services offered by many can be translated into “give me your website and e-mail address so I can sell you web related services via e-mail and avoid being perceived as a spammer.”

    We have many satisfied customers and strive to provide sound advice and not hype. You will find that our website takes a realistic and conservative approach to SEO marketing and does not make any outrageous claims. Some comments on the blog laughed at our name but in fact we created a powerful name to offer great products and service. Is package delivery company Federal Express owned by the Federal Government? Are they deceiving the public?

    Please visit our website and decide for yourself if we are representing a common sense approach to educating website owners on how their website design can be improved for Search Engine marketing.

    In closing I would like to remind you that we have never had a complaint logged against us from a state agency or from and of our clients in regards to our service. We just wanted to set the record straight and to apologize once gin to your friend who received the fax in error.

    Our only goal is to provide great services at a reasonable price without the hype.

    Mr. Pedro Guerlamo Melendez

    PO Box 0816-02128
    Panama City
    Republic of Panama

    Phone: 877-290-2454

  139. And what we are learning from this,… try SEO like a professionell and they will kick you out.

  140. It appears as this problem will not go away. PAgerankings are all over the place again and everyone is asking these questions again.

    Yes, the algarithm changes and thing get moved about but I found I’d worked slowly to a 4 then quickly to a 0.

    Many differing theories, changed the layout, changed the link structure, added new content. Either way the PR took a nose dive.

  141. Thanks Matt for the info. I was pretty confused as to why I was not seeing any updates on any of my sites when others were able to see some changes.

  142. Whats the time duration between two updates? As i observed its happened within 45 days. Please suggest

  143. Hi,
    You have really done a great job, Matt
    Thanks for the information Matt.

  144. Hello matt,

    Thanks for your update, could you please let us know is there any update in the month of dec’2006 please. awaiting for your valueble response.

  145. Any news on a new backlink update? I have been waiting for like 3 months now, and still my sites have PR 0 although I have like 10 Backlinks between 1 and 4…

  146. In the latest Google update, what is the meaning of Grey bar some time it shows penalize & some time it shows zero PR. Please suggest what is the exact meaning of this.

  147. Thanks to provide such amp information to all of your Fans.
    I Think We all are looking forward to listen about freezing the issue at last with some neutral effects for most of the WhiteHat Webmaster’s Resources.

  148. There no mean of grey bar, if google not found any think on the website to assign the PR then its come in the form of grey bar, because the PR is based on the lots of factors like domain age, back links, content of the pages etc etc.

  149. Grey bar simply signifies that your web page is in the supplemetal index, or will probably land up there.

  150. BrainPulse SEO Company, I thought grey could also mean that it wasn’t indexed yet?

    If it’s not indexed how can you be so sure that it will end up in the supplemental index?

  151. just seen a pr update from 0 to pr 4 on most page of site

  152. Hi thanks for this update the information is really appreciated. I’m glad to see you answering so many mails and looking after your fans. Not many people would go to so much effort. Is there a newsletter that i can subscribe to?


  153. The gray bar is just to say that your page does not have a page rank assigned yet. It takes google roughly 3 months to update the rankings, if you just miss the date when launching new site it can take 3 months before you see any changes.

  154. Hello,
    Hi Matt, I returned to your blog after a long time. I recently read the book “Google Story” and thought of this blog again.

    Meanwhile, I just want to know about the new tool by google named Knol. Does anyone in here, know in detail about it?

    Secondly is there any website, which keeps track of google updates & PR change?

  155. @ Harish – Knol is a relatively new tool by Google. It is a collection of helpful articles that are written by experts in that topic.