Google Rollercoaster

Original title: Don’t know what you got til it’s gone

Google Rollercoaster Ride

I just had some fun making up fictitious Google technologies on April Fool’s Day. I left out one product that is not funny and just might be real: Google Rollercoaster. A better amusement park analogy would be one of those rides that takes up hundreds of feet in the air, stops for a while, then drops you suddenly like The Great Gasp. That’s what happened to me. Let me explain.

Google Analytics Data from Clickfire.com

March 22: I realized that something really strange was going on with the Google search results. Not only had Clickfire lost most of its rankings, but other sites appeared perched atop the first page where we once sat. Here is what I observed for searches on brand names:

  • First and second pages flooded with brand subdomains, some very odd
  • Third party registered domain names that include brand names (still seeing some of this)
  • Commission Junction affiliate domains–not affiliate sites, but pointing directly to jdoc..-whatever .com

For any keyword phrase that did not have a brand name in it, the results look much better (except for the fact that I wasn’t there anymore). I was starting to get worried. My traffic had dropped by around 70%. Affiliate and AdSense revenue had shriveled to nearly nothing. Is it me or is it Google? Will I ever know? I would give my right navigation to know what aspect of my site might have tripped this filter of grief. Worrying wasn’t helping, so I hit the forums and blogs in search of an answer.

April 2nd, Barry Schwartz of SEO Roundtable posted that that Matt Cutts was seeking feedback on a new update called “Dewey.” Uh oh. But Matt seemed to be seeking differences in SERPs on 2 datacenters and not so much on poof cases like mine, where pretty much all rankings from aged white hat sites had disappeared. However, I did notice a few posters here and there who had reported cases similar to mine. I felt a little better. Was this mysterious google update an algorithm update? Was it a software upate. Was it a… hmm… could it be? No… was it a datacenter update? Bigdaddy, yes, I’ve been here before. I remember that during the Google Bigdaddy datacenter, I saw the exact same goings ons in the SERPs during almost the exact same time period in 2006. Had Bigdaddy come back to haunt me?

April 9th: whatever this misery was, it began to go away.

This experience was a reminder that we who rely on organic search results are just one update away from a brick and mortar job.

That which does not kill me, only serves to make me stronger.

Nietzsche might have been a good SEO.

Emory Rowland

Emory Rowland is editor and keeper of the flame at Clickfire. He's a fanatical blogger, entrepreneur and builder of Internet things from way back. Emory's love for social media and success with organic search led him to start a SEO consulting venture. Apart from the Internet, he could be considered by many as pretty worthless. More...

5 comments

  1. For what it’s worth I had my average rankings until about April 10th~ when I got a spike in some keywords that had dropped off in December 07.
    The ups and downs of Google. I like Google, but often times I wish we didn’t have to rely on one SE for most of our traffic. It’s like putting all your financial investments in one company. It’s scary and not a good idea. Except with Google we don’t have a choice.

  2. Emory Rowland

    Scott, I think you’re right on with the investment analogy. It’s time to diversify the portfolio, if you know what I mean.

  3. Tristan G

    Wow, that isn’t too great :( The same thing happened to me. All of a sudden my google rank and traffic went down like a 60 foot drop on a roller coaster! Lol.

  4. Merchant Cash Advance

    It’s quite hard to understand how google works, I often see websites that shouldn’t be top10 and they are… and it’s common to see your ranking jump up and down too. I think that is because google is testing your pages, to see if they are relevant to visitors or not.

  5. Niall Devitt

    The fact that no one really truly understands how Google’s ranking really works is ridiculous. You can follow all the so called rules and still get rewarded with the unexpected. All anyone wants is a system that is fair and reliable.

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