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[NEED ADVICE] Strange SERP Movement?

MorphManMorphMan British Expat lost in S.E Asia
edited September 2014 in Other / Off Topic
Guys looking for a bit of advice as i'm scratching my head here and not really sure what to make of it.

I have a site that is acting strangely in the SERPS, at first I thought it was just the good ole Google dance but now i'm not so sure here is why;

I have around 10 search terms i'm targeting all sitting at around the 60 (+/-) position (this is fine). but they don't stay there. After roughly 24 hours all of the search term rankings are gone - poof! not in the top 300

And will ONLY return when  I go to Google webmaster tools and hit "fetch as Google" then within 20 minutes all of my search terms are ranking again in roughly the same positions (+/-). Then after roughly after 24 hours they all disappear until I repeat the "fetch as Google" process in webmasters again and they return.

This has been going on for a couple of weeks and if i leave it they never come back 

I've not seen any of my sites acting like this before, what do you guys make of it?

also I am not using GSA SER on this site it is PBN's and and manual niche related blog comments and what i consider good on-page SEO and 100% handwritten content by my own hand.


Best Answer


  • MorphManMorphMan British Expat lost in S.E Asia
    yeah it's strange, i'm not sure what to make of it! 

    I have another site built exactly the same (same on-page, same amount of PBN links, etc) and at the same time for a different niche and that is holding steady and not acting like the other.
  • MorphMan

    which SERP tracker are you using? this happens to me also.
  • MorphManMorphMan British Expat lost in S.E Asia
    @william88‌ I'm using
  • MorphMan

    its more likely to be a fault with your SERPtracker..., those free ones are free for a reason.
  • MorphManMorphMan British Expat lost in S.E Asia
    I don't think it is the serp tracker I actually pay for the upgraded version so it's not free for me, and I have no issues with other websites. Plus why would the SERPS only change when I use the "fetch as google" from google webmaster?
  • MorphManMorphMan British Expat lost in S.E Asia
    You said it happens to you as well, did you pinpoint the issue?
  • "Plus why would the SERPS only change when I use the "fetch as google" from google webmaster?"

    yes, thats a good point.

    when it happened to me, i manually checked the keyword in google and found it was still at the previous position.
    did you try doing this before going on GWT?
  • MorphManMorphMan British Expat lost in S.E Asia
    Yes I went and checked them all nothing showing then went to GWT and then refreshed the serp tracker after 30 minutes or so all appearing again
  • MorphManMorphMan British Expat lost in S.E Asia
    edited September 2014
    It's like the google bot comes over and ranks the keywords (where id expect them to be) and then something happens over at google and they decide they shouldn't be there? And they're gone again. And if I want them to appear again just fetch as google from GWT and there they
  • that's a strange me.
    sorry i can't be of more help.
  • Could well be a sitemap problem. Had this with a client's site before. Remove old sitemap and create a new xml and submit that. I don't know the ins and outs of why, but that's what worked for me. Bare in mind you could drop out of the SERPs for a week to a month so only do this if you feel confident that it will bounce back up and don't hold me responsible ;)

    Check that your 301s or redirected non-www. to www. is correct. This would cause a weird loop and duplication of the site if it's not working properly.

    Check your robots.txt file as well in case you're blocking pages you shouldn't be. As we know, not all crawlers adhere to robots.txt info.

    Ask your host to see if they can see anything wrong.
  • ronron
    edited September 2014
    @MorphMan - Every rank tracker I have ever used does this. Remember that Google has a zillion nodes all over the place, so a guy 100 miles form you can easily get a different serp result. And these serp trackers are pulling the data from whatever node is closest to them. Happens all the time.

    I can't tell you how many times I've called a buddy and said "Check out who's #1 for blah, blah, blah", and then he pulls it up and I'm in position 3 or something (even after I cleared browser and dns cache just so there was no 'serp memory' issue on my part).

    I also have noticed over the years that Google shuffles positions intra-day. I have a very simple logical theory on this, and I swear it has truth in it...Google tests websites in the organic serps for click through rates and bounce rates. They essentially bring up a website closer to the top to test it. If it performs well, it stays there.

    I have seen this a million times with my sites as they are in the process of ranking (essentially on the way up). I will randomly see my website which was holding in position #9 or something suddenly flash into position #4 or something. It won't stay too long there, and then recede back to the original position. And then something like a week later, it grabs the higher serp spot going forward. It's like you are watching a preview in the matrix. It's like a beauty pagent. Your site gets elevated, the judges (surfers) flash '10' on their cards and click through, and then you get to keep the improvement.

    I may be delusional and probably watched the Matrix too many times. But I swear that if I was Google, I would use CTR as an indicator just like they do with Adwords. If you have a strong CTR, Google loves you, and your clicks are cheaper and you beat the other advertisers. Why wouldn't Google use this as an approach? It makes complete sense to me. That's also why I bought Clicky to track visitors. It has superior bounce rate analysis. You decrease the bounce rate, good things will happen. Google tracks that for sure as well.
  • MorphManMorphMan British Expat lost in S.E Asia
    @JudderMan thanks for the advice this is something I will take a look at and it sounds like a plausible cause for the issues i'm experiencing

    @ron some good info ;) but why would the SERP change so drastically when I only use the "fetch as Google" option in GWT?

    i'm sure Google does use CTR as a ranking factor if I remember correctly this post I read the other day touched on something similar for anyone who hasn't seen or read this there is some great info in this post - food for thought for sure!
  • ronron
    edited September 2014
    @MorphMan - Oh I thought you were taking about the serps. Yeah, that is different. But again, I have seen with my own eyes for years - even as far back as 2008 - where Google test websites to see if they deserve a higher ranking.

    I am willing to bet (a small amount, lol) that this randomness is tied to variations in CTR and bounce rate. I know that I may average x% CTR over time, but on any given day the %'s can vary noticeably. It's never a flat 30% or whatever number. There are 15% days and 45% days.

    I also think they test websites just like a sports team tests out new players before they declare someone is a first string player. 

    Yeah, it's all theory anyway.
  • MorphManMorphMan British Expat lost in S.E Asia
    Just leaving an update for anyone who is interested.

    I had a play around with the keyword density on the homepage and also removed some affiliate links (4) from the homepage as well. So far it is sitting steady in the SERPs and not it was before.

    I wonder if when I used fetch as Google from GWT before it jumped up in the SERPs when crawled and then something triggered over at Google for the keyword density or affiliate link ratio and it disappeared? 

    Now i'm not saying this was the issue but the erratic behavior seems to have stopped  

  • goonergooner
    That's good news mate, very strange though - I've never seen anything like that.
  • KaineKaine
    edited September 2014


    When you use GWT, you clear cache after ? i always use internet explorer with Google for that (manual checking).

    +1 with Ron for location, all rank tracker use proxies, you really can't have same position at last test.

    I don't like too install chrome on PC used for seo ...

  • MorphManMorphMan British Expat lost in S.E Asia
    edited September 2014

    Wonder if this strange movement is to do with this! NEW Panda update rolling out - latest tweet from our friend Matt below!

    Google just mentioned that a new Panda update is slowly rolling out:

    — Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) September 26, 2014
    <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>

    the embed not working correctly! 
  • KaineKaine
    edited September 2014
    Always the same song, nothing new.
  • I think it's new penguin update. We'll probably need to wait at least a week to see how it will end
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