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Has anyone noticed TODAY that the search results are shuffling?

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Has anyone noticed TODAY that the search results are shuffling? just learning2 6/8/12 4:43 PM
Any idea why if you type in a search, you get one result and then when you type it in again, you get different results?  This is happening all day today.  Are we about to have another shuffle?  One of the results makes me happy... the other gets me worried! LOL  Any ideas guys and gals?  Thanks in advance!
Re: Has anyone noticed TODAY that the search results are shuffling? Jonny Quick 6/8/12 5:57 PM
One thing I think everyone needs to get used to is the end of Google search results stability.  The days of being #1, #5, etc... for months are over forever.  From now on, you get to be #X for "Y" minutes a day, and between certain hours.

Google is constantly measuring bounce rates, and constantly changing rankings based in significant part on that.  The idea that one can fiddle with a website and suddenly change their rankings without regard to the opinions of the users are over.  If people hate your site, Google will know and punish you for it.  It doesn't matter what you've done or not done; what matters is what users like and don't like.

Worry about your content.  Place yourself in the position of the User and cater to that.  Annoy or abuse them and Google will punish you.  Give them what they want, and Google will reward.  If your competitor's sites are crap and out-ranking yours, the message is that yours are worse.

Beyond bounce rate, look at time on page.  If Google sees 70% of your traffic bounces and the remaining 30% spends less than 60 seconds, and your competitor has a bounce rate of 50% and the visitors stay on that site for 4 minutes or more, which site would you put above which, if you were Google?

Not aimed at the OP, nor anyone in particular, but I"m becoming more and more amazed at the abject stupidity of some of the people that have been coasting along at the top of Google's search results, and now that Penguin's hammer has finally come down, they are completely incapable of seeing the situation from either their User's perspective or Google's perspective.  Willful stupidity, they insist on structuring the entire situation within the framework that's focused on what THEY want (high ranking) and completely ignore what both Google and their Users want (search relevancy).

The solution?  Change.  Not what you do, but who you are.  Either that, or Google will change the "who" of it's search results and leave you buried on page 12.
Parkin 6/8/12 6:37 PM <This message has been deleted.>
Re: Has anyone noticed TODAY that the search results are shuffling? just learning2 6/8/12 6:37 PM
I think that is a GREAT ANSWER and I hope you are right!!  We have had the BEST website regarding our niche for over a decade and we have watched the black hat games come and go and come back again time after time.  We watch the lazy webmaster who spends their time building BS links, crap content for the viewers, copy every idea that other people create, and NEVER have the viewers best interests at heart.  I look forward to the day that google really takes control of the games these people play and reward the companies who spend their time (and LOTS of money) creating and giving what their viewers want.

I dont know how knowledgeable you are, but I sure do hope you are right.

Can anyone back his comments up?  Is this really what google is doing with bounce rates, length of time on site, etc...   Is it legal for google to even track that information after google displays your search result?  That seems like that would create some kind of privacy issue??

Anyone have anything to add?  Thanks again for your answer Jonny!!!
Re: Has anyone noticed TODAY that the search results are shuffling? ShopSafe 6/8/12 6:48 PM
Hello justlearning2, :)

If you are asking for confirmation, I think Jonny's advice is the right direction to head in.
Re: Has anyone noticed TODAY that the search results are shuffling? just learning2 6/8/12 6:49 PM
Parkin,  I have taken down thousands of pages with the DMCA complaints with no issues at all, but these websites just take the information and change one character in the url and its back again.  Hopefully G will truly monitor the bounces and time spent on a website because that would really help out websites who do their best to provide their viewers a first class experience while they visit. I just dont know how legal that really is.  Can G monitor those things legally?  I mean, they cant really follow the user while they are in a website can they? 
Re: Has anyone noticed TODAY that the search results are shuffling? just learning2 6/8/12 6:54 PM
Thank you for that ShopSafe.  That is the direction we have always taken and like I previously said, if they really do start to monitor and track that way, it would be fantastic for us. 
Again, is that in violation of privacy?  Monitoring time spent on a site and bounce rate?  I appreciate everyone time they spent answering.
Re: Has anyone noticed TODAY that the search results are shuffling? ShopSafe 6/8/12 7:16 PM
I don't think they use Analytics data, if that is what you are saying.

They do not need to, they have other data from the SERPs. 

For example, notice when you click to a site from a search result and click back again quickly you will see an option to exclude the visited site from future search results? It has been reported that they use that signal, I could not find a link for you but I have seen it mentioned by Googlers.
Re: Has anyone noticed TODAY that the search results are shuffling? ShopSafe 6/8/12 7:19 PM
Have you checked to see that you do not fit the negative SEO victim profile?

There's a brief list here but it's not completely accurate and doesn't cover everything. Check your logs for anything odd, it should stand out.
Re: Has anyone noticed TODAY that the search results are shuffling? webado 6/8/12 7:27 PM
OK. It's Saturday morning and I open up one of your pages, click around a couple of times, the phone rings, my best buddy's asking me to go to lunch with her and then some shopping. Back by 6pm. My browser's still showing your page. I click once more and then I close it. So I've spent 7 hours on your site and that means I'm enthralled with it? Dream on.

Yes, Google can do some tracking of your visitors IF you have installed Google Analytics or if the visitors have the Google Toolbar. But whatever Google does with the information collected is firstly for the purpose of showing it to you to draw your own conclusions (from Analytics), and secondly for statistics in general of user behavior. I don't expect they would use that information to affect your ranking in any way, indeed I certainly hope it's not the case. It would be meaningless and easy to game, just like Alexa is.

Your site's ranking is entirely based on content (quality, uniqueness, focus, relevance) and links quality and quantity (in and out and appropriateness), always ranked in relation to the rest of the web which is assessed the same way, continually. Your site will attract more and better backlinks if the layout is  good besides having quality content which satisfies the searcher.

Nor does it make sense to me to consider it an unsatisfactory user experience just because a visitor  visits just one of your pages from search results and then goes back. Maybe he found the exact answer he needed on that one page. Doesn't matter really. Too much noise to draw any conclusions based on that.

Re: Has anyone noticed TODAY that the search results are shuffling? StevieD_Web 6/8/12 7:52 PM
>I don't think they use Analytics data, if that is what you are saying. 


Matt Cutts has said repeatedly that Google Search doesn't use Google Analytic data, even with regard to bounce, time-on-site etc.


And if think about it, Google doesn't need to use GA data for bounce rates as they can use their own search data instead (and there is a lot more search data than there is GA data).

One way to use search data is to watch customer (searcher's) behavior..

If Tom/Dick/Harry search for "blue widgets" and click on a result and quickly return to perform another search... that is a bounce.  If Tom/Dick/Harry return and perform a search for "pizza" then Google pretty much knows that the search for "blue widgets" and click result was successful so the bounce is not indicative of being a bad thing.  Another search for "blue widgets" is a bad signal for the site and a refined query of "blue-red widgets" is neither good nor bad with regard to the site.

Repeat millions of times per second and Google can start crunching a lot of data about customer bounce behavior.
Re: Has anyone noticed TODAY that the search results are shuffling? just learning2 6/8/12 8:05 PM
ShopSafe,

I have not experienced any negative things at all.  I have steadily stayed at the top of my niche for many years, however I do see MANY crappy websites doing black hat SEO and getting close to my rank and even bettering them at times.  These guys copied everything we have done in the last 10 years and have just started ranking really high in the last few years.  I DO have a real fear of black hat SEO being used against us though.  How can G really know if its us doing the black hat or one of our bitter competitors??  Do you know the answer to that?
Re: Has anyone noticed TODAY that the search results are shuffling? just learning2 6/8/12 8:09 PM
Stevie D, Thank you for your response!  I DO see what you are saying and I think your ideas are very sound!  I really hope G starts to use that data on my competitors who have cheated their way to the top.  I have to be honest thought, some of these black hat guys spend SO much time trying to beat the system, it doesnt make sense that they wouldnt spend that time and effort on building a much better website.  Yes, they will rank a page that they wrote for search engines, but will the viewer respect the content?  NO.  I hope your right! 
Re: Has anyone noticed TODAY that the search results are shuffling? Jonny Quick 6/8/12 11:56 PM
The shortest possible distance between two points is a straight line, unless there is a warp in the space-time continuum at Google.
When you hear the sound of hoof beats, think horses and not unicorns.
Sony infected people's computers with rootkits.
Bill Gates stole every idea he ever had.
Zuckerberg.
There's a room with two doors and two computers.  One computer tells nothing but lies, and the other one is Matt Cutts.
The Analytical left hand of Google isn't telling the Search Result right hand what it's doing.
Things will get better if we just pay more taxes.
Re: Has anyone noticed TODAY that the search results are shuffling? just learning2 6/9/12 6:03 AM
Huh?
Re: Has anyone noticed TODAY that the search results are shuffling? Phil Payne 6/29/12 9:00 AM
> Bill Gates stole every idea he ever had.

Not so much Gates as Ballmer.  There is a very famous scene in the "Tycoon" video where Ballmer practically screams at an audience of a couple of thouand 'softies: "Take every one of THEIR ideas and make them OUR ideas".

"Windows 95 will run in 4MB.  4MB is our mantra." - Ballmer to me directly.
ubound 6/29/12 1:47 PM <This message has been deleted.>
Re: Has anyone noticed TODAY that the search results are shuffling? ubound 6/29/12 1:52 PM
Yes my traffic is about 35% down today for the first time ever. I was never hit by anything, but I think I know the reason - just paying for my own carelessness. The loss is substantial but thankfully I still have good traffic. This happened exactly today.  
Re: Has anyone noticed TODAY that the search results are shuffling? just learning2 6/29/12 4:58 PM
It seems that you know what issues caused the drop and that puts you in a great position to fix it!  The scary part is when you find a huge drop and have no idea what happened LOL.  good luck on your recovery ubound.
Re: Has anyone noticed TODAY that the search results are shuffling? ubound 6/29/12 6:45 PM
Thanks! I was experimenting with question and answer site on subdomain. I installed the platform, made categories, put link to my high trafficed site. What happened is that I didn't like the type of questions people asked. So I unlinked it and didn't get rid of it. The problem is it created around 73 pages with almost no content, similar title, identical description and 2 links back to main site. I am pretty sure this must be a reason. The strange thing is that I seem to be alone. I don't see people reporting traffic loss TODAY. When Panda rolled a couple of days ago I was fine. It happened today. So strange! 
Re: Has anyone noticed TODAY that the search results are shuffling? just learning2 6/29/12 7:10 PM
I am not an expert, but that definitely sounds like an issue Google will have with you.  I have found about 15 pages that had the same page layout and they have been like that for over a year.  I realized that those pages were all not indexed in Google for quite some time and we are working to fix those now.  Crazy what Google can show you when you mess up huh?
Re: Has anyone noticed TODAY that the search results are shuffling? zihara 6/29/12 8:07 PM
"Crazy what Google can show you when you mess up huh?" Interesting idea. I was wandering around in an area of Webmaster Tools today that I very seldom ever look at, mostly because there's never been anything there before. But I stumbled across a graph showing that somehow, several months ago, Google added more than 80,000 pages to my 4,000 page site... It took some digging to figure out what was going on but in the end, it looks like Google has indexed every query that has ever passed through a Custom Search Engine on my site. The graph only gave me a six-month view but six months ago, the number was about 80,000. Today it's about 10,000. I have no idea as to where the number really peaked but it has definitely been dropping since I started removing CSEs from my site (people clicking on the ads on the search results pages was good for maybe $0.25 on a really good day anyway). Gives me some incentive to finish getting the rest of those off my site... and if Google really is penalizing me for all those 404s, because that's what all those pages are recorded as... and it's not like there's anything I can do about putting a 301 on them: they don't exist in my server...

So I guess you could say I really screwed something up: I used a tool that Google kept recommending to me for years, saying that correct use of it would make me more money... Last July I was visiting with a group of AdSense Optimization Specialists in the Google office in Boulder. I told them I was dumping the CSEs and why... they were horrified. It was within a very few days of that that my traffic began a long, slow downward trend that wasn't reversed until the first run of Penguin. Now they're inviting me to another session with the Opti Specialists... what do you think? Should I go?