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Onpage Change => Ranking Changed, But Cache Is Not Updated


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#1 gemini

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 12:08 PM

I have a question.
I noticed a few times, when I make an on-page change, and I see that rankings improved within 2-3 days, but cache of those particular pages is not updated yet. I always counted cache update as an identifier of when the information was updated in Google's index. First, I thought something else must have been affecting the rankings or it was just a natural shift... but then, when it happened a few more times.. I starting wondering if it's actually my changes and not something else.

For example: On Friday I added rel="nofollow" to about 70 links that linking out to my subdomain from 5 key pages (on the main domain) that rank high on first page (3 of them are #1) for their main keywords. Today (Monday) I see my homepage suddenly moved from #4 to #2 on the most competitive keyword in my market.

About 2 weeks ago I was ranking #5 for the main keyword... than I made some changes in the title tags and moved to #4. Which I was at #4 for quite awhile before, but than moved down to 5.

In both cases when rankings changed - I checked the cache of those particular pages I made changes to and Google still shows the old cache.

So... I'm wondering... did my changes actually improve the rankings, or... is there a way to know for sure?

I know I can reverse the changes and then see what happens... but that doesn't seam right :)

Thanks for any help!

#2 Black_Knight

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 03:08 PM

You can be fairly certain that if the cache doesn't show the new pages, that it is NOT the current on-page tweaks that have had the effect in change of ranking. However, changes to pages linking to that page may very well have.

In general, I always say that SEO changes 'mature' over 6 months. The changes I may make to a site this week, will start to have an effect in the first month, but will grow over time as the links effects ripple out, and the overall changes to many pages, to links, and backlinks, filter through the indexing of many many pages. I usually say that full maturity takes 6 months - which includes the extra links that the improvements pick up.

So, the chances are that these are prior changes, even months ago, finally reaching maturity, plus the standard variations of the SERPs too, where yours will not be the only pages online to have changed. Chances are that some of your backlinks have had changes in the past few months too.

#3 gemini

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 04:36 PM

I see what you're saying. Thanks for your input!

We just moved our site from one server to another, as well as redesigned and restructured it at the end of June... may be you're right and it's just started making some adjustments in rankings. On the other hand it is so suspicious that changes happen only when I tweak something.

#4 Black_Knight

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 09:52 PM

On the other hand it is so suspicious that changes happen only when I tweak something.

hehe isn't that how all superstitions begin?

Someone found they always had bad luck only when a black cat crossed their path. Unless they walked under a ladder that day, because that would cause bad luck too.

The reality is that you probably make changes fairly often, so unless your site often declines in the rankings, there's almost a certainty that the site will go up in ranking from one or another of the many changes you make to the site so often close to the time when you're making another change. However, watching the intervals at which you make changes may show you that you are regularly making changes about 2 months after the last set, which on a site with a PR of around 6 is about when you'd expect a ranking jump, then another on month three, and maybe small gains after that too until around six months after the prior change. :)

But if you prefer to think that making changes will have an instant effect when you know it hasn't even been indexed yet (the cache shows the last indexed version), and avoiding black cats prevents your rankings going down, well, go ahead. :) If it makes you feel positive its usually a good thing.

#5 gemini

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Posted 15 August 2007 - 12:27 PM

Haha :) Thanks!

I guess we're making changes fairly often - adding content or tweaking wordings, forms etc... at least something probably ones a week. Of course most of the pages do stay untouched, but I think at least one change a week happens.

Now, I checked the cache of the pages where I switched outgoing links to "nofollow' and Google shows that the pages were las time retrieved on August 11, which is the next day after I made the changes. The new cache wasn't showing on the 13th when I made my first post in this thread.

Matt Cutts made a post on August 7th "Minty Fresh Indexing" where he confirms that content gets crawled, indexed and scored very quickly, sometimes within hours or even minutes.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not arguing with you (I haven't tracked this stuff, that's why I ended up asking my question here)... I'm just trying to "get to the bottom" of this. If Google indeed has this ability to index and score documents this quick, this opens pretty wide doors for testing.



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