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Google Big Daddy SearchQuake About to Rumble Your Ranking?

I thought you might like to see another point of view on the BigDaddy front:

Google Big Daddy SearchQuake About to Rumble Your Ranking?

Copyright © February 1, 2006 by Mike Banks Valentine

Running ranking reports for clients is a standard part of an
SEO's job. This week I created a position report for a client
- one for which we'd made significant gains in ranking for
their targeted search phrase - and proudly sent off the
report to them before a scheduled conference call to discuss
our progress and status.

The client sent an email upon receiving the report saying
"There is something wrong with your report - we rank higher
than this report claims." I went back to Google and typed in
the search phrases to find rankings exactly where the report
showed them the previous day.

I explained to that client that Google has (at last count)
nine data centers which serve up search results and that they
were getting results from a data center in the Eastern US
which showed differing results from results shown to us here
in California.

The difference was substantial enough to move the client from
page two to page one in the search results and therefore made
a dramatic difference in their satisfaction with our work.
Differences are rarely that substantial in previously
observed ranking reports, so it prompted me to dig a bit
deeper into the issue and I sent the note below to the client.

"Take a look at this link where Google datacenter IP addrresses
are listed in detail."

"Here is an overview of a coming update to all Google
datacenters expected in February or March of 2006."

"So you ARE ranking better from your area of the country and
that particular data center which returns results to you.
Things usually update to match in all data centers, but
sometimes you may do better in one data center than
in others. If you search from each individual IP address in
that list discussed in the forum linked above, you'll see
different rankings and may find datacenters where you
rank at the bottom of page two of results."

You might also search from that new "Big Daddy" data center
referenced in that article above, which discusses upcoming
Google ranking algorithm changes due soon.

Where I'm seeing you ranked at #17 (bottom of page two.)

It's a measure of where you might expect to be when Google
moves to that new algorithm for all data centers in February
or March. (Of course we continue to work to achieve better
results before then.)

This upcoming change in algorithm and the interestingly named
server "Big Daddy" were publicly posted on Matt Cutts blog
for beta testing by SEO's (and other Google Watchers) who
read him regularly. (For those who don't know, Cutts is a
software engineer at Google & shares SEO tips on his blog)

Of course this news was a bit much for the client to digest
in one chunk and he had little time to read the articles I
referenced in my note above, but it was enough to assure him
that I knew what I was talking about and explain the
differences in my report and his own keyword searches at his
end of the country. It's a bit odd to try to explain to a client
"there are different Googles." Few know or understand this.

Another issue cropped up later in the day when I was doing
further research for a different client and found, while we
were speaking on the phone, that his results differed from my
own on specific query operator searches. We were using the
"" query operator and the
"allinurl:pick-your-own-URL" query operator to limit search
results and got vastly different numbers of results and
rankings for the same searches.

The first stunning thing in this example was that we are less
than 25 miles apart in Southern California. The second
shocker was that I tried simply hitting the "Search" button a
second time after getting the first results page and things
changed again! All of this happening in a single day makes me
believe that some percolating of results is going on as
Google eases into an algorithm change.

Perhaps this is not all that unusual, but in seven years of
this work, I've not seen the volatility noted in January of
2006. Are we about to have a major SearchQuake? Is Google
about to split the earth and spew volcanic new results? Stand
by for the BigDaddy SearchQuake sometime this month or next.

Mike Banks Valentine blogs on Search Engine developments
from and can be contacted for SEO work
at: He operates
a free web content distribution site at:

I'm a bit surprised at the geographic comments but I suppose we tend to look at these things a little differently on this side of the pond.

As far as the impact on us goes the picture that seems to be emerging is that we are being hit hardest in the more competitive keywords while some of the others are standing firm - probably still early days although some propogation has begun.

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