What happened to the search results for SEO today around 1PM CST? I think at this point, only the Google engineers responsible for hitting the “scramble results for kicks button” really know.
Let’s back up a bit, as someone who takes pride in producing top rankings for competitive keywords, the strangest thing occurred today; SERP data from the UK appeared in the US and usurped common positions held down by yours truly and others.
The typical search results for SEO typically comprised of a double listing of Wikipedia results at the helm (gone), the usual listing from seo.com (gone), and SEO superdude Aaron Wall from seobook.com (gone) and even our ranking in the #10 spot for www.seodesignsolutions.com/ (is nowhere in sight).
Although it could be a temporal flux of data centers or a bad case of amnesia, it is too soon to tell why one keyword has been displaced or misplaced from the otherwise common ground in the Google index.
Also, if you take the approach of looking at the entire array of sites typically indexed for the keyword the typical results are 903 competing websites holding down the primary index locations.
See for yourself by using http://www.google.com/ie?&num=100 as a search operator adding the word SEO and then going to the end of the line. The results stop at 376 vs. the 903 results from the previous day when you see the “omitted search results” which are typically a sign of duplicity and or the gateway to the dreaded black hole a.k.a supplemental index.
Although conspiracy theories could gain momentum how Google finally rid this keyword once and for all could arise, it is more than likely a temporary circumstance caused by some type of beta test or blending of relevance thresholds.
Almost as if waiting for a screen to appear “technical difficulties” this broadcast will return momentarily, after refreshing the screen after numerous times, it appears that at least for now, there are an array of new sites “such as WordPress” and others enjoying the limelight for a highly trafficked keyword.
Stay tuned as the rollback occurs and things normalize again. Just in the last hour alone I now see seo.com and seobook.com toggling back in and out of the index and us at #14.
The last time this happened was during the Google.co.uk PageRank Update several months ago when we discussed it in a post called “Will the Real Google Search Results please stand up”, so, this is nothing out of the ordinary. But for those with livelihood attached falling from grace for a keyword with magnanimous search volume is not a laughing matter.
Hopefully for those all affected, by the time you read this, everything will have returned to normal. Otherwise, clean up on isle 5 is in order as the blending of results transpires. It is too early to tell, but in most cases, results like this normalize in a short period of time.
Is this the dawn of Google caffeine or just a glitch? and who knows how many other keywords in the index were also affected…
If you have anything to add to this from your own personal observation, feel free to share your thoughts.