Recently, the weekly Keyboost reports have been reflecting proportional fluctuations for the majority of keywords. This was caused by two instances, unrelated but simultaneous in occurrence.
- A power outage affecting the OVH-network, spanning the whole of Europe. OVH is the largest European hosting provider: chances are that if you have a different provider, your website is still hosted on an OVH server. The power outage was really only the aftermath, prior to this, server issues had already been occurring, causing quite a few websites to be off line. Server outages are not uncommon, regardless of the hosting service, but usually the consequences are hardly noticeable. Unfortunately the outages influence the weekly Keyboost reports, that are gathered in real time.
Temporary server issues mainly impact websites holding top-10 positions in Google for popular keywords. The search engine dreads a scenario where a user clicks on a link on the first page, only to get a 404 error message, the worst user experience imaginable. With steady intervals, Google verifies if top 10 pages are on line. If such is not the case, that particular page will instantly drop in the rankings. Google will check back often to see if the issue is temporary. If so, the webpage in question will once again go up in the results – not in one stretch, but in a few stages – to reach its original position. There appears to be a trend in play here: the rate of drop in position and the speed with which a position is restored, seem to depend on the popularity and economic relevance of a keyword.
The majority of website owners will never become aware of any server problems affecting the position of their website in the rankings. However, Keyboost reports are generated in real time, rankings are checked immediately before the actual report is created, as such a sudden drop in position will be reflected.
- Early November, Google implemented significant changes to its search interface, altering how searches for different geographical locations are performed. Prior to this update, it was significantly easier to carry out anonymous searches in Google, i.e. without Google taking into account your location and other personal data. At first this seemed to have no impact whatsoever on how Keyboost determines current positions in real time for the weekly reports. As it plays out, Google decided to put the updates in place in a few stages, causing discrepancies between the reported positions and the actual real time ones. Meantime a solution was found, guaranteeing the less accurate reports from the past few weeks will be adjusted.
When performing standard searches in Google, the search engine will take into account a range of factors when offering results: your I.P. address, your browser’s search history, your location, etc., - especially when you are logged in to a Google service such as Gmail, Google+, or Youtube. Due to these tailored search results, often an inaccurate representation is given of how well or poor a website ranks in Google.
Before, performing anonymous searches was fairly easy, without Google taking into account your browser history, location and / or other data. Anonymous surfing is possible in Firefox (new Private Window) and Chrome (new Incognito Window). Local differences with regard to your IP address are of course always possible. Prior to the updates, it would suffice to simply open a new private or incognito window and go the desired location, f.i. from the UK go to google.be, google.fr, google.de, etc.
The new interface requires additional user interaction: through Settings go to > Search Settings > go to Region Settings:
There you select the country for which you want to consult search results (click ‘Show More’ to display the complete list). When f.i. you are located in the UK, but want to display search results for Germany in google.de, you select “Germany” and vice versa. The same applies for google.be, google.fr, google.co.uk, etc. When selecting ‘Save’ the settings for this search session will be stored. Do not forget to select a language in the next window, this will also have an influence on the search results.
We sincerely regret any concerns you might have had due to these inaccurate reports. When you notice a sudden drop in rankings, it is always a good idea to check for yourself if Google has already partially or completely restored the rankings. If it has, you will instantly know a temporary server issue was involved.
Future reports will reflect positions that correspond more accurately with real-time rankings, until - once again - Google updates its interface, algorithm or underlying settings, without prior communication, for which we will undoubtedly find a swift solution.
The team behind Keyboost & SEO Page Optimizer