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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Google Theory: Are Pages Ranked Higher on Specific Days of the Week?

Posted by @ 11:13 pm

googletheory1Were always into a good conspiracy theory – who isn’t? But this one about Google is a corker!

One webmaster over at Webmaster World has a theory that for some sites, Google may give the site higher ranking based on what day of the week it is.

The webmaster has been tracking his traffic from Google for a number of months and has discovered a pattern. Here is a rundown on the discovery:

I have a site that shows a saw-tooth graph in which weekly traffic peaks every Tuesday and is lowest every Saturday, the graph shows a steady increase in traffic over time but the same pattern holds steady for at least 8 months.

I’ve been keeping track of what’s indexed in Google and I’m finding that the site has the highest number of pages indexed on Tuesdays and the lowest number on Saturdays.

It looks like the sites rankings, both in position and in quantity, drop every Saturday and rise again quickly on Tuesday.

You can read more on the theory at the Webmaster World forum here.

Now here’s were it gets interesting… after months of tracking a few days after the webmaster announced the discovery, everything changed. He said:

Final update, just when I thought I had sufficient data to start tracking related considerations for effect Google changed gears on me, Today’s traffic should have been trending downwards until Friday (though up from last Wednesday) but instead the site enjoyed a record up day… breaking a long running trend.

So is this just coincidence or is something more sinister going on here? Have you experienced this with your site? Feel free to share your thoughts below.

Courtney Mills Courtney is an online marketing and communications specialist at ineedhits - a leading search engine marketing firm with over 16 years experience. Courtney has been living and breathing online marketing for over 5 years. She specializes in web and communication marketing, while providing news and opinion to online marketing communities.

View Courtney Mills's profile

Discussion (3 - comments)

I also track how my customer websites are doing and find patterns. The answer to why the patterns are there is less sinister than you think! Every day your website is scanned by many search engines. They also scan each other. Have you heard of Google Dance? It is real, and Google also dances with Yahoo and other search engines. While they all coordinate on what is pointing to you, what comes from you, what is duplicated, what ranks for what search pattern, they dance together, stirring up the mix daily. The pattern is just a result of live coordination between several Google data centers and other search engine results such as Yahoo Site Search. Enjoy the dance :-)

Al Thiel, Your Data Center Incorporated of Long Island, New York

By Al Thiel - May 29, 2009

All web sites show a long term, repeatable, weekly trend. For example, traffic on a online shopping cart may have a relatively flat trend through the week but may spike regularly sometime during the week depending on what they offer and if it is week day sensitive (they offer something for the weekend, for example). A commercial services site, legal site or a hospital web site will have stronger traffic M-F & will have noticeably lighter traffic Sat & Sun because these sites are usually visted only during the work day.

Web sites also show a long term, repeatable, hourly trend. Traffic to a shopping cart will pick-up through the day, will peak sometimes during the day & will slow down to a low point somewhere around 3 AM – 4 AM. Traffic to a p&rn site will peak in the late evening, sometimes very early morning, with the strongest traffic being on Fri & Mon evenings.

By Tom Hargrave - May 29, 2009

I’ve seen very similar patterns in my own rankings and shot down conspiracy theories by the owner of our company many times. He swears Google does this on purpose. My personal theory is that Google indexes a site with one crawler that has one set of criteria and then later in the week with another crawler that has slightly different criteria. Google’s network of servers is pretty massive, and I think the alogorithm updates roll out through the network over time. I believe they do this for continuity as well as to prevent an error from corrupting their whole system at once. As with anything Google, it’s complete conjecture on my part, but I think my theory makes sense. At least a little more sense than the grand conspiracy of little men at google manipulating my SERPs to get more adwords dollars out of me! :-)

By Steve - May 29, 2009

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