Google's Cutts Asking for Feedback on March/April '08 Update (The "Dewey" Update)

Apr 2, 2008 • 7:36 am | comments (25) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

On the last day of March, I reported on a major Google search index update which seemed to have impacted tons and tons of SEOs, as opposed to just a ton of SEOs (if you know what I mean). Yes, I even noticed changes in the search results and I really don't even look that carefully.

Based on all the feedback at WebmasterWorld, Google's Matt Cutts (yes, he is still at Google) added a post to that thread, asking for feedback. The post number is 3616809.

The way to submit your feedback is to use this form and make sure to mention the word "dewey" in the "Additional details" text area. Matt said you can also point out specific issues with the new index via "blog post, leave specifics on the Google webmaster help group, or whatever way you want to point out specific searches that look different to you." He also added that even if you don't get a reply, it is very likely your details will be reviewed by an engineer. Here is Matt's post:

Hey all, I asked a few people to look into this and they weren't seeing many large differences in rankings between these datacenters. The issue with discussing on this thread is that specific urls/queries aren't allowed. If anyone wants to mention a search where they see large-scale differences, feel free to send feedback to Google in the usual way. I'm going to pick a random-but-pretty-unique keyword so that I can look up reports. Let's use "dewey" as the word. So if you want to mention a search where you think the results are very different at one data center compared to other data centers, use the spam report form at and make sure to include the word "dewey" in the "Additional details" text area. Or feel free to point out differences in other ways: do a blog post, leave specifics on the Google webmaster help group, or whatever way you want to point out specific searches that look different to you.

The usual rules of thumb apply: you probably won't get a personal reply, but I'll try to get someone to check out reports that get sent in. There shouldn't be much difference between data centers, so I'm curious to find out what queries people seem to be seeing different results on.

So maybe this Google update should be named the "Dewey" update? Why not?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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04/27/2008 02:05 pm

Hi, Site vanished from serps around the end of March. In fact, site is completely gone from the results, including the domain name itself. Google webmaster panel shows links pointing to site and says 14 urls from the site are indexed. However, when looking at google webmaster overview says no pages exsist in google index. Submitted a reconsideration request 3 weeks ago.... no response from google. Hmmm.... site vanished, conflicting information in the google webmaster panel and no response from google about reconsideration request. Very frustrating.... what is a webmaster to do in this case Mr. Cutts?


04/27/2008 05:17 pm

I think the worst part here is the fact the communication between Google and us webmasters is very poor. While I understand they probably get inundated with hundreds of thousand of emails/request per day, I think it would be more beneficial for Google to communicate the issues with us. If they (Google) actually let us know the issues at hand with our individual sites I am sure most of us (yeah there are some out there that are intentionally trying to "trick" Google)would want to get the issues fixed so we were re included. If we got the issues resolved it would benefit Google in that there would be more quality sites based on their guidelines. The lack of communication I am sure has alienated more than one webmaster and gave up on Google and just concentrated on getting listed on the thousands of other search engines out there. Most webmaster have learned to not put all their eggs in one basket (meaning SEO for ONLY Google). Personally I have begun optimization on my URL that disappeared form Google for a few other search engines and I am already seeing results, and at this time I have gotten NO response from Google on my re inclusion request or any other communication as far as if there is truly anything wrong with my page. If I received an actual message stating what the problem was I would be more than happy to fix the issue. Can't fix what I don't know is broken.


04/30/2008 07:52 pm

Google are doing a great job alienating just about every small business owner on the planet with their constant tweaking with no regard to the effects it has on peoples lives, jobs, businesses, family relationships etc. I know it's free to be on the organic listings but when you have this much power over people it comes with some responsibility. One day their contempt for us is going to be their downfall.


05/01/2008 08:37 am

.. I wouldn't mind if it filtered out the bad stuff, but it's getting worse not better. I spend so much time constantly jumping over the hoops Google set, to stay legal etc.. and I know of sites in my business that are highly ranked even though they've got hidden text, spammy lists of area names and not much else. Search quality on Yahoo is defintely better now.


05/06/2008 03:01 am

i was thinking there was something wrong on commenting on blogs from blogrush then put your link and luvcomment .. or that inter linking six pr 2 and 3 blogs is not good that are related . but its looks here that it is not just blogs . i was thinking google hates wordpress blogs . i am even thinking of going back to html .. i was also thinking it was the h2 in category that i cut the link out , or the h2 that i reduce the font size . or was that i was too hurry in changing topics of my blogs .. but then this is not just blogs . i guess i am not the only one staring at the sun ..


05/14/2008 09:34 am

Can someone pls tell me what 13-page brochure sites with crap sitewider and blog backlinks and about 3 pages of commercial content altogether are doing above my years old 200+ information filled site in the serps?


05/14/2008 09:44 am

Apparently Google reversed everything it stood for so far. No content, 2-week old sites with blog and unrelated sitewiders are the future now... If you want to rank high, take everything in the Google webmaster guidelines and reverse it.


05/25/2008 04:29 am

My site was dropped too from the listings for some keywords that ranked well before , I don`t know what to do ... So in two small words : "google s.u.c.k.s"


05/26/2008 05:14 am

How come in all the datacenters my site shows to be on the 2nd page of Google Results using this tool: Yet in the real search it appears on page 33 of results??? This has been going on Since Late January of this year! A Strick White Hat site that is over 2 years old...


05/30/2008 03:25 pm

Went from #1 for my key word. Now I can't find my site at all. This move by google just killed my site and my income. Thanks google Thumbs up to you.


05/30/2008 07:42 pm

I am having the same issue on my site with ranking.


05/31/2008 05:01 am

6 years #1 or #2 for main keyword then index page is gone, rarely indexed now and doesn't matter anyway. Sites with hidden text and all kinds of guideline violations replacing me. Took away $25K-30K monthly out of my pocket for almost 3 months now. Thanks. Webmaster tools reporting inaccurate results on search terms, seems like a useless tool now. Having to file reinclusion requests for not doing anything wrong and surprise nothing happens. I'm not wasting anymore valuable time of my life on it and just taking my 5 figure monthly adwords spending somewhere else. Nice doing business with you.


06/01/2008 11:05 am

Actually, google this time has made a very nice thing! the new challenge is per country! now you will have to target your backlinks per country...


06/01/2008 11:11 am

actually, it's the first time i understand google's algorithm. google is not bad just trying to give you the most relevant results from your country. (even if the most relevant are not so relevant:)).

Rob Muller

06/02/2008 07:55 pm

To me it is very clear that Google is destroying competition by downgrading all directories. I run a strip club directory. When you searched for the words 'strip club' it had a top 3 ranking. It now has a ranking in the range of 600 - 700. The disturbing news is that this happened also to all my competitors (,, A few months ago we were all in the top 10 now we ALL are in the same 600 - 700 range. When you now search for the most relevant combination (city + strip club, e.g. New York strip club) you only get completely irrelevant results (youtube, wiki, newspaper articles, etc). To me it is clear: all sites that are competition in some way to Google (Adwords) have to be removed from the top SERPs. At the end Google wants to convert all generated traffic into Google earnings. Hopefully Microsoft succeeds buying Yahoo so they can start some competition.

Rob Muller

06/02/2008 08:00 pm

I run a strip club directory. Until recently the site had a top ranking for the words 'strip club'. It now is in the 600 - 700 range. The disturbing fact is, that this also happened to all my competitors. We all had a top 10 ranking, now we are all in the 600 - 700 range. The top rankings are now for wiki, youtube, new articles, etc. This is also the case for the combination 'city + strip club' (e.g. New york strip club). To me it is clear: Google does not like directories in the top SERPs, because they compete with Adwords.


06/04/2008 08:24 am

And Poof Google dropped all my directories (6) out of the top SERPs. It started in March & i lost one after the other.I dodn't even rank for my company name. I am using the same (popular) script for all my sites. Could that have anything to do with it? I think big G doesn't like that script anymore. I don't get it, they shoot themselves in the foot : adsense income dropped 80 %


06/20/2008 10:49 pm

Oh yes we where hit by something too for about a year we had 20 to 30.000 hits from Google and then 2 days ago it went to 4000 no I tell you that suck more than you now. We haven't changed a thing so my guess is Google did something (and did not tell anyone about it) we now faces closing of our business so I can certainly say Google sucks. I hope someday someone will fight Google I really want the worst to happen to Google. If you have the power to control people and there life use it wisely or else people will turn there back on you.


06/27/2008 11:22 am (12 year old domain) went from #2 for "window blinds" (the domain and company name) to # 45 overnight.

No Name

07/05/2008 01:23 pm

Have any of you gotten a resolution to this? Anyone coming back?


07/18/2008 04:49 am

I know you were not seeing large differences. But when you reply, and you have, and you don't see any changes, you say - there isn't an update your aware of. This seems special, doesn't it?

No Name

08/26/2008 07:51 pm

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No Name

08/26/2008 08:31 pm

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07/25/2010 09:27 pm

Hey: Well yes, for the time I think this was an accurate post. Right now there is another mayor shift in rankings, and it has nothing to do with links... Social Media Rob


07/25/2010 09:34 pm

Hey Ther: Yes I agree. There is a mayor alorithm change. Many of my sites have actually gotten a better ranking (sweet, but weird, huh?). I just thank the big G God for that :) Gareth

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