The Floating Four At Google: Google's Position Four Seems Funky?

May 6, 2008 • 8:30 am | comments (7) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

A WebmasterWorld thread has some interesting observations, which I thought would be fun to name the "Floating Four" symptom.

In short, it seems like there are some pages that happen to float into the fourth position at Google's search results and then a couple hours later disappear. This pattern has been repeating itself time and time again.

WebmasterWorld's senior member, internetheaven, first reported this. He isolated his issue from a position 6 listing, floating to a position 4 and then back to 6. But he isn't the only one who noticed this mysterious floating four behavior. Senior member, steveb, also noticed it with rankings in the position 8 or higher, floating into the fourth position. Here is steveb's post:

Over the past week or so, I've seen the #4 spot show at least two pages that have long (years) been undervalued for the term by Google. they float in and out, and then also sometimes rank #8 while other times fall to where they have been for years (the 30s for one, nowhere for the other).

The thread is very new, but maybe we will find others noticing the same thing. If so, either comment here or discuss at WebmasterWorld. Either way, I will keep watching the space for more signs of this "floating four" behavior and keep you updated on any changes.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Jaan Kanellis

05/06/2008 02:18 pm

Wait a minute, isn't floating normal in todays G SERPs?

Barry Schwartz

05/06/2008 02:34 pm

Yes Jaan, but not multiple people noticing on multiple searches, a page showing up at the exact fourth position each time. Something is unique, possibly (I am not sure, but it stands out), about the fourth result in this case. It can be totally off, pure observation based on the thread.

shayne catrett

05/06/2008 03:30 pm

I call it a mini-dance sometimes fluctuating lower results up from around 15 into this 4th position. Usually before a nice update! Also watch for pages with not-duplicate but similar content targeting that all of a sudden start showing for the same search query, nice indication update is occurring.


05/07/2008 06:41 am

Are you saying that if your page is all of a sudden appearing in these 4, 6 and 8 positions that it's just about to lock into one of those positions? I've be going mad the last week trying to work out what's going on. I keep deleting cookies, moving computers, etc. to try to get an accurate position.

shayne catrett

05/07/2008 03:37 pm

@Richard - it's possible, especially if you weren't too fare down from those positions to begin with, check the various data center's and analyze the variance.


05/08/2008 07:16 am

yup! I evident it too with my site going from 7 to 4 than to 9 than to 4 than to 10 and than to 4 again. But since fluctuation in Google serps is normal now, so its not a big deal for me. :) but yes its a lil bit odd that why a site is go back to 4 and don't remain to that position.


05/15/2008 08:38 pm

i've also noticed this behavior. my site was ranked 23rd last week but jumped to 4 on 5/13. it has since come back to 23 and gone back up to 4 several times. i'm not quite sure what to make of this. it currently sits at 23.

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