New Hypothesis: SEO Honeypots Ok... this is one of my more "out there" thoughts. I am seeing a pattern in radical on-page content changes. About 3-4 days after a visit from googlebot to the changed paged there is a massive "negative hit" in rankings that lasts about 3-4 days and then returns roughly back to where it was plus a little gain. This cycle then repeats several times. The durations and timing of these events almost seems to coincide with my SEO content tuning intervals. I got chills down my spine when I thought for a moment that Google is using the timing of adverse events and subsequent change detection to goad me into reacting to a negative change and then detecting my content changing within a narrow time frame after the negative event. I wonder if I had reacted to the negative event right away if I would have "self selected" myself to Google as an SEO practitioner. It freaked me out enough that I convinced my clients to not react and wait and see. Sure enough... after 3 of these cycles (about 2 weeks) there has only been consistent, but slow, upward trending from where I had started. I do consistently see positive only gains everyday now, but those first two weeks after the big content overhaul were quite scary and unlike the 24hour google dance behavior we know and LOVE from the past. Is this a new kind of google dance or was google actually trying to trick me into confessing my SEO practice? I don't know, but it really has me thinking now that the new google is a very different beast.