All About Google Dance

google32 All About Google Dance
Harish Shetty asked:

A short rhyme by Woz at WebmasterWorld best describes the Google dance. It goes –

They put some pages in,

They take some pages out,

They calculate the PageRank,

Then they shake it all about,

They wait until the full moon

Then they mix the servers up,

That’s what its all about.

Webmasters have christened a concept associated with all search engines after the name of Google – the Google dance. And rightly so. Because of the sheer reach, popularity and reputation of Google as a search engine, Google has been subjected to scrutiny under a microscope by search engine analysts more often than not. So what exactly is Google Dance?

The Google dance explained

The results of a particular search on Google highly fluctuate when Google Shuffles the rankings of websites in its search engine results pages (SERPs). This concept is termed as dance. During the dance, the results for a particular search on Google vary minute to minute. The index update at Google is changed at an interval of about a month. Though the outcome of this change in the index is instantly reflected on the SERPs, the actual process takes several days to complete. It is not viable for Google to shut down operations or go offline till the updated index is transferred to all their servers. Hence the results for a particular search fluctuate or ‘dance’ till the index update is transferred to all Google servers.

It has been observed that Google has three main servers –,, and During an index update, the results displayed by these three servers vary to a large extent. This happens because one server reflects the updated index while the other is still showing the results of the old index.

An easy way of determining whether the dance is on is to make a search request on and look at the blue bar on top of the page. It shows ‘pages 1-12 of about 564,000’. Then search for the same on and If the number of total pages differs in each server, you know that the dance is on. You know the dance is over when the numbers do not vary and the order of the results is the same. 

Google’s spider constantly visits websites to check their validity and to delete non existent websites. It is, therefore, common to see nominal changes in the results of a search over a month or so. But, if there is an alarming variation in the ranking of a website, or a major alteration in the results within a few days, it can be guessed that the Google dance is on.

Is it a thing of past?

Many experts contend that the Google dance is a thing of the past. The monthly update of the index list is the result of the deep crawl wherein Google’s spiders crawl the web to update its index on a monthly basis. Regular searchers will swear that the results fluctuate more than once a month. This happens because of the fresh crawl employed by Google. This crawl is carried out almost continuously to keep the index up to date. This frequent fluctuation in the results of a search is termed as everflux. Because of the fresh crawl, determining whether the dance is on cannot be based on the variation in the total number of search pages. If the three Google servers show a different number of back links to important sites such as Yahoo or AOL, then the Google dance is on.

But this does not lessen the importance of the monthly update. Because of the continuous search of the web with the help of fresh crawl pages keep getting included in and excluded out of the result pages almost everyday. But it is the deep crawl of the web that decides the rankings of web pages by Google.

How to cope up?

It is only during the dance that the rankings will fluctuate. There’s no need to panic if your ranking suddenly drops among Google’s rankings. A 5-6 day wait will see you heave a sigh of relief as the rankings stabilize for the coming month. Others who want to know their ranks even during the dance can access the intermediate bases of Google. Knowing that the dropping in the ranking is temporary, it is important not to over compensate. Continue offering quality content through your website and you are bound to sustain any dire effects of the Google dance.

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