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  posting off  
And another shift in the algo?
AV and LookSmart descriptions

 2:37 pm on Jan 16, 2001 (gmt 0)

From looking at today's search results (those relevant to me :)) it seems that AV has finally started giving more weight to the LookSmart given description, and not only the LookSmart given title of pages. Not that I'm happy about this whole LookSmart thing, it's actually been a minor catastrophe for me - but today I see at least some improvements in positions in AV, and they all seem connected to the LookSmart descriptions.



 3:27 pm on Jan 16, 2001 (gmt 0)

> I'm (not) happy about this whole LookSmart thing, it's actually been a minor catastrophe for me - but today I see at least some improvements in positions in AV

Ditto. I first noticed it last night, but I haven't checked anything except one search term.


 6:58 pm on Jan 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

And yet another shift. By the looks of it (on my main kw term), it's still Looksmart but there must be a heavy dose of popularity being added because I've come back from the 30's or 40's to #3. But it's still showing the poorly optimized LS info. The same goes for the new #1 spot -they were #1 for years then went into oblivion along with me a few weeks back. ???


 7:15 pm on Jan 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

also seeing a new shift, ranking based on LS description -- they kept the SERP the same except giving my site a boost to #3 under most important keyword.

Edited by: JamesR


 7:23 pm on Jan 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

I was at a number 10 spot in Altavista until three months back under a few keyword phrases. Since then, I was in their index but I could never find my where I was ranked. Since yesterday, they boosted my site to the number 1 and 3 position under the previous keyword phrases. The only modifications I made to the page were a few minor word replacements in the title and description.

I don't have any Looksmart affiliation.

Popularity increase?
Minor word modifications?
Re-submission to world-wide Altavista sites?
Index reshuffle based on an older algo?


 7:44 pm on Jan 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

>ranking based on LS description
Can't be. In my case, it sucks! I am way wide of the SEO mark on this one, there's no way it can hold #3 out of 360,336 pages found on what I'm seeing here. (What was I thinking when I did that one? It's on my big dog, too. Oh well, at least I HAVE a Looksmart listing. Lesson learned; never again will I submit when I'm sick-and-tired of submitting.)

>Popularity increase?
>reshuffle based on an older algo?
Either one of those might explain it. The other top 10 in my SERP are popular sites and most were in the top 20 before the database hit the fan.


 8:07 pm on Jan 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

reshuffle based on an older algo?

It has to be this. Last week I had a site that was ranked number 6 under a very very popular term. The title and description did not have the keyword phrase combined together like that of the search. Neither did the other sites that were listed. The site has been dropped way down the list.

Now I am seeing all the sites listed under that same search and many others with the Title containing the exact keyword phrase.

I think they are back to their old algo where title, description, and header content really puts heavy weight on getting ranked well. Though this doesn't really mean it works all the time as there are some sites listed without the keywords in the title.

Same pattern with the site I mentioned in the message above. Title and first line of text match the keyword phrase exactly.


 8:23 pm on Jan 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

On my term, all of the top 10 have the kw in the LS title, but the description varies. #1 doesn't have a single word of the phrase in its listing description, for instance. The top 3 all have the exact phrase in the domain, btw.


 9:20 pm on Jan 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

sorry RC for any confusion, what I meant was my site was reranked based on the LS description and title, all else seemed to remain the same. A few sites in the top 10 for this search don't seem to be relevant but in the general vicinity (keyword search is music specific but these sites are general music) so I am thinking themes and links are pulling them to the top. The algo looks the same except to the boost to my site.


 10:22 am on Jan 18, 2001 (gmt 0)

Just to muddy the waters a little... I've dropped from 2 to 4 on my primary KW. None of my close competitors have a Looksmart listing, so I don't think that's a factor (for me anyway). What I did notice though is that roughly a third of my pages have been dropped.

As my ranking was based mainly on theming and heavy internal linking, I'm wondering if there's been a database shrinkage?


 11:26 am on Jan 18, 2001 (gmt 0)

I just checked a site that has fallen from 15 to 199 in the last few weeks. I did a link: search, and discovered 8 links where there had been over 50.

AV was showing NO directory links, not even LookSmart!! And besides LookSmart, this site is in Yahoo, Go, ODP and a host of specialized directories that Alta used to have indexed.

Anyone else seen something like this? It seems totally weird to me. I just finished re-submitting a whole mess of linked pages, and I sure hope it makes a difference.


 11:37 am on Jan 18, 2001 (gmt 0)

My ODP and Yahoo listings are still there, total number of links down from 240 or so to 147.

The number of returns for my KW search has dropped significantly aswell... I think there's been a definite pruning.


 11:50 am on Jan 18, 2001 (gmt 0)

At least in one site of mine (where it's easy to recognize) I see the resurfacing of old pages that were long gone (404s). BUT - I also still see newer pages. Could this be a remix of an older database and the current one? Who knows.


 12:26 pm on Jan 18, 2001 (gmt 0)

If there's a direction all of this is taking, things may settle one way or another in the next week or so (at least for a day or two :)).

Then again, maybe things ARE getting out of hand... Though that is rather unlikely.

Anyway, whichever way the wind is blowing - it's still blowing... I believe we will keep seeing changes in the results in the next few days at the very least.


 12:30 pm on Jan 18, 2001 (gmt 0)

Seeing the number of pages found to be down about 25% on a range of keywords.

Had a site reappear after being banned since last Feb.

They no longer report the number of pages found relating to the exact term "keyword phrase", but rather the old style sum of all the pages that contain either or both.

I think they are going Ink style PFP very shortly.


 12:54 pm on Jan 18, 2001 (gmt 0)

The big question is do they count the links from listings.altavista.com(worldwide DB)?

In the main AV i'm only showing 10-30 links to the sites that are ranked well. Now those same sites have anywhere from 11,000-80,000 in the "listings" index. They must pull it from there.

I don't have any of these sites listed in LS and I haven't looked into see if the others below me have. But from what I see, none of the descriptions are LS, there are even some with no description tags. These results look to be entirely based on title and page content with a splash of popularity.

I don't know...

Someone told me once that only 4 people in Altavista know how the WHOLE picture works. Not sure if it is true but it wouldn't surprise me.



 1:22 pm on Jan 18, 2001 (gmt 0)

Just noticed this. Last week we had a few sites listed 2, 3, and 7 under a search phrase in listings.altavista.com and AV UK (same DB)

Those same sites are listed currently in the US AV. The results in the US AV match "listings" from a few days ago. Now "listings" has a different set of results.

Could this be a good way to see where you will be ranked in the next update of US AV? Whatever is indexed in "listings" now will appear in the next update?

If so then it is in fact true that they run all their calculations in this index, then pull out the best for the main index.


 3:06 pm on Jan 18, 2001 (gmt 0)

>Seeing the number of pages found to be down about 25% on a range of keywords.

On my term, while I was in oblivion, pages found = 29,502 (way, way, way low). Now, while I'm up at #3, the page count is 360,336. If part of the database has been returned and incoming links along with them, this might account for the popularity factor kicking me back up into the top 10.

re Looksmart
I want to clarify something. In my case, AV dumped my old title and description and replaced it verbatim with the Looksmart listing title and description. I've been assuming that's the same for others. Is it?


 3:41 pm on Jan 18, 2001 (gmt 0)

>pages found = 29,502 (way, way, way low). Now, while I'm up at #3, the page count is 360,336

RC try searching for the phrase in quotation marks, do you get the low number of pages returned?


 5:04 pm on Jan 18, 2001 (gmt 0)

>I've been assuming that's the same for others. Is it?



 5:30 pm on Jan 18, 2001 (gmt 0)

>in quotation marks
29,484 ...That's pretty darn close, a difference of a mere 18 to be exact. ??????

>>I've been assuming that's the same for others. Is it?
> yep

OK, thanks, was getting paranoid.


 5:42 pm on Jan 18, 2001 (gmt 0)

>replaced it verbatim

I got the same for my site but now BOTH show up
position #4 www.MYSITE.com/ the L$ title and desc.
position #15 www.MYSITE.com/index.htm the AV title and desc.

Very strange.....


 6:09 pm on Jan 18, 2001 (gmt 0)

Made it to #10 for the prime keyword for the first time. Looks as if they have turned up link-pop a notch. Maybe click-pop too if they measure that. Kwd in url + kwd in title still of paramount importance, which can produce some very strange results.


 7:18 pm on Jan 18, 2001 (gmt 0)

>Maybe click-pop too if they measure that
Yeah, thinking about NBCi where click-pop will make or break a listing's rank, I wondered about that, too. Click-pop could explain my return to top 3, but I don't think it would be true for the one currently holding #2 spot.

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