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This 128 message thread spans 5 pages: < < 128 ( 1 [2] 3 4 5 > >     
SERIOUS Google update algo analysis thread.
NO whining or cheering about how your site is doing in this one.

 6:42 am on Mar 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'm starting this thread because another member suggested such would be a good idea because the main Google update thread is cluttered with posts like "OMG, I've been dropped in the new index!" and "Yippee, I'm now #1 on a key SERP". This thread is ONLY for serious, generic discussion of changes that you are observing with the new algo in this update. As in things like "Looks to me like PR is less important this month, and anchor text of inbound links counts more.", etc. How your site is doing has no relevance here unless you can explain why you think so in terms of a general algo update.

My observation so far: little change this month from last. Anchor text of inbound links still counts big time, and PR seems to be worth the same as before. IOW, its the same old, same old. One aspect that isn't relevant with the SERPs I am most familiar with is "spamminess". I don't see much more spam, but then these SERPs don't tend to be the ones that spammers would be found on. Thus, the index may be more spammy, and I wouldn't see it.



 9:13 am on Mar 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have made some of the same observations that PFOnline and Darkroom have:

In my field the site with the #1 rank for an important query, seems to have gone one PR down (from 5 to 4). Other sites remain at the PR 6 they always have. My own site which looks like it went up to PR 7 and got 15% new backlinks stayed at #8.

My own little conclusion: I won't focus so much on PR or backlinks - maybe I should take everybody's advice and optimise the inbound anchor text.

Finally a question: I seem to recall that google would return max. 400 results (40 standard pages), but now it's returning 1000 results. It wasn't like this last month, was it?


 9:19 am on Mar 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

hakre and allanp73, glad that it's a big improvement on spam for the searches you were doing. steveb, I'll check it out--hope you mentioned your nick. Zapatista, if it's the spammer that I'm thinking of, see if they're still there tomorrow afternoon. If they still are, drop me a spam report with your nick. If a spammer is cloaking on that many domains and crowding out good results, I want to know about it. :)

Okay, this time I really am going to bed. :)


 9:20 am on Mar 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

I've always known it to be 1000.
OT- That raises the question as it relates to the patent regarding a secondary PR based on links from within the indexed results for a query. Would the secondary pr be based on all the reults, or just the first 1,000. It would significantly reduce the load if it were only 1,000.


 9:23 am on Mar 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

anyone else heard mentioned of a domain date filter as mention a few messages back?...this would be brilliant to filter domain linking netwroks..where creation dates were the same..or all the sites linking to each other were very new....but if it just gives extra weight to older sites it seems meaningless!

in this update i see far less weighting for dmoz sites!..i see some spammy sites gone but cant work out why because crosslinking multi domain networks and links from sub-domains still buy top billing!

creative craig

 9:34 am on Mar 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have not seen a change in the rankings for any other sites except for mine in two instances, I jumped 22 places in one and 19 in the other. Seems abit strange that only I would move.

Have to do abit more digging to see whats happening!


creative craig

 9:42 am on Mar 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

I am seeing search results from askjeeves taking the two top spots with me coming in at third for a particular keyword :(


 9:43 am on Mar 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Someone already mentioned guestboks so I have another word: doorways (with an automatic redirect). For my keywords there are lots of them, ranking very well (including first places). The strange thing is, a lot of the doorways are for different keywords than I'm searching and redirect to a subpage on a different topic than the search.
Besides it being annoying for webmasters who don't use tactics like that, it's not very good for the surfer.


 9:50 am on Mar 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Backlinks. I've seen some changes with internal links and crosslinking so far. They're not counting as many it seems, must have found some way to filter them down to a lower level.

Just intial observations.


 9:51 am on Mar 7, 2003 (gmt 0)


Any idea what this means in a listing for a link to a site:

"4. * magicxxxxxx"

Notice the "*" in front of the listing when doing a link: www.mysite.com...

The link is a link farm, BTW. On one of our competitors sites, and only shows up on www., not www2 or www3.

brotherhood of LAN

 9:54 am on Mar 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

windsun, putting asterisks in link: can bring up some weird results.



 9:58 am on Mar 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

My sites seem to have done very well, one site gaining 14 places to number 1 after adding aprox. 20 backward links and giving the homepage a more structured look and feel, i.e. correct use of H1, H2 and P tags.

I have noticed on Google 3 that some of the sites seem to have a freshdate next to them (currently 5 March). What does this mean?


 10:01 am on Mar 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Lost a huge chunk of backlinks (all internal pages) -- Not PageRank drop though but SERPs increased across the board.

1.Anchor text in those links
Most sites this was the only changes completed for this update and seems to be the major factor for SERP increases.

2. Quality inbound links (theme and non theme)
Many pages that had already obtained #1 ranking - concluded that they didn't need excess PageRank. Thus added link anchors to other internal pages having SERP difficulties. On average - four PR5/6 were added pointing to problem pages - all obtain #1.

4. H1 and H2 tags play a big part
Does not appear to be any change in weight - thus still important.

3. Good meta title and description

Ya ok - don't believe it make any real difference - but not counting them out yet.

5. I mention my keyword approx 7-10 times per 100 words of text.

agree 10:1 - 15:1 a good ratio - also targeting singular & plurals same page is a bad idea IMO.

6. Absolutely no flash on front page or any other pages. Nothing kills you faster than flash.

Totally disagree. I work with Shockwave (same thing). The great benefit here is removing bytes/file size off page. All visitor content/context in applet. 1. 2. & 3, a major importance here.

Example: A title - (5 keywords arranged in order of importance), and making a short sentence, with body - 23 "on-page" words plus applet ranks 1st - 5th on 27 individual keyphrases + plus a single keyword (ranked 4th -- results 6.2 million). HTML File size 7K.

17 internal anchors (all PR6) + 24 external anchors (most PR3 - PR5 using only the single (most important page keyword) produced this.

Prior to this update this single page produce an average 1200 search click-throughs per day (ranked 8 - 20).

7. Clean code, no useless code, junk code.

Agree - anything that could be externally load -- is.

8. I have a cardinal rule against putting any image on the front page and it is probably the most significant factor for me. Nothing "weighs" you down more than images. I understand for a lot people this is not possible but in my opinion - I am glad my competitors love to use 27 images on the front page.

hmmm... applet is the first string -- title attribute used in element.

9. Related to that: Download in 3-4 seconds max.

True -- applet is 2.5 Mbs but fair warning is given. It's a learning resource (much like a free download) so in this instance people don't mind waiting.

10. Add fresh content every month. Write one to two more pages if that is all you can do.

Agree - throughout month pages repeatedly placed higher in results on refresh. This included existing pages just by re-arranging "on-page" text.

One new client - using only the above (making quite fixes) and 4 new links obtain top ranks position on primary phrases where previously not ranked in top 100.

Exceptional update IMHO.

[edited by: fathom at 10:04 am (utc) on Mar. 7, 2003]


 10:01 am on Mar 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

I am not sure whether this is "mechanical" or the result of human intervention from Google:

I have two URLs pointing to the same site, distinguished only by .co.uk and .com. I have put 301 redirects on a couple of other URLs pointing to the same site, but this last one is complicated by the fact that some third party technology partners are using the old URL in POST statements in code in their sites (yeah, yeah, complicated, don't ask - it won't last long now...)

In the last update my preferred URL went from PR6 to grey, and all its backlinks "disappeared". The old URL stayed at PR5, and continued to produce a large number of results for a large number of searches.

I wrote to Google, explaining the situation. (I also got the DMOZ entry changed following an intervention by a fellow member here - I won't name him in case he get inundated with Stickies but he knows who he is and I am very grateful to him!)

In my email to Google, I asked them to "switch" the penalty, if it was a penalty, from my preferred URL to my old URL.

Subsequently pages from both URLs were extensively crawled.

I now have my PR6 back (I think!) and am very happy with the results as showing. The strange thing - and I am guessing that this means human intervention - is that I am no longer getting any results for pages from the old URL, even though the home page itself still appears.

I can't see any way in which this could have been effected in a systematic way, so the lesson that I am drawing (and thought worth passing on) is that where you have a genuine problem, write to Google and explain it.

If anyone has an alternative explanation I would be interested to hear it, but until I hear a better theory - thank you Google for listening.


 10:08 am on Mar 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

I agree with edit_g that the weight of backlinks seems to changed a little bit. (But this needs some detailed examination.) Anchor text is still important.

jeremy goodrich,

calculating PR is solving the linear equation system Mx=b (not calculating eigen vectors). b is a constant vector resulting from the constant "self contribution" of the pages (probably 0.15).


 10:12 am on Mar 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Fathom, interesting comments in relation to mine. On the flash thing we will have to agree to disagree.

To everyone in general:

One thing, meta title is undoubtably super important. Meta title is a top 3 algo factor IMO. Remember, Google interprets literally. So when you put "Easy Weight Loss!" It reads the exclamation point literally. I counter this but putting one space before any punctuation.

In addition to your words, singulars and plurals give much different results so webmasters should plan for this.

I can usually optimize one page for two key phrases. I write my text, meta, h1 and h2s and alt tags (which I forgot to mention) accordingly.

That is my secret to ranking high in Google and it really is no big deal or secret IMO.

Keep in mind that I said Quality links. Junk links will kill you quick. There are no easy ways to getting good links. It is a time consuming, laborous process but it pays off big time.

Receptional Andy

 10:25 am on Mar 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hmm, I was expecting great things from Google's spam filters, but I'm still seeing some shocking SERPs for some queries.

One term i'm looking at now has over 100 identical content free sites with only one word different on each. These are sites that I got dmoz to look at a while ago and they removed from the ODP, but doesn't look like Google sees anything wrong with them.


 10:31 am on Mar 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

One thing, meta title is undoubtably super important. Meta title is a top 3 algo factor IMO. Remember, Google interprets literally. So when you put "Easy Weight Loss!" It reads the exclamation point literally. I counter this but putting one space before any punctuation.

ya agree... mis-read your original thought "keyword" meta was there.

As far as flash/shockwave - can significantly increase SERP potential, if used wisely.

IMO (and agree with you) an open intro is bad marketing... but the implementation or use of flash/shockwave only has positive affects on SERPs (I wouldn't design a whole site in these - but as site resources you can't lose).


 10:34 am on Mar 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

The title tag seems to be evaluated a little bit different. Seems to me the place of a word within the title has become more important.


 10:35 am on Mar 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Receptional Andy, I got the impression from googleguy above, that there would be spam filters applied later in the update.


 10:57 am on Mar 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

There seem to happen some changes later this update as GG said, hence we should wait till the end of the update to share possible changings in ranking/algo.


 12:13 pm on Mar 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

fathom, sounds like I'd have to sit down with you one on one and go over what you are saying as it sounds like you got something to teach me. Even so, I'm not sure I'd want anything to slow my download down even if it was external sourced.

In my category, image is more important than optimization and the flash is killing those sites in competition to mine. But doctors and clinics hire webdesigners for image, not optimization, thereby forgetting a basic marketing principle:

"It doesn't matter how wonderful your web-site is, if nobody can find it then nothing else matters."

translation - put your url on your business cards and brochures as this will be the only way people will find it and raw internet marketing will do nothing for you.

And fathom also brought up something that needs repeating. Think of every internal page as a possible entry point and optimize internal pages for secondary and minor keywords. If those internal optimized pages are low in the SERPs, new reciprocal link agreements should point to those interior pages, with the anchor text reflecting the kws you optimized those pages for.

The best result for me this update was to jump from #18 to #6 on an important secondary keyword off an internal page for which I optimized it for. After building up strong links/pagerank for my index.html page, I began steering new reciprocal link requests to this internal page/secondary kw I was gunning for.

It paid off.

Now that I got that page high in the serps I was aiming for, I will go on to work with other interior pages. Having all interior pages rank high for the secondary kws they are aimed for is more important to me than ranking #1 for my singular main keyword.

With any luck, I can achieve a good serp for one or two pages each update. 6-9 months from now all my important pages will be ranking top 10 for their respective kws and I will have achieved diversification.

As I said earlier, longevitity is my goal and diversification is a major factor in achieving this goal.

I hope my posts and fathom's follow ups have helped others. I am going to sleep.



 12:17 pm on Mar 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Zapatista, this is something that alway bugs me..should secondary keywords get their own domain or do you leave it as meat for the main domain..in my own field more and more sites are setting up domains for each keyword and getting serveral sites into a serps whereas before they had one.


 12:43 pm on Mar 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Not impressed again.. A site that we have reported a few times over the past 6 months is still in the index. Better yet - now they are using their famous hidden text to beat us on another set of keywords!

RECOMMENDATION NUMERO UNO FOR GOOGLE! Read the spam reports or just remove that form from your site. At least I wouldnt be frustrated if there was no place that it could be reported..


 12:58 pm on Mar 7, 2003 (gmt 0)


Buying a domain for each secondary keyword is spam. It's also a waste of good PageRank. I take interior pages that are there anyway and optimized them for secondary kws as i mentioned earlier. Once I have the main page built up with links and PageRank, I get my link partners to link to that interior page.

So what I might do after optimizing an interior page as mentioned in my post previously:

www.mydomain.c*m/secondary_keyword_one.html and if My main page has PageRank5 and my interiors are PR4s, I will ask the next 10 quality link partners to link to precisely that page with "Affordable Secondary Keyword One" in the anchor text.

There is no reason why a business should have 50 domains. I get link requests from these people and I ignore them. Why? Most of those sites have PR2 and lower which i don't touch and if they are higher, they won't last there for long.

Here's another Golden Nugget that is just between you and me and no one else so don't tell anyone.

I have no "proof" but I am convince that an ICRA tag in your metas and a listing in surfsafely.c*m are minor factors in the 100 factor Google algo. I say this for two reasons:
1. On many minor kws, I will rank #3 for a two word phrase with an interior page and the surfsafely.C*m page with MY OWN LINK on it will rank #4.
2. Look at Google preferences and there is an option for "safe surfing"

Now, I have no proof on this so don't quote me on it but I have a good hunch this ICRA/surfsafely.c-m are factors in the Google algo. But that's just between you and me, wink, wink.

Okay, I really got to go to sleep. IF anyone has? about my posts please sticky me and I will help unless you are a doctor or clinic.


 1:29 pm on Mar 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have noticed lots of <PR4 pages showing as backlinks, even a PR1 page.

So either the toolbar PR that I'm seeing is still not accurate, or the "link:" command has different methods for deciding what it's going to display, or both.


 1:37 pm on Mar 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'm more and more inclined to believe that there is something up with the algo re: inbound links. Searching link:www.example.com is just not reliable at the moment...

Better wait until the end of the update. ;)


 1:52 pm on Mar 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

No change whatsoever in the top 13 results for my main keyword -- probably no change further down as well, but I don't track any lower than 13.

So far, no change in PR for any of those 13, and only minor changes in the numbers of backlinks.

Google interprets literally. So when you put "Easy Weight Loss!" It reads the exclamation point literally.

Are you suggesting that "loss!" is seen as a separate term from simple "loss"? If so, I don't see that. Google seems to ignore punctuation even on searches put in quotes.

I don't normally do commercial searches, but came across some shocking spam the other day. The top three results for a particular term were different sites for the same company -- with only slightly different content. Since the update it's almost the same -- now three our of the top four results are for that company. I guess that's progress of a sort. Spam report has been sent.


 2:04 pm on Mar 7, 2003 (gmt 0)


somebody said somth. about dmoz Data in a earlier reply.
Has Google updated the directory? This would be very suprising for me because I have a site, which is listed in the dmoz since about 4 month, but it is not listed in the Google Directory.


 2:27 pm on Mar 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

I've seen several people note that META descriptions play a role in Google Serps. Is this fairly well established or just speculation? I've not been focusing on Keyword or Description META tags since it isn't really "user oriented." Could someone point me to a thread where this topic may have been discussed in detail? Otherwise, what are the criteria for a good META description?

The Subtle Knife

 3:05 pm on Mar 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

windsun, putting asterisks in link: can bring up some weird results.

Wow, this looks like a list of "golden sites"
links from these clearly are good thing.


 3:25 pm on Mar 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Sorry if this was asked before:

Is the new PR already being used in the calculations of search results in ww2 or ww3, or will PR be figured in later in the update?


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