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Semi-Penalty
new with google?
AthlonInside




msg:79332
 11:38 am on May 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

From SJ to FI, then CW and now DC, i have confirm a new things happened with the new algo.

In FI, CW and DC, my site is in the index. Most search terms performing the same as usual, EXCEPT the top keywords.

Top keywords are keywords used a lot in anchor text and contained in the title of my page.

The reason I am posting this is not to blame google or what. I need to at least find our the reason why this is happening.

Anyone here having the same experience? Maybe we can discussed here and find out the reason. Maybe there is a new filter working againt us.

 

AthlonInside




msg:79482
 6:03 pm on May 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

Every few post, there would be someone saying 'GoogleGuy said ...' & 'GoogleGuy mention ...'

This thread is active for a few days with 150 posts! I can see no way GG can miss this thread. He just don't want to give any comments on it. So I never believe what GG says in other threads can apply to us.

He did say new backlinks will be add in. But he never say if your site is lost, it would rise again. He never said that.

MHes




msg:79483
 6:30 pm on May 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

"Does this mean that I need to contact all of the sites that link to us and ask them to make their links to us *less clear*? "

hi wackmaster

I think the 'seo algo' kicks in if a series of triggers occurs. So if you have loads of links in with your targetted phrase from other sites AND you have loads of on page optimisation for that phrase then the dampening will occur. The way to cure this is to make sure you do not have the phrase in an H1 + page title etc.! Scary stuff and way to early to do anything about this, this is just a fun theory and I am no way saying do this! But, the idea is that if you tone down your 'on page' optimisation it may help e.g.

100 links in with anchor text "red widgets"
On page H1 "red widgets"
5 occurances of Bold "red widgets"
Title text "red widgets"
italics "red widgets"
etc. etc.

This could trigger the seo algo, so instead, do seo in moderation,,,

100 links in with anchor text "red widgets"
On page H1 "Widgets that are red"
2 occurances of Bold "red widgets"
Title text "red widgets for sale"
italics "widgets red"

Thus you are dampening the seo yourself, rather than having google do it for you!

JUST A THEORY - NO PROOF - JUST OBSERVATION SO FAR!

Kirby




msg:79484
 7:19 pm on May 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

I am not sure Im ready to buy the on page seo penalty theory yet.

One of my competitors, [widgets.com,...] has moved from nowhere to #4. 1/2 of the sentences on his main page are hidden links in H1 tags (using css for font size 1) that look like regular text that point to www.widgets.com.

After months reading this forum, I used legit H1 and H2 tags. Nothing close to spam! All links are industry specific. I drop from #8 to #15 and my links go from 58 to 14, while his go from 3 to 50. Im at PR4 and he is at PR3.

The above is not a whine, just an overview. If this semi-penalty exists, its application doesn't make sense to me.

wackmaster




msg:79485
 7:22 pm on May 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

MHes, yes, I'm sorry to say that since we've been discussing your hypothesis here, we see a good probability that it's at least directionally correct (I say 'directionally' because of course we can't say if it's correct at all, or exactly which factors are interacting exactly). But so far, it's the only plausible theory to explain some of what we're seeing.

I'm also with Chiyo and some others in here - much smarter than I - who have cleverly identified that Google appears to be de-emphasizing single words in favor of themes and semantic correlations, which is bringing some of our sites up, and some down.

I happen to like the general direction that this would represent...BUT, I also see that for now, some very nice and highly targeted sites are suffering because Google's new system seems to say: "we'll ignore you if your site is about widgets or blue widgets, but hey, no worries: you will get lots of hits for your page on extra large dark bluish-purple widgets"

Implementing a bold new solution like this (ie, before it's ready), is a bit like launching an old rocketship with a new communications system that can only be tested once the ship is in deep space....

jrokesmith




msg:79486
 8:28 pm on May 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

So what you guys are noticing is that if our site's name is "Best Widgets", and it appears that my main page is gone from the results for the term "best widgets" - we probably have this semi penalty you guys are talking about. We do have a lot of links with the anchor text, quite naturally, as the title of our site. Our site was previously doing quite well for this term (it was quite relevant since the products we carry are all Best Widgets).

If your theories on the reason for the penalty are correct, then it seems like there is nothing we really can do to avoid the penalty (short of changing our name and not getting links). We are not doing spammy stuff, the site is highly relevant for this keyword, and provides tons of valuable information for searchers. We are also seeing other (not ours) nice and highly relevant sites being caught with this filter along with some spam. I guess we just have to wait and see until Google is done with their changes.

Oh well, there is no point in whining about it - I am just trying to figure out what, if anything, we can do to address the problem for future months.

textex




msg:79487
 8:36 pm on May 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

So if all of these penalty theories hold true....do we re-optimize for Google and cross our fingers that the rest of the SE out there will like our new "down optimization".

When does Yahoo go to Ink?

needinfo




msg:79488
 8:40 pm on May 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think if the "seo algo" penality is true then i think we'll see thousands of emails flying around from seo guys asking their external link partners to change their anchor text in their links.

This easy get around must have been realised by Google, and because of this I really can't see this "seo algo" holding true.

[edited by: needinfo at 8:45 pm (utc) on May 21, 2003]

wackmaster




msg:79489
 8:44 pm on May 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

jrokesmith, textex,

These are just theories in my mind...so far...albeit interesting ones. Also, there are at least two things going on here, and that's just what I *think* I *might* know:

1) possible seo penalty.

2) de-emphasis of one- and possibly two-word keywords.

Either/both of these could be producing negative results for now with your sites...and about 100 other things that only Google knows for sure.

At least at my place, all we're trying to do now is understand what's up. But we're waiting for the new index to be mixed in, plus backlinks, new PR calc's etc., before drawing any concrete conclusions about next steps.

textex




msg:79490
 8:48 pm on May 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

same here whackmaser...

MHes




msg:79491
 10:02 pm on May 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi needinfo

"This easy get around must have been realised by Google, and because of this I really can't see this "seo algo" holding true."

If webmasters have to email all the people that link to them then that is not so much a 'get around' as possibly what google want you to do. You are in effect being discouraged from targetting phrases and artificially emphasising your site for one keyword phrase. Instead, your site is being encouraged to be defined by several phrases, which helps them establish a theme for you, and forces the site to be more comprehensive and broad about its topic. Too many sites are targetted at one place, one product and almost one word! These sites will suffer.

Taking the theory further, if your site is www.brandname.com you would expect loads of links with the anchor text 'brandname'. Also. your site would reasonably have H1, bold, title tag etc. with that phrase. Therefore, the word 'brandname' would be subject to the 'seo algo'....BUT the search for 'brandname' would not be competitive so ranking would not be effected. If you are a useful and good site which is well linked to, your pr, unaffected by the 'seo algo', will prevent spammy sites highjacking your traffic.

However, if your site is called 'keyword-keyword.com' and the company name is the same, and all you sell are these keywords, this will no longer give this site an unfair advantage with the benefit of anchor text in. The dampening factor will kick in if the keyword matches a series of obvious seo tactics. If this site is genuinely the best site on the web for 'keyword-keyword' then it will still rank well through its pr if it has good sites linking to it, just like any other site with a non keyword brand name domain. It will do very well if lots of good sites link to it and it reduces its 'optimisation'. The webmaster will have to accept, if he over does the optimisation, then he will suffer.

N.B Still a working theory..... tomorrow may be different! :)

hamster77




msg:79492
 10:10 pm on May 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

I thought the idea was that if your site is good for humans to use then Google will like it? Not too good for the humans if you have no internal links and they can't find their way back to your homepage, surely?

I noticed something relating to the keyword thing when looking through the logs for our sites yesterday. These are sites that have lost ground in the SERPS, one by 30 pages, the others by a few places. I'm not sure exactly when this happened as I haven't checked the exact date, but sometime in the last couple of weeks these sites suddenly received a massive number of hits on their main keywords from Google, I think during one day, but I don't know if they all happened at the same time. It doesn't look like a 'real' number of visitors. These are the keywords that have suddenly lost ground. Could this be related, or is it just a weird co-incidence?

(The site that has dropped drastically had vastly more hits on those keywords than the others.)

rfgdxm1




msg:79493
 10:28 pm on May 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

>Instead, your site is being encouraged to be defined by several phrases, which helps them establish a theme for you, and forces the site to be more comprehensive and broad about its topic. Too many sites are targetted at one place, one product and almost one word! These sites will suffer.

Remember that most of the web is not e-commerce, but amateur sites. Google has to design an algo for most of the web. Many amateur sites are not broad about their topic, but narrowly focused. And, a lot of e-commerce sites are narrowly focused. "Blue Widget World", which only sells blue widgets. I see nothing bad in this.

jrokesmith




msg:79494
 11:28 pm on May 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

agreed rfgdxm1. Google delivers value by providing highly targeted results based on the keyword a person is using to search. Relevancy. It is actually in Google's interest not to penalize sites that are highly focused since these sites deliver highly relevant results for a search term. If Google is trying to catch people that overstep their guidelines or clean things up a little - great, better search results. But to penalize a site because they are too narrowly focused...doesn't make sense as a spam filter to me.

rfgdxm1




msg:79495
 11:37 pm on May 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

>But to penalize a site because they are too narrowly focused...doesn't make sense as a spam filter to me.

It would actually make more sense to have a spam filter penalize sites that aren't narrowly focused. One classic spammer technique is to slap up a page on a topic that is unrelated to the site stuffed with keywords to score high on specific search terms, hoping to lure people into that site, where hopefully they'll poke around some more and buy something. Dunno if Google has added theming within a site as part of the algo, but the idea of theming is knock down sites in the SERPs that are not narrowly focused. The logic being if someone searches for "blue widgets", a site with 20 pages about blue widgets likely is more relevant than a site with just one page on that.

JudgeJeffries




msg:79496
 11:43 pm on May 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

This semi-penalty does make sense from Googles point of view. Identify which sites are successful commercial sites ie those employing seo's, recip on target links etc then sink them without trace for the identified keyword which probably represents the main part of the business and thereby force the site owners into buying equivalent exposure which they surely will if the seo's dont crack the problem quickly.

jrokesmith




msg:79497
 12:11 am on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

"Identify which sites are successful commercial sites ie those employing seo's, recip on target links etc then sink them without trace for the identified keyword"

Google's ad words program currently has value because it allows content owners (aol, yahoo, google, whoever) to monetize the value of their content - several years ago these guys were leaking incredible value. In google's case, their main "content" is their ability to deliver highly targeted search results - their ability to generate paid revenue is contingent upon properties adopting their searches. Hypothetically, if google were to implement this type of strategy, it would serve as a boost to paid advertising in the short term. In the long term however, it would result in a much greater financial setback that would outweigh short term gains. In the past google has realized this and based their advances in advertising around this fact.

wackmaster




msg:79498
 1:09 am on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

jrokesmith,

agreed. without relevance and SERP's that a majority of users prefer, G's ability to sell targeted ads sinks into the world of AV, Lycos, etc.

The issues at hand with Dominic, in part, have more to do with defining what good SERP's are...and how to elimiate SPAM.

Increasingly, my sense is that Google is starting to include sites targeting one or two keywords in their definition of spam. And while there are certainly spammy sites pursuing *exactly* that strategy, there are millions of legitimate sites built around the same principle, and those sites will suffer.

So I'm still hoping that this one and two-word keyphrase concern is *only* a theory...

rfgdxm1




msg:79499
 1:27 am on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

I should hope wackmaster your theory is wrong. Amateur sites in psrticular are often narrowly focused.

copongcopong




msg:79500
 2:13 am on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

f you get penalize by google, does it only affect your PR or even your position in the Search Result?

Is it a sign that you are penalize when your site is not listed on the Google Directory which it list before and still listed in dmoz?

rfgdxm1




msg:79501
 2:16 am on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Even if Google boots your site from the main search, if you are in the ODP you'll show in the Google directory. ODP editorial policies are such that things that can get you booted from Google are not allowed to be considered. The most obvious example being part of a link farm to boost PR.

wackmaster




msg:79502
 2:27 am on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

rfgdxm1,

If you revisit the question I asked in post #146 of this thread, and then read MHes' post #147, and also #'s 150-160, you'll see how it of evolved. Not really my idea.

I'm just sort combining what MHes theorized (very sharply I might add), with some of the "theming" speculation posted in the last day or two in other strings, to get to where I am on this.

Either/both of those lines of thinking suggest a potential new bias at Google against sites targeting one keyword, and maybe two-word key phrases...something some of us fear will hurt thousands of innocents...but clearly it's too soon to know. Maybe in a week or two it will all be much clearer. For now I just keep waiting and trying to understand. A fool's game perahps...you'll notice that my nick is not 'smartmaster'... ;-)

copongcopong




msg:79503
 2:43 am on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Even if Google boots your site from the main search, if you are in the ODP you'll show in the Google directory. ODP editorial policies are such that things that can get you booted from Google are not allowed to be considered. The most obvious example being part of a link farm to boost PR.

This is my problem (or its Google's) for my site is listed in ODP, but not in Google Directory and I lost my back links too, wherein one is from ODP.

Is it really Google's problem? If yes this would end the hysteria definitely. All we have right now is speculations, probability, chances are, and speculations ....

Google Guy any light one this. (a hint would help a lot.) :)

rfgdxm1




msg:79504
 2:54 am on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

When was your site added to the ODP copongcopong? If it has been in the ODP for many months, this is odd.

copongcopong




msg:79505
 3:10 am on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yes this has been added last 4 months ago (i think). it is still listed in ODP and not in the Google directory which Google previously list. It even have a directory/category link on the search result page. :(

mmcnicho




msg:79506
 4:55 am on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

This is my first post here, and before I start I just wanted to say i think this site is a great resource.
thanks a lot everyone.

I have a site brandname.com and I have a lot of search engine users who looked for the term 'brandname' or 'brandname.com' on Google. We did not do any SEO because we had a good number of inbounds, including some high PR sites, and we have always been #1 for a search on our name.

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed a search for 'brandname' on google was linking to an internal page which we are no longer updating, and our index page was not coming up.
I asked a programmer here to redirect that old page to the index so visitors would see the newest stuff.

Now we dropped from #1 to #17 for a search for 'brandname'.
Neither the old page which we redirected or our index page is coming up on Google. Now ANOTHER legacy page is our top result on the SERP for 'brandname' and its a frameset page with very few inbounds too (internal or external)

I can understand Google has to fight a lot of spam, but a lot of internet users don't know how to type-in a url into their browsers, they go to Search engines. I think the recent changes to Google algo can make it more difficult to use the internet for a lot of people. (and keeps my customers from finding me)

From my reading of this thread here is my pretinent info:

I have no inbound anchor text links.

I have dozens of other domain names aliased to my main domain. (it looks like i should 301 them to my main site)

I have no H1, bolded or italics of 'brandname' on my index page

I have a couple 'images of text' on my index page which have big alt tags of all the text displayed on the image, including some competitive keywords.

I can't think of anything else which have given me this penalty. any tips would be appreciated.

AthlonInside




msg:79507
 6:30 am on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Some update to my situation.

My main page used to disappear in page 1 and some inner page shown in results after #100 (so as many posters here).

Today, my main page shown up instead of the inner page. I am not sure but I think the ranking improve a bit (but still over #100).

The special thing I did is I change my title few days ago and fresh bot get it and show it in the results. I didn't change anything in the title which relate to my keywords. I change some unrelated keywords. So the change to my title and my main page appear again might not be related at all. But it is worth sharing here. So someone might want to do the same and have a try. What I did is change some few words at the back of my title but still keeping the original main title (the keywords).

Today, I throw away more on-page SEO and I will see what happened when the fresh bot get it few days later. I am afraid of having some heavy changes to my site esp the title because deep bot will come soon enough. So there are only minor testing going on.

doc_z




msg:79508
 7:38 am on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi mmcnicho and welcome!

> I asked a programmer here to redirect that old page to the index so visitors would see the newest stuff.

How did you redirect to the index page? Did you use JavaScript? I'm asking because I still believe that JS could caused my semi-penalty.

None of the other theories mentioned here works in my case (as already mentioned, there is probably more than one reason for the semi-penalty). Also, there are general arguments again off-page theories given in msg#131.

MHes




msg:79509
 8:52 am on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

mmcnicho

"I have no H1, bolded or italics of 'brandname' on my index page "

Also you say you have no inbound anchor text. Alt text is now being ignored, so I suspect you have no optimisation for your barand name at all. IMHO I would put your brand name in h1 and one or two bold text and that will flag it up for google.

rfgdxm1

Ok here's a scenario:

Site 1 - widgets.com
100 links in with anchor "widgets'
Widgets is on page in h1, bold, italics, title, file name etc.
"red widgets" etc is just mentioned as normal text.

Site 2 - brandname.com
100 links in vary from "red widgets" to "green widgets" etc.
H1 is "widgets"
Bold, italics etc is used sparingly and covers "green widgets" and "red widgets" etc. also these words are in normal text.

Which site sounds like the better quality and more comprehensive for a search on "widgets"? This is the decision (simplistically) that google has to make, baring in mind it has to avoid listing spam.

I suppose 'seo algo' theory is based on "over optimisation = spam" However, if you are doing a really specialist page, like "red and blue widget with spots" then you may trip the seo algo by having such a focused page... BUT... here's the thing, the search phrase is less competitive so you still rank ok.

Hagstrom




msg:79510
 1:10 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Let me add my 0.02

The name of my site is "widgets wodgets of A-city". This title appears in backlinks, <title>-field and <h1>-field. All my pages point back to the homepage using the title.

If I search for A-city, the homepage is #49 out of 262.000 (which is ok since I don't even live in A-city).
I'm #1 and #2 for both "A-city widgets" and "A-city wodgets".

So Google likes my homepage and it used to be #2 for "widgets wodgets", but now it has disappeared and instead some of my subsections ("widgets wodgets of B-city" and "widgets wodgets of C-city") appear around #20.

What's the difference? Well, it appears that someone has bought a "Sponsored link" for "widgets wodgets". Maybe this is what triggers this new penalty?

wackmaster




msg:79511
 1:32 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hagstrom,

Is it possible that you have lots of internal nav links and/or (external) backlinks pointed to your homepage, with the anchor text: "widgets wodgets"?

Spica




msg:79512
 1:35 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

We are torturing ourselves trying to figure out why we were hit by this putative semi-penalty (BTW, I tend to believe that it is not a penalty, but the result of a change in algo. Instead of focusing so much on our own sites, wouldn't it be more useful to analyze instead what the sites that didn't lose ranking for the same keywords are doing or not doing?

Unfortunately, I tried that this morning and didn't see a consensus, but maybe someone else can get us more info this way?

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