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Semi-Penalty
new with google?
AthlonInside

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13158 posted 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.

 

Spica

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13158 posted 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?

troi21

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13158 posted 1:40 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

I used the top ranking site for my main key phrase as the basis for my optimisation. Therefore, he has the same number of instances of the key phrase in his text, headings, title etc as I do. He has more backlinks than me though and he has been number one for months and months. And he is still number one now. I was number four last month and now I am 24. None of this makes sense to me.

wackmaster



 
Msg#: 13158 posted 1:50 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

troi21,
Is it possible that the reason you fell back is simply that your progress was recent, and since recent progress, backlinks, etc haven't been fully factored into these new SERP's yet, you're seeing a temporary drop?

spica,
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?

Without question we're torturing ourselves at my place, but at my insistence because I feel that we've already learned a lot about G's new direction. Of course, we'll know more still when it all falls into place, and certainly some of our hypotheses will be disproven.

I've noted eleswhere that we have some sites up and some down in this new go-round.

Common elements to the sites that are up: More pages, more diverse content across the body of the sites, more diverse internal nav patterns, less reliance on one- and two-word keyphrases....and fewer backlinks with one and two word keyphrases.

You gotta love the Web! ;-)

Hagstrom

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13158 posted 1:55 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Wackmaster: All the (English) pages point back with "widgets wodgets of A-city" - and so does DMOZ.

Since all 3 words appear, the penalty should be the same for "widgets A-city" and "wodgets A-city" as it is for "widgets wodgets".

Hagstrom

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13158 posted 2:00 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

I was number four last month and now I am 24.

troi21, are you saying that your homepage moved from #4 to #24?. The penalty (or whatever it is) we're discussing is one where the homepage /indexpage is removed for certain keywords, so that interior pages appear further down in the SERPs.

MHes

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13158 posted 2:23 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hagstrom - "Since all 3 words appear, the penalty should be the same for "widgets A-city" and "wodgets A-city" as it is for "widgets wodgets".

I think the penalty applies to exact anchor text matches, not partial matches. It is google bombing targeting a specific phrase that is what google is trying to filter out.

wackmaster



 
Msg#: 13158 posted 2:28 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hagstrom,

We see some evidence that words which come *earlier* in the anchor text are somehow given more weight, but having said that, your example doesn't support the theory we're looking at at my place regarding one- and/or two-word penalties...or perhaps better to call it 'de-emphasis.'

FYI, some of the discussion in here involves 'dampening' of homepages; not always total elimination. But I suspect that troi21's problem is the absence of the more recent data in the current SERP's.

AthlonInside

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13158 posted 2:43 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Spica and All,

I have take sometime observing other web sites. And for sure, this new semi-penalty is really going on an involve a lot of web sites.

Yes, I am quite sure this new add-on algo (the semi-penalty) is used to catch sites with too much SEO especially anchor text (i.e buying links from higher PR site, lots of guestbooks links ...).

It is the anchor text theory which make google the best search engine for years. But recently people are manipulating it to get higher ranking (link exchange, buying PRs, sign guestbooks, signature in forus, linksmanager, Zeus ...). Someone mention that even KIDS can get a good ranking with Google as long as they get some backlinks with the correct anchor text. This is absolutely correct.

What google is implementing in their new algo is a way to detect sites trying to manipulate anchor text to rank well with Google. And this is so-called the semi penalty.

(Ok, I know I know, you saw some spammy sites which are still there, or some sites that buy links are standing strong ... Come on, the algo is not perfect yet and it is not a catch-all solutions, there are always survivals. We are talking about majority. Google always has filters to catch spam but there are always survivors. Filters always have their weakness)

I myself is buying links. But my case, I didn't get the semi penalty from it because the backlinks is not showing up yet (I get it from too many link exchange). I've check the sites buying links which has the backlinks already calculated. They NEVER rank well with the keywords they advertise although the USED TO for the last few updates. Instead some inner pages pop up somewhere late. This match excatly what most of us are seeing.

So this new algo try their best to detect sites which try to manipulate site rank by anchor text.Once detected, they activate the semi-penalty for THIS PAGE alone (not the entire site) for only THE SPECIFIC KEYWORDS (so they still rank well with other keywords).

(Ok ok, don't ask me how the algo works and tell me that the silly algo will penalize a lot of innocent sites, YES, it do already penalize a lot of innocent sites and the algo is not perfect (far from perfect actually) and that's why we are all complaining here).

And remember the old say, as long as google provides good results to their visitors, no one will care if your site (and mine) vanished. They are always other websites ready to replace our position.

If you want to research, don't look for site which exist in the index, try to think of your competitors who used to rank well and observe them. Or try to observe those who is buying back links (and with their link already calculated in the index).

No one knows how this algo works (except those from GooglePlex) but for now, we know the reason why it exist and why it is so important, as I have explained in this post. What I hope is we could now work together to find our how to recover our site because we are alone here.

troi21

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13158 posted 2:48 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

hagstrom and wackmaster,
my homepage was four and the interior page was five last month for this particular keyphrase. Now the homepage is 24 (oh sorry, now 26) and the interior page is number 59. i was on page three months ago before i did any decent optimisation to the pages.

wackmaster



 
Msg#: 13158 posted 2:59 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

troi21 -
Sounds like you may be feeling the effects of both the older index being used (which in theory would have put you back to page 3) plus *possibly* this new penalty we're discussing?

MHes,AthlonInside,All -
Do you see a difference between one, two, three, four keyword links? Or do you think that it's more an issue with *perfect text* - i.e., *any* exact match, regardless of number of words in the anchor text...

FYI, at my place, we're observing that the one and two word phrases are suffering more...but I believe this is all closely tied with the theming discussions going on. Meaning that if Google is trying to put more emphasis on pages/sites with more than just one or two apparent keywords, then sites that are SEO'ed around a single keyword will fall, and will *also* be penalized for the appearance of too many backlinks with perfect anchor text.

Thoughts?

AthlonInside

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13158 posted 3:11 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Wackmaster and all,

Everyone is different, we've heard 1, 2 or 3 keywords encounter the same problem. And I don't agree they are putting more weight in on-page factors. Anchor text is still the most important factor.

What this new algo do is if it catch you, your anchor text no longer give weight (for that keyword only). So in a competitive area, your page might be lost while some inner page shown up. The inner page shows up because it is calculated as more relevant than your main page now. Why? Because the main page has lost the links weight. For non competitive keywords, people will see their listing droped down a few pages.

Isn't it things are getting more clear? We can only find out information on this new algo by ourself (and we should) because Google will surely keep this to themself. They no longer can afford telling people so much.

dzinerbear

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13158 posted 3:22 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

If I may ask, how are you even checking your sites on sj and dc/fi/cw?

jjdesigns4u

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13158 posted 3:36 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

on this possible linking penalty or what ever you want to call it.

I would say I am guitly of having my main keywords in the anchor text for all my incoming links. I have my link info on the links page for people to pick up and use.

But... how much is too much. 100, 200 , 300 all with the same anchor text

if you have some links that are not using the exact text are you safe.

any thoughts

Eleveeze Preslee

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13158 posted 3:38 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

i have a variety of anchor text but the only one that affects me is the one the page is actually optimised for.

but whether im affected by any new filter seems to depend on the datacenter. Right now im ok on sj fi and aol. on www index page is dropped and sub page appears on page two instead.

[edited by: Eleveeze_Preslee at 3:44 pm (utc) on May 22, 2003]

UK_Web_Guy

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13158 posted 3:44 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

What happened to the theory that links TO your site cannot harm it's rankings?

If google were to start punishing sites for having lots of backlinks with the same anchor text - wouldn't it be quite easy to try and stuff other peoples sites?

That is the only thing which makes me doubt this theory, but I have to admit it would explain what I am seeing.

I.E. index pages not appearing in SEPRS, but sub pages are.

One thing I would add though, is that index pages DO appear when I search on google.com - only when searching on .co.uk for "UK only" sites do I see this issue - and not on all datacentres

Let's suppose this theory is correct - how do we go about correcting it?

Eleveeze Preslee

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13158 posted 3:48 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

>If google were to start punishing sites for having lots of backlinks with the same anchor text - wouldn't it be quite easy to try and stuff other peoples sites? <

right, but i see that only when the keyphrase in the anchor text is highly optimsed on the page as well. I remember a long time ago googleguy saying that it was possible to over optimise your site. perhaps they have upped the filter for it and the anchor text is the trigger. so you couldnt hurt someone just by tons of the perfect anchor text to their site unless google already considers they have over optimised. then again, maybe it really is to do with the incomplete update/reindex.

Eleveeze Preslee

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13158 posted 3:49 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

>If google were to start punishing sites for having lots of backlinks with the same anchor text - wouldn't it be quite easy to try and stuff other peoples sites? <

also, it may not hurt you but it no longer has weight.

AthlonInside

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13158 posted 4:02 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Come a good question on why SERPs from all datacenters are inconsistent, and your site appear in some datacenter but not in other, and the results fluncating, and your site appear today seems to disappear the next day ... ... Ok here is my opinion.

The semi-penalty is a new thing being applied. It require a lot of testing and tweaking. Since they have 8 datacenters, why not test tweak and test 8 different copies concurrently instead of applying a same algo to all datacenters? This can safe a lot of time and testing would be more effective.

UK_Web_Guy,
What happened to the theory that links TO your site cannot harm it's rankings?

Probably Can. But you need to spent the time your optimize your site to harm another site. You need to exchange link with other site for your competitor. :) It takes months. And it is not guaranted to work! If it didn't work, it will push your competitor to the TOP! So will you spent the time on it?

AthlonInside

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13158 posted 4:07 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Let's suppose this theory is correct - how do we go about correcting it?

IMHO, if you already rank well, the best way is to stop exchanging links anymore. If you continue, you might trigger the penalty. This is of course not the best way, but it is the safest way, for now. When time goes by, we can find more clues on this.

UK_Web_Guy

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13158 posted 4:12 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

AthlonInside

I would not spend the time doing this as you say, but if links to a site could harm a site, this would open up a massive can of worms that people could and would exploit.

Let's say a company angers a group of people for whatever reason, they could all say, hey let's all link to XYZ site, and that would harm it's google rankings?

It's like voting in reverse?

On the basis that this is part of the "new" algorithm - does anybody have any views on how you could combat it?

On page factors?

MHes

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13158 posted 4:16 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Athloninside

I think we should still encourage links in for all the pr benefit. Even if you have 1000 identical links in saying "widgets", the spider will still come along with a bucket load of pr and muttering "widgets eh? lets see" and if it then see's loads of heavy optimisation for "widgets" it will laugh and ignore.... but if it sees a nice sensible site with helpful optimisation without all the usual tricks it will be very happy!

So links in can't hurt you..... heavy site optimisation can.

As a reminder... early days to change anything yet ;)

wackmaster



 
Msg#: 13158 posted 4:21 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

What happened to the theory that links TO your site cannot harm it's rankings?

Oh that theory. Well, since spammy Webmasters were going out and setting all sorts of bogus backlinks, maybe G decided to have a go at putting a stop to it?

If they are doing this, the question of *how* they are filtering out the bad backlinks and still giving credit for the legit ones is way beyond my ability.

I'm eager to hear other theories that explain much of what I and others are seeing regarding index pages dropping in the SERP's while sub-pages don't.

In my view, three possibilities:
1) More focus on theming is causing some of this.
2) A possible SEO-spam filter (as being discussed here) is causing some of this.
3) All of this is nonsense and will go away when the newer data, backlinks etc arrive and the bugs are worked out.

Unfortunately, I don't believe that #3 explains what we're seeing, because the relative showings of different pages and sites don't seem to support it in our view. That leaves #1 and #2.

Regarding #2, MHess has offered the best explanation so far that I've seen (earlier in this thread).

wackmaster



 
Msg#: 13158 posted 4:28 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think we should still encourage links in for all the pr benefit. Even if you have 1000 identical links in saying "widgets", the spider will still come along with a bucket load of pr and muttering "widgets eh? lets see" and if it then see's loads of heavy optimisation for "widgets" it will laugh and ignore.... but if it sees a nice sensible site with helpful optimisation without all the usual tricks it will be very happy!

Exactly. Perhaps we should stop referring to this as a penalty. If it exists at all, it would be a discounting of factors that previously were given more importance - not a penalty per se. But the effect would be that pages that are highly optimized would fall relative to others that were perhaps more well balanced with respect to their overall success in the algo's.

Eleveeze Preslee

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13158 posted 4:54 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

cant simply be an ignoring of inbound links because this would still rank your homepage above your sub page.

stevegpan2

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13158 posted 5:10 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Waht I see is the update is using months old data.

as some banned sites coming up again in the same rank.

what you all think?

MHes

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13158 posted 5:12 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi Wackmaster

Yup, I think 'penalties' are rare (cue posts on penalties experienced!) but instead, google 'ignores' things it doesn't like, hence a drop in rankings . In this case, google is ignoring the h1 tag if it matches various links in, title, file name etc. and thus no h1 benefit is being applied to your ranking.

But, I suspect we are all in the habit of searching for 10 or so of our targetted keyword phrases and getting depressed about the rankings. How about all the other potential phrases? I think joe public is getting more sophisticated about searching and beginning to use longer search strings and sites will still be ranking well for these. We may find a small drop in overall traffic, but I suspect quality traffic often comes from more specific search phrases. This traffic will remain, as the seo algo won't kick in, and sales may still hold up.

AthlonInside

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13158 posted 5:36 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

It should consider a 'penalty' if your listing doesn't show up in the position it deserved. :)

JasonIR

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13158 posted 5:38 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

MHes, I have to disagree. Joe Public is not getting more sophisticated. I have received more hits from "widgets" in a day than I have received from "black widgets" or any other combination in a year.

MHes

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13158 posted 5:48 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi JasonIR

I'm sure this may apply to some sectors more than others, but in the areas we cover our log files have a huge range of keywords. Also we log searches people do within our site.... it is amazing what is in there!

Are you ranking for "black widgets" or "black widgets with pink spots" or "black widgets with a green stripe" etc. etc. I suppose if you are in a sector which has limited variation of search phrases, then you are right, a few keyword phrases are very important.

Kirby

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13158 posted 5:50 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

MHes, I agree that it is more likely that Google is ignoring thinhs like H1 as opposed to penalizing, but I have to take issue with Joe Public's sophistication level. I haven't seen any evidence to support that Joe Public (alias Joe Surfer)is using search terms any differently. If that were true, I think ATW would have more users. One of the reasons Google is popular with Joe Surfer is BECAUSE it require no sophistication.

wackmaster



 
Msg#: 13158 posted 5:51 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think joe public is getting more sophisticated about searching and beginning to use longer search strings and sites will still be ranking well for these.

Agreed, and of course Google clearly understands this. Virtually any site's logfiles will confirm this (if they get decent traffic from SE's).

Plus, our traffic is up a bit overall right now. Too many sites/factors to be certain, but logs seem to back up what we've been discussing. Have lost some ground on shorter search terms, gained on other longer terms...pretty much just what GG was saying.

Theming + focus on sites with broader arrays of content + adjustments to fight over-optimization = Dominic, or so it seems to us.

The only major issues I have are these...

Regarding the apparent new direction G is taking: I see some really good, very niche sites are suffering right now (one is in an area that is my hobby - nothing to do with my business - really a shame). Sure hope G does not throw the baby out with the bathwater as far as highly targeted sites go.

Regarding deployment of Dominic: Terrible miscalculation. Bugs, dropped sites, spam everywhere, dup content everywhere. Old pages. It's like someone waved a magnet over the servers. Yes I understand much of this is expected to evaporate "over time" when bugs are worked out, new data is pulled in, backlinks are added, etc. But why release this disaster publicly. Very bad form.

Today, we decided that if G is not better within two weeks, we'll go to a cheaper search solution...not that it will dent their bottom line much...but thousands of single votes *can* make an election...just ask Al Gore ;-)

P.S. JasonIR - At most of my sites, one or two terms do clearly get more traffic than any others. The thing is, it's rare that those hottest terms by themselves ever exceed 20% of hits...at least in our case. 80% come from all the other combinations taken together.

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