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Google June 2003 : Update Esmeralda

 8:59 pm on Jun 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

We are seeing significant changes in Serps, back link numbers, fresh dates, and indexes at a couple of data centers.

This might mean a possible update.

WebmasterWorld Google Update Changes:

The problem: Chit chat noise in update threads.

Last month we hand several thousand messages posted about the update. The volume level was intense and people couldn't find the info that was appropriate. Many senior members complained about the "me too" chit chat messages being left.

We are not going to do that this month. If you don't have anything new to add to a thread thing please kick back and read. Additionally, we are going to be proactive in keeping those threads clean. Again, the volume is so high this time of month that informing everyone of any thread tidying is near impossible.

We would appreciate your continued latitude, cooperation (thanks), and patience as we head into this months update.

For the Team,
Brett Tabke

Google Update FAQ:

Messages in this thread do not count towards user message totals.

Understanding Dominic: (the previous update):



 2:41 am on Jun 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Early observation - The new index seems to really devalue PR and anchor text. I have seen this across the board.

One interesting example is Google now ranks on page #3 for search engine even though they are #1 for allinanchor: search engine and obviously have PR 10+.


 2:42 am on Jun 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Wise words Cindy - thanks. And we don't need/want everyones report unless it is something new too add.


 2:50 am on Jun 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Early observation - The new index seems to really devalue PR and anchor text. I have seen this across the board.

If that's true, that would only leave on-page factors to determine SERPs, yet that doesn't appear to be the case.

For example, the #1 result for search engine (dogpile) doesn't even have the word "engine" on the page, as you can see from the cache [].


 2:56 am on Jun 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have a question for someone that knows how this all works. Is it possible to move up and down in ranking after an update has taken place. I think I've just worked out why we lost position on a certain term and that is anchor text. We have a heavy site with good internal linking and I just rectified some stuff on a few thousand pages. When the deepfreshbot comes out again and picks up those changes, can it also affect our ranking or do I have to wait for the next update?


 2:58 am on Jun 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

"Early observation - The new index seems to really devalue PR and anchor text. I have seen this across the board."

Also it seems that the title tag is not important anymore. It actually seems that, in order to rank well for a particular term you should avoid using it in your title tag?!


 3:00 am on Jun 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

<<If that's true, that would only leave on-page factors to determine SERPs, yet that doesn't appear to be the case. >>

I certainly did not mean to suggest that GG is not using off page factors for ranking. Obviously this is not the case. I am just observing that it is a bit bizarre that Google does not even rank in the top 20 for search engine with all of those backlinks/anchor text/PR.

Just becasue PR is not as important as it once was, does not make it obsolete.


 3:20 am on Jun 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

[Also it seems that the title tag is not important anymore.]

Title tag still rules, just don't stuff it with your keywords.

Also seems that the toolbar is/has been useless since the domenic experiment. I am deleting mine and going back to good old fashion SEO that got me my #1's in the first place. Too much analysis leads to paralysis. Man, what a ride!


 3:32 am on Jun 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Some Observations.

Google indexed some 15k pages from one of my sites, PageRank stayed the same, and SERP rankings did too. However listed backlinks dropped to a new low (used to have thousands). I'd conclude that internal site links are less likely to show up in backlinks now -- which is arbitrary (and hardly worth worrying about) since they are still counted.

For almost all of my sites listed backlinks dropped but all my #1 rankings are still there. So if you lost alot of backlinks that doesn't necessarily mean something bad.


 3:35 am on Jun 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

"Early observation - The new index seems to really devalue PR and anchor text. I have seen this across the board."

I have pages that utterly rely on PR/anchor text and they are still #1.


 3:43 am on Jun 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

I certainly did not mean to suggest that GG is not using off page factors for ranking. Obviously this is not the case. I am just observing that it is a bit bizarre that Google does not even rank in the top 20 for search engine with all of those backlinks/anchor text/PR.

Just becasue PR is not as important as it once was, does not make it obsolete.

I agree, it is bizarre. I guess I wouldn't be looking for reasons why dogpile is #1 and google is #22 at this point, since I don't expect those ranks to hold. For one thing, I'm seeing some in the top 30 with fresh tags, others without, so that may be indicative of fluctuation. Also, I don't play in those leagues as far as backlinks and while I expect the same rules to hold true, observing those rules in action with such a difference in variables may not follow the patterns we're used to quite as closely.

OTOH, if Dogpile's 16,000 backlinks and PR whatever is it can continue to beat Google's 251,000 backlinks and PR10, I'd sure like to know how.


 4:05 am on Jun 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think the PR we are seeing from -fi is incorrect.

link:www.domain.com is showing internal pages of my site linking to my homepage. The internal pages of my site only have a PR of 3 according to the toolbar. A PR of 4 or greater is needed to show up as a backlink.


 4:13 am on Jun 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Anyone else confirm that keyword in text link/url actually does seem to help this time? It is for me.

Thank you


 4:58 am on Jun 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

I am hoping what Clark states:

As for the updates, this update is good news, but it isn't "real" as far as I'm concerned as well as many others I think. The real, serious deepbot has not come in to pick up most of the new pages in the last couple of months. That means wait for this update to settle down, wait for the deepbot, then the next update, THEN and only then can you really see what the changes at Google mean. The craziness of this transition is not over at all. Give another month or two.

Hopefully with the deepbot being freshdeepbot, some of the latest crawl will come in a bit quicker, but the take home message is still be patient.

I was a little impatient the last week or two because I knew that deepbot has never visited most of my pages in the last 2 months (which is when I've more than doubled existing content) and that only after Esemeralda (whatever it was to be named) and then the deepbot, would it be possible to see what's going on. I'm happy this step has arrived, but we must wait some more.

...is true. GG, isn't this is really another phase of Dominic?

I pointed my hosts file to toolbarqueries.google.com and all the new (February) pages that were PR0'd now show PR -1 of index page.

Oddly, the Site Map Google that was PR0'd (since a new page from February) is now showing a PR of round number 5 which is equal to Index page of site.? Every other page is pretty consistent.
Not that this is bad, but it does not have any links to the page at all.

Google thinks this page is best to show for their most important SERP. Unfortunately, that same page that was ranking #14 then #11, then #10 the entire duration of SJ update was buried to page 15 when PR0'd.

If, in fact, the PR being pulled from toolbarqueries.google.com is accurate (that is a big if- but other pages previously PR0'd are all now PR-1 off Index) and this Site Map page is now PR5 (don' see how that could be) then it should be doing much better.
Even if it's really an inherited PR4 page it should be doing much better than #152

Index page is nowhere to be found in SERPS... still.

You did state that it was a transient issue but your time frame and webmasters time frames for 'transient' would be different.

Picked up 3 new links. Good.

Will wait until the update is over and see where things fall. But, still hoping this is just another phase and we need another month to sort things out.

So, I am wondering if the Site Map Google PR0'd (along with all the February pages added) is really now a PR5 and if so how? All other Feb added pages that were PR0'd are now showing PR4.

This client site is in the unfortunate position of relying on 1 SERP to deliver 75%-80% of it's traffic. 2 years their index page was around #30-#35 for that SERP. No other sites in the SERP's have changed or added links. It's a very static category.

After a redesign the rank very high under all the "little SERP's" and were at #3 for a $6/click Overture term with Index page.
After Dominic that SERP went from #3 to #10 which was still good considering the PR0 status. Not a competitive phrase though. The important SERP that was at #10 using the Site Map during the SJ transition was buried when the Site Map was PR0'd.

Logic told me when the PR returned to that page it should rank pretty well. Well, still #152 on FI with a toolbar showing PR5.

The top ranking sites in the SERP- mostly index pages with zero content.

So, I hope this is a transient phase.


[edited by: Alphawolf at 5:06 am (utc) on June 16, 2003]


 5:03 am on Jun 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Anchor Text, title tags and content still seem to be king!

Esmeralda seems to be based on older data. I have one high PR6 page with fresh title tags that is in the top 1-5 positions for all of my keys words.

I think the Index is based on older data because 4-5 weeks ago, I changed all links to that page to a new file with a better url stringe to hopefully get better conversions.

Old or new data, I'm in Love with Esmeralda!


 5:10 am on Jun 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Google missed some of my back-links from high PR sites. Also Google appears to have only indexed about 70% of my total pages.

I'm ranked in the top 10 in virtually every phrase or keyword i've even remotely optimised for. I even have top 5 ranking for a few competitive phrases I never expected good position on.

But I still can't seem to break into the top 20 for an important one word keyword. I know one word keywords are extremely hard to get a good ranking on, but if I can manage a top 5 ranking in ATW for that same keyword.....than I see no reason why I shouldn't be able to do similar in Google. Hopefully next update I can do a little better.

All of my newer sites made it into the index and i'm seeing less "spam" in this index. Definitely a major improvement over Dominic. At least now we have fresh results to work with.

Overall I am very pleased with this update. I still see a few minor problems but I suspect that Google is still testing and working on things.


 5:11 am on Jun 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Ducked in here to see if the "sky is falling" phase was over and the analysis had begun, and steveb is still looking pretty wild-eyed, so I may duck back out for a bit. steveb, if your subpage has the word 28 times and the index page has it 32 times, it doesn't sound too awful to return the subpage to users. Alphawolf, Esmeralda is a different update than Dominic, and brings in much newer data (both links and pages). NexDog, I don't know if it would help your ranking sooner, but it can't hurt to get your site in shape now just in case. :) bnc929, I hope everyone re-reads your post about backlinks--level-headed stuff.


 5:14 am on Jun 16, 2003 (gmt 0)


How is it possible to have a PR5 such in my case (site on profile) yet not been indexed at all despite Googlebot visits this site everyday?

I mean that if Esmerald worked fine and the site is banned -hence is not in index- should not show any PR at all or else since it show a decent PR it should be listed. Any ideas?

Having changed my hosts, your site is GreyBar. allinurl shows nothing on FI, but you do have 121 backlinks showing on FI.

You must change your host file to point to the FI data. toolbarqueries.google.com

It seems you have a problem. :(



 5:17 am on Jun 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

John_Creed, I think you've hit on an important thing. That single keyword may seem important, but I'll bet you get more and better traffic from all those more specific phrases.

Helpmebe1, you seem to think we can't/don't show deep pages, and steveb, you don't like that we show deep pages and not index pages. I'm gonna let you guys fight it out, and just tell me who won. :)


 5:36 am on Jun 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

I would agree that some of the old data has been lost.

For my case, while it shows several hundred pages have been indexed, it still is missing numerous pages and not counting a lot of the ones it has.

As a result, PR 6 dropped to 5.

Don't really know what to say, because when I do a link search using a key other than : in the string, low and behold I see the links that have gone missing.

I would hope to see at least another Deepbot come around as I have no faith in freshbot acting as deepbot. At least for my site. I do see a lot of other sites got links added, so I wish I knew the secret to adding content that gets counted.

I don't get it!


 5:55 am on Jun 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

I too don't get it, my backlinks on -fi are 50% higher than post dominic which was already an all time high. Yet the anchor text is not being counted for the new or old links. As a result, the site has dropped of the face of the earth. It happened before on May 15 as a result of being indexed by freshbot for the first time. Now the second listing by freshbot, June 15 tags, has relegated the site to the Googledungeon. Do the different freshbots have different jobs as, for instance, spam bots? There is no spam on the page but they may consider kw density to be a bit high if they count that sort of thing. I am concerned but I don't think its serious (or at least, lasting). As soon as fresh tags go away I should return. I would really love to have deepbot back so I could ban freshbot.;)


 6:03 am on Jun 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have 10 new sites - all showing 5-6 backlinks and appearing in and out as pr3-4's yet they are no wehre to be found in the serps unless I type in the entire domain etc? How is this possible?


 6:07 am on Jun 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Alphawolf - steveb

GG spotted this issue early on and said he would ask around some more - on the basis this will not be until Monday, we will all have to wait for any, much appreciated, feedback he can give.

I suggested a few posts back that it might be regional searches causing the problems - or maybe more prominent on these- as it appears this is still happening on straight searches on -fi.

Agree with you both - doesn't improve the quality of the SERPS - maybe this IS some sort of over optimised penalty?


 6:09 am on Jun 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Oh My God! See some very Positive changes. Some of my sites were unnecessarily sitting on top. They came down and I am happy. Some others which i worked on furiosly have come up. I see a definite PR cap for multiple one way links to a single site. Seems logical.

Ducked in here to see if the "sky is falling" phase was over and the analysis had begun

Patience GG. That will take time maybe after the update is finished :)


 6:22 am on Jun 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well said, mil2k. :) You're right that I should be a little more patient. This time I'm ducking out, but it's to get some sleep. Glad you're seeing positive changes. :)


 6:36 am on Jun 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yes it does seem that for some keywords for which the index page should rank #1 and did previously (and currently does for allinanchor) deeper pages show up instead of the index but buried in the SERPS, no where near the top 10.

Does anyone know if it's just temporarily?


 6:36 am on Jun 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Some of my sites were unnecessarily sitting on top. They came down and I am happy. Some others which i worked on furiosly have come up.

I'd replace "sites" with "pages" & concur. Some of my embarrassing, irrelevant #1s have been dealt to the more-needy. Now if my home page would stop behaving like my first fickle girlfriend...


 6:40 am on Jun 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Alphawolf, SteveB,

I agree with you. There does seem to be a problem with home(index) pages. I'm certainly seeing this with my site. For some 3 word searches my home page comes up in the top 4. For my most important 2 word and 3 word search my home page is no where to be found and internal pages are the first pages that come up for a keyword search....and they are buried deep in the serps.

Strange thing is.....on some of these searches my contact page and FAQ page are the first ones to come up....they have very little information on them....as i haven't had a chance to do anything with my FAQ page and my contact page just has.....you guessed it....my contact details.

There seems to be no consistency to the search results. Sometimes the home page comes up....other times with important (in my opinion) searches a internal page with very little information comes up.

There is either a problem here with Google or we are missing that there is some kind of home page penalty going on, but what could that be.....my only guess would be, possibly some new "over optimization" penalty for home pages. Now i dont believe that is the case (with my site) but i'm clutching at straws, so i throw that up as a remote possability.

It would be great to get an indication that either we are doing something to cause this to happen to our home/index pages or there is a problem at google. I don't mind what is causing this but i can only fix one and Google can only fix the other.....once we know where the problem is then the either we can fix it from our end or Google can look at fixing it from there's. But until we know what we are dealing with, we are flying blind.

BTW, this has been happening to me since Domonic. Google (GG) Can we please work out what's going on here....please.

Thanks in advance


 6:49 am on Jun 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Just checked, and for my upside mini-sites I do show my page1 as #5 for anchor text (#3 if you don't count indented results), but still that page is not ranked at all and page3 only shows up at #60.

Positive comment, some of the worst spam in my niche is gone, perhaps by filters or perhaps via the spam report. The one guy with 10,000 copies of his one page site with just a gibberish keyword stuffed paragraph different on each now seems to have evaporated.

On the other hand, it almost looks like Google wants to marry linksmanager. It appears in love with those trash links.


 7:07 am on Jun 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Brett: "Seems to me with all the pages dropped the last two updates, that G has lost total pages indexed - not gained."

Yeh... same here... at least on -fi. I wonder what the state of fluctuation actually is?

On -fi my two main sites have simply gone walkies, but are fine on the rest (currently), as they should be. Absolutely no reason for it.

If that IS the final verdict, there's simply no choice. Back to spamming.


 7:15 am on Jun 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Backlinks continue to drop off > but SERPs are impressive to say the least.

Have no idea what's up but very very interesting.

Yes GG > see all kinds of new stuff in this update at least for the start of the update.

Some very positive signs here... some sites dropped out but suspect recovery will occur as the update matrix changes.

Good job nonetheless! :)

It would be interesting to know if the update will continue as long as Dominic (this may have been mentioned previously but the thread is too long to read all).

[edited by: fathom at 7:17 am (utc) on June 16, 2003]


 7:17 am on Jun 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

One other point - PR in place, all back links in place, but site missing on main phrase. It still appears on sub-phrases but the index page doesn't show on the main phrase (just sub-pages).

This thing's all over the place.

For me this is far worse than before. Yup - I've had enough this time. If they are going to drop balls like this, it is far better to have multiple (x-linked) sites around to at least pick up some of the loss.

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