It's called an algo tweak. Google finally woke up to the fact the index pages are lame and surfers don't want to go to them, nor need them. They are glorified site maps most generally full of spam that surfers don't want.
So, the algo switched to nuke the index pages and discount all the link spam that they are being used for. end of story.
I sure hope you are making a joke Brett, My sites don't fit into any of those categories but they still have the index pages gone!
Interesting theory. I guess that's the end of PageRank, since for most sites the backlinks pointed to the index page, and the deep pages, which in many cases had few or no links, had to derive their PageRank from the index page as it pointed deeper into the site. That's a fairly drastic tweak, and an argument against the theory.
But there's also an argument for the theory. It has to do with the fact that most of the links generated by bloggers end up on their main page. Wiping out index pages would solve most of the problem with overranked blogs in Google.
Another theory is that Google's right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing.
I'm just curious how sure of that you are, Brett?
In some cases index pages are relatively worthless, but hopefully the baby won't be thrown out with the bathwater for those that contain real content.
For many many sites, the index page is the backbone, so any algorithm that automatically gives the index less weight without considering its content is a bad idea.
So, the algo switched to nuke the index pages and discount all the link spam that they are being used for. end of story.
It might still be to early to analyze the changes in the algo, but it could look like Brett_Tabke is (atleast partly) right. I have some index pages that is falling on the SERPs, even with a good PR and the right achortext. But for most of my indexpages the update hasn't done any damage. Some of my indexpages are on the climbing the SERPs.
I see some signs of increased weight of the title tag in the new algo, maybe I am wrong. Maybe it is still to early to draw any conclusions?
thank god. i have hated the fact that page/section specific searches have returned the index pages of my sites, only to make the visitor dig for what they want.
a good webmaster creates a page for every kw or phrase that they are targeting, and bulds relevant content into the page, so that the user experience is simple and effective.
however, i do believe that smaller sites that use an index for an 'about us' type approach may have been affected by this algo change. but, think of it this way (if you can); when you are driving down the road, and either it's icy or you're tired, or whatever, and your right wheels start to hit the shoulder, you jerk the wheel, and you may briefly end-up in a lane of oncoming traffic, even if it's just a little. an over-steer, but nothing major. it seems that when you are dealing with so many variables and so many datasets, that it would be easy to over-steer on the first go.
my suggestion would be (and this comes from months and months of listening to webmasters here) to chill out, and to give very level-headed accounts of what you see as 'wrong' with the changes at google. the emotions that run through this forum sometimes make it seem like an elementary school playground, and not a great resource for information (which, by-and-large, it is).
i'm not trying to be an eletist, or holier than thou, but i do think that we would ALL benefit from less emotional reactions to google's changes. if your entire business model revolves around natural SERPs in google, then (and this is something that every single successful webmaster will probably agree with), you need to focus on a well-rounded business plan, or you will end-up with ulcers and a heart condition.
just my $.02
>> Interesting theory. I guess that's the end of PageRank, since for most sites the backlinks pointed to the index page,... <<
Maybe Google will convert page rank into site rank instead, so that your site still gets credits for lots of incoming links, but that credit won't be applied to the index page?
There will not have been just one change in the algo. There will have been (or will be soon) lots of changes.
>For many many sites, the index page is the backbone, so any algorithm that automatically gives the index less weight without considering its content is a bad idea.
Right. Other sites, and directories like the ODP and Yahoo typically link to a site's index page. Particularly so with smaller sites with focused content.
GoogleGuy addressed this a few days ago. He said they are NOT discounting index pages and that he didn't expect any such behavior to last.
Ours has bounced in and out, but it's always come back to it's rightful position, hopefully all of yours will too.
Way to stir the pot there Brett... :D
<<For many many sites, the index page is the backbone, so any algorithm that automatically gives the index less weight without considering its content is a bad idea>>
My site has a .mv shopping cart, and google can't see the 500+ pages inside my site, so I've always put my eggs in one basket by using by index page for SERP. So now am I supposed to create a bunch of nonsense sub-pages just to climb back into the top ten?
If this is the case, it seems that SEO's will just be clogging up the web with endless sub-pages, making the problem worse than it was before.
>algo switched to nuke the index pages
Don't see that.
I see a relatively small set of sites where the index page doesn't come up for the main keyword(s). For the vast majority however this is not true from what I see.
Furthermore I don't see how that would make sense.
I want to see index pages on general broad queries. I want to see dedicated topical subpages on very specific topical queries.
I agree heini. The SERPs are still changing so erratically and irrationally at Google that, since I have no idea what they will be tomorrow, I don't want to speculate as to what algo tweaks are going on. However, the Google algo is heavily based on what pages get linked to (PR), and the anchor text used to link to them. For most sites the index page by far is the most linked to.
I agree with Brett, most index pages are set-up like the front cover on an atlas. I want the book to open up on the correct page when seeking info.
I have always requested links to inner pages, and have quite a few pages ranked higher than the index page (PR value)
But many times the index page shows first in results, not complaining, but it would be nice if the actual relevant page showed, rather than the visitor having to find the link on the index page.
I hope it is a new alogo, but I cannot confirm this is true yet ..with my results at any rate.
From my perspective, it seems as though there is some kind of "penalty" on index pages. It's not that mine do not show, its just that they don't rank like they "should". I have seen a moment or two where the SERPS reintroduced the index pages, and then the SERPS seemed like they logically should, on to revert to the "new and improved" status sans index pages.
I have to take serious exception with Brett's sweeping statements regarding index pages. Talk about throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Some of us have put a lot of effort into our index pages.
If some people's ndex page looks like crap, judge them accordingly. Having people find my links page for one of my most important key word phrases is not my idea of a good SERP.
|I agree with Brett, most index pages are set-up like the front cover on an atlas. I want the book to open up on the correct page when seeking info. |
Few of my SE originated hits come in on the index, most by far come in on other pages, but when one's index suddenly gets buried in the serps, on the kw's that it should show up on, one gets concerned as to why. I was one who had the index page plummet, but today it is back to where it was at the start, at #2 after my main page on a search of the words in the url. Whatever happened, it wasn't because of a spam filter.
If that's true, then it't just a matter of time before everybody links to inside pages.
Then when Google nukes them, there will be no good pages left and SEO will go away.
This in fact would be good for Google.
After all, it doesn't look good when anybody with a basic understanding can manipulate the largest search engine in the world.
If Google is nuking index pages for that reason, it probably is one of the biggest mistakes they have ever made.
Sorry Brett, I respect your opinion but not every index page is a spam fest.
One point steve128. Makes sense that you want the book to open to the right page. However, what about the one trick pony sites that are only about one focused topic? That you actually request links to inner pages suggests to me you don't have a one trick pony site. However, there are a lot of narrowly focused sites on the web where all links will focus to the home page.
One of my competitors only has an index page, he is now ranking #2, he also have 0 PR. We are now back on Page 6 with a 500+ page site and PR of 4-5. If the theory of index pages getting wacked was true I would think this site would not be in such a good spot. Oh, by the way, he uses hidden text on his index page, we do not.
One of my sites has been affected by this. I'm ranking great at the product level, but the index is nowhere to be found. For check out, the products are purchased on another site. In a sense, you could say it's an affiliate site, but actually it is a site one of our manufacturers requires for branding purposes.
Is it possible that affiliate-type sites are the ones most affected?
or is this some fluke that will work itself out?
I wonder if "index, no follow" would solve the problem?
[edited by: dvduval at 2:18 am (utc) on June 23, 2003]
Wow...index no follow. Good idea dvduval!
I must say, this has me VERY concerned if Brett is saying he thinks this is planned. Thanks for the feedback Brett.
I will always remember you telling it like it was when we saw Google's guidelines for webmasters. I sure hope we see the same if Google changes the way they rank sites this drastically and at the same time keeps telling us to be patient: "index sites will be back".
I'm still holding out hope, patience pays off :-)
In a few datacenters my contact page was ahead of my index page. This morning nuked most internal links to the contact page - just kept one from the index page. I don't want my contact page or TOS page first, unless I am a legal firm perhaps. ;)
<< Google finally woke up to the fact the index pages are lame and surfers don't want to go to them, nor need them.>>
With all do respect I have to disagree. I as a surfer I want the home page of the site that comes up in the the SERPs. I don't need a search engine telling me which page of a site I need to go to, I only need to know which sites meet my search criteria and I will decide where on that site I will go. If a result only gives me a specific page I just have to go and bring up the index myself.
I don't want a search engine to be Amazon.com and tell me what other pages people like me are searching for... I'll decide for myself.
Rant over...beer starting to work. ;)
I agree with you there. Google is displaying pages that are not my first choices when searching for my main keyword. I would love to get an explanation of what the likely scenario is here.
At least in my experience, the only index page that has been dropped is when there are subpages like this:
Where dan=g tells which unique content to show.
Have others had home pages dropped without subpages like this? Digging here, what else could it be. If it is in fact a spam filter, what is tripping the spam filter. I SEO pretty much every site I do the same way. Of course, I spend the most time on the one that got dropped, but everthing I have done for this one I have done on other sites that haven't gotten dropped. Except for the way subpages are done. Maybe this is it? Maybe there is just a little too much duplicate content on this index page, hmmm..
Since Brett seems to have the inside story on this, perhaps he would care to elaborate on what basis Google has chosen the sites whose index pages must be dropped. Mine certainly has been dropped but every Tom, Dick, Harry and their spamming uncles' sites have their index pages in the SERPs. Even an absolutely 100% irrelevant site which has been in the SERPs for my main keyword for over 9 months now - a site that does not have these keywords mentioned apart to mention: "Search engines are behind the times and if you came here looking for <keyword phrase>, try this link instead" - whose backlinks have now dropped to 9, STILL has its index page in the SERPs and is on the 2nd page. My subpages which have far more relevant content are languishing on the 5th and 6th pages. And my index page which now shows 490 backlinks is nowhere to be see. Some tweak - truly ridiculous.
Brett's comment doesn't apply to what is going on for a lot of sites. It's ludicrous to think an algo tweak is valueing terms and condition pages, sites maps and "contact me" pages over index pages.
But even that isn't the point. I have some three page articles. All links of course point to the beginning of the article. Duh. When Google lists the third page first, and lists it based on the algo-weight it has as a third page, that is lame search engineing and certainly not deliberate on Google's part.
And as we have seen as the datacenters knob around, correct pages are getting ranked some of the time. My article page1 appears at #4 some of the time, with page2 and page3 under it. But some of the time page3 gets ranked #60 with page2 and page1 under it. These aren't index pages. They are just little mini-sections of a domain on their own topic. They don't even have a separate directory.
The index page thing is a problem, not an idea. And Google is working on fixing it.
My index page was dropped from position three, it came back two days later at #1. While many index pages have undeniably been dropped, I'm not seeing it as an intentional attack on index pages. It may be an intentional attack on pages which have incoming links that don't match content. This is a common occurrence on index pages whose backlinks may have anchor text which is more appropriate for sub pages. Index pages aren't magic, they must be optomised for one or two key phrases only and should have incoming anchor that aligns with title and content, just as any other page.
That may or may not be what is causing many of the problems people are seeing.
Well, it looks like the "chosen few" are only allowed to post new threads. I am stumped. When the update was in full swing, our index page was back on page 1 for our most imporatant term. I saw it there on eight datacenters starting with fi.google. Now we have been cast down to page 8. For what do we owe that honour?
Oh yes, and we now have 6 months old pages that don't exist in the index. Nice going Google, I'm off to slit my wrists.
Everyone there with the same problem:
1) Got nuked in Dominic
2) Resurrected in Esmerelda
3) As of 36 hours ago, deader than Dominic
That thread looks closed. But the problem lives on.
| This 76 message thread spans 3 pages: 76 (  2 3 ) > > |