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Update Florida - Nov 2003 Google Update Part 4
Kackle




msg:101390
 5:57 am on Nov 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Continued from: [webmasterworld.com...]

Kackle - can you explain the "dictionary" for me? And how I might benefit from it - Im reading your posts hard but dont see where youre coming from.

Sure. But you have to act quickly. Google will fix this one just like they fixed the hyphen.

1. Google is depreciating pages/sites that are over-optimized for certain keywords or keyword combinations. It does this by looking up search terms in a dictionary of target keywords or keyword pairs that it has compiled. This dictionary is Top Secret, because if you knew what was in the dictionary, you could avoid these words in your optimization efforts.

2. If the search term or terms hit on a dictionary entry, the search results for that user's search are flagged. This means that before the results are delivered, the order of the links, or even the inclusion of links, are adjusted so as to penalize pages that have overoptimizated for those terms. Most likely the title, headlines, links and anchor text are examined. It's possible that external anchor text pointing to that page has also been pre-collected and is available for scanning, but this is much less likely. (Besides, external links are not something within your immediate control, so don't worry about it right now.)

3. You want to find out which keywords that are relevant to your site are in Google's dictionary. Compile as many relevant keywords you can think of that searchers might use to find your site. Now take these words singly and in pairs, according to how users might search. Run two searches for each combination and compare the results.

4. If the results are strikingly different for the pre-filter and the post-filter search on a particular term or combination of terms, it means that some variation of those terms has been flagged because something was found in Google's dictionary.

5. Do lots of searches and you can come up with a list of "sensitive" words that you'll want to avoid when you re-optimize your pages.

It's a nice weekend project.

 

Kirby




msg:101391
 6:06 am on Nov 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

>Sure. But you have to act quickly. Google will fix this one just like they fixed the hyphen.

If true Kackle, then what's the point of making the changes?

rfgdxm1




msg:101392
 6:14 am on Nov 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

>rfgdxm1 where do you come from?

The natives of my planet where I am call it "Earth".

>anything I say here is monitored by google. I know this.

>whatever we say here is monitored by google. EVERYTHING!
So nevermind me;-)

Paranoia strikes deep. Into your life it will creep.

;)

Kackle




msg:101393
 6:14 am on Nov 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

If true Kackle, then what's the point of making the changes?

You're confusing two things. One is your ability to make the tests to determine which keywords you should avoid. The other is Google's capacity to find out that you know which words are NOT in the dictionary.

Google can stop you from making the tests by fixing the glitch. But the knowledge you gain will be useful until such time that Google expands their dictionary.

BryantStevens




msg:101394
 6:20 am on Nov 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

You're confusing two things. One is your ability to make the tests to determine which keywords you should avoid. The other is Google's capacity to find out that you know which words are NOT in the dictionary.

But by that same token, shouldn't we be able to reduce keywords that are over optimized and get our serps back? I am going to be experimenting with this shortly. Like I said before, I have noticed sites appearing 1-5 on the serps that have the keywords appearing once and have only ONE incoming link. Yet they are number 1 on the serps page.

Example: For keyword1 keyword 2 combination, I am no where to be found and I was number 1 for several years. Sex is keyword2 in case you are interested.

But for keyword1 keyword3, I am still number 1 in the serps. So I am going to start reducing the number of times keyword 2 (sex) appears on the page. But I firmly believe in what Kackle is saying. It makes sense based on the behavior I have noticed personally.

[edited by: BryantStevens at 6:24 am (utc) on Nov. 22, 2003]

Kirby




msg:101395
 6:20 am on Nov 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

OK kackle, this may sound like a stupid question, but if I understand correctly, Google is theming, minus the seo for these same keywords?

deanril




msg:101396
 6:20 am on Nov 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

?

I dont understand this dictionary?

You want me to un optimize my site, for weird keywords no one types in?

aspdesigner




msg:101397
 6:30 am on Nov 22, 2003 (gmt 0)


I guess that proves the money phrases are being filtered.

John316, I don't think Google would be that stupid (at least I hope not!) Those of you that have been around SEO for a while might remember when some consumer groups filed a "deceptive advertising" complaint against some of the majo SEs for intermixing PPC with normal SERPs?

The FTC investigated, and ruled that certain practices were a violation of federal consumer protection laws. Google got positive press as the major SE which was completely "white-hat" on this issue.

If I recall correctly, one of the prohibited activities that would constitute a violation of federal law per the FTC guidelines was any change in the search results based on PPC (i.e. - the algo had to be "pure")

If Google was to "change" the ranking algo in any way based on popular AdWord phrases (such as excluding "perfect" matches for commercially popular AdWord search phrases), they would be in apparent violation of the FTC guidelines and could potentially be prosecuted.

If they were doing this in an attempt to increase PPC revenue prior to an IPO would be suicidal.

I just can't see Google doing something that incredibly stupid, unless they think Martha Stewart might need some company! ;)

1milehgh80210




msg:101398
 6:38 am on Nov 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

i think anybody de-optimizing for any terms in a supposed -dictionary- will forever be chasing their tail..
just my opinion_

Edouard_H




msg:101399
 6:42 am on Nov 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Nevertheless, I'm de-optimizing a page for a term for which it was formerly #4 and now gone and preparing to chase tail. G'bot is around so I may have a chance to see the test results soon.

aspdesigner




msg:101400
 6:47 am on Nov 22, 2003 (gmt 0)
John316, Kackle, here is a link to the letter the FTC sent out to the SEs - http://www.ftc.gov/os/closings/staff/commercialalertattatch.htm

The most relevant paragraph -

"Moreover, the staff recommends that if your search engine uses paid inclusion programs [B]that may distort rankings[/B] or placement criteria, you clearly describe how sites are selected for inclusion in your indices.(4) Also, consumers should be able to easily locate your explanation of the paid inclusion program you use, [B]and discern the impact of paid inclusion in search results lists.[/B]"

Fiver_321




msg:101401
 6:49 am on Nov 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Ok Kackle, thanks for the explanation.

The thing I am confused about though is this, if I find a word that I optimise for is in the "hit list", then I cannot optimise for it.

If I cannot optimise for it, then whats the point of my site?

Lets say I have a site about "keywordx" - and "keywordx" is being hit, therefore my site has gone from the number 2 slot it had, to position 800.

So - I go off and find a word which is not being hit - say "keywordy" and change my site to be about that.

I still dont rank for keywordx, so I still lose my income.

At the end of the day - I need to rank for keywordx.

See where my problem is with what the "dictionary" gives me?

Edouard_H




msg:101402
 6:54 am on Nov 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

deanril, you are so right. Yet there is enough substance to kackle's theory from my observation that a controlled experiment is in order.

Shoplifter




msg:101403
 7:01 am on Nov 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

I am already seeing porn guys doing fake news report pages to get back to the top. I guess I can't post the URL, but in one page they liken current military events to sex acts and now list #5 for the term.

webified




msg:101404
 7:13 am on Nov 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

I am already seeing porn guys doing fake news report pages to get back to the top. I guess I can't post the URL, but in one page they liken current military events to sex acts and now list #5 for the term.

Since when have the porn guys NOT done this?

Kackle




msg:101405
 7:15 am on Nov 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

At the end of the day - I need to rank for keywordx. See where my problem is with what the "dictionary" gives me?

No, at the end of the day you need to rank for words that people might use to find your site. You don't necessarily need to rank for the keywords you were using before.

If you think hard and come up with synonyms, there are probably at least 10 words that a searcher might use and happily end up on your site. If you then add all the unique pairs for these 10 words, that gives you 45 unique pairs. So far we have 55 tests you can do. If you discover 20 words or pairs out of these 55 tests that look like they are hitting something in the dictionary, that still leaves you with enough words to re-optimize your site.

If you were number 2 and now you are 800, I would think that you'd want to avoid bad words like the plague.

I concur that it may be too early to start re-optimizing. All I'm suggesting is that there's a small window of opportunity to run some tests and figure out what's in that dictionary. Maybe you won't need to use this information after all. But if it turns out that you need it and it is no longer possible to collect it because Google fixed the glitch, then you'll be out of luck.

aspdesigner




msg:101406
 7:25 am on Nov 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

I just tried a few sex-related searches to see what type of results came up.

One one of them (highly competitive, almost 10 million results!), in the Top-10, 5 of them were educational, 4 of them were news media, and 1 of them was a blog. None of them were what someone typing in this search was probably looking for.

On another one of them (again, highly competitive, almost 8 million results), several of the Top-10 only had one of the keywords in the title (one did not have any!), and many of the sites were not exact matches to what I was searching for. What was an exact match (unlike the SERPs), were the 8 "sponsored" listings that also appeared on that page!

Hmmm...

(I'm not in the sex site business, by the way :)

[edited by: aspdesigner at 7:27 am (utc) on Nov. 22, 2003]

Shoplifter




msg:101407
 7:27 am on Nov 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

It may be easier to determine the "overoptimization threshold" for any given word rather than reverse engineer the dictionary.

There is more to it than just the words...For example with some adult terms what we see is that the regular paysites are gone, but sites that sell DVD's are on top. These sites have all the same words often repeated many times but they are still ranking.

Just by observation you can arrive at a way to improve your rankings, and if you suss out the dictionary and the optimization threshold you can be on top.

Edouard_H




msg:101408
 7:41 am on Nov 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Sure give us the results in a few days!

Indeed I will. There are unintentional de-optimization techniques evident in the remaining commercial site in the top ten. Back up of the original page at hand and ready to upload though!

<added>that commercial site is ranking the highest they've ever managed and are now throwing a mv "Fatal Error"</added>

[edited by: Edouard_H at 7:49 am (utc) on Nov. 22, 2003]

aspdesigner




msg:101409
 7:41 am on Nov 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Also just noticed they appear to be doing word stemming on the titles now?

Just tried a search for - location car dealers

The first few results appeared to be related sites with near-duplicate content (been seeing a lot of this in Florida as well, anyone else?)

However, what was more interesting was that in the listed titles in the SERPs, the words -

Car Dealership

were highlighted. As you know, highlighted words in the title are those that match the search terms. But I did NOT include "dealership" in my search!

Is G doing word stemming on titles now?

rfgdxm1




msg:101410
 7:43 am on Nov 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

>On another one of them (again, highly competitive, almost 8 million results), several of the Top-10 only had one of the keywords in the title (one did not have any!), and many of the sites were not exact matches to what I was searching for. What was an exact match (unlike the SERPs), were the 8 "sponsored" listings that also appeared on that page!

Then buy an Adword.

davewray




msg:101411
 7:50 am on Nov 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Kackle...

Interesting research...What I don't understand is that when I type in my keywrd1 keywrd2 keywrd3 -dafdlk I am in the #7 spot. Weird thing is that I've never been in that #7 spot pre-update. I am now #12 for just keywrd1 keywrd2 keywrd3 At least I'm on the 2nd page for my main keyphrase and not completely obliterated! But oh how I'd love to have that #7 spot ;)

aspdesigner




msg:101412
 7:53 am on Nov 22, 2003 (gmt 0)


>On another one of them (again, highly competitive, almost 8 million results), several of the Top-10 only had one of the keywords in the title (one did not have any!), and many of the sites were not exact matches to what I was searching for. What was an exact match (unlike the SERPs), were the 8 "sponsored" listings that also appeared on that page!

Then buy an Adword.

rfgdxm1, I have no need to do so, as I indicated, I am not in the sex site business, just testing-out Kackle's theory on what I figure would be a highly competitive commercial search.

However, if what you are implying is true, then Google would be in apparent violation of the FTC guidelines and federal consumer protection law!

willardnesss




msg:101413
 7:56 am on Nov 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think I just realized some interesting filters at work here:

Thank you Kackle...your post has been incredibly revealing.

Based on a number of tests, there seems to be filtering of 'dictionary word' on the following:

Title, body text, and external inbound link anchor text (I guess you call them backlink anchortext).

Title: when searching for keyword1 keyword2, pages without the keyword in combo in the title showed up first.

when searching with keyword1 keyword2 -fufufuf, some pages with the keyword combo in the title appear in the top 10 that were missing before

Body Text: Same thing for body text

External Inbound Links Anchortext: This is the scary one for me, because I have over 100 external links to my site with my main keyword combo as the anchor text.

How I could tell that anchor text is being filtered is this:

There is a website 'BlueWidgetsPro.com' that sells blue widgets. Another website 'All-About-Blue-Things.com' has placed a duplicate copy of 'BlueWigetsPro.com's' home page on their website under the URL:
All-About-Blue-Widgets.com/BlueWidgetsPro.html

The actual home page of 'BlueWidgetsPro' has the exact same HTML code as the copy of the page on All-About-Blue-Widgets.com/BlueWidgetsPro.html

But when you search for blue widgets, the
All-About-Blue-Widgets.com/BlueWidgetsPro.html
comes up #1! Even though they both have the exact same HTML!

When I search for blue widgets -fufufu, the home page of BlueWidgetsPro.com comes up #1, and the other site's All-About-Blue-Widgets.com/BlueWidgetsPro.html is buried at about #50!.....

So what is the difference between the 2 pages? (They both have the same page rank by the way)

When you do LINK:BlueWidgetsPro.com, you find about 60 external links, and about half of them have 'Blue Widgets' as the anchor text. So it is getting penalized for having 'Blue Widgets' as the external anchor text.

Then you do:
LINK:All-About-Blue-Widgets.com/BlueWidgetsPro.html

There are only 5 links, and none of them use 'Blue Widgets' as the anchor text.

My conclusion is that either the backlinks anchor text is being filtered/penalized, or the new backlinks have just not been added yet to the mix, so the pages with the best backlinks aren't showing up yet... Hope that made sense.

JasonR




msg:101414
 7:59 am on Nov 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

This is fun...

I'm appending all of my searches with:
-thesearetherealgooglesearchresults

although the results using:
-better

are actually quite a bit better, but I don't care for the

-best

results at all. And searching for the:

-perfect

results? Just shows me that there is no such thing.

-Jason

willardnesss




msg:101415
 8:01 am on Nov 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Another thing: The 'dictonary word' that seem to be getting filtered right now are all of the AdWords key phrases for my niche market.

Instead of using some algo to compile and create a 'dictionary', I think Google is just using the the keyword combos in AdWords. If you use Adwords, then you are selling things....People only Spam when they want to sell something , right? People only use AdWords when they want to sell something, right?

To get rid of spam, just filter for over optimization of AdWords keywords... makes sense to me. Anybody....

WebBender




msg:101416
 8:18 am on Nov 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Kackle,

Yeah- interesting. keyword1 keyword2 -jgdjg returns good results- even if the site I manage wasn't #4 with that eliminator...they are all good solid results.

No, at the end of the day you need to rank for words that people might use to find your site. You don't necessarily need to rank for the keywords you were using before.

Sometimes, there is a very niche market wherein very few terms or phrases are used. About 80% of all sales come from keyword1 keyword2 and that phrase is in the dictionary.

The site is not in the first 1,000 results now. Using your technique the site is #4 like I mentioned.

Nearly *all* companies were wiped from the SERP. Even a search for "keyword1 keyword2 company" does not bring up quality companies! LOL. Just 1 company comes up.

One dmoz category link, One yahoo category link, a BUNCH of AOL, Homestead, and Earthlink pages dominate the phrase that _specifically_ searches for companies.

Site was voted for best in the industry last year and is up for best web forum in the industry this year.

It ranked Page 1 for 6 months and Top 20 for 2 years for the phrase.

The current results are of aol home pages taking #3 AND #4, with a dmoz directory link at #8. A few other generally poor sites stuck in. #1 and #2 are still good for that SERP though out of 3,540,000 results. ;)

WB

aspdesigner




msg:101417
 8:24 am on Nov 22, 2003 (gmt 0)


I hope this is the case.

So do I, Thomas. Again, I can't believe that Google would be that stupid.

But I am a bit worried by what I am seeing in the SERPs to test Kackel's theory.

Hopefully, this is just a glitch in the new update.

steveb




msg:101418
 8:25 am on Nov 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Some truly strange ideas being posted.

"keywords in general"

What the hell does that mean? LOL. Every search term is freaking keyword. Every combination of words is a keyword phrase.

Reality is Google has devalued anchor text, even if it is still right at the top of most important things. Google has dramatically increased the value of words on a page. Google has eliminated with this update huge amounts of trivial, low content sites.

Now Google needs to add to these very positive steps by eliminating the different kinds of spam that have appeared, as well as add at least a minimal amount of theming to the results so that more niche authority sites can compete (and defeat) general authority sites as well as gibberish text and list of links pages (that have good words on the page value but really aren't themselves about the topic).

The black helicopter theories are funny up to a point, but I'm finding it interesting that what seems pretty obvious (as a conspiracy theory) isn't even mentioned... that this is the information algo, and that widget sellers are all being herded over to Froogle, as news is herded into Google News, and as blogs will be herded over to an un-named blog engine.

Information is ruling now. They just need to weight the theme of the information better, and address the on-page low relevance types sites like link pages that have popped up.

And for the first time in a year, from a strictly seo point of view, the thing to do now is not get more and more links links links, the thing to do is to get more and more content on pages.

[edited by: steveb at 8:28 am (utc) on Nov. 22, 2003]

viggen




msg:101419
 8:27 am on Nov 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Competetive german serps are still rock stable, searching for what we do for a living here is unchanged for the first 30 Results on all Datacenters for the whole of the update.

This is imo an english language update, the new features Goolge brought in lately (define,local search, broad match) are all english none of those are available in german language, therefore german search terms are rather unaffected.

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