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Relevant Travel Sites?

 2:28 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

I had hoped that by now Google would be starting to return relevant results but in my area they seem to be getting worse. A search for a travel related site in a Southern African city with a two word name: "city city coach tours" returns a hotel group in an Asian country at # 1 and page about the Coelacanth (a prehistoric fish for those who have never heard of it) from the website of a university. Oh well, at the least the university is in the same country as the coach tour company.

My better half was looking for information on antique ceramics yesterday and found what she was after on All The Web immediately. She had never heard of ATW before I suggested that she give it a try but is now a convert.

Please Google, when will you be fixed?



 6:15 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

My area went from acceptable bad to worse...
More filler in between relevant searches, and the page rank
system has been "stuffed" for years with closely relevant but
surely not the most relevant results in the category.
Of course it didn't help that the whole area was manipulated
by a DMOZ editor to start... and still being manipulated.
I always love the double listings popping up to improve link popularity.


 6:25 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

If you do a search for

coach tours india

which I picked at random, then surprisingly there is some kind of Google Syndicate site there.

Are Google now selling off number 1 spots?


 6:30 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Bad in the US, too. Small/mid-sized town serps took on a particulary heavy load of spam. On the flip side, I've heard the the US city serps improved.


 6:44 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

my job has a lot to do with research and since the update, I have realised 2 things.

One the results got extremely bad, so its very hard to find, what you are looking for

Two, more and more I click on adwords results, which I tried to avoid beforehand, as there is just nothing feasible in the normal results.

Could that be google´s strategy, make more money with adwords?

I am still trying to use google, but I think if it doesn´t get back to normal, then I will change to altavista, which at the moment gives the best results with the best functionality.


 6:48 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

If I post specifics I am sure they will be removed from this forum (not my first post to be deleted here).

Google at this time, for alot of searches is providing RUBBISH.


 7:18 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

coach tours india

the number one site has none of the terms on the page.....my 3 year old nehpew could tell you that it cant be relevant if none of the terms are on the page..and this is number 1.....?...blimey....this is sureal....


 8:03 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

There's loads of these.

Too many to post or send to Google.

I am now switching my browsers home page away from Google, to another SE which actually finds things.

Googleguy? You have not responded to this situation. I guess that says it all.


 8:17 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Travel travel destination sites have so many features in common around the world, I wonder if we can pool our observations about how things are in that sector alone. Maybe we can clarify what the best next moves should be.

For my sites, all home pages that used to respond one of:
location lodging
location accommodation
location hotels
location condos
etc..have dropped to useless low positions.

When I add a third word to any of the above, I often get good results.

What three word phrases would seachers commonly use that includes the word pairs above?
I am having some luck with "location lodging specials"
Any others that are working for you?

I also am getting good results to internal pages for:
location activity
location guide
location information
property name (no location!)

Could it be that Google has specific plans for the travel sector? Is a future local search or location search feature a factor here?

I would like to hear other observations specific to travel and destinations.


 8:47 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Skier - exactly the same here. I posted something about this last week, but one of our clients is #1 if you search for '(vacation-related-keyword) company' (without quotes) but nowhere at all (at least not in the top 250) if you search for 'Widgettown (vacation-related-keyword) company' - and they are located in Widgettown, and focus solely on Widgettown. This doesn't make any sense.

All of the sites, not only our clients, that used to be in the top 20 have vanished - this covers a lot of keywords, hotels, rentals, real estate...


 8:56 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

In fact this seems to be the case on pretty much every location (I just tried a random selection of vacation spots around the US) - it seems that if you are located in that city you will not be found (with a couple of exceptions), instead the top results are all the big directories.
Eg, try searching for '(pick a USA beach/ski location) vacation rentals' and I will be able to name at least 4 of the top ten sites, without looking!
If Google's new algorithm had given extra weight to larger sites and pushed the smaller ones down, fair enough - I wouldn't like it but I could understand it - but that's not the case, the smaller sites have vanished!


 9:26 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

It is hard to accept that a search for "location keyword" gives you mostly sites that are not of that location.

Maybe good for Google somehow, but not for the searcher or the local business owners.

I keep thinking about recent threads that talked about Google testing new ways of dealing with local searches. It would be nice if G was planning a new way of directing searches to local suppliers.


 9:44 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yes, if this was MSN (or anyone but Google really!) I'd be very suspicious, but I'm sure that Google has something good up their collective sleeve (a separate destinations section a la Google News perhaps?) - or of course maybe I'm just being naive!


 10:05 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing the same thing, try doing a search for Hawaii and travel related and real estate search terms. I see mostly large vacation and real estate sites that require 3 to 6 clicks in to find anything related to Hawaii.

Also, I'm seeing some sites for companies that aren't even in Hawaii. Do a search for "Kauai real estate" and you'll see a San Antonio based company's link page at #9


 10:25 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)


I manage 2 sites about hotels in Paris.
Always in the top 10 results (since 1 year) for keywords : hotel paris
And with this update booummm impossible to find my sites.
I analysed the top ten results and for it's confirm that none of those sites are optimized, the keyword density is very low (around 1%), no keywords in the title or in the description. (#2=#3 sites are cloaking but both well ranked)

So for me the new rule is to un-optimized a site, if you have a too important keywords density + your keywords in your title + your keywords in your description = vanished!
Google have you loose your mind?


 10:38 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Maybe this will help clarify the mystery. Regarding "location lodging", "locations rentals", etc. Early last week we found that everything was working perfectly and as expected for our moderately optimized PR4-PR5 and above pages. #1-10 ranks on appropriate keywords for each separate page. Suddenly around midweek everything flip-floped and suddenly only our HOME PAGE which links together all the other areas was being indexed in the top 10 more or less where the other pages were individually before. About the only place the home page has ANY of the 2-4 word key phrases is in the ANCHOR TEXT to the other (formerly high-placed) pages.
Does this mean Google is now placing emphasis on WHO you link to, instead of who you are?



 11:08 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

For me a three word search which logically puts you right where you want to be geographically for good results has not changed for two years. We are still at number one and three. I don't make any money providing a simple listing for my customers that come to my site for another reason and we don't work on the page for better serps. We just scratch our collective heads and watch everybody below us work their butts off to beat us but nothing changes. I know that there are a lot of brighter people in this travel industry than me - so you explain it.


 11:12 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

By the way we only have internal links and have no outside links to this page, none of which contain the the target phrase.


 12:53 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Pretty much the same wherever you go. Relevancy is obviously not a consideration anymore at Google, and this is simply the second big blow after the horrible May update.
If I need information about the Red Sea I wouldn't really consider a page with a list of African books as one of the most relevant pages, even though one of these books might have to do with the Red Sea - yet it appears on position 2.



 1:05 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

coach tours india

Bizarre - I cannot find a single listing, other than the syndication mentioned, in the first 40 which has a PR4 or above.

Call me sad for looking :) but I don't think I've ever come across this before!

Is PR completely devalued now?


 2:53 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Another anecdote of the new google from a non-techy friend of mine, said he was looking for a florist in our city, queried google with 'florist city' and got none of the companies he was expecting, so he just did it the old way with the yellow pages. I wonder if this is what google actually wants tho?


 5:22 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>> I analysed the top ten results and for it's confirm that none of those sites are optimized, the keyword density is very low (around 1%), no keywords in the title or in the description. (#2=#3 sites are cloaking but both well ranked)


What they actually did is they have been accumulating tons of links for months and years and then when time ripes - they cloak their link page as to hoard all the PR and deceive all link partners...so getting tons of incoming links and giving out only a few to its affiliates or its own network sites.

The story of the end results is much more interesting - Several of their sites hit rock solid at #1 spot or top 5 in most of "CITY" + hotels in Europe and many in America.

In general webmaster's eye, this is an obvious unfair "black hat" practice, but G seems to have an opposite definition.


 5:36 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Is PR completely devalued now?


[For once, I'm going to be brief. :-)]


 6:34 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Is PR completely devalued now? - No.

I'd trade PR for Serp position at a much lower rate today than I would have a week ago. I'd call that devaluation in terms of local currency around here.

My main money earning index page PR went up with Florida. That earned me a move from page one into oblivion.

Anyone want to trade their page one SERP position for some of my PR?


 6:43 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)


>>> For my sites, all home pages that used to respond one of:
location lodging
location accommodation
location hotels
location condos
etc..have dropped to useless low positions.

...Could it be that Google has specific plans for the travel sector? Is a future local search or location search feature a factor here?


The situation you describe is more widespread beyond the travel sector, so it is unlikely that G is targeting this particular industry.

I have different tiers of websites with different layouts, different site structures as well as different linking campaigns...so this allows me to have some crude resources to base our observations on what is going on with this algo in relation to our industry.

IMHO, what seems to happen so far is that your keyphrases are "categorized" by G as popular and competitive term, which resulted in application of new algo. The strength that use to leverage your index page by incoming links has to be combined with other factors before it appear on the serp. In other words, only incoming links and PR may not be sufficient this time.

Most of our websites which are in the tier of "well focused on niched destination" and seeking normal link exchange to the homepage, as practiced by many of you, are the victim of this "missing index page". Only 5 remains and at the beginning we wonder why? After doing plenty of research, we nearly derive at a conclusion that it is because these 5 niche websites are "less competitive" and they are not "categorized" by G. These index pages are not missing from Google's front page as well as of our competitors. The rest in the same tiers (several dozens) suffer from being dropped drastically or dumped, but do also our competitors. Those that get dump are simply the "competitive" terms.

Another tier of mine with super-rich content sites is less affected. Only two sites of about 400 and 600 pages each dedicated for one particular city get drop in rank from 1st to 3rd & 4th page. An annoying part is that many spots on the 1st page is taken by mega sites with tons of pages with various destinations. Counting all the pages together, they are much bigger than mine of dedicated websites, but that section of their websites are *NOT* the experty in the field. Moreover I observe that many hotel's own branded sites gain great ground on G's 1st page. Although it looks good in providing variety in Google serp, endusers experience may not be so; most of these branded sites are famous and high percentage at luxury and expensive levels. How about those seeking for 3 or 4 star hotel to stay?

Another interesting observation is that a few days ago, my above two dedicated sites rise to page 2 at #14-15 for its competitive terms. In the past, we view those positions as lousy ones, but this time it brings in a lot of visitors as well as potential buyers.

The only conclusion that we can make of is that the Google's general users who are the potential buyers passed from Page 1 to Page 2 to find what they want. In the past we don't see this at a significant level as we do see during the past few days.


 10:02 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>sit2510 I agree with you.
I have one of my site about hotels in paris that is still ranked (1st on the second page, and 3rd before the udapte), I can notice a only a little loose of visitors, for me that mean users are not happy with results on the 1st page of google.
All results on the 1st page do not appear on the 1-2 page of any other search engines (altavista,ATW etc...)
My problem now is : may i have to de-optimized my second site (who was dropped from the index) and take the risk to loose some place on all otehr search engine.


 10:23 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)


One of our sites was doing really well for "location hotels" and the homepage was consistently found in the top 20 Google SERPS for the last year. Now it's gone!

The internal pages are still unaffected (mostly 3 word phrases) but we're really going to take a hit on the "location hotels" click-thrus :-(

Seems the concensus here is that we have to "de-optimize".
Problem is I bet nobody agrees on what that means!


 11:03 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>> My problem now is : may i have to de-optimized my second site (who was dropped from the index) and take the risk to loose some place on all otehr search engine.


It is much better if you don't do any changes right now until things settle down - I also don't think "DE-OPTIMIZE" your site will help to restore your rank. If your dropped site were to be restored, it is because Google has credited back your link leverage but I doubt it would be that easy. If your dropped site still make money, better leave it like that and perhaps start the new ones that you think would fit with G new algo.

Tropical Island

 11:03 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Seems the concensus here is that we have to "de-optimize".
Problem is I bet nobody agrees on what that means!

Therein lies the problem.

I've looked at what sites are showing up in the current results for the two main terms I was booted out of and can see no consistency or large differences in their sites and ours. The three of the top four in one term are all from the same webmaster and are interlinked.


 12:32 pm on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

I don't think it's a good idea to start changing sites at this time. The SERPS in alot of areas seem to be a RANDOM bunch of half-baked nonsense, and any attempt to work with this algo is a complete waste of time.

For all you people who are still happy with Google - I wonder if you will all be so dismissive of my comments next time there is an "update" and you join the ranks of the honest-but-dropped brigade.

This 41 message thread spans 2 pages: 41 ( [1] 2 > >
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