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What exactly is right or wrong with Google?
It looks just fine from this consumer and information seeker's view.
woop01




msg:185983
 2:30 am on Nov 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

Whats the reason everybody claims that the current Google index is terrible, bad, full-of-crap, the spawn of Satan, an elaborate conspiracy to get us to spend more on Adwords, etc.? 90% of the reasons Ive seen listed were I fell from #2 to not even in the top 100 which I would never use as a measuring stick for the quality of SERPs. Ive even seen people claim that the Ink results are better than Google.

I can say that based on the searches I have done as a consumer, I like this index more than the old one. When I put in a city I get SERPs that have information about the city, not ten thousand affiliate sites waiting to send you to the exact same site. I just got done doing quite a bit of x-mas shopping and guess what, I found what I was looking for without having to go to page two of the SERPs.

I realize this place is full of the SEOs whos #1 (if not only) concern is their own sites ranking highly and in most people opinion on here their site is always the most relevant site for whatever keyword you are looking up. But, what reasons other than my site was optimized for Google and ranked #1 for a year but now its not ranked THIS IS GOING TO RUIN MY BUSINESS! are there for the condemnations of this new index?

Thanks,

 

johnnydequino




msg:186133
 5:48 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yeah - ok - stop using adwords. In the meantime, I would love to get more clicks with adwords.

That has to be the "" suggestion of the month.

Just Guessing




msg:186134
 5:51 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

>> We must stop using Adwords, recommend other search engines, and not let Google get away with what it has done.

No, let's all stamp our feet, delete our websites, and stop using the Internet - That'll teach them :)

allanp73




msg:186135
 5:59 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Actually, I would like to recommend one other alternative on how to put Google in it's place. Let's figure out how the filter works and bet Google at it's own game.
So far my experiments with deoptimization haven't worked. Has anyone had real success with getting back into the serps?

Miop




msg:186136
 6:08 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yes, but I don't know what I did.

allanp73




msg:186137
 6:18 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Miop,

Can you sticky me the URL and tell me what term the change occured for?
Try to think of what changes you made.
Did you change the meta title or just page text?

Miop




msg:186138
 6:35 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

The url is in my profile if anyone wants a look.
I had the terms red widgets, blue widgets, green widgets, yellow widgets before, I changed it to say company name - widget shop - red yellow green blue widgets. I changed the meta description to be be very similar. I changed nothing on the web page itself as far as I can recall.
The next day, my site has reappeared at number 1 (a first) for green widget shop, blue widget shop etc. but not for red widget shop. I changed the order of the words, but still appearing for 3 but not 4th kw (a money spinner word).
I know a 3 kw reappearance might not sound like much, but it is the first time my index page has reappeared at the top, and the other sites areound me are still mostly malls and link collections. I can't say if the page would have reappeared anyway, but just watching to see what happens.

Miop




msg:186139
 6:39 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

ps the number one site for the 4th word doesn't have the 2 keyword phrase anywhere on the page at all - G's cache says that only a link points to this site as a money-spinning-widget shop.

rfgdxm1




msg:186140
 7:29 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

>I notice two their really two opinions about the Florida update. One from commercial site owners who have been annihilated by Google and the second opinion from the less commercial side of the Internet who target terms that were unaffected by the update. Those in the second group seem to turn to a blind eye to the devastation of the Florida update. It doesn't affect me so what's the problem, kind of attitude.

Two things explain that. The commercial site owners that were unaffected are just happy, and just don't come here to post about it. They aren't trying to figure out what to do now? As for non-commercial sites, typically these are much more resistant to algo tweaks simply because the SERPs aren't that competitive. If you sell something 1,000 other people sell, only 10 of the sites can be on page 1. The other 991 webmasters are unhappy. However, if there are only 10 info sites on a topic, they'll just shift in order, but still be on page 1.

subway




msg:186141
 7:50 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have seen *some* success by de optimising a small niche site, although Im starting to think it might largely have been down to a fresh tag that helped it climb the SERPS.

There was a large amount of speculation that there is / was / has been something wrong with Google for a while, and I am beginning to lean more and more towards the "Google is Broken" [google-watch.org] theory again following the recent craziness of the SERPs.

I simply find it perplexing for them to totally trash their reputation just for the sake of an IPO, and Im no lawyer, but Im sure that it would probably be illegal one way or another for them to manipulate their profits before going public, which means the Adwords theory, although understandable, cant be correct.

I have had the feeling that Google has not been 100% right for well over 6 months. Its done a reasonable job of patching up problems, but I think the bandage has started to slip off the wound and we are seeing now is a disastrous update attempt gone horribly wrong, maybe they have tried fixing their indexing problem and tackling SEO all in one go a little more than they can handle from the looks of things. Either way I am not convinced these results are what Google have worked towards.

flicker




msg:186142
 8:37 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Is this keyword penalty/filter/blacklist thing anything but speculation at this point? I seem to remember Google Guy explicitly denying there was any penalty for excessive anchor text or anything like that, and it honestly isn't a theory that fits with any of the results I've seen, commercial or non-commercial. It doesn't even fit the spam and problems I've seen since the update. The result improvements seem to be due to broader matching and some sort of decrease in the importance of endlessly repeated anchor text, and the mismatches and spam seem to be due to stemming problems and an inability to recognize duplicate sites well. The sites that have dropped 450 places are easily explained by rfgdxm1's law of numbers: in competitive searches, small differences will have a huge effect. That plus the influx of new competition from sites using other word forms of the same keyword, probably.

If I'm right, then "de-optimizing" your page would only make the situation worse.

john22




msg:186143
 8:42 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

I notice everyones ignored my previous post (bottom of page 10) about poor google results...
(the weird search where 3 results were shown instead of 241,000 has cleared up now incidentally.)

Everyone keeps saying that google has *become* 'broken' - i think it always has been 'broken' and that the cracks are starting to show now as spammers and competition continually increase.
How can you expect an automated search engine to determine what is a quality site anyway - a user needs to determine that. link *popularity* is not the only measure
as i said in the previous post - the only way to truely improve results (for the search USER) is to improve how users can query the results (easy to use / simple boolean, semantics...)allowing them to 'home in' on what they want

ok well thats my 2 cents (or should i say 2 pence as i am in the UK)

P.S. MIOP - i can't seem to see any URL in your Profile

dreeve




msg:186144
 9:04 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi Every one
I have been reading the threads since the update as I have also lost my index page after being at no.1 for a few months. Funny thing is tho a sub page of mine from the same site has now climbed to 9th position for the same money phrase. To me it looks like the sub pages were not affected so you could create a new page with the keyphrases you have lost on the index page. Anyone else notice the same.

europeforvisitors




msg:186145
 9:19 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

I notice two their really two opinions about the Florida update. One from commercial site owners who have been annihilated by Google and the second opinion from the less commercial side of the Internet who target terms that were unaffected by the update. Those in the second group seem to turn to a blind eye to the devastation of the Florida update. It doesn't affect me so what's the problem, kind of attitude.

"Annihilation" and "devastation" are in the eye of the beholder. And to Google's target audience (users), such words are irrelevant. The user doesn't care if WidgetAffiliate.com has lost 1,000 pages in the Florida update or if my own editorial site lost three of its four index pages in searches on popular keyphrases. The user cares only about the quality of the search results.

An objective analysis of the Florida update suggests that the SERPs are better for some topics and worse for others. And for some topics, the SERPs are virtually unchanged.

It is obvious that Florida was a slap in the face of honest site owners and SEOs who built Google to what it is today. It is important that we all stick together and make Google understand that such actions will not be tolerated. We must stop using Adwords, recommend other search engines, and not let Google get away with what it has done.

Site owners and SEOs didn't build Google; Google built Google. And again, Google's mission is to serve users--not site owners or SEOs. (And especially not site owners or SEOs who try to manipulate the algorithm by artificial means.)

I think the best way to deal with Florida is to keep calm and realize that, if the baby got thrown out with the bathwater, Google will find a way to get the baby back. After all, this isn't the first update that has led to teeth-gnashing and blowing off of steam, followed by sighs of relief as the worst update glitches have been fixed.

Caveat: Fixing glitches won't mean that every intensely SEO'd site will return to its previous top 10 or top 20 position. If Google has decided that on-page content is more important than anchor text, for example, Webmasters and SEOs who have put all their eggs in the anchor-text basket are going to be disappointed. Content, balance, and diversity are the keys to long-term success in Google.

rfgdxm1




msg:186146
 9:37 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

>"Annihilation" and "devastation" are in the eye of the beholder. And to Google's target audience (users), such words are irrelevant. The user doesn't care if WidgetAffiliate.com has lost 1,000 pages in the Florida update or if my own editorial site lost three of its four index pages in searches on popular keyphrases. The user cares only about the quality of the search results.

And, the webmasters of the sites that rose to page 1 for "buy widgets" don't feel annihilated and devastated.

steveb




msg:186147
 9:41 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

The only people "de-optimizing" sites right now are people who didn't understand "optimizing" in the first place.

MHes




msg:186148
 9:48 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

steveb

So someone who has made bucket loads of money out of spamming, and is now moving on by de-optimising doesn't know what they are doing?

Maybe you are missing something.

DerekH




msg:186149
 9:53 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

steveb wrote
The only people "de-optimizing" sites right now are people who didn't understand "optimizing" in the first place.

I need to ask- I really need to ask...
Is that an opinion you can back up with more facts?
It's one hell of a statement if you can!

DerekH

steveb




msg:186150
 9:54 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Optimizing is not spamming. Spamming is spamming. That is why there are two different words. If you think optimizing is spamming then you REALLY have no idea what optimizing is.

claus




msg:186151
 9:59 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

The only thing that seems to be wrong right now is that the Google directory is a mess with lots of moved cats and links pointing east and west. Once that gets fixed, i'm sure a lot of other things will improve "automagically" too.

As for current serps, wow (!) - for information searches, it's like having the old Google back sometimes (the pre-spammy one a few years back, only updated) even in some cases when those directory cats don't match. Still, i do expect (more) dedicated spam filtering to take place at some point. And some balance have to be reached between the fresh and the old, the commercial and the informational. SERPS have been "too fresh" and "too commercial" for a while, i hope they're not going too far in the opposite direction now.

It's quite clear to me now, that the past six months have been a transition period, and google is getting back on track. I like it sofar, let's see in a month ;)

/claus

steveb




msg:186152
 9:59 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

"It's one hell of a statement if you can!"

Um, why?

Well optimized sites (either deliberately or by accident) are at the top of competitive searches. Optimization within the rules is still the road to the top. Of course, people who think optimizing is breaking the rules won't get it.

Good, highly targeted anchor text, good page titles, good directory names, good H1 tags, good/relevant linking... optimizing a page well is leads to better rankings.

Optimizing a page is simply putting it in the most favorable light. Deliberately putting your own pages in a less favorable light is peculiar at best.

Powdork




msg:186153
 9:59 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

And, the webmasters of the sites that rose to page 1 for "buy widgets" don't feel annihilated and devastated.
In my area those sites are few. There are three major local directories that now garner almost all the competitive search phrases for our area. They were all already in the top fifteen. Funny thing is, these are all the most commercial sites in the region. They are by no means the only or even the best content. In fact they come up rather short when compared to the sites that specialize in whatever keyword their business resides. These smaller sites are ALL gone. The top 100 results for competitive keyphrases consist of the three major directories, *.worlweb.com, *.about.com, national directories that link to the missing sites, and sites from other cities that are related only by keyword.
Just thought of something. There is one business left in the search and it is a casino' chapel. What's different? They are just a one page sub page on the casino's site. I could rename my home page and make a flash intro page for Googlebot.;) Never thought I'd hear myself type that.

subway




msg:186154
 10:04 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

The only people "de-optimizing" sites right now are people who didn't understand "optimizing" in the first place

...another steveb classic sweeping generalisation.

unreviewed




msg:186155
 10:05 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Sorry if this has already been posted, I think its a good read,
[sethf.com...]

MHes




msg:186156
 10:06 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

optimising or spamming?

Optimising means helping the spider index your site so you get the best ranking possible.

Spamming means helping the spider index your site so you get the best ranking possible.

"Spammers" are people who did a better job than "optimisers".

The best form of spamming is a sustained top ranking that also converts to sales.

The best form of optimisation is a sustained top ranking that also converts to sales and nobody sees how it is done.

steveb




msg:186157
 10:11 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

I guess some folks don't even know what optimizing is at its most basic.

Here's the deal: optimizing is putting the most favorable face on your site. In this case, the face that Google will like the best.

Got it so far?

Now here's the next thing: what Google likes changes!

Get it now?

Certain aspects of optimization don't change, like having good content, but other aspects do change, and good webmasters should now be focusing on optimizing their pages/sites to be looked at more favorably.

This is incredibly basic. The concept of de-optimizing is to embrace de-thinking. Optimizing has changed very very little with this update, but it has changed a bit, with the importance of an exact keyword on a page going up a bit and the need for reams of anchor text going down a bit.

Optimizing is simply putting on appropriate clothes for the occasion, whether it is the beach or to go skiing. Folks throwing their clothes off are being fully unsensible.

subway




msg:186158
 10:22 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

steveb, you've had a good update and fair play to you. It looks like the results for your kw's haven't changed that much, but from an unbiased point of view in other areas, can you honestly say that the results G are throwing out are better?

I don't think it has anything to do with people here knowing how to, or how not to carry out the necessary amount of SEO to make their sites rank - this update can't be simplified like that.

MHes




msg:186159
 10:23 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Steveb

If you write a good page, you may not rank that well unless you optimise it 'to help the spider ' by adding all the known techniques.

As you say, google changes the rules, and sometimes you can over do the 'bold' or something, which worked before but not now, so you 'deoptimise' it and achieve better ranking.

Get it now?

steveb




msg:186160
 10:42 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

"It looks like the results for your kw's haven't changed that much,"

? They changed a lot. They are better by far. My own sites didn't change too much, but now the sites around me are drastically superior to the trash that was there before. The worst of these new results are simply low relevance, like a news story that just mentions a term or a links page with lots of keywords, as opposed to before where the worst results were hundreds of duplicate domains or other anchor text based junk.

"but from an unbiased point of view in other areas, can you honestly say that the results G are throwing out are better?"

Of course they are better. They are better all over the Internet and if you can't recognize that you gotta get out of your niche.

widget selling, travel/hotel/property sites are a puny part of the Internet, and to a large degree the sites are interchangeable. The rest of the Internet, where variety of quality ranges from outstanding to trivial, the results are simply higher quality across the board. That doesn't mean there isn't a ton of junk in the results still. There is, but the junk is simply less appalling than before.

==

"As you say, google changes the rules, and sometimes you can over do the 'bold' or something, which worked before but not now, so you 'deoptimise' it and achieve better ranking.
Get it now?"

LOL, how can this escape you? No, you obviously do not "deoptimize". Frankly that is just dumb. It's hard to believe you seriously don't understand. If bold text was valued, you optimize by making bold text. If that changes to italics text being valued, you then optimize your site by changing to italics. See... bold.. would... no... longer... be... optimizing.

But the bold example is trivial. More important optimizing is what people are talking about here, like the nellies who are once again foolishly changing/removing their headers.

Google lays out their guidelines for what they like, and what they don't. Optimizing websites with those guidelines in mind is still what webmasters should be doing. Florida didn't change that one microbe.

On the other hand, de-spamming websites is certainly a good idea. Google didn't publish those "don'ts" just for fun.

MHes




msg:186161
 10:45 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Returning to the original question, What exactly is right or wrong with Google, my guess is that they are well aware that there is a problem so changing things now is pointless. I expect more developments to come.

IMHO they have set up an algo which identifies optimisation techniques and once identified they look closer. If more filters are triggered.... bye bye site. This appears to be targetted at some keyword phrases, probably sourced from adword bidders.

The problem is that if the initial look at the site does not trigger the 'optimisation' algo, a site slips through even if it has other blatant spam techniques and can rank very highly as a result. Hence we hear of reports of 'hidden text' etc. still working well. In these cases they have risen to the top because all the other over 'optimised' sites have gone. What triggers the algo? Maybe H tags/anchor text and title matching. Sites that don't do this but have other tricks are doing very well.

However, many sectors are not being targetted with this algo, so many people are seeing similar results as before and wondering what all the fuss is about.

allanp73




msg:186162
 10:50 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

steveb,

Scary, I actually agree with you statement. Optimizing isn't spamming. Too bad right now it seems to be treated as if it is.
I have sites which had excellent content and ranked well for a long time with only the term mentioned a couple of times on the page, which are now completely removed. It is difficult to determine why Google deemed these pages as worth filtering out.

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