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Update Brandy Part 3
GoogleGuy




msg:70899
 7:41 pm on Feb 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Continued From: [webmasterworld.com...]

"Any clue as to the possible role greater reliance on semantics is playing in your never ending quest for more relevant results?"

I'd say that's inevitable over time. The goal of a good search engine should be both to understand what a document is really about, and to understand (from a very short query) what a user really wants. And then match those things as well as possible. :) Better semantic understanding helps with both those prerequisites and makes the matching easier.

So a good example is stemming. Stemming is basically SEO-neutral, because spammers can create doorway pages with word variants almost as easily as they can to optimize for a single phrase (maybe it's a bit harder to fake realistic doorways now, come to think of it). But webmasters who never think about search engines don't bother to include word variants--they just write whatever natural text they would normally write. Stemming allows us to pull in more good documents that are near-matches. The example I like is [cert advisory]. We can give more weight to www.cert.org/advisories/ because the page has both "advisory" and "advisories" on the page, and "advisories" in the url. Standard stemming isn't necessarily a win for quality, so we took a while and found a way to do it better.

So yes, I think semantics and document/query understanding will be more important in the future. pavlin, I hope that partly answers the second of the two questions that you posted way up near the start of this thread. If not, please ask it again in case I didn't understand it correctly the first time. :)

 

nutsandbolts




msg:70929
 9:46 pm on Feb 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have always been a webmaster (I've lost count of the hundreds of content articles and news stories I have written over the past 7 years for my Web sites....) - but when your site is being trounced by spam and backlink paid competition it's difficult not to think like an SEO to get back on top.

Becky




msg:70930
 10:02 pm on Feb 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

hmmm...don't know what everyone else is seeing. I'm seeing the 64.**** sticking at www. for the last hour. This is the longest that I have seen it there. Usually only see it a couple of times a day for a few minutes. I hope its winding down and is there to stay.

europeforvisitors




msg:70931
 10:06 pm on Feb 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

GoogleGuy wrote:

Searching for "high-quality" links before the site itself is high-quality is putting the cart before the horse, so to speak. That time would be better invested in enriching the site by adding good content and more reasons for people to like it on its own merits. Just trying to keep folks from going down a blind alley when there's lot of ways to spend that time improving a site itself. As always, Brett's guide to making a site is a great thread to go back and read again.

GG, your advice makes a lot of sense for information or content publishers, but how should widget marketers interpret that statement? Are you suggesting that they make their commerce sites more like information sites, using editorial or advertorial content to attract prospects? Or does clearly written, descriptive, and original catalog copy qualify as "good content" from a Googlesque point of view?

scoobontour




msg:70932
 10:12 pm on Feb 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

here in uk, have not seen any other results on www all day , 64 hasn't showed up yet.
Will be very happy when it does.

jasoncrouch




msg:70933
 10:15 pm on Feb 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm in Texas - the 64 results are online for me (first time today). I trust Google Guy - it's just a matter of time.

dazzlindonna




msg:70934
 10:19 pm on Feb 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

i don't disagree that 64 will migrate to www. what concerns me is that 64 results are starting to change, and some sites that had reappeared yesterday are now gone from it.

steveb




msg:70935
 10:25 pm on Feb 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

"People post around here about filters, blocking, penalties, etc. etc. A far better explanation is 'things which used to work before don't receive the same amount of credit now.'"

Too bad webmasterworld doesn't have a signature file section. I'd just keep the above two sentences there.

SEO for 2003 was getting links from anybody and anywhere. Links still, and will always, have value, but SEO for 2004 is to build an authoritative (meaning you know what you are talking about), content-rich site that offers the bot "signals of quality".

Signals of quality. I know what those are in my niche, and what I look for in other areas of the Internet when I am being purely a user.

That's the mantra, follow the rules, have quality, find ways to signal the genuine quality of your site to Googlebot. Of course piffle-peddlers will try to fake quality signals, and it is Google's challenge to decide what is a genuine quality signal and what is drivel. (Sounds like a lot more fun down at the 'plex compared to just counting anchor text...)

258cib




msg:70936
 10:33 pm on Feb 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Europe asked GG:

GG, your advice makes a lot of sense for information or content publishers, but how should widget marketers interpret that statement? Are you suggesting that they make their commerce sites more like information sites, using editorial or advertorial content to attract prospects? Or does clearly written, descriptive, and original catalog copy qualify as "good content" from a Googlesque point of view?

Good question. It will be interesting to see the answer.

I think part of "semantics" is going to be how the word or phrase is most often used. That is to say, most people who are looking for widgets are looking for info on how to clean them, or sell them, or buy them. And, of course, that fits nicely in with Google's business plan--serve the masses well.

Meanwhile, the ads down the side will have what most people who are into the $ side of widgets are interested in, no matter if that's what most people want or not. And that's not a bad mix, useful-wise and moneymaking wise, too. Hmmm, exactly when is that IPO coming, eh?

As I have said before, the impact of "semantics" on search is going to depend to the topic. But, you'll be able to get a pretty good understanding by looking at the search results--if they do as they are suppose to do. Language is an ongoing, evolving process (finding a Hilton hotel in Paris, for example, is a lot more difficult using search now) and what people are interested about a topic changes, too, even seasonally. In the spring, your widget needs cleaning, but no one cleans their widget (for obvious reasons) in the summer. Search will probably reflect this.

Which is why these reports of spam are so frustrating. Gotta say on Sunday night that my US City, State test (using Postal abbreviations) is not good, maybe worse--lots of spam--but when the state is spelled out (Alabama vs AL or Ala. for example) I'm seeing a tad of improvement.

[edited by: 258cib at 10:39 pm (utc) on Feb. 15, 2004]

Bobby




msg:70937
 10:36 pm on Feb 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

SEO for 2004 is to build an authoritative (meaning you know what you are talking about), content-rich site that offers the bot "signals of quality"

steveb, I'm not sure I agree with you 100% here.
I've got a page from one of my SEO sites which is a ranking report and it is ranking higher than any of the hundred plus pages of the real site which has tons of information and is much more an "authority" than the SEO ranking report or SEO site.

I think GG was just giving us some general info, but with all the sites that have very little information and "authority" getting better results than real sites with on target information I just can't believe it's all about "high quality" sites.

Pricey




msg:70938
 10:45 pm on Feb 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm having the same problem with my KW's. Although now there ARE relevant results, my pages are still so far down that its not really worth them even being there.

Also, I'm a little concerned that one of the products my company sells, shares a KW with a health therapy product. It seems that that general area "health" even though they are offering products for sale, has a huge priority over the area my site covers, which used to be #2 for its KW.

I checked out the overture KW matches and yes the health thing is slightly searched for more... BUT my site doesn't deserve to be dropped to the 13th page (on .co.cuk) and the 38th page (.com).

A core product dropped like that is going to end business for my company very quickly. I'v only had about 12 enquiries through the site in the last 2 months. Before december, I was getting close to 150 enquiries per month.

Phil

alexdo




msg:70939
 11:10 pm on Feb 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

All of us talking about good sites, quality content and etc. But there is one important question:

What does the quality content and good site means?

Especially if it is a commercial site.

It's incorrect to rank pure informative site higher than commercial for the "red widget" or "some widgets".
There is 50/50 that user want to buy "red widget" than to know about it anything else or to see a directory of “widgets”.

So if you run a commercial site and you care about it, you like your consumers, you add important information regularly, your customers find your site very useful and friendly but Google thinks other way. What to do now?

What to do if there are about 10 very quality commercial sites with good content and good customers replies and they competing with each other but some of them are in the top of results and some of them are out.

Some of them have sales and others not.

What to do if you are in the "out" section?

Make your site even better? What is the line for the good and better?

steveb




msg:70940
 11:32 pm on Feb 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

"I just can't believe it's all about "high quality" sites."

Read it again. If a high quality site doesn't have "signals of quality" it can be doomed.

The first step is making a genuine quality site. The next steps involve helping the bot recognize the legitimate quality of the site.

alexdo




msg:70941
 11:43 pm on Feb 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Sounds pretty interesting - "signals of quality".
It looks for me like a "signals from space".

Did any one know the algo to determine "signals of quality" for a site?

I'll tell even more - does it possible to determine "signals of quality" for a site?

Bobby




msg:70942
 11:46 pm on Feb 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

If a high quality site doesn't have "signals of quality" it can be doomed

Agreed, and by the same token a "low quality" site can get great results if it uses certain optimization techniques that Google happens to value.

I've got plenty of examples and I'm sure many other webmasters will concur.

You can bet your chips on it.

MyWifeSays




msg:70943
 11:48 pm on Feb 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

The new results look pretty much like pre-Austin ones in my sector. The sites with all the swapped non-related backlinks are back at the top.

Austin gave me hope, now I'm back looking at trying to get over 28000 backlinks to get top position or just hoping Googles next attempt to counteract this spam produces more relevant results than Austin.

julinho




msg:70944
 12:13 am on Feb 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

People post around here about filters, blocking, penalties, etc. etc. A far better explanation is 'things which used to work before don't receive the same amount of credit now.'

GG,
Not sure if you can answer, but I will ask a question anyway.

I search for keyword1 keyword2, a site of mine is nowhere to be found; I search for keyword1 keyword2 +a, the site is #1 (BTW, the domain is keyword1-keyword2.com). How can one interpret this behavior, if not by thinking of some kind of filter?

I see you made mention to a *far better* explanation (and I am not disputing about it), but it doesn't seem to be exhaustive.

frances




msg:70945
 12:13 am on Feb 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

a "low quality" site can get great results if it uses certain optimization techniques that Google happens to value

But its not so hard to just do the high quality things - even for very commercial sites - and then its a doddle to signal the high quality that is there.

And there are no worries about getting "found out". Florida, austin... you can just sit out the bad months and be confident (well, reasonably confident) that what you have is good and that it WILL be recognized when things get back on track.

idoc




msg:70946
 12:21 am on Feb 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

"The first step is making a genuine quality site. The next steps involve helping the bot recognize the legitimate quality of the site"

That's kind of like the dilemma always there with commerce sites... The bots like the informational pages... people buy however from the "buy it now" pages. Though they are not the same, we link to the "buy it now" pages from the informational ones or otherwise minimize the commercial look of the buy it now pages to the bots. I agree 100% the bots like information... trouble is the most informative pages attracts for the most part purely information gatherers who more times than not use your site for information, then buy locally offline. The best converting pages are usually not the most informative pages in other words. The guaranteed outcome from having the most informative site in your arena is that it will be the most copied site for the people who spoof the bots. I am not saying it is googles problem... they have just made it that much harder for seo's who honestly try to balance information with commerce in their sites and who use seo to drive legitimate user traffic to their sites... unless you plan on buying the clicks of course... which have suddenly become more valuable. ;)

alexdo




msg:70947
 12:21 am on Feb 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

to: julinho

You are not alone. I have the same thing for my Kw1 Kw2.

If I put +a I’m on the #1.

It's definitely a filter and the only thing is to find out how this filter work

Powdork




msg:70948
 12:22 am on Feb 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

"People post around here about filters, blocking, penalties, etc. etc. A far better explanation is 'things which used to work before don't receive the same amount of credit now.'"

A far better explanation from whose point of view. When pages that previously ranked number 1 drop to below 500 (450 results past anything remotely relevant to the search query) as happened to thousands during Florida and Austin, the ONLY explanation is a penalty* of some sort. Unless you were to change the sentence to read

'things which used to work before don't receive the same amount of credit now and can void out the credit you get from having words on your page, in your titles, in your alt text, and in link text pointing at your page. '

or when we add 64.xx into the equation we could perhaps say.

'things which used to work before don't receive the same amount of credit now, but they will again by Tuesday.';)

Please take this with a bit of levity, as it was intended.

*Please use the most generic definition possible for 'penalty', i.e.- a bad thing

64 Rulz!:)

Bobby




msg:70949
 12:28 am on Feb 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

If I put +a I’m on the #1

It's the same for me too alexdo.

How can one interpret this behavior, if not by thinking of some kind of filter?

julinho, I hope GG answers your question as I'd like to see what could cause such results.

My site also has kw1-kw2 in it.

Here's another interesting point to ponder, one that makes absolutely no sense to me at all in light of GG's assertion that there is no filter:

A search for "personalized widgets in mycountry" does not bring up my site at all, yet a search for "widgets in my country" brings it to the top of the SERPs.

alexdo




msg:70950
 12:47 am on Feb 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

I found one very interesting thing.

In my domain there is an authority (directory) for the domain related web sites.

This directory built in an interesting way:

it collects query phrases like "red widgets". After this it generates pages with the "red widgets" as a name - red-widgets.html.
In a few month number of such pages reached 5000.
This pages filled out with the links to different com sites.

In a few month this directory had PR6 (after PR0) with no any external link to it. There is more that 1500 self backlinks.
There is links to my site too at this directory
After Florida this directory had a lot of top rankings. But after Austin it disappears from the serps.

After some time I'm noted that my site have good rank only for the keywords I'm can't be found in this directory. So As I understand it's some kind of penalty?

Is it possible to get penalty because of the links from such directory?

The bad thing is that I didn't want to be there and they ignore all my messages where I ask them to remove my site form their pages.

Also noted that for the Kw1 kw2 +a directory are in 3 positions below my site at the top 10……

idoc




msg:70951
 12:54 am on Feb 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

Same here... "kw +a" puts me at #3 overall, "kw" well, I got tired of looking past 150.

I guess I can find solace in the words... its not just a filter... it's LSI. its not just a filter... it's LSI. its not just a filter... it's LSI. :)

valeyard




msg:70952
 12:54 am on Feb 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

People post around here about filters, blocking, penalties, etc. etc. A far better explanation is 'things which used to work before don't receive the same amount of credit now.'"

A far better explanation from whose point of view. When pages that previously ranked number 1 drop to below 500 (450 results past anything remotely relevant to the search query) as happened to thousands during Florida and Austin, the ONLY explanation is a penalty* of some sort. Unless you were to change the sentence to read

'things which used to work before don't receive the same amount of credit now and can void out the credit you get from having words on your page, in your titles, in your alt text, and in link text pointing at your page. '

I remember reading once a suggestion that Google multiplied different factor weightings to get a final page weighting. If that's right then simply devaluing some algo elements could effectively eliminate other factors without any need for a "penalty".

So if (for example) your score for "relevant links" received less credit and was reduced to zero then your "on page factors" score becomes irrelevant. Zero times anything is zero. No need for an explicit penalty.

Not saying that's correct. Not saying that's Good or Bad. Just floating a thought.

bether2




msg:70953
 1:01 am on Feb 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure on this word 'semantics' and the ideas being mentioned here.
Anybody care to write a quick paragraph explaining it, or point me to a recent thread.

BobbyN,

Here's a recent thread on Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI). Maybe it will help.

[webmasterworld.com...]

Beth

div01




msg:70954
 1:08 am on Feb 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

alexdo,

Such sites came to WW's attention about a year ago and continue to do very well.

comsen




msg:70955
 1:08 am on Feb 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hi All,

I have been a lurker here for over 6 months now and found a lot of great information here to learn from. Just want to say thanks to all great brains around...

Now it is really starting to get interesting so I can't resist making my voice (fingers?) heard at last...

My 5 cents:

One of my sites, just like those of Bobby, alexdo & julinho, has kw1-kw2 in the title. I ranked number one before Florida for these particular words. (I still rank number one if I use the +a technique.)

Now the site is sent on a rover to Mars. It is nowhere to be seen on the first 500.

I would describe my SEO tactics as fairly mild. Yes, I have optimized the page, but I do try to keep a naturally flowing language, which includes synonyms and other semantically "close" words. I try to write for humans first, spiders later. And the content is definitely relevant for may main kw1-kw2 term.

The interesting part is that for almost all my other target kw's I haven't moved very much. It is only for my title kw1-kw2 and a few other words that Google sent me to this Mars excursion. All words that I disappeared for have one thing in common - they have been used both in the url and in the anchor texts.

I think we have two distinct events - (and many with me seem to have concluded the same thing here).

The first happened during Florida - and in some way or another addressed over-optimization. My guess (as many others') is that this has more to do with anchor text and/or url words than any other optimization techniques. The Mars rovers are now full of anchor texts and kw1-kw2 titles that used to sit in Google serps.

Austin just tweaked and extended this a bit?

Then came our friend Brandy and introduced (or exteded) the semantic theme that we will undoubtedly see more of in the future. This is good.

So, to conclude this: I believe that Brandy is doing great things for the world. However, I think that Google took the Florida anti-optimization a bit too far. Many informative kw1-kw2 websites have been more hurt than they should for that singular term. Hopefully they have more terms in their basket.

Now I'll go back to lurking mode for a while :-).

XtendScott




msg:70956
 1:20 am on Feb 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

GG - People post around here about filters, blocking, penalties, etc. etc. A far better explanation is 'things which used to work before don't receive the same amount of credit now.'

filter to SEO = -weighting or NO weighting to page elements in algo to GG. (imo)

My read into Widget Marketing is to market many many widgets like bizrate, amazon, etc. I am seeing AFFiliate product Directories with other true listings scalped from SE listings(my guess) to create relevance. Isn't it great you can auto-generate thousands of pages now to create such informative and useful content(haha).

I do admit Brandy seems to be better so far.

<edit>speeling</edit>

GoogleGuy




msg:70957
 1:25 am on Feb 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

"GG, your advice makes a lot of sense for information or content publishers, but how should widget marketers interpret that statement? Are you suggesting that they make their commerce sites more like information sites, using editorial or advertorial content to attract prospects? Or does clearly written, descriptive, and original catalog copy qualify as "good content" from a Googlesque point of view?"

Good question. I think both can qualify as good content. It's easier for me to think of it as a user though. If I want to buy a diamond for someone, I might go on the web and just search for a place to buy a diamond. But a typical user is also going to want to know about their purchase. Things like color, carats, clarity, and so on that people want to find out about. I probably would want to know about the different organizations that certify diamonds, along with some believable opinions about the organizations themselves and their value.

If you have a "buy it now" site, you're definitely going to attract a certain type of visitor (maybe the most valuable single type, by the way). But the more unique information you can provide to distinguish your site, the better off you'll be. A buy-it-now site with nothing but boilerplate or affiliate links doesn't add a lot of value for a searcher who is looking for context, comparison-shopping, or more background.

This is all just my personal take of course, but I'd recommend building the sort of resource site that people can use to read and research, the sort of site that people bookmark and return to. That can come from original content: a good newsletter, for example, or a forum where people have a good community and discuss the pros and cons of different types of widgets. It can come from honest, unbiased reviews. It can come from providing more information than anyone else about a product. But if there's nothing that makes a site stand out--if a user perceives it as a cookie cutter site with little additional reason to use it versus another site--then you can see where it's not of as much use to a searcher.

Again, this is all just my two cents. :) We want quality sites to do well--ideally without worrying too much about SEO. And if you know of sites that are doing well but appear to be doing it against our guidelines, drop an email to webmaster [at] google.com or do a spamreport and mention the keyword brandyupdate. I'd like to make sure that we keep looking at any issues with our scoring, so that people with good sites can keep working on making their sites better, without worrying about the people trying to take shortcuts. Feedback helped in our last iteration of algorithms, and we appreciate getting it.

<added>By the way, the front page is talking about "The Semantic Web". I was talking about plain old semantics--understanding documents better, for example. The "Semantic Web" is a different topic altogether--more about RDF and XML and (OWL?) and lots of other things.</added>

vbjaeger




msg:70958
 1:39 am on Feb 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks for being so honest GG and not leaving this as a riddle.

Is this the same old GoogleGuy? LOL J/K...

The new serps look good so far.

wholland




msg:70959
 1:40 am on Feb 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

Google Guy,

Why does it take so long for Google to update their directory from DMOZ?

When will the next update be?

How much weight is given, if any, to sites in DMOZ versus sites not listed in DMOZ when it comes to ranking.

Thanks in advance,
Will

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