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This 87 message thread spans 3 pages: 87 ( [1] 2 3 > >     
Should we change optimisation or sit tight?
Given the new search results on Google
phantombookman




msg:131935
 1:28 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hi
I have seen my sites collapse in Google rankings recently. I am in a niche area (rare books) with little competition.
I was doing really well now some search terms that were once #1 not do not even appear!

I emailed Google and they say I do not have a penalty.

It is very clear and obvious that many of the sites listed are nowhere near as relevant to the search. PR0 and no backlinks etc.

I am relatively new and the sites are largely non commercial by the way.

Do I sit tight or should I try and do something?
Regards
Rod

 

John_Caius




msg:131936
 1:35 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Never change a site based on day to day fluctuations in SERPs, but consider changing things if your lower position is maintained over a period of time, especially if it's not a period of time when everyone is complaining.

For example, many innocent sites were badly hit in November, but with no change to the sites, they've now gradually come back to more or less where they were before. Had the site owners changed them, e.g. "deoptimisation", then they might not now be ranking well again. How did we know not to make major changes? Well, when you're one of hundreds complaining then it's probably a bug in the algo. When you're complaining and everyone else is happy then it's probably a bug in your SEO.

:)

fasteddie uk2001




msg:131937
 1:46 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

I've seen exactly the same thing, across around 40 of the 50 sites I run. Since 12th of this month, everything has gone pear shaped. Around 20% of the referrals from Google that we normally get.

f

metrostang




msg:131938
 2:41 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

It's difficult to sit tight when you're dropping. What I did after Austin was change a few of my pages and monitor the results after they were crawled again. If they moved up, I applied those changes accross the site.

This is harder to do now due to Googles behavior recently. The entire site has been crawled several times in the past month, but some pages are from last month, some from last week and others show a date of March 14. Two pages have completely dropped out of the index.

Like Fasteddie, traffic and conversions are way down this week. The pages that produce my sales are now mostly in positions #1 to #3, so I wonder if serious searchers are going elsewhere.

It may be time to concentrate your efforts on other search engines and just be happy with whatever traffic you get from Google.

Googleguy, are you listening? I know losing Yahoo is a factor, but making one of the first 3 spots on G used to mean consistantly increasing traffic and sales. At least in my sector, that's not the case. Maybe the searchers, like many webmasters are getting tired of the dance.

Sorry I strayed from the subject, but it helps to vent you frustrations. I would experiment with changes to a few pages and hope that Google stabalizes soon.

cohesivestrat




msg:131939
 3:44 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

One of my sites dropped from #1 to off the chart, but still listed, so I don't think it was banned. Any thoughts on the new criteria?

John_Caius




msg:131940
 4:08 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

If you're knowingly doing something dodgy [google.com] then go ahead and get rid of it...

stcrim




msg:131941
 4:29 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

We run a lot of local sites that depend on keyphrases like "product city state" and they have no real compatition yet they are all pretty much in the toilet.

In most cases our sites are the only logical search result and yet google is finding pages with bits and pieces of the terms and putting them on the top even though they have nothing to do with the subject.

It's a real mess!

-s-

shocko




msg:131942
 4:36 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Exact same thing here. About 20 of our sites just disappeared out of the serps and only getting a fraction of referrals from Google as we used to.

What do we do? Sit tight and hope things go back the way they were or start rebuilding?

Any Ideas?

sarahp




msg:131943
 4:39 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Like many other i'm in the exact same position.

My site was no.1 for atround 2 years then on Monday plummeted to position 81.

I'm sure this was because it was over optimized.

I've resisted changing my site since I occupy the top positions on all other search engines for the keywords relevent to my business so I don;t want to affect these rankings.

Instead what i've done is i've created some sample pages taking into account the new criteria required post Brandy.

From reading these pages i've tried to make my sites appear less commercialised, increased the outbound links so it resembles more of a directory, added more content and optimized it less for my keyword phrases.

Googlebot has picked up the new pages however i'm not sure when they'll appear in the index.

John_Caius




msg:131944
 4:47 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Msg #6 here [webmasterworld.com] for GG's take on over-optimisation.

If over-optimisation means dozens of doorway pages, inappropriate keyword stuffing or hidden text then your over-optimisation is another man's spam...

kaled




msg:131945
 4:56 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

I emailed Google and they say I do not have a penalty.

In this case, that may be true, but I've never read a single post here on WW that said "Google replied and told me I was penalized for ....". Yet many are believed to be penalized.

We know that Google prefer to penalize sites (or pages maybe) according to algos rather than by human intervention. If their algos are faulty, then innocent sites are undoubtedly penalized. Also, if their algos are faulty, penalties may not even be recorded identically in the database used by the engineers as the database used by the main index.

Of course, only a single database of penalties should exist, but I doubt that is the case. In other words, the engineers may be lying unwittingly.

Kaled.

PS Experiment with changes to pages for the missing keywords. At the very least, the pages will look newer and Google likes new stuff.

metrostang




msg:131946
 5:14 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Not that Google owes us any explanations, but it would nice to see a statement from Google that they are currently updating their Bot, PR, database or whatever and that for the next X number of days there will be unusual fluctuations in results.

That would save many webmasters countless hours of research, analyzing, agonizing and changing code. We could have more time to devote as Googleguy suggests to just writing good web page copy for searchers.

I quess I'm dreaming.

John_Caius




msg:131947
 5:34 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Then pretend that there are going to be unusual fluctuations in results (you'll almost certainly be right), forget the index and go and work on improving your site!

That's the one thing that's guaranteed to be of benefit in the long run. :)

sarahp




msg:131948
 5:51 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

John - I didn't mean any that you mentioned since if I did I would be deserved to be penalised... I mean my domain name is keyword1-keyword2.com and the first 2 words in my title and h1 tag are keyword1 and keyword2.
However the keywords are relevent to my site and business and don't look out of place, unfortunately google's new algorithm doesn't see it that way.

plasma




msg:131949
 6:12 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

I emailed Google and they say I do not have a penalty.

There isn't something like a penalty.
Google changes algos to get better results. They don't penalize.

There are very few exceptions, though, like g*atse.cx IIRC.

However, I'm certain that nobody here has a 'real' penalty.

nutsandbolts




msg:131950
 6:37 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

To be honest, I have no idea anymore what the new Google considers over-optimisation. It may even think that any *new* web site that doesn't have any authority links to it is a pile of spam junk.

As an example, I designed a web site for a local church. Nice and simple with nice outgoing links to good authority sites. There are approx 3 links to the site of good pagerank. Then the Dmoz link was added when Google refreshed a few weeks ago. But for the past 4 days the whole listing has gone from Google.

Why? It's just the new way Google works perhaps. Maybe it will take another 6 months before the Googlebot realises it's not spam.

I say sit tight, build new sites and hope Google irons out these horrible bugs as it moves towards daily new indexes.

phantombookman




msg:131951
 6:47 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hi Guys
thanks for the reassuring input, very much appreciated.

Re the Google reply for no penalty;
I am not an expert but the evidence for some sort of penalty/filter or whatever is compelling.
I have a site dedicated to a single author, it was on the first page of results searching under the authors name.
It does not appear at all now under the same search.
There are 1000's of results that are so obviously useless yet there.
The preseumption has to be that a search under the authors name results in Google filtering the site out or whatever.

My three sites have all gone the same way
It seems like huge amounts of work have been in vain unless anything changes.
Regards
Rod

kaled




msg:131952
 9:53 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

I haven't studied the over-optimization problem at any depth, but since you are not in a competitive area, I would suggest you try using the Author's full name in the title and then only use the surname in the body text. This may help.

Also, check the page's PR using the Google toolbar. A white or gray bar might be informative.

Also check that
1: your host hasn't blocked googlebot.
2: site:www.yourdomain.com search works ok.
3: your robots.txt file (if any) is ok.
4: your html code validates ok.

Kaled.

stcrim




msg:131953
 10:20 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Having just received my second email from Google on the subject I would guess they are content with the poor results currently being feed. Or at least the email made it sound like it.

In about 4 long paragraphs they said, that's the way the ball bounces and oh by the way you don't have a penalty. The no penalty part was also in the first letter from them.

I would say that is an amazing response considering the fact that anyone with even one eye open could see there is a problem...

Oh well...

-s-

Patrick Taylor




msg:131954
 10:59 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

fasteddie said: Since 12th of this month, everything has gone pear shaped.

I agree. From my observations, something got screwed up at Google on that day.

stevenb 1959




msg:131955
 11:15 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

My opinion is get 50 pages on your website with a google page rank of 5 or more based on off website optimization, each page a different faction of each other, yet related to the other pages synonym wises, then link them all to a webpage on the same website optimized to a certain keyword phase of your choice which relates to the theme of the 50 web pages in questioned and you have a long range foundation of stability in the serp results. Just MHOF, as I am doing it and it is working for me based on my testing analysis method which gives me factual representation and not opinion.

sweet_ali




msg:131956
 11:20 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

"Having just received my second email from Google on the subject I would guess they are content with the poor results currently being feed. Or at least the email made it sound like it."

Wait, you got 2 email replies from Google? In 3 years I've never gotten one.

Google always seems to be content with their roller coaster yo-yo ride with the algo every other month.

However, I think it makes a lot of webmasters NAUSEOUS.

I for one am not changing anything. I will sit this one out and wait until the roller coaster goes back up to the peak and hope the free submit at Yahoo really works. I get tired of worrying about what the kids in the GooglePlex are up to every time this happens.

scumm_bar2




msg:131957
 12:31 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

fasteddie said: Since 12th of this month, everything has gone pear shaped.

I noticed this for one of my websites. It's no longer ranking anywhere where it was and should, instead being pushed almost to the bottom of the pile for every search term, ever since about the 12th. Pagerank is still good, all pages are in the index, and like fasteddie I've witnessed a drop of visitors to about 20% of what it was. No dodgy tactics, this is just a clean, straight forward informational site.

Silicon




msg:131958
 1:47 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Same thing happening to me as well. My sites were not affected from the previous updates, but whatever took place on the 12th buried them all. Nothing tricky about them, pages still in the index, PR is fine, just the traffic was cut about to 1/4 of what it used to be. All sites focus on niche markets with little or no competition. I have no idea what to change if anything.

Kirby




msg:131959
 2:00 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

>Not that Google owes us any explanations, but it would nice to see a statement from Google that they are currently updating their Bot, PR, database or whatever and that for the next X number of days there will be unusual fluctuations in results.

I believe at PubCon it was mentioned that Google would be playing around with several different algo variations a month.

GG subsequently posted that we should see daily updates (changes) for the rest of the year. Put those two together and it means dont overreact to what is probably a temporary situation. You start playing around and Google decides to test a different version and what have you gained?

pmac




msg:131960
 2:09 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

<Since 12th of this month,<
>From my observations, something got screwed up at Google on that day<

No, that's not the case. You need to go back to mid November to really begin to make plans for this latest twist.

When the Florida results hit, it was such a dramatic move away from the normal results, the best advice was to sit and wait and watch. We had a bit of a rollback just before Pubcon, however since then, it is pretty clear to me that Google is intent on keeping the Florida flavor of results at its core.

My advice? The time for waiting and watching is over. This is the new reality as far as Google is concerned so start optimizing for it.

metrostang




msg:131961
 3:29 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

I agree with pmac. We have a pretty good idea what it takes to rank well. If I had waited out the updates I would have been off the charts for a month longer that necessary. The problem is there is no stabality in the way Google is displaying search results.

All of the changes I've made have resulted in those individual pages moving up, but at any given time searches may show three versions of pages all crawled at the same time. I have 40 category pages that were all crawled at the same time on 3 occasions. These pages are basically the same except each is concerning a different manufacturer with unique models.

Most are doing well, but on any given search you might see a version 3 weeks old, 2 weeks old or from yesterday. It's tough to keep track of which version is working the best.

Traffic and conversions are off by 50% this week, so I wonder what searchers in other parts of the country or world are seeing with these same keyword searches. I've looked at results from most datacenters and there doesn't appear to be enough variation to account for the drop. These pages produced 6 figures in sales last year, so page design and usability is not the problem.

After 4 months of this, I'm ready for a little stablity. Don't think we're going to get it. I can live with some Algo changes as Googleguy suggested would happen, but Google needs to update it's database with freshly crawled pages on some kind of schedule. This isn't happening.

Patrick Taylor




msg:131962
 4:08 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

pmac: No, that's not the case. You need to go back to mid November to really begin to make plans for this latest twist.

Sorry, but something distinct happened on 12th March, whatever went before. As far as I'm concerned there's a strange glitch at Google which has affected some sites' SERPS in an unaccountable manner from that day.

stcrim




msg:131963
 4:27 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Wonder if Google is doing this just to keep us all busy and out of trouble...

-s-

phantombookman




msg:131964
 8:02 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

"Also check that
1: your host hasn't blocked googlebot.
2: site:www.yourdomain.com search works ok.
3: your robots.txt file (if any) is ok.
4: your html code validates ok. "

Hi Kaled
thanks for that, all the above OK. The site does show up under certain search terms but not under the authors name alone, although it used to.
I am not expecting #1 spot but it should be there.
I see the site that shows author gravestones listed!
100's of sites that do not refer to the author at all but just contain the initial and surname somewhere on the page.
The site has PR4 and a few backlinks.

I can only conclude that for some reason it is being 'removed' from that particular search.

Regards
Rod

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