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"The Ides of March" Google Update
twinsrul




msg:36515
 12:01 am on Mar 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

Like many others, my network of sites has been hit hard by this latest March google update. I have not been able to tell what has changed in the google algo & why my sites are ranking lower. Anyone here been able to beat this latest update? Any tips or tricks you'd like to share?

 

GoogleGuy




msg:36605
 12:59 am on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

ulysee, I don't foresee any updates short-term (e.g. not this weekend, as you asked), although I don't claim to know of everything at Google that could ever affect a search result. Auteuil, I was just trying to say that I understand why webmasters want our directory information updated more often, and that I would ping the person who is responsible for that and try to urge them to do directory refreshes on a more frequent basis. :)

Dolemite




msg:36606
 1:11 am on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

People keep bringing up DMOZ/Google Directory as the flavor of the month in the secret sauce of ranking well. I'm not sure that I buy into this yet, but it bears mentioning that a DMOZ listing gets you 2 typically decent-PR links (DMOZ and the Google Directory) and 1 more for every DMOZ clone that slips through Google's filter.

So GoogleGuy may say that DMOZ has no greater significance than any other link, and whether you believe that or not, that one link gets multiplied a few times.

If Google would standardize their policy of filtering backlinks from mirrored content to include their own directory, it would go a long way towards eliminating the both the reality and the perception of whatever extra advantage people attribute to a DMOZ listing.

zafile




msg:36607
 1:16 am on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

In my case, I'm happy with Google's SERPs. I follow the term "country real estate" closely.

Some of my sites don't show under some other specific phrases such as "region country real estate".

An interesting issue is the difference in SERPs between "country real estate" and "country property".

I have two sites. Site no. 1 performs well under "country real estate" but it is nowhere to be found under "country property". Site no.2 performs well under "country property" but it is nowhere to be found under "country real estate".

Site no. 1 and site no. 2 have similar templates but different content. I don't worry much because users can access both sites via links in each.

I'm still waiting to see Google's full deployment of filters against sites with doorways, link farms, hidden links, hidden text, semi-hidden text and perhaps cloaking.

The Top 5 sites under "country real estate" use the above spam techniques. Hopefully, Google will apply filters at the right time.

GG, thanks for the info you've supplied.

Auteuil




msg:36608
 1:23 am on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

GoogleGuy must have been head-hunted from the diplomatic corps. I think he just made it a teensy weensie little bit clearer what didn't happen to the SERPS earlier this month, without actually saying what did happen. He must have his reasons......

Its quite clear to me that that is all we are likely to find out on this subject ..... flogging dead horses and all that jazz ....Is this thread really worth pursuing any further?

zafile




msg:36609
 1:30 am on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

I forgot to mention that site number one improved 3 positions thanks to the "The Ides of March". It's much closer to the Top 10.

Site number one is already a Yahoo Top Ten and Altavista Top 10. I don't use PFI.

Site no. 1 has less than 10 backlinks and quite low keyword density.

Cheers!

Dolemite




msg:36610
 1:40 am on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

GoogleGuy must have been head-hunted from the diplomatic corps. I think he just made it a teensy weensie little bit clearer what didn't happen to the SERPS earlier this month, without actually saying what did happen.

Why don't you clarify for the rest of us?

I'd rather decode 128-bit SSL on an abacus than try to make sense of his doublespeak.

stcrim




msg:36611
 1:53 am on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

GG - I sent you an email at webmaster at Google dot com but at that point didn't know about the Ides of March directive. The subject was "To GoogleGuy Please"

It's relating to a car dealership with 3 example searches and signed - Steve

What use to be the only logical search returns are now completely off the radar.

I would be real interested in your thoughts.

Steve

Auteuil




msg:36612
 2:04 am on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

"Why don't you clarify for the rest of us?
I'd rather decode 128-bit SSL on an abacus than try to make sense of his doublespeak."

Here is my opinion of what GoogleGuy is saying about what happened to the SERPS around the Ides of March:

1. There was no change in the algo.
2. It would be a good thing for webmasters for the Google Directory to be updated more often and I am going to chase up that matter, but I'm not going to say whether or not the update to the Google Directory around the Ides of March caused a "jolt" in the SERPS around that time.
3. I am going to continue to be very careful about what I say about what happened around the Ides of March.
4. I may respond if people put words in my mouth.
5. You have to guess what points 1 to 4 above really mean.
6. My talents were being wasted in the diplomatic corps in this mono-polar world.

(Hmmmm .... On reflection, I think we now know less than before GoogleGuy's last post. I still think we are flogging a dead horse, and that this thread should be abandoned.)

BigDave




msg:36613
 2:08 am on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

I find that googleGuy is almost always clearer than many of you give him credit for. You all tend to get in trouble when you try to interpret what he says or you try to read between the lines.

If he directly answers a question, then it is answered. But often times he will give a reply that is somewhat tangental to what you are looking for. He often does this for trade secret reasons. Don't try to decrypt it in relation to your question, because it simply was not an answer.

If you just take what he says exactly at face value, then you will be fine.

zafile




msg:36614
 2:52 am on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

A few months ago, I had to adopt a full "white hat" approach [almost black :)] to compete with sites such as the one mentioned in a profile of a WebmasterWorld member.

I was compelled to increase keyword density, play with HTML titles and use other "white hat" techniques to deal with such sites.

I'm glad Google has deployed filters to deal with sites that offer poor and ugly homepages stuffed with keywords, repetitive text and little high value content.

It's good for the World Wide Web that search engines have improved their technologies to catch sites with URLs such [keyword1-keyword2-keyword3-keyword4-keyword5.info...]

It's no good that a semi "white hat" webmaster like me needs to become semi "black hat" because of search engines with poor filters.

Google, keep up the good work.

The time is getting closer to deploy the rest of the filters!

Dolemite




msg:36615
 3:15 am on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks for your demystification, Auteuil.

I find that googleGuy is almost always clearer than many of you give him credit for.
...
If you just take what he says exactly at face value, then you will be fine.

I actually agree with that more that I let on, but this situation is just doubly frustrating because we have what amounts to an update and GG's telling us there wasn't an update.

Obviously an update can be measured on both the cause and effect side of the equation, and just because there wasn't an algorithm shift doesn't mean there can't be dramatic changes and vice-versa.

Overall, I find myself better served by ignoring insider mouthpieces and instead going with what I can observe and anticipate. Its just like politics, when anonymous administration officials spew the party line, very rarely leaking something of value. I'll go along with GG that there hasn't been an update on their end, by their definition, but I have to reconcile that with the fact that I'm adapting to the new results regardless of how we term their cause.

markus007




msg:36616
 3:39 am on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

ulysee, I don't foresee any updates short-term (e.g. not this weekend, as you asked)

Googleguy, back before christmas you said the we can expect a lot more updates, and movement in the serps not like what was seen over the summer.

I think it was before brandy, google said they tested 6 new rankings algorithms in quick succession. Now there has been no sign of an update for over a month and googlebot is deep crawling. My programming knowledge tells me that one of these algorithms must have been picked and is now being fine tuned and the next update is going to be huge.

It would also be the first update in the post yahoo world, so google would want to do something to make themselves stand out.

steveb




msg:36617
 3:42 am on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

The amont of new pages put on the Internet every day is enormous. When Google introduces a particularly large amount of fresh content into its public index, it jogs the serps, usually for the worse because Google overvalues fresh content when in fact most SE-friendly fresh content is not high quality. This is not an "update". It's just what has been known as everflux. The flux may just be a bit more fluxy than before.

GG, I sent a report but got back one of the canned responses about the spam form, etc. It would be nice if the people at webmaster @ google, knew to not send the canned junk to idesofmarch (or brandyupdate or whatever) people since it gives the impression the report is not going to where it should. In other words... if I wasn't one of the two you mentioned, then you likely didn't get some that were sent in.

zafile




msg:36618
 4:48 am on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

One more thing about "sites that offer poor and ugly homepages stuffed with keywords, repetitive text and little high value content".

One search phrase I've been concerned about is "country vacation rentals". I must clarify that my sites don't target primarily that kind of business.

However, in the past, I was involved with some vacation rental offices in Costa Rica. Therefore, I've seen plenty of bad looking sites on that field.

My country is quite popular in the United States because of pretty nice vacation homes at the beach. However, most sites that promote the homes are pretty, pretty ugly.

Most of those sites are based out of my country and most try to target vacation rentals in different countries.

At least, once again, at least, it'll be good for the World Wide Web if "black hat" webmasters hire good graphical designers. It will be more desirable to have nicely graphical designed spam content.

I only hope that soon search engines will have the capability of returning Top 20 results with nicely designed Web pages and free of spam.

Up until now, the top results are full of "sites that offer poor and ugly homepages stuffed with keywords, repetitive text" and in some cases little high value content.

ILuvSrchEngines




msg:36619
 4:57 am on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

>It's good for the World Wide Web that search engines have improved their technologies to catch sites with URLs such [keyword1-keyword2-keyword3-keyword4-keyword5.info...]

Are long domains illegal now too? Was there a law passed that says you can't buy long domain names or you can't have a business name in your title? Has anyone ever confirmed that long names are illegal? Is a name automatically considered spam now if it isnít one word? If so, how dare Network Solution and others sell long names. Maybe AOL should block Network Solutions web site for spamming.

As far as I can tell you appear to be repeating a myth. If you are not, then the registering of new domain names might as well stop. We should instead just start bidding on existing one word domain names that do not have a keyword in them from here on out.

BallochBD




msg:36620
 2:24 pm on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

I agree, this is a legal and acceptable practice and if Google are penalising it then quite clearly Google is wrong. If my company is called UK widget manufacturing then I would be be very unhappy if I was advised against using www.uk-widget-manufacturing.co.uk as my domain name.

Come on now! This is not part of a filter, this is playing God by penalising people exercising their legal right to use the domain name of their choice. Sure some people will abuse it but then Ringo Starr is not really called Ringo Starr and no one sees anything wrong with that.

I'm glad Google has deployed filters to deal with sites that offer poor and ugly homepages stuffed with keywords, repetitive text and little high value content.

Oh yeah? All I can say to this is try a search for "hotels anywhere" and you will see that there is still some way to go.

mr_strong




msg:36621
 2:37 pm on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

And how exactly would you suggest Google detects for an "ugly page"?!

quotations




msg:36622
 3:11 pm on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

A major competitor has a trademark on the three word phrase which describes their product and our customer's product.

Their flagship site is www.one-two-three.com

That site has completely vanished from the SERPs after a couple of years of being number one.

It is a good thing for them that they know how to spam. Their site at www.ott.com (first initials of those three words) is now first and their stealth copy sites are now at #3, #6, #9 and #12.

Those site were nowhere to be found previous to Florida so it is interesting to note that the legitimate site appears to be affected for

keyword - keyword - keyword

while their duplicate spam sites which used to be removed automatically have now all risen to the top of the results.

Their competitors sites have all been removed.

Dolemite




msg:36623
 3:24 pm on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm glad Google has deployed filters to deal with sites that offer poor and ugly homepages stuffed with keywords, repetitive text and little high value content.

IMO, ugly homepages are the code-bloat, amateur, nested-tables HTML with scrolling/flashing text and animated GIFs of Santa on a disco dance floor. MIDI anyone?

Apparently MS FrontPage or GeoCities PageBuilder is the new SEO.

Well guess what, I have these things called "users" and I don't percieve it to be my core mission to make their eyes bleed.

petehall




msg:36624
 3:50 pm on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

You all complain about Google but have you tried searching on Yahoo! the results are all over the place.

There is nothing wrong with using tables to structure a HTML document either, IMO.

BallochBD




msg:36625
 4:43 pm on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

I would agree Pete. Aren't tables really a necessity in standard web design?

WRT Dolemite's statement that Google has deployed filters to detect "ugly" sites, this is just not possible. Ugliness is objective, as is beauty. There is no way that Google can classify what is ugly and it is wrong to suggest otherwise.

petehall




msg:36626
 4:53 pm on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

"I would agree Pete. Aren't tables really a necessity in standard web design?"

They sure are, however many people are now using layers to structure documents.

I would say layers are more worrying for search engines than tables - as you can position layer code anywhere in a HTML document, so that certain areas of content are read before others.

e.g. you could have a mass of text at the bottom of the site from a user point of view, but this is the first bulk of code/text read by the search engine...

Dolemite




msg:36627
 5:11 pm on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

WRT Dolemite's statement that Google has deployed filters to detect "ugly" sites, this is just not possible. Ugliness is objective, as is beauty. There is no way that Google can classify what is ugly and it is wrong to suggest otherwise.

Huh? I made no such statement.

In fact, what I said and what I'm seeing is much the opposite. Static, 1996-style HTML sites are doing extremely well.

I wish people would actually read things, but that's another rant. ;)

ulysee




msg:36628
 5:35 pm on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

How do I get a good ranking in google since pagerank, amount of links, anchor text, words on page, alt text, and content dont matter anymore?.

M0nKeY




msg:36629
 6:13 pm on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm not going to speculate or rant. That is usless.

All I have to say is that overall for this month I'm getting 2 to 3 times as much traffic from Ya who as I am from G. Almost the exact OPPOSITE of what I've come to expect.

I'm talking about Many different sites covering many different Keywords/Keyphrases. They are not networked or located in the same IP neighborhood. And many of the sites had high PR boosts; jumping 2 points during the recent toolbar update.

C'est La Vie

BallochBD




msg:36630
 8:34 pm on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

Sorry Dolemite! It was Zafile who said this. I did misread it and you were right to chastise me :o) It's just that I don't have much free time right now, too busy trying to coax Googlebot into paying me a visit.

Kirby




msg:36631
 8:53 pm on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

>since pagerank, amount of links, anchor text, words on page, alt text, and content dont matter anymore?

Says who?

trimmer80




msg:36632
 10:22 pm on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

>since pagerank, amount of links, anchor text, words on page, alt text, and content dont matter anymore?

lmao. Content and words on page are king. anchor text still important, others are still important, importance has decreased from past.

IMO anyway.

trimmer80




msg:36633
 10:26 pm on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>In fact, what I said and what I'm seeing is much the opposite. Static, 1996-style HTML sites are doing extremely well.

pages that haven't been updated since 1996 are doing extremely well!

ulysee




msg:36634
 6:59 pm on Mar 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

Kirby: Says who?
------------------
THE SERPS!.
When you have sites with links as it's only content and barely any links ranking number 1 out of 3-8 million search results then you have a prehistoric algo.

zafile




msg:36635
 10:51 pm on Mar 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

I posted the following on page 10 of this thread:

"I forgot to mention that site number one improved 3 positions [to number 13] thanks to the "The Ides of March". It's much closer to the Top 10."

About 8 hours ago, site no. 1 moved to number 12. I just checked the SERPs and site no. 1 is now number 11.

Also, the issue related to SERPs for "country real estate" and "country property" has been fixed.

I'm very happy about "The Ides of March". Thank you Google.

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