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This 158 message thread spans 6 pages: < < 158 ( 1 [2] 3 4 5 6 > >     
Google Getting Harder to SEO For?

 9:02 pm on Jul 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

I've been working with some sites and placement on Google for the past 3 years. I've seen it get gradually harder to get placed on Google anymore. Especially if you want the front page. I've done quite a few experiments to get my sites higher. About a year ago all our sites were #1. Now most of them aren't on the first page and they are constantly updated. I've emailed Google constantly about problems with searching and finding irrelavant results. I look for one thing and find junk instead. The problem is, Google leads us to believe that PR is the big issue. Having quality links. Well our sites have quality links and a rating of 4 on each of them. They have all the proper key words and words in the page. I've done all the research to know exactly what needs to be in the page and where to get it high on search engines. Yahoo has most of our sites rated very high, as does alltheweb and msn. Google however does not work the way they tell us. If you search for one of my key words on one of my sites, you will find a site with a PR of 3 over mine with PR 4. Same keyword on both sites, ours has more content though. Every time I wrote Google they told me PR PR PR. Obviously that's not it. Sure it might help but it's done nothing for me on 4 of my sites. Not to mention that our sites have exactly the content you look for with the keywords and more products with those keywords involved but sites that have unrelated products or small amounts of the same products get higher results. Can Google be bought off? Is that how it works?

To totally prove the PR myth here. We have a site rated 4 that is on Google but we have not found it under any search term. I don't understand why they would penalize it if it even is. I think Google has been feeding us lines about how to get good listings because I don't think THEY even know how their spider indexes sites.



 2:56 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

How can you tell the goofballs who happen to like the search because their sites are ranking well from the goofballs who like the search and don't have sites ranking well in that space?

I use the poster's joined date, their history of posting generally balanced or dodgy comments, and those happy with the search (without their site necessarily being there) can generally back it up with why. Thats how I tell them anyway.


 3:12 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

As a non-SEO professional who only learned html last year in developing my site, for about one year I've read everything I can on this terrific site (webmasterworld). I have worked my tail off developing lots of good and sometimes unique content, and developing relationships with other good sites to secure helpful links. I generally rank in the top 1 - 4 positions in Google on about a dozen of the top search phrases for folks working in my profession. (And by the way, you have to KEEP working to stay there!)

Hard work and knowledge don't guarantee success, but they are usually part of it. Luck (I now know enough to realize I "fell into", by pure accident, a few powerful optimization choices) also plays a role, but eventually, your continued success requires you to test and keenly observe even how luck has brought you success. And finally, attitude is a component of success, no?

Hang in there, but remember it's a free market. Complaining about a search engine algorithym that you have unfettered opportunity to do well with -- is an extremely self-limiting attitude. You have as much opportunity as anyone to develop a site that ROCKS in Google as well as other SERPS.

Finally, with respect to the fact that the most reputed and accessed search engine is the most difficult to optimize for: would you really expect or want it to be any other way? (To do so flies in the face of my experience in life generally!)


 3:14 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

"About a year ago all our sites were #1. Now most of them aren't on the first page and they are constantly updated. I've emailed Google constantly about problems with searching and finding irrelavant results"

You should sue them for making it harder for you to spam their index to be #1 out of billions of pages. [u]Google says design sites for your users and let them handle the placing[/u]....we all do SEO but we can't complain that Google doesn't work right when it doesn't work. The funny part is that sites that are #1 now (the "spammy" ones, will say exactly the same once the algo changes.

Also, even if they told us what's needed to be #1, everyone would be chasing it so in a sense it wouldn't matter that much....


 3:37 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

I can say it's definitely more competitive than it used to be. It will only get worse. I'm still waiting to see the infomercials start popping up "Make millions overnight on Google".

I see the algo from a while back as a 2D sine wave on an oscilloscope. Then they made it 3D...a new axis that I wasnt looking at before. Next it may be twisty-turnys in the sine wave itself with a little noise thrown in. Who knows. Anything is possible.

What we do know, and this isn't news, is that seo is considered a threat to the Google business model (as evidenced by statements in their ipo filing...and a little common sense). I dont think there's much that's gonna stop them from trying to thwart an seo's efforts.

One thing for sure...I can't possibly hope to keep up with phd's who have devoted their lives to IR. They can mathematically model the circles they're running around me.

Learning Curve

 4:41 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

You want a good return on your time? Invest in going back to school and getting an MBA or law degree or something.

Unless you're a computer whiz, in the time it takes to become good at SEO, you could become an MBA or a lawyer.

And what you learn in business or law school will work for you for your entire career. While much of what you learn in your first year of doing SEO won't work for you during your third year. The algos change fast.

SEO is a treadmill, young man. Get off it while you can.


 5:05 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

While much of what you learn in your first year of doing SEO won't work for you during your third year. The algos change fast.

Then you learned the wrong things. You memorized the tricks. You became an SEO Script Kiddie.

The basics of making a site that is both search engine friendly and user friendly do not change much. Brett's old article still applies.

If all you are doing is memorizing a bunch of "facts", and not learning to understand the system, you are absolutely correct. When you learn to think like those writing the search engine you will find that SEO really isn't a static checklist of things to do to rank well, it is a way to improve your site for all concerned.


 5:06 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

<ot>quotations ..If you're ever in France I owe you a beer I only just caught this thread ..laughed so hard I couldn't see for 10 minutes ...</ot>


 5:09 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

<ot>Speaking of which, it's been too quiet for too long. It's about time for another Google mass-a-cree; I can feel it coming.</ot>


 5:22 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think it is easier to SEO for Google. It is al about the backlinks! Maybe it is hard to get good backlinks, but that is the whole point.


 5:33 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

See I wouldn't have a problem with Google except for the fact I'm being beaten by a crippled site. The sites that come up ahead are shotty with bad products. We have the biggest variety of products in our business and the best products. We're being beaten by generic offshoots and $5 websites that look like they were put together by WYSIWYG. It's like if you searched for Microsoft Word and got Notepad instead. The biggest problem I have is that in the industry I'm in, most of these people are very computer illiterate. Most of the sites don't have meta tags and don't follow any of the rules Google gives to get indexed properly or rank well. I have tried spamming on one of the sites and it has helped it sadly. I don't want to have to fill it up with spam to make it rank high. But still Google says that it will not rank sites with a lot of spam very high.


 5:37 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>When you learn to think like those writing the search engine.



 6:00 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Speaking as someone whose sites are not ranking well at all, I can firmly say that Google is (by far) the best game in town.


 6:26 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

I for one am very happy with G. I make 6 figures a year just from G traffic. I am very glad about post Florida G. Before that anybody could get number one. Now it is only the pros that I have to worry about.

Complaining about how your PR4 site is not doing well speaks volumes about what you are doing. A PR4 would not get you anywhere in most decent results. PR5 is the least you should ever have. You need more anchor text.


 8:53 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)
I personally think google algo updates just keeps hurting them. They use to be the #1 search engine. Thet are not the #1 anymore. As a searcher, I hardly ever use google. 2 years ago it was the only search engine I use to find good search results. Now I cannot find anything I want searches.

I think many searchers are not using google as much anymore as well. I know they still have lots of traffic but they have definately dropped off a lot.


 10:40 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the tips Ogletree :)

I'll be looking forward to earning my 6 figures soon :)))


 12:44 am on Jul 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

well all i can say is that in the 5 competitive cat's we manage sites in, the G algo makes NO sense. not to mention that we haven't seen a real change in the serps in AGES. stale template sites with bogus links from guest books, etc... continue to dominate the serps.

its my opinion that the current G algo isn't doing its job. spam continues to dominate the serps month after month. and it's not getting any better, in fact it's my opinion that its actually getting worse.

time to change things up G. before Y! and MSN overtake you.


 1:30 am on Jul 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

This thread sounds more for those that hate Google. I have never had any problems with Google. I was glad after post Florida as a number of others were. What are we doing differently then those in here that clame their not spamming. Maybe some of you were indeed spamming and didn't know it. After Florida, I didn't have to worry about spamming websites anymore.

Sorry to disagree with most of your. I LOVE GOOGLE!

No hate mail please.

Remember, no matter where you go, there you are.



 1:34 am on Jul 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

well all i can say is that in the 5 competitive cat's we manage sites in, the G algo makes NO sense.
its my opinion that the current G algo isn't doing its job. spam continues to dominate the serps month after month.

IMO, those ultra competitive categories are the ones that Google cares the least about. They are always going to have problems with those results precisely because they are so competitive. It is much more important for them to maintain their quality in the 99+% of searches that are not so competitive.

Spam does not "dominate the SERPs", spam dominates some SERPs. For the vast majority of general searches they are still the best in the business.


 1:50 am on Jul 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

About building an optimized website for Google from scratch...where would I find the "legendary" thread from Brett? I remember seeing something about it a year or so ago and would like to read it again!


 2:57 am on Jul 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

My Google formula is:

1. Choose a relevant keyword phrase. Forget single words as they are too competitive and usually not targetted enough

2. Build a useful page around this phrase

3. Put the keyword phrase in your title and in an h1 tag on the page

4. Don't use querystrings. Use only .htm or .html as your extension.

5. Get as many links with anchor text and/or surrounding text with this phrase as you can

6. Get as high a PageRank as you can. PR4 is not high. PR6 is good, PR7 is better, PR8 is awesome, PR9...good luck)

7. Repeat step 1.

Works like a charm, everytime.


 3:12 am on Jul 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Google is world's better in hyper competitive areas than previously. In the top twenty for two of the ten most searched keywords, there is only one worthless page listed. And the only key authority site not ranked is one that seems to be aggressively trying to NOT rank for anything, ever.

No doubt some areas stink, and some are far better. No doubt some areas are examined more closely and many different algorithmic tweaks are compared. But overall Google has done an excellent job moving away from the awful all-anchor-text all-the-time algo of last summer.


 7:02 am on Jul 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Maybe there is a market for an Andy Warhol type search engine where everyone gets to be number one for 15 minutes :)


 8:10 am on Jul 9, 2004 (gmt 0)


I disagree sorry. By this statement you are saying your content is quality (which it may be). Thats like asking a class of children to grade their own papers.

At school we where frequently asked to do just that. Guess what happened: most of the better students had a tendency to rate themselves worse than their real marks - and the dummies always thought they deserved better ones.....


 12:13 pm on Jul 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

SEO is hardest on competitive in keywords. If the high competitive industry , You need to research more and deep it. Need to gain a lot of backward link from high pagerank and have to write the rich-keyword-content. Some of website put those thing matched with Google Algorithms. They're Lucky. Because NoOne knows exactly Google Algorithms , right? You can only expect the ranking but you cannot control those ranking. Google cannot control that too. For example, if you search for : search engine , Google itself ranked in #9. Why not?


 4:29 pm on Jul 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

where would I find the "legendary" thread from Brett?

http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum3/2010.htm [webmasterworld.com]

Everyone memorize it -- "forum3/2010.html" :)


 5:15 pm on Jul 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

My problem is that I have worked very hard and done a lot of research to understand how it all works.

How Google works? No offense, but so what?

What works for your customer? You've talked about links and keywords and spamming competitors - but you haven't said anything about the content you have, or how you make sure you're responding to what your customers want. You mention having a bunch of products and links - but if all your site says is "buy our s*$&", then maybe that's where you should be focusing your attention.

There's a point that you seem to be missing:

When you do absolutely everything Google tells you to get good placement and it doesn't work, you can't help but think that they are even wrong. My keywords are in the title, description, keywords, text at the begginning of the page, links, and alt tags.

It's already been said - Google is not there to make sure you have good placement. Google is there to give people what they're looking for. As far as Google is concerned, that isn't you. But why is that?

My hazarded guess is that it lies in how you haven't mentioned anything about your content.

See, I love Google. I love how what they look for, tends to coincide with sites that actually provide something unique, sites that work for the customer. (No it's not perfect, but oh well.)

Example - For my own role, I work for a company with a 50+ sales force. They're our front line with customers, and I go up and chat with the sales staff every day. They pass on customer feedback on the site, as well as their own thoughts and suggestions. What they tell me is invaluable - and it's resulted in pages that do very well in Google, because they've been made not only good keywords, titles and metas, but because they help the customer accomplish what they sought to do.

If you want to improve ranking, first you ought to look at how you should be improving your site and improving how it helps your customers.


 6:42 pm on Jul 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

forget google and move on.


 9:49 pm on Jul 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

I can see why Google considers SEO their enemies. I was recently traveling in South East Asia and on my way back to Japan I had to spend one night in [ some place ]. I wanted a hotel by the airport but I didn't want to pay 200 dollars a night. I did a variety of searches in Google for [ some place ] Hotels, or [ some place ] Airport Hotel etc. etc. most of the sites that came up were, I'm sure there is a term for them lets say intermediaries. I did get the official site of the large upscale airport hotel as one of my number one results.

While I was doing this searching I was in [ some other place ] suffering from Diahreah and all I wanted was a place to stay when I got off the plane that had shuttle bus service to the airport. I became so frustrated with the results given to me by Google I decided I would just book a hotel at the hotel booking desk in the airport.

I wanted to book online. I'd book most of my trip online but I didn't want to deal with these heavily optimized sites, I was not feeling well and was looking forward to getting home. I probably paid more but it was just easier to compare hotels using the desk then through these sites that Google was serving up.

Food for thought.


[edited by: ciml at 9:34 am (utc) on July 10, 2004]
[edit reason] No specifics please [/edit]


 10:11 pm on Jul 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Search --> [ some place ] Airport Hotels

Home page of Result #1 says...
"Conveniently connected by air-conditioned footbridge to [ some place ]ís international airport."

also provides...
"A Virtual Tour of the Hotel"

Rates begin at "$155 USD"

Looks right on the mark to me.

[edited by: ciml at 9:36 am (utc) on July 10, 2004]
[edit reason] No specifics please. [/edit]


 11:19 pm on Jul 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Muskie, I had the same experiences in other countries. 50-100 bucks more I would have to pay for hotels if I would use links that pop-up as first in results list of google :-(


 12:26 am on Jul 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

The very first result is THE [ some place ] Airport Hotel. I decided I could find something cheaper then I got frustrated. It was the next results that bothered me. It's possible the results have changed slightly but it returned pages that did not give me the information I wanted. I chalked this up to these keywords being popular and heavily optimized. And then I voted with my wallet and chose to not use any of the pages that were optimized instead just booking with the desk in the airport.

If I had more time and I wasn't sick I would have waded through the results choosing one I liked but after looking at many sites and trying some different searches I just gave up in frustration.

I like Google but I can see how excessive optimization can be one of their problems. For my meager site I try to think about SEO a bit but my competition is not so intense.

Next time I need to book a hotel I may not try Google at all. I believe there are some well known travel sites or I could just use a chain and collect points.

I fear I've gotten off topic.

I'm in the camp of optimizing for your user and this will please GoogleBot. My most recent changes and additions to my hobby site were reducing image size, cleaning up some broken links, and adding some fresh content. I think that the basics are still the most important.


PS I didn't want an expensive hotel because I was going to be in my room for very few hours...

[edited by: ciml at 9:38 am (utc) on July 10, 2004]
[edit reason] No specifics please. [/edit]

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