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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.


Patrick Taylor

 10:06 am on Jul 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

So if I dump a pile of playing cards randomly on a desk and the 2 of spades happens to land on top, you are saying that proves that the 2 of spades somehow ranks higher than the other cards below it and therefore you can calculate why the 2 of spades landed on top?

Not if it only happens on average once every 52 throws, but if you keep on throwing the cards down and the 2 of spades regularly comes top, then yes, it's worth trying to calculate, because it reaches a frequency where there's a reason for it.


 11:02 am on Jul 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

I love how the moderators like to inject personal attacks where there were none. Keep the love notes coming mods...hugs and kisses!

Petulance born from frustration is Ok...But here you may have demonstrated why you cannot get anywhere with google ...
Marcia resigned in late June.. two weeks ago ..( something which BTW I personally regret deeply and we two certainly don't always see eye to eye ...But someone who tells you you are being dumb to your face when you are being dumb is worth their weight in gold )most of the mods here do that in their own ways ...very usefull ..

My point ..since that date the "nic" bar on the left of these BBs has changed at marcia's posts and has shown "Senior member" ...now if you have'nt seen the change yet and you have posted now many times since that event it says to me that you do not pay enough attention to what is on screen in front of your eyes ...

If this is repeated in the way you analyse your pages and those of others and such errors are usually the product of becoming too fixed in your perceptions ... you will not be able to improve your ranking .

For many years I taught drawing and painting ..the hardest thing was always to get people to understand that they need to retrain themselves in how to see ...most people only think they see ...

If I were you ..

look harder and differently..with a much more open mind ..code less for a while ..and I think you'll realise that you've been missing the details ...

SEO is all about paying attention to details ...there is no formula that will work all across the board ...I know that some sites have to be SEO'd totally diffently than others either because the competition is stronger in their niche ...or some high rankers are cloaking etc ..

if it was broke ..it would be broke for all of us ..it aint ..but they keep changing it a lttle ...good ...I prefer it that way...I get easily bored ..

to the rest of you ..my apologies for going off thread for a while there...

Iamlost...I once owned a shop where I changed my window display every 30 days ....I know exactly what you mean ...eventually the shops around me started asking me to do theirs ..because for every customer they got ..I'd had them first and they'd already spent most of their money in my place ....I agree ..it's a lot like SEO ..


 1:59 pm on Jul 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

SEO has left the relm of the novice in Google. I have no problems. I make a lot of money directly from G oranic results. When I hear people say that G is hard and they can't get anywhere I just think wow that person is a novice. What they are saying is that they are trying to be number one for some real competitive term. That is bad SEO. You need to go after thousands of terms. `Try PPC and do broad match for that term and then look at your stats. You will have more hits from terms that contain that phrase than from just that phrase.


 12:07 am on Jul 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

yes to most everything said about G being a process to tune in to , as opposed to an algo to trick.

Just as in off-line biz, you need to know your market and your industry better than your competitor. G forces you to do that by rewarding you for doing it, and ignoring you if you don't. Works pretty well.

Some may find their lives happier if they get out of the biz that's giving them trouble, and go into something else. Happy is important.


 12:40 am on Jul 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

>> if you are doing your analysis manually, it won't be anywhere near as effective as automated analysis.

Nonsense. We've never run an automated analysis to attempt to understand the algo, ever. And we're probably better off for it. That may be one way but it's cetainly not the only way. Doing well on the Web is still part science part art.

There are many ways to succeed. Our approach, which works well for us: Figure our what works by reading the papers and studying the SERP's. Focus on what works, and put our resources against what works. Don't sweat the details. When we have time, go back and find the underperfoming pages, and make them perform. When we have time, go back and fiind the gaps and cracks, and don't let things fall thru them any more.


 10:38 am on Jul 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thank you Leosghost, it's been over two weeks [webmasterworld.com], I'm just one of the boys now and having time for reading a lot of papers. ;)

>>Figure our what works by reading the papers and studying the SERP's. Focus on what works, and put our resources against what works.

That's good over the long term. If certain things read in papers aren't in current use chances are they will come into play down the road some time, and having read them it's far easier to spot in the SERPs when something does gain in importance.


 8:25 pm on Jul 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

Reading, reading, reading. It's just an excellent mind opener to learn what others are considering important, where search is going and what the technical side of the engines is. It gets your mind thinking of new possibilities, new angles and what to be prepared for in the future.

Everyone needs to be open-minded and realize that there is enough experience and information (plus you can always send a sticky in an attempt to delve deeper!) laid out on this site alone to turn a novice into a fully functional SEOer after due time. Most people here don't like to brag about "i make great money" but sometimes that's going to appear in their post out of frustration and desperation to get people to really pay attention and start believing that a professional can and will achieve high-rankings and hopefully can and will monetize such.

I would be bummed to think (despite knowing less competition is better for me) that someone ever read a post saying SEO is impossible, or at least that google rankings are not something you can manipulate to some degreee, and just basically left looking for a totally different avenue. There's plenty for everyone and everyone who is successful is just one more person whose work I can analyze and learn from.

I was kind of wondering what happened to the mod status Marcia. Glad to see frequent posting by you has not been absent as well; you're always informative.

Added: you do have two years on me here, but jeez you make me feel inadequate when I compare post counts :-)


 9:26 pm on Jul 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

Overall, as much as it's still probably the best we've got out there, I'd have to agree that even Google doesn't have a clue about SEO or how it's algo works.
Wanna see something amusing? Try Googling for the term "Search Engine" (in case it gets edited as too specific, just think: SE or [someplace you go online to look for things]). Google is #9. With a PR10 while #1 is a PR9 competitor.
Go figure.


 11:04 pm on Jul 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>So if I dump a pile of playing cards randomly on a desk and the 2 of spades happens to land on top....

Isn't that how MSN works? :)


 2:45 am on Jul 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

Isn't that how MSN works? :)

Yep! I think they do not play with a full deck either. Plus they forget to get rid of the jokers!


 3:35 am on Jul 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

Google has become somewhat harder, up until fairly recently a monkey could have made money from it, but dont worry the gravy train hasnt pulled out just yet and you can still purchase a ticket.


 7:54 am on Jul 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm just one of the boys now

Isn't that a sexist remark :o)


 9:26 am on Jul 13, 2004 (gmt 0)


I was interested to read you come from an art background. So do I. I used to do lectures for big UK companies on problem solving using techniques that artists in the past have adopted. By using lateral thought, generated by juxtapositioning very different elements within a painting, new ideas can be generated. Precise data and logical annalysis is very important, but experimenting and loosing control can open ones mind to whole new areas which would otherwise have never been thought of. In the internet world, art techniques can be applied very effectively and produce sites that are very different from the norm.... and we all know how unique content is king :)


 9:14 pm on Jul 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

if you think Google is impossible to optimize for, then speak for yourself and yourself alone.

If google were impossible to optimize for then I couldn't possibly target keyword phrase1-5 and achieve top 1-5 positioning for those target phrases within 2-3 weeks of posting the new pages. Some decently competive phrases too.

Then when I wanted to add keyword phrase 1b I wouldn't be able to do that in the same time with a tiny tweak of the page code.

Of course, I would have had to read a decent amount of the google forums to do that, adn learn from my mistakes, and do a lot of trial and error testing, and take some chances now and then, and accept that certain experiments fail (sorry client x...).

However, sad but true, I can do this, and so can many of the people who post here, so I guess it is possible to optimize for google after all. Not spam, just follow some pretty basic rules. There are definitely some tricks that aren't available easily to everyone, but that's life.

If you haven't read the various google white papers why not? They pretty much outline completely how the stuff works in a general sense, after that it's just a matter of seeing what the implementations are.

It's not about loving or hating google, it's about realizing that an algorhythm can only be so complex when it's being run that many times a day, then experimenting until you find the access points.


 6:43 am on Jul 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

If google were impossible to optimize for then I couldn't possibly target keyword phrase1-5 and achieve top 1-5 positioning for those target phrases within 2-3 weeks of posting the new pages. Some decently competive phrases too.

Are you saying that you have found a way round the sandbox effect for new pages? I thought that it took much longer than 2-3 weeks for the new pages to show?


 9:27 am on Jul 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

A certain gentleman in the US has found a way round both sandbox and lack of SEO.

Stolen each of my pages and taken my SERPS, and I am nowhere to be found.

Have e-mailed webmaster at G with both fingers and toes crossed.

May all your search terms be No.1


 10:54 am on Jul 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

Sorry to hear about that. Googles duplication filter should have caught that. It sounds like they penalized the wrong site. Keep us posted.



 2:28 pm on Jul 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

Are you saying that you have found a way round the sandbox effect for new pages

I have seen no sandbox affect for new pages, number 1 after about 10 days, hovering 1-2 thereafter. No secrets, just reading the google forums, plus using some information and resources not everyone can use, all fully within both the letter and the spirit of SEO white hat techniques [plus brett's timeless advice, add high quality content pages, as often as possible, give the people what they want to find, and need, offer something of use], my less savory attempts have been wiped out of the google SERPS, huge kudos to google for that work, by the way, yahoo are still way behind.

All subsequent tweaks to add key terms in related areas have the same result, all changes are in the SERPS in the usually speedy Google style, 10-14 days.

It's possible there is a sandbox affect on very large sites. The reasons for this are to me self evident, and are why I take with large grains of salt everything that comes from people too closely connected to google, or any other search engine, as Leosghost has pointed out in his inimitable style. Follow his advice, use your eyes, look at the google home page, then read up here, see who was right and who did not seem to have an adequate connection to that information [to be as fair as possible], it's enlightening.

I have definitely seen the new site sandbox affect, no doubt about that one, like clockwork.


 2:47 pm on Jul 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

isitreal, are you talking about new domains that didn't previously have links (sandbox), or adding pages to domains that have already been in Google (so not sandboxed)?


 3:05 pm on Jul 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

I was responding to what BeeDeeDubbleU asked, the alleged sandbox affect for new pages on an existing smaller sized site, which I am unable to duplicate, I do however not doubt that this might come into play for very large sites.

The alleged sandbox affect for new sites, with no existing links, definitely seems to be real, sadly, that's really going to bite me hard the next months, it will be interesting to see how long that actually lasts for, I'll be able to time that one to the day.

This sandbox has I believe the same cause as the new page sandbox on large sites, at least if one opts for the simplest explanation that covers the most possible behaviors, which is traditionally what the empirical method encourages. It also helps to take a close look at the interests and biases of those who argue against the simplest theory, sort of like with global warming.


 8:37 pm on Jul 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

i believe sandboxing does not discriminate on age of sites. I have a site 2 yrs old. Currently on pr 5.
Payed for advertising on a predominant australian site.
It has now been 1 month with no effect on traffic / rankings. Past experience has showed effect from PR boosts to occur within 1 - 2 weeks.


 10:55 pm on Jul 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have a few sites that are one or two years old, and rank very highly for the keywords I want. Last month I added some "red widgets" text to a page that had only mentioned "blue widgets." Within two weeks, that page ranked #1 for "red widgets."

I also added pages to one of the sites for "purple widgets," and in less than two weeks those pages were in the top five for "purple widgets".

Five weeks ago I submitted another site (1200+ pages), did everything exactly as I have with the other sites, and only five or six pages are showing up in G's index. I'm getting quality backlinks, adding new content every week, and more.

Since this site is a make-or-break endeaver for me, I'm just a tad concerned.

One thing I _did_ do was keep the site block from SE's until I submitted last month. Perhaps the "noindex,nofollow" and the "disallow: * " in the robots.txt file is a penalty?


 11:17 pm on Jul 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

I don't think SEO is getting harder, but just more sites fighting for a top spot and there is more SEO garbage (Articles, etc) out their. Most people that claim to be a SEO are not and don't even know where to begin. Unless you got facts that it's getting harder I find it hard to believe!


 11:49 pm on Jul 22, 2004 (gmt 0)


I agree with you on the fact that:

["I don't think SEO is getting harder, but just more sites fighting for a top spot and there is more SEO garbage (Articles, etc) out there".]



 12:05 am on Jul 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

You guys had hit the spot. It's not a matter of harder seo. It's just that good seo takes time and now there are more people trying to rank well. So you need to add extra time. But the basics are the same.


 5:56 am on Jul 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

It's *much* harder to SEO now because there's a hell of a lot more hard-core spam to contend with. And some of us don't want to do what they do, it's just not in our nature. In a sense, there are a lot of us who are quite akin with Google in that respect, because there's a collective common enemy that's out to hurt us all, both Google and the webmasters and SEOs who want to shoot straight. It's harder, but doable.

Lawrence Tribe

 4:19 pm on Jul 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

I found a really good site, with a really good link page, and submitted the 'add url' form.

The response to the submission form said that they were rethinking maintaining a links page, as that was a holdover from the days before Google and other search engines.

So is that the future ...?


 4:30 pm on Jul 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

Lawrence Tribe:

They have simply meant that they no longer consider a links page to be necessary because users have other ways to find sites of interest. There's nothing sinister about that; it just shows that the Web has evolved since the era of "My favorite Web pages" and "Cool site of the the day."

FWIW, I used to have a collection of links pages on my nonprofit writing site, but I got rid of it because it duplicated work that other sites were doing better. I still have outbound links from that site, but they're used in an editorial context, not in a separate links directory.


 5:17 pm on Jul 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

I gave up a long time ago!


 9:55 pm on Jul 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'd say SEO is harder now than previously because increasingly your placement in the SERPs depends more and more on off page factors which are harder to control and manipulate than on page factors.


 11:56 pm on Jul 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

Unless...of course..you are running the full-blown, fast and furious, "I won't be back", white hat seo is for "girlie men", only want short term gains, just looking for a quick buck, fully controlled web site cluster, so I can game the system (have total control over inbound/outbound link relationships and context)....and get whatever "I WANT" out of it with no regards for the big picture .... business model...
in other words SPAM...

tons of SPAM in the SERPs these days...
SEO is really easy for those who take this route..

hard for those who find themselves competing against these aggressive tactics..

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