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Google Getting Harder to SEO For?
protozoider




msg:140397
 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.

 

jo1ene




msg:140398
 3:03 pm on Jul 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

Especially if you want the front page.

This is out of style. I consider myself lucky that I (PR4) come up in the number 3 to 5 spot for my business name. All of my hits are to my content pages. Are you sure your content pages are very narrowly targeted to a two, three or four word phrase? This is where I have been having success. Not selling anything but getting hits.

trillianjedi




msg:140399
 3:13 pm on Jul 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think we've all been lied to about google

PR has not been such a fundamental part of the algo (compared to how it used to be) for a long long time.

I wouldn't listen to what google tell you.

If you're going for a particular phrase, just examine the #1 sites for the phrase you're going for and work out what it is that puts them there.

99% of the time it's anchor text (in big quantity for competitive terms) and page title.

If you're going for a wider variety of phrases to bring up your money pages in G, then other factors play a role, including PR and the redistribution of that PR throughout your domains pages.

But forget about PR for PR's sake and start thinking about links (and anchor text).

PR is just a natural by-product of having links.

TJ

raptorix




msg:140400
 3:20 pm on Jul 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

What i really hate about google is that in my business (music), the whole index is <messed> up with stupid ringtone sites with <not very good> content. Lets say everybody has to pay $30 dollar to google to let your site manually checked, so they can be sure you have a USEFULL site with USEFULL content. I think its also a good idea to exclude all those link directories.

[edited by: ciml at 4:10 pm (utc) on July 7, 2004]
[edit reason] Let's stick to nice words please. [/edit]

ciml




msg:140401
 4:13 pm on Jul 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

Google doesn't work right

Google isn't there for you or me to put sites at the top and get free traffic.

They already work hard on their index quality, it's probably quite a hard job with over four billion pages and many people trying to promote their own pages. We're not going to get far by consoling each other with tales of how we can't get top linkings because Google is broken.

jo1ene




msg:140402
 4:23 pm on Jul 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

...so they can be sure you have a USEFULL site with USEFULL content.

Unfortunatly, you end up with "Who decides what's useful?" Do you want to take the chance with all of your sites. Besides, surfers do look for "crap" on purpose.

sit2510




msg:140403
 5:06 pm on Jul 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

protozoider

First of all, welcome to Webmasterworld.

>>> 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.

I think you miss the main point somewhere. Google does mention that the main core of its algorithm is "pagerank", but it never says or implies that the page with higher pagerank will rank above lower ones. Higher the pagerank higher the position in the serp is outsider's assumption and predetermination which are totally wrong in reality and in Google's eyes.

>>> 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.

No, Google never feed anyone with such lines of misconception. People just make a wrong interpretation. Study Google's guidelines in depth - what it suggests is the rules and outlines that webmasters should pay attention to. By playing right within those rules does not guarantee that your ranking will rise to the top of serp and Google never says that by following those guidelines you will land on first page. What Google does say by its own word is "Following these guidelines will help Google find, index, and rank your site, which is the best way to ensure you'll be included in Google's results". (refer [google.com...] )

In seo game, it is like any other games or sports. There are rules and regulations that you need to follow, but that does not guarantee that you will win. What you need is more expertise than the others, and in seo case, the latter is your competitors. Google does imply that also by its own word "Your rank naturally will be affected by changes in the ranking of other sites." (refer [google.com...] (no. 2)

And the last tips: "You may want to check and see if the number of other sites linking to your URL has changed. This is the single biggest factor in determining what sites are indexed by Google, as we find most pages when our robots crawl the web and jump from page to page via hyperlinks." (refer [google.com...] (no. 2)

This last tip is echoed by TJ post msg#3 - "99% of the time it's anchor text (in big quantity for competitive terms) and page title." by which I agree 100%

hutcheson




msg:140404
 5:39 pm on Jul 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

What google actually says is that there are over 100 factors that enter into their page placement algorithm, and dozens of other factors are always in various stages of testing, for possible inclusion in future algorithms.

You would probably do well to think in terms of three different streams: (1) page rank, (2) onpage relevance, (3) global relevance.

The latter would include simple things like link text, complex things like Hilltop, and who knows what in between. We know Google is doing a lot of work in this area; we know they aren't saying nuttin' at all about exactly what they are doing.

Marcia




msg:140405
 6:18 pm on Jul 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>Google leads us to believe that PR is the big issue.

It's more like the public quest to find out when the next toolbar update will take place that leads to that conclusion. From what I can recall, public statements made by Google or those connected seem more to indicate that rather than webmasters chasing PR what they're encouraging and recommending is that webmasters create sites that are of benefit to users.

>>gradually harder to get placed

That seems more like something is working right rather than that Google's broke.

There's a clear distinction that's fairly evident. It seems that Google wants to be the ones deciding what belongs on the first page rather than facilitating the process for webmasters and SEOs to *PLACE" their own sites on the first page.

>>Well our sites have quality links

That points out another mythical half-truth that's perpetrated by the public attention paid to the quest for massive link hunting efforts without indication of any type of qualifying criteria.

You would probably do well to think in terms of three different streams: (1) page rank, (2) onpage relevance, (3) global relevance.

How about all of those, and the fact of the people behind the knobs in the control tower being able to turn those knobs to the left and to the right at any time.

>>Google has been feeding us lines about how to get good listings

Nope, they've told more about how to make the kind of sites they like. Responsibility for knowing how to get good listings falls on the shoulders of webmasters and SEOs. Never once has Google anywhere or at any time indicated or even hinted that they're in the SEO consulting business.

>>nuttin'

It's all on their site. If I were in their place I wouldn't tell nobody nuttin' else either.

BigDave




msg:140406
 6:22 pm on Jul 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

(1) page rank, (2) onpage relevance, (3) global relevance.

I would add to that (4) on-site factors. I think that site navigation and its related factors can play a huge role in how a page is ranked.

Too many people think of anchor text as being something from other sites, but the text you use for yor internal links is easily as important.

protozoider




msg:140407
 6:53 pm on Jul 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

My problem is that I have worked very hard and done a lot of research to understand how it all works. The site is completely relevant to the search terms we center on. Our sites have only links related to ours and they all have a good rating. My only question is if Google runs off hits as well. Some of the sites above ours have little to do with the same products but have a description that would throw you off and think it is what you're looking for. I know Google wasn't intended to be free advertising but for those of us who struggle day by day to get the sites up there and keep them there, we more than pay for it with our time. What doesn't make sence to me is that our sites come up first or near first on all the other big search engines but on Google all you get is unrelated junk most of the time. The problem is most people still use Google, otherwise I would stop trying. 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. I never over do it either. I've used plenty of SEO programs, none of them worked to get me any higher on Google. It's obvious I'm not the only one with these problems, and Google never gives me a straight answer. Maybe Google is broken, maybe its too big, maybe they don't know what to really concentrate on to index sites. I just know it doesn't work anymore.

WebFusion




msg:140408
 7:13 pm on Jul 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

I know Google wasn't intended to be free advertising but for those of us who struggle day by day to get the sites up there and keep them there, we more than pay for it with our time.

You must be kidding....because you spend x amount of time TRYING to rank well, makes your site desreving of free traffic? I operate a commercial site as well, but I don't feel "entitled" to anything simply because I spend x amount of hours each week working on keeping our site optimized.

It's obvious I'm not the only one with these problems, and Google never gives me a straight answer

Exactly what answer would you like them to give? Suppose they told you (and every other webamster who asked) exactly how to optimize your site to get top rankings...how much worse do you think the serps would be...considering how badly inundated with spam they arleady are?

Maybe Google is broken, maybe its too big, maybe they don't know what to really concentrate on to index sites. I just know it doesn't work anymore.

OR....maybe the only SURE WAY to always rank well is to take the time to devalop a PAID campaign (i.e. PPC) the has as string ROI.

and....if you're next statement is "we can't afford advertising", then it's not your SEO you should be working on, it's your business model. The fact is, if you have a strong product, with a strong site design (i.e. one that actually CONVERTS the traffic), then SEO will become less and less of an issue. I could care less where we rank day to day in google. Since I make $7.80 for every $1.00 I spend on PPC, any organic traffic is simply icing on the cake.

Don't get me wrong, we love all the free traffic we can get, and do what we can (i.e. seeking links, adding content, etc.),but....running a business that absolutely lives and breaths by maintaining good free rankings is a sure-fire way to lose your shirt. How amny times over the last few years have we seen all the "Oh crap....I'm ruined, my site dropped from the serps!" types of posts after a major update/algo change. If, instead, those people had worked on ensuring their site could convert a high percentage of taargeted traffic from any source, as opposed to taking their free ride in the serps for granted, a hell of a lot more people would still be in business, as opposed to blaming a marketing channel that they have ZERO control over for their woes.

sit2510




msg:140409
 7:55 pm on Jul 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

Webfusion makes good points.

You said "I have worked very hard and done a lot of research to understand how it all works" -

I think that could be the main core of your problem. You believe that you understand how it all works, but how can that be? Most of the well-experienced and respected members over here know a lot of things in depth and width, but I've never heard anyone who claims to know everything, especially for Google.

>>> What doesn't make sence to me is that our sites come up first or near first on all the other big search engines but on Google all you get is unrelated junk most of the time.

"the other big search engines", that you think they are big, have all been beaten by Google in the past and now in the present. You do well in those little search engines does not mean that you will do well in Google because of the different algos.

You have worked very hard and that is good but it is worthless if you are on the wrong path.

To make my point clear and straightforward - you are intelligent but you spend too much of your precious time to concentrate on those "the other big search engines". Dilution of effort is the main key of your problem, and there is nothing wrong with Google.

A wiseman used to say that "Hunt the Elephant and Don't Stomp the Ant" is the last advice that I can give you today.

BigDave




msg:140410
 8:02 pm on Jul 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

we more than pay for it with our time.

You donate your time to google? I didn't know that they had a program where you donate your time in exchange for better rankings. Can my time donated to non-profits count towards this? I really think that webmasters that put in 10 hours a week volunteering at a soup kitchen deserve top ranking on their choice of keyword.

You know, I spend a lot of time on my garden, so it is only fair that the local nursery give me all their best plants for free.

And I spent a lot of time working on my old car, now that I want to sell it, the local paper owes it to me to write a front page article on it so that I don't have to pay them for a classified ad.

BigDave




msg:140411
 8:17 pm on Jul 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think that could be the main core of your problem. You believe that you understand how it all works, but how can that be? Most of the well-experienced and respected members over here know a lot of things in depth and width, but I've never heard anyone who claims to know everything, especially for Google.

Even GoogleGuy doesn't "know how it all works" and he works for them!

There is a lot of bad advice out there from those that claim to have figured it all out. Well, they haven't. They may have figured out a couple parts, or they may have made some wrong assumptions that just happened to work on their sitea anyway.

The fact of the matter is, that very few people are as good at analysis as they like to think they are. They grasp the first idea that seems to make sense, and refues to consider ways that their idea might be wrong, or other factors that might have led to the result they are seeing.

I will give you some advice that should help your ranking alot. While you might be having trouble beating those PR3 pages with your PR4 pages, if you boost that PR on up to somewhere around PR8, you should have no problems beating those PR3 pages if everything else is pretty much in order.

trimmer80




msg:140412
 8:45 pm on Jul 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

lets remember one thing.

to google we are the enemy. We are the reason they spend so much time and money changing and tweaking their algo.

That said, we cant expect them to tell us how to get a number 1 position except for the basics.

If you want the secret? Well here it is.
1.Find a product / service that everybody wants (or a least a significant niche wants)
2.build a scalable and robust business model around it
3.market it
just like the real world.
Do this and people will start linking to you.

Give people a reason to link to your site. It is the most underrated topic in webmasterworld. Natural linking is the best step forward IMHO.

cabbie




msg:140413
 8:45 pm on Jul 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>Google Getting Harder to SEO For?

the harder it gets the better I like it.:)

When you say "harder to SEO for",do you mean harder to cheat?
If so ,I agree,its getting harder to take shortcuts in making google think that your site is better than someone elses but Bretts guide in building a good site that will do well in google is still spot on and very scientific.

BigDave




msg:140414
 9:09 pm on Jul 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

to google we are the enemy.

Then I would say that you are doing it wrong.

I consider it to be more of a mutualistic symbiotic relationship.

I give them a site that they want to rank highly, and they give me users.

Webmasters only become the "enemy" when it is of the webmaster's choosing, not Google's.

Of course there are plenty of SEOs that are certainly in a parasitic or even predatory relationship, but they really are in the minority.

Mutualistic relationships don't imply friendship or favoritism. They don't like me personally. They just want the best relationship *for them* and I want the best relationship *for me*. I want to be ranked well in the best search engine, and they want the best websites to rank well so they remain healthy.

steveb




msg:140415
 11:31 pm on Jul 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

"to google we are the enemy."

Speak for yourself. I'm Google's ally, and they are mine. I do believe Google cares about quality and tries to rank sites as best they can to coincide with a user's query. I know some folks don't agree with that (to put it mildly), but anyone who does will view Google as their ally... unless of course they peddle low quality crap.

If you have the best material on a topic, and Google tries to rank things with best in mind, seo is simply a matter of helping your ally recognize your quality. Sometimes they screw up in mind boggling ways, but that is to be expected. Billions of pages will never be ranked perfectly. Right now they seem to be doing an excellent job, with this last backlink/PR update being evidence of them addressing some of the significant flaws that have been in their system. There certainly still are some boggles boggling out there, but they are at the top of their game right now.

BettyB




msg:140416
 12:49 am on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm with Proto on this.

I was consistently in the Top 10 for several years for my two-word phrase of choice. Now, I come in Top 5 for three word related phrases but in the 200s for my two-word phrase. I have a PR of 5. Lots of good informative non-commercial type news and information. I'm still in the top 5 on Yahoo and MSN for my two-word phrase but can't get there on Google.

Google is going to feel the pain eventually because I know that as a searcher, I am no longer getting as relevant results as I used to. Eventually people will realize this and swing back over to Yahoo.

Betty B

Marcia




msg:140417
 1:22 am on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>I was consistently in the Top 10 for several years for my two-word phrase of choice. Now, I come in Top 5 for three word related phrases but in the 200s for my two-word phrase.

BettyB, welcome to the board and welcome the ranks of the "floridered." You might want to do a check at Google and find all the back threads here on the Florida update massacre* that took place this past November.

* It was kind of like Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant" mass-a-cree, with everyone getting shackled and hauled in but a lucky few.

quotations




msg:140418
 4:06 am on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

* It was kind of like Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant" mass-a-cree,

And I said, ``Littering...'' And they all moved away from me on the bench there, with the hairy eyeball and all kinds of mean, nasty things, till I said, ``And spamming Google ...''
... and they all moved back and we had a great time talking about ...

cabbie




msg:140419
 4:29 am on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

:)

skipfactor




msg:140420
 5:11 am on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>they are at the top of their game right now.

Yep

>>Google Getting Harder to SEO For?

Yep

Marcia




msg:140421
 5:50 am on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>Google Getting Harder to SEO For?
>>Yep

Fully agreed on that point - definitely much harder.

>>I do believe Google cares about quality and tries to rank sites as best they can to coincide with a user's query.

I'm with you up to that point, but that's as far as it goes. It's at that point that the logic fails.

>>I know some folks don't agree with that (to put it mildly), but anyone who does will view Google as their ally... unless of course they peddle low quality crap.

Well, I certainly do believe that they want quality search, and am among those who consider them a powerful ally in marketing efforts.

However, I do believe that on the whole they certainly DO consider SEOs as a collective entity as being their enemy, whose exploits they have to constantly labor long and hard to overcome to maintain that quality of search that's become a hallmark and a benchmark of excellence. The only way to judge another search engine is to compare how well they do compared to Google. Google has set a new standard in search.

But just because I don't agree with the whole statement certainly does not mean that I peddle low quality crap. On the contrary - there is plenty of low quality crap out there ranking quite well, most of it not nearly as high quality as my crap.

[edited by: Marcia at 6:01 am (utc) on July 8, 2004]

trimmer80




msg:140422
 5:52 am on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

in regards to the statement "to google we are the enemy."

Enemy is probably the wrong word. But if there was no such thing as SEO then all content would be ranked on a level playing field and googles' job would be alot easier.

seo is simply a matter of helping your ally recognize your quality.

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.

A unbias third party is needed to grade the papers and the same applies to web content. Google being that third party.

Marcia




msg:140423
 6:12 am on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>if there was no such thing as SEO then all content would be ranked on a level playing field and googles' job would be alot easier.

Exactly. And it's for that very reason the easiest way to try to figure out what's working and what isn't is to look not at very highly competitive searches, but low_medium to moderately competitive ones, where the majority of the results are less likely to be skewed by aggressive SEO efforts.

steveb




msg:140424
 7:28 am on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Nobody is grading their own papers. That doesn't make any sense. If Google's judgement of genuine quality is different than yours, that doesn't change the fact that that they are an ally. If you and they do your best, that is all that is necessary. If you care about quality, you make what you consider quality.

Until God brings omniscience to search engines, errors in judgement will be made by webmasters and search engines. But the ally's are the people who care about the highest quality sites relevant to the user's query being ranked first. The enemies are those who have priorities other than quality, like the goofballs who post here saying the search results are good because their sites happen to be ranking well that day.

Marcia




msg:140425
 10:57 am on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

like the goofballs who post here saying the search results are good because their sites happen to be ranking well that day.

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 sure can't tell the difference, I've been around for a while and never have been able to figure out how to tell which goofballs are which.

sem4u




msg:140426
 2:54 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

More sites, more SEOs, more SEO forums....of course it is increasingly harder to compete.

But when you are at the summit you cannot beat it :)

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