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Is Google turning up the anti-SEO filter?
Pages with headings that match search words missing
androidtech




msg:45314
 5:21 am on Nov 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

On one of our sites that has about 50 pages, all ranking well with Google, about 3 of the pages are suddenly gone from the SERPs.

The only pattern we could find is that they happened to have H1 text and page titles that matched exactly what people were looking for when searching Google. That is, if they were looking for "blue fast widgets" then the H1 text and page title were exactly the same as that phrase.

I wonder if Google is doing another anti-SEO algorithm tuning run, of if this is just some weirdness affecting us? Anybody else seeing a similar pattern?

Thanks.

 

Marcia




msg:45315
 7:14 pm on Nov 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

Are they gone from the index altogether, or just dropped down beyond finding?

If they got hit for having title and H1 identical with just the exact search phrase, if I were paranoid and thought they were "out to get" SEO's, I'd venture a wild, highly speculative guess that the aim would be to hit sites that pulled titles and H1's out of databases and inserted them dynamically.

[edited by: Marcia at 7:17 pm (utc) on Nov. 5, 2004]

bears5122




msg:45316
 7:15 pm on Nov 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think they are just turning into an anti-quality search engine more than anything. Guess that's what happens when your engineers become millionaires overnight. They may as well dump organic results and just run PPC ads everywhere.

bakedjake




msg:45317
 7:19 pm on Nov 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

another anti-SEO algorithm

I have seen zero evidence that such an algorithm or filter exists.

Marcia




msg:45318
 7:24 pm on Nov 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>They may as well dump organic results and just run PPC ads everywhere.

Of course. They could always simply replace the SERPs with PPC affiliate feeds, I hear there's a sale going on for some script that does those so they wouldn't even have to bother the engineers with it - they could just stay in the employee lounge and play ping-pong all day.

Instead of indexing the ones from the PPC affiliates in the SERPs they could just run their own and skip the middleman altogether - and rake in the commissions themselves. Good thinking.

Crush




msg:45319
 7:42 pm on Nov 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

another anti-SEO algorithm

no!

jnmconsulting




msg:45320
 7:44 pm on Nov 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

Well, just like any successfull business...They get big a busy and upgread and move. They then find themselves running the business 180 degrees from what got them there to begin with.

Google should,

1. get rid of the spam...well all know that is an easy one, we see it all over. Why would google try to stick to the "we can create an alogo for it and keep humans out" they have changed everything else they use to do that made them successfull.

2. quite frankly, if you do a search and find any site that is not mostly related to the search term, then they failed.

If they get greedy and move away from what made them popular, everyone will just find the next google and go down that route.

I give it 2 years and google will not be # 1, it will prolly be a no-name engine that is being developed in a basement somewere.

jimbeetle




msg:45321
 7:58 pm on Nov 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

have H1 text and page titles that matched exactly what people were looking for when searching Google.

I normally don't do this, but the other day I got real tired of knocking my head against a CSS wall and decided to do a quick run through about 40 search terms for pages with the same construct as yours, title matches H1. Most pages remained within top 3, a handful at 4, 5 & 6, and two or three dropped down to 7 or 8, but none dropped off the first page. Seemed like normal variations.

There might be something else affecting your pages, or, as we've often seen, just a Google burp.

Tech2004




msg:45322
 7:15 am on Nov 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hi Guys:

I am new here and I can also confirm there seems to be some kind of strange things with my sites listing on Google as well. The pages that drew the most hits from the Google searches were dropped out of the index after about 9 months. Ironicly, the month they did it was the highest hits ever recorded from Google.

Gradually, other pages were taken out too, and the ones left were the ones that drew mimimal traffic, plus of course the home page. The content on those remaining pages was searchable till about a month ago, now they list the pages still, but no Keywords come up for them at all. Other search engines index the site fine, so it proves the html code is not bad or the server host misconfigured. Its unusual to have a problem like this all of a sudden, and emailing Google only gives canned answers. Theres talk the new MSN search ans YAHOO will be the engines everyone will be using more than Google if sites keep disappearing.

internetheaven




msg:45323
 8:23 am on Nov 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

On one of our sites that has about 50 pages, all ranking well with Google, about 3 of the pages are suddenly gone from the SERPs.

This is such a "small-scale" example in relation to Google's index that there could be a million and one reasons for the drop. Try running 50 domains instead and you should get a clearer picture of what is going on.

another anti-SEO algorithm

I have seen zero evidence that such an algorithm or filter exists.

Well, I think the actual wording of "anti-SEO" isn't the best description but I believe the concept itself is sound. Many newbie SEOs (and even alot of old ones) simply optimize content believing that exact match keyword stuffing will always work. With the shift to semantics (and possibley synonyms in the future) affecting inbound anchor text and page copy SEOs who simply "optimize" for specific phrases on the page will see those pages keep dropping. So there IS an "anti-SEO" system in place with the new algorithms, but it is a "poor-quality-SEO" filter only.

Therefore the example given above of H1 tags and Titles matching would cause a decrease in ranking if these were the only factors being used to try and rank. This is more of a "lack of good SEO" more than a "filter on SEO" in my opinion.

MHes




msg:45324
 11:29 am on Nov 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

>H1 tags and Titles matching

This will be just part of the problem. Add a bunch of other obvious techniques and you have problems.

Marcia's comments about database words being used is possibly true IMHO

Marcia




msg:45325
 11:45 am on Nov 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

MHes, template sites was one of the items mentioned by caveman when he did his great post several months ago on what to look for if rankings were lost.

If we take seriously that Google is really serious about having only unique, relevant sites in the index for their users, it isn't impossible that they'd consider all the data driven sites utilizing feeds, which for the most part aren't awfully distinguishable from one another, to be not as valuable as they'd like.

There's no substantial evidence, but it makes sense to some degree when you look at it like that.

Essex_boy




msg:45326
 11:50 am on Nov 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

it will prolly be a no-name engine that is being developed in a basement somewere. - Try Gigablast.com

The whole idea of SEO is targeting just what people want, finely tuned and accurate sites I can see no real reason why they are doing this, if indeed they are.

Really it would be the kiss of death to get too clever, it seems to me that by having unstable serps we all run for Adwords. I know its been said many times but the alternative reason for doing it?

Its not incompetance, despite what we all think, prior to May 2004 I dont recall this happening to such an extent or even at all.

Between May 04 and now they have become a Pubilc company - with profits being teh main, no sole, reason for their exsitence which brings me back to adwords again.

I really cant see any other reason for employing this so called filter system, surely no one would want to block high quality and accurate sites?

Like you im truly sick of it.

ncw164x




msg:45327
 12:00 pm on Nov 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

H1 text and page titles that matched exactly what people were looking for when searching Google

I have only just added the h1 to my site after 4 years of not bothering and had an increase in traffic so I dont think it's another anti-SEO algorithm otherwise my template based site would not be in the serps at all

suggy




msg:45328
 12:09 pm on Nov 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

Won't be a no name SE to replace Google; it'll be MSN.
They have the resources, so it's only a matter of time.

HarryM




msg:45329
 12:20 pm on Nov 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

Marcia,

Thank you for bringing that comment about template sites to my attention - but you've also resurrected my paranoia.

Do you have a link to caveman's post?

Marcia




msg:45330
 12:13 am on Nov 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

caveman:

A dropped site checklist [webmasterworld.com]

The whole idea of SEO is targeting just what people want, finely tuned and accurate sites

Well, maybe some of "us" but a lot of the idea of SEO is not to give people what they want, or even accuracy. The idea of most SEO is to get to the top and make money - often with whatever it takes to get there.

mark1615




msg:45331
 12:28 am on Nov 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

The reason a search engine exsists - in theory - and the only way it will survive and prosper - in practice - is to serve up relevant results to its users. We work on a nunber of sites doing everything from selling and warehouseing real products to financial services to information. SEO is to make sure that you are deemed relevant first to the engines because for most sites if the engines to rank you there are no customers to evaluate your pages and buy your product. The idea that making an H1 match the keyword for the page is somehow overly simplistic or spammy is patently absurd. If you are selling the infamous "blue widgets" doesn't it make sense that you would have a page where there is a header that reads "Blue Widgets On Sale Here?" If you are a seller or buyer of blue widgets that is what you want. Sometimes I think G is too clever by half and too obsessed with SEO. Though we rank well for some things in G so my grapes are not sour, I have seen the results get less relevant over time in areas we watch. As an example in one area we watch the dominant keyword in the area has at #2/#3 a page from an agency of the federal government referring to a conference that took place two years ago and was only vaguely on the topic. That is relevant?

sasha




msg:45332
 12:37 am on Nov 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Google has made it their company agenda to fight SEO. Read their IPO prospectus.

Furthermore, at least at this particular stage in the SE market, Google's brand name is so strong that in a perverse sense, THE WORSE search results they serve, the GREATER ad revenue they generate.

ogletree




msg:45333
 12:41 am on Nov 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

I would have to say they are not doing this. I have many such pages that are doing fine. There are many reasons for a fall in the SERPS. Can you find that page at all with a site:www.domain.com "unique phrase"

internetheaven




msg:45334
 1:37 pm on Nov 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

THE WORSE search results they serve, the GREATER ad revenue they generate.

With Yahoo picking up the pace and MSN getting into the game, unless Google wants to employ the "drag as much profit as they can and then die" approach then I don't think this will be their game-plan. Many of us who use Adwords will notice that the click-through rates on the advertising side of things is never as high as the top 3 natural places in the results. This lends to the assumption that Google's natural results MUST be better matched than the Adwords advertising. That alone is a good indication that across the board they are doing okay.

It goes along with the regualar comment in threads like these with:

"I'm not on the first page and the results are terrible!"

You'll never here someone saying:

"I'm at number one - gosh these results are poor quality!"

Nikke




msg:45335
 7:06 pm on Nov 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

You'll never here someone saying:

"I'm at number one - gosh these results are poor quality!"

You're right. I've never said it either, but at times, when going through my referral logs, I have said something like:

"Hey look! This page of mine is first for these keywords and there should be better resources for this than my page. It sure is a pity that people can't learn to build their pages in a way makes it possible to find them with Google."

Of course, this hasen't been searches for any money words, and my page rarely sticks in the first position. Just as it shouldn't. Serps are dynamic lists, reflecting many more factors than the ones we can control.

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