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One year anniversary of the "Florida" Update
Can it happen again?
Heywood_J




msg:75253
 10:55 pm on Nov 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

As we approach the one year anniversary of the Florida update, I am curious if we can expect another radical google update right before the crucial holiday season. Many of us took a beating last year. I fully recovered my pre-florida rankings by January, but many of my cohorts took a lot longer to recover. I remember there was a lot of debate on if this was an intentional move by google, or some suggested google was broken. There were many theories circulating. But, there were very few concrete answers.

The biggest question I have is: Can this happen again?

I am curious of other thoughts on the Florida Update - one year later.

 

ogletree




msg:75283
 8:49 pm on Nov 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Florida created a whole new type of website. The directory/SE scraper site.

webhound




msg:75284
 10:01 pm on Nov 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Totally agree steveb, well said.

ronin




msg:75285
 11:39 pm on Nov 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

I wouldn't be surprised at all if something like Florida happened again this year shortly before the end of November.

In the absence of any genuine SE competition, it is so much to Google's financial advantage to find a clever way four weeks before Christmas to replace five star commercial sites with two and three star information sites, it's difficult to argue why it wouldn't roll out an encore to Florida.

What shall we call it this time? Ohio?

helleborine




msg:75286
 12:29 am on Nov 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

How did Florida give rise to the directory/SE scraper sites? Do you mean those nearly contentless directories with AdSense?

ogletree




msg:75287
 12:45 am on Nov 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

I said that because after florida everybody created directories. Actualy more than likely it would have happened anyhow. Adsense created that.

BillyS




msg:75288
 1:57 am on Nov 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

I normally don't leak this kind of information, but if you guys can keep this a secret, I just found this memo outside the Google complex.. Shhhh!

Attention all Google Engineers:

As you are probably aware, the height of the shopping season is right around the corner. Therefore, and effective immediately, all forward progress on supplying high quality search engine results shall be deemed counter productive. Engineers found improving results shall be discharged immediately and all back pay withheld pending an investigation.

In addition, all AdSense personnel are immediately ordered to implement secret project codename “Slash Payments to Publishers.”

We are taking these timely measures because our internal research demonstrates that MSN and Yahoo are quickly gaining ground on Google. Therefore, our long-term mission to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful has been of modified to the following short-term tactic:

Scoop as much money as possible and run like the dickens!

The ten things Google has found true is also modified effective immediately to:

1.Trick the user and the money will follow.
2.It's best to do evil really, really well.
3.Fast to the bank is better than slow.
4.Monopolies on the web work.
5.You don't need to be at your desk anymore – at all.
6.You can’t make money without doing evil.
7.There's always more spam out there.
8.The need for greed crosses all departments.
9.You can’t be taken seriously unless you are driving a Porche.
10.Bad results just aren’t good enough.

Sneakers and new social security numbers are now available at the front desk. You can pick them up on you way home tonight. Thanks for your continued cooperation and we wish you and your family a profitable holiday season!

Powdork




msg:75289
 2:25 am on Nov 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

LOL BillyS,
Couple of points.
1. They haven't been serving quality results for quite a while now.
2. You can't be takin sereeously unless you can spel porsche.;)

itisgene




msg:75290
 4:54 am on Nov 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

LOL.
You can't be "takin" sereeously unless you can "spel" porsche.;)

zafile




msg:75291
 5:12 am on Nov 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

"We are taking these timely measures because our internal research demonstrates that MSN and Yahoo are quickly gaining ground on Google."

Microsoft started gaining ground long, long time ago!

I found this press release in my files.

Microsoft increases ownership in NLI

Business Wire

December 3, 1990

BELLEVUE, Wash.-- Microsoft Corp. and Natural Language Inc. (NLI) Monday announced that Microsoft has increased its ownership in and participation with NLI.

Specifically, Microsoft has invested $1 million in the private company, bringing its total ownership to over 10 percent. Microsoft and NLI also announced today that they are actively working to investigate the use of natural language technology in future versions of Microsoft's products.

NLI is the leading vendor of natural language technology. Microsoft has been an investor in Natural Language since June 1987. At that time, the companies signed a product licensing agreement granting Microsoft's rights to integrate NLI technology with Microsoft products. Today's announcement strengthens the commitment between the two companies.

William H. Gates, Microsoft chairman, commented, ``Microsoft's goal is to continue enhancing functionality of its user interfaces to serve a broader group of people. We believe that natural language access is an important component of our vision of providing `information at your fingertips.' We have always recognized NLI as having the best natural language technology.''

Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft's vice president of advanced technology and business development, added, ``We have spent the last five years establishing graphical user interfaces as the standard computing metaphor. We now intend to extend that metaphor by incorporating new technologies, including natural language.''

Tania Amochaev, NLI president and chief executive officer, commented, ``Microsoft's increased participation is a recognition not only of the importance of natural language access, but also that our technology delivers practical benefits to end-users. Microsoft's systems software provides an ideal platform to deliver the benefits of natural language to a broader base.''

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) develops, markets and supports a wide range of software for business and professional use, including operating systems, language and application programs, as well as books, hardware and CD-ROM products for the microcomputer marketplace.

NLI develops and markets database tools, based on proprietary natural language technology, that enables end-users to access relational database management systems in English.

NLI's family of natural language products support all major relational database management systems, including SYBASE, Oracle, Ingres, Informix, and Rdb. They run on all major UNIX computers and VAX/VMS and RISC/ULTRIX computers from Digital Equipment Corp.

NLI currently has more than 100 Fortune 1000 customers in industries including financial and information services, pharmaceutical, manufacturing and telecommunications.

The company distributes its products through a direct sales force. It also offers consulting services to assist in training as well as application prototyping and development.

NLI employs 60 people at its headquarters in Berkeley, Calif., and five regional sales offices.

Founded in 1984, NLI has raised $12.2 million in equity financing, including the investment announced today. Other investors include: Brentwood Associates, Asset Management Associates, Norwest Venture Capital, EG&G Venture Partners, Glenwood Investment Ventures, Bryan & Edwards, and Stanford University.

CONTACT: Natural Language Inc. Amy Romanoff, 415/841-3500

Copyright (c) 1990, Business Wire

zafile




msg:75292
 5:35 am on Nov 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Another vision from 1990. However, this one is edited.

If you want the whole article, send me a sticky.

Financial

Putting a New Spin on Software

Microsoft's William Gates Talks About the Age of `Fingertip Information'

The Washington Post

December 30, 1990

Q: What does this [the computer and its screen] say about the future of newspapers and magazines?

Gates: Hopefully, this broad availability of information preserves curiosity in people and makes them more interested in what's going on.

Q: That's sounds like the right answer for this group. Now, give us the truthful one.

Gates: No, this is the truth. Paper has such huge advantages in terms of its cost and portability... . A computer screen today is such an ugly little thing to look at. Even at Microsoft, any memo over two pages, it's considered rude to send it on the computer screen. Well, not necessarily rude, but you're going to print it out and look at it to read. So the computer may be transmitting it, but we're going to print the thing out... .

Let's get far out. Suppose you have in your house large surface areas for screens, so whatever art you want to see, whatever pictures of the world you want to see, or let's say every morning whatever news you're interested in will come up.

Supposedly, based on articles that you browsed in the past or specific indication of interest, you're seeing a newspaper - that's your newspaper with the basketball scores at the front, certain stocks in the middle, that kind of thing. This narrow casting concept may be possible and that's quite different than newspapers are today.

Then again, part of the value of the newspaper is sort of a norm - what everybody else is reading: Not only do I want to know what other people know, I sort of want to have something to talk to them about... . The idea of having customized newspapers, news alerts for people - that will start at the very high-end of the business markets.

Copyright 1990

Essex_boy




msg:75293
 6:30 am on Nov 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

steveb and Billys - Your both soooo right.

Long live MSN.

bears5122




msg:75294
 8:16 am on Nov 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

I don't think you will see a huge difference like last year. The thought is to produce bad results to bump PPC volume. But can the SERPs honestly get any worse than they already are?

steveb




msg:75295
 9:52 am on Nov 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

People need to get over their own dependence and fixation about "the shopping season". Google and the Internet have bigger eggs to fry.

experienced




msg:75296
 10:07 am on Nov 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hi,

It happens again or not, the main thing is how expert we are in SEO even after this update or not.

Rgds
Exp..

Essex_boy




msg:75297
 12:55 pm on Nov 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

I must admit that I know use free directorys to get listing and traffic which has paid.

As a result Im not so sependent on G throwing his toys out of the pram.

Cant really see another update in the theme of Florida coming up but then I couldnt have seen the last one approaching.

I wonder what really happened.

fclark




msg:75298
 2:37 pm on Nov 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

With MSN launching their own search technology end of year, wouldn't be surprised to see Google counter with something "big."

jnmconsulting




msg:75299
 3:00 pm on Nov 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

If any of them are planning anything, I would think it would happen by Thanks Giving to take advantage of Christmas, however not sure what kind of benefit they would gain unless they are willing to advertise to the public through TV and Radion mediums.

ronin




msg:75300
 4:23 pm on Nov 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

The thought is to produce bad results to bump PPC volume

No, the thought is to replace commercial results with informational results, to replace .com sites with .edu sites etc.

And it's all wild speculation >;->

BillyS




msg:75301
 6:47 pm on Nov 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Just for the record, I actually LIKE Google. (And I am in the silica container right now.) I think all the wild speculation around here about the evil giant is actually funny.

Personally, I don't subscribe to the conspiracy theory myself.

cabbagehead




msg:75302
 8:30 pm on Nov 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Just out of curiosity, did anyone ever figure out what was going on with Florida? I just stopped caring after (a) no obvious patterns emerged and (b) it eventually went away. In case something happens again however, it may be worth quickly touching bases on what happened the first time.

Thanks.

Liane




msg:75303
 9:21 pm on Nov 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

The thought is to produce bad results to bump PPC volume. But can the SERPs honestly get any worse than they already are?

It is my belief that the Florida update mainly targeted the on page keyword density issue, though I am sure several other filters were tweaked as well.

Personally, since the Florida update, I have discovered that fewer pages read like:

Buy your digital camera now before the Christmas rush and you are without a digital camera. Don't miss those digital photos of your loved ones! Cameras on sale now! We are offering the best discounts on digital cameras!

I believe that web site copy writing has improved substantially since the Florida update. It has also allowed for a greater degree of diversification of keywords used on any individual page.

The SERPS are never going to be to everyone's liking because only one site can be number one for any keyword or key phrase.

The SERPS aren't as bad as some claim. This is evidenced by the FACT that searchers are still using Google to a much greater extent than any other search engine.

Sure ther is room to improve and yes there is spam on every search engine. However, I use the following criteria to test the value of a search engine:

1) Ask a close relative what they want most for their birthday or for Christmas.

2) Type in the same keyword or key phrase on all three search engines and look at the first three (unpaid) results offered by each engine.

3) Did you find what you were looking for in the first three results? If so, which engine produced the best and most pertinent results?

My experience has been that 7 out of 10 times, Google comes out ahead of the pack.

Yeah ... I have gotten crap sometimes and that is truly frustrating, but I make a habit of informing the search engines when I am unhappy with their results.

I figure its the least I can do since I don't participate in any PPC programmes. :)

3 or 4 weeks ago, I searched on one engine for the term, white bay beach. 2 out of the first 10 results were pertinent to the search. The other 8 were ridiculous and included sites for dogs and other completely unrelated "stuff" which happened to have those three words on the page ,,, but not together!

Since reporting this, (only about 3 or 4 weeks ago) it has been fixed! I'd say that's pretty good!

Reporting bad results can hep. If you think the engines are doing a bad job of delivering pertinent results, tell them so ... and be specific! Use the tools available on the site!

Kate82




msg:75304
 3:38 pm on Nov 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

PS MSN is reportedly releasing their new engine tomorrow, Thursday, Nov 11, 2004.

Time for some changin'!

PhraSEOlogy




msg:75305
 1:57 am on Nov 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think it will be 2006 before you see that.

Perhaps a little sooner than that eh?

alex_h




msg:75306
 7:42 pm on Nov 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanksgiving shake-up.

Every year I have been visiting family members for Thanksgiving, and there is ALWAYS an update on Black Friday. It tends to completely shake things up, but a month later, things revert to normal.

Forget the conspiracy theory, online shoppers from Black Friday through Christmas ARE different. People are more interested in gifts than other times. It makes PERFECT sense for Google to adapt their algorithm that month...

Doesn't change the fact that I tend to get hurt REALLY badly.

Alex

europeforvisitors




msg:75307
 7:56 pm on Nov 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

3Did you find what you were looking for in the first three results? If so, which engine produced the best and most pertinent results?

My experience has been that 7 out of 10 times, Google comes out ahead of the pack.

I agree, though Google certainly isn't perfect. Part of the problem is that results from information and commercial searches are mixed. I recently searched Google on a two-word phrase having to with storm tides, and most of the search results were affiliate or bookstore links for a novel that used that phrase as its title. If I'd been able to exclude commercial results, the SERPs would have been far more useful.

g1smd




msg:75308
 11:11 pm on Nov 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

A big jump in the reported number of search results a few days ago, and another big one today.

Google press release about it yesterday. Several other live threads here at WebmasterWorld also discuss it.

MultiMan




msg:75309
 11:23 am on Nov 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

The SERPS aren't as bad as some claim. This is evidenced by the FACT that searchers are still using Google to a much greater extent than any other search engine.

That does not prove that the SERPs are relevant at all.

Just because "millions" of people still use AOL does not prove that AOL is valuable. It only shows that that many people are still stupid. ;)

The thing to remember is that users do not know what they do not know. As G$ hides (prevents) numbers of important multi-page on-topic sites from the top SERPs, the user only sees the foolish one-time, one-page sites that have little relevance. The users do not even know that G$ is purposely NOT showing them the real on-topic, full websites sites. So, they do not get what really is out there to find the info they seek. They just assume that none exist. And this happens in non-commerce topics.

No, the rule to apply in understanding the useless G$ SERPs is: G$ will remove all important sites in order to force them into AdWords to make $ for G$ -- even if the site is not about commerce.

It is my hope that the new M$ will give G$ the thrashing with a splintery two-by-four on its raw flesh that G$ so absolutely deserves for their being such a traitor to their former "friends," the users and webmasters.

Then, after getting that beating it so exactly deserves, G$ should then stand up and learn from its mistakes of such evil, and thereafter choose to become an honest business, with honest SERPs. Then G$ will be able to give M$ a run for their money again.

'Till then, let M$ give it the thrashing of a lifetime. They deserve it. Let the beating begin.

But back to users, G$ goes after dishonest profits by exploiting the real FACT that users do not know what they do not know. And that's how G$ gets away with dishonest --deliberately useless-- SERPs.

wellzy




msg:75310
 1:26 pm on Nov 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

But back to users, G$ goes after dishonest profits by exploiting the real FACT that users do not know what they do not know. And that's how G$ gets away with dishonest --deliberately useless-- SERPs.

MultiMan
A bit of an overstatement in my opinion. I take it you are not doing well in Google?

I use Google frequently and have little problem. I used to see alot of Amazon affiliate sites, but not so much lately

I don't think MSN search will ever give Google a 'thrashing' based on past performances by both companies.

My site was not hit by Florida, so I can't say much about it. I just know that the only ones who trash Google are the ones not doing well in the rankings (and the opposite for those doing well)

I've had a few times where I was knocked way down in the rankings, but it just takes time and research to get back to the top.

I have heard the conspiracy theory about Google dropping sites to get them to use AdWords and I'm not really sure what to make of it. This would be almost impossible to prove. How do you know that the sites that replaced those at the top are using AdWords? That would be a revolving door at the top if that were the case.

wellzy

JuniorOptimizer




msg:75311
 1:53 pm on Nov 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

For around 10 phrases I've always been number one in the SERPS and also used AdWords for the same phrase.

Tropical Island




msg:75312
 2:02 pm on Nov 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

been number one in the SERPS and also used AdWords for the same phrase

We also use a multiple approach even though we are number 1 for many search terms.

For these terms our AdWord is right beside the regular search listings. Our business is too important to leave it to the whims of the regular listings.

JuniorOptimizer




msg:75313
 2:13 pm on Nov 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

I look at it as "lower blended click costs" for the keyword. With a combination of paid listings, augmented by some free SERPS you can lower your blended click costs quite a bit.

Switching off the AdWords has never resulted in the natural listing being lowered either.

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