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This 521 message thread spans 18 pages: < < 521 ( 1 ... 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 [17] 18 > >     
September, 2002 Google Update Discussion - Part 1
Discussing the major changes that took place
dauction




msg:120053
 3:32 am on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

How on earth can they justify dropping sites that were ranked in the top 10 and are now page 20 and NOTHING at all has changed on the sites from the last month?

The biggest thing is they move the toilet mid stream without a hint they are going to do it...(change the rules)

Googles a joke..

tired of their games..

off to support ANY other search engine..enough of this every month change the rules nonsense..good bye Google ..Good riddence..

 

subway




msg:120533
 9:11 am on Oct 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

GG, you're asking us to report spam. I'm still getting spammy SERPS where sites are using techniques that must be at least 2,3 years old. Whats the deal here? I thought you already had this under control.

Yidaki




msg:120534
 10:04 am on Oct 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

I think we're just about the only search engine with 4-5 good research papers describing the foundations of our system

... for this you have to deal with a lot of cheaters!

Allthough i highly appreciate your comments and the quite open discussion between WebmasterWorld members and google, this opens the doors for spam. Don't go too far with suggestions - the game is over if everybody has the main hints! ;)

ok guys, now throw bananas after me ...

webadmin




msg:120535
 10:51 am on Oct 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

Google Guy:

The point you make is the salient one: Google was the only search engine to have based itself (initially) on a rigorous algorithm.

What is at issue is not the efficacy of the papers (they're excellent), but what's happened since.

Google is largely an exercise in the collection and compilation of statistics. That in itself, is neither good, nor bad. It is (and should be) value neutral.

But you've done more than simply "tweak" an algorithm.

There are certain 'norms' to operations which rely on statistics:

Absent a substantial (and statistically rare) change in the sample universe, valid algorithms show remarkable consistency of result (and a fair degree of predictability) when measured over short time intervals (a month, two months, even a year based on measurements at regular intervals).

When they do fluctuate widely, and often, it's generally understood to show an aberrant algorithm, or an aberrant statistician.

Rigorous valid algorithms are stable.

And when there are the type of fluctuations over brief periods of time, such as those cited in this and previous forums, the problem is seldom with the sample field: it is generally with the tools.

There simply shouldn't be -- and wouldn't be -- the kind of confusion evident in this forum if, in fact, you were still
implementing the brilliant (and relatively simple -- simple is hard) algorithms which gave your company its start.

Google has forgotten what its knitting is. {And I point out to you, I reasonably believe the most recent 'tweaks' have less to do with relevance, than with Google possibly becoming concerned that people are 'sussing out' its algorithm, and changing it to outwit the people gaining position this way. I've already commented on why, if you believe the algorithm is truly valid, you should be happy if people comply with it to their advantage].

Algorithms aren't easy to come up with -- and, like user-interfaces, when you think you're "tweaking them", in fact you're often radically changing them.

What is remarkable about this thread is two things:
1) the conviction that Google is and will be king of the search engine castle for the forseeable future.
2) the confusion over "why are we ranked the way we are".

Those who are highly ranked are patting themselves on the back for running current content-rich sites. Those who are low-ranked, and consider themselves to have current content-rich sites, are flagellating themselves, and wondering what they did wrong. There is a pervading sense that who is in which group could turn on its head next month. That is an illogical state of affairs, and such illogic generally implodes and is over-taken by a usurper [just as Google was once a 'usurper', based on 'better logic'].

By the speeded up calendar with which 'web years' are measured, I go back a rather long time [our experience with the "internet" dates back to before there was a 'www', when you had to put the tilde's [~] in the right place in a long string of Unix just to successfully establish email.]

The relevant observation to be made is that WITHOUT EXCEPTION every single niche 'empire' that has crashed and burned has obeyed two cardinal rules:
1) there has been a widespread sense that the empire was unassailable and invincible just before the flameout
2) this sense of invincibility was accompanied by lots of legitimate grumbling among an 'interest group' of users.

I don't know if you recall the heyday of "Yahoo", who are now a supplicant to Google, but the same comments being made about Google were most strongly made about Yahoo just before it lost its standing as king of the court -- and there was the same tenor of discontent.

The tenor of this forum should be of serious concern to Google, although it seems that it is being being understood as a matter of technics.

Marshall McLuhan, a sage of another media time, stated "It wasn't a fish that discovered water".

Corporate cultures are the least able to discern their fundamental drivers. The things most basic to any given corporate culture are, by definition, the hardest to discern -- in any given environment that which is most ingrained is imperceptible to any observer within the environment.

Google is not in danger of losing their pre-eminent position because of technical problems, which are always overcomeable, but because of strategic and tactical blunders, which are perceptible just from reading this forum end to end.

I bear Google no ill will, and if you wish to continue this discussion, it might be more appropriate to do so offline via
sticky-notes or email.

john316




msg:120536
 1:50 pm on Oct 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

I have to agree with webadmin on the whole "we've had some success, now it's
time to act like microsoft" syndrome that is the downfall of most fast rising
and faster falling tech companies.

Most people see only see what microsoft hoards (whatever they want), and ignore
the huge crumbs that fall off the table.

If MS wanted to monetize all things MS, they would quickly lose market share,
case in point:

Let's say MS decided that there is way too much money going to all the
certification mills/universities that teach people how to use ms products. We
need to "monetize" that area of our business. From now on, if you want to learn
how our products work you will have to attend "ms school". The education
industry would immediately respond with "atari IT courses".

MS would instantly lose all that "academic/educational" influence.

Take it a step further and monetize all those IT jobs, "from now on our systems
will only be maintained by ms employees, those IT departments are making way too
much money off of our manuals." IT department heads would instantly discover the
many benefits of linux/apple/atari/any OS except MS, and "sell it" directly to
superiors and vicariously to the workplace as a whole.

MS would instantly lose all that "face influence" that permeates in the
workplace.

If MS took those two crumbs off the table, they would be in the toilet faster
than you can say "commodore".

How does this relate to search engines?

The only thing they can seemingly "monetize" is the serps, whether it is done via ppc, pfi or "herding", it is usually accomplished by taking direct shots at the SEO/webmaster community. All attempts to do so up to this point have led to spectacular failure. Why? It wasn't a crappy algo, it wasn't popups or any other user complaint, they simply decided not to leave any crumbs behind. I'm not suggesting that the SEO/webmaster community is the ultimate "decider" of who owns search, but I am saying that you really don't want to
underestimate the influence that they bring to the table.

grayhair




msg:120537
 8:55 pm on Oct 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

hi,

I'm not sure how specific we are allowed to be, and understand if you need to edit this.

A recent search for flower names on Google results:

Of 537,000 listings:

Site #1 site is in a foreign language.
Site #4 is a site with female Muslim names.
Site #7 is a site with Iranian names.

in listings #10-20
Baby names
Names for full moons
Greek baby names
Feminine Arabic Names
Two names together - a art/craft thing
Flowers and herbs of Thailand (foreign language)

Only the #2 & #6 sites listed in the top 20 even have the phrase "flower names" the others just have the separate words scattered.

These results (which changed significantly from the last update which did list relevant sites early) are a waste of time but more importantly, credibility for right-on results. Most people do not know to use "" and it used to be assumed on Google that whatever was entered into the search box was a phrase, not just random words.

Dropping the "s" (flower name) does return different but more relevant results even without "".

I have notified Google of this through the "Dissatisfied with your search results? Help us improve" link at the bottom of the results page.

I am not Google bashing. It is always my first SE choice, but there were favorite others before Google and if their results are not what I am looking for, I'll have to find some place else to get the information I want.

[edited by: grayhair at 10:38 pm (utc) on Oct. 6, 2002]

Beachboy




msg:120538
 10:00 pm on Oct 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

Is anyone else seeing what I am seeing? I have reason to think Google is placing more emphasis on anchor text in OUTBOUND links. Or maybe it just seems that way if anchor text on INBOUND links is reduced in importance. I am seeing some sites with higher than expected positioning, and it's outbound links from them that appear to be the factor of the moment. What do you people think?

rfgdxm1




msg:120539
 10:17 pm on Oct 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

>Or maybe it just seems that way if anchor text on INBOUND links is reduced in importance.

Beachboy, I think it is this. Makes some sense. If I have a site about "purple penguins", it would make sense that I'd be linking to other "purple penguins" sites.

SlyOldDog




msg:120540
 10:34 pm on Oct 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

Beachboy

Outbound links with optimized text have always been a feature of our sites, mainly because we always suspected it as being a Google ingredient. It didn't save us in the update.

bnhall




msg:120541
 10:42 pm on Oct 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

This doesn't make sense to me - if I sell "purple widgets" - I'm not going to link to other sites that sell the same thing. Now I may link to sites like "Click here to see how to use your purple widgets". So does Microsoft link to RedHat? or does BMW link to Lexus as "other luxurious fast cars"? If this is a factor in the algorithm then it is biased against commercial sites, which goes to the Adwords argument again.....

Beachboy




msg:120542
 10:56 pm on Oct 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

Oh I dunno, I use outbound linking successfully on Inktomi to position a page on which the links are located, and now I am getting similar results on Google. ;) Of course there are a lot of other factors involved....

rfgdxm1




msg:120543
 10:58 pm on Oct 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

>This doesn't make sense to me - if I sell "purple widgets" - I'm not going to link to other sites that sell the same thing. Now I may link to sites like "Click here to see how to use your purple widgets". So does Microsoft link to RedHat? or does BMW link to Lexus as "other luxurious fast cars"? If this is a factor in the algorithm then it is biased against commercial sites, which goes to the Adwords argument again.....

Your making a major logic error here. Remember, the vast majority of sites on the Internet are *non-commercial*. Sure, McDonald's doesn't link to Burger King. However, with non-commercial sites typically they are linking to other sites that are on the same topic. For my 2 little non-commercial sites, all my links are to related sites by others. And, this wouldn't bias toward non-commercial sites at all. Since with commercial sites they of course don't link to their competitors, all would be equally disadvantaged; thus leaving them all on the same playing field.

rfgdxm1




msg:120544
 11:08 pm on Oct 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

>Oh I dunno, I use outbound linking successfully on Inktomi to position a page on which the links are located, and now I am getting similar results on Google. Of course there are a lot of other factors involved....

This would make sense if Google counts the outbound links for both the linking page, and the linked page. If I have a page on purple peguins, and link to 6 other sites with "purple penguins" in the anchor text, this could boost my SERPs. Hmm...rfgdxm checking a SERP on Google. Looks like Google may count outbound anchor link text on the page. The #1 page on a very important SERP to me happens to be mostly a page of links. 9 of the 19 instances of this keyword are on outbound links to other sites.

politicsandlabor




msg:120545
 11:27 pm on Oct 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

What happened? On one of my sites, the text in the SERP (and the cached image) have reverted back to what it was OVER two months ago! Same deal with recently posted "breaking news" type content- first you see it, now you don't.Yeah, yeah- "everflux." I know, but it still sucks when web surfers can't count on Google to find vital content.

rfgdxm1




msg:120546
 11:58 pm on Oct 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

Actually politicsandlabor, that isn't what everflux is. With everflux it should revert from the fresh listing to the one at the end of the last dance. Weird that a 2 month old version now shows.

Westmont




msg:120547
 11:58 pm on Oct 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

Sum up of Google's update: S U C K S !
But, there's next month.

GoogleGuy




msg:120548
 12:06 am on Oct 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

This thread is getting pretty interesting for its "no emotions please, just the facts" description. ;) politicsandlabor, just a couple short years ago, most search engines were months out of date most of the time. Google crawls the web once a month; we often present results fresher than that, but it's not guaranteed.

Randex




msg:120549
 3:14 pm on Oct 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hi GoogleGuy,
I think I read you were going to write up some stuff over the weekend.
If you had the time to do so pls indicate which thread they are
published in
Thanks

rfgdxm1




msg:120550
 3:20 pm on Oct 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

>This thread is getting pretty interesting for its "no emotions please, just the facts" description.

This surprises you around here, Googleguy? ;)

gmoney




msg:120551
 7:19 pm on Oct 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

“If you read what many people have been posting on other threads, they've actually been saying that they've been getting more traffic, even if their rankings have changed for specific queries. “ - GoogleGuy

I’ve observed this same phenomena as well. However, I wouldn’t let this get you complacent with the new algorithm. I attribute additional traffic I see from lower listings to the observation that there are actually less relevant sites listed above.

I would really like to see numbers for the percent of people who click on the first listing, second listing etc. Also, the percent of people who make it to the second page of the SERPs, third page, etc. I would be willing to wager that, on average, people are going deeper in the SERPs since this new update.

Jakpot




msg:120552
 7:37 pm on Oct 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

"I would be willing to wager that, on average, people are going deeper in the SERPs since this new update."

I am now getting many more hits on some keywords ranked 30+

The first 10-25 pages on the SERPs are mostly doorway pages
and other unusable dog doo

austtr




msg:120553
 6:49 am on Oct 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

"no emotions please, just the facts"

There seems to be a quietening down of the roars of protest and anguish after the latest index with a shift of focus to search relevance. Why do some say "great results" and some say "no way" and to what extent is their vested interest driving their responses?

What does Joe Public see when he/she runs their search.... good results or off topic offerings? The only way to know that is to emulate Joe Public so that's what I did with a tiny little selection of about 15-20 very random 2 word, 3 word and 4 word searches, making sure I was well clear of my own pet areas.

While this hardly qualifies as a rigourous test, I was looking for some indicators as to why we are seeing these 2 camps of "it's great" vs "no it's not".

When Google hit the mark with a search, the results were incredibly good. Absolutely on the money. But when it missed the mark, it often missed by a mile (sorry, that's about 1.6km).

I'm hoping forum rules allow me to post the results (no URL's given) but substituting "widgets" won't work. Given the amount of debate that has gone on I hope the moderators will clear it... and I think Google Guy invited us to give examples of our concerns, although I can't remember if that was only relating to accusations of spam or all matters of concern.

Anyway, here are the "misses" which I suspect are indicative of what other posters are seeing in their pet areas.

Search = New York Hotels
#1 = New York New York Hotel & Casino - Las Vegas

Search = vehicle accessories
#1 = Movie1 (Chinese Scooter Manufacturer)

Search = surf beach in florida
#2 = real estate operator
#3 = site has been closed
#4 = Volusia County Beach Safety + webcam
#6 = BuyDomains.com

Search = bathroom renovations london england
#1 = Backpacker Hostels and discount hotels in London England
#2 = The Selfridge Hotel London - England Hotels from England-Hotel
#3 = Amazon.co.uk: At a glance: "Reader's Digest" Complete DIY Manual
#5 = Coast Orange County / Travel / London
#6 = Discount Cardiff Hotels. Reservations Discount Lodging
#7 = a young couples personal travel experiences
#8 = Division of Records - Management and Archives
#9 = UK news site for expats
#10 = John Lewis Department Store - Edinburgh

Search = english national anthem
#1 = Bangladesh National Anthem English Text
#2 = National Anthems of the World
#3 = National Anthem: O Canada
#4 = Soviet National Anthem in English
#5 = The Finnish National Anthem

Search = toy shops san diego
#1 = Wild Animal Park Visitor Information......
#2 = Model Shops- A--E
#3 = BBB of San Diego and Imperial Counties - File a Complaint
#6 = TUM YETO 2002: Events
#10 = San Francisco Travel Guide

OK... that's enough, and before anyone jumps all over me, this is not about Google bashing. And please don't shout "spam" because the sites do contain the search words somewhere.

I don't profess to be a SEO analyist but it seemed as if search word proximity had no relevance, just being anywhere on the page was enough. Presumably the sites have high PR pushing from the back to move them up the rankings.

We keep making the point over and over again that it is the results delivered to the public that count and these are some examples of what they are currently getting. Let's hope that in a few months time we can look back on these concerns as being a very small price to pay for Google shaking out the rubbish.

SlyOldDog




msg:120554
 7:15 am on Oct 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

Austr

I think you will get better results if you search for British National Anthem (there is no English Anthem). ;)

It's also worth noting that nobody who lives in London searches for "Bathroom renovations London England". However the #1 search for "Bathroom renovations london" is still a company in London, Ontario.

I think the reason regional searches bring up hotel sites so often is that there is so much SEO competition in the hotel area. American hotel companies will optimize for "Hotels, London England" because that's how Americans refer to London.

I guess there are such explanations for all the poor results, but it's up to Google to interpret what people are really searching for.

rfgdxm1




msg:120555
 7:20 am on Oct 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

>Search = english national anthem

You botched this search. The proper search term should have been "national anthem england", and this gives a good SERP.

nutsandbolts




msg:120556
 7:29 am on Oct 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

Good examples SlyOldDog - that is a surprising result!

Oh well, I've saved this page before it gets edited ;)

rfgdxm1




msg:120557
 7:31 am on Oct 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

Looking further:

Search = New York Hotels
#1 = New York New York Hotel & Casino - Las Vegas

Good result. It is a hotel named "New York New York"

Search = surf beach in florida

#4 = Volusia County Beach Safety + webcam

Good result. It is a beach in Florida where people surf. BTW, what the heck *is* a relevant SERP for "surf beach in florida"? I can't imagine exactly who would enter that search.

Powdork




msg:120558
 9:06 am on Oct 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

Good result. It is a beach in Florida where people surf. BTW, what the heck *is* a relevant SERP for "surf beach in florida"? I can't imagine exactly who would enter that search.

Okay, so try "florida surfing" no quotes.
#3 Has a link to one site in florida
#6 Nothing but links and few of them. This is actually from my home town (where I grew up, not to be confused with 'my area', GG) so I was saddened to see such a poor result.
#10 They sell chairs for the beach and their from Florida and

steveb




msg:120559
 9:36 am on Oct 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

powdork, I assume your example will be deleted soon but it is an excellent one of what google valued this month. Nine of the top ten sites have the two word phrase in the title. Very relevant results. The diminishment of pagerank this time around means perhaps some of them aren't very good sites, doesn't matter, they have on topic content and are trying to be relevant... there are only so many words you can put in a title and these sites choose the two words.

grayhair




msg:120560
 4:18 pm on Oct 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

austtr

You might want to copy these results and send to google using their "Dissatisfied with your search results? Help us improve" link at the bottom of the search results page.

keyword proximity seems to be a casulty of this update

NovaW




msg:120561
 4:45 pm on Oct 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

If it's all about the words in the title now - then what makes Google any better than Inktomi, or Gigablast? Anchor text tends to be quite relevant, open to abuse of course - no matter what happens the opportunity for abuse does not change - it is a constant.

rfgdxm1




msg:120562
 5:00 pm on Oct 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

Anchor text still counts. Check "apple pie". I can't see why the parser is #1 except for anchor text links to it.

NovaW




msg:120563
 5:41 pm on Oct 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

anchor text is much lower now though in the ranking scores. In highly competitive searches this has the impact of making the results less relevant

- Very high PR sites trump, so sites like MS can get to be #1 even though the page has 0 relevancy
- SPAM can find it's way in

Perhaps a reduction in the relevance for anchor text was to combat googlebombing like "go to hell", but simply checking that the anchor text was in the destination page would have achieved the same thing without reducing the quality of the index - which has certainly occured.

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