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This 521 message thread spans 18 pages: < < 521 ( 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 ... 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..

 

nowhere




msg:120143
 7:19 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

Are you guys talking about web development or SEO here? I can’t imagine trying to sell a service by going to a client and saying “Here’s what I can do for you…nothin.”

I suppose Googlebot has a way deciphering pretty graphics as well?

SlyOldDog




msg:120144
 7:19 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

PR counts for a lot less now, therefore so do the backward links. I agree with Everyman that Google has literally dropped a smart bomb that has caused "collateral damage" in the process.

Not exactly. The backward links seem to be more important than ever. But it's the anchor text that counts now - not the pagerank.

We are heading back now towards an increase in the value of link farms. Since a pagerank penalty is no longer such a serious problem, it will be easier to gain position by cross-linking domains with keywords in the anchor text. The only way for google to wipe these sites out will be an absolute ban instead of the usual "reduction" in pagerank.

This is almost definately a move against "pay for pagerank", but it also must compromise search quality because the importance of the anchor text is not weighted as much as before.

Google MUST have known about the search quality problems even before the update, so we can probably expect to move back towards emphasis on pagerank over time as google improves their algorithm to take account of paying for pagerank.

After all, PageRank is google's ace in the hole and the main differentiator from other search engines.

Sasquatch




msg:120145
 7:22 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

What this would tell me is, many are targetting one or two known aspects of the algo.

And I hope google keeps tweaking things every month so that those with well rounded sites stay at the top and those playing with various tricks only bounce up there occasionally.

Discounting the value of the link text for a few months would cause them to drop sites that depend only on that. Then they can let it creep back in once it is no longer the technique du jour.

chiyo




msg:120146
 7:24 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

interesting observation Janno. Maybe Google has intriduced some sort of theming of incoming links at long last. Lets see what happens in the next few days.

Axacta




msg:120147
 7:34 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

>And I hope google keeps tweaking things every month so that those with well rounded sites stay at the top and those playing with various tricks only bounce up there occasionally.<

I wonder - will you still be saying the same thing when your "well rounded sites" disappear from the serps?

Paully




msg:120148
 7:39 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

The final irony is that my new site went from unlisted to PR7

LOL. Its funny because that is exactly what I said would happen. Nice tactic Everyman.

Just shows what it takes to be popular in today's society, dont follow the flock.

john316




msg:120149
 7:42 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

>> But one page that is slightly off of theme and that has been in top 5 for almost a year suddenly slipped off to 120! <<

check the green/pink box count for that kw..the threshold seems to be four before you get an adwords/theming penalty.

Helpmebe1




msg:120150
 7:47 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

Yes, google is a business.. you dont think they are after the bottom line like all of us? Business is business..not friendship. Am I bothered by this update? Well we will see.. Like I mentioned before I do have a 2500 very surfer friendly site with alot of content. I am in a competitive field as I sell something that 95% of us use. I have hundred upon hundreds of products on a well laid out site. What bothers me is...

I see Ebay stores ranking #2! What kinda bull is that? Shall I cancel my yahoo store and open an ebay store now?

Doorway pages.. I see them.. And it bothers the hell out of me!

To offer as much content as I do and be informing my site goes pretty deep. It is not a flat site.. and google does not dig in deep enough.. I can cut half the content from my pages if they like so that it picks up more of my product pages better. I hate to do that though as the site is yes, very big but very friendly. Heck, I got a call from one of the biggest companies here in the 50 states yesterday offering to sell me product they liquidate by the truck load. That is they are one of 5 companies here in the states offering their service and 95% of you use one of them.. so if he approached me.. well I am very happy. That tells me the site is quality and impressive but google really needs to dig in and stop skimming the tops of the pages and start showing some of the deeper pages of the site.

You want quality? I created it for you google.. I am not a spammer or any of that junk. Just good quality pages and I come here to learn more about the engines.. not to trick them but learn things such as do you seperate keywords with a comma or not.. etc etc... things to optimize not trick.

The sites waiting for you google... you want content, prettyness... a site people compliment on... a large couple thousand page site... well where are you?

SlyOldDog




msg:120151
 8:00 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

HelpMEbe1

I think ME is the operative word here.

subway




msg:120152
 8:06 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

I would have to disagree that backward links have risen in importance. I think quality backward links have risen in imporantance, but I also feel that some penalties are being applied for non relevant unthemed backward links.

I am talking about high hitting commercial keywords, i.e. hotels, flights, holidays, not general information sites. Granted, I still get relevant info from information searches, but not searches for lots of competitive commercial keywords.

You won't buy PR unless you're going to make money from it and this is where Google's PR Smart Bomb has hit hardest, IMHO.

..talking as a relatively experienced SEO who has just joined WW..not an "amateur" who's messed up somewhere;)

jtoddv




msg:120153
 8:16 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

Loki99

I live on my computer, if I see or hear something interesting I usually know a lot about the subject in minutes and google has always been my first choice for info. The point is I'm sorry to see what use to be the best searchengine on the web become useless as a research tool.

My thoughts exactly... Google might have ripped away semi-informative pages compared to some other big resources, however, in doing so they ripped their whole search to pieces. It is not about my sites being a top, it is about quality of results per query. If you people can't see the fact that the search results after this update are a lot poorer than before, you are blind.

Google is no longer a viable source for information. Its results are not precise, and my searching time on any given subject just tripled if not more with this last update.

Try it. Go to Google and do a search then go to All the Web and do a search, you will see that All the Web just became the most precise engine in the world in relation to DB size, all thanks to Google.

I call it shooting yourself in the foot.

SlyOldDog




msg:120154
 8:19 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

, but I also feel that some penalties are being applied for non relevant unthemed backward links.

Have to say I disagree. The biggest winner in my topic area is a site who collects "junk" links.

How do you define a quality link if pagerank is the quality measure and Pagerank is less important now?

subway




msg:120155
 8:28 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

jtoddv I couldn't agree more.

I just did a search in Google for cheap flights from a very popular UK airport to a very popular European destination (I was specific about destination and departure airport)... competitive and commercial keywords.

I know for a fact last month I would have been able to find a relevant site immediately on Google. This time round I got a site that offered flights, but the not from the departure airport I specified and not to the destination I specified? Whats that all about?

Taking your advice I did the same search on alltheweb, and surprisingly enough the first 3 results were exactly what I was looking for.

subway




msg:120156
 8:30 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

How do you define a quality link if pagerank is the quality measure and Pagerank is less important now?

PageRank doesn't instantly mean quality site, it means lots of votes for your site. I'd define a quality backward link as a link that comes from a page in a site that is at least 80% same theme as yours.

Marcia




msg:120157
 8:42 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

We've got to remember that the web is made up of different kinds of sites, and not all webmasters and SEOs deal with the same sector. But Google does.

There's a sector that's in it for the crap shoot with throw-away domains, buying PR and setting up networks of sites for the express purpose of manipulating Page Rank and setting up multiple text links. That works for a season, when they get zapped they hurry to implement Plan_B.

Then there's another sector that's trying to build long term. They want name and branding recognition and they're in it for the long haul. They want people to recognize their company name in a link. They want growth and longevity and they want a domain name they can plant into people's mind when they build their customer base.

It's got to eventually weigh in with theming, even if it's not called that or overly evident; it's inevitable. Relevance is relatedness, and what else is theming but that?

It's much too soon to come to any conclusions, but I've seen a couple of surprising things that have my hopes up.

[edited by: Marcia at 8:51 pm (utc) on Sep. 28, 2002]

Everyman




msg:120158
 8:49 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

I am talking about high hitting commercial keywords, i.e. hotels, flights, holidays, not general information sites. Granted, I still get relevant info from information searches, but not searches for lots of competitive commercial keywords.

This sounds like a productive line of inquiry. Anyone who has compiled dictionaries for analyzing on-page content will agree with me that we're talking about surprisingly fewer total entries in that dictionary than one might expect. The dictionaries I've compiled for clustering programs run about 16,000 words or so. You can search these extremely quickly if you're trying to determine whether a particular word is in the dictionary or not.

How much work would it take to compile a dictionary of most-frequently used words for sites that are giving you the biggest problems, and then tell the PageRank algo to first check the dictionary and calculate a "might end up selling PR someday" variable for a page? The PageRank for that page is then diminished somewhat. Once this propagates to all the other 2.5 billion web pages, the multiplier effect would be tremendous, and probably amount to pretty much what we're seeing.

It could be just anchor text pointing to a page, or it could be the entire page itself (they already have a word frequency count for every page). I think it would take a handful of Ph.D.s about a week to put together a targeted anti-PageRank smart bomb such as this.

I'm waiting for GoogleGuy to come back and swear up and down that they would never in a million years tamper with PageRank this way. (He once said that his own mother can't get her PageRank tweaked, and she's tried!)

GoogleGuy?

Darichman




msg:120159
 8:58 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

From what I can tell, the only algorythm that is new this month is the backlinks are less than last month and none of the back links are less than PR 4/10. Anything less than 4/10 don't even count tward your PR.

I think this is google's way of filtering out the reciprocal linking going on. Basically they are saying you're not important unless you have links from pages with 4/10 or higher PR. Which really makes sence to me.

My site has 35,805 back links when I search on alltheweb and only 826 when I search google. Google is clearly filtering the links from lower PR pages.

Marcia




msg:120160
 9:17 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

Welcome to WebmasterWorld, Darichman.

While it's true that they're not showing them if they're under PR4, that doesn't mean they're discounting them all. And there's always a difference in the link count between Google and FAST, particularly when PR0 sites are excluded.

[edited by: Marcia at 9:19 pm (utc) on Sep. 28, 2002]

Napoleon




msg:120161
 9:19 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

>> The point is I'm sorry to see what use to be the best searchengine on the web become useless as a research tool.<<

This is depressing.... but I am afraid that the whole flow of this negativity is not without a sound basis. The quality depth of Google searches HAS declined (significantly). I have absolutely no doubts about that.

Focused content sites are now more likely to lose out to bigger general/generic sites than they were previously. Analysis of WHY this is so is harder than establishing the fact itself of course, but if the arguement is whether the quality of the serps has deteriorated, the answer must surely be 'yes'.

Why have they done this (they must have known)?

As discussed elsewhere, it is difficult to be certain as various factors are in play:

a) Adwords (Google trying to force webmasters there?)
b) The Yahoo deal (less freedom to crawl the Yahoo directory?)
c) Over zealous attack on 'PR for Sale' or 'Go to Hell'.

Option (b) of course may not be of Google's making. However, for the other two, GG would do well to remember that (perceived) reduction in quality was the first brick to fall for AltaVista and other former leading lights in the industry. I hope they know what they are doing...

Axacta




msg:120162
 9:21 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

It cannot possibly be that simple Darichman. My backward links more than doubled from last month, but my index page has disappeared.

NFFC




msg:120163
 9:29 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

>but my index page has disappeared.

In this update?

It is common for index pages to get dropped for a month.

subway




msg:120164
 9:29 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

My backward links more than doubled from last month, but my index page has disappeared

This is the case with quite a few sites I have been monitoring, in many cases it looks as though the SERPs are showing between 5% and 10% less results in general - accross the board. A huge amount of expelled sites when your talking 2.5 billion.

Brad




msg:120165
 9:32 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

Yeah it is depressing. We just saw Google shoot themselves in the foot.

>>GG would do well to remember that (perceived) reduction in quality was the first brick to fall for AltaVista and other former leading lights in the industry. I hope they know what they are doing...

Now would be a great time for AV, Ink and Wisenut to update their DB's to something snappy, relevent and free of dead wood -- and then keep it that way.

Axacta




msg:120166
 9:32 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

>It is common for index pages to get dropped for a month.<

Can you explain this NFFC? Are there threads on this?

bobmark




msg:120167
 9:43 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

my index page is kinda in limbo: for some keywords which appear principally on it, it is gone; for some it seems ot be there and for some you get a 2 month old index page.
It was crawled by Googlebot today so I have a faint hope it will be freshened.
As to the search quality, in the category I check most often the new index is very much as mentioned by subway with the flight destination search - sites hitting on 1 or 2 of three keywords in a phrase.
the sites that dropped were valid and had relevant content on all 3 search terms; the majority of those replacing them in the top 10 are link sites and - particularly galling since I am doing a "country adjective noun" search - 4 of them not even from the country I am searching for but supposedly world wide link sites with a SINGLE page for the country in question: sites with a zillion links but zero content.

jacon4




msg:120168
 9:46 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

WOW.....i left myrtle beach this morning and arrived in charlotte a lil while ago to see this thread still going strong. it appears google has started to make informational sites non- relevant as it did to commerical sites a long time ago. if google is mainly a research tool ( as i believe ) and loses relevance on informational type sites, its a goner. lets not forget who made google GOOGLE....its spelled YAHOO... i note that yahoo over the past couple days had FAST results on their search results, its back to the same ol yahoo now but, is it possible that google is scrambling to fill a resource ( yahoo ) it cant replace?

subway




msg:120169
 10:35 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

ok, I can now confirm that Googles spam filters have totally broken down. The whole "flight search" thing was bugging me and after looking at the sites source code I can see how a site with no mention of the keywords in the title, body or links has got to be number 1.

Every keyword has been repeated over and over in comment tags, h1, h2, h3 tags (but none of the text is showing on the page)!

This is grade a spam. I'm really trying my hardest to post in the "Google is Good" thread, but it's just not happening.

Big_Balou




msg:120170
 10:41 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hello jacon4 from a fellow north carolinian.

As far as this update is concerned I'm at a loss that G* would take such a heavy handed response to what seems like a relatively isolated problem, P*R for sale.

I can understand penalizing in such a way to make it too painful to even think about but why all the "collateral" damage.

To this some might say that G* is just trying to protect their reputation and discourage tweeeking, but what happens when that "tweeeking" is just common sense to make a visit more enjoyable and productive to the searcher. I'm not talking about opt*m*zing to the extent that some may take it to but good ole common sense usability stuff. The things you learned when you first learned HTML.

For what it's worth for the kws, very niche, that I follow there has been a good deal of turnover and now commercial sites that have corporate backing(big brick and mortar names) are showing with high P*R and have displaced the small to midsized sites. Relevancy is moderate to low unless you want to dig through the sites for what you want.

As far as personal sites I have seen an almost accross the board drop, none are what you would consider optimnized other than title and relevant text, all except for one page of one site which actually made a move up on a site where everything else dropped!( one ex. #19 to somewhere past 600). Go figure.

This has just convinced me that I put too much importance on G* for traffic and I'm not going to do that again.

I'm trying to look at things from a long term perspective and this change is disapointing but not totally unexpected. It will be interesting what the s*e world will look like in a couple of months.

bobmark




msg:120171
 11:19 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

This seemed so stupid and crude when it first occurred to me that I immediately dismissed it. Then I read subway?s post with the 3 search terms involving destination and thought about it some more. Here?s the example but mirrors what happened to sites in my category exactly:
Let?s say my site?s title is:?Blue fuzzy widget Packages?
And I used to rank mid top 10 on the search phrase?Blue fuzzy widget?
Now I am nowhere to be found for this search term, but I am still top 10 for?Blue fuzzy? (and almost all the other sites that used to be top 10 are there too except for an exact title match) and number 1 for?Blue fuzzy widget Packages?
So...why am I off the map for the three word phrase and why do searches for that phrase generate? except for the huge top 2-3 sites? generate strange, spammy results NONE of which match on more than 2 of the 3 keywords. It is like the algo applies different rules for 3 word phrases? basically not using all three words or minimizing the importance of 1 - and all the spammy link sites slide in due to their thousands of garbage links.
Is it possible that the?hundreds of Ph.D programmers? Google cultists always invoke as to why the algo is sooooo good used a bazooka to kill the mosquito of?go to hell? and did a hack that affects searches using 3 word keyphrases? Big problems for your site if you had optimized for 3.
Have I gone crazy thinking about this or is it possible?
(I just saw your hidden spam comment subway....wow! are we back to that level of garbage optimization to stay alive? Thanks for bringing back the old days Google!)

[edited by: NFFC at 2:12 am (utc) on Sep. 29, 2002]
[edit reason] No specifics please [/edit]

johnniebry




msg:120172
 11:30 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

One thing i've noticed is the # of backwards links have no bearing on your position. Here are the top 10 sites for a keyword a check often:

Numer of backwards links
1. 40
2. 50
3. 106
4. 122
5. 300
6. 330
7. 550
8. 46
9. 214
10.606

I thinks its more quality links, especially links from DMOZ listed sites. Free sites, blogger sites, get less importance.

Big_Balou




msg:120173
 11:30 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

bobmark,

I thought about your last post and i did a search using only two of my usual three search terms and there was my site sitting in the same position it was in last month for the three word search( i dropped the pen I was chewing on my jaw dropped so far). I'm off to do some more checking but I think you may have hit the nail on the head.

" used a bazooka to kill the mosquito of “go to hell” and did a hack that affects searches using 3 word keyphrases?"

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