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How to adjust for the ever-changing Google
in the midst of what we don't know
dickbaker

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28062 posted 6:50 am on Feb 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

Over the past many months, there's been a whole lot of complaining and screaming about Google's new algorithms (others have called it worse).

It's really nice to have a place to vent, but complaining only goes so far. In fact, it does nothing.

There are those on this forum who chatise the rest of us for depending upon any search engine for traffic. My hat goes off to those who are so independent.

However, when I do a search for any topic, I ignore the paid-for results from the usual suspects, and go to the Organic results. I know that a book store isn't going to actually have new-in-box crankshaft bearings for a 1969 Jaguar XKE.

Many, if not most of us, learned how to SEO Google using Brett Tabke's wonderful outline.

But many of us need the Google traffic and, so far, Google seems to be thumbing its nose at Brett's time-honored basic advice. My guess is that Brett's advice will prove to weather the storm.

In the interim, though, I wonder if any have found an SEO tecnique that's brought them back into the Google fold.

Back during the 2003 update (Florida?), a site that I had ranking very well dropped out completely, just as thousands of sites are today.

I panicked. I thought I was blackballed, banned, or otherwise being burned at the stake.

I stripped the site of any image links, javascript pop-up navigation links, and went as bare bones in terms of code as the company owner would permit.

Two to three months later, the site was ranking even better than before for the keywords and phrases the company owner wanted.

Was it the simplification of the site that got it back into the rankings and even got it onto the first page? Or was it just another Google hiccup?

With the new "update," has anyone changed their sites to try to adjust? If so, would you mind sharing what techniques you're trying?

Many people on this forum won't disclose what techniques they use. That's fine, and understandable. But I'd bet that 99% of us don't compete in the same markets. So, what's to be lost by sharing experiences?

So, I'll start.

I have dozens of manufacturer pages that have links to the manufacturer's individual models on my site. I took two manufacturer pages and created redirect pages: example.com/acme.html is a bone-bare html page with a redirect to the page with all of the graphics, table tags, and lengthy code. The redirected page--example.com/acme2.html--has all of the same text, but none of the extra code for graphics, javascript, ASP, etc. It also has a noindex, follow meta tag, as well as Disallow: /acme2.html in the robots txt file.

I know there are those who don't depend upon organic search results. I do. So, I'd be anxious to hear what other developers have in mind.

[edited by: ciml at 3:41 pm (utc) on Feb. 12, 2005]
[edit reason] Examplified [/edit]

 

AjiNIMC

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28062 posted 2:19 pm on Feb 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

One of the best things you can do to improve your site's ranking is to stop reading this forum. Go create some content instead.

Sorry Cant agree, without SEO winning is really tough and with only SEO its impossible. I have learned a lot of things through this forum and which helped me gain the #1 spot for many keypharse. On quality we never compromised and we are staying on #1 spot for few months now.

Aji

moose606

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28062 posted 8:33 pm on Feb 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

I agree with the Adwords/ SEO philosophy. The serps change so wildly and without any warning. For ecommerce sites, you need a steady stream of qualified traffic. I do think if you do use Adwords,
you should have tracking in place to identify top converting keywords. This way Adwords is cost effective, rather than a blank check.

luckychucky

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28062 posted 8:45 pm on Feb 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Well, it's true AdWords is effective in that you only pay for what you get, sure*

*despite the clutter of eBay and Amazon autoFill ads ('Looking for abomination? Find the best prices on abomination at eBay!').

I think the topic, though, is about search engine relevance. If an engine is no longer about presenting accurate serps, and more about presenting irrelevance, spam and advertsements, then it's become a lousy engine, ergo with declining eyeball reach, lower revenues and lower...effectiveness.

webhound

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28062 posted 10:33 pm on Feb 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

my observations on what to do with Google is simple... Get as many links as possible. Themed is nice but certainly not necessary.

It's all about linking, not content, not on page SEO, not about have a user freindly site, none of that matters. It's all about having boat loads of links. (at least in the hyper competitive area we are in.)

Now MSN, and Y! are completely different, so make sure you have sites built specifically for each engine.

Thats my 2cents.... :-)

catchmeifucan

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28062 posted 5:41 pm on Feb 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

webhound,

Any evidence?

AndyA

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28062 posted 6:27 pm on Feb 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

It's all about linking, not content, not on page SEO, not about have a user freindly site, none of that matters. It's all about having boat loads of links.

If that's true, we're all in big trouble! With something as simple and seemingly innocent as a click tracking script, other sites are manipulating Google's SERPs as we speak. And for some reason, Google is having a difficult time getting it under control.

Maybe we could ask Yahoo to shoot a message over to Google telling how they deal with it, since I don't see as much of this on Yahoo.

luckychucky

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28062 posted 6:58 pm on Feb 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

Webhound is quite right: it's all about Links. Links Links Links, and more Links. Not to mention Links. Then again, you could also get the top with Links. Or, Links work well too.

Now, if you tell me that Google search results are truly relevant anymore, I'll tll you the earth is flat, and the moon is made of lovely green cheese.

webhound

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28062 posted 8:56 pm on Feb 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

Evidence is as simple as looking where the top ranking sites back links are coming from. I'm sure if your in a competitive area as we are, you'll see tons of the top sites with back links from blogs, forums, guest books, etc... all junk and all bogus links created strictly for the benefit of the allmighty Gbot.

The one question I have for you guys is this, and this could have bearing on how the above applies to you: does anyone know if G devalues sites that have all carry the same billing information in whois data? Or if G devalues sites that come from the same IP (dedicated server, over 150 domains)? We've got a number of great sites, with loads of content, loads of one way links from different IPs, etc, etc, etc... yet we are nowhere in Google. This really pisses me off when I see sites with these blog links, and NO unique content on the first page. Anyone have anyidea on the above?

jschmitz

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28062 posted 9:02 pm on Feb 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

I just posted under the google/dampening thread.

Yes, I have done just what you are referring to: cleaned up my code, went straight and simple, and focused on adding content on an almost daily basis. I've gone from 10,000 to 1-25 on most of my targeted keywords for those pages Ive modified. I am modifying other sets of pages to (hopefully!) acheive the same results.

I think change is good. Cleaning up, as my husband says, is even better.

j

dickbaker

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28062 posted 10:22 pm on Feb 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

At the outset of this thread, I mentioned an idea or two that I had to try to get back into a decent position on Google. Well, it's not working.

My pages lost their semi-decent rankings the same day that my site was dropped from ODP (the editors decided it wasn't in the right category). Of course, the site was then dropped from Google's directory.

One page I had that had moved up from near-obscurity to position #22 is now at #495. Others have experienced a similar fate--including my company name.

The disappearance from ODP and Google on the same day would appear to be more than coincidence. So, I'm trying to get my site back into ODP in a more appropriate category.

Beyond that, I think I'm just going to add content and see how things shake out. If I add any links at all, they're going to be to sites that are 100% relevant to my topic, instead of 60-70% relevant.

dfud

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28062 posted 11:37 pm on Feb 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'm convinced that "adjusting for the ever-changing Google" is simply a matter of understanding one concept, and accomplishing one overarching task.

THE CONCEPT
The goal of search engines is to put the sites that searchers want to find, at the top of the SERPs.

THE TASK
Help SEs achieve their goal.

After you memorize those two items, keep them always in mind as you do the following:

1) Make sure you have a great site that VISITORS love. Improve it until you believe your site DESERVES to be in the top position.

2) Make the site easy for SEs to spider and easy for SEs to understand. Read Brett's wonderful guidelines located at [searchengineworld.com...] Consider these guidelines as a basis for helping the SEs to understand what your website is about, so they can rank it correctly.

Remember that Google is attempting to see and understand your site the way a visitor would. The SEs have not perfected artificial intelligence (yet) so the best they can do is attempt to continually improve their algorithms to meet their goals, as described in the concept above. I like to look at Brett's guidelines as the best method we have at this point to help them understand the site, kind of like a Rosetta stone.

Run all types of comparisons to see which little tweaks help your sites and which hurt them. Read WemasterWorld religiously, not to figure out how to FOOL the SEs, but to figure out their limitations of understanding, so you can help them better rank your sites where they should rightfully rank.

3) Get some "Word of Mouth" and "Word of Web" advertising. Market the site as you would market any type of business. Tell everyone about your site. Send out press releases. Get your friends to link to your site. Register your site on a few good directories. Do whatever you can to get the word out, online and offline.

In my opinion, buying links for the sake of buying links, is a complete waste of time. Get links that provide traffic that converts to give you an ROI. If you can get links for free, great. If you can buy links that provide a good ROI, then buy them.

****

In closing, I believe this strategy allows me to stay one step ahead of the "ever-changing Google".

I don't see Google as an adversary, or a system that I need to dupe. I see them as a partner. But it is a complex and frustrating partnership, because we don't speak each other's language. They are trying to decipher my handwriting, and I'm trying to understand their sign language.

Thanks to Brett's Rosetta Stone and EuropeForVisitor's philosophical advice... Google and I are getting better at understanding each other all the time.

webhound

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28062 posted 11:54 pm on Feb 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

I would soooo strongly disagree that having a quality site has anything to do with high rankings in google these days. of course there are exceptions to this rule, but generally speaking there are more spam template style sites with NO content, than legitimate sites, at least in our categories, which are about as competitive as it gets. We have small sites, we have huge sites, doesn't seem to make any difference at all.

Links links links baby. Get em anywhere you can, and get as many as you can. Can't fight this by making your site better so may as well join em and start making money again.

AjiNIMC

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28062 posted 12:23 am on Feb 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

Links links links baby. Get em anywhere you can, and get as many as you can. Can't fight this by making your site better so may as well join em and start making money again.

Links Links Links along with

When,How, from whom are also imp, too accelerated link campaign can be harmful(risky).

Skier

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28062 posted 12:28 am on Feb 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

I would soooo strongly disagree that having a quality site has anything to do with high rankings in google these days.

Amid the clutter of misplaced sites in the SERPs, there are steady performers that quietly earn money year after year. These sites stay put near the top through all the algo changes. The race to rank high by "beating" the latest algo change is a much harder way to compete. Perhaps you can't rank at the top simply because you have a quality site, but it can be a very effective strategy.

mfishy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28062 posted 12:47 am on Feb 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

If your strategy does not involve any seo at all, but rather simply building a "wonderful" site, why in the world would you post in this forum? I mean, maybe one post ever like, "build a great site", but some seem to have 100's of posts all saying "build a great site". Are these people mentally impaired or simply just posting out of total boredom?

Anyway, what cabbie said...

luckychucky

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28062 posted 1:29 am on Feb 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

Let's say links are a useless, pathetic method of determining relevancy anymore. Does anyone really believe that in the netwide aggregate, outside of some miniscule fraction of overall Internet activity, any significant number of webmasters are truly, spontaneously linking to anyone else because it's, what...interesting? Useful information? Out of a sense of web community? OK, well maybe on your Auntie's cute little blog about muffins, sure. But Auntie's not a shark in a high stakes game, and she could care less about serps - that's why her blog doesn't even rank for muffins (of course).

Looking at the big picture, and in light of present day reality, seriously ask : "Why Links"? I mean, make a convincing argument for links as a solid indicator of relevancy. I'm not talking about in an idealistic, theoretical sense. I'm talking about using link data to crunch the net and derive meaning from what is really out there right now, and why it's been placed out there for spidering.

It doesn't matter anyway, right? Relevancy's irrelevant - the only important thing is how you rank.

Right right right.

...so just link link link, then link some more, and you too can rise to number one.

What happens when Sergei and Larry's Stanford thesis that the whole crux of meaning on the web is all in the backlinks, the thesis that founded a multibillion dollar stock valuation - what happens if that fundamental thesis is a broken one - if the concept of link relevancy is not, in fact, functional anymore?

[edited by: luckychucky at 1:30 am (utc) on Feb. 17, 2005]

dfud

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28062 posted 1:29 am on Feb 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

Can we at least agree that it is easier to SEO a great site and get it to the top of Google than it is to SEO a horrible site and get it to the top of Google?

guitaristinus

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28062 posted 1:41 am on Feb 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

I took the adsense ads off of my site that was effected. Now it's a clean site.

trimmer80

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28062 posted 2:30 am on Feb 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

Does anyone really believe that in the netwide aggregate, outside of some miniscule fraction of overall Internet activity, any significant number of webmasters are truly, spontaneously linking to anyone else because it's, what...interesting? Useful information?

I believe in giving my users useful and relevant links in the hope that they will come back.

It is very important not to just get the most search engine
traffic but having that traffic return to your site regularly.

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 28062 posted 4:46 am on Feb 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

Does anyone really believe that in the netwide aggregate, outside of some miniscule fraction of overall Internet activity, any significant number of webmasters are truly, spontaneously linking to anyone else because it's, what...interesting? Useful information?

Absolutely. It happens all the time, contrary to what PageRank hoarders might think.

It's possible to be successful without being a miser.

metrostang

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28062 posted 5:59 am on Feb 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

europeforvisitors

No one operating an ecommerace site is linking for any reason other than to inprove their position, increase revenue, or other business related reasons.

The sites that have moved to the top in my sector are full of useless keyword gibberish written for the SE and not the searcher. There are two sites taking up 4 postions on page 1 that operate what I call doorway bait and switch pages. The don't even offer the product, but hope you will buy something else. Another takes up 2 positions with the identical page, one spelled with a capital letter. How do you adjust?

At this point I don't know how to adjust and would be afraid to make any changes until this update is settled. I'm seeing 4 or 5 sets of results with 90,000 and 500,000 pages returned for the same search on different datacenters.

I think I'll just stop watching the mess and come back in a week to see if it's over yet. My sales will tell me how I'm ranking.

lgn1

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28062 posted 3:36 am on Feb 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

Since Google is a public company, its theortically possible for someone or a group to eventually obtaining a controlling interest in Google. Then you could do anything you want (well with exceptions), or take it private (then you could do anything you want).

How about the "webmasterworld google hostile takeover stock club" :)

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 28062 posted 6:36 am on Feb 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

No one operating an ecommerace site is linking for any reason other than to inprove their position, increase revenue, or other business related reasons.

Surely you aren't suggesting that "the netwide aggregate, outside of some miniscule fraction of overall Internet activity" isn't limited to e-commerce sites?

2by4

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28062 posted 7:31 am on Feb 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

" One of the best things you can do to improve your site's ranking is to stop reading this forum. Go create some content instead."

Ha ha, that's a good one, totally true. Other things you can do are read brett's successful site in 12 months, but then take another very close look and see what he does, compare that to what he says, it's quite close, but there's a few more cool tricks I've picked up that way, nothing that's that hard to find if you use the right tools, nothing blackhat, just smart ideas that really make sense from an SEO perspective.

Why all this jumping on webfusion, I know where he's coming from, but I also know he can do stuff that others here can't, why attack somebody who wants to tell you how they succeed, I don't get it. I don't always agree with wf, but that's besides the point, sometimes discussions are helped by broadening them out a little bit, adding other ideas, like how to use ppc etc, not all the time, but personally I like it, I never read those forums anyway, though I should I guess.

Re the updates, all serps are up, traffic is up, hobby, commercial, niche. Haven't checked my spammier stuff lately, it's all dead after florida anyway, never bothered fixing it, let them die is my idea, then move on.

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