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




msg:744110
 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




msg:744111
 6:03 pm on Feb 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

How to adjust for the ever-changing Google

Focus on quality website(from customer point of view), have good and clean code. Google will change its algo for you sooner than later.

grail




msg:744112
 7:40 pm on Feb 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have made the following changes to one site affected:-

1. Move region where site was hosted.
It was not in the best place anyway and I can now watch pages get spidered/indexed with a fresh start.

2. Made more of my page.php?cat=1&page=2 and similar links to use mod rewrite so pages appear static. and 301 redirect old pages.
Was just worried that google although it had spidered and indexed in past was now taking dim view on dynamic pages.

3. Made better use of my original content and moved most of my duplicate content to pages with noindex,follow. My category pages are now mostly none dup content. Luckily I had 1000 pages of my own unique stuff because I can see I could have been wiped out.

4. Writing more good content. Added more bubbles (fluff).
Site is baby, bathwater, bubbles, bath.
Google threw out everything but baby and individual parts recently. Money comes from bathwater content, have hidden bathwater under bubbles.

5. Trying autogenerating content from existing duplicate struff through some jiggery pokery, while trying to make it appear none computer generated to users so they don't think 'what the!'

I think there are a few different forces at work from google improving some filters, screwing up badly on 'something', and a 'capacity' issue.

I think the opportunities just got a whole lot better for those who have the time, energy and ingenuity.

wanderingmind




msg:744113
 7:54 pm on Feb 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

I dont think you can adjust to Google.

If you look at Brett's advice, the best part of it is that 90 % of it is just what you have to do to make a good website.

Otherwise what else? Going through all the discussions, I see a few things:

Free / sub-domain based website shave disappeared. I have seen this happen to someone with a high PR subdomain,and I replaced him! Bad for him, not great for me as I get nothing out of it.

Spam / bad servers / IP C blocks - this is still evolving, but some servers or C blocks seem to be blacklisted for some reason. No one is sure for now.

No tricks. I mean, absolutely no tricks. Avoid any redirects, get links, do reasonable on-page optimziation. Get some reciprocals, but keep it minimum, people are beginning to think its being discounted/ penalised. This I suspect worked for all the sites I handle, as I am extremely bad and irritated with writing mails to people for link exchanges. I prefer people finding my site through search engines, and then giving me links without thinking about them as 'linking to that guy for improving his PR'.

Commercial site owners are complaining loudest, and people like BigDave and Europefor visitors are not disturbed at all. Maybe information sites are being pushed to the top?

Do not count on Google, or any search engine for your business. Think about them as bonuses, if Google jacks you today, it could be MSN tomorrow. Enjoy what you have, and find other means of traffic to your site. (My adsense revenue jumped during this update. I am happy, but don't think it will last forever. Maybe I will us ethe extra money to get some very carefully chosen good links to my site, or invest in an ad campaign, or spend some money and add some interactivity to my site... )

***All this is transitory. All things that come will pass.***

grail




msg:744114
 8:35 pm on Feb 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

"Enjoy what you have, and find other means of traffic to your site."

Google has made life harder in this respect. Links became a commodity, fewer people will link to you now no matter how good your site is. Google I feel has damaged the interent by publishing that little green bar.

You can of course use off internet methods by placing ads in specific niches but I have seen very poor return on investment on these. Then there are more creative methods but pretending google doesn't exist is not an option for me.

wanderingmind




msg:744115
 9:09 pm on Feb 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

This does not work for everyone, but articles on your site which are controversial always brings you links, if not today, tomorrow.

Also, extra-informative articles.

Pointing topical bloggers to your site by sending them an email, and NOT asking for links, sometimes gets you links.

grail




msg:744116
 9:41 pm on Feb 12, 2005 (gmt 0)


"This does not work for everyone, but articles on your site which are controversial always brings you links, if not today, tomorrow. "

Now that is a great tip! 'be controversial'. Being funny works too now I think about it. It probably falls under 'write content for people not engines'. I am very guilty of just churning out basic facts.

M0nKeY




msg:744117
 11:16 pm on Feb 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

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.

My hat will come off too... to thrash them about the brow.

I'd call them foolish for coming into the google news forum to tell us about how we should not be focusing on google traffic.

WebFusion




msg:744118
 1:29 am on Feb 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Google I feel has damaged the interent by publishing that little green bar.

I certainly agree with that. Being so public about their system certianly both bit them in the backside and drastically skewed the web as a whole.

Having said that....there are very few industries where it would be difficult to gain a good set of solid one-way links. Time consuming, but not difficult.

You can of course use off internet methods by placing ads in specific niches but I have seen very poor return on investment on these.

My personal experience with traffic of this type is that finding the truly "great" ones takes alot of tracking, testing and tweaking. However, find just 2-3, and it can literally change your profit outlook for an entire year (or longer). You may end up going theough 100 or more sites to find one, but that one could end up making you more than all your SE traffic combined.

This does not work for everyone, but articles on your site which are controversial always brings you links, if not today, tomorrow.
Also, extra-informative articles.

Agreed. One method we use is to write articles that actually answer common/specific questions users of our types of products have (kind of a VERY in depth FAQ). Doing so over the last year has grown our traffic a great deal. Just start thinking about the kinds of questions people would ask about your products, and start writing (i.e. "How do I" or " What do I do if" etc.)

I'd call them foolish for coming into the google news forum to tell us about how we should not be focusing on google traffic.

Really? Would you call a burn expert foolish to tell a burn victom how best to recover and/or not re-injure himself?

There are members of this board who have ridden out every wrinkle in the search engine world, every update, and every major change without so much as a blip in the overall profitability of their web businesses. Are they just lucky, or do they have real, effective, and (most of all) stability-inducing marketing techniques to share?

If the latter is true (which I tend to think it is), then who is most foolish, those that provide the knowledge freely, or those that ignore it and simply attempt to find any way possible to return to the very marketing methods that produced their problems in the first place?

AjiNIMC




msg:744119
 2:06 am on Feb 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Google I feel has damaged the interent by publishing that little green bar.

Yes and no, getting PR6 is not a big deal and moreover due to this many have made some real good partnership with others ontheme sites.

I have seen few defeating sites with 80,000 links with mere 2,000 links, the mantra is good quality links.

Aji

M0nKeY




msg:744120
 4:11 am on Feb 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Really? Would you call a burn expert foolish to tell a burn victom how best to recover and/or not re-injure himself?... BLAH BLAH

Very bad analogy and you missed the whole point. This is not the "Marketing strategy" forum. I even made the words bold and you still missed it. I don't depend on google AT ALL I'm simply annoyed at hearing the same holier than thou crap over and over again.

Is it still unclear?

I've lurked these forums for a long time and lately I'm quite sick of reading people repeating the same line about diversification over and over. I don't come to this forum to read about you telling someone to diversify I come here to see what people say REGARDING GOOGLE.

Yea, there are post where people say stuff like "and I'm losing 80% of my traffic". They bother me much less than the posts entirely devoted to diversification.

wanderingmind




msg:744121
 10:35 am on Feb 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Monkey,

Of course Google is important. I spend a nice amount of time on figuring out things vis a vis google. All I mean is sometimes not being so google-focused helps you in google!

karmov




msg:744122
 2:47 pm on Feb 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

To get back on topic, "How to adjust for the ever-changing Google in the midst of what we don't know", I'd just like to point out my experiences. Two years ago I took over an established site with a some good content that had never been SEOed.

The major things that I did were to lean out the pages (cleaner, compliant HTML and dropped as many images as reasonable like spacer gifs, etc...). I then made some minor tweaks to internal linking structure, sought out external links, continued to develop content, and made some very basic SEO changes (titles, H1s, etc...). All of this stuff's in Brett's guide.

The result has been that we've not only survived every update, our inbound referals from Google have been on a solid upward slope over the last 2 years.

We're not pulling the kind of numbers that I'm sure a lot of others are so this is more of the turtle's approach to the race than the hare's. However, I just thought I'd point out that from my experience, if you follow Brett's basics, you likely won't need to adjust to Google, Google will likely be adjusting towards you over the long term.

WebFusion




msg:744123
 3:19 pm on Feb 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

I don't depend on google AT ALL I'm simply annoyed at hearing the same holier than thou crap over and over again.

Is it still unclear?

I've lurked these forums for a long time and lately I'm quite sick of reading people repeating the same line about diversification over and over. I don't come to this forum to read about you telling someone to diversify I come here to see what people say REGARDING GOOGLE.

Yea, there are post where people say stuff like "and I'm losing 80% of my traffic". They bother me much less than the posts entirely devoted to diversification.

Ah well....I guess you'll just have to get over it. You speak your opinion about the situation, and I'll speak mine.

john316




msg:744124
 3:24 pm on Feb 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Follow the basics, build a good site, don't focus on SEO and open an adwords account.

Works everytime.

AjiNIMC




msg:744125
 3:37 pm on Feb 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Follow the basics, build a good site, don't focus on SEO and open an adwords account.

John, I really wanted zero SEO but when all your competitors are doing it, you too are forced to do it. SEO is not bad but excessive, greedy, shortcut ideas are harmful.

Donot do anything bad, spend a year studying SEO and then apply on your sites, a little knowlege is harmful in this field.

Aji

Tropical Island




msg:744126
 3:40 pm on Feb 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Follow the basics, build a good site, don't focus on SEO and open an adwords account.

Couldn't agrre more with one exception. You should pay attention to basic SEO.

We have one site with a large (for us) AdWords presence and fairly good natural placement. It has 30 to 40 good pages of content.

As Google's algorithm changes this site moves up and down the natural listings however our total traffic never varies by more than 100 or so visitors per day (around 1500 per day).

As it moves up the listings it seems we get less PPC clicks. As we disappear of the first page for certain terms our PPC goes up to take up the slack.

We save a lot of worrying this way and the business is flourishing.

john316




msg:744127
 3:41 pm on Feb 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

spend a year studying SEO and then apply on your sites

Not a bad idea, your going to spend a year or two in the "sandbox" anyway.

AjiNIMC




msg:744128
 3:54 pm on Feb 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Sandbox very naked reality, I have seen the first year of SEO is very prone to major errors(with time you go intelligent and SEs even more :) ), so learn everyday but never ever do excessive things.

[edited by: AjiNIMC at 3:55 pm (utc) on Feb. 13, 2005]

WebFusion




msg:744129
 3:55 pm on Feb 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Not a bad idea, your going to spend a year or two in the "sandbox" anyway.

Our experience was 11 nonths or so, but it DOES give you a good chance to perfect your site ;-)

I think the basics always win the day in the end.

Keeping good html structure, focusing on fresh and new updated content, keeping page size down to a minimum (for the users more than the engines), ensuring all dynamic pages appear statis to the bots - all are good, basic SEO everyone shoudl stick to.

Avoid trying to respond to every little "quirk" you may see month to month (including the last algo shift), and just focus on adding content/links-in/links-out, and your site will rise naturally over time.

In addition, To aid your content creation, hire a few freelance writers to create some targeted articles for you (REAL articles, not just keyword-stuffed gibberish), and you can greatly speed up your content creation.

twebdonny




msg:744130
 3:58 pm on Feb 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

You can't adjust when there is no rhyme or reason to what
G is doing with this update. No one at G reponds, Googleguy doesn't respond. There are thousands of ideas, but no one knows definitely what is occurring.

luckychucky




msg:744131
 4:44 pm on Feb 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

I was a very, very active link exchanger, all of it thoughtfully done by hand, no automation, in direct personalised eMail contact with other webmasters, and with a tight focus on relevance. Thus I arrived at serps 1-3 for pretty much every money keyword I target. Because I'm number one, the link exchange spam started flooding in, unrelenting and nonstop. Now I just archive those link proposals for some imaginary later date and haven't adminned my links pages in several months already...

I'm reading the writing on the wall. If G continues to base its algo upon backlinks, it's betting on a losing horse, a system which is shot through and through. I mean, the original thesis - that real meaning can be deduced by analyzing interlinking relationships between websites - is a diseased/dying/extinct animal (take yer pick, per your own opinion). It's got parasitic anemia, barely alive. Continuing to operate on this originally quite valid but now quite bankrupt theory from a more innocent Internet decade is doomed to fail, worse and worse with each new day.

What's the alternative? Dunno. I'm just some guy with an eCommerce site, trying to get some traffic and stay in front of the eyes of potential customers. LSI of onsite content can certainly be gamed, and regularly is. I have no clue what a new algo should do, I just know that backlink analysis, by far the 800 pound gorilla factor in the past, is already a carcass; in fact it's starting to smell pretty ripe.

europeforvisitors




msg:744132
 6:27 pm on Feb 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

How to adjust for the ever-changing Google

That's easy: Stop trying to adjust for the ever-changing Google, and maybe Google won't have to change so much.

luckychucky




msg:744133
 8:42 pm on Feb 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Maybe if I stop eating, I won't have to worry about how to stay alive.
Thanks for the heads-up.
Golly, how could I have been so blind all my life?

grail




msg:744134
 8:51 pm on Feb 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

That's easy: Stop trying to adjust for the ever-changing Google, and maybe Google won't have to change so much.

and if everyone could stop putting stuff on the internet it would really help. Get out more. Brisk walks. Plenty of fibre. Keep your bowels open.

cabbie




msg:744135
 9:54 pm on Feb 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

My path to stability is to throw enough mud and hope some of it sticks.
Has worked evey update so far.Some sites disappear while others emerge from the abyss.
The funny thing is its usually my bonafide sites that get hammered while my spammy techniques are tenaciously perennial.

Skier




msg:744136
 10:06 pm on Feb 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

I posted the thought that I was getting better results by doing less SEO, in another thread: [webmasterworld.com...] (msg #93)

I see that some others are also having that thought, in this thread.

panicbutton




msg:744137
 1:52 am 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.

europeforvisitors




msg:744138
 1:58 am on Feb 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Exactly. Instead of being reactive, be proactive. If your content is good for users (not just good for your own pocketbook), it's likely to be good from Google's point of view.

Vadim




msg:744139
 2:43 am on Feb 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

I managed to return my PR and even to increase it after it dropped to 0. It is not very high because I am software engineer and not a webmaster. However, after reading this and similar threads about an year I figured out that

1. Google tries to separate what benefit users and what is done for SEO only. Google than tries to use filterers to filter out pure SEO.
2.Google is suspicious to what its robots cannot understand or track.
3.Google is suspicious to what is statistically improbable.

So to be stable.

1.All optimization should look as if it was done for users.
2.There should be no pages that Google cannot understand, track or follow. I believe that NOINDEX is better than robots.txt.
3.All that benefits users (for example good relevant outbound links) will be rewarded by Google eventually.
4.All that statistically improbable (too many keywords on the page, for example) should be avoided.

And finally. Check for typos mannualy. It may be a coincidence but my page rank returned soon after I changed “manger” for ”manager”. Typo manger passed all checkers as you may guess :).

Vadim.

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