| 5:39 pm on Mar 28, 2005 (gmt 0)|
Maybe this is some pre update stuff. After jumping around a little results seem to settle at the same level as before - for me. After watching this for the last few days I personally think a real update is still ahead.
| 5:40 pm on Mar 28, 2005 (gmt 0)|
I see 2 results all the time on different DB, but it has been that way for about a month now.
| 7:15 pm on Mar 28, 2005 (gmt 0)|
|Maybe this is some pre update stuff. After jumping around a little results seem to settle at the same level as before - for me. After watching this for the last few days I personally think a real update is still ahead. |
Wouldn't surprise me a bit. The current results for the terms that I follow remind me of SERPs from a few years ago. Even some of the players are the same--I'm seeing a few old directories that I haden't even thought about in years.
Big corporate sites like Yahoo, Lonely Planet, and About.com are ranking much higher than they did before March 23, but some oddball results are in the top 10, too, including low-traffic, minimal-content hobby sites with only a few dozen visible backlinks. A number of established content sites have taken a hit for the topics that I watch. (I know this from watching the SERPs and from e-mails that I've received.)
I get the impression that "authority" factors like Hilltop have been removed from the algorithm, at least temporarily. This has yielded some strange results.
For example, I've got what's probably the most comprehensive English-language travel coverage of a certain city in Eastern Germany, with about 130 pages of content. It was rated near the top of the SERPs for "[cityname] travel" until recently, but now it's #11 behind a bunch of computer-generated, keyword-targeted cr*p that in some cases has zero content on the topic. The city's official tourism site doesn't even show in the first few pages of search results.
A search on "[cityname] tourist information" is a bit better, with the tourist office coming in at #1. However, the remaining top 10 pages, while at least not computer-generated directory pages, have their share of weak results such as a registration page for a tech conference in [cityname], a Google directory page, and some other pages with only a link or two to sites about [cityname].
My bottom-line impression is that, at the moment, the large corporate sites and button-pushers are in control; presumably that will change if and when Google flips the "authority" switch in the coming days or weeks.
| 7:17 pm on Mar 28, 2005 (gmt 0)|
At least 50% of the traffic I now get from G is worthless, because my page now ranks well for less relevant or irrelevant searches. The readers back out after one page (often viewed in the cache, via the image search, which is now capping many non-image search terms).
It's one thing to say that G is not giving me the traffic it used to, it's another thing entirely to say that G is sending me traffic I don't want and can't use.
The worm will turn when searchers decide they are getting information they can't use, or are spending too much time finding relevant results.
The only thing stopping a full scale exit of regular users from G is the lack of anything significantly better at this time.
Funniest thing of all is that G used to be so good, circa 2001. I wish there was a "Google Classic" tab with which I could search today's web with the 2001 algo.
| 8:05 pm on Mar 28, 2005 (gmt 0)|
|Funniest thing of all is that G used to be so good, circa 2001. I wish there was a "Google Classic" tab with which I could search today's web with the 2001 algo. |
True, but Google also had less to index in 2001, and it wasn't subject to constant "virus attacks" by button pushers and other spammers.
In my earlier post, I mentioned computer-generated, keyword-targeted pages. Those barely existed in 2001. Today, any number of so-called directory, review, and community sites are using scripts to crank out hundreds of thousands (millions?) of pages whose "content" may consist only of a keyword in the title and in a heading for an unpopulated category.
Just this morning I ran across a made-for-AdSense scraper site with dozens of keyphrases that were variants on the main keyword. E.g., if the topic had been "car" (it wasn't), the keyphrases might have been "car dashboards," "car tires," "car radios," "car covers," "car seats," "car engines," and so on, ad infinitum. Obviously, telling the difference between that kind of site and a true authority site with pages on all aspects of cars can't be an easy task for a search engine that doesn't want to risk excessive collateral damage to legitimate sites.
| 8:11 pm on Mar 28, 2005 (gmt 0)|
welcome to google. in my opinion what your seeing has nothing to do with hilltop or anything else missing from the algo. we've been seeing what you've described for over a year in our categories. Spam template sites ranking over sites with tons of unique content and backlinks.
I'm liking what I am seeing with these latest changes. Still too much spam, but a definete step in the right direction IMO. Haven't been able to say that for ages about G.
| 8:18 pm on Mar 28, 2005 (gmt 0)|
What makes anyone think that there was an update in early Feb and another one happening/due to happen now? Did the Feb update ever really die down? Or has the algo/s been in a constant state of flux since early Feb?
On the related matter of SERP quality - it has deteriorated considerably since 2001, I agree, but Google's inability to serve the same quality of results is not just because of a larger number of pages to index - it's more fundamental: Google's increasing inability to counter all the SEO attacks it's algo is under. Anyway, that's what it looks like.
|a search engine that doesn't want to risk excessive collateral damage to legitimate sites |
So the best route to getting away with manipulating Google SERPs is to target the soft spots - areas where it hestitates to act for fear of widespread collateral damage.
| 8:22 pm on Mar 28, 2005 (gmt 0)|
Sorry that my first post is negative but Iíve had a very frustrating weekend.
The site thatís causing so much angst consists of 10% static pages (interest articles) & 90% dynamically generated pages (my bread and butter).
Friday/Saturday saw all my dynamically generated pages go URL only with cached dates of 24 November 2004 (previously up-to-date cache). Today there is no cache for any of the dynamically generated pages and of course I have no traffic. My static pages are all doing better than ever as my main competitors for these keywords produce their content dynamically.
My well respected competitors for the main part of the site also donít appear in the SERPS and it seems mostly small sites with static pages are returned in searches for my sector.
Could it be that Google has gone backwards in its handling of query strings?
It may or may not be related but my Adwords campaigns had their usual number of clicks but when I tracked them I noticed that each visitor came and went in seconds. I spent $ clicking my own ads to find that the destination URL doesnít work from Adwords 80% of the time. The destination URLs do have query strings and do work 20% of the time from the ads and 100% from anywhere else.
Can anyone throw any light on this?
| 8:58 pm on Mar 28, 2005 (gmt 0)|
I agree that those scrapers have got to be making things alot more difficult for G.
What I don't understand is why <whine>a site which has ranked in the top 10 for years for a particular type of widget is now nowhere to be seen, while G has decided to give weight to all these brand new scrapers which merely pretend to be about that type of widget.</whine>
<cheese>I think what went wrong with G, is that they stopped trusting webmasters to tell them what the page is about. There have always been some areas which were spam intensive. A searcher could never find quality info in those SERPs -- you know, the topics that generate alot of e-mail spam in addition to SE spam.
But in informational areas, a page titled "Dolley Madison's Dress Shields," for example, will almost certainly contain info about Dolley Madison's use of dress shields, the reasons she was so prone to extreme perspiration, etc.
There was no reason for 'black hats' to spam a SE with "Dolley Madison's Dress Sheilds," because the phrase has few, if any commercial applications.
A page targeting DMDS would normally contain that info, optimize for that info (at least in terms of page title and text on page), and PR would take care of the rest.
Somewhere along the line, G decided (my theory) that any 'attempt' to rank for a term should be punished, even though in alot of cases that involved nothing more than accurate page titles. A search for DMDS is now likely to return a page titled, "James Madison, Defiant Shield of a New Nation," (where "dolley," and "dress," appear somewhere in the text of the page), rather than a page titled DMDS.
And it seems to me that G is now penalizing sites based on their theme. If a page on DMDS was part of a First Ladies site that had ranked well for a variety of First Lady terms for years, it's as if G decided, "Well we can't give all the 'first lady' traffic to a handful of sites," and now that formerly 'top-10-across-the-board-for-a-variety-of-first-lady-two-and-three-word-search-terms' site can no longer rank for those multi-word phrases. That site might rank for a few of those terms, but mostly they have fallen waaaaaay down the SERPs.
Upshot of all this is that scraper sites with thousands of pages which aren't really about anything and exist only to pass the searcher on to a paying link are thriving. Because it doesn't matter to them if the searcher doesn't find what they want on the page. Their goal is to make the searcher leave their page through a paying link. These sites don't have to succeed in getting traffic for any particular term. Getting the searcher to the page (and off the page through the ad link) is all that matters. ROI is high because they generate hundred or thousands of pages with very little effort. G's growing preference for some kind of 'fuzzy matching' ensures that at least some of these pages turn up in the SERPs. Then the scraper just does it more and more and the SERPs go all to hell.
If G would 1)believe that a page titled DMDS is about DMDS, 2)look at the long term history of a site, including G's own history of listing the site and 3) started using PR in a reasonable way (trust 400 .edu links more than 5,000 links from other spam the publisher owns) they'd be doing a better job.</cheese>
| 9:16 pm on Mar 28, 2005 (gmt 0)|
to me it appears this is the way it is going to stay for a while. Nothing has changed for us in several days.
Link farms and affiliate site seem to be making a come back.
| 9:21 pm on Mar 28, 2005 (gmt 0)|
The googledance has been going on since early Feb when a certain bigname.com got itself banned for duplicate content by redirecting to itself with a 302 redirect.
redirect (302 style) from bigname.com to w*w.bigname.com - this prompted a google recommendation that this type of redirect should only be done via 301.
The very next day we saw google directory roll back to about the previous week and it has been dancing ever since.
There has been a huge outcry on this and other webmaster forums for google to fix the 302 hijacking problem. I think all this dancing has been googles attempt to do just that. Esp since Googleguy mentioned in a post on another forum that the engineers have a few test sites they can now monitor to see how their algo changes affect SERP results and one engineer has a good solution they will try.
Who knows when this dance will end and lets hope they come up with a good solution. These scraper sites that are appearing in the SERP's are exploiting the 302 problem, thats why we see them bouncing in and out. But google is trying to filter them out without harming legitimate use of 302 which is quite common.
<self- edit> speeeeeling error
| 10:40 pm on Mar 28, 2005 (gmt 0)|
Seems like some our search phrases are back in the top ten from infinity, something is definitely in the water guys.
This aint over till the weightly challenged girl sings.
Anyone else seing this, we havn't changed a thing at all on the page to make the site drop and we have gained lots more important links to us and there not showing at all.
| 10:57 pm on Mar 28, 2005 (gmt 0)|
|Anyone else seing this, we havn't changed a thing at all on the page to make the site drop and we have gained lots more important links to us and there not showing at all. |
I hadn't changed anything on my pages to make them drop, but some did--and quite a bit, at that. On the other hand, some remained in their #1 positions (including at least one that, I'll admit, doesn't deserve to be there).
I'm not aware of any new links to my pages that aren't showing up, but I've got a couple of existing FORBES "Best of the Web" backlinks that had been PR6 but have been showing grey or white bars at least since March 23.
| 11:06 pm on Mar 28, 2005 (gmt 0)|
I'm seeing action too. This is almost like an old-style dance.
(Ohhhhhhh, grab yer partner skip-to-maloo...)
| 11:31 pm on Mar 28, 2005 (gmt 0)|
I'd like to see some of the 'authority' data factored in soon.
Right now my sector is dominated by scraper sites using lots of bought up domains and compu-generated web vomit.
It looks worse than the 23rd / 24th - I'm waiting for a flood of 'Google is broken - Google is doomed posts'.
I have some confidence that this will be fixed up, not complete confidence though...
| 11:34 pm on Mar 28, 2005 (gmt 0)|
for some reason nothing has really changed for our site in the last few days. really looks like these cr@p results are here to stay for a while.
oh and - IT LOOKS LIKE GOOGLE IS BROKEN
| 11:40 pm on Mar 28, 2005 (gmt 0)|
Hey, Sorry I didnt want to start on whole new post on this...but does anyone have the url handy to report poor search results to Google...I am not referring to the spam reporting.
| 11:44 pm on Mar 28, 2005 (gmt 0)|
substitute poor+results with whatever search term you are unhappy about.
Doubt they spend to much time reading that.
| 1:32 am on Mar 29, 2005 (gmt 0)|
Whoa, my traffic's coming back now. I'm seeing a big change in SERPs for a lot of different keywords.
I'm expecting to be back where I was in a few days. Getting punished for changing around URL structure twice back in Dec/Jan.
| 2:28 am on Mar 29, 2005 (gmt 0)|
not seeing anything on my end at all. The top 8 have been locked in for several days now.
GOOGLE IS BROKEN.
| 3:13 am on Mar 29, 2005 (gmt 0)|
My main site over the past week has shown FOUR different sets of backlinks. A new site has shown TWO sets of backlink data. Neither site has changed in the SERPS so backlink data for the areas I monitor are yet to have any affect upon the SERPS. I've seen backlink data sets change before, but never so unstable as these seem to be. The current sets I'm seeing now are best for my sites. I have noticed this set is showing more current backlink data, but no sooner than this is posted they'll change again.
| 3:39 am on Mar 29, 2005 (gmt 0)|
|welcome to google. in my opinion what your seeing has nothing to do with hilltop or anything else missing from the algo. we've been seeing what you've described for over a year in our categories. |
Yah, it's as though folks who had not experienced the "new google" in their areas must not have been paying attention to the rest of the world. In many SERPS we have been in this bizzaro world for a year now - old hobby sites, 404's, mega sites with no content, autogenerated directories,etc..also, maybe most importantly, the complete lack of keyword proxmity factoring....
<<bullet proof sites>>>
That is...well...errr...forget it :)
[edited by: mfishy at 3:39 am (utc) on Mar. 29, 2005]
| 3:39 am on Mar 29, 2005 (gmt 0)|
last month I gained 3-4 strong backlinks from exchange deals and they showed up for about a week and then disappeared about a week ago, I know the links are still there but google lost them.
| 4:26 am on Mar 29, 2005 (gmt 0)|
Thanks, but I've been using Google (and I've been indexed by Google) since it launched in 1998.
|in my opinion what your seeing has nothing to do with hilltop or anything else missing from the algo. we've been seeing what you've described for over a year in our categories. |
I wonder why it's taken more than a year to happen in mine and others?
Something big did happen on March 23--maybe not for everyone, but certainly for some of the best-known content sites in the travel category, among others.
| 5:06 am on Mar 29, 2005 (gmt 0)|
"Something big did happen on March 23--maybe not for everyone, but certainly for some of the best-known content sites in the travel category, among others."
Yes I agree, In fact I was the first here I think to notice what happened on the 23rd. LOL I started a discussion about it called, 'Has anyone noticed the change in google serps", but since I was new the thread was put on hold and it was never allowed to post. My post eventually was inserted in this thread or another similar thread somewhere. I have a very well known, well established content site (not travel) that was hit hard. My index page is still on page one, ranked 7 instead of 1, but most of my very important keyword pages are now on page 2, 3 or nowhere. LOL
| 6:12 am on Mar 29, 2005 (gmt 0)|
Just curious, for those of you who are down in the serps what has replaced you?
| 6:44 am on Mar 29, 2005 (gmt 0)|
|Just curious, for those of you who are down in the serps what has replaced you? |
Depends on the query.
For one two-word phrase, nearly all of the top 10 are computer-generated directory sites with little content--in some cases, no content--on the topic. (For example, one is an empty template page with the name of a city in the category head.)
For another two-word phrase, the top 10 or 20 are a fairly random mix of big corporate site's pages (Yahoo Travel, Google Directory, Expedia, Amazon, etc.), hobby sites, and e-commerce or affiliate pages.
For another two-word phrase, the top 10 or 20 results are all travel agencies' sell pages (except for the first page of my 165 pages of coverage, which is in the #11 spot).
For several two- and three-word queries on another topic, the top result lately (since before March 23) has been from a fairly new low-traffic, low-PR directory hobby site that consists of nothing but unannotated links.
FWIW, my daughter was looking for something very specific on a Caribbean country tonight, and the site she'd seen in a previous search had disappeared from view. Most of the pages that she found were computer-generated directory and scraper pages. My son and his girlfriend had a similar experience when searching for a company's Web site the other day. I've seen a lot of posts here from members who claimed that "ordinary users" were complaining about Google's search results, and for the first time I've heard complaints from such users, too. So maybe mfishy is right and it's just taken a while for Google's SERP problems to migrate into the categories where my kids and I hang out.
On a more personal note, my Google referrals have dropped by at least 75% since March 23, and right now Google referrals are running at about 2.2 times Yahoo's (compared to 8-12 over the last several years). Fortunately, the pages that generate the most revenue haven't been affected nearly as much as the pages that aren't big moneymakers. Still, I wish Google could have waited until November to flip whatever switch it's been playing with. At that time of year, I would have barely felt any pain. :-)
| 7:12 am on Mar 29, 2005 (gmt 0)|
>it has deteriorated considerably since 2001
My Granny would agree with you. She also says it never rained and the summers were nice and hot.
Something significant started on the 23rd and 'bullet proof' sites that have ranked well for years for many keywords were effected. These seem to be slowly recovering but many older low quality content sites have re appeared. That's not to say there were not poor quality sites ranking well recently but it would appear that good sites have lost rankings for some major keywords while still ranking well for others. Its as if Google has distributed higher rankings to more sites rather than allowing a few to dominate.
This is like an old style update. Its different to the normal fluctuations that have been occuring over the last month. A re-evaluation of authority sites, perhaps hilltop and certainly anchor text and pr flow is being run through the system. The 'links in' is probably the key, with many links still to be acknowledged and their effect implimented. I suspect we still have a few days to run.
| 7:44 am on Mar 29, 2005 (gmt 0)|
>Its as if Google has distributed higher rankings to more sites rather than allowing a few to dominate.<
this is not bad at all ,in the contrary makes the web more democratic.A big BRAVO to Google.
| 8:09 am on Mar 29, 2005 (gmt 0)|
>Its as if Google has distributed higher rankings to more sites rather than allowing a few to dominate.<
It's fine to offer a variety of information that addresses a specific query. But why is it good to offer the searcher information that is not relevant to the search?
There is nothing "democratic" about giving weight to sites that have nothing to do with the query. That's more like (Soviet-style) communism, where merit means nothing and advancement is based on arbitrary criteria.
| 8:35 am on Mar 29, 2005 (gmt 0)|
|Its as if Google has distributed higher rankings to more sites rather than allowing a few to dominate. |
I don't think that's a likely scenario, because large corporate and automated directory sites seem to be dominating some SERPs despite a paucity of content on many of their the listed pages. On those SERPs, it's almost as if pure unadulterated PageRank were back in fashion.
As for what appears to be randomness on other SERPs, I don't think Google is trying to "democratize" its search results; the randomness is probably just a byproduct of whatever algorithm the search engineers have been fiddling with.