|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.
|Just curious, for those of you who are down in the serps what has replaced you? |
For years we have been in the top 5 for a keyword phrase.
In the past week we have dropped back 3 to 6 pages, depending (apparently) on what the phase of the moon is.
What has taken our place from 1 to 10 is:
3 hobby sites.
1 "free submit your photo site" - with one single photo with no links, no text, no PR at #0
5 more or less relevant sites, but mostly very poor ones. One has been out of business since 2002, one has not been updated since 2001 and consists of 5 pages.
Of the 10 on the first page, I would say that only 1 or 2 should be even in the top 1000.
But what I say now might change in an hour. Although that one photo submit place has stayed at 9 to 11 for 6 days, a lot of the much more relevant sites seem to be dancing all over.
i don't see not relevant results in all of my searches,as a webmaster when i write webmaster this forum is at top 10,link popularity (marketleap is always there),city hotels -very relevant ,city travel -ok, city or country information relevant,flights to city -very relevant, buy bbc comedy dvd -very relevant.I don't know your targeted KW's but usually when our page lost in a new update we come here and blame Google ,a few weeks ago many lost there pages during alegra i never post a message though my page was gone ,i never said you bad google ,it happened before i lost my page for 2-3 weeks and i was back like now,so what's the point ,after all Google brings money to all of us,or you know any other SE in the planet with so much data and popularity?
What does a lack of qualified competition have to do with the growing perception that G is providing less relevant results than it did previously?
I am seeing 50% to 70% irrelevant results in some areas that have nothing to do with my industry. Other searches yield better results, but the general impression is one of spotty performance.
As I mentioned elsewhere, the majority of the traffic I now receive from G is worthless, as G is serving up my site for searches where it should not appear near the top of the SERPs.
How happy are the searchers who ended up on my site, but should have ended up somewhere else entirely? Did G ever get them to their proper destination?
Maybe we have to rethink SEO at all. On my site I have 2700+ articles, mainly howtos and tips. Over the years of SEOing I put each articles headline in a <h1>-Tag and into the <title>-Tag.
Of course keywords appear in the article itself and in most of the links.
Maybe Google's new approach is to punish pages that seem to be stuffed with keywords. I think this might be a way to cope with keyword-stuffed spam sites.
On the other hand many authority sites are hit hard by the latest Google updates.
I know, this sounds strange. But maybe the new approach would be to use a keyword once, to have different information in <title> and <h1> and to avoid stuffing the article with keywords.
Some of the really frustrating SERPS feed this theory. One article on my site is about "buy widget" and on #2 to #5 on Google. #1 is a forum site with "why buy a widget if you don't own a horse" buried deeply somewhere on the page.
I hope my theory will not prove to be reality.
I think that your theory is becoming a reality. Some of us have seen it going on for a year or so. Others were awoken to the problem on March 23.
I have also toyed with variations on your proposed solution, but I'm having a hard time conceptualizing a program of reverse-optimizing SEO. I mean, how many times do I have to not mention a topic in order for G to consider me to be relevant for that topic? How do I achieve a negative keyword density?
there is no theory abot seo at the moment,i have noticed a site ...probably the same site that mention europeforvisitors earlier (east german city....erfurt?).This site has over 400.000 pages and hits the key words city travel and many other city..what ever.
in every above mention key words the above site is at the top ten.The pages have no h1 or h2 tags even not keywords just the same description and just a title city travel ....That is the contrary when some members sayed that this update hit huge pages ,in an other prospective about that particular site's top listings it can be the usual new comer top position for some time and then follow by the long vanish in the sandbox.
Google is complete crap.
For those of you who have dropped in rank:
Have you checked your keyword density? Your major keywords for that particular page should be highest KW density on your page. In my area it's tight competition and constant shuffling and keyword density seems to be a big factor.
|I know, this sounds strange. But maybe the new approach would be to use a keyword once, to have different information in <title> and <h1> and to avoid stuffing the article with keywords. |
I don't think so. I keep a close watch on my keyword rank and when one keyword starts dropping I tweak the page to bring the keyword density up some more to get back up where I was and I keep major keywords in Title and H1 tags also. If you have a lot of text on the page then you need to "stuff" the article with keywords to keep the density high.
I was getting about 95% of my traffic from Google, which was very worriesome but since tracking KW density I'm beginning to get more from Yahoo now.
>For those of you who have dropped in rank:
Do nothing. Things are changing all the time and you could be chasing rainbows. Be patient and review in a week or so.
|Something significant started on the 23rd and 'bullet proof' sites that have ranked well for years for many keywords were effected. |
There have been many, many pages that ranked for 3+ years that have been hit in the past year. Because you have been affected only now does not change this. "Bullet Proof" sites do not exist. It is arrogant to completely dismiss claims of quality sites getting crushed for the past year but when it happens to you, claim something "bigger" is happening.
There are certain frequent poster that come to mind - whenever webmasters were stating they lost significant traffic these folk kept saying, "Build great content LIKE ME and you will always do well with Google". Guess this is a wake up call. It is only an algo...
It's worth pointing out: "you should never put all your eggs in one basket."
Perhaps it's also relevant to Google: "Never throw a technological solution at a social problem."
|It is arrogant to completely dismiss claims of quality sites getting crushed for the past year but when it happens to you, claim something "bigger" is happening. |
A bit harsh... but true. Maybe the new ahem, paradigm is the concurrent building of a diversity of sites .... from pure content to pure scraper to some with cloaking and redirection. Relying on the hitherto "content is king" may turn out to be the riskiest of all options.
It has often been argued that quality SERPs must be in an SE's interest and that their constant endeavour is -- whenever they are "attacked" by a new SEO "tactic" --to attempt to revert to quality. I don't believe that applies anymore. Now, it's about the minimum quality required to grow revenue and maintain market share. Or rather the amount of rubbish they can get away with.
The content sites will make a comeback. At some point. And then fade in and out with the tide just like all the others. I'm seeing EFV's problem on two of my content sites but c'est la vie.
It's only an algo... but, increasingly, one with an agenda: $$$.
[edited by: oddsod at 2:09 pm (utc) on Mar. 29, 2005]
Having a bad day? :)
Of course sites get hit or banned all the time, I have many that have gone and thats normal. However, one of my sites (which by the way is a ppc directory) has been dominant for years in a very competitive area. This is the first time it has been effected and along with others who have been hit for the first time in years + old sites coming back, this indicates a more fundemental change going on.
>It is arrogant to completely dismiss claims of quality sites getting crushed for the past year but when it happens to you, claim something "bigger" is happening.
I'm not dismissing these claims and yes I am saying something bigger is happening this time around. Old sites are suddenly flying and the serps have changed more than normal.
>Build great content LIKE ME and you will always do well with Google". Guess this is a wake up call. It is only an algo...
I also get fustrated with "build great content" posters and this is obviously an algo change or update but it is more significant than usual.... IMHO
I suggest you go for a walk :)
It is interesting to see how many seemingly old, well established sites with steady SERPS over a period of years seem to have been affected by this 23 March change.
I only ever half follow the update threads as for years we have never been affeced.
But this is the first time I have seen so many members saying the same thing this time round.
to rank well in google is easy if you don't go crazy due to a few shake-ups:
1. build a site on a good server with its own domain
2. keep adding content constantly
3. keep adding new outlinks
4. keep getting new backlinks
there is no secret. sometimes your sites will get affected by bad things, like the 302/dup content problem lately, but chances are you will be back.
|But this is the first time I have seen so many members saying the same thing this time round |
I've seen even more for Allegra (and I'm talking long established members with content sites). And Florida was worse than Allegra.
Looking at serps for the last 1.5yrs and one thing is sooooooo glaringly obvious. I've said this before in other posts and I'll say it again.
The current, previous and likely future algos are 95% about backlinks. (aside from sites like IBM.com, and other true "authority" sites. Although I hate that word.)
So those of us with the budget or resources to acheive the above will continue to dominate the serps, at least until G figures out a way to rank on other issues aside from links.
There, done ranting. :-)
We have a new member here whose Google is infected [webmasterworld.com].
I suspect his only problem is the quality of the search results he's getting; they are so bad he thinks his PC has been taken over by Adware. :) In his words:
|Some parasite is using my Google to mislead me. (I think) ....The first ten matches are always some shopping links, other searching engines links... |
other search engine links = scrapers?
|There have been many, many pages that ranked for 3+ years that have been hit in the past year. Because you have been affected only now does not change this. |
Mfishy, you are so right. My own "bullet proof" site that dominated the SERPS for years got trashed by Google in September (a minor update as far as most were concerned.) It came back a month later, but I had learned a hard lesson: since Florida, Google has changed out of all recognition, and *all sites*, however authoritative can be randomly penalised *for no reason*. This is a hard fact to accept, but true. The evidence is everywhere.
With our keywords we are on all the major search engines on the first or second page but, in google we are lost in google space even referring sites that sent us a lot of traffic are no longer in our stats and they are being hit by google also! We made no changes to the site consistent traffic for the last year 900+ back links and growing and than down to 10 hits per day from google starting last month, we even checked with the google position checking tool we are not even in the top 1000 in all our keywords.
|It is arrogant to completely dismiss claims of quality sites getting crushed for the past year but when it happens to you, claim something "bigger" is happening. |
Mfishy, I don't think anyone has "completely dismissed claims of quality sites getting crushed for the past year." What I find arrogant is the suggestion that members shouldn't share their experiences unless they mirror yours.
In my own case, when others have posted claims of being hammered by Florida and Allegra, I've simply posted what I've experienced: (nothing in the case of Florida, a traffic increase in the case of Allegra). And when I've said that focusing on "organic content" has been a successful strategy for me, I've merely been sharing my observations--which, after all, is what forums like this one are supposed to be all about. If the only people who post at any given moment are those who are unhappy and frustrated ("Google sux!" "Google just wants me to buy AdWords!"), forum discussions become worse than useless.
By the way, I still think an "organic content" strategy is a valid approach, at least for those of us who aren't SEO experts and don't want to constantly play the game of trying to second-guess or outsmart the search engines. I don't think it's arrogant to point out that a focus-on-the-content approach worked for me for more than nine years, from January, 1996 until March 23, 2005. It's also been working for a good many other sites over the years--including some that got hammered on March 23, when major changes did occur in sectors where a "content strategy" had always been a successful approach in the past. (Side note: The very useful Web site of the bestselling guidebook author and TV travel guru about Europe is no longer showing up in the top 100 for one related keyphrase that I monitor, and that's just plain weird--not to mention unprecedented.)
Mfishy, I have the impression that you're one of the more technically astute members of these forums, so I'd be interested in hearing what you think is causing the changes that some of us are witnessing in our sectors for the first time and that you say you've been observing for the past year. A reasoned analysis would be more useful than member-bashing or Google-bashing, both of which are all too prevalent in this forum.
|Most of the pages that she found were computer-generated directory and scraper pages. |
I am hoping this is temporary and the process of fiddling with the algo Google will soon correct it. Though it hasn't hurt my sites much it has made searching for information on Google really frustrating.
|Maybe Google's new approach is to punish pages that seem to be stuffed with keywords. |
I have a hobby related site and it's really hard to write anything about it without writing the name of the hobby several times. Are the spammers going to force us to rewrite our articles with the awkward sentences required to leave the key word out?
I think perhaps I should qualify what I meant by 'Bullet proof'.
Simply that it has ranked well throughout updates for years. I'm not suggesting it is not vulnerable, like every other site. However, todate it has done well and I meant the phrase to illustrate this.
Anyway, what can make a site fall out?
1) Diminishing links in. This can be by other sites increasing the links off their page, being devalued because of the type of site they are or perhaps they have just removed the link. Some people say they have hundreds of links in but if all these are from 'scraper sites' they may not count for much.
2) On page factors. An algo change could require a different keyword density and/or placement. Anchor text may be treated differently and/or links off the site may have more or less value. Broad match terms may be a factor. However, recently off page factors count a lot more than on in competitive areas.
3) Duplicate content. A huge problem that can effect anyone. Snippets taken from your site can build up.
Just some thoughts but at the moment I think one should wait for the dust to settle. As an aside, I have a number of sites that now get 10% if I'm lucky of the traffic they used to get from google. I never touch them and yet one will suddenly burst into life for a few weeks then die, to be replaced by another. They are on different ip's and not interlinked. The moral seems to be that 'chasing the algo' is pretty close to impossible and sites will just come and go. A 'middle of the road' approach can be a good longterm strategy and pick up lots of less competitive but hopefully relevant traffic. By 'middle of the road' I mean not over focused on any one phrase and just lots of good content (sorry mfishy). I have a few sites that collect loads of traffic and are found for all sorts of long search terms. These visitors often know exactly what they are looking for and convert well. An example is the keyword "jobs". Being number 1 for this is a two edged sword, as you then have to work out what job they really want. If you have a site search box they just put 'jobs' in that as well! But someone searching for "currency exchange dealer job" is much easier to deal with. So even if your site is not obviously visible in Google and not ranking for big search terms, you can pick up good quality traffic by having lots of text that catches the most unpredictable search terms. I have often read people saying that their site has dropped but their conversion is higher. This may be because they have apparently lost their big visitor keywords but are ranking better for higher quality searches that they have never noticed before nor ever thought of.
Its a funny old game.
|By 'middle of the road' I mean not over focused on any one phrase and just lots of good content |
I suppose my suggestion (msg #226) is more of a cover the whole road. Staying in the middle is a sure fire way of getting run over :)
'chasing the algo' is pretty close to impossible and sites will just come and go. '
Agree and also agree to have small sites on deferent IP's no interliked ,you loose one you got another one,i will never invest all my efforts in just one multi k's page that can be disappear from 2 months up to a year and sometimes forever.
As far as backlinks go, the useless Google link: search is showing me down about 10%.
My site floated through Florida and everything since with relative ease. I'd read these update type threads and more or less say to myself... "There but for the grace of Google, go I".
During some of the updates I'd take a bit of a hit for a few days as things wobbled around before settling down. But when they had settled I came out ahead for most of the searches I was following, And traffic increased.
I did blow one section of my site out of the serps late last summer, but I'm pretty sure I know how that happened, and who did it to me... ME, I got overzealous and paid the price. I've since recovered nicely from that little fiasco.
This time around I'm seeing something different, different for me anyhow.
On some (25 or so) searches I've followed from the start I'm losing a few spots. I'm still on the first page, but not #1 or 2 anymore.
The sites coming in above me, and rising below me, seem to be pretty much newcomers to page 1. Some are newcomers to the web. Subdomain sites seem to be doing well at getting to the top for these searches, as well as keyword heavy urls.
I've never looked at my niche as being especially competitive. The serps where I've been hit a bit at this point return anywhere from 250,000 results to say 7,000,000 results. But mostly under 2,000,000.
On the other hand I've gotten a real boost recently for some other searches that matter a lot to me.
So it's a mixed bag for me. And I'm not sure it's settled down yet. Taffic is holding steady so far anyhow.
I'm not taking any action on this stuff till I'm convinced it's settled down. Then depending on how things look, I may wait another update or two before acting to see if Google readjusts.
|Mfishy, I have the impression that you're one of the more technically astute members of these forums, so I'd be interested in hearing what you think is causing the changes that some of us are witnessing in our sectors for the first time and that you say you've been observing for the past year |
There are a few major changes that have occured over the past year. Many are related to anchor text and Hilltop (affiliated links). As for the one you are most likely experiencing, it is more likely related to LSI or other technology google is using in attempt to figure out what a page is really about without relying solely on keyword proximity and repetition.
The outcome of these changes is that you may no longer rank as well for widgetown travel even though you have good links, anchor text, and authorotative content. What may take your place is a site with strong authority on TRAVEL and mention of widgetown. Unfortunately for users, and many publishers, the actual phrase widgetown travel may not apparent when this is what most have come to expect when searching.
What can one do about this? It really depends. More inbound links from other pages scoring on the term youa re after is one way. My advice to you, however, EFV, is to sit tight and see if google comes to their senses. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't. The effect of the changes are that less niche authority sites are in the SERPS in favor of large, popular, generic content - mostly derived from software. I mean, how can someone with tons of good content on "CITY TRAVEL" compete with expedia or Travlocity in terms of link pop if G is bases score on only the term TRAVEL?
Some other factors I am seeing is the increased importance of internal anchor and more tightening on the overall anchor text filter from backlinks. Also, another factor to consider is many pages from pretty reputable sites are getting PR0 or grey bar. If you have links from these pages, it cannot be helping your cause. I think the reason for the PR0 is dup content (G getting it wrong still).
Thanks. I will sit tight; I'm too technically inept to chase algos, so I'll continue to focus on content (and on getting ready for an upcoming research trip, which I'm hoping will still pay for itself down the line!).