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Google Update Bourbon Part 4
GoogleGuy




msg:736898
 12:02 am on Jun 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

Continued from part 3 here: [webmasterworld.com...]


I did the rounds to check on the state of various data updates. I'd estimate that the "0.5" (not algorithmic changes, but rather responses to various spam/porn complaints + processing reinclusion requests) should go out this weekend sometime or possibly Monday. There should be a binary push this week to improve a corner-case of CJK-related search, and that new binary should have the hooks to turn on the third set of data. Regarding finishing up the second piece of data, there's still two data centers with older data. Those data centers will probably be switched over by Monday. By Monday, 2.5 of the 3.5 things will probably be on.

 

novice




msg:737618
 12:50 pm on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

I am now about 5% (down from 80% this time yesterday) sure I might have a canonical url problem.

I am so much more convinced that it has something to do with linking - 302's, redirects, domain forwardings, scraper links,...

Google has held links as their highest regard. Their whole algo has been based on - PR of link, anchor text, words surrounding link, if they are low quality links (like guestbooks)..

With the recent burst of Yahoo feeds and scraper sites, Google is trying to modify their ranking of links with little success.

If this is indeed the problem, they will figure it out eventually. Hopefully sooner than later.

<edit> typo

[edited by: novice at 12:53 pm (utc) on June 10, 2005]

Dayo_UK




msg:737619
 12:51 pm on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Danny

Looking at some of the reviews on your site - a large number of them seem to appear on a University site when you search for a largish paragraph in Google - the university site does not seem to have those pages anymore but G is still showing them in the supplemental result set.

thecityofgold2005




msg:737620
 12:54 pm on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Holy #*$! Never expected it but on at least half the dcs I am back on page number one.

No change on the .com or .co.uk as of yet but big movement on mcdar.

Since I got demoted 15 places by Bourbon I have made my site WC3 compliant, retired some of my fraternal network, changed a few redirects (misspellings of competitors URL's) from directly to my site to a proxy index and yesterday I had my sitemap accepted.

Good luck to you all.

Happy days.

[edited by: thecityofgold2005 at 12:58 pm (utc) on June 10, 2005]

Dayo_UK




msg:737621
 12:57 pm on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Good for you thecityofgold2005 :)

Sniff - 5% to 2%

fearlessrick




msg:737622
 1:02 pm on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Here's my somewhat simplistic explanation for what's happened to my site at least:

If you were ranked in the top 5, maybe top 10, for certain keyword strings - say, 3,4, or more KWs - before Bourbon, you were scraped (faux directory sites taking your title, meta tag description and KWs, and probably some top text) and linked off these "directories."

Because of changes to Google's algo - see my quoted box on previous post - these links were scored as poor quality links and your site was penalized by the algo.

It may be as simple as that, and despite Google's patents and changes to account for scrapers, sites that were ranked well got beaten down.

Anybody have a site that ranked in the top 5, is now in various scraper directories and is still ranked in the top 5?

That's the question I need an answer to.

Clint




msg:737623
 1:05 pm on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Dayo:


Clint
When you type www.domain.com (including www) straight into the Google search you should get your site that comes up.

Does it show

Title
Description
Url with the www.

or

Title
Description
Url without the www.

It shows the linked title, text descrip, and URL WITH the www. Does that tell you anything specific? ;)

danny




msg:737624
 1:07 pm on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Looking at some of the reviews on your site - a large number of them seem to appear on a University site when you search for a largish paragraph in Google

Is that a site with an RSS feed linking to me, with pages now in supplemental results? There have been a couple of those floating around for years (I don't know why Google persists in offering supplemental results containing dead pages!) and I don't think they're a huge problem. Ditto for the scattered duplicate copies of some reviews that are out there, the redirects from the site where my reviews used to me, the scraper sites, the Open Directory clones, and so forth -- I think they're only noticeable because my reviews have been downgraded. For most of my reviews, searching on long text excerpts still finds the review.

But it is possible that collectively all of these things are enough to convince Google my site is spam -- and something has to have triggered the penalty/sandbox/whatever that's afflicting me.

Dayo_UK




msg:737625
 1:08 pm on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Clint

Just wondering what the www was resolving too - cant work out why your link count appears to have moved to the non-www figure for the www.

PS. As you have a "Clint Type" site ;) - seen any improvements yet.

Dayo

Holding steady at 2%

Dayo_UK




msg:737626
 1:09 pm on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Danny

Not sure if it is RSS - page does not exist anymore only in the Google supplemental (not cached either)

In a one on one contest between a .com and a .edu/.org which one are Google going to favour I wonder.

novice




msg:737627
 1:10 pm on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

fearlessrick, I agree with you, in fact thats pretty much along the same line of my previous post.

Google's whole algo has always been based on links.

Linking may very well be the root of many webmasters recent problems.

danny




msg:737628
 1:14 pm on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

I am so much more convinced that it has something to do with linking - 302's, redirects, domain forwardings, scraper links,...

I agree. I'm about 90% sure that's the root of my problem. Looking for those kind of things for my site doesn't bring up any big nasties, but I'm thinking lots of little nasties are just as bad. (I'd still have thought that all the links to me from universities, quality directories, etc. would outweigh the junk links in any kind of "trust metric", but I guess the spammers have tried to suborn every measure of quality :-( )

fearlessrick




msg:737629
 1:16 pm on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Just a comment on GoogleGuy...

He routinely and consistently ignores questions relating to the quality of search results and/or scrapers, hijackings, 302s, or other spam-type techniques. Either he doesn't have information (doubtful) or is under instructions not to discuss those topics specifically (probably).

He's completely ignored questions on those topics here and on other webmaster-type boards I've seen him posting on. The questions pop up, and it's like he doesn't even see them, though he answers a lot of other questions.

Not that I think Google has anything to hide - well, actually I think they do and are - but they're having major problems with the proliferation of spammy sites, all of which exist primarily to skim off AdSense revenue.

For my money, the scrapers, etc., with adsense on their sites are the biggest problem right now, but Google not only does nothing about it, but also won't even comment on it.

fearlessrick




msg:737630
 1:21 pm on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

novice,

fearlessrick, I agree with you, in fact thats pretty much along the same line of my previous post.

Google's whole algo has always been based on links.

Linking may very well be the root of many webmasters recent problems.

Check out the most recent newsletter at step forth dot com. I've read it and it deals extensively with Bourbon in a manner that, to me, indicates that we (and stepforth) are on the same page.

Google is waging war against spam and SEO tricks. Problem is, there's a fine line between spam - or black hat techniques - and really good SEO. That line has become blurred during this update.

Dayo_UK




msg:737631
 1:22 pm on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

>>GG on quality of search results

Well he is not likely to agree that results are of bad quality.

>>GG on and/or scrapers

Made some comments in the Q&A thread.

>>GG on hijackings, 302s,

He has commented on these two - if you know where to look (and believe it was him - was some doubt at the time;))

& you will also understand why I keep on talking about Canonical URLs

Upto 8% - just RTFP - read the full post ;) - of GG again

[edited by: Dayo_UK at 1:27 pm (utc) on June 10, 2005]

danny




msg:737632
 1:23 pm on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

GoogleGuy... routinely and consistently ignores questions relating to the quality of search results and/or scrapers, hijackings, 302s, or other spam-type techniques.

I doubt he knows anything about the fine details of Google's anti-spam algorithms. Actually, I suspect no one may fully understand why some things happen -- the selection of sites for "sandboxing" could work by simple addition of scores (in the same fashion SpamAssassin classifies email), but it's also possible they're using some kind of machine learning approach (neural networks, say) where there really is no straightforward answer to the question "why is site X being penalised?"

Tomseys




msg:737633
 1:27 pm on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

I agree with fearless rick and novice. I've noticed that many high ranking sites, on competitive keywords, seem to get around this by trading very large amounts of reciprocal links. They don't worry about the PR of the sites they trade links with too much or theme relevance - as long as the site doesnt look like total crap, has pr0 or is a scaper. This way the relatively "good" links pointing to a site far outweight the scraper sites, dampening or negating the "penalty" effect of these sites. It seems to me it might even be good to trade links with non themed sites, especially ones that are not targetting "money" keywords and low pr sites as these may not be too targeted by the scrapers.

These high ranking sites don't do 301's, they don't absolute link, and they rank fine. They have lots of varied reciprocal links which they actively grow, keeping ahead of the scrapers I guess.

[edited by: Tomseys at 1:43 pm (utc) on June 10, 2005]

fearlessrick




msg:737634
 1:30 pm on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Dayo, will RTFP (that F could stand for another word, you know ;-).

I know you are correct and I'm a little off base - I get a little hot under the collar as they say. Thanks.

Dayo_UK




msg:737635
 1:36 pm on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

He he. (I meant I have just RTFP (full post - actually should be fine post - he he) - but if you know where it is it is well worth reading again)

But Canonical URLs - 302 redirects, non-www and www are all interlinked.

Just hope things get sorted soon. (very soon)

BTW GG - Canonical urls reports should have gone up +1 after that post on /.

[edited by: Dayo_UK at 1:43 pm (utc) on June 10, 2005]

novice




msg:737636
 1:39 pm on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

I doubt he knows anything about the fine details of Google's anti-spam algorithms. Actually, I suspect no one may fully understand why some things happen

I agree that Google Guy is not deliberately avoiding the question, he just does not comment on something he's not sure about.

However, if GG or Google did know that this is the problem would you expect them to acknowledge it. Remember Google's creed "DO NO EVIL". They would never publicly admit that webmasters that lived by that creed got penalised for something outside or their power.

fearlessrick




msg:737637
 1:49 pm on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

The founders of Google may someday regret that "do no evil" or "don't be evil" (I've seen both) line as doing and evil are both subjects that lend themselves to a great deal of philosophical debate.

I pose the following: If you don't intend to do evil, but evil occurs because of your actions or statements, does that constitute doing evil? Or, further along, does not admitting that there have been evil-type results (like clint-type sites) implicate you as an evil-doer?

Sorry, I wandered way off-topic, but couldn't resist a little pop-philosophy.

danny




msg:737638
 1:50 pm on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

There's always going to be some "collateral damage" from anti-spam measures.

And there's probably a bias in the feedback and reporting systems towards stringency on spam at the expensive of increased collateral damage - far more people will report spam in the search results than will report a web site they expected to find but didn't. Most searchers don't already know what they're looking for, after all.

I've thought about asking everyone I know to do a search on "My Name book reviews" and to file a "dissatisfied" report...

bether2




msg:737639
 1:52 pm on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Dayo_UK,

Now it appears all hope has gone.....

I think googleguy said that some changes might be introduced this weekend (or early next week?) to address the "Clint-style" sites. So maybe there's still hope. I'm waiting also to see if my site comes back from the abyss.

I did notice that there's a site in the UK that is using ODP data - and all of the URLs in the directory appear to be using 302 redirects, if I understand correctly how they work. The URLs look like this:

ht*p://www.theirsite.co.uk/pick.php?http://www.yoursite.com/

When I do a "inurl:" for my site, the listing from that directory is shown in addition to my site. When I click the listing, it takes me to my site, as expected. Not sure if google has changed their algo to compensate for this now or not. But thought it was worth mentioning, since it could be affecting many sites.

Dayo_UK




msg:737640
 1:56 pm on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Bether

But what is a "Clint-style" sites. ;)

ht*p://www.theirsite.co.uk/pick.php?http://www.yoursite.com/ is a valid entry for a inurl search - as an (all)inurl search just looks for urls which have your url in it.

Site searches is for checking pages in your site and should only have pages from your site.

edit reason - just changing last sentence slightly

[edited by: Dayo_UK at 1:58 pm (utc) on June 10, 2005]

danny




msg:737641
 1:56 pm on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

bether2, I wouldn't worry about 302s used as simple exit-trackers. Only if they're associated with a copy of your content (or they deliver different content to Googlebot) do I think there's a problem.

But what is a "Clint-style" site? I must have missed seeing Clint's site.

thebug151




msg:737642
 2:00 pm on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

fearlessrick,
My site match the sites you mention in post #725. I was always in top 10, normally top 5. Now I am so deep I have to work to find myself. I think you may be onto something.

Now the problem (?). My site is broken down by the 14 states I have information about. All are showing on search below 150 except for three states. When doing a search for "(State Name) Mountains", three states show up in theri pre Bourbon place (top ten). I cannot figure out why all the other states droped and these did not.

fearlessrick




msg:737643
 2:09 pm on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

thebug, I'm going to guess that the three states that did not drop were either very small states, have few mountains (if that's what the other keyword is) or are not very popular states.

I'll guess Rhode Island, Nebraska and Mississippi.

kgun




msg:737644
 2:11 pm on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Bad news, I am back. Good news, I leave for a day or two.

If you have the Google toolbar installed, why do you not go to the options menu and empty the PageRank display until this is finished?

That may prevent some hartattacks.

Or perhaps take a holiday. Then it would also be less to read on this forum.

Some good stuff, but a lot of nonsense, in my personal view. Takes time to read. There is more displine on other forums.

Owner, please make a WebmasterWorld chat.

KBleivik
"It's too early to know what lies ahead."

thebug151




msg:737645
 2:20 pm on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

fearlessrick
Mississippi Mountains? :)

Actually the three states are Tennessee, Pennsylvania and South Carolina. Lots of mountains in TN & PA, not so many in SC

fearlessrick




msg:737646
 2:25 pm on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

OK, here's another screwy thing. Yesterday I had my best AdSense day of the month (though still 75% off my best days from April). I hit highs in all metircs, pageviews, clicks, ecpm, ctr and earnings. Today, back to garbage. Almost nada.

My first impression was that Google was straightening out, but today I believe the added hits were due mostly to an article I wrote, and some readers who thought that clicking on an ad or two would be a reasonable thing to do. That seems to be more likely than G fixing itself.

It does point up, however, that traffic can be generated from sources other than Google and that webmasters maybe have to go back to old-fashioned, pre-Google SEO - good titles, meta-tags, quality content, good PR (public relations, not pagerank), marketing.

As long as Google sits atop the SE world, they're going to be a target for black hats, spammers, link spammers, hijacking, etc., especially if they continue not to address these issues, i.e., banning MANY, MANY, MANY SITES from AdSense. Take away the money, and there goes the incentive. Much simpler than realigning and reconfiguring your algo.

G's algo will continue to flow, flux and change. Search results will change for the good for some, for the bad for others and for some, not much. I keep seeing an image in my mind of an inverted bell curve distribution pattern, in which the majority of sites are now outside the standard deviation. Just a concept.

fearlessrick




msg:737647
 2:28 pm on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

the bug, BINGO! Not so many mountains in South Carolina, but here's the kicker. Tennessee and Pennsylvania, while they have plenty of mountains, they are very difficult to spell. Being that most of these scrapers have limited English skills, but great programming skills, there's a real possibility that they either misspelled those states or left them out of their programs. As for South Carolina, maybe they just used Carolina or S. Carolina or S (no period) Carolina.

Clint




msg:737648
 2:29 pm on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Clint
Just wondering what the www was resolving too - cant work out why your link count appears to have moved to the non-www figure for the www.

PS. As you have a "Clint Type" site - seen any improvements yet.

Dayo

When all this started (for me May 21st), for the dozens and dozens of searches where I was FIRST; I was GONE, NON-EXISTENT for everything I searched for, even my own company name. All that has changed since then is I'm back on the 1st page #7 for my biz name. Whoopty-do. Yeah, that's ok, but who that searches for [products] is going to search for my biz name? No one. 1st - 6th is still those that link to me (still link exchange pages).

Every one of my former search phrases still show non-relevant sites and mostly from India! (I'm in the USA). If it's not India, it's "Asianet" or something like that. These are still sites with hidden text, link farms, "yellow pages" for specific cities only (which have nothing to do with the search phrases), on and on and on. None of these sites even SELL the products.

In some cases when it's not India/Asia, it's sites that link TO ME that are now showing up INSTEAD OF me (and one of those sites as I mentioned yesterday is 302'ing me). Again, None of these sites even SELL the products. Even searches where I was the ONLY HIT in G, I'm still GONE, and have been replaced again by sites in India (.in, sites and .za, .cz, .ru sites, etc).***

For one of the phrases I've been monitoring where I was 1st/1st before the 21st, several days after that for a day or so I got back on the FORTH page, then totally and completed removed from the G index for that search phrase...along with dozens of others. And I don't mean just put back several hundred places, I mean TOTALLY G-O-N-E from the index, erased.

***I wonder if the fact my website hosts are from India (company is in the USA though) have anything to do with this? All of these sites with other than .com extensions in other countries never even showed in the results prior to the 21st. And again, these sites don't even sell the products, some are exporters, and many of them are scammers, i.e. rip people off, similar, that's similar to the Nigerian 419 type sites but not exactly like it. The more I think about this the more it at least appears to me from my standpoint, that G was "hacked" or maybe "compromised" whatever you want to call it, by someone or a group. We all know (I guess?) that this is a G update, but is it REALLY? I'm rather delirious from all this, and again, THIS IS ONLY FROM MY STANDPOINT, but it's ALMOST like G may be trying to "repair" some damaged caused by "some group" for which they have been unsuccessful and this "damage" is continuing. Again, before anyone starts bashing me, I'M JUST THINKING OUT-LOUD here. It's like a really bad "B" movie:
"'Invasion of the Non-Relevant Websites-[Subtitle] The Attack on Google', Sneak-Preview Premiered May 21st, World-Wide release scheduled for sometime around June 30th. Synopsis: Everyone's favorite search engine Google is unexplainably infiltrated by one or more malicious codes which suddenly causes once top-ranking relevant websites to dive into cyberspace oblivion--only to be replaced by confusing and alarming results. The damage is speculated to have been introduced by low-ranking questionable websites mainly but not limited to Southeast Asia, but still has Google engineers baffled. Can Google get it fixed before thousands of decent legitimate website owners are ruined? FIND OUT JUNE 30th!"

Since I'm on the verge of losing just about everything, at least I haven't lost my sense of humor. An idea like that is personally easier for me to swallow and accept than Google causing this themselves. I just have a hard time believing they did all this on purpose. It's like "no, not my Google, no, say it ain't so".

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