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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.

 

flicker




msg:737708
 12:42 am on Jun 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

>You are joking right? Have you not noticed
>that only around 3-4 websites on the first
>page are the quality ones - then the rest are
>low quality, going to page 2 starts to reveal
>odd websites appearing - not relevant at all..
>past page 3... suddenly its all yahoo directory >listings, google directory listings... some porn
>sites thrown in for good measure and the odd
>geocities site with the keyword appearing in
>an odd - out of context sentence... all the
>relavant sites now appear around 300-10,000 ...

It totally depends on what kind of search you do. For the search terms I'm most familiar with, I literally didn't notice there was an update till I stumbled across these giganto-threads. Right now, educational searches I'm trying out are looking better than ever; VERY high-quality results and palpably better than they were a year ago. Other searches look good except that individual quality sites seem to have inexplicably gone missing. Other searches look like complete and total garbage.

My guess is different topics and sectors meet with spammers of different persuasions and skills, so it must be easier to get some SERPs right than others. I also suspect the update's still not completely over and there may be more useful data that's going to chime in before all's said and done.

theBear




msg:737709
 1:02 am on Jun 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

flicker I just took a look at sailorjwd's site.

He isn't going to like my sticky. What happened to his site is the same thing that is making a mess of the serps in certain sectors.

steveb




msg:737710
 1:28 am on Jun 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

Two searches involving a sandboxed site:

word1-and-word2 - page ranks at #38

"word1 and word2" - page ranks at #607

Wee bit of difference....

outland88




msg:737711
 1:36 am on Jun 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

What irritates me, in my areas, is it looks like Google just lifted entire pages and popped them into lower rankings. After todayís adjustments about every site that sat with me on a particlar page is now on a particular lower ranked page. Itís almost like they reshuffled just for the heck of it but left the first 20 results as is. Again it could vary by area.

One unexpected thing I'm also seeing, in my areas, is I'm jumping up one or two pages under various Adwords. Either a lot of people are going on vacation or some are beginning to express disapproval especially with the scrapers. I may also shortly as a vote to stop this junk.

helleborine




msg:737712
 1:49 am on Jun 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

Bourbon is nearly over, and I'm ready to roll with a post-hangover analysis.

The phenomena that is most characteristic of Bourbon is stable websites with good rankings making vertiginous drops in the SERPs, sometimes being pushed down a good 20 pages to mingle with sites having the appeal of radioactive waste, combined with an utterly puzzling loss of rank for one's own company name or unique phrases.

What kind of site was affected? Sites medium or small, commercial or homemade, few are safe from this seemingly random application of a penalty to the index page, the page most likely ro carry the PR across the site.

More than a dozen sites with these symptoms were examined. For nearly all of them, off-site content was found that would likely result in the application of a penalty from the fabled duplicate content filter. No one really knows the inner workings of this filter, but it's safe to say that it's not perfect in determining which site is the legitimate proprietor of the content.

Off-site factors that might lead to trouble include rogue URLs, old cache results, and the infamous 302-redirect links. All are liable to trigger this mysterious duplicate content penalty, and carry with them an unknown probability that the search engine will attribute the penalty to the wrong site. We are working at determining this probability, but do not expect results for another month.

What appears to be a faillible application of duplicate content penalties has a devastating effet on the SERPs. For instance, search queries with a company name may be fruitless for a site that has been wrongly penalized by the filter. A small niche may be randomly robbed of its best resource. This is not good at all, and logic dictates that the good folk at the 'plex know this very well. I'm going to go out on a limb here with the wild speculation that the crown jewel that is the duplicate filter has this vulnerability built-in, and perhaps cannot be fixed. If that's the case, the flood gates are wide open for webmasters to knock each other in and out of the SERPs, a state of lawlessness that can't possibly benefit Joe Surfer.

Joe Surfer may not immediately notice a decrease in the quality of the SERPs unless this is brought to his attention by the media or third parties.

On the other side of the coin, the victimized webmasters will suffer from an unexpected, immediate and complete loss of Google traffic. People talk, and desperate people talk more. This makes for very poor public relations.

Google has to weigh whether the duplicate content filter in its current form is worth the damage its brings upon the SERPs, and how its effect on webmasters goes against its celebrated "do no evil" motto. If nothing is done, the damage can only increase as more and more people learn how to use the normally legitimate 302-redirects for nefarious ends, and exploit Google's Achilles' heel to their advantage.

subbu




msg:737713
 2:01 am on Jun 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

helleborine
Joe Surfer may not immediately notice a decrease in the quality of the SERPs unless this is brought to his attention by the media or third parties.

or...

The sector that Joe Surfer is exploring may have excellent results - as suggested by Flicker, educational searches are producing high quality SERPs.

My particular niche shows SERPs that are far superior to those that were returned pre-Bourbon.

Perhaps for those that are planning on meeting the Google engineers in N.O., a suggestion about niche-specific algorithms may be prudent.

S.

PS. I have reprinted two articles in their entirety on my site with permission from their original authors, crediting them appropriately. The original articles are hosted on major news sites, mine is but an 8 month site... and Bourbon *seems* to have pulled me out of the sandbox.

[edited by: subbu at 2:09 am (utc) on June 11, 2005]

europeforvisitors




msg:737714
 2:07 am on Jun 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

The phenomena that is most characteristic of Bourbon is stable websites with good rankings making vertiginous drops in the SERPs, sometimes being pushed down a good 20 pages to mingle with sites having the appeal of radioactive waste, combined with an utterly puzzling loss of rank for one's own company name or unique phrases.

This isn't unique to Bourbon. If you'll go back to Google News forum threads from late March, you'll find a number of posts by members with information sites who saw their rankings plummet overnight. (I was one of them.)

So the players may have changed, and the reasons for the declines in rankings presumably changed, but what you're seeing isn't unprecedented--it's just out of phase with what happened a couple of months ago (and what happened late last year and again early this year, according to other reports). It's quite possible that you'll end up on top again when the next wave comes along.

helleborine




msg:737715
 2:10 am on Jun 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'm pleased to hear that you feel that way, subbu.

If your section is populated with site with huge PR, consider the possibility that high-PR site may be more difficult to "googlejack" with one of those 302's.

Evaluating the quality of SERPs is probably a very difficult undertaking.

But you'll have to agree that no matter the sector, if a query for a company name lists the company's site on page 98, despite having a sufficient number of incoming links, something is wrong.

You'll also have to agree that if legitimate, quality sites are pushed down the SERPs lower intestine because of duplicate penalty filter that behaves almost stochastically, something is wrong.

Google's success and dominance of its market is based on quality SERPs. The above two factors are a high price to pay for subjectively speaking, better SERPs in educational sectors.

EFV, I'm not claiming this is unique to Bourbon, but rather, characteristic of Bourbon. I'm sure you realize that, but I want to make it clear for the rest!

dauction




msg:737716
 2:15 am on Jun 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

I dropped wayback across the board on a bunch of terms ..
I dont even care what google does anymore because I started working for Yahoo and MSN traffic about 9 months ago .

Google only represented about 25% of my traffic and now a little more than 10-12% and I am soooooooooo much happier not worrying about what G does every other day.

If they ever sort out an algo that includes me consistently ..great ..if not that's OK too
.

You are only as free as you make yourself - diversify

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