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Dealing with the consequences of Bourbon Update
Which changes has Bourbon brought about & How to deal with them?
reseller




msg:799260
 3:41 pm on Jun 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Assuming that the greatest part of of the latest Google update (Bourbon) is completed, its rather important to do some damage assessments, study the changes brought about by Bourbon and suggest ways to deal with them.

We need to keep this thread focused on the followings:

- Changes on your own site ranking on the serps (lost & gained positions or disappearance of the site).

- Changes you have noticed on the new serps (both google.com and your local google site) especially in regards to the nature of the top 10 or 20 ranking sites.

- Stability of the serps. I.e do you get the same serps when you run the same query within the same day or 2-3 successive days (both google.com and your local google site).

- Effective ethical measures to deal with the above mentioned changes.

Thanks.

 

sailorjwd




msg:799350
 3:39 am on Jun 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

Further update.

Just checked my site.

All main pages (100) are fully indexed.

Only missing pages are my stupid screen shot popups with one paragraph of text. And, a few programming examples with too little text.

Today, I had added the NOINDEX meta tag to all those popup pages since they weren't designed to be entry pages anyway.

I'm not changing anything more... maybe these new cached pages will return some serp results in a few days when this Bourbon bottle is empty.

bunltd




msg:799351
 4:10 am on Jun 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

Were they established navigation changes sitewide? Change of established site structure? Renaming of pages that were established?

No navigation changes, no site structure changes, no renaming of pages. Updates/additions to content, fairly minor, swapped logo/header graphics for new ones, and an update of external css. That's it. Essentially a reskin with minor updates. Even the structure of the pages was unchanged, css is used for positioning, and has been for a couple of years now.

LisaB

joeduck




msg:799352
 5:09 am on Jun 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

reseller wrote:
I guess that your domains have been crosslinked?

Is it possible to split your contents on several not crosslinked domains? For ex.

- www.red-widgets.com
- www.blue-widgets.com
- www.widgets-parts.com
- www.widgets-marketing.com

Nope - can't do this because the domains feature different states in a travel site and therefore need to be linked together. Google has written us that "you have no penalty" (4 times!) but clearly we are filtered heavily for some reason which may be our complex structure (an artifact of earlier times).

Billy Batson




msg:799353
 5:36 am on Jun 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

Of interest to those of us who run review oriented sites...

Using the tool which gives Google results in a "penalty free" format, I just found that a (friendly) competitor's site has been hit with a -200 penalty like the SERPS for my site. What I mean by this is that when you do the "penalty free" search and a regular Google search there is about 200 places difference between what should be the correct result and what is displayed by Google.

I'm about to write to the site owner to see if they are aware of the penalty and/or the drop in traffic from Google.

Interestingly, the top result for the search I did testing my competitor's search term ended up as an Amazon page.

This update is very fishy.

alphacooler




msg:799354
 6:38 am on Jun 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

I've noticed that all my sites have been dropped roughly the same amount in the SERPs after the update.

All 7 sites are on different c-class IP's and have no duplicate content, different incoming links, etc...The ONLY thing they have in common is WHOIS INFO. These sites are in the same broad industry, but absolutely 100% unique and the only thing tying them together is WHOIS. The fact they they ALL dropped roughly the same number (identical in some cases) it leads me to believe if you run multiple sites w/same WHOIS, G is filering your site.

Of course this is anecdotal evidence, but I think it is quite strong nonetheless.

The sites were relatively young and not TOO much work into them yet, so if they don't come back i'll just start over(only about 1.5mo's lost).

Do most people who run multiple sites in same broad industry here use false WHOIS info? Could this simple 2 minute fix be preventative for this sort of drop with future sites I build? Any downfalls to false whois info? Or changing whois info?

Thanks so much!

Hinso




msg:799355
 7:04 am on Jun 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

Google has totally given it away to the multi thousand page sites with usually only one page devoted to the keyword.

EVF wrote:

I was seeing a lot of this in the travel sector during the two months before Bourbon, but it's no longer true for the keywords and keyphrases that I watch.

My wife and I were planning a foreign visit yesterday. I came upon several examples where the top result was still a template page from a massive travel site with, at best, a sentence or so about the destination we were looking for. Dedicated sites (or even pages wuth significant relevant content) were way down in the second 20 and beyond.

annej




msg:799356
 8:00 am on Jun 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

Google has totally given it away to the multi thousand page sites with usually only one page devoted to the keyword

I've been trying different things hoping to find out if my site was hijacked or affected by scraper sites in some way. Tonight I tried a snippet from the meta description of my homepage. My site did not come up at all in the search but it did bring up more than 100 scraper pages with links to my site. Almost all were made for AdSense sites.

Incidentally it is extremely rare that I find anything in my stats indicating someone actually came to my site through these kind of links. Instead I get a good portion of my traffic from good sites related to my topic. So legitimate incoming links far outnumber scraper links.

I am now convinced that the only way this mess is going to be straightened out is that Google gets rid of these made for AdSense sites.

<added for your amusement> I just tried the same search in Yahoo and was gratified to see that my site was #1 in the serps. Behind it, of course, was the list of scraper sites. Wow, My site is ahead of them in MSN too!

[edited by: annej at 8:19 am (utc) on June 12, 2005]

reseller




msg:799357
 8:12 am on Jun 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

alphacooler

>These sites are in the same broad industry, but absolutely 100% unique and the only thing tying them together is WHOIS. The fact they they ALL dropped roughly the same number (identical in some cases) it leads me to believe if you run multiple sites w/same WHOIS, G is filering your site.<

Iguana mentioned also something to this effect in msg#: 77 of this thread.

It seems that Bourbon is including some of "TrustRank" thoughts. I recall some fellow members posting recently about site ownership and WHOIS in regard to TrustRank on another thread. Maybe somewhere here:
[webmasterworld.com...]

And talking about the consequences of Bourbon, we need to take into account:

- Ownership of multiple sites and WHOIS in regard to possible penalty filters

Pico_Train




msg:799358
 8:22 am on Jun 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

This isn't helping to deal with the consequences of Bourbon but there is some movement for the search terms I track.

The one result I had left that was anywhere near it used to be has now dipped a bit further, another 5 spots. From 2 to 10 to 15.

Great, kick me when I am down.

reseller




msg:799359
 8:49 am on Jun 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

Folks

In order to understand whats happening this weekend, lets recall what GG wrote here:

msg #:1 - June 4, 2005
[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.

But it seems that "responses to various spam/porn complaints" is still going on this weekend too. And the DCs are still in the state of "switched over" or "everflux"!

Dayo_UK




msg:799360
 10:07 am on Jun 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

Steveb is right on the mark regarding his comment on canonical urls.

What I cant work out is:-

Changes to my site ranking on different DCs - are they because Google is working out on sorting the problem.

Changes to my site ranking on different DCs - is this due to the changes I have made to sort out the Canonical url problem.

Eg - Is Google sorting it or is it just my fix kicking in.

Also - Is the my or Googles fix running at the same time as the DC update - GG said that DC whatever had the latest algo change - however other dcs in my view have my site canonicalization (sp?) at a more advanced stage.

Does site canonicalization happen at a different time to an update?

Steveb - got any thoughts on this - monitoring any sites which might be recovering from Canonical url issues?

and on a different issue what is the point of Mozilla Googlebot - GG?

Clint




msg:799361
 10:34 am on Jun 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

There are STILL no commonalities to the sites removed, nor in the sites not removed....except for NON relevant content I should say for the sites not removed.

Are you saying that sites that have more varied content are doing better? My site that dropped is totally about a niche topic while the site that is still doing fine has it's largest and most popular section on the niche topic but has other non related sections beyond the fact that all are of interest to women.

Oh no absolutely not. Well, at least for the PAGE ITSELF that shows in the G-SERP's, no. I haven't investigated the rest of the websites as to how large they are or how many pages. But as far as which sites are doing better; what I meant was if anything it's the sites that seem as though they should never be showing up that ARE showing up. Some have varied content and some do not. I'm not exactly sure what you mean by varied content. As in more pages or more products or what.

I just did a quick check of one of my phrases where I was 1st, I did a site:domain.com check on the sites on the first page to see how many pages they had in the G index. This amount was from over 10k pages to only 35 pages and less. One site had only *3* pages. So the size of the site doesn't matter. All of these sites, just as mine do, show DIFFERENT PAGE amounts for the www and non-www versions, and even when doing a site:www.domain.com G is returning many NON-WWW results! Also, the results are still screwed up as they were two weeks ago: sites with hidden text, non-relevant pages, link farms, etc., all sites that don't even SELL the product! There are even BLOGS and the like showing up for the search phrases! Just because someone happens to MENTION [blah blah] in their blog or diary webpage, THOSE pages are now showing up on the 1st and 2nd page! In other words, a blog page for example: "I have to go to duh store and get me anudder [blue widget]. My mommie says I need a new one". This is just someone's diary or blog page, and this cr@p is showing up INSTEAD OF the sites that actually SELL the damn product! Well now that's intelligent isn't it. Pathetic. Obviously the least amount your website has to do with the searched for phrase, and the fewer times it mentions the phrases, the higher it will rank! There are also REVIEW sites that also have nothing to do with the sales of the product that are showing some top spots! And this is even with a word in the search phrase that would ONLY denote dealers or sales of the product! This is beyond asinine.

Clint




msg:799362
 10:40 am on Jun 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

OldPro,
FWIW, I'm seeing both sites that use plain HTML and sites that use CSS on the 1st page of results.

Marval




msg:799363
 10:45 am on Jun 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

bunltd:
quoted - This update grows tiresome. Perhaps discussing Bourbon, while drinking bourbon on Bourbon street will help.

Sounds like the right attitude until this update gets over and GG posts the email for reports - until then you have the perfect idea!

221b




msg:799364
 10:47 am on Jun 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

"This amount was from over 10k pages to only 35 pages and less"
here is the other way arround i have a site about 3.000 pages and google indexing 9.000.
where do they find other 6.000 non existing pages?
In anyway you can't go over the 1000 results so is that a dodgy trick of google to proof that is indexing 8.000.000 pages? or is reindexing 3times a website
: once with whole meta title,
:secondly with URL only
and third :I don't know.
as a result the whole website is droping because of a freeky duplicate content caused by google crazy bots.
If you ask me personally i strongly believe that the plex guys have lost control of there engine,since yesterday new serps (did you noticed?) Very old established sites went down the drain while Spam sites are all over #1-10.Is that ann update or an April fool's joke?I guess was better to rename bourbon as April fool's update.

221b




msg:799365
 10:53 am on Jun 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

Probably is the best time for Yahoo and MSN to strike back this summer ,seeing google wickness to control there index with monthly stuped updates that makes Google worst and worst .With a well organized campaign (they have the money) those 2 can get back a big part of the pie google has at the moment.(if they pay some cents we can put there banners in our sites...I ,m doinit for free anyway I have placed a Yahoo banners in all my pages)

helleborine




msg:799366
 11:12 am on Jun 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

I've now looked at over a dozen websites that have been severely penalized as mine was (minus 200 positions in the SERPs, not coming up for company name or unique phrases) and these sites have one very clear common element, that is, they have been "googlejacked" or "hijacked" or whatever you want to call it.

I've typed the explanation over and over by stickymail in the past few days, so this morning I uploaded a few pages of "302 for dummies." I tried to make it fun and light-hearted for depressed and desperate webmasters... sticky if you're interested. And if you want to see what a googlebot looks like, they're kind of cute you know.

bumpski




msg:799367
 11:12 am on Jun 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

As I review the many copies of my Titles and Descriptions that are on many scraper sites, after doing a "quoted" Google search, I find that in many cases most the scraper site pages are supplimental in the Google cache. The dates tend to be older. In many cases there is only page at the top of the results that is not supplimental.

I'm wondering if Google is actually trying to validate the original sources of these long titles and descriptions. It must find the site that actually has the string in question in the "Title" or "Description" meta tags of the page.

Is it possible they're actually attempting some kind of bubble sort hoping the actual originator of the page will bubble to the top and as the process proceeds marking scraper pages as supplimental, and thereby recirculating various older copies of pages through the caches?

Unfortunately for me for whatever reason many of my pages are no longer indexed, they are URL only (partially indexed or even supplimental). A scraper site appears at the top of the results when I search for many of my Titles or Descriptions, my pages are not found! Of course this is happening to many sites. Google is still crawling my pages even though they are "URL only".

BUT if Google really is trying find the originator of complete page Titles and Descriptions, Bourbon may be flowing for a long TIME! Then the scrapers could only use extracted content which would not draw nearly so many hits as copied Titles and Descriptions.

I'm ready for some Yukon Jack now that 80% of my original content is "URL only" or worse. I hope a bit of the bubbly (sort) will bring them back.

wiseapple




msg:799368
 11:25 am on Jun 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

"I'm ready for some Yukon Jack now that 80% of my original content is "URL only" or worse. I hope a bit of the bubbly (sort) will bring them back."

I noticed this also... Not only has the traffic dried up from Google - but now a large portion of the listings in the SERPS are going URL only. These are all original content articles.

Here is the evolution:

- Major traffic disappeared after Feb. 2nd
- Remaining traffic disappears during this update
- URLs start going URL only

larryhatch




msg:799369
 11:37 am on Jun 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

" This is just someone's diary or blog page, and this cr@p is showing up
INSTEAD OF the sites that actually SELL the damn product!"

A lot of people just want to read something about [widgets], without wanting to buy them. -Larry

reseller




msg:799370
 11:39 am on Jun 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

wiseapple

>- Major traffic disappeared after Feb. 2nd<

Same as my site. Allegra took away around 75% of Google´s referrals.

>- Remaining traffic disappears during this update<

My traffic gradually improving. Not much but moving in the right direction.

>- URLs start going URL only <

Still see "standard" listing of all my pages. It seems that Bourbon has either just little or no effect on my site, yet ;-)

What I did after allegra is:

- Removed some 302 redirects.

- Removed duplicate files

- Adjusted the number of internal links and outbound links on pages.

- Created 301 redirect according to the advise of Dayo_UK

I hope this help.

The Contractor




msg:799371
 12:16 pm on Jun 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

Every single one mentioned here (that I've seen) has canonical issues. Not a single problem site has been mentioned that does all the "canonical protection"(tm) tactics Google Guy outlined.

Not the case here - have always had that solved via .htaccess and I also have "always" used absolute urls for navigation/internal links.

I think people are getting a little strange/paranoid suggesting Google dropping sites or rank penalizing sites that use tables vs CSS positioning. Now you "can" position your text so it's read first with CSS/DIV and that's what you may be seeing....hehe

The Google I see has not just twisted the authority knob clean off, its now buried it under ten pounds of tar.

Agreed.

dazzlindonna




msg:799372
 12:30 pm on Jun 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

For my one site that returned on the two datacenters that GG said to watch...those changes have now propogated to most of the other datacenters.

wiseapple




msg:799373
 12:39 pm on Jun 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

One other note... About a week into the update - the number of backlinks was rolled back for our site. We lost about 300 backlinks. I also noticed cache dates for our pages are all over the place.
Updated evolution:

- Feb 2nd - Most of traffic disappears.
- Bourbon - More traffic disappears.
- URLs in SERPS start going URL only
- Backlink count was rolled back
- Cached page dates are all over the place - newest is from June 10th - Oldest is from sometime back in April

Things we did in the last two months:

- Implemented the non-www to www 301 redirect
- Cleaned up outgoing links - basically made sure all links were to good sites
- Made sure all URLs are absolute

Googlebot still visits everyday.

Clint




msg:799374
 1:24 pm on Jun 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

" This is just someone's diary or blog page, and this cr@p is showing up
INSTEAD OF the sites that actually SELL the damn product!"
A lot of people just want to read something about [widgets], without wanting to buy them. -Larry

As I stated, (or assumed I did) this is in a search with 'SALES' in the search phrase, also 'DEALERS'. Furthermore, even if someone only wanted to "read" about said product, that certainly doesn't mean they want to see only a brief mention of it in someone's blog or personal diary page. Like I pointed out: obviously the least amount your website has to do with the searched for phrase, and the fewer times it mentions the phrases, the higher it will rank! Sites that ARE dedicated to the searched for phrase are NOT showing up. This leads me to believe that some over-zealous moron(s) responsible for this G screw-up are considering webpages that mention the searched for phrase more than once or twice, a SPAM site! This totally defies and goes against all logic, as well as undermines the purpose of the internet and SE's--which is; INFORMATION. For Christ's sake, if you search for something (widgets sales or dealers) it stands to reason that that is what you are searching for! You're going to want sites that MENTION: blue widget, red widget, yellow widget, large blue widget, small blue widget, cheap blue widgets, higher-end blue widgets, new blue widgets, used blue widgets, refurb blue widgets, blue widgets for home, blue widgets for office, etc., etc., etc.; then, in each color, etc., etc., etc. How the hell is someone that deals in "widgets" supposed to sell them and get found by G? THEY CAN'T. Unless you happen to mention the product only once or twice which would mean you only sell one type, or, have a totally illogical website layout (which is what G apparently likes now).

Clint




msg:799375
 1:30 pm on Jun 12, 2005 (gmt 0)


"no skin in the game" is a slang term I've heard or read occasionally. In the context of an athletic event, it means the person doesn't really have anything of value riding on the outcome -- not bets placed, no emotional commitment, or the like.

And this is EXACTLY the types of sites that are NOW showing on the first pages for the majority of my monitored search phrases! Sites that couldn't care less about G SERP's.

BillyS




msg:799376
 1:30 pm on Jun 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

I am seeing three very differnt sets of data today. These three centers seem quite different - at least for me.

216.239.53.104

216.239.59.104

216.239.37.104

I'm also seeing a lot of Googlebot activity yesterday and today. Typically this would mean an update within 4 days (hey, I can make predictions too.)

Clint




msg:799377
 1:37 pm on Jun 12, 2005 (gmt 0)


Will Spencer
>I avoided most of the damage done to my one site which was slaughtered in this "update" by moving the content to another domain.<

I see this as one of the effective ways to deal with the consequences of Bourbon and any other update.

And this means that we should at any given time have several "enmergency domains" which are indexed on Google with little contents (few pages) and ready to accomodate our major contents (from current domain(s)) in case of being hit by an update.

Another effective way mightbe by splitting our contents on several domain addresses instead of keeping it on one domain.

Thoughts?

Reseller and Will, if this is the case then this would mean that G is penalizing entire domains, and NOT just their webPAGES. This would also indicate that it apparently has nothing to do with the content on the trashed domain if you can move the content over to a different domain and then it rises in the G SERP's! Or, maybe the (obviously "objectionable") content by the Googlebot just hasn't penalized the new domain yet? This is an interesting area here. I'd be interested in knowing if anyone else has moved their slammed site to another domain and what the results were. Also indicate if the IP of the domain is the same.

Clint




msg:799378
 1:51 pm on Jun 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

Billy, FWIW, 216.239.53.104 is totally screwed up for me. I'm not even found for my own special business name at that one! All those that LINK TO me are showing up instead! And even my FORWARDED/POINTED domains (that go to my main domain) are showing up! It's nothing like google.com here which is 216.239.37.99 (South USA). AHHHH, I take that back. Well kiss my a**. I just checked google.com here and it has just changed to ALSO reflect this new bull$h**! Now once again, I'M TRASHED for even my BUSINESS NAME! It was not like this minutes ago since I checked minutes ago and I was on the first page!

Of all of the IP's you gave, (including 216.239.37.99 which is google.com here), only 216.239.37.104 is still showing me on the first page for my biz name!

I'll tell you something else phenomenal, guess which site is showing up at 216.239.59.104 for one of my search phrases? THIS SITE, webmasterworld.com! And it does not have anything whatsoever in the remotest way to do with the search phrase! GEEEEEEZE, this is INSANITY!

Clint




msg:799379
 1:54 pm on Jun 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

The problem with moving to a new domain is that you'd have to write to possibly hundreds of sites who have linked to you and ask them to change their link. Sounds overwhelming right now. And some will never get around to changing it.
If in a couple of months there hasn't been any progress maybe that will be the only solution.

Annej, yes I'd have to do that as well. What about the possibility of directing the old domain to the new one?

Ivan_Bajlo




msg:799380
 1:58 pm on Jun 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think people are getting a little strange/paranoid suggesting Google dropping sites or rank penalizing sites that use tables vs CSS positioning. Now you "can" position your text so it's read first with CSS/DIV and that's what you may be seeing....hehe

I've recently changed my main page from table to CSS layout. Once Bourbon hit my domain name (keyword usually used in two-three word searches) is still in its second place but if I try search for my "domain.tld" aka my trademark every page that links to me (Wiki, DMOZ, Alexa etc.) pushes my website down to page 6 in search results!?

Similarly numerous other unique content of my site is pushed down by sites that have link to me (not scrapers)!?

I'm going nuts here.

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