|Dealing with the consequences of Bourbon Update|
Which changes has Bourbon brought about & How to deal with them?
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.
RE: duplicate (copied) content. It is extremely difficult for even tens of thousands of Google servers to sort through the volume of material, decide on dupes, rank, and remove them. Google was hearing a lot at the conference about duplicates ranking above originals and I think they were surprised by how bad this problem has become (I realized on the plane home this is because they don't know the originals but the author does, so we are first to note this increasing - in fact massive - problem).
Use the google.com/support/ system to tell them about cases of sites ranking above duplicated content. I'd recommend we all place "duplicate content" in subject line.
Google won't usually remove them however - you should contact the duplicator and tell them to remove it in 24 hours or face legal prosecution.
They're still futzin' about quite a bit. Don't know if it's everflux, or more testing than usual or what.
What I find interesting however is that they currently seem to be testing, in at least some categories, the SERP's they want to use, versus those they keep going back to because they are being preferred by users.
Hehe. Gee, ya' mean us webmasters who pay attention to SEO might actually have something to offer to real users?
The "everflux" after Bourbon Update
To understand whats happening now on the serps, I´m bringing here my question to our good friend at the plex GoogleGuy and his reply of June 2, 2005:
msg #:562 & msg #:565
My own question to GoogleGuy:
There has been several interpretations to this line of yours:
- Then there will still be some minor changes after that as well.
I myself wish to ask whether that means that the serps shall be "everchanging" or what I call "The Rotating Algos" ;-) as in the case after allegra update.
Would you be kind to elaborate more?
reseller, currently, a few data centers have some different data that should be everywhere in a few days. I'll keep people posted on the status of things, and collect feedback closer to the end after things are settling down more. I'd expect that things will be back to their normal level of everflux by New Orleans. But we do have incremental indexing after all, so it's normal to expect a certain amount of change to the index every day or so (aka everflux).
In fact, everflux is a pretty good analogy. If you go back to summer 2003, update Fritz was the beginning of the transition from a monthly update to an incremental index. It caused a lot of comments, because plenty of people were happy with an index that only changed once a month. A lot of the thickness in my hide started with Fritz during summer two years ago. :) Summer in the northern hemisphere is often a good time for a search engines to work on revamping different parts of our system and improving our quality; typically search engine traffic is lower in the summer due to seasonality. So the summer is a good time to think about things like bringing in new signals of quality and ways to rank pages, plus doing things like reorganizing our webmaster pages, etc. etc.
I see that my today´s google.com (184.108.40.206) serps for specific test keyphrase resemble those of the two following DCs
Anybody else have noticed the same on your google.com or your local google?
I'm noticing quite a bit of movement across the board for just about every client I've checked. Definitely a noticeable "tweak". At first blush, it seems to be heavy on anchor text.
|What I did notice, however, was that all three sites had plenty of relevant sponsored ads (and only a couple of the ads appeared in the SERPs), and clicking on the ads would get you where you wanted to go with ease. |
Interesting observation, but this comes as no anomaly.
Most advertisers do not do paid advertising if they are already ranking high in regular serps.
Regarding more relevant results in paid ads, it is no surprise too, as the ads are carefully targeted to a search phrase(s). Of course most of them are not considered as highest authorities for the phrase by the search algo, due to many factors.
This brings some paradoxical thoughts; fully lifting penalties and filters could sometimes produce better results!
Not the best, but definitely better.
I'm noticing G still has a problem with quotes. It stands to reason, if you are searching for "name name name" in QUOTES, that THIS is what you want to find and for what you are looking! G disagrees. I'm seeing a lot of this BS when clicking the "Cached" links in SERP's: "These terms only appear in links pointing to this page: name name name" which seems to imply they don't care much about the CONTENT of the page, only links POINTING TO THEM!
They are also still allowing HIDDEN TEXT on pages and giving them top ranks, so much for their anti-spam measures. One of the sites I noticed with hidden text DISABLES the conventional right click context menu that has "select all", and they replaced it with one of their own!
|...which seems to imply they don't care much about the CONTENT of the page, only links POINTING TO THEM! |
Which is what brought the glory to Google.
Many of you have mentioned referrals, I don't see much of change in mine from MSN, Y, or G. I did notice something, some new SE that I've never heard, iBoogie.tv, it's in Beta and seems to use a mix of Yahoo, Teoma, and MSN. Doesn't work very well yet since the links for the 2nd page of results doesn't work. Could be promising though (G replacement?) since they are using those 3 engines' indexes.
(I also found some more 302's. I use SiteMeter, and their "referrals" area is good place to find them. Click on the links in that area and you're brought to the page which directed the user to your site. I checked my links there and there were 302's to my site).
|While I agree that it does seem like Google's search is not working well anymore for certain types of keyword phrases in certain niches, I've noticed that posters are generally using their own sites as examples. What about the sites that ARE appearing on the first two pages - are they equally worthy of being in those placements as your own site? And if not, why? |
Janiss, I believe what most are saying (I am at least) is that the results are non-relevant, and on examples I've seen are not only non-relevant but have hidden text on the sites. Thus why they are not "equally worthy".
|I see that my today´s google.com ( [220.127.116.11...] ) serps for specific test keyphrase resemble those of the two following DCs |
Anybody else have noticed the same on your google.com or your local google?
Those IP's, and G.com where I am all have the same SERP's for phrases I checked.
|...the ads are carefully targeted to a search phrase(s). |
Exactly my point. If the ads are as relevant or more relevant than the results of the search, what's the point of doing a search? Trying to cop a freebie? Makes no sense.
If the ad results are as good or better than the search results (and I think everybody will agree that they are in some niches, especially highly commercial ones), then all Google did with Bourbon is make the algo for regular searches comparatively weaker than the one they use for paid adverts. So much for quality. It's been thrown out the window for free search while the algo used to display the adverts is arguably on spot.
While I realize that I've only stated and restated the obvious, it bears repeating beacuse the naive amongst us will not believe that Google's profit motive is stronger than their moral imperative (to be the best search engine). Actually, it can easily be rationalized that by having better results for paid adverts, they still are achieving that moral imperative - only that the best search results are now on the side of the adverts.
It should surprise nobody that profit conquers altruistic motivation - it does so almost every time. Yahoo and MSN have done precisely the same with their search results. Those pages - in many niches - are crowded with relevant ads.
One cannot blame Google for grabbing all the money they can while they can; their business could be disrupted by new technology, competition or any of a number of factors in a heartbeat. I don't know what's more amusing: watching the corporations slice and dice up the internet or witnessing the denial of webmasters and SEOs of the obvious.
My business was crushed by the Bourbon update, but fortunately, over the years I've learned to adapt, adjust and reconnect. The SEOs must be having a heck of a time with this, however. I'm happy I'm not in that business, because there's nothing I like less than complaining customers, especially when, a. you've done your level best to satisfy them, and b. they haven't a clue as to what's actually happening.
The truly sad part about all of this - and mind you, after seeing the evidence so profoundly illustrated I'm convinced that free search is being thrown out with the bathwater - is that the major SEs have managed to mangle the internet into their own private extranet-for-profit at the expense and on the backs of the websites and webmasters who built it. A shame, really.
(I've often wondered why web site is not one word, i.e., website. We use webmaster, not web master, no?)
>I don't know what's more amusing: watching the corporations slice and dice up the internet or witnessing the denial of webmasters and SEOs of the obvious.<
Elaborate more on that.. and I shall be listening ;-)
First, I applaud your efforts in putting together your survival list. It is an honest, forthright enterprise.
However, I believe it is now clear that the search engines are fuly ensconced in the process of monetizing their assets; those assets being OUR WEBSITES.
The SEs have organized, dissected, intersected, reordered, rearranged and reorganized their search engine algos and correspondent results to suit their needs. Paramount among those needs is the need to produce revenue and that is done primarily via paid advertisements.
That's the slicing and dicing of the internet.
As for the denial aspect by webmasters and SEOs, the evidence is right in front of their eyes every time anyone does a search. While we all have been complaining of lost positions and scratching our heads over what happened, how to recover, how to make changes to our sites to regain position, the most apparent and obvious answer is again, right there on the search results pages: SPEND MONEY, PAY FOR ADS!
So, where does this put you and me and the reest of the multitude of webmasters? At the mercy of the SEs, which is right where they want us and surely a place to which none of us ever knowingly wanted to go. But there we are. You either change your site, adjust its guts, add a site map, 301 redirects, www vs. non-www garble, etc. or take the path of least resistance: SPEND MONEY. PAY FOR ADS!
The hit-or-miss-guessing-game approach of the SEO is no match for the power of money. Want to get traffic off searches for "blue widget"? Advertise. Overture, MSN, AdWords.
The search engines, paid inclusion, advertsing and SEOs are like a dysfunctional family. The Big Daddy, the SE, gives everyone a certain amount for free. But if you want more, you play by the SEs rules. The SEOs try to play by the rules, but the SE keeps changing the rules. The family members who chose to opt for paid inclusion and/or advertising have no argument and see the SEOs as big crybabies. And the SEs will shower all their affection on the family members who pay their own way.
The daddy is the SE. The mommy is the SEs public relations arm, like GoogleGuy, et. al. The kids are: thumb sucking baby: paid inclusion; rebellious teenager: SEOs; relatively mature adult kid: advertisers.
I may have gotten off track a little, but the point is: the SEs have control and are exercising it. What changes you make to your site may only be a temporary fix. In fact, it's almost a surety that that is the case. The quickest, cleanest (albeit not the cheapest, though resonable) way to achieve solid traffic flows (and that's what this is all about) is paid advertising.
Webmasters and SEOs who cannot grasp this concept are in denile (and that's not a river in Egypt).
Hope that helps.
|If the ad results are as good or better than the search results (and I think everybody will agree that they are in some niches, especially highly commercial ones), then all Google did with Bourbon is make the algo for regular searches comparatively weaker than the one they use for paid adverts. |
You're comparing apples and oranges.
When selecting ads for a page, Google is drawing from a relatively limited supply of ads that are linked to advertiser-selected keywords, and rankings are determined by bid (and, in the case of AdWords, by clickthrough rate).
When selecting pages for ranking in a SERP, Google is starting with a user's keyword or keyphrase and trying to return ranked search results selected from thousands or even millions of pages of many different types (news articles, feature stories, directory pages, scraper pages, reference works, e-commerce or affiliate pages, etc.). By comparison, selecting relevant ads for a page (and especially for a SERP) is almost trivial.
As for your frequently made (and quite possibly libelous) suggestion that Google is sacrificing quality to profits, that simply doesn't make sense. Google's core business is search, and it faces competition from Yahoo and Microsoft. What's more, as others on this forum have pointed out, the kind of people who work as programmers and search engineers at a leading-edge company like Google simply wouldn't put up with having beancounters tell them how to build their algorithms and filters. Brainiacs at Google would be quitting their jobs in droves, and their exodus would quickly become common knowledge.
I find it absoultely mind blowing that Google doesn't know that duplicated content is ranking above the origional content.
What in heavens sake did they think that 302 debate was all about?
Triple letter 24 sites?
I think a fundamental problem here is the de facto near monopoly that Google has in the search market. This is especially so in certain niches, where people in those niches (e.g., certain high tech sectors) will use Google and nothing else.
I acknowledge how difficult Google's (and any other search engine's) task is, how difficult it must be to "perfect" or even improve their algorithm(s), and how easy it is simply to screw up. Unfortunately, when Google sneezes, many catch a cold, and some of us catch pneumonia.
If Google had only a 1/3 market share, say, the fact that they have effectively dropped my site from their SERPs would reduce my search referrals by about 1/3, not the near 90% it has now.
Do No Evil? In some ways, monopolies by their nature tend to do evil, if not intentionally so.
Speaking as a libertarian, I in no way advocate using the government to legislate or force Google to give up some of its monopoly power, in the same way as, speaking now as a Unix/Linux geek but ever a libertarian, I don't approve of any government action to throttle or break up Microsoft.
What I will do is--except for SEO purposes--break the reflexive Google habit, learn to rely more and more on the alternatives, especially the ones showing real promise, including (shudder) Microsoft. For the time being, MSN Search will now become my default search engine of choice.
If MSN Search overtakes Google and becomes the new SE monopoly, I will have adopted a different alternative long before then. I won't be a part in building or sustaining anybody's monopoly.
Also, I view this whole Bourbon Update debacle as a challenge. I will take steps to reduce this affected site's dependence on Google, pursue ideas to grow the MSN Search and Yahoo! (and other) traffic (e.g., begin writing articles of a less technical, more consumer oriented nature). If I return to Google's graces, fine. But if not, what really can I do about it? Life must go on.
From the weird to the bizarre.
For the key phrase "blue suede widgets" (one of my site's two major niches), the SERPs now stop showing at 252 entries for the unquoted key phrase and 151 entries for the key phrase quoted. ("Stop showing" as in "In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 151 already displayed.") Down to these levels from 400+ each yesterday (and normal levels pre-Bourbon). Out of a reported 22,200,000 and 53,200 total pages unquoted and quoted.
Needless to say, my site is nowhere to be found.
Neither is the site for a major "competitor".
Well, at least Google is being even-handed about the whole thing.
If I could start a new thread on this topic, I would title it "The Incredible, Vanishing Google Niche."
Not at all a minor niche either.
This site's Google referrals in the last 24 hours: zero.
something not working right on these two.
I rank the same (accross all DCs, including those) for "domain name", but on these two I'm not in the 100 for domain name (no quotes). I rank at #5 on the rest.
that 104 dc has the most recent results for my site (or they are two months old). Sorry :(
no need to be sorry ;).
Can't panick, or celebrate yet. So far it seems like a "" issue, but I haven't checked enough keywords. If they start spreading, then we'll find out.
on edit: I still do good on many keywords that I tested. Maybe G is getting sensitive (on those Dcs) on anchor text. Many sites link me as DomainName.com and It's not fair to penalize me for "domain name". It's the simplest and honest way to link to a site. Alarm bells should ring if anchor text is "Keyword1, Keyword2" all over the place.
>results are non-relevant, and on examples I've seen
>are not only non-relevant but have hidden text on the
>sites. Thus why they are not "equally worthy".
Why not be a snitch and turn them in, then? If they're inappropriately manipulating Google results through hidden text, Google *will* drop the axe on them if you tell on them. I complained to Google once a long time ago about some porn site that had pages that used black-hat SEO to pretend to be offering study materials for kids, and boy howdy did they disappear soon after I tattled on them. Google *does* move quickly when it's motivated to. ;-)
I think G just wants to be different than Y and M.
Looking at the 100 or so pages on my site that I try to keep track of I am in the top ten for about 80 of them on both Y and M.
In G I'm top 10 with two pages.
When I say G wants to be different it's like a teenager getting nose, ears, belly button & who knows what pierced - looks different, but not good.
Thanks for the kind words regarding "Google-Updates Survival Kit"
>The SEs have organized, dissected, intersected, reordered, rearranged and reorganized their search engine algos and correspondent results to suit their needs. Paramount among those needs is the need to produce revenue and that is done primarily via paid advertisements.
That's the slicing and dicing of the internet.<
Well.. I guess the majority here agree that the SEs are business models under the control of their owners and there is no doubt that their intentions are to generate revenues.
The most important question is: Where is the quality of searches and serps in all this? Is it possible to manipulate the serps without affecting the quality of searches?
And what does it really mean when some fellow members say: Google is broken?
Does that mean that the serps now are of poor quality compared to for example December 2004?
Or does it mean that there is no logic between what Google declare regarding "improvements in search" and the poor quality of the serps?
>The hit-or-miss-guessing-game approach of the SEO is no match for the power of money. Want to get traffic off searches for "blue widget"? Advertise. Overture, MSN, AdWords.<
I said it already after Allegra (April/March, 2005) that the CLASSIC SEO has lost power. And say welcome to THE DYNAMIC SEO MASTERS (DSEOMs)
In short what DSEOMs are going to do is: Adopt and match the pattern that SEs are following..and WIN!
Our current Google-Updates Survival Kit is a good example of small part of the work that future DSEOMs have to do.
Just wish to mention that the two DCs I mentioned in my previous post today are following now the rest of the DCs. Welcome to the magic of "everflux" ;-)