|Completely bummed out since Bourbon update|
Traffic down 60-80%, AS revenue down by 75%+
| 11:32 pm on Jul 13, 2005 (gmt 0)|
I have submitted a sitemap, made some changes to my site, sent an email to the address GG gave, nothing changed. Basically, my faith in Google AdSense has pretty much been rewarded by ruining my site and my plans.
Sure, this sounds like sour grapes, but since May 21, traffic and revenue dropped off a cliff. It's no longer worthwhile to update my site. Just as an explanation, I took what was once a subscription-based service in password protected pages and converted to publicly available pages with adsense. It was good, increasing income every month until Bourbon devastated it.
I've tried what I reasonably could but am at a point now that I am seriously considering chucking the entire site as the revenue isn't even worth thining about at this point. Anybody who has any reasonable ideas, please post or sticky me.
Bummed out and depressed...
| 6:20 pm on Jul 14, 2005 (gmt 0)|
|index.htm and index.html to directory root. |
By the way, anyone know how to do this in IIS? It just creates an endless loop.
| 6:27 pm on Jul 14, 2005 (gmt 0)|
I would also be more consistent with your linking. Some links have full URLs (ie <a href="http://mysite.com/thisfile.html">) and some have relative links (ie <a href="thifile.html"> or <a href="directory/thifile.html">).
Pick one or the other and stick to it on all internal links.
| 7:45 pm on Jul 14, 2005 (gmt 0)|
|Did a mod rewrite (if that's the correct term) on .htaccess this morning. |
That alone could take six months to show results.
| 7:58 pm on Jul 14, 2005 (gmt 0)|
|Did a mod rewrite (if that's the correct term) on .htaccess this morning. |
That alone could take six months to show results.
You know, that's what is dumbfounding about this. It took G's algo a few seconds to dump my site, but it will take months to get it back? And by then, what other surprises will Google have in store.
Bottom line, in 6 months, I'll be well entrenched in another line of work that has more "security." This game is rigged and not worth the effort, IMO. I mean, my site was ranking in the top 200,000 on Allegra and that may or may not mean much, but it should at least be an indication that one could possibly earn a part time income from the site. Not the case, unless I put in a full time effort. Not worth it. Chasing pennies.
| 9:37 pm on Jul 14, 2005 (gmt 0)|
Rick, it should not be dumbfounding to you, man. Google is a public company now, with shareholders to answer to. They're doing what they have to do (ie, scrambling SERPs to jack up AW revenues). I can't prove it, of course, but if you're familiar with Ockham's Razor, it surely applies here. The simplest explanation, requiring the fewest assumptions, is usually correct. What's the simplest explanation for the random and frequent nature of G's ranking shifts? The follow-on question is, what does Google gain by it? Simplest answer: more money.
I think when Google went public, the focus changed. They used to tout having the most relevant results and a better user experience. Well, enter shareholders and the focus becomes revenues, baby. Nothing wrong with it, either. It's just the new reaility.
| 9:52 pm on Jul 14, 2005 (gmt 0)|
|The simplest explanation, requiring the fewest assumptions, is usually correct. |
The simplest explanation is that Google's algorithm changed (whether for better or for worse), and rankings shifted as a result of the changes. That's a much more believable explanation than a nutty scenario where search engineers are intentionally corrupting search results under the direction of investment bankers on Wall Street.
| 10:06 pm on Jul 14, 2005 (gmt 0)|
My site was hit by bourbon and fell with 90% revenues with bourbon. I was actually havig nice living with the site, and now it all fell down on the 18th of may.
The worst thing I could do is to abandon the ship now, I took it like a signal and me too have applied a couple of solutions.
1) 301 redirects
2)removed subdomains and redirect the url's (because the linking was not consistent each page had a double with the subdomain adress..)
3)Removed the cross linking in the site, installed a new navigation system with less links, and less anchor text density. Actually removing links might help the pr distribution (stronger pages)
4) The more important: write original content. We started completely changing our pages to include more and more original content about the topic. (less thin pages)
5)We used the sitemap to resubmitt the site and now in less than two months it has crawled all the good url's with the www. But we are not back in the serps for any words yet. Maybe we had a filter with timeframe, or maybe it is something else. We are expecting chnges in the next two months.
6) Opening an affiliate store in our site's subject.
Meanwhile we are building for yahoo and laying out a plan about better traffic diversification (organic traffic)
I guess if you want to make a living with this crazy industry is to never stop working in the projects especially not when they are down
They say that the necessity is the engine of innovation. So you need money, innovate and do it.
Also the question I ask myself is: would a human consider my site completely useless. If no then i'm ok.
I really hope that google will like our new pages, because I cant live on 500$ per month forever ;)
| 10:24 pm on Jul 14, 2005 (gmt 0)|
|The simplest explanation is that Google's algorithm changed (whether for better or for worse), and rankings shifted as a result of the changes. |
Gee, really? You figure that one out all by yourself? That wasn't even in contention. Congratulations. You've lighted upon the fact that yes, indeed, they did change their algo and yes, as a matter of fact, SERPs changed as a result. I stand in awe of your grasp of the obvious.
If you choose to believe that everything G does is purely to improve the user experience, more power to you. If that's not your assertion, let me know where I misinterpreted.
I see a parsimonious cause-and-effect line between A) randomly occurring shake-ups in SERPs and B) increasing AW revenues, which just so happens to draw in more investors and higher stock prices (all other things being equal).
Since I don't personally rely on organic G rankings for my sites' traffic, I have no horse in this race. I calls 'em likes I sees 'em. But since none of us is privy to G's decision making process, speculation is inherent.
| 10:29 pm on Jul 14, 2005 (gmt 0)|
It isn't the algorithm. It is fearless rick created a confusingly linked and duplicate contented site. Some of the problems have been corrected, but the home page links still point to index.shtml (even though they redirect to the root). It's going to take awhile for Google, no rocket scientist when it comes to this, to figure out all the redirects and dropped duplicates, etc.
But the key issue is the site is still not (fully) properly structured, so instead of complaining that Google is confused because you have confused it, fix the problems. That is the best course of action, even if it isn't an instant fix.
| 10:49 pm on Jul 14, 2005 (gmt 0)|
|I see a parsimonious cause-and-effect line between A) randomly occurring shake-ups in SERPs and B) increasing AW revenues, which just so happens to draw in more investors and higher stock prices (all other things being equal). |
europeforvisitors has been around long enough to remember a time before Adwords (really, it's not just a myth). Google shook the SERPs up then too. Presumably they were just rehearsing?
[edited by: jetboy at 10:50 pm (utc) on July 14, 2005]
| 10:50 pm on Jul 14, 2005 (gmt 0)|
swebbie, LOL, cut to the bone, at some point even the most faithful will realize that yes, in fact google is a business, with the standard boring requirements big businesses all have, you know, making money, paying dividends, trying to keep absurdly inflated stock prices as high as possible, all that boring stuff.
I'm starting to think that the people hit most by this bourbon thing were doing things wrong, I've seen almost no impact on any sites I'm connected with, and those have widely varying subject matter and target audiences, also widely varying backlink counts, seo optimization, whatever. I saw some small drops, for example, instead of having 3 or 4 sites in the top 20, we now have 2 or 3. Most of the changes I am seeing in terms of traffic drops I think are connected to seasonal factors, not bourbon related. All the sites did things 'right' though, we avoided some problem areas that I suspected might cause issues in coming updates by taking preemptive actions, plus: clean code, 301s, reasonably coherent architecture, and of course, never ever using query string urls [when will they learn?...], no affiliate type sites with no particularly unique content, etc. The only thing I find in common between all the sites I'm connected to is no adsense on any of them and reasonably high coding standards when it comes to onpage factors.
| 11:04 pm on Jul 14, 2005 (gmt 0)|
Like fourchette we were hit ( May 20th ) and lost 90% of revenue - yes its a bit of a "wakeup call" .
Very demoralising I know. You just have to look closely at the site , use the advice of the people here , tidy up, try a few page changes to see what happens..then wait.
Keep going with whatever you have planned - if its a good site it will survive.
We even got our IIS ISP to implement non-www redirects for us on some of our sites. We did the sites on Apache servers ourselves with a bit of help ( many thanks again to theBear )
fearlessrick: to encourage you now we are only about 50% down in revenue now - but that may be seasonality.
Ok its taken us nearly 2 months to get at least a reasonable recovery..IMHO its normally worth the wait and yes you can do something about it although its like working in the dark sometimes.
| 11:38 pm on Jul 14, 2005 (gmt 0)|
Though I don't pay much attention to PR I find it odd that his site only has a PR 4 with many backlinks?
| 12:07 am on Jul 15, 2005 (gmt 0)|
OK, you said,
|It isn't the algorithm. It is fearless rick created a confusingly linked and duplicate contented site. Some of the problems have been corrected, but the home page links still point to index.shtml (even though they redirect to the root). It's going to take awhile for Google, no rocket scientist when it comes to this, to figure out all the redirects and dropped duplicates, etc. |
This is about the third time you have made comments on my site structure, but EVERY TIME I ask you for specific advice, you reply with silence. It would be nice of you to step up to the plate for a change.
Since index.shtml is the actual page which I upload via FTP, why would I not link to that? Should I be linking to [mysite.com...] instead?
Answers would be nice instead of sniping like Mr. Knowitall and chortling in the background because you have all the answers and stupid me can't figure it out. I would love to have a look at some of your pages so that I could criticise your syntax and paragraph construction (my strong point being editorial, NOT internet geek stuff), and then leave you hanging just to see how it feels to be on the other end of the discussion for a change.
I'll sticky you, but as usual, expect no response.
| 12:11 am on Jul 15, 2005 (gmt 0)|
And BTW, as I've said endlessly on this topic over the past two months, only Google has these problems. I rank at the top for many search terms in Yahoo and MSN.
I tend to agree with Swebbie's analysis as it makes perfect sense in a greedy world where money talks and BS walks.
| 12:22 am on Jul 15, 2005 (gmt 0)|
My sites (every one of them) rank on the first page for dozens of relevant keywords (some of them highly competitive) at Y and MSN (and a few smaller engines). But they're nowhere to be found at G. Not even for highly specific search phrases that have little competition. My oldest site is 18 months, and all my sites appear to be sandboxed.
A few months ago I gave up entirely trying to figure out G's game. It was the best move I ever made. By focusing my SEO efforts, which are minimal, on snagging Y and MSN rankings, I sleep better and the world makes sense again. Those two engines have logical rankings methodologies, imho, unlike G. You can do A and expect B. And Y and MSN seem to place much more emphasis on actual on-page content instead of links. G pigeonholed itself by putting way too much emphasis on links.
As a searcher, I find Y and MSN SERPs much more relevant, too. G used to rule when it came to relevance... they were awesome until a few months ago. For my money, I now think MSN, with its recent shift toward a higher emphasis on on-page content, rules when it comes to relevance. If you haven't searched there recently, go try it. You'll be pleasantly surprised. I now go there first to search. Google's my third choice. What a shame.
| 12:32 am on Jul 15, 2005 (gmt 0)|
"Should I be linking to h**p://www.mysite.com instead"
That's what he said, and everyone else has said, hundreds, if not thousands of times by now. Looks like you got the 301 to www going, that's good.
You don't need the http part, linking to this: <a href="/">Home</a> is all you need, it's easy, short, and as they said, is not dependent on what file is being used for the default folder index page.
The problem is in this: if you're getting backlinks to yoursite.com/, but all your internal pages point to yoursite.com/index.shtml, google sees two different pages, not good. Same goes if you link to index.shtml, and somebody copies that link to to link to your site. If the browser never sees the index.shtml, only /, that's the only thing that will ever get indexed.
I took a quick look at your site too, it's easy to see why steveb has little to say about it. Going for HTML 3.2 is a bold move, that's the first time I've seen that used in a long time.
But here's at least one of your problems, also repeatedly discussed here and everywhere else:
I think one reason you're not getting the feedback you're looking for is that you are doing things that just aren't good ideas as a general rule.
Swebbie, I have the opposite problem as yours, try as I might, I just can't get more than about 1% traffic from msn and yahoo on my sites, that's combined. For a while I was getting pretty good yahoo traffic, maybe 5%, but yahoo just doesn't index deeply enough, and my ranking pages eventually vanished. I rank fine on those engines, better than in Google in some cases, it's just that my users don't use anything but google.
On other sites, pretty standard stuff, wide spectrum, the traffic breaks down to the normal proportions, about 60%, 25%, and 15%, give or take 5% one way or the other, that's google, yahoo, msn. I haven't seen any real bourbon affects, like I said. Oh, most of the sites are also reasonably old domains, that might be related.
[edited by: 2by4 at 12:40 am (utc) on July 15, 2005]
| 12:38 am on Jul 15, 2005 (gmt 0)|
Swebbie, I tend to agree with you. I have checked out MSN, liked what I saw, and as you, I rank high on Yahoo and MSN.
I think you have hit the nail squarely on the head for me. I should not care any further about Google and focus on MSN and Yahoo as they seem to offer more relevance and the SEO isn't nearly as demanding in that they seem to be less restrictive and more forgiving than Google.
Could it be that their algos are actually BETTER than Google's and the whole world has been duped again by Wall Street hype?
Google is making buckets of cash right now, but one wonders how long they will be able to milk the cow before they have to reinvest some of those profits. Yahoo, on the other hand, is diverse, entrenched in various businesses and intrinsically more valuable than Google. Their net earnings, due to the nature of their business are much lower than Google's.
I think Y cares more about expanding their own business and doesn't really put much emphasis on Google as they have shown a propensity to jump into new businesses without much regard for quality or results (they don't need them to perform right now as AdWords/AdSense is providing 98% of their revenue). That will catch up with them.
Yes, ignoring Google may be a good move if only for peace of mind to say nothing of diversifying my traffic sources.
| 12:41 am on Jul 15, 2005 (gmt 0)|
"Could it be that their algos are actually BETTER than Google's and the whole world has been duped again by Wall Street hype?"
No, people just tend to think that search engines that rank their sites well are good. Yahoo is really weak, they only index a part of your site, I think about 10%, varies, give or take, depending on the size of the site.
I just ranked for a search term in yahoo without trying, only onpage factors, top 10 after 2 weeks of adding that page, 2.5 million results, site has nothing to do with that search term, its not ontopic at all, and the site has only a few links to it. All onpage factors, in other words, no real test for relevance. Yahoo is so easy to rank for it's not even funny. I don't pay any attention to them any more.
As search engines go, Yahoo is ok, msn is unuseable last time I checked. Maybe it's gotten a little better, but before summer it was useless, only liked by people whose sites do well in it.
| 12:48 am on Jul 15, 2005 (gmt 0)|
2by4, thanks for that suggestion on the "/". I never thought of that, tried it on one page and it worked like a charm. Now to fix that on all my navigation (ugh).
Now why couldn't Steveb have just said that instead of "hinting?" No wonder I get annoyed with some people around here...
As for that long string you mentioned, is it just that it's dynamic or that it's not pointing to the right place? Should I not be using dynamic links? I can't seem to find a news posting mechanism that works well and I've tried that and html. Straight HTML seems to work well from a SE standpoint, but keeping it all categorized and archived is really difficult.
Any suggestions? PHP?
| 12:48 am on Jul 15, 2005 (gmt 0)|
"That's what he said, and everyone else has said, hundreds, if not thousands of times by now."
Yes it has been literally hundreds of times, and still fearlessrick strangely ignores that, and somehow (lord knows how) says I haven't responded to him!
So for the 101st time: Link to the root URL and MAKE YOUR LINKING CONSISTENT. Now I suppose that will be ignored for the 101st time and more blaming other people/businesses will continue.
| 12:50 am on Jul 15, 2005 (gmt 0)|
Hinting? What on earth?
Jeeeezus, what language do you speak?
I've beat it over your (and everybody's) head with a freaking sledgehammer dozens and dozens of times.
| 12:53 am on Jul 15, 2005 (gmt 0)|
|Going for HTML 3.2 is a bold move, that's the first time I've seen that used in a long time. |
that snippet: <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 3.2 Final//EN"> come with the program I use. I normally just cut it out. Is it necessary? It should be obvious to anyone reading this that I haven't a clue about any of this stuff. I taught myself HTML in 1999 and some perl from online tutorials and have flown by the seat of my pants ever since. Obviously, some of my inexperience and lack of knowledge is catching up to me now.
Time for a few refresher courses, I guess.
| 12:57 am on Jul 15, 2005 (gmt 0)|
And the same goes for using query string urls, this has been discussed endlessly, it's not a good idea, it does not cater to search engines, and with apache, mod_rewrite is the solution to all your indexing woes. Again, this is not new material, it's been covered lots of times, referred to in this thread I think.
This is what has made me suspect that many sites hit by bourbon had simply failed to correct errors, that plus I noticed on your site you're running adsense as well, which also seems to fit some vague suggestions I've seen here. But I can't say firsthand, sadly, unlike most major updates, this is barely a blip for my sites, and I think that's directly related to us having taken care of all these issues months if not years ago, before the update happened that is.
In other words, how many people following best practices re code, re mod_rewrite, re real non dynamic query string urls, re back links, re real content, no duplicate stuff, re no adsense, have suffered a significant drop?
This is the first update I've been through where I see literally no changes, and that makes me really suspect that this was specifically designed to weed out a certain type of problematic site. I'm sure at least a few people don't fit into this, but it seems most do.
"It should be obvious to anyone reading this that I haven't a clue about any of this stuff. I taught myself HTML in 1999 and some perl from online tutorials and have flown by the seat of my pants ever since. Obviously, some of my inexperience and lack of knowledge is catching up to me now."
That's what it looks like, that's why steveb for example doesn't really want to hold your hand so you can catch up to 2005. But he has, despite what you think, been remarkably patient, at least for him...
| 12:59 am on Jul 15, 2005 (gmt 0)|
steveb, see how a simple example of what code to actually use answered my question immediately. Maybe I'm dense, but there is a difference between site.com, www.site.com, site.com/, www.site.com/, site.com/index.html, www.site.com/index.shtml, etc.
You may think you're explaining, but you're really only complaining. That's what I mean and that's what language I speak, the one that's specific and understandable.
Sorry we had a misunderstanding, but you were making claims without providing enough detail is all. It's like me telling somebody to go to the blue house on X Street when that person doesn't know what blue looks like.
You are forgiven ;-) LOL
| 1:02 am on Jul 15, 2005 (gmt 0)|
He was explaining, but you weren't getting it, when you do this stuff a lot you start using a certain shorthand to explain stuff, and it's more up to the newbie posters to learn that than for the guys like steveb to slow down and translate back to newbiese. Keep in mind nobody has to answer your questions in the first place, so it might pay to try harder to understand what somebody is telling you when they do respond, and if you don't understand, learn what you need to learn to get it. However, you are right in this case, posting a code sample is always better than speaking vaguely.
[edited by: 2by4 at 1:04 am (utc) on July 15, 2005]
| 1:03 am on Jul 15, 2005 (gmt 0)|
PR updated on 188.8.131.52
| 1:09 am on Jul 15, 2005 (gmt 0)|
OK, so don't use any dynamic content? This is what's gotten me into this mess as it is. The program I use is written in perl and it has a nice structure for archives without which I would have to hand code, and I tend to write in spurts and when I do, I write a bunch.
For instance, I was writing a daily column and keeping five days worth of columns on one page and then archiving that. even that was a lot of extra time. Did I mention I am more a writer/editor than coder/designer?
Maybe I need a partner or a secretary or a real job.
But dynamic content is OUT? What's next, you'll tell me doing RSS feeds is a waste of time?
| 1:13 am on Jul 15, 2005 (gmt 0)|
Thanks for your support and understanding. Apologies again to steveb for (me) being dense (not a newbie, per se, just not as up to speed as most).
I am today on target for one of the better pageview days of the month, but it's likely that's because some of you have been scouring my site. What a strategy, huh?
| 1:22 am on Jul 15, 2005 (gmt 0)|
Creating search engine friendly urls requires two things;
the physical links on your webpages must be rewritten to the friendly form, like /folder/news/12222.html, replaced that is physically on your webpage.
Then mod rewrite must be used to rewrite that path to the query strings used to generate the pages. Learning mod_rewrite rules isn't the easiest thing in the world, in fact I'd say it's one of the harder things to do, but you only have to do it once, it would probably help9 to get help from someone who knows that stuff.
Only those two things change that is, the internal site programming doesn't change, unless it's creating onpage links, then you have to change how those links are generated to reflect the search engine friendly urls, apache is still sending it the same query string data behind the scenes, the page generation routines don't change, that all stays the same, but the process is hidden from search bots.
However, this is too complicated a subject to get into further here, you'll have to do some reading up on it.
| 1:55 am on Jul 15, 2005 (gmt 0)|
[quote]This is what has made me suspect that many sites hit by bourbon had simply failed to correct errors.[quote]
Had an error of the sort you're referring too, dropped like a rock on the first of six (5?) bourbon algo tweaks. Fixed it and by the final update we came back perfectly. Not sure if that is it in entirety. But you have to act on these things.