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Completely bummed out since Bourbon update
Traffic down 60-80%, AS revenue down by 75%+
fearlessrick




msg:751403
 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...

 

fearlessrick




msg:751493
 6:14 pm on Jul 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

I just need to vent a bit here, so bear with me.

I want to make an analogy which I believe is appropriate.

Suppose you were a house builder and you are building a tract of homes in different styles, sizes, etc. The building inspector comes along while you are in the framing stage and tells you that you have to conform to building codes A, B, and C. You comply.

A few weeks later, you and your crews are doing outside finishing work and the building inspector comes along and says you have to comply with codes 1, 2 and 3. You comply.

Another week goes by and you're doing electrical and plumbing and you are in compliance with codes d,e and f. But here comes the building inspector and says that code A and B have been changed to A1 and NB. You stop your work on electric and plumbing and redo your framing. The inspector comes along and now says that code NB does not allow for codes 2 and 3....

You finally get the houses built and the inspector comes along and cites various code violations, many of which have changed in the 3-4 months during which you have been building. You begin making changes, but your cost overruns have taken the profit out of the selling price of your homes.

Isn't this exactly what Google is doing? Many of us have perfectly good, relevant sites ranking well on other search engines. Google keeps changing the rules and it's killing our bottom lines, not only because of lower traffic (affecting everything from AdSense to banner impressions to online sales), but making us spend time in redesign instead of creating new, valuable, relevant content.

I've made some mistakes, that's for sure, mostly in redesigning my site over the years. But the proof that I'm doing things mostly right is in the SERPs on Yahoo and MSN. IMO, Google is a major pain in the behind and needs to get THEIR act together.

I just did a search and found scrapers and garbage at the top of the SERPs in G. THEY ARE WRONG. NOT US.

Therefore, I'm going back to what worked for me: writing new articles, creating new pages, making my site BETTER, more USEFUL to visitors.

I don't think anyone has an absolute handle on how Google works and those who haven't been hit by rolling updates likely live in fear that they will be next. The ultimate solution - short of paid advertising - is branding, link building, site building.

Sorry to go so long, but this Google garbage has made me crazier than I already was.

Good luck to all.

fearlessrick




msg:751494
 6:23 pm on Jul 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

Justin,
Are you talking about MY HOME PAGE? Sounds like it. I have to admit, some of these rules (three commas in the description? - never heard of that) are coming out of the blue. I've done plenty of reading on HTML and proper design but there seem to be many, many rules I've broken, which seems strange to me because I see plenty of pages which are designed without meta tags, no H1 tags, etc., which rank perfectly well and work.

I never knew H1 tags were so important, considering they're so clumsy-looking, but I learn more every day.

Like I've said before, I'm a writer, not a coder. Therefore I am subject to errors. Mea culpa, mea culpa.

Even so, that page and many of my other pages which may or may not be optimized rank high for plenty of keywords on Y and MSN. Why? Maybe I'm not that far wrong.

ncgimaker




msg:751495
 6:35 pm on Jul 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

As long as you think Google is the enemy, and are blaming them for your problems, it will be the enemy, keeping you from focusing on the real problem, you.

Oh boy, look there is a real world and a world according to Google's algo. Since Google does not like exceptions, it likes algo's, the two can never be a perfect match.

If Google tweaks an algo and 100 problem sites go away but 50 important sites disappear, then thats success to Google. Its 50 up! If you are one of the 50 its a catastrophe, but to Google is success.

If Google were smarter/made different choices they could get 100 problem sites to go away without 50 sites disappearing.

Now here's the problem for Google, mostly when the equation doesn't match reality they can cover themselves by claiming its 'subjective'. Except that often it isn't and when they fail to find the authority site and every other search engine down to the 3rd grade scrapers does find the authority site, they look damn silly.

This happens when you enter long strings of words from your penalised site and scrapers appear at the top.

This is not my subjective opinion, this is the independant opinion of a Frankfurter Allemagne newpaper reporter I recently spoke to about this. (We view this as a great opportunity to get free press).

So they have a problem, they dish out penalties, attack sites, and make no mistake it is an attack, because it improves Google SERPS to do so. When they were 90% of the search market that strategy worked everyone bided their tongue, now its just as likely to rebound.

That said, if you are subjectively middle tier site, then the best strategy is to take the spanking and say "thank you Google may I have another", but in the long run, you're better off with lots of search engines rather than just 3.

karmov




msg:751496
 6:41 pm on Jul 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

if Google were a little more transparent, they'd be easier to work with.

I think you mean "they'd be easier to work over" ;-)

Your building code analogy is a little off. Google behaves more like a beauty contest. They'll give you some vague guidelines in order to do well, but when it comes down to the competition, you're going up against others, not against the criteria that was laid out. Though beauty contest winners often share similar traits, they don't follow an exact mold. A winner from one year might be in last place another year. It varies depending on the competition and what people consider to be beautiful this year. Maybe big hoop earings and leg warmers were in before, but they're not what people want anymore.

G does their best to provide solid quality results and for the most part they do a good job. From a searcher's perspective I can find what I'm looking for 99% of the time. G doesn't owe any webmasters anything at all. In turn, we can ban Googlebot any time we want. The decision's ours. The only people Google has to keep happy are their users. We all play the game, we win sometimes, lose other times. The trick is to keep moving forward.

I'm not sure but after a quick scan it would seem that you've spent an aweful lot of time posting in this thread. Could that time not have been better spent reading, learning and fixing your problem?

Wibfision




msg:751497
 6:44 pm on Jul 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

Fearless Rick, thanks so much for posting that 301 redirect code. I had tried other versions I had found on the web but they never worked - but yours does. Thanks too to SteveB. However, do you know how to modify the code for a .co.uk site? I have tried this:

Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine on
RewriteBase /
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^example\.co.uk [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.example.co.uk/$1 [L,R=301]
RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^[A-Z]{3,9}\ /index\.shtml\ HTTP/
RewriteRule ^index\.shtml$ http://www.example.co.uk/ [R=301,L]

But I get a Zeus server error. Perhaps my syntax is incorrect, do I need a \ before the .uk? As you can probably gather I don't know what I'm doing, and any help would be appreciated :-)

fearlessrick




msg:751498
 6:47 pm on Jul 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

karmov, I am also reading a lot here, learning that I have made many mistakes. So, you're right, but I don't need any reminders.

One of my problems was to find one solution, fix that and then find another and have to go back and recode the same page again. There's also plenty of BAD info floating around here.

So, maybe both of us need to get back to work?

Murdoch




msg:751499
 6:54 pm on Jul 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

One more factor I'll add to the building analogy (which I like by the way)

We are all on Google's land...

And we rent the land too, there's no lease agreement, no previously negotiated stipulations, even with the sponsored links where we PAY to play, we are still only renting the bandwidth. It's unfortunate I know but in this arena, we live or die by their landlordish ways...

Swebbie




msg:751500
 7:08 pm on Jul 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

I predict that Google updates will become more and more chaotic and hard to figure out logically. I think Bourbon is just the beginning, unfortunately. G's a public co. now, with shareholders to answer to. How does G make its money, which is the key to their stock price? AdWords.

Now, connect those two dots: illogical, constantly changing SERPs -------> AdWords revenue

Is the connection clear enough? It is to me.

homesby




msg:751501
 7:22 pm on Jul 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

What are all those php pages if they are not dynamic?

Point well taken. However, could this be the root cause of so many url only listings?

If so, any suggestions about how this could be remedied short of renaming all php files to html and 301 redirecting 20,000+ urls?

[edited by: engine at 11:46 am (utc) on July 27, 2005]
[edit reason] turned off e-mail notification [/edit]

novice




msg:751502
 7:31 pm on Jul 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^[A-Z]{3,9}\ /index\.shtml\ HTTP/

Wibfision, are you using .html or .shtml?

According to this line in your code you're using .shtml

Wibfision




msg:751503
 7:35 pm on Jul 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

.shtml, the same as Fearlessrick

theBear




msg:751504
 8:37 pm on Jul 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

Webfision,

in:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^example\.co.uk [NC]

you didn't escape the period before the uk like so

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^example\.co\.uk [NC]

What's a zeus server?

Wibfision




msg:751505
 8:56 pm on Jul 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks TheBear. When I try:

Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine on
RewriteBase /
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^example\.co\.uk [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.example.co.uk/$1 [L,R=301]
RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^[A-Z]{3,9}\ /index\.shtml\ HTTP/
RewriteRule ^index\.shtml$ http://www.example.co.uk/ [R=301,L]

I get this error:
Access Denied
You are not allowed to see the page.
If you have any queries about this error, please e-mail webmaster@this.domain.

Back to example.co.uk homepage

[ Powered by Zeus Web Server ]

Is this error something to do with the server set up (over which I have no control)?

theBear




msg:751506
 9:56 pm on Jul 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

I've been doing some reading about Zeus, you might want to talk to another Zeus user. It isn't exactly Apache, so it could have some differences that will trip us up in the .htaccess.

One of the lists says there is no request processing via .htaccess . It may depend on the version of the server you are runing.

I'd try exactly one thing at a time.

Can you sticky your domain and the version of the server you have your site(s) on?

steveb




msg:751507
 10:42 pm on Jul 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

"Isn't this exactly what Google is doing?"

No. Google has changed no rules. They do sometimes screw up, but that is a different thing.

The main issue is Google's guidelines are available and easy to follow. How to *optimize* for Google constantly changes, but that is not Google's "fault" and it is just plain nutty to complain about that.

What has been changing for over a year is that sloppy webmastering is now much more prone to be misunderstood by Google than clear, precise webmastering.

theBear




msg:751508
 11:27 pm on Jul 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

They do sometimes screw up, but that is a different thing.

Surely ye jest ;-).

2by4




msg:751509
 12:17 am on Jul 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

"What has been changing for over a year is that sloppy webmastering is now much more prone to be misunderstood by Google than clear, precise webmastering."

That's what it looks like to me too steveb, especially given some of the stuff I'm reading here. Now of course that statement will be taken to be 'offensive' by some... Maybe there finally is a reward for taking care of problems before they become problems? That would be nice.

Given how many people are reporting scraper sites still in the serps after this round, look forwards to more updates in the future that will cut even deeper, study those scraper sites, their structures etc, and make very sure your site does not resemble them on the code level.

People running adsense probably want to be especially careful, I wouldn't be surprised if google is simply using their adsense domain name collection as a starting point to dump spam sites, since most spam sites are adsense sites, but then there's that awkward point that they make money every time an adsense spam site is listed top 10 and somebody clicks adsense link... oh, what to do, what to do....

Fearlessrick, I'd disagree with your analogy too, it's more like wanting to build a house on unstable soil, then reading some books about it, hoping you read the right ones, then building it, and hoping it doesn't fall down sometime in the future. Because it's on unstable soil, you also have to read some yearly engineering reports about soil conditions in your area. In your case, maybe you forgot to earthquake proof it, so it stood fine, a good house, and then an earthquake happened, and some flaws were exposed, hard to say. I lost a whole housing development that way a few years ago. Then of course there's swebbie's points, which are not trivial imo.

"We all play the game, we win sometimes, lose other times. The trick is to keep moving forward."

Karmov, that's well put, it's a game, you play it, because it's more fun to win than lose I prefer winning, but if I get bored with the game I'll probably end up losing at some point. I can't think of any other way to look at the web and seo than the way you describe it.

theBear




msg:751510
 2:29 am on Jul 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

2X4,

Ah yes adsense, but it isn't what you think, however it is related.

fearlessrick




msg:751511
 2:43 am on Jul 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi, just wanted to point out (again) that the redirect code is not mine, so I cannot answer questions about it with authority. The code was stickied to me by another member who hasn't posted and I don't feel right just blurting out his name. Hope I'm clear on that.

I also wish to chime in that SEO, webmastering, etc., is a game, but most of us are playing with real money, which makes the stakes a little higher. A little different than <big famous Web site>, to say the least.

I agree that Google is intent on punishing sloppy webmastering, but I'd love to see what would happen if they began punishing sloppy sentence construction, spelling, etc. That would really be a kick.

Personally, I think Google has too much power. I'll leave it at that.

[edited by: ciml at 3:39 pm (utc) on July 19, 2005]
[edit reason] No specifics please. [/edit]

steveb




msg:751512
 3:40 am on Jul 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

Google isn't punishing sloppy webmastering (and this victimization stuff won't help anybody much).

Sloppy webmastering is just not slipping through the cracks and managing to do as well anymore. Google isn't "punishing" webmasters who link to three duplicate pages in three different ways. They just aren't figuring out the chaos as well these days.

If some dude stops picking up the trash in front of your house, he's not "punishing" you. You are not a victim of his actions.

2by4




msg:751513
 4:34 am on Jul 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

fearlessrick, if the stakes are higher, wouldn't that warrant expending the required time/energy/money in making your foundations a bit more solid, as steveb is suggesting? Getting rid of the trash yourself that is, not depending on someone else to deal with it? Bypassing the good enough that got you by upto this point that is, and moving up to as good as it can be?

webdevfv




msg:751514
 8:51 am on Jul 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

message for Wibfusion

remove the line:
Options +FollowSymLinks

and see if that works (also comment out full-stops as mentioned before)

webdevfv




msg:751515
 8:57 am on Jul 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

fearlessrick

I'm amazed at how quick your site got reindexed. I've had a 301 issue now for just over one month and my site still doesn't look like getting back to where it was.

Others

Checking the datacenters: on 36 my site has 614 pages and on 9 it has 358 (more accurate as it excludes 'duplicate' urls and non-www pages). Thing is the numbers within each 'set' fluctuate, i.e. 612 then 613 then 614 and so on..., but the two sets stubbornly refuse to remove those dupes.

Could you sticky me with the email address you used for google to see if that will help.

fearlessrick




msg:751516
 4:19 pm on Jul 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

webdev, I don't think I've been reindexed to any great extent. My traffic is still low. As for contacting Google, I used the contact form on their site.

And my choice of words was poor, i.e., "punishing" - should have said, sloppy webmastering has now become a problem for the sloppy webmasters. OK?

I am not in the "victim" mold. I just am burned out from just trying to keep up. I'd rather be writing new content, not learning SEO, but one must do what the market demands and that is SEO at this point, correcting errors, etc.

So, to my many critics, you can kindly shut up now.

Atticus




msg:751517
 4:34 pm on Jul 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

When many of the top performing sites on Google have the same 'problems' as fearlessrick, why would one assume that he is suffering from sloppy webmastering, while these others are thriving despite it.

If Yahoo and MSN can properly rank sites which may be considered sloppy, while Google can't, is it crazy to say that Google has the problem?

It's Google's job to index the web. My local library has thousands of books. Some are very old, their covers are torn and in some cases the language is even a bit archaic. Yet, I can still find these books quite easily via the card catalog. And that's great, because it is just these older, authorative works which I often refer to in my field.

If the card catalog at my library suddenly stopped listing a book very cleary titled "The History of Widgets," simply because the cover has become somewhat warped, I'd be amazed.

And all silly analogies aside, I get almost no Google traffic at this point, but it looks like I'll still be able to pull down a rather sizeable income this year via MSN, Yahoo and natural links.

So all I have to say is, "Screw you Google, who needs you?"

2by4




msg:751518
 5:14 pm on Jul 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

Atticus, my guess is that those sites are ranking because they are in google's eyes major hub or authority type sites, which can I think do almost no wrong on a technical level. Plus I've heard that there is a built in component to the google algo [don't know if it's true or not] that favors large companies and their sites.

If your site is not one of these types, then it's reasonable to assume different standards will be applied to it, so you can't compare what all sites are, you have to determine what type of site your site is, and since most are not authority types, go from there.

screw you google, who needs you? Well, obviously most people posting here need them, or they wouldn't be spending so much time and energy worrying about the latest loss in google traffic. And most sites on the web need google to keep traffic up high. Comments like this must make the googlers chuckle.

As long as search is run by for profit corporations you will always have these types of issues, google is better than most mega IT corporations, but that's just because they are still relatively young and idealistic, as they settle into the yearly routine of the financial end of things don't expect that to last though. And they are still as far as I'm concerned the best search engine out there by quite a bit, even if yahoo/msn rank your sites well. They rank mine well too, always have, but that doesn't make me think that they are particularly good.

iam david lee




msg:751519
 5:49 pm on Jul 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

hi all

how often does google do an update?

also if i have a site in sandbox will it only come out of sandbox during an update or can that happen anytime...

thanks

david

Swebbie




msg:751520
 5:50 pm on Jul 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

If Yahoo and MSN can properly rank sites which may be considered sloppy, while Google can't, is it crazy to say that Google has the problem?

I'd just like to reiterate that the powers at Google undoubtedly do NOT see that as a "problem." The more organic SERPs fluctuate, the more likely that the people and co's that depended on that free traffic before their rankings disappeared will migrate to Adwords in order to keep their businesses thriving.

It's a great business model if you're Google or a shareholder. Take all the people getting rich from the free traffic you're sending them and make them desperate so they'll jump into paying you for traffic. Here's an analogy for ya: it's like the drug pusher who gives kids a "taste" for free. Once they're hooked, he charges them big $$$ for more.

Atticus




msg:751521
 6:08 pm on Jul 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

2by4,

If the 'googlers' get a chuckle out of my realization that efforts to build content which is well indexed by other search engines and is linked to by k-12s and universities is far more profitable than perpetual, blind tweaking in an effort to appease Google, then let them chuckle.

Ain't no skin off my nose.

2by4




msg:751522
 6:36 pm on Jul 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

Atticus, what makes them chuckle is not what you said just now, but what you said before, 'who needs them'.

It really looks to me like this latest update targets factors that may be under your control, so it might be worth figuring out what those are. This does not look to me like the same type of update as the last major updates.

Since google is obsessed with doing their thing fully automatically, through algos, there will always be sites that lose rankings because they appear to match some component of what the latest algo is targetting.

admanbb




msg:751523
 8:45 pm on Jul 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

catch 22...one of the things Google looks at is that a site is growing...as well as a "slowly" growing backlink group. We are spending so much time trying to keep up with Google that we don't have time to grow our sites and their links...which is detrimental to Google ranking....etc...etc....

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