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Google AdSense Forum

    
AdSense may be hurting Google rankings
I've taken it off my main site
danny

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7056 posted 10:53 pm on May 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

After suffering in the February update, since the latest update my site has been drastically penalised by Google - it can't even be found for a search on "my name book reviews".

I've pulled AdSense off the site (and will be pulling the Amazon links at the end of the quarter); it seems implausible, but it's the only thing left I can think of that may be responsible for what's happened.

If Google's search arm really is totally independent of their advertising arm, it's not impossible that the algorithms used by the former now associate AdSense with low-quality scraper sites - or that they see AdSense alternate ads as an attempt at link farming (my original concern).

I'm not the only one thinking along these lines. Here are some quotes from two other people in a thread in the Google News forum [webmasterworld.com...]

I hate to say it, but the argument that adsense publishers were penalized to some degree still has legs.

I believe in the 'AdSense effect' enough to have removed 3 units from my front page to remove a possible 'flag,' and several on my internal pages to give the illusion of "varied content."

 

Rodney

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7056 posted 12:35 am on May 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

Good luck with that.

Since it doesn't seem to be effecting everyone running adsense, it's not logical for me to take the ads off my site...but everyone has to make their own choices.

danny

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7056 posted 12:40 am on May 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

If you aren't having problems with Google rankings I wouldn't touch anything!

The suspicion is that AdSense may be a contributing factor in conjunction with having one's site used as a source (and linked to) by thousands of scrapers.

ken_b

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ken_b us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7056 posted 12:49 am on May 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have Adsense on most of my 1,400 -/+ pages, most of which it seems have been scraped so much you can barely see the ink anymore.

The Bourbon update has been good to me so far. Traffic and earnings are up.

That could change of course, but I think it's still early to be making big changes based on this update.

elsewhen

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7056 posted 1:04 am on May 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

danny... i am sorry to hear that you had a drop... one of my sites had two big revenue drops in 2004 but each time, the site's revenues came back eventually. the revenue drops were mostly due to lost traffic from google after they made tweaks.

it seems clear to me that there are a huge number of variables that go into the ranking algorithm. to try to guess which variable is at play is like taking a shot in the dark.

after each drop, i returned to my sites, optimizing them for human beings. my philosophy was that at the end of the day, google's algo tweaks are an attempt to mimic an average human visitor - so the best strategy is to make your site for your visitors.

as we all know, occassionally, the baby gets thrown out with the bathwater.

in my opinion, trying to guess what tweaks you can make to make "google like you again" is mostly fruitless. as many of the veterans on this board claim, the best thing to do, is to get back to adding more content, and making your site even better than before. your site will get back in, eventually.

the idea that adsense on a site HURTS the site, is a strange one. i remember the many people who claimed the opposite - that adsense helped a site's ranking because it made more money for google. to claim that use of their own product, adsense, is a sign of a scraper site, is extremely hard to believe.

relavent adsense ads on a site are valuable to website visitors, and thats why the CTRs are usually much higher than banner ads.

in any case... best of luck!

beggers

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7056 posted 6:38 am on May 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

What about putting AdSense at the bottom of the page instead of the top? True, you might not get as many clicks, but the search engines might not penalize you as much.

Also on this topic, is it worse if you define a specific alternate URL in the code? I have a bunch of sites that have the same alternate URL. Hmmm.

It would be hard to believe that this alternate URL would not factor into your ranking somehow.

OCSupertones

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7056 posted 8:36 pm on May 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

This has got to be the silliest reason to drop adsense...why not just say that aliens did it?

Why would G punish people that make them money?

Do top sales people get a smaller paycheck because they generate more revenue?

Does G fire all of their good engineers because they make things more efficient?

It doesn't make any financial...or any sense at all for G to punish people who use adsense.

Is there any shred of proof or just speculation?

Brandon

p.s. I wasn't trying to sound harsh.

incrediBILL

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 7056 posted 8:53 pm on May 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

OK, I took a quick peek and a lot of sites come up ahead of yours with your phrase own phrases so I don't think AdSense hurt you, a better suspect might be 302 HIJACKED!

Swebbie

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7056 posted 8:56 pm on May 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'm pushing this way off-topic, I know, but I gotta ask...

How would one figure out if one's site was 302 hijacked?

bumpski

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7056 posted 9:57 pm on May 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

When I used to try to search for scraper sites one of the first things I would do is look for single letter folders and file names and unfortunately you've got a boat load of single character names.
If Google is trying to filter scrapers, even though your site isn't, your directory and naming structure may make you look like one. Just some thoughts looking at your sites structure.

I've got quite a few pages that are "partially indexed" (URL only) after this update. There is a tendency for the URL only pages to have similar names. aaa-bbb.html shows up normally, but aaa-bbb-status.html is "URL only", a smaller page with a similar topic and an almost duplicate name, another scraper site tendency, many similar file names.

But on one site, my second most popular page is now URL only too, but still ranks #1 for its keywords which are fairly competitive, but no Title shows in the SERPS! I can see in the site's logs that this page was simply not crawled in one of the crawl cycles, boom, partially indexed! I really think Google is just building its index before the crawls are really done, therefore a boat load of pages are partially indexed (URL only).

Anyway, Adsense is hurting your Google rankings because it is the primary reason scraper sites exist!

martinibuster

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 7056 posted 10:31 pm on May 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

This has got to be one of the more farout theories I've yet seen. This one has been flying around in the Yahoo forum, too.

The best way to disprove it is to do a casual search on any number of phrases. Then look at the results, which will likely be filled with adsense sites.

The other logical response is, if adsense is ruining your ranking, how come the same doesn't happen to the scraper sites you are blaming.

The usual response to logical counterarguments like the above is a revision to meet it. Something along the lines of, "oh, there's a filter that..."

Otoh, I can understand some people being afraid of having their network exposed to Google by putting them all into the same AS account. But that's a whole different matter.

moftary

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7056 posted 10:38 pm on May 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

Well I think Google wouldn't lie. They state clearly that their advertising programs has no relationship with their serps. If google lies, they would lie about many other important subject, but they always have a deplomatic answers that neither answer your questions nor are counted as lies.

Cheers,
moftary

danny

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7056 posted 12:00 am on Jun 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

What about putting AdSense at the bottom of the page instead of the top?

I always had AdSense at the bottom of my pages.

Losing 95% of my Google traffic is a big blow, so I've decided that even an outside chance that AdSense is a contributing factor is worth following up.

danny

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7056 posted 12:04 am on Jun 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

They state clearly that their advertising programs has no relationship with their serps.

Exactly! So if Google's search algorithm decides (based on general principles) that certain code is (in some circumstances) the sign of "badness", that will happen even if it's AdSense code and the change in search results will hurt Google's advertising business.

If I didn't trust Google's separation of search and advertising, I wouldn't be worried about AdSense hurting my search rankings.

danny

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7056 posted 12:08 am on Jun 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

if adsense is ruining your ranking, how come the same doesn't happen to the scraper sites you are blaming

AdSense would obviously be a *contributing* factor, not one that would trigger a penalty on its own.

The scraper sites probably *aren't* getting away with it - I'm guessing that most of them are ranking nowhere too. The problem is that they're pulling me down with them, by linking to me and using bits of my content! (This is just a theory, but I can't think of a better one.) And if millions of spammer scrapers try different link structures, *some* of them are likely to get through Google's filters.

Swebbie

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7056 posted 12:39 am on Jun 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

The problem is that they're [scraper sites] pulling me down with them, by linking to me...

This is completely false. You cannot be hurt in the rankings by someone linking TO you... only if YOU link to a bad site. At the very worst, you will get zero benefit in the rankings from scrapers linking to your site.

Re: dupe content, I suppose there's an argument to be made if lots of scrapers have your content on their pages, but I would think that'd only be true if there was a nearly identical match for the ENTIRE page, not just parts of it. In other words, even structural differences in the code (templates, navigation links, etc.) on the scraper site would be enough to differentiate it and not cause any dupe filtering.

I've got some articles on my site that others have put on their sites with links in my author bio, and I've not ever seen a duplicate penalty.... ever.

bumpski

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7056 posted 1:31 am on Jun 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

The best way to disprove it is to do a casual search on any number of phrases. Then look at the results, which will likely be filled with adsense sites.
The other logical response is, if adsense is ruining your ranking, how come the same doesn't happen to the scraper sites you are blaming.

Scrapers can dynamically alter (steal) content, making their pages look forever fresh, which of course is one thing Google seeks. Scraper ranking drops, shuffle the deck! Good content sites tend to have actual meaningful static content or they could be news oriented sites. This just shows the magnitude of Google's problem, producing good useful SERPs while paying people to Advertise.

The noise is blowing away the signal. Adsense turned up the noise, and is affecting Google's SERPs. I don't think pulling Adsense off a site with problems will do any good though, other than speed it up a little.

annej

WebmasterWorld Senior Member annej us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7056 posted 1:33 am on Jun 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have two sites with adsense on them. Both are older content sites. One had been hit by Bourbon and the other has not. So I don't think it's the AdSense ads.

danny

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7056 posted 1:37 am on Jun 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

You cannot be hurt in the rankings by someone linking TO you

How do you know that? Even Google has qualified its statement about this with an "almost no way"...

danny

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7056 posted 1:40 am on Jun 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

Good content sites tend to have actual meaningful static content

I would have hoped that Google could see that the content on my site hasn't changed in five years (except that more book reviews have been steadily added) and that it's unlikely to be any kind of spam. And it's not as if I lack incoming links from good sites!

But there's not much to do except hope the next iteration of their algorithm works better.

Swebbie

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7056 posted 6:18 am on Jun 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

I wrote:
You cannot be hurt in the rankings by someone linking TO you

I'll amend that to the following...

You cannot be penalized by any link to your site... only by who you link to.

The logic is sound and GoogleGuy has backed it up many times in forums. If IBLs could produce any negative effects, sabotage (link terrorism) would be rampant with all the big $$$ at stake. At worst, a link to you will produce no help (other than possible traffic coming through that link).

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