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January 2007 Google SERP Changes - part 3

 3:26 pm on Jan 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

< continued from [webmasterworld.com...] >

I have a few terms left in google that rank well, I wanted to find out why they still ranked well. Here is my conclusion so far,

using a site:#*$!x (keyword here), I search for keywords that used to ranked well in google.

Some keywords pull up as much as 15,000 pages, some 11,000+

For keywords on MY site that was UNDER 400 result or so (not a few thousand), the results REMAINED in Google ranking, top 10 or so.

For internal searches on keywords with more than a few hundred, it dropped off the chart.

I think I am being penalized for heavy internal linking or keyword usage on my pages, but I am not sure how to overcome this since I have a large site and I am using product titles to navigate

for example

home : department : Product a:

product b
product c
product d

and product b would be

home : Department : Product B

product c
product d

Now if you multiply this by a couple thousand products, you can see why there will be a lot of links to any particular keyword and I think I am being penalized for it.

IS google tell us to kill good navigation to get ranked

Basically, all the pages will be

home : Department
Product (x)


I guess they are trying to get rid of affiliate farms, but legitimate sites are getting penalized.

[edited by: tedster at 9:13 am (utc) on Jan. 22, 2007]



 3:41 pm on Jan 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Also, most of the proxy searches use heavy advertising as well. You can also try to report it as spam in google. Also, if they are an adsense type of proxy, you might want to make sure they are meeting all the TOS of adsense. Adsense policy changed regarding scrapers where you can file a dmca complaint and hit them where it hurts!


 4:02 pm on Jan 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

My experience with affiliate links. It has no correlation with SERPs. Having said that, look at other things (content quality, link quality, etc.) if you think you are being hurt because of having affiliate links.

We have always had affiliate links and Adsense on many of our websites and we have been thriving. And in the Jan debacle, the one site that was totally gone for three days had no affiliate links.

I think Google may attack those websites that are just designed to bring search traffic to a page so that they click on to an affiliate link and move on. That is clearly a bad user experience and Google does not like it.


 4:04 pm on Jan 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

To concepts99: Yes, I had an experiene like yours. From 1/14 to 1/17, I lost 90% of G traffic - some 5,000 visitors daily. Then everything became normal. So just relax.


 4:12 pm on Jan 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

If your having an issue with a proxy web search site causing some duplicated content, find the ip and block the ip. The pages will drop out of google.

How can I find out I have proxy issue? Is there a tool?


 4:32 pm on Jan 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Google is getting rid of sites with affiliate links over time, that's true.

I'd be very interested in the source(s) of this statement. My belief is that there is no penalty or negative consequence if a well constructed site with original, compelling, value added content contains affiliate links pertinent to the theme or topic.

To think that Google would toss all sites with affiliate links is stretching things beyond all reason, IMO.


 4:39 pm on Jan 21, 2007 (gmt 0)


A good way to find out is to take a unique sentance or two from your homepage and run it through google, msn and yahoo and see what results are returned. That is the best way, but make sure its unique to your site.


 4:43 pm on Jan 21, 2007 (gmt 0)


I agree with you. If you have unique content that adds value to the user, they you should be fine. It is the affiliates who have no added value that are getting hit very hard.


 6:13 pm on Jan 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have thousands of pages index and affiliate links on one page.
Today I have removed the affiliate links so we'll see if that has anything to do with me being dropped or not :)
I know it's not a scientific test but I don't make any money anyway with the affiliate stuff, so WTH.

Does anyone else here see sites that you link to getting better ranking in thei downgrade from Google than yourself?
Beginning to wonder if this update is an IBL update and a PR update and if I (naughty thought!) should start using rel=nofollow


 6:15 pm on Jan 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

If your not making anything from the affiate links, try adsense instead. At least there you will make a little money.


 6:38 pm on Jan 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

sites have moved up in days from 45+ to 30 - 33 position....maybe this is a good sign.


 7:13 pm on Jan 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

I hate to speak too soon, so this can be filed in the FWIW department.

I have a site (approx 1,500 pages) that tanked recently, and I couldn't find the index page in the 1,000 pages returned on a site search. Over the last week, the number of pages indexed fell from about 1,350 to about 800. Its an older site (since 1999) and I'm in the midst of doing a cleanup after allowing it to languish.

I sent a reinclusion request to G asking that the index page be indexed, assuming it was not. Voila! Today, it shows up #1 in a site search. Also, the page count has now risen to 1,440 (no supplementals). Whether these developments are related to the cleanup, the reinclusion request or other factors, who knows?

I just thought this may indicate that something positive is afoot with Google. We all know, though, that the Google weather can change with blinding speed, and, as I said earlier, I hate to speak too soon.


 8:01 pm on Jan 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

It was a very good first two weeks of January on a 3+ year old site. It is a celebrity site where half the celebrity articles are from Wikipedia (and I have all the "proper" notification and backlinks to the individual Wiki articles).

A week ago (1/15) my Adsense impressions went way down. However, the traffic still remaining good. On Friday (1/19), my traffic dropped almost 50% off of normal and has remained this way since)

Question #1: Could these two down-turns be related?

Also interesting stats - I had an article on one celebrity with all original content. The has been #1 in Google results for her name for over a year. Now, it is #161 in a Google search and another mention of her in an album review that never really ranked is in the 110s. I should not be penalized for duplicated content on this page, however, as shown above, at #161 it is virtually non-existent.

Question #2: With this latest Google update, could the above celebrity page be considered duplicated content for being on the same site with other articles "licensed" from Wikipedia?

Question #3: Is Google considering content copied by Wikipedia duplicate content?

Question #4: Myself and others on this thread mentioned a spike in traffic in the early part of January -- Was this caused by a Google tweak or mishap? If so, was this last announced tweak to try to fix that? "If" there is another tweak, wil the next one be announced?

I hope my above situation and questions helps with this discussion.


 8:27 pm on Jan 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

"A week ago (1/15) my Adsense impressions went way down."

We noticed the same thing. We found we lost all of our traffic from the midwest US ice storm. That was about 1/4 of our traffic and page views. That traffic will return when everyone in the midwest gets their power restored and back to work.


 8:29 pm on Jan 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

"Google getting rid of affiliate links sites" is pure nonsens, thats it.


 8:41 pm on Jan 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm just now beginning to see the return of some previous rankings. Fingers crossed.


 8:46 pm on Jan 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Same here I still miss some ranking for internal pages and I miss my main keyword for my index page, still hoping.


 8:55 pm on Jan 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Here is a comment about affiliates directly from Adam Lasnik.

"We see what I think is the same issue with affiliates sometimes, many of whom are upset that they no longer garner the same traffic from Google that they used to. Our algorithms take a look at their pages and (computerwise) ask, "What value is this site providing that users can't get from other sites or even the 'mothership'? (originator of content)"

"So, taking a brief detour... I've witnessed a sea change in the way many Webmasters treat affiliate programs. Back in my younger days, when t-rexes still roamed the earth, most affiliates seemed to be starting with good content and then adding affiliate links to make a spot o' cash to pay their hosting bills. The affiliate links were an afterthought. Nowadays, though, not only are many Webmasters *starting* with affiliate "content" as the foundation and then adding other "content," they're incensed when their rankings fall in Google. I'll be blunt and say that I have little, if any, sympathy in these situations and I'm guessing that my colleagues who write algorithms feel similarly."

You can find it on this webmasterworld thread:



 9:46 pm on Jan 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

"Our algorithms take a look at their pages and (computerwise) ask, "What value is this site providing that users can't get from other sites or even the 'mothership'? (originator of content)"

This is REALLY interesting and might fall under my suspicion (spelling?) that something big is going on with Google.....
What if you take that a step further? What if sites that link to other sites, like a hotel review site, is deem "not worthy" because it is just a review site and the linked site is deemed more important since it "is the originator of content"?
What if advertising sites linking to advertiser sites is demoted and the linked advertiser sites is deemed more important and raise in the serp's?

is it time for a rel=nofollow or will that be suspicious to Google?


 9:49 pm on Jan 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Adam Lasnik just tells us that webmasters are getting almost as greedy as Google.


 9:58 pm on Jan 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

I had an honest 3 page minisite offering good travel related content and links but Google guys manually gave it the -60 penalty. It makes me wonder would it have been banned if the links were not affiliate links. The serps in my country are full of sites that only have links to travel agencies. If cloaking my links helps then I'll do it but affiliate business in a big part of the Internet and what G is doing (checking sites and counting how many outbound links are affiliate links) is sad.


 9:59 pm on Jan 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Just cause you tell google to no index, no follow does not mean google does not still look at the page and the links behind the scenes....

Affiliates have been hit hard and will continue to be hit hard this year.

[edited by: trinorthlighting at 10:04 pm (utc) on Jan. 21, 2007]


 10:04 pm on Jan 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

HE HE HE... That's funny, SEOPTI

It looks like in the gold rush days when people have been allowed to do stuff and everything was easy, and then all the bureaucracy was developed by people that wanted to control everything and make money from controlling it.
Now it's Google who want's to control everything (yeah, yeah, I know.... if you don't like Google and so on.....), soon we'll have to file an inclusion in Google, fill out papers and send them in and pay for it to be included.....
Why diesn't google go into the web template business? Then we can just buy a template from them, put our name on it and they can fill it with whatever they think is appropiate. That way there won't be any duplicate content penalties, no adsense click fraud, no fun!


 10:17 pm on Jan 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Re affiliate stuff: You're going to have to do a huge heap of persuading to get me to believe that if you write a book or movie review, for instance, and include a Barnes & Noble affiliate link, that your page is doomed to perpetual Google oblivion. It just ain't so. Note that Adam placed the term, content, in quotes.


 11:45 pm on Jan 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

He is talking about affiliate content - template site. Buy a domain, pick your shade of website and the content is already filled in for you... Not a link to an affiliate program.


 11:50 pm on Jan 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

FWIW - i have no affiliate links - do not run an affiliate program - and all content is original. Even the databases that I get from our manufacturers i hand edit to make unique.
I dont think I am getting any better yet, I think its just a bit worse actually. Even now I did a search - not just for one of my main keyword terms, but i also included that term with my trademark name. I went through 6 pages or results and stopped - no listing for me. I do however see all of the sites that link to me for that term listed, along with a few scraper sites just to wind me up a little more. There is no reason I should not show up for: Trademark Keyword


 12:53 am on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

On one site I have thousands of pages of content behind a password login - And I have affiliate links. Google would see this site as having a strong affiliate bias and maybe having just 10 - 15 pages of content that we run outside the login - In fact it has thousands of real subscribers and tons of content ... How are the alogs going to place a "value" on my site? I am faced with 2 options then - total rebuild and chagne my business model and let scrapers at my content. Or stand my ground and get branded as an affiliate site and suffer in the search results.


 5:01 am on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

The index seems to increasingly take it's inspiration from the St Andreas fault, proximity does wonders eh. Stable as jelly.

How do you bring down a chinese rocket? Put affiliate links on it and Google will do the job.


 3:54 pm on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

HA HA HA........

How do you bring down a chinese rocket? Put affiliate links on it and Google will do the job.



 4:53 pm on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hi guys,

strange things happening in the serps...

Right before christmas I decided to promote a site of mine again. I didn't promote the site because I didn't have the time at the rest of the year, but the content was up to date all the time.
During the promotion process I always look for directories and add my site in the applicable category.
Some directories have detail-pages for every entry where only my link and the description of my site (and maybe a screenshot) is shown.
Now guess what happend!
All these detail-pages of the directories and the directoy category pages rank very well for my keyword. My site to which these pages link to is nowhere to be seen.

I can make nothing of it. It makes no sense to rank sites which link to a good site higher as the site itself.

By the way my site has a PR5 since years and most of these directory pages don't even have a PR.

I can remember that this topic came up earlier in the forum but I can't remember a solution or explanation.
Maybe somebody could jog my memory.


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