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May 2007 Google SERP Changes
offroadvietnam




msg:3327193
 9:35 am on May 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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

I had two sites. The main one is very stable, but the second one goes up and down very often, almost one week up and one week down. This week, it stays longer than usual and I hope Google found a way to keep results consistant. Both sites are ranked higher than before.

[edited by: tedster at 2:03 am (utc) on May 2, 2007]

 

Bewenched




msg:3331162
 8:26 pm on May 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

What I'm seeing our competitors doing is putting up multiple sites to I assume maintain even traffic between them.

We've certainly thought about it however it just sings of black-hat. We do not want to have to go that route.

thecityofgold2005




msg:3331174
 8:36 pm on May 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

My rankings are great and have been since the inception of Google. What I object to is the recent, seemingly random, dropping then reinstating of sites in the serps.

This is bad for searchers because what they find with a search one day they might not be able to find tomorrow.

This is bad for companies with websites because it makes planning very difficult.

A reasonable degree of consistency across short time frames is an absolute must for a search engine.

Google is no longer merely a reflective search engine. Since Jagger time it has started using it's market power to change the web itself, the thing it was originally just an index of.

It is this attempt to mould the web that I think is dangerous from a monopoly/control of imformation standpoint.

Of course, ultimately any attempt at control will be shown to be impossible to achieve. Totalitarian regimes do not survive because humans are inherently uncontrollable creatures.

And btw, I am sure the future is with human modified search. I like the product review websites. Customer/user reviews built into the serps is the future. Give the people a direct say.

Quadrille




msg:3331189
 8:51 pm on May 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

Customer reviews are built in; if the customer doesn't like a serp they can report it.

They can also choose not to use Google. Remember that many customers use IE, which has been designed to push users towards MSN search. That does not seem to stop people choosing to use Google.

Which suggests you may have made a faulty analysis. It's usually a little unwise to assume something is 'bad' just because it doesn't show favoritism to you; you need to take in the bigger picture. Like searchers' needs, for instance.

europeforvisitors




msg:3331191
 8:53 pm on May 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

And btw, I am sure the future is with human modified search. I like the product review websites. Customer/user reviews built into the serps is the future. Give the people a direct say.

Customer/user reviews are applicable to only a tiny percentage of topics on the Web.

As for "human-modified search," that's the concept behind PageRank, TrustRank, "authority sites," etc. It's been a while since search engines looked only at keywords and other on-page factors.

kidder




msg:3331315
 11:14 pm on May 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

Bewenched - Your right, these type of results will force webmasters to try and take back lost ground and try and get some type of stabilty in their business model - the logical way to do this is to spread your risk over several sites and plenty of people are doing it. At times I consider that google has far to much data on me - adwords, adsense, toolbar so they can track my activity. They have access now to whois data - maybe I am flagged as commercial and as such any site I get involved with will be flagged as a potential source of revenue and as such filtered out of the volume of organic traffic...... I would rather think this than consider that I suck at SEO :)

mattg3




msg:3331376
 12:23 am on May 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

My rankings are great and have been since the inception of Google. What I object to is the recent, seemingly random, dropping then reinstating of sites in the serps.

Yapp page 1 to 10 whatever but to be 950ed then back then replaced by /sh/spamomatic i dunno.

Funnily enough the english webserver same concept same software no 950. Difference: language and no 500 domain spammers with their dmoz clon ibls and it has a PR 5 instead of PR 6.

Meanwhile Mr spamomatic has increased up to #4.

Quadrille




msg:3331485
 7:20 am on May 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'd have thought that as we know Google runs on algos, not a million fairies in a big computer-shaped box, then the 'in out' syndrome should be seen as a message from Google:

Your site is on the cusp; it is so delicately dangling on a razor's edge that some days it just doesn't cut it.

If it happened to me, my instinct would be "what's wrong with my site", not "Google's out to get me"

andrewshim




msg:3331494
 8:02 am on May 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

If it happened to me, my instinct would be "what's wrong with my site", not "Google's out to get me"

Agreed Quadrille, but isn't Google's algo constantly being tweaked? I envy all of you who understand Google's algo so much more than me. I know my site has LOTS of things that can be made better, but as soon as I think I've got one thing solved, Google pulls another change...

That's like playing soccer with the goal posts constantly moving and changing shape. I think many of us don't even know WHERE the goal posts are anymore...

simey




msg:3331496
 8:19 am on May 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

Googlism has become a kind of religion around here.
>>>GODgle does'nt like me so I must have done something 'wrong'.<<<
(people only worship gods that have ultimate power)

But maybe... the most prominent sites on the net were built not giving a second thought to the gods every burp.

night707




msg:3331498
 8:24 am on May 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think many of us don't even know WHERE the goal posts are anymore...

:-) You are on the allmighty Google field where playing foul gets too often rewarded with big time traffic and where playing white hat can earn you a 950 penalty.

Perhaps it is about time to copy the tricksters and to play it smart by discretely running two version of a site.

One edition to match Google`s official rules and the other one to please G`s affinity for MFA junk, snitches and all other sorts of weirdness that has proven to be successful.

This way you cater Google engeneers`s official and unofficial desires.

kidder




msg:3331530
 9:36 am on May 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

If you wanted to compare the Google revenue model it is almost like selling drugs - they give you a taste and get you hooked, then you build a business and then they make you pay by constantly changing things around. The thing is webmasters have long memories. Try explaining what you do to an outsider - what you do and how you do it - tell them about the trouble you have with the serps and the first thing they say is = Can Google do that? These small changes in the name of massive profits ruin people overnight and people will never ever forget or forgive.

Pancho




msg:3331554
 10:38 am on May 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

people will never ever forget or forgive

Since there are always ten sites within the top ten SERPs, any ruined disapearing will empty his or her seat for a new lucky one to sit down. There's an everlasting balance between these two groups;-)

Looking at the whole thing, it simply doesn't matter if I sit comfortably at the moment or not (and I do not).

[edited by: Pancho at 10:39 am (utc) on May 5, 2007]

matrix_neo




msg:3331559
 10:48 am on May 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

Perhaps it is about time to copy the tricksters and to play it smart by discretely running two version of a site.

Who knows how many people are alreading doing this? This may increase if more white hat sites are getting punished in future.

malachite




msg:3331576
 11:16 am on May 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

The king (original, unique content) is not quite dead, but it's very, very sick at the moment.

No content sites, MFAs, scrapers, mirror sites and stubs "we don't have any information about X yet" are the new kings.

Yesterday I found a business with four mirror sites, each with a slightly varying URL in the top ten, so with Google showing two results for each domain, they were taking up eight of the top ten places. There were no 301s to a single domain, these were four exact copies on standalone URLs. Talk about spamming Google.

Following Google's Webmaster guidelines religiously, doing everything white hat doesn't seem to cut it any more. A real kick in the whatsits for those of us who've tried to follow the 'rules'.

Crush




msg:3331590
 11:40 am on May 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

This is a good lesson for you all how to live in the world of free serps. We have long known that goog does not give a hoot about you.

The lectures on being a good webmaster does not mean much now you are -950 eh?

We recovered 70-80% of our traffic in less than 4 weeks. Learn black hat because it is your only defense securing your income in a ban situation.

thecityofgold2005




msg:3331597
 12:06 pm on May 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

QUOTE
As for "human-modified search," that's the concept behind PageRank, TrustRank, "authority sites," etc. It's been a while since search engines looked only at keywords and other on-page factors.
ENDQUOTE

PageRank is too open to systematic manipulation to be viable as the ranking method for the future.

TrustRank and Authority sites are nothing to do with human-modified search but are attempts by Google to establish its own internal ordering of sites using secretive, non-transparent methods. This is the Google internet manipulation I was referring to above. These could also be seen as an attempt by Google to patch up their badly abused and malfunctioning PageRank system.

What I think we'll see is direct voting and user reviews built into SERPS using some sort of trusted reviewer system to stop abuse. This would be easier to maintain than the current mess, less open to systematic abuse, and vastly more transparent.

On a mildly popular search term you might get 5000 queries per day. If 5% of people conducting these queries got a vote on the site they ended up at (a simple 1-5 system say) then you’d have 250 votes per site per day. An accurate statistical picture of how users view each site could be built up very quickly. You could limit voting to google accounts and run simple software to prevent voting abuse. Voila! Human edited, constantly evolving search for the new millennium. Google hire me now!

What we really need is competition for Google. If Google didn't have the power it does then we wouldn't be here. Manipulating Google serps would not be the golden road it has been and we would have been designing website for real people for the past 10 years.

Crush




msg:3331601
 12:14 pm on May 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

thecityofgold2005, nice thoughts but whatever SE's do the minute they do it people will be looking at a new way to abuse it.

Trustrank is a good one because you need to think carefully about buring a good domain.

Pagerank is also a good one because it makes it expensive for the poorer webmasters(spammers)to buy PR7 links. Therefore raising the bar to entry.

I think google has done a good job personally.

thecityofgold2005




msg:3331603
 12:23 pm on May 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

Up till recently I too thought Google was doing OK. I even thought that during my one period of being penalised in 2005.

Just recently though, as you can see from my posts, I think they've lost it a bit. I don't think they really know where they are going or how to get there. The recent site yo-yo phenomenon is illustrative of this uncertainty

The problem for me is rooted in the computer science/maths backgrounds of Brin/Page and all that followed. There is evidently a belief in Google that algorithms are the answer to all. Indeed, the company was founded on the mathematical concept of PageRank.

I am coming to believe that it is humans not algorithms that are the best placed to determine results for a given search term. The question will then switch to establishing a way to prevent vote cheating (surely relatively easy to solve with pattern watching software) rather than the immensely complicated system we have now.

night707




msg:3331688
 4:17 pm on May 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yesterday I found a business with four mirror sites, each with a slightly varying URL in the top ten,

That could be the future of Google. Algos are easy to fool and Matt`s call for snitches reads like they are aware of their algo weaknesses.

Pitty, that MSN and Yahoo search are even more useless.
But at least that creates space for newcomers who might end the Google hype.

Quadrille




msg:3331799
 8:34 pm on May 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

PageRank is too open to systematic manipulation to be viable as the ranking method for the future.

TrustRank and Authority sites are nothing to do with human-modified search but are attempts by Google to establish its own internal ordering of sites using secretive, non-transparent methods.

You cannot have it both ways; you complain that PR is too easily manipulated (which was certainly true a year ago), then complain about Google being secretive. If they were NOT secretive, then even more of their methods would be manipulated.

Google's aims are open and there for all to see; their guidelines are open and there for all to see.

How they catch out the scammers and spammers, they have learned to conceal; they don't even let on that they know (they display false PR, etc).

Great stuff. They'd be pretty stupid to reveal their methods - and I don't thing this thread is likely to change their minds ;)

europeforvisitors




msg:3331811
 9:09 pm on May 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

The problem for me is rooted in the computer science/maths backgrounds of Brin/Page and all that followed. There is evidently a belief in Google that algorithms are the answer to all. Indeed, the company was founded on the mathematical concept of PageRank.

Yes, and PageRank is based on human "votes" for Web pages in the form of linking. Quality ratings by Google employees are another form of human input. It's likely that data gathered by the data toolbar (such as user behavior after clicking on Google search results) is another "human element" that goes into refining Google's alogrithms.

As for the implication that algorithms are a bad thing, it's worth noting that nobody is forcing users to rely on spidered, automated search engines--or, more specifically, on Google Search (since that's the topic of this forum). People use Google because, for the most part, it helps them find the information they're looking for. Google is able to do that precisely because it is an automated, algorithm-based search engine that's scalable and that can index new content on the Web--at the page level, no less--faster and more reliably than any other tool can.

Google Search isn't perfect (what search engine or directory is perfect?), but on the whole, it does a remarkably good job, and its market share suggests that its users are pretty happy with Google's SERPs. Like it or not, that's the reality.

night707




msg:3331822
 9:29 pm on May 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

PageRank is based on human "votes" for Web pages in the form of linking.

Of course, MFA spammers and tricksters are also human beings, but that PR algo concept of Google is showing more and more crap results and real content is getting penalized and shoved into the oblivion.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 10:15 pm (utc) on May 5, 2007]

europeforvisitors




msg:3331855
 10:41 pm on May 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

Of course, MFA spammers and tricksters are also human beings, but that PR algo concept of Google is showing more and more crap results and real content is getting penalized and shoved into the oblivion.

That's why PageRank is only one of more than 100 factors that Google includes in its algorithms.

As for whether Google is showing "more and more crap results," that depends on your point of view. In my experience, Google's SERPs today are better than they were a few years ago. Which isn't to say that some people may not prefer boilerplate affiliate pages to manufacturer pages, reviews from trusted sites, and Wikipedia articles. :-)

malachite




msg:3331863
 11:00 pm on May 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

night707 said:
but that PR algo concept of Google is showing more and more crap results and real content is getting penalized and shoved into the oblivion.

EFV said:
That's why PageRank is only one of more than 100 factors that Google includes in its algorithms.

EFV's right. It can't only be PR which puts the crap at the top, otherwise I wouldn't have got these results when searching for information about an attraction I want to visit:

#1 Two Adsense rectangles above the fold, no content below, just links to more links; PR0
#2 Sorry we don't have any reviews for X, be the first to tell us about it; PR3
#3 - #9 variations of the above, none higher than PR3
#10 - an authority site with useful information that told me what I wanted to know; PR6

For the purpose of my search, #1-#9 were 'crap' results as they weren't remotely useful to me, and it sure wasn't the site's PR that got them where they ranked. The attraction's own site (PR4) was #14 :(

night707




msg:3331873
 11:20 pm on May 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

EFV and malachite

For those kws that i have to observe many of the top 20 results feature MFA domain and links spam on top despite their lower PR compared to quality sites.

Obviously not all search phrases see smart tricksters on top as yet, but for my feel, doors are wide open for those, who turn exploitation of Google search policy into serious adsense money.

kidder




msg:3332076
 10:29 am on May 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

At the end of this is about money - lots of money on both sides of the equation and if the gloves come right off and it looks like they will then it's going to get much uglier for all of us. There are a lot of webmasters out there that will do whatever it takes to get organic traffic, if a company needs 1 site to survive and they can't make it stick in the serps then they might just come back with 1 or 100 more - whatever it takes. Free organic traffic is no longer bankable in the case of Google, its random cream.

thecityofgold2005




msg:3332105
 12:21 pm on May 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yes, and PageRank is based on human "votes" for Web pages in the form of linking.

PageRank is not a measure of votes by the intended audience of a page.

PageRank is instead a system of votes by people concerned with their own business affairs (most in the Brin/Page computer science mould and handy with statistical analysis..) willing to manipulate a flawed concept like PageRank in order to gain financial recompense through search ranking.

Anyone who thinks that the majority of links are conceived as votes is either delusional or very new to this industry.


You cannot have it both ways; you complain that PR is too easily manipulated (which was certainly true a year ago), then complain about Google being secretive. If they were NOT secretive, then even more of their methods would be manipulated.

My point is to criticise algorithms as a whole. It is the flawed belief that any algorithm can be successful that has led us to the search engines we have today. I agree that using an algorithmic system Google has to be secretive to try and prevent manipulation. This has clearly not worked. Concepts like TrustRank are Google arbitrarily and secretively assigning enhanced ranking to some sites in order to try and correct flaws in PageRank. This kind of arbitrary internal ordering by Google is not a sound basis for fluid and fair future search.

My solution is entirely transparent user voting similar to the product review websites or even Ebay’s feedback system


As for the implication that algorithms are a bad thing, it's worth noting that nobody is forcing users to rely on spidered, automated search engines--or, more specifically, on Google Search

The reliance on algorithmic search is simply a result of how search developed. It doesn’t make algorithmic search the best solution.

A combination of algorithmic search for low volume queries supplemented by user rate and review would be better. In my opinion!

europeforvisitors, you write like you have some interest in Google. I am available for hire at a very reasonable rate. A job in some kind of future search engine development talking shop would be great. I like Dublin and would be happy to relocate to it. Cheers!

europeforvisitors




msg:3332153
 2:18 pm on May 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

PageRank is not a measure of votes by the intended audience of a page. PageRank is instead a system of votes by people concerned with their own business affairs....willing to manipulate a flawed concept like PageRank in order to gain financial recompense through search ranking.

"Most"? That's a stretch, I think. Are you suggesting that the guy who puts up a diary of his cruise to Timbuktu, the lady who publishes a hobby site about knitting, or the professor who puts his Ph.D. thesis about fruit flies online is driven by an obsession with PageRank?

Anyone who thinks that the majority of links are conceived as votes is either delusional or very new to this industry.

There's a lot more to the Web than e-commerce sites, affiliate sites, MFA sites, and PFI directories. In any case, to judge from other threads that we've seen here, Google is becoming much better at distinguishing commodity or junk links from real or natural links. (That's probably why we see posts here by people who have 20,000 inbound links and can't figure out why their rankings have tanked.)

My point is to criticise algorithms as a whole....My solution is entirely transparent user voting similar to the product review websites or even Ebay’s feedback system

There are a couple of very obvious problems with that approach:

1) It isn't scalable.

2) It would be vulnerable to cheating (as the major travel-review sites and eBay could tell you, based on their own experience with cheaters).

In any case--like it or not--algorithmic search is here to stay, at least until something better and equally scalable comes along. "What if" or "wouldn't it be great if" scenarios make for lively discussions, but they won't have any effect on Google's May, 2007 SERPs.

RichTC




msg:3332160
 2:41 pm on May 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

MFA Sites rule Ok, so does a lot of non authority junk.

I think googles serps quality is now rock bottom, i cant find a dam thing now using them - perhaps that is the name of the game, adwords revenue is on the up because users are clicking on more sponsored ads because the serps are so cronic.

Amazing.

We are now desperate for Yahoo to increase its market share or a new entry to come to the market. Google have now filetered out so many good sites and left so much junk in the serps are a mess

Quadrille




msg:3332170
 3:17 pm on May 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

And your niche is ...

Because what you say may well be true of certain niches, but it simply does not reflect the serps in general, as you know ... if it did, then people would be using Y! or MSN, wouldn't they? Or Ask, even?

RichTC




msg:3332171
 3:37 pm on May 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

Quadrille,

Im not sure i agree because the fact is that a good alternative is not known or used. people go to google because "Its what they know" Google have the critical mass.

if the serps for every search request produced junk sites every time tehy would still get high levels of visitors and thats because we dont have a simple alternative

Should MSN ever get its act together and start making an impact then google will have to up its game, but meanwhile i would go as far as to say that google can deliver absoluetly anything and users will still keep going back.

Googles serps are poor, so are msns, yahoos about the best for what i search for but at teh end of the day Google have the critical mass and cant go wrong

This 167 message thread spans 6 pages: < < 167 ( 1 2 [3] 4 5 6 > >
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