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Google "Honorary Update" - Buffy
June 2007
tedster




msg:3370557
 2:06 am on Jun 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Ever since Update Jagger, which prepared the way for Google's new Big Daddy infrastructure, the changes and shifts to the SERPs come so frequently that we haven't called an Update in over a year. Instead, we've been trying to watch the SERP changes in an ongoing, monthly thread that shifts with the irregular roll, pitch and yaw of the good ship Google.

But something quite major is now going on with the Google SERPs. Members are reporting major changes in the single word search results, most particularly, but lots of other things are stirred up as well. On one of my single keywords, I've just passed wikipedia (yeah!) and jdMorgan reported the same for one of his keywords.

So it's time -- we are officially declaring Update Buffy. We'll begin with recent posts from our June SERPs Watching thread [webmasterworld.com]. What do you see going on?

< So why name it Buffy? Let's say it's in honor of someone who just
left her job but knows a whole lot about Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
We've never gone with someone's formal name for an update. Tip
of the hat to reseller, goodroi, and jdmorgan for their input >.

< further note - Matt Cutts says [mattcutts.com] that in his mind this is not an
update. OK - so we'll call this moment an "Honorary Update". >

[edited by: tedster at 7:27 pm (utc) on June 19, 2007]

 

Marcia




msg:3372968
 2:23 am on Jun 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

What I'm catching is that they're tightening the screws on certain filters. Not new filters, just a lower threshold, and I'm seeing it on two word searches.

frup




msg:3373059
 4:07 am on Jun 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

I just got hit by a tightened filter on a two word search, something that was loosened a month or so ago, seems to be tightened back.

annej




msg:3373174
 7:21 am on Jun 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

MC says no update

Yes but I see he does admit something is happening with one word searches though he minimized it.

I miss the old days when there were real updates

I loved the Google Dance. What a rush watching it all, like rolling the dice in extremely slow motion. When it was all over at least you knew where you stood and could look at your site/sites and see what needed to be improved.

occupied much more than before by "authority sites".

I assume by authority sites we mean sites with lots of related links to them not sites with knowledgeable information. Maybe link bloat is the word. That would account for all the free stuff sites doing well in my topic, the really big ones get a lot of inbound links.

I am also wondering if any weighting there once was for links from edu or gov sites is gone. I wouldn't blame Google as spammers have made any value for those extensions meaningless.

reseller




msg:3373175
 7:21 am on Jun 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

tigger, BillyS and outland88

Would you be kind to update us about the boost in traffic of your site(s) which you reported in previous posts.

Thanks.

Robert Charlton




msg:3373187
 7:45 am on Jun 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

I am also wondering if any weighting there once was for links from edu or gov sites is gone

I doubt that there ever was any extra weighting given to these tlds themselves. The apparent weighting, IMO, was due to the company these pages kept (and in some cases still do).

thecityofgold2005




msg:3373210
 8:09 am on Jun 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

see what needed to be improved

I also miss the Google dance but I fear they're gone forever.

From everything we've heard from Google in recent times, it would seem they don't want us to make the sort of improvements you refer to (SEO improvements) any more.

I really see SEO dying a slow death and creating pages purely for people coming back into vogue. Won't that be insane!

reseller




msg:3373220
 8:28 am on Jun 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

thecityofgold2005

I really see SEO dying a slow death ...

Not at all ;-)

BillyS




msg:3373286
 10:12 am on Jun 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

>>Would you be kind to update us about the boost in traffic of your site(s) which you reported in previous posts.

It's been nearly a week now and my traffic has pretty much stayed steady at roughly 4x prior levels. The pattern is very consistent - 4x the traffic on Saturday and Sunday, which are normally very slow days for me. Google used to send around 45% of my traffic, now they send closer to 80%.

The best way I can describe it is like coming out of the sandbox for a second time. I don't rank for any one word searches (except for the site name).

Could be just a coincidence - maybe some kind of manual review that gave me a boost. I don't look for links and I don't trade links. If you've got good content you get a link, pretty simple.

oasisfan




msg:3373421
 12:51 pm on Jun 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Our site is 8 years old was at about 2000 uniques a day then on June 10th it went to 3500 and since then its been steadily climbing up to around 4000. We have been updating the site and put it down to that but perhaps we have been hit up by an update instead of hit down.

Like someone else said our google traffic was around 40% now its 80%.

We don't trade links, just link out where appropriate and TRY to have good content. Gave up doing any SEO years ago too, just write the text plain and simple as if I was writing a word document.

MrSpeed




msg:3373518
 2:36 pm on Jun 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Would you be kind to update us about the boost in traffic of your site(s) which you reported in previous posts.

I agree with BillyS. It does feel like I've been released from the sandbox. I don't monitor googlebot activity but it also feels like as google crawls the site my pages are receiving some kind of "freshbot" boost.

Starting in the beginning of June my traffic went from 250 visitors/day to about 5000 visitors/day. It has ramped up gradually.

A few years ago I was getting about 4000 visitors/day. I never determined why I had a sudden loss of traffic. My site was a vertical portal/directory but could be perceived to have the footprint of a scraper.

The traffic seems to be sticking so far.

I wonder if the boost is related to Google dealing with arbitrage sites and they lifted a penalty on my site?

walkman




msg:3373520
 2:39 pm on Jun 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

I see an increase on today's traffic (so far anyway) and also a change on two keywords I follow.

workingNOMAD




msg:3373752
 5:48 pm on Jun 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

I am seeing some nice changes across my sites and finding the older ones are doing well. I think age is still a big factor :)

outland88




msg:3373754
 5:49 pm on Jun 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Reseller I had no boost . I fall into the camp of things Marcia is mentioning so I’m taking a hit. As I said I expected the informational and Adsense sites to gain most from this if the authority sites are being boosted in your sectors.

trakkerguy




msg:3373818
 6:37 pm on Jun 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

It sounds like the great majority of those who benefited from these recent changes are older sites, is that so?

Any relatively new sites seen big increases in the last few weeks?

Again, I believe they increased the importance of well aged links...probably to combat link buying ...

reseller




msg:3373869
 7:19 pm on Jun 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

It sounds like the great majority of those who benefited from these recent changes are older sites, is that so?

It seems so based on the feedback of some friends on this thread.

As I mentioned previously one of my sites, 10 years old, which lost 75% of its traffic in Allegra update (Feb 2005), has started regaining traffic sometime between 13th and 14th June 2007 reaching around x2 boost in traffic. Still long way to go to reach pre-Allegra traffic, of course ;-)

willybfriendly




msg:3373930
 8:08 pm on Jun 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Well, well, well...

This is not just one word searches, nor is it all about "authority".

I just looked at a four word term: southern state widget store

I see a former client's site has three of the top four spots (1, 2, 4). All mirrors. The interesting thing is the URLs

brandwidgets.com/about-our-widget-store.htm
brand-widgets.com/news.htm
brand-widget-store.com/widget-details.htm

I had previously advised this person to implement 301's to avoid the duplication. They never did, and it would appear to be to their benefit that they haven't. It looks as if two of these sites are sitting on the same server, same IP, while the third is on a different server/IP.

Hardly an authority site, the "news" page is nothing more than a Yahoo rss feed.

But wait, there's more...

Site explorer shows approx 250 IBLS to brandwidgets, approx 5 IBLs to brand-widgets and zero IBLs to brand-widget-store. Oh, and 2500 pages, most of which are phantom pages created by a poorly implemented blog application that gives many URLs to identical pages.

Now, the .org site of the NPO association representing southern state widget stores does not appear in the SERPs until #24/25.

But digging that deep I see that brand-widget-store.com shows up again at #16.

But, wait, that's not all...

In the top 30 listings on this term there are 7 "links" pages (i.e. site.tld/links.htm), 7 directories, 2 tourism sites, and an odd RSS feed thrown in to boot.

So we have accounted for 23 of the top 30 sites on a very specific term, almost all of which are quite frankly garbage - although they do represent an awful lot of outbound links.

walkman




msg:3373955
 8:44 pm on Jun 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

>> It sounds like the great majority of those who benefited from these recent changes are older sites, is that so?

Huge boost for me (please lord let it stay so or increase it) and yes, my site is older than Google. Of course it is also valued around $165 Billion less :)

Atomic




msg:3374010
 9:57 pm on Jun 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

I know of a site older than Google, with substantial unique content that has been affected negatively. It's pure white hat and was one of the first sites of its kind back in 1996.

jd01




msg:3374037
 10:35 pm on Jun 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

On one Google traffic is up 9x.
The site is only 3 yrs. old.
It's all long-tail traffic.

So, no it's not just 'old sites'.
Looks like 'out of the sandbox' for lack of a better term.
(No, I don't want to revisit the 'sandbox' v. 'no-sandbox' discussion, just trying to describe a situation.)

Justin

trakkerguy




msg:3374045
 10:54 pm on Jun 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

The site is only 3 yrs. old.

That definately falls into the "old" category for what I am thinking. Let me re-phrase...

Have any sites less than 1 yr old seen big increase in traffic with the recent changes?

outland88




msg:3374054
 11:17 pm on Jun 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

It seems to me that older sites would already rank highler as people have said through the years. In theory the age accumulates the links so the ranking should already be higher. Based upon that I would think more pages related to Adsense or sites not selling things are seeing the boost. If somebody is seeing a boost something is decreasing in the rankings.

walkman




msg:3374160
 2:19 am on Jun 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

OK, update: Today I will get about 40% more traffic comapred to previous week. Question: has this spread to all DCs or...?

I did have a link penalty issue with them that was cleared by email about 5 months ago

Arctrust




msg:3374228
 4:18 am on Jun 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hey Guys:
I seem to concur with Marcia.

Marcia in a prior post stated - "There was a TF factor (text frequency) involved with sites in the Florida update, and I'm seeing it being a factor now with the sites I've been looking at."

I have had a site which has ranked on page one, position 2 or 3 for about six years now and suddenly it's on page 2.

As soon as the site dropped to page two I notice that the KW concentration was lowered as result of this Non-Update.

Yes... my concentration of keyword was fairly high.

For those that remember the FLORIDA update and the STEMMING issue, this is very much like that... except that it also incorporates an element of SEMANTICS... meaning that if you have a lot of reference to "colored widgets" on the page Google will show your page fairly high for "blue widget" "red widget" "yellow widget" but not specifically the over-weighted "colored widget"

This is just my take.... I am certain that Tedster and the rest of the crew have a better eye than I do.... but would probably come close to this observation.

My finanl opinion.... sit tight.... let all the smoke settle first.... see where you end up.... tinker as needed.

Thanks...

texasville




msg:3374251
 5:09 am on Jun 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Just to chime in...my most favored site...no real change. I, however, don't pay any attention to one word keywords. Mine is all 3 and 4 kw phrases...none has really changed. Very little fluctuation. Had a drop in traffic earlier in the week but back to normal now.

reseller




msg:3374448
 9:17 am on Jun 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hi Folks,

Do we agree then that as a result of Update Buffy (which could be still underway) we have now better search quality regarding 2,3,4+ keywords queries?

At least that what I see in sectors related to online advertising and online marketing.

As such..

A well done job of Google Search Quality Team and Crawl/Index Team.

MrSpeed




msg:3374619
 1:15 pm on Jun 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Overall it seems like a good update. I don't hear too many people complaining.

Miamacs




msg:3375194
 10:40 pm on Jun 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'd complain but I see no change.
Not to any site I manage. Zero, none.

...

Except of course the changes that were predicted by recent activity on and off-site. But nothing special.

What I did notice is keywords in the URL that now count, and that stemming seems to be pretty much OFF for some sites. For some areas the "exact match" anchor text approach gave a boost. Or should I say if there wasn't a single exact match for that phrase in either of the anchors, the page dropped x2 positions. If it was 6, now it's 12. If it was 20, now it's 40. But I use exact match anchors, even though it's kind of AdWords sensitive.

If the phrase was in the url it's up, if it gets anchor with the words, it's up.

...

Which is... if you ask me...

A rollback.
Not an update.

And I don't mean the rollback of data, the SERPs aren't what they were a year ago. But a rollback of methodology. In certain aspects the algo is back in 2005. Only with the -950 kind of filters in place, the SERPs are now ... supposedly clean. ( Not in my sector, but I'm so glad you people are happy. )

With this kind of weighing of existing parameters, TrustRank related spam has more or less been taken care of. It only took three years.

I track however a lot of good sites that are still -950. With no other good reason than yeah, they still match the profile for buying links. They don't. Exact match anchor text from quality sources -- and in cases of these *cough* quality sources overusing a certain phrase, anything ELSE -- does the trick but... it's troublesome to rebuild a linking pattern.

walkman




msg:3375441
 5:39 am on Jun 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

Update: Traffic about 10% more than yesterday and 50% more than last week's Thus. Not sure why but I am happy, even though at my height I got at least 3 times more users. Patience...

arubicus




msg:3375483
 7:06 am on Jun 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

As I mentioned previously one of my sites, 10 years old, which lost 75% of its traffic in Allegra update (Feb 2005)

Yep I remember as we lost ours at the same time back in February 2005. Still waiting but slowly increasing. This "update" really didn't help us much so the wait continues.

Front




msg:3375486
 7:23 am on Jun 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

After some extensive investigation of our own pages (and the competition in our niche) over the last month or two, I noticed a few remarkable things (some things are brought up before by others, other aspects maybe not) a summary:

  • The changes/update started end May, we lost quite a lot of our traffic around that time, mainly our most competitive rankings were hit ( often positions in the first 5 spots of the serps, positions we hold quite steady for years )
  • Some site’s that were on top of the serps with us dropped their rankings as well, a few stayed on top ( mainly the old and hardly updated site’s, or even site’s that don’t have much content or many backlinks at all. )
  • The sites that did stay on top, or were new in the serps all had the targeted keywords in the URL, often in a rather spammy way, like widget-greenwidget.com. preferably the keywords are used in the domain, or one layer deep.
  • Nearly all site’s on top use the title, description and kw header to stuff the targeted keyword, literally or with some variations, creating a heavy cloud that includes the targeted keyword and related search terms. ( the good old Seo practice from lets say 3 years ago )
  • H1 tags, bold, etc.. doesn’t seem to matter, some use it, some don’t
  • The amount or quality of backlinks is less a factor, loads of the sites on top, only have links from their own site, or from some really low quality website’s, or link exchanges.
  • We ranked very well ( spot one ) for our site’s name for years, the name is not a fantasy name, but more a 3 word slogan, not a competitive term or sentence at all. Most people link to us ( around 10.000 natural links, build up in years, to our site ) using that name, rather logical. We are now not in the serps anymore for that 3 word term at all, I guess the name, word combo, used so often to refer to a site triggered a filter.
  • Some keywords only rank in local serps for certain countries, but not in the international serps on google.com. We use to rank good in both, we have a dutch domain.nl, but our site has English contend and our backlinks are mainly from international websites, using the English language.
  • We investigated the onpage factors from our own site ( comparing pages that rank good, versus bad ones ) and analyzed some of the competitive pages. We noticed some interesting things. When a page ranks well, the targeted KW combo is not used that often, usually between 0,70 % to 4% max, BUT related words can go up to 11 %, like the targeted keyword “green widget” ranks well with a KW density of 1% or less, but the phrases that are related like widgetonics, widget are stuffed to 11%. It’s like they support the main phrase, that ranks well. Keyword stuffing in header tags, or on page, is not penalized or filtered for related searches, only for that exact phrase.

    Sorry for the “wall of text”, but I hope it makes some sense, a few conclusions, or thoughts:

  • The age factor became more important, or it makes some shady SEO practices possible that would hurt newer site’s. ( like older means triggering less filters )
  • The keyword cloud is much more important then before.
  • Less weight on backlinks and their quality, and when a phrase is used to often ( don’t know the exact percentage ) the page wont rank on it anymore, maybe google assumes you bought links? But that would be a too easy conclusion IMO, but it’s definitely tighter then before.
  • URL and the usage of the keywords in the domain name, is one of the mayor ranking factors now. Can’t believe they really let this weight this much, some site’s just have the kw in the domain, and title and no related content at all, one is even “under construction” for more then two years, the page is just old, the only content is the “under construction” phrase, but the title and KW rich URL gave it spot 3 in the serps (oh, forgot to mention it has 5 backlinks from itself, and one related site that is just as abandoned and old)
  • Original content is less a factor, even if it’s supported by a decent amount of backlinks.
  • Google doesn’t seem to mind KW stuffing and other edgy practices that much anymore. In my niche the first page is full of them, redirects, KW stuffing etc.. is less a problem it seems the before.

    I hope it makes sense. Please discuss, maybe we can find solutions and get some understanding what happened.

  • potentialgeek




    msg:3375519
     8:20 am on Jun 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

    I noticed a few websites which are 'old' and use keywords in the domain name got bumped up lately (from nowhere). They haven't been changed, optimized, or anything, for about four years or so. I'd mostly ignored them while working on other projects.

    I actually think it's reasonable to weight sites when this combo is true: old domain AND keyword in domain. Either one is not significant on its own, but together, often pretty solid.

    p/g

    This 162 message thread spans 6 pages: < < 162 ( 1 2 3 4 [5] 6 > >
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