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|September 2007 Google SERP Changes - part 2|
< continued from: [webmasterworld.com...] >
So with all of this discussion about what's happening, has anyone heard anything about what G is "trying to accomplish"?
I had heard that they were headed for "all inclusive" search where they wanted to bring images, videos, books and "normal sites" into a single listing. Not to say that I think that's a good thing but is this the beginning of that? Yahoo and MSN surely aren't trying this.
I've never ( 5 years experience ) seen anything like what is showing up. Craigs list entries, books.google.com entries, entries that I can't even see a KW. My site has been Page 1 for 4 years of over 5 million pages and still is on Yahoo #7 with 7 million and MSN #2 with whatever. I can't see that there is a solution for this right now and have decided to ride out the storm ( which I believe started in Feb and got worse in May and just got worse now ) AND this is ONLY happening for single KW, my phrases have not been touched. Even the guy with www.KW.com which used to rank really high ( not a great website but he ranked high ) has joined the rest of us bobbing on the high seas.
There are about 20 really good companies in my industry and about 6 have really good websites. These guys have been my website competition for the past 5 years ( our company is 30 years old ). I know their sites inside and out and not many of them make changes that often and have not made any that I have picked up. I made changes thru the summer trying to combat what I preceived as a simple algo change and managed to stay on page 1 as I watched some of my competition drop to page 2. Now we are ALL bobbing up and down with no reason. Yesterday, I was in 12 different positions ranging from 2 to 46.
Google - I'm getting seasick. Please let this end.
[edited by: tedster at 11:18 pm (utc) on Sep. 16, 2007]
I've been noticing that the shopping engines such as bizrate, nextag, pricegrabber, and shopping are taking up a substantial portion of page 1 search results. I don't remember the situation being as drastic as this. Historically the engines were not ranked this high and they were heavy users of sponsored links. They rely a lot less on sponsored links these days. What do you make out of the shopping engines taking over page 1 of product results?
[edited by: tedster at 3:46 am (utc) on Sep. 27, 2007]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]
"What do you make out of the shopping engines taking over page 1 of product results?"
The fact that they themselves are not shopping sites and only link to them.
obviously a penalty exists for shopping sites.
|It has been a long time since I have seen blatant, irrelavant, spammy paid links work so well. |
I have been seeing this too. It's not even about PR for some of these sites. A PR 3 with 10,000 spammy links can significantly outrank a PR 4 (or 5) with several hundred high quality links. Also seeing the effects of networked sites like I haven't in a long, long time.
(Spammy links = ROS in phony directories, guest books, forum tag lines, etc.)
|A PR 3 with 10,000 spammy links can significantly outrank a PR 4 (or 5) with several hundred high quality links |
If you check carefully you may see even worst: 25-30 super spammy links ranking cheap sites on fairly competitive keywords along with authorities and outrank 900lb gorillas (unless the gorilla sustains its rankings with.........paid textlinks woawww what's going on!?).
Not to mention any blogs/forums/sites that Google keeps returning to
and that are in other languages than mine, so irritating. I don't want these languages I don't understand, I also don't want sites that tell Google clearly on the page title of their homepage that they are in India or Pakistan or anywhere abroad unless my OWN query tells so! Make sense or not?
I see this for every keyword I check unless the number of relevant authority sites is sufficient to fill the 2 first pages. This is actually my theory on own how some industries don't see the mess around. Authority sites, or authority niche sites pass through without a problem and rank much better that they (should) have ever done in the past.
This definetely shows that Google can't recognize relevancy or does not count themes of backlinks. I have serious concerns this time. Looks like all the work Google has done in the past2-3 years just went to the garbage, like they rolled out 3 years ago.
It's been also almost 2 months that Google crawls and index more pages on cheaply promoted sites than on now former top 10 leaders in some cases.
As of today I've noticed some completely new sites from India (I think) that picked up how easily and cheap SEO can get you top rankings on Google these day.
They are implementing the same strategy (call it strategy...), go ahead IMO the security hole is not .cn domains, it is the algo itself! There must be missing 50% of all filter.
If they had not cranked up relevancy factors on authority sites then the mess would be even worst (or funny for some).
I think that this has been goig on for longer, maybe 6-10 months as I kept seing weird sites up to page 2 sometimes, but the last couple of weeks looks like Google lost their algorithm since Florida until now along with historical data of some sites.
It's going to be bloody hell soon if this continues.
"It's going to be bloody hell soon if this continues."
It is already a bloody hell :( It seems that everything they did before has been turned upside down. I see sites that I have never seen before in the top ten in my area and it kees changing all the time. Most of the sites seems to be classifieds, blogs and other things that GOOG loves right now. To me it seems, like you said, that they lost their algo in a crash and have to start refactoring it again and they might also have lost a lot of backups since old pages atr showing up, old pages that I didn't even know I had left on my server.
Another things is that their crawler doesn't seem to obey my robots.txt file. I have disallowed several folders but in my WMC I get errors saying I have problems. No, I don;t have problems, GOOG does!
Not sure of your products search but I have been seeing the shoppings sites taking over almost all my product searches for 5-6 months now. Maybe longer...
What baffles me the most is the posted url is a search and not an actual url. How does Google do a search to produce this Title and rank a page that really doesn't exist unless the search term is used.
A good many times it is like the ebay junk in the serps the page has nothing on it as the advertiser has stopped using the service or they don't have a advertiser for the product.
I have quit clicking on any shopping site, ebay listing as they are to me a waste of time.
I might add now that yahoo has done an update I am seeing the same thing in their listings as well more shopping sites and ebay listings seems yahoo has almost copied the Google algo...
Extreme drop in traffic today, hope it is just bogged down, very scary.
Same here Walrus. Never been like this before. Site has been up 10+ years and this is the first real shake up we've seen.
This spam problem sounds like a Matt Cutts nightmare. Has he responded publicly yet?
|I might add now that yahoo has done an update I am seeing the same thing in their listings as well more shopping sites and ebay listings seems yahoo has almost copied the Google algo... |
I've often wondered how close these two are behind the scenes. There seem to be agreements between the two.
As for most of the changes this is what I expected from Universal Search. It seems Google is just concerned with the top thirty now, as long as they have the trusted sites they want ranked in those areas.
Since most of those .CN sites were spamming formmail, forums, and blog sites for the past two years they ought to be "sitting pretty" in both the regular results and long tail. Their links seem to be helping a lot of poorly protected and seldom read blogs and forums. Plus many almost dead sites that gathered these links seems to have been given new life.
OMG..That is all I can say! What is happening? The #1 listing is a "Sorry this site is temporarily unavailable", from a website that has never been on the top 1-5 pages.
Nasty looking results, I sure hope they are able to pull it back together quickly...for everyone's sake... especially their own reputation!
|It's going to be bloody hell soon if this continues. |
These threads are full of webmasters saying this during every major shakeup. I guess the sense is that they must think Google is operating 'properly' most of the time. With so many variables, and thousands of DC's, its impossible to conjecture what is creating the mess, which we can certainly all agree on.
Google representatives are unlikely to mention anything about this current shakeup, and rarely do, in classic form to reveal as little as possible to webmasters who apparently are all out to game Google :P
Remember, from their end, there is never anything wrong, this is all part of evolution and spam-combat :)
Our main homepage has been removed from the search, but the internal pages are still there. When I just search for "www.ourdomainname.com" The #1 site is the "site temporarily not available".
The cache for that site was Sept 24 with the same "site not available" on it....no content. But it must mean that at some point our website was on it for it to come up #1 for our name.
What could this mean?
Why would our homepage be missing and this site now ranks in all our top places?
How do I get our home page back in the search?
[edited by: TammyJo at 4:42 am (utc) on Sep. 28, 2007]
|Remember, from their end, there is never anything wrong, this is all part of evolution and spam-combat :) |
Well that's the problem with the current SERP's, how can the following fit into an anti spam scenario?
- Cranking up as much as possible rankings of authority websites - the rest goes close to random. So SERP's can't be totally wrong, when Wikipedia is there right? So the rest goes unnoticed, is that the point?
- Re-ranking websites / companies previously filtered for either buying or deploying huge amounts of backlinks - most of those that are back in our industry have not changed their techniques one bit.
- Displaying sites in chinese, japanese, german and more to US users? I thought Google was a domain registrar, why not using domain registration to perfect their geo targeting a little? :)
It's like [widget] surrounded with jeberish makes a page relevant for the widget keyword phrase like a 100% density thing.
- Ranking almost empty pages. What's the excuse? Ohhh yes they are eventually blogs or forums, have 20 backlinks saying "widgets" all from their own sites, paid textlinks or free directories that are so cheap that Google did not spot them as SEO capable + spammy meta description that looks like meta keyword when Altavista was king years ago...yeah right.
- Giving legitimacy to sites barely showing 25-30 backlinks from totally unrelated sites or free directories and letting them take position on page 1 for fairly competitive searches along with true authorities.
That is most of the time under to pretext that these are blogs, wth?
- Indexing more frequently lowest class blogs than some previously relevant real web pages because they look like news while in fact their content is either paraphrases of major networks or everything but actual news. Is this part of universal search? come on.
For how long didn't you guys see a real deep crawl activity on some of your regular sites? How many pages of non blog/forum sites are not cached for 2/3 months on legitimate sites?
It's like a whole part of the web went supplemental, much more than before and not for the same reasons, if reason there is. I actually think that this is one of the reasons why Google does not show what is supplemental anymore. There is a problem, same with actual toolbar pagerank - if the toolbar pagerank would be exported now I am convinced that if the data is even remotely accurate many sites would see many pages with a big 0PR for no obvious reasons.
- The more it goes the more I also see local businesses popping up for generic/national/international keywords. Well when a site specifically shows to be local, country or city or state and that this isn't my geographical location then I do not want to see it unless I personally specify it in my search query. Is this making sense or not?
- How can a site rank based on backlinks exclusively from sites off its industry while at the same time the same site points to other sites off the industry it ranks for? You can't control your backlinks unless paid but 100% off theme should raise at least some filters. While when your outbound links go anywhere but similarly themed sites should also raise filters.
I thought it did raise filters, maybe some new sites already gained the status of authority by some type of magic wand trick and are now undestructible....while old leaders went granny slowing down towards Google retirement. Well doesn't look too good in the many industries I watch.
I could go on with this list for a long time.
My point is that if this is an evolution then I am eager to see when it gets really better than this.
At this point as a user and webmaster I hardly any improvement.
What I find scary is how easy some sites from overseas rank with a $.2 website and probably less than $50 of promotion.
In one of the industries we are involved, you need a licence to sell in the US. This is going to mislead consumers into crooklands.
As I speak I already see the whole thing blowing up with 100's of indian and chinese (just for the example...) link builders armed with template websites taking over some industries. I am sure they don't mind setting a site with a chance to rank it for 2/3 months or more if they make a profit on the overall number of orders they get. This is bloody hell for us and I hope this would not happen.
I can't say all SERP's are total junk. Of course not. Some industries/keywords are just very similar and as relevant as Google decided before, whatever the reason the path of improvement seems to follow its normal course.
Just that in my experience of (objective) webmaster Google has never done as bad for as long as it is now.
Google is leader hands down, it's been 9 years that they are working on it, their goal is a moving target maybe but somehow I expect more from them than what they decided to do with the web for the past few weeks.
IF this was a whole planned strategy then next time I will shut up for a few more days before blowing off my rants.
I just think that what is happening is an unplanned downside of trying to make users swallow Google's new concepts of what the internet is, down the throat. (not a real criticism over the objective, it's business, Y! and MSN do the same).
Hey we can spend more on pay per click to compensate that's fine. But I find almost disrespected and hijacked by sites that have nothing to offer to our prospects.
Anyway..enough talks I have to go to work or I'm gonna get fired which won't put me in a better mood. :)
Seems easy enough. Put up a virtually blank entry page with good meta description and page title and about 5 words on page and you have it ;)
If this is a big problem with the search right now, then I am surprised that not a lot of people are complaining here or anywhere else. I guess that since we are complaining, there's got to be a lot of web masters/site owners that are happy with the results right now, sites that are on top of the world.
I am not sure, but it seems that there are areas that has been targeted that GOOG work on while other areas are not effected at all.
I know in my industry there are a lot of spam sites, sites I have never seen before in the listings, sites that have floated up to the top for some odd reason. Like follogreg I see blogs and other irrelevant sites in the serps just because they happened to have a keyword that was in my search, I see old sites been replaced with new web sites created a short time ago, I see sites with tons of subdomains listed for a keyword.....
I also see sites that has been in one area, widgets for sale, now has been placed in a classified area among classified sites when they used to be in an area where they actually had widgets for sale...
Anyway, there should be more people complaining so I am wondering, does anyone here see any GOOD changes? Did anyone get a better ranking with the latest changes?
gehrlekrona >> I am not so surprised not to hear more people complaining, except more and more here.
Here is the place where most knowledgeable webmasters are so they usually have either authority sites or many sites and overall they don't suffer much.
Add to this that usually people check only if their own site is ok, and that people have never had guts to tell Google when things are massively wrong then you got it.
Other forums are more shady, lots of one-person operations, lot of them overseas around countries that benefits from the current insanity - so they must be extremely satisfied.
Although I definetely see more and more threads addressing some of the current issues piece by piece.
The more I see the quality, number and profile of pages this "thing" has put up in the top 20 the more I wonder what seriously can cause that.
Is it a large infrastructure rebuilding, loss of 10 billion pages, loss of a whole part of their algorithm?
I would gladly help if I could just not to be bothered on an hour basis with the cr.p going on. They have money, they can fix, and since it was much cleaner no so long ago....they can do better than that.
Unless arrogance prevents from rolling back and they will have to totally rewrite spam filters based on their universal search?
Like if they would restart from scratch and rebuild from the bottom up. It looks like that to a degree.
And in the meantime they would count on user and webmaster trusts until they can produce clean SERP's...I have no clue any they won't tell but there are too many abnormally low quality SERP's as of now and for a few weeks back.
I don't see any reason why Google really intended to do what's going on. It is pure insanity and if it would not be Google doing it then a webmaster revolution would build itself.
Some SERP's are just plain ridiculous and I am not talking about chinese spam at all. The whole thing is totally waked out.
I thought only Y! and MSN, minor engines, no so smart algorithms could end up with such thing.
How can Google end up with ranking sites on basis I mentioned in previous posts?
There is always been some cheap sites going tru, starting from about 1 year ago then worst in January, then rollercoaster this summer and all falling apart for more than 2 weeks. That's a long time, so G may thin it's the way to go. It does not make it right in my world.
I really thought Search engines, especfially Google were better than that!
Unless money drives the ultimate decision: Google saying let's put up all sites proven to be authorities, mix up the rest and docus on selling PPC to the others.
I am perplexe for the least I can say.
Even their decision to sementically make a change between singular and plural a couple of weeks ago returns s.it.
Google does not even rank for "search engines"...and this is just a blattant example.
What I have experienced is that when I search from my desktop through my G tool bar (logged in or not) my results looks different from when I ping Google directly to a an IP address for a datacenter.
I guess going forward, webmasters might want to do both to get an understanding of where they rank and what they see.
Are the result better when you search using the toolbar, or just different?
I am not sure what's going on with my main site. For the last 2-3 weeks it has gone form bad to worse. keywords I used to rank for I don't rank at all and keywords that I didn't rank well for I now rank on the first page, but in a different area.
I am trying to find some common things in this mess but can't find anything positive and it seems that a lot of people here have the same problem. It's tough to see any type of positive results, and anything positive coming out of this mess.
I have seem googlebot crawling like crazy the last week but I haven't seem anything show up in my stats, so I am wondering where does it all go? Do I have duplicates, not enought targeted keywords, bouth singular and plural in my keywords which seems to be bad right now? What exactly is "wrong" with my site in the eyes of GOOG?
I try looking at the results that is shifting from hour to hour but don't get any clues from that.
One thing I have noticed and that is "widgets for sale" hasn't changed a lot. There are some new sites but overall it remains the same but if you add "widgets for sale in Iowa" then you get a totally different result with spam sites, site bubbled up to the top that shouldn't be there so does it have something to do with location? Are they trying to localize the search but don't know how or haven't got the algo straight yet?
It's just a mystery right now and I'm thinking that the problems are not on my end, at least hopefully it's not, and that GOOG someday will "fix" the problems but I am not really hopeful right now. This can go on for months and if it does, 7-8 years of hard work gone overnight :(
One thing I DO see is that the page count on several searches are a lot less than expected if you use "widgets for sale in Iowa".
The results that I see when I go directly to the datacenter are actually better and cleaner.
I think from what I have seen is two seperate projects being integrated into G
One was the BOOKS, BLOGS, NEWS integration.
G simply slapped this on the first page and let it fly.
Ted pointed out in some thread that they would almost need to do so the algo could assimilate all sites equally and re-determine where it would fit on a page. Maybe they did that, but in the end, they now have this starting somewhere around page 3 or 4.
The second integration seems to be Local Rank which is not the same as Geograiphically Local. This seems to be skewing the results now.
The caveat here is that not all DC's including Big Daddy are always the same. We know that because of everything we know about getting them all to be the same - but more importantly G seems to have added an additional filter which happens what looks like to me AFTER the datacenter sends the results - but BEFORE they are displayed to the user.
It is possible that what you see is not what everyone else is seeing.
This is very frustarting because as a webmaster - you are trying to aim at a moving target. This has for my site been going on now since May. If it goes any longer the business will only be found the the WayBackMachine.
Like to report been overtaken by a site that uses very very tiny text stuffed in the footer bunch of stuffed keywords.
I might add I am as well seeing sites rank better and better that haven't been changed or added to in I know at least a year. Very old outdated back links and very low pages in the index.
I kinda believe at least I hope Google is allowing this to happen to note the sites popping up in the serps as spam so they can be dealt with or see what is working to obtain atrifical rankings.
We or I have to understand this isn't like a change I can do on my website were it is completed in a short period of time but may take months to complete.
It is hard to bear but I am as well doing all I can to drive traffic to my site other than search engine traffic.
I feel this has made me relize the pitfalls of search engine traffic and need to do a better job of finding and gathering information to obtain traffic from other sources...Ahh the true virtures of being an SEO profesional....
|Like to report been overtaken by a site that uses very very tiny text stuffed in the footer bunch of stuffed keywords. |
You can buy 20,000 garbage links for $20/mo and overtake the link spammers that jumped ahead of you. But a month from now will these junk links work like they work now? If you have a quality site, it's best to let this play out. I assume that Google will eventually figure out how to spot completely obvious paid links.
However, if you have a site stuck on the 3rd or 4th page with little hope of going nowhere, why not give this a shot? If google sees you're buying massive spam links, what's the worst that will happen - back to the 3rd or 4th page?
Could all this be another problem with GOOG going after IBL, paid links and all that?
Is SEEMS that the IBL have been devaluated for some reason while others are counting. The spam sites right now have links from a lot of different sources, mainly from blogs, boards and other sites that GOOG likes, all sites with fresh content.
GOOG, in my opinion, should stop using "link juice" since it can be manipulated all the time and try to find another way to rank pages.
Links are good because how else can you get traffic right now? If they are paid or earned, who cares but GOOG? You can have a new site, spam boards, blogs and everything else you can find, especially foreign boards seem to be good right now, using different anchor text but relevant to your site and you'll get to the first page in a matter of a few weeks, while white hat web masters have to fight for every inch, so where's the "justice" in that?
I am hoping that they are working frantically on a solution to the mess and it will get better very soon, but *I* don't see any good things as of yet. If possible, it's getting worse for every day. I guess the google books and other google diverisites have been demoted to 3rd or 4th page, which is good but spam sites are still there, "mom&pop" site in top, blogs in top.....
By the way, was it the complaints from WebmasterWorld about the books showing up like they did that changed how they were displayed?
From what I have seen in videos, the Google leadership (Given they never had a proper job) is somehow a bit idealistic and tries to save their wee IBL link scheme, so most actions will be to force the web back to 1998 when IBLs still worked and peace guided the planets and love steered the stars. :)
We still haven't recovered totally since a couple of months ago when a spam network started to link to us unsolicited, the same spammer that replaced us is still there .. Half of the page boilerplate double content with WP snippets and forum inserts, german domain, but registered in Thailand.
[edited by: mattg3 at 8:11 pm (utc) on Sep. 28, 2007]
Part of the problem here is that it is the people who are having ranking problems that come and vent in these threads. I usually do not come in here and check out this SERPS thread unless one of my sites have taken a hit or something. So you get a group of people that are complaining about the results because it has effected their site in a negative way. I bet if all of your sites were now ranked at the top, you wouldn't be in here complaining about the results.
The truth is, if you are taking a big hit, you need a better overall strategy. My strategy is such that I always benefit no matter how Google changes. Every time Google makes changes, I benefit to some degree. If you don't think on this level, you get beat.
Well I diversified the last 5 months .. This time i wasn't hit and didn't visit these forums for a while as it's essentially pointless .. 3000 hypotheses, rarely a decent test.
i've been saying for years now that google's backlink determined algorithm is a dead end. it has done more harm than good in creating this link-spam dominated internet. the sooner google, or someone else, find an alternative the better.
it's been altavista circa.1998 for at least 3 years now in the google search world.
it's a shame no real competition has emerged, just pale google imitations from yahoo, msn.
|G seems to have added an additional filter which happens what looks like to me AFTER the datacenter sends the results - but BEFORE they are displayed to the user. |
This is important to note for all who query the data centers directly. It's been this way for a while, and yes, it makes for frustration especially in some markets and geo-locations where that last layer can create significant changes.
Datacenters have been useless for results quite awhile. There is no reason to pay attention to them except in a case like if a page has disapeared on the main results, you can look to see if it is on some datacenters but not others. Other than that they are just half-baked, lesser quality lists of URLs.
|Ranking almost empty pages. What's the excuse? Ohhh yes they are eventually blogs or forums, have 20 backlinks saying "widgets" all from their own sites, paid textlinks or free directories that are so cheap that Google did not spot them as SEO capable + spammy meta description that looks like meta keyword when Altavista was king years ago...yeah right. |
|Seems easy enough. Put up a virtually blank entry page with good meta description and page title and about 5 words on page and you have it ;) |
High-ranking but virtually blank, placeholder, or stub pages are especially a problem with non-competitive search terms like scientific names. Huge database-driven MFA sites have created a page for just about every species, and usually the only thing on their hundreds of thousands of pages are lots of ads (of course) and the species name in the title tag, meta description, on-page title text, and sometimes in the url. Even legitimate government, university, and non-profit organizations have published these virtually blank database pages with empty fields, and Google really loves these ones despite their lack of content.
<Not sure of your products search but I have been seeing the shoppings sites taking over almost all my product searches for 5-6 months now. Maybe longer...>
I started noticing it more recently but you may be right on the timing. I've been wondering what the possibility is that it is a paid placement arrangment. If not, these shopping engines must be much more profitable now that they don't need to use sponsored link campaigns nearly as much for traffic.
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