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This 185 message thread spans 7 pages: < < 185 ( 1 [2] 3 4 5 6 7 > >     
Update Dewey: April 2008 Google SERP Changes - part 2
MetroWebDev




msg:3619286
 5:26 pm on Apr 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

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

Seems to be a lot of consensus that the shuffling is about links and link value. I am in a highly competitive industry and I definitely concur. I've spent the past three days doing in-depth backlink analysis on the competitor sites that jumped ahead of our site (pushing us to #11 from #6) and they exhibit obvious link building practices that Google supposedly frowns upon...mainly link purchases. I'm coming across a lot of run of sites. We have been steadily cleaning up our paid links, which seems to have been a mistake.

I've had this nagging thought in the back of my head that just gains more credence with each new Google update. I think Matt Cutts accomplishes through PR and dictum what Google is NOT able to accomplish algorithmically. You can only program a machine to do so much, evidence by the fact that we still don't have robot servants or cars that can drive themselves.

So how could the largest ad agency in the world (oops, I mean search engine) control the factors that they can't through algorithms? Why not create some sort of demi-god that respectable, white hat SEOs will flock to and follow without question? I think a lot of us have been duped and now the spammers and less-than-white hat SEOs are reaping the benefits.

Seeing as how many of us are seeing poor quality sites with poor quality backlinks beating out older, quality sites, is it too far-fetched to suggest that maybe Google had turned off a big portion of their algos that try to filter out paid links? Perhaps because after several months of launching a PR campaign against them, maybe they feel that enough sites have cleaned up those links? Or maybe because they only real filter they have the "Report Paid Links" database that they've been building?

PageRank isn't the biggest PR in SEO anymore, it's Press Relations and we all know what that's about...how to "spin" things.

[edited by: tedster at 6:37 pm (utc) on April 5, 2008]

 

Lovejoy




msg:3619854
 2:26 pm on Apr 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

Well they seem to be in denial over it on the Google webmaster discussion groups. Just about anyone who had a long standing static site with good rank that disappeared were told basically "Your site's rank sucks because" ;~))

While some of their comments were legitimate regarding site issues , others were laughable, eg "You need a sitemap cause google can't find you" ( sites online for years with thousands of links), "You have a link farm" ( standard links page) or " you have a javascript menu" ;~)

What would it hurt to have a Googler come right out and say " Hey Guys, heads up, we are doing an update, there may be some disruption in search results till April 4th"

Lovejoy

tedster




msg:3619896
 4:17 pm on Apr 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

Some references that might help this discussion:

Matt Cutts video about datacenters - including the fact that datacenters do not equate to IP addresses:

There are probably better ways to spend your time than watching data centers

[video.google.com...]

Matt Cutts on frequency of index updates:

In the summer of 2003 (the Google Dance called “Update Fritz”), Google switched to an index that was incrementally updated every day (or faster)

[mattcutts.com...]


reseller




msg:3619959
 6:11 pm on Apr 5, 2008 (gmt 0)


There are probably better ways to spend your time than watching data centers

[video.google.com...]


We know that several data boxes hide behind the same IP in data centers, which makes it difficult to identify which exact box we hit. But its still possible to identify changes on specific data center IP when most/all boxes display the same serps.

Matt Cutts himself asked for feedback in relation to data centers ;-)


So if you want to mention a search where you think the results are very different at one data center compared to other data centers, use the spam report form at [google.com...] and make sure to include the word "dewey" in the "Additional details" text area.

As to the second quote:


In the summer of 2003 (the Google Dance called “Update Fritz”), Google switched to an index that was incrementally updated every day (or faster)

[mattcutts.com...]

Sorry, I don't see Matt mentioning that algorithm updates are happening every day or every week.

We also need to differentiate between data refresh and algo updates, I guess.

annej




msg:3619968
 6:24 pm on Apr 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

I couldn't find the MC quote that's on another website but the one here simply says

Hey all, I asked a few people to look into this and they weren't seeing many large differences in rankings between these datacenters.
message #:3616809 The rest of his message simply asks for feedback.

All that implies to me is that we might be seeing bigger differences than they expected. It does't say that it's a algo/index update or not.

[edited by: annej at 6:30 pm (utc) on April 5, 2008]

tedster




msg:3619971
 6:25 pm on Apr 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

Right - there is a difference between an index update and an algorithm update - and in casual discussions we often lose that distinction. And a "data refresh" or "data push" seems to be yet another term we hear.

In fact - it's been a very long time since Matt or anyone else at Google confirmed an algorithm update. They obviously "turn the dials" on the existing algorithm all the time at Google, so I think Matt is reserving the title of "algorithm update" for something quite earth shaking these days. Something new that has its own new set of dials, for instnce.

However, if we can even draw a parallel at this point, the old monthly "Google Dances" were really index updates most of the time - and on occasion, such as with Florida, they also included completely new algorithm factors.

I think the distinction gets rather fuzzy now, with over 200 tweakable algo components already in servce. What matters most to our discussions is the results that we see, the shifts and changes and oscillations.

[edited by: tedster at 12:03 am (utc) on April 6, 2008]

steveb




msg:3620044
 8:40 pm on Apr 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

Reseller I even quoted Matt's line about updating daily. It's been happening for years.

Let's keep the thread on topic. There is an update going on. He/Google didn't expect datacenters to be showing different results. That's it. Send him differences if you want. And let's discuss the update that recently changed results differently - whether it is a data refresh, major algo change, minor algo change, or index update.

tedster




msg:3620096
 11:25 pm on Apr 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

I had a call from a client yesterday, concerned that a key term for them was bouncing betwee #2 and #1 - sometimes within seconds - and always on the smae IP address. This unstable behavior is new as far as I know, but as this thread shows, many people have been seeing it.

Fortunately, I could at least point the client to this thread and the minor comfort that he was not alone. Not much I can do right now with their demands to "make it stop".

We've got some members here agreeing that the ranking shifts are related to backlink scoring - in particular, apparently ignoring various linking practices that Google historically frowned upon.

There's also some conjecture around the web that DoubleClick clickstream data is somehow being integrated into the SERPs. The timing for that might work out, since the integration of DoubleClick just began a few weeks back. Short of an official announcement, I can't see how we could test for that kind of factor.

In additon, we have these observations of fact:

1. There are at least some major ranking differences across different IP addresses.

2. There have been some rapidly oscillalting results on the same IP address - not shifting all over the place, just back and forth between two sets of results.

Robert Charlton




msg:3620119
 12:47 am on Apr 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

We've got some members here agreeing that the ranking shifts are related to backlink scoring - in particular, apparently ignoring various linking practices that Google historically frowned upon.

Not to disagree about various linking practices that may be part of this... I'm seeing some ranking shifts that I've also attributed to backlink scoring, but on sites where I'm guessing that the backlinks are clean (and that the immediate upstream link sources on those backlinks are clean as well).

I've assumed that the links are simply old, from sites or pages that have long been stagnant. Also things like Open Directory links that had been 301ed but have never been updated. It's a theory, but I'm seeing enough of a pattern that it's worth mentioning.

willybfriendly




msg:3620126
 1:18 am on Apr 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

I've assumed that the links are simply old, from sites or pages that have long been stagnant.

I can confirm this, in at least some instances. I was tracking down why a .txt file written in 1997 was showing top 10. Tracked down a bunch of .edu and .gov links all put up about the same time - and never updated since. Many of the links on these pages are defunct 404's, but that .txt file remains valid.

I would conclude that age of links and authority of tld are a prime factor here.

It also serves to show the illogic of weighting links by age. Just because it's been there for 11 years does not mean it has a whole lot of value. In many cases it is simply out of date or long forgotten.

tedster




msg:3620131
 1:34 am on Apr 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

Google has filed patents that go both ways - increasing the vlue of links that stay in place for a long period, and then devaluing them as the target page for those links accrues no further citations. Maybe they are doing an experiment with dropping the second part, eh?

For one of those oscillations I've been watching it, looks like one set of results is more conceerned with disambigauation than the other. But another factor here might be that a sudden burstiness in backlinks is giving a greater boost to one set of results than the other. Both SERPs are coming from the same IP address.

trakkerguy




msg:3620134
 1:50 am on Apr 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

One of the main sites I work on has been bouncing back and forth between #1 and #2 for our main keyword also. Not that I mind, since we were never #1 before. Just thought I'd mention how it does or doesn't fit patterns others are debating.

The "new" results are only seen on google.com. Querying any datacenter by IP, we are always #2. Using the plugin for firefox, I see I'm always hitting 74.125.19.104, yet whenever I query that datacenter directly, am always #2.

Age of backlinks? The old "authority" site we are sometimes beating for #1 has few new links, but a lot of trusted links 6 or more years old. We have many more, stronger, links, but all less than 2 years old. If age of backlinks is a factor in this update, I'm seeing the opposite of WillyB.

skipfactor




msg:3620193
 4:55 am on Apr 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

>>I've assumed that the links are simply old, from sites or pages that have long been stagnant.

Like the 'directory' subpages that went greybar before this made the rounds?

annej




msg:3620202
 6:24 am on Apr 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

We've got some members here agreeing that the ranking shifts are related to backlink scoring - in particular, apparently ignoring various linking practices that Google historically frowned upon.

That could explain what is happening with the search word I've been watching. The familiar well known sites are at the top and the unfamiliar ones that just popped up there a while back seem to be gone.

Robert Charlton




msg:3620203
 6:38 am on Apr 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

>>I've assumed that the links are simply old, from sites or pages that have long been stagnant.

Like the 'directory' subpages that went greybar before this made the rounds?

Looking at the home page backlinks to one client site that has a commercial product used in an academic field, there are many more greybar pages than I'd supposed. Some of these were "directories" that have gone AdSense (some greybarred, some white-barred, some still showing green).

But there are also academic departmental "commercial products" pages and such in there as well... the kind where the page is linked with real href links and not nofollowed, but is all in Times-Roman (whereas the rest of the site is in Arial or Verdana), so that's an age tipoff. Such pages are grey barred.

Also, I'm seeing grey bars on lots of stuff like conference and events sponsorship pages, membership links pages, corporate partners pages (that really are corporate partners), etc. Not all such pages are greybarred, btw.

On one independent directory that covers the encompassing academic field and is obviously maintained by academics, the page that lists other directories in this academic area is greyed out... and there's a prominent link to the 2008 obituary of a professor whose specialty area has grey-out pages (perhaps, I'm guessing, due to lack of maintenance).

I'm completely supposing here that the grey bars could be a combination of algorithmic and human quality checking. I don't really know whether the greybar linking pages are being discounted... but something is being discounted... and the homepage of the site has dropped about five places. On this site, the deeper pages of the site, on which we've mostly focussed our link development efforts since I've been pushing them to develop links, have relatively fresh links and are holding top positions.

Robert Charlton




msg:3620204
 6:41 am on Apr 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

PS to the above... by "relatively fresh" links, I'm talking about six-months to a year old as opposed to 5 or 6 years old.

steveb




msg:3620210
 7:26 am on Apr 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

Sites built on ancient blog comments suddenly appear in the the top five for a competitive search term.

Cloaked sites suddenly appear in the top five.

Expired domains appear and make it into the top five.

Somebody forgot to add the spam filter to the secret sauce.

Bewenched




msg:3620211
 7:37 am on Apr 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing ALOT of bouncing around.

WMT is backing up the bounces.
one day I log in and the crawl stats page indicates we have alot of pages that are high and medium rank, then the next it shows we have none.

I've seen the bounce in WMT and it coincides with the Google traffic.

we've made no changes and WMT is actually showing about 100 more links than ever. It makes no sense.

tedster




msg:3620234
 9:27 am on Apr 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

There's another factor I've been waiting to see kick in at Google. During Traffic 2008, Jay Westerdal of Name Intelligence announced their partnership with Google. He said we would be seeing Whois information in the Google SERPs in March.

I assumed he meant that the SERPs would give us some kind of direct access to Whois info - but maybe there's something else going on with Whois data? Might backlink values be adjusted acording to Whois relatedness of domain registrations? Not saying it is, mind you - just tossing up some food for thought.

mahajansahab




msg:3620273
 1:01 pm on Apr 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

well i have been monitoring my website for 3 -4 months and i hv learnt all the results by heart during that process , my site came to top 10 in march mid and on april 2nd it flung back to 110 rank which was the case before 9th march exactly , so i think there has been a ranking rollback bcoz the other sites i used to see are still at the same * exactly same * positions in google.

skipfactor




msg:3620353
 4:16 pm on Apr 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

Cloaked sites suddenly appear in the top five.

Expired domains appear and make it into the top five.

Many sites built on link exchanges are dominating more than the top five(even though their link pages are typically greybar). Fresh links?

Bewenched




msg:3620367
 4:44 pm on Apr 6, 2008 (gmt 0)


Cloaked sites suddenly appear in the top five.

Expired domains appear and make it into the top five.

I've mentioned this one time before and was shot down for it, but sometimes I think google adjusts the algo to float the garbage to the top so they can skim it off. I have no proof of this, but I'll see the same thing you mentioned before and then a couple of days later those pages are no where in the serps and some completely wiped out of google.

sandboxsam




msg:3620378
 5:16 pm on Apr 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

“Many sites built on link exchanges are dominating more than the top five(even though their link pages are typically greybar). Fresh links?”

I am currently, and have for a while seen many websites ranking in the top five with most (almost all) of their links coming from “Gray Bar” link pages.

So much for quality links! It looks like the more links the better.
How does this make any sense?
Google gray bars link pages and then turns around and gives credit to those websites for the links on those pages? Quality content, has Google lost it's way?

outland88




msg:3620452
 8:31 pm on Apr 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

The whois data pages started appearing in my areas quite a while back. Around January maybe slightly earlier. Odd to see them ranking highly in results. Google always seemed to test in these areas.

In the past two weeks (especially last few days) in my areas Google seems to be settling on a core set of 200-1000 sites for hundreds of keywords. Spam was never a significant problem until the holes started getting exploited in Universal search. Google’s solution though seems worst than the problem. Because I was doing extensive research it was apparent Google was driving many commerce sites straight out of the top 100 results. The exception seemed to be a few small businesses buying links. With the terms buy and purchase added to the keywords the changes were very significant. Instead of commerce sites the top 100 results were totally dominated by a fixed core of comparsion sites on every search. On many purchase keywords the only way you could buy the product was via Adwords. I can guarantee you without a huge link profile or buying links you weren’t going to penetrate the top 100.

The handwriting seems to be on the wall for many small businesses in Google unless they develop a rather large link profile that won't be penalized eventually.

Robert Charlton




msg:3620478
 9:54 pm on Apr 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

<sort of offtopic>

The whois data pages started appearing in my areas quite a while back. Around January maybe slightly earlier. Odd to see them ranking highly in results. Google always seemed to test in these areas.

Are you seeing whois data pages come up as an added result when you search for example.com, or when you search for them specifically? I'm only seeing them when I search for...

example.com whois

Had never thought of doing this before, since I use a js app that brings these up.

</sort of offtopic>

steveb




msg:3620503
 10:47 pm on Apr 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

It seems very likely that this update reflects an absence of somethings (ie, spam filtering for one) rather than the introduction of anything.

In that way I'd think this is one update not to worry as much over. Clearly they don't want cloaked and expired-changed-industry domains to rank well.

Maybe it is a skim-the-crap-off plan, even more likely an ill-advised algo tweak, but in either case, I doubt anyone inside or out of the 'plex thinks there is better quality than before Dewey.

outland88




msg:3620529
 11:38 pm on Apr 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

There's another factor I've been waiting to see kick in at Google. During Traffic 2008, Jay Westerdal of Name Intelligence announced their partnership with Google. He said we would be seeing Whois information in the Google SERPs in March.

I missed it Robert who was asking that?

Nope, I've been seeing whois pages for searched terms for quite a while. Adsense on the pages. It's like the Google book thingy nobody was seeing but would appear and vanish then reappear. Now the books are making a comeback in some areas.

Interesting term partnership when NetSol and other have whois data. Is one's data better or money better. What's essential about it for people to see in the results. Other than Adsense money for Google I don't know.

It seems very likely that this update reflects an absence of somethings (ie, spam filtering for one) rather than the introduction of anything. absence of somethings (ie, spam filtering for one) rather than the introduction of anything.

That's what I thought at first and that's true for many of the Google country engines. Spam filtering did seem to dissappear for a while but it’s evolving. Once they eliminate the type of spam most people are mentioning you're left with a core group of large businesses with huge link profiles and not much SEO. As I like to call it is officially the “fat cats” engine now in some areas.

frances




msg:3620582
 2:34 am on Apr 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

sometimes I think google adjusts the algo to float the garbage to the top so they can skim it off. I have no proof of this, but I'll see the same thing you mentioned before and then a couple of days later those pages are no where in the serps and some completely wiped out of google

This is exactly what I am seeing in one moderately competive uk serps. Every day, one single "newbie" result appears in the top 10, hangs around for a while and then disappears back to page 2-4 to be replaced by another one.

The top 3 sites always stay firm; the other 7 regulars are endlessly reshuffled.

It feels like they are testing something.

Hissingsid




msg:3620661
 7:23 am on Apr 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

It feels like they are testing something.

Definitely!

My patience.

Cheers

Sid

scot184




msg:3620669
 7:45 am on Apr 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

Has anyone else been completely dropped from the Google index over the weekend? I was good to go and now 0 pages in Google index, no cached page, nothing.

I use Wordpress, no blackhat, no bs...not sure what happened. Thinking it's a glitch, but concerned that my site has vanished from G Index. Thoughts?

internetheaven




msg:3620697
 8:31 am on Apr 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

Has anyone else been completely dropped from the Google index over the weekend?

No, but pages are going missing from several of my sites. But, they are the same pages that would possibly have been "supplemented" under the old Google Regime i.e. no backlinks of their own yet and internal links not yet attributed properly.

Are we going back to supplementals? (Just without the tag so we don't complain as much this time?)

night707




msg:3620706
 8:43 am on Apr 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

Now i see, that Google is filling the top 10 with you tube videos. 3 out of 10!

One site went on 5 with as little as 4 sites linking in and 60 internal links whilst old established sites with tons of prime inbounds keep on sinking.

This 185 message thread spans 7 pages: < < 185 ( 1 [2] 3 4 5 6 7 > >
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