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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]

 

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.

SEOMike




msg:3620886
 2:23 pm on Apr 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

I noticed today that the results in Google for some searches are broken into sets separated by horizontal lines. It goes 3 results, 3 results, 4 results. None are listed as sponsored.

[edited by: tedster at 3:31 pm (utc) on April 8, 2008]

HuskyPup




msg:3620897
 2:30 pm on Apr 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

I noticed today that the results in Google for some searches are broken into sets separated by horizontal lines.

I've seen this for quite some time now for specific words that can have totally different meanings, designer is a good example.

Rlilly




msg:3620925
 2:58 pm on Apr 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

> broken into sets separated by horizontal lines.

This is not new, for some terms its been around for atleast 2 years

JasonD




msg:3620936
 3:13 pm on Apr 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

search query of [bets] has the same.

SEOMike




msg:3620954
 3:30 pm on Apr 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

Thanks HuskyPup. Guess I just haven't come across it yet :-)

Here's something I'm noticing today... The site: search is being a little strange. Last week I mentioned that it was saying "results 1-10 of about 2" and that's still happening. Now I see it giving a index count that's off. It'll say "results 1-10 of about 11" and yet display 3 pages worth of results. The real count of indexed pages is 21. Is Google getting lazy about this type of search since only webmasters would likely use it? Could using a little less processor power be improving Google's overall performance?

tedster




msg:3621014
 4:32 pm on Apr 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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

They never went away, Google just removed the tag [webmasterworld.com], as you suggest. The Supplemental partition to the complete database is undergoing continued development and is likely a long term factor for Google. Here's a recent discussion:

[webmasterworld.com...]

There may even be more than one "partition" now. The reason I say that is that AOL buys their search from Google and a site: operator search on AOL used to pretty much match the non-supplemental numbers on regular Google. But now that doesn't seem to be the case, AOL is often lower.

[edited by: tedster at 3:17 am (utc) on April 8, 2008]

BillyS




msg:3621450
 2:48 am on Apr 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

AOL is almost always lower. Although I do believe AOL is a leading indicator of Google's direction.

SEOMike




msg:3621764
 1:48 pm on Apr 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

Today my cache date went backwards. It went from 4/2 to 3/29. Ideas?

5ubliminal




msg:3621792
 2:41 pm on Apr 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

Your cache date is reported by the server you query. They are not all synced ... and right now ... they are as de-synced as they can get.

[edited by: tedster at 3:23 pm (utc) on April 8, 2008]

potentialgeek




msg:3621794
 2:53 pm on Apr 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

> broken into sets separated by horizontal lines.

I HATE this. If Google thinks there are three or however many possible relevant categories, it only has to put three links/more at the top for suggested (refined) searches.

Yes, it's been around for a few years, but I still don't like it. The different categories aren't clear enough the moment you see the page.

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

Yeah, it's getting silly and cluttered.

See related thread (which I could have posted here):

[webmasterworld.com...]

Google is under immense pressure to convert YT into money and its recent stock troubles aren't making it any more likely it'll be less aggressive!

p/g

Bewenched




msg:3622070
 8:06 pm on Apr 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

OK .. I dont know what is up with google. just doing a basic search for personal reasons came up with all sorts of you tube videos and the wierdest thing was when you click on the link they took me to different countries version of you tube. it's like google was passing the wrong language or something.

If they have their versions screwed up it might explain why virtually EVERY one that has called our offices today were in other countries. Seriously.. we are in the US

sewsweet




msg:3622242
 1:01 am on Apr 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have spent the afternoon searching of information on this latest update. My site visitors dropped by 2/3 after April 5th. I am still listed in google but my rankings on my keywords have dropped out of site. Any ideas? I have not intentionally done any underhanded stuff for SEO. I try to just get good organic search results using the keywords that pertain to my products. Any chance that things will settle back to pre-April 5th? I am really paniced as orders have dropped off entirely.

my site is <snip>

[edited by: lawman at 1:28 am (utc) on April 9, 2008]
[edit reason] No Specifics Please [/edit]

tedster




msg:3622284
 2:04 am on Apr 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

Hello sewsweet, and welcome to the forums.

That's the reason we're here sharing our observations - trying to understand what the changes are all about. We don't offer individual site reviews here - but we do help each other learn about the many things that afffect how Google ranks our sites.

If you haven't already done this, I also encourage you to get familiar with the topics in the Hot Topics area [webmasterworld.com], which is always pinned to the top of this forum's index page. One or more of those threads may help shed light on your situation.

alwaysthinking




msg:3622286
 2:34 am on Apr 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

I too experienced an extreme drop-off in traffic even though all my pages were indexed in Google's search data - apparently whatever the most recent algo tweak effectively made my site "disappear" for the most popular niche keywords they were designed for... after years of spectacular performance...

Needless to say I was distraught, as I believed I was providing a "public service" with my niche directory before Google even existed... and gladly excepted the monetization of my information when I finally experimented with AdSense in late 2004...

BUT I recently became horrified (and suddenly stripped of most income) when the "do no evil" Google effectively banished the most authoritative niche directory in my sector...

BUT GOOGLE WENT TOO FAR in their latest quest of maximizing corporate profit and ended up shooting themselves in the foot (my theory)...

FROM MY OBSERVATIONS... my pages are showing-up once again in appropriately rankings for the most popular niche search keywords as they had historically performed - instead of the highly scaled back "web presence" Google was providing my pages organically in their search results...

I did NOT make any changes... but noticed my earnings increase on Sunday/Monday, and conducted test searches to confirm the "correction"...

As cocky & assured as I once was, I would have said that Google noticed they were accidentally screwing me and corrected the matter... BUT after being completely humbled by Google's latest algo tweak - I think this must be a fairly wide-spread adjustment (niche wide?) Google made when they discovered they were generating even less ad revenue because of their recent changes...

Either way, my pages are performing as well as they have historically in Google's search results without making ANY changes, and my earnings have increased.

HOWEVER my earnings are only fractional of my previous earnings, as my niche market is a function of the real estate market - as people would be most apt to search for the product/service when the move... needless to say, this portion of the economy is "under pressure" the past few months or so (my earnings had been on a steady decline for the past 2 years - that's why I had a rant on WW about the pending RE bubble burst last year - which I saw correctly, unfortunately), and will be for the foreseeable future... unfortunately again...

Good Luck to all my fellow AdSensers... it will be trying times to come, but it will also will present many opportunities for those more adaptable than I! Spending on online advertising is expected to increase substantially as studies have concluded that it is the most cost-effective method of converting sales for retailers - of course, we always suspected this...

[edited by: alwaysthinking at 2:47 am (utc) on April 9, 2008]

willybfriendly




msg:3622287
 2:37 am on Apr 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

I just stumbled on another set of interlinked sites. All identical, or virtually identical pages called either "links" or "resources" (or both!) - all by the same design firm...

Not surprisingly, given sitewide links to the designer's site at the bottom of each page on these interlinked sites, a search for "keyword web design" or "keyword website design" brings up the culprit #1.

Also not many of the sites in this group have very small sitewide stuffed anchor text links buried near the bottom of the pages (e.g. "widets in anyState") which seem to be working quite well for ranking purposes - even if they are in about 3 pt font and light blue on medium blue, or pink on lavender.

I haven't seen this kind of blatant link manipulation work in a long, long time.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 4:23 am (utc) on April 10, 2008]

alwaysthinking




msg:3622331
 3:43 am on Apr 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

(opps) "gladly ACCEPTED the monetization of my information..." LOL... I'm burnt-out from 11+ years of 24/7 pressure of striving for "online perfection" & now becoming "old" faster than I care to admit...

WHITE FLAG (or red flag? lol) Have MERCY Google! Thank you!

[edited by: alwaysthinking at 3:48 am (utc) on April 9, 2008]

shailendragatesix




msg:3622336
 3:45 am on Apr 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

We also noted some SERP changes last week.

Our one of the website, which is not ranked in Google from last 3 years is now ranked on 3-4 keywords in Top 2 pages.

I also surprised with this sudden changes.

Shailendra Dubey

[edited by: tedster at 3:58 am (utc) on April 9, 2008]

internetheaven




msg:3622458
 8:58 am on Apr 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

Many seem to sound as though this is something new for Google's algorithm. This has been building for some time and these new changes may NOT be the result of a major algorithm shift but rather just a regular update that has finally caught up with the link building done by these firms.

To clarify, many top firms and their high priced SEOs (starting to have the ring of 'high priced lawyers') noticed that Google, despite their threats about link building, was indexing and giving value to all the links they said they devalued. It is NOT just spam sites and black hats that have used this, major companies are at it ... and when I say major I mean household names which if I were allowed to post them on here most would be saying "really?". Yes really, major brands applying for links from 1000s of spam sites, link farms and links pages on Russian web sites and such like.

The top ranking for one of the most valuable keywords in the UK right now is there because they have that word, on its own, stuffed at the bottom of just 5 sites (non-relevant sites and 3 not from the UK either) each with 5,000 - 20,000 pages all linking to this company's page on that product.

"We devalue paid links" - no you don't
"We devalue thousands of links from a single site" - not enough
"We devalue un-natural linking text that does not vary" - no you don't

Top level SEOs have been building these thousands of, what Google states are spammy, links for many months. I don't think the algorithm has changed a whole lot. I think the work those SEOs have done is just now kicking in. Google have been caught out in a lie, nothing more. They are so busy with their ad revenue programs that the only spam prevention tool they have is empty verbal threats that most SEOs bow down to and fear.

alwaysthinking




msg:3622479
 9:41 am on Apr 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

Wowsers... wasn't expecting such an aggressive stance towards the hand that feeds, more power to ya' if you feel it!

Personally, I prefer "gravelling for forgiveness,,,," and not challenge Google's dominance over our life... LOL...

Hissingsid




msg:3622615
 12:33 pm on Apr 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

So what do we do? Follow the big boys or try to continue to be ethical.

Just suppose the big boys got it wrong and they get slammed in the next algo change.

Cheers

Sid

SEOMike




msg:3622664
 1:42 pm on Apr 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

"We devalue paid links" - no you don't
"We devalue thousands of links from a single site" - not enough
"We devalue un-natural linking text that does not vary" - no you don't

It looks like Google is making some changes and actually devaluing links a little. The #1 site in our niche has gone from 32k+ links in Google to 3700. (Yahoo still reports them as 322,000+ links) They had tons of ROS links and it looks like SOME of those got devalued. However, a large number of the ROS links still show up. The ROS links that survived are below Adsense so I guess Google thinks that's ok. Wonder if they would have gotten devalued if they were ABOVE Adsense :)

The site is more spammy than my personal tolerance, but somehow after only having 10% of their links survive this slashing, they are STILL #1. Google just doesn't seem to punish this particular site. They get away with murder without any response.

zuko105




msg:3622689
 2:28 pm on Apr 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

Looks like google is weighing old links a lot heavier than new links as well. PM me if you want to see a live example.

willybfriendly




msg:3622732
 3:36 pm on Apr 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

It looks like Google is making some changes and actually devaluing links a little. The #1 site in our niche has gone from 32k+ links in Google to 3700.

I assume that you mean G reports 3700 links - probably very different than what are used in the algo.

Fo instance, on one of my sites link:mySite returns 18. WMT returns 955. Site Explorer returns 2179. Interestingly, some of the links are unique to each, suggesting that the true number is significantly more than 2179.

I can tell you, from what I am seeing, ROS links are working, as are networked sites with duplicate links pages, and a couple of other more sophistaced interlinking schemes.

Nothing really new, but it is stuff that I have not seen being this effective for a couple of years now.

whitenight




msg:3622762
 4:10 pm on Apr 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

To clarify, many top firms and their high priced SEOs (starting to have the ring of 'high priced lawyers') noticed that Google, despite their threats about link building, was indexing and giving value to all the links they said they devalued

:smiles:

So what do we do? Follow the big boys or try to continue to be ethical.

:smile widens:

Exactly what's "unethical" about building links again?
Are children in 3rd world countries being harmed?
Creating global warming?
Perhaps the Buddha, The prophet or the Lord have given commandments?

Lol oh yeah, almighty MC gave his infamous pronouncement of DOOOOOOOOM.

Hmm, coulda sworn one oft-edited poster on here was saying otherwise. ;)

Re-read internetheaven's post about 5x, then stick it under your pillow, and then remember Goog is more concerned with monetizing Youtube via Universal Search than investing countless billions to re-hire Sergei and Larry in hopes they will create an entirely new algo/SE.

HuskyPup




msg:3622825
 5:12 pm on Apr 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

Looks like google is weighing old links a lot heavier than new links as well.

I have noticed this too. I constructed a trade brochure site which is now 10 years old and it has hardly ever been updated since however this past couple of weeks it's suddenly started to re-appear in the top 20 and sometimes top 10.

It has lots of old backlinks from all sorts of places but one thing is for certain, it's no authority site! Just plain old vanilla images and very, very, little text.

alwaysthinking




msg:3622840
 5:39 pm on Apr 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

"groveling for forgiveness..." (opps again... too much rum last night, lol)... BUT it still seems to be working as my pages seem to be performing better again, without any adjustments on my part.

g1smd




msg:3622901
 6:50 pm on Apr 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

Hmmm. This is very odd. A search like:

site:domain.com "some text to find"

is also returning several pages that are NOT from domain.com in the results.

The change has happened in the last 24 to 36 hours, or less.

clickfire




msg:3623339
 4:18 am on Apr 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

BUT after being completely humbled by Google's latest algo tweak - I think this must be a fairly wide-spread adjustment (niche wide?) Google made when they discovered they were generating even less ad revenue because of their recent changes...

Exactly my sentiment. I endured the loss for the last 2 to 3 weeks. Whatever it was, algo change, software, datacenter, it's subsided and I'm back in the SERPs.

"That which does not kill me, only serves to make me stronger" --Nietzsche

willybfriendly




msg:3623341
 4:37 am on Apr 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

I can say with assuredness that Adsense has nothing to do with what I see in the niches I most closely monitor. While there is a good deal of paid linking, virtually no sites are using adsense in any form.

It is almost all about either ooooold links or pumped up linking networks - or both in some cases. I am seeing the resurgance of an interlinked network that has not ranked in at least two years. There is not even any subtlety in what I am seeing. Just brute force linking. Tonight I came across a fake directory with ROS anchor text footer links that is contributing to a sites ranking rather nicely. "Fake" in as much as the only site(s) relevant to the niche listed are the same site to which all the footer links point.

Given how this is slowly rolling out, I am waiting for yet another site I know of to show up with top rankings. That owner has several "niche directories" (old Gossamer Threads sites, for those that remember back then...) with a passel of ROS links back to the main site. hasn't shown up yet, but it fits the pattern of these other ones that are blessed right now.

lufc1955




msg:3623403
 7:52 am on Apr 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

I don't see any devaluation in links in my highly competitive sector here in the UK. One of my sites in a niche area with a large amount of user generated consumer reviews, other information and over 250 pages of other content and with regular new added content, which has occupied the top 4 or 5 positions for several months. It has just been overtaken by a price comparison site with just 4 small paragraphs of information about the same niche area as mine. I checked the backlinks and lots of the links are from east european sites. Even the link titles are in Russian ! Whats anoying is that this site has also moved into the top few positions in lots of other niche areas in the same sector, again with just 3 or 4 small paragraphs of conten. It seems the power of these hundreds of links have done it because there is little genuine content there.

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