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Google.com SERP Changes - October 2008
internetheaven




msg:3755362
 8:43 am on Sep 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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

If you want to search G books, videos, maps, news, god-knows-whats-next, you can do it through the appropriate categories - you don't need it in the main serps.

Natural search results do not earn money. Google is spending more and more money trying to monopolise the web as quickly as possible. Therefore, they have to make the natural search results still relevant enough to retain people whilst cramming in as much commercial items as possible to fill the war chest.

--> I notice you are frustrated with the Google-spam but made no intimation that you were going to stop using Google? They obviously haven't crossed that line for you yet. <--

As Google grows, the amount of traffic generated from the No.1 natural search spot will decrease at a similar pace. Remember, sometimes you might be losing traffic because 3 new advertisers jumped on the Adwords program and the sponsored ads are above your listing now. Nothing to do with ranking issues at all.

[edited by: tedster at 11:25 pm (utc) on Oct. 1, 2008]

 

chelseaareback




msg:3764871
 8:54 pm on Oct 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

this may be a QI spot, but then again maybe not - just noticed that we rank for a term contained on the page VIA AN ADWORDS AD

eg a search for a specific site (lets say there a site called the WIDGET guide) and the search (on G) is "widget guide to blue". Further we also have a page devoted to blue which carries an adwords ad from the WIDGET GUIDE (albeit intermittently)

this cant be right surely - we are number 3 for a search for "widget guide to blue" - surely the the search should throw up the widget guide and its not in top 50

any thoughts? - or am I merely discussing with the converted ?

whitenight




msg:3764900
 10:00 pm on Oct 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

just noticed that we rank for a term contained on the page VIA AN ADWORDS AD

eg a search for a specific site (lets say there a site called the WIDGET guide) and the search (on G) is "widget guide to blue". Further we also have a page devoted to blue which carries an adwords ad from the WIDGET GUIDE (albeit intermittently)

this cant be right surely - we are number 3 for a search for "widget guide to blue" - surely the the search should throw up the widget guide and its not in top 50

this is a fun little observation that would cause me to go on a rant so large,
i would be permanently kicked off this site.

Let's just say,
- Yes, you saw correctly
- no, it is not an accident
- yes, it's an attempt for Google to get people to spend more money on adwords
- yes, you will find you rankings disappear for that term over time,
whether they spend more money on adwords (via different phrases) or not.

- yes, it totally debunks EVERY single Goog defender out there that says Adwords and Search are separate or the multitude of "please don't be mean to Goog" arguments we hear regularly.

- No, i really don't have the time or patience to battle all the counter-arguments that will come because of the above statements. ;)
Just know that it happens, and what that actually means for everyone's business relationship with Google.
(the beloved fighter of truth and justice on the internet) :snicker:

workingNOMAD




msg:3765237
 10:06 am on Oct 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

I am seeing an update in the serps I watch, not a major one though

dublinmike




msg:3766556
 10:27 pm on Oct 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

chelseareback, never, ever buy Adwords, this is what you will get. Can't agree more with whitenight

dertyfern




msg:3766890
 8:29 am on Oct 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

If you owned a company worth billions with the worldwide reach that Google does would you risk your credibility allowing such activities?

Shaddows




msg:3766894
 8:42 am on Oct 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

dertyfern- yes.

If you were software giant, would you allow bloated software to undermine your market position

If you were one (or indeed several) of the biggest investment banks in the world, would you allow yourself to become overextend, leaving open the possibility of collape

If you were an search & advertising giant, would you allow your search branch to maximise profits of your advertising branch (in such a way as to be almost undetectable, and certainly broadly unintrusive)

Rank by liklihood, and by risk to business model. Google's strategy seems most likely and least risky, IMHO

edit- took out specifics

[edited by: Shaddows at 8:47 am (utc) on Oct. 16, 2008]

dertyfern




msg:3766897
 8:57 am on Oct 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

not certain that the examples are relevent and call me dense but google doesn't seem to be having any issues related to profitability or market share. clearly one can't label this "undetectable" as we are highlighting it's possible existance. users of all types trust google and i hardly think they'd risk that reputation.

chelseaareback




msg:3766921
 9:49 am on Oct 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

may i have confused things a touch. dont buy adwords - display adsense/adwords on my site and we are ranking for one of the advertisers that has appeared in the google adsense space. i thought that this was strange for all sorts of reasons - one of which being that this advertiser only appears very occasionally - not targettting us specifically or anything. a s far as above comments re google are concerned suspect truth is somehwere in the middle but must be honest and say I can see no reason ethical or otherwise why the big G cant do what it likes with its index and clients. I know I do what I like with mine

Shaddows




msg:3766938
 10:20 am on Oct 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

Ok, how about- would you release a browser that records key strokes.

The point is that an assumption that a huge corporation wouldnt do something that would risk their reputation is clearly wrong.

Doing something that would destroy their reputation and/or business model is much less likely, and much more stupid, yet still these multi-billion dollar companies succeed in doing one or both.

And this particular infringement by google isnt exactly what the Americans amongst us might call a 'game-changer', at least for all those USERS (not webmaster/ SEOs).

Ok, even though I said 'almost', undetactable is probably not reasonable. Detectable certainly by those such as Whitenight, whom I understand has a very large database and a reasonably clear idea about how a page should rank on merit, or by SEOs who are specifically looking at their own pages, or analysing a competitor page to see why it ranks and the ONLY INSTANCE is in EMBEDDED ADSENSE advertising.

However, I stand by "unintrusive", although maybe it should be "unobtrusive". Either way, its not in-your-face obvious. As such, its not really a big risk, and every little bit of extra revenue helps. Especially when you share price is crashing, the economy is tightenign and Ad revenues might sensibly be predicted to drop (usually people spend less on advertising during a downturn, though this may not turn out to be the case online)

[edited by: Shaddows at 10:25 am (utc) on Oct. 16, 2008]

whitenight




msg:3767238
 5:07 pm on Oct 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

dertyfern

I could give you even more nefarious examples of what Google does to induce adwords buying through SERPs placement,
but until you've seen it and understood what they were doing, then you would probably chalk it up to "algo changes"

It's subtle and sneaky and would go unnoticed by 99% of most businesses and webmasters, but I study (and understand) the SERPs like a hawk, and know which keywords I should be ranking for and which one's i have no business ranking for.

----------------------

I am seeing an update in the serps I watch, not a major one though

I noticed this too, but I would say it's a pretty major update.
It's just that Google has gotten so fast and smooth in their updates nowadays, it goes basically unnoticed.
Nice catch.

gouri




msg:3767258
 5:27 pm on Oct 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

I think what some of you are saying is that you have been able to see that sites that use Adwords to promote their sites are ranking higher in the SERP?

What I wanted to ask is if a site runs Adsense does that seem to help in the SERP?

confuscius




msg:3767447
 10:53 pm on Oct 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have seen a new cause and effect today which at first I thought was a re-occurrence of the June 4 fiasco but further investigation seems to suggest that the 40% loss of traffic today across a number of disparate and different style domains and content is down to the fact that the Google index size seems to have shrunk accross multiple topic areas.

I monitor my own and many other sites and I am seeing an almost equivalent percentage reduction in the number of indexed pages according to both site: and WMT data. Looks like Google has a space issue.

wheel




msg:3767473
 11:42 pm on Oct 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

I don't watch the SERPS, other than to make sure I rank #1 on my 'main phrase'. However I was tinkering around with some other phrases and noticed something a lot more prevalent in the last month or so. In my space, there's a lot of folks with either dropped or repurposed domains now ranking. Like, a 4-6 of these in the first two pages of some decent keywords. I know it's been going on for a while - but it seems recently to have become more predominant.

Maybe that's not a serp change though, maybe that's just more people getting in on the action.

pbmadman




msg:3767570
 3:13 am on Oct 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

I can't say I watch it like you guys. However, I have a site that is completely abandoned due to lack of time... I lost about 50% of the traffic and income about six months ago. About a month ago, it slowly started coming back, and in the last week, I now make more than ever.

I can't explain it other than I must have done a money dance to the algo gods... I'm hoping some here can explain. I have made zero changes to the site.

gusp




msg:3767769
 10:42 am on Oct 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

Of the 100 keyword phrases that I monitor daily the number of results returned on Google for one of them is always around 768,000 to 810,000. This afternoon the number of results shrank to 310,000 now tonight the number of results returned was grew to 3,500,000. On another term which usually returns about 5,500,000 results it returned 14,000,000 tonight. Its not my eyes I doubled and triple checked the numbers each time.

drall




msg:3767860
 12:58 pm on Oct 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

gusp, my site: count has halfed over the last few weeks dropping by a few thousand results daily yet my sites traffic has not only stayed even from g but has risen.

I think that the results numbers given by the serps is a completely useless number now.

gouri




msg:3767935
 2:20 pm on Oct 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have seen competitive sites for some keywords increase by a couple of million this week.

I don't know what to make of this.

ponyboy96




msg:3768178
 6:34 pm on Oct 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

"I think what some of you are saying is that you have been able to see that sites that use Adwords to promote their sites are ranking higher in the SERP?

What I wanted to ask is if a site runs Adsense does that seem to help in the SERP?"

I'm going to throw this out there because I haven't seen it mentioned yet. If everyone will recall, about two months ago Google said that they were now going to start indexing javascript and javascript links on a limited basis. Wouldn't it make sense for them to index their own Adsense code since it is trusted?

If they were indexing the Adsense JS code, then that would mean that the advertisers would receive backlinks from relevant on topic sites for their targeted keyword phrases. In return, this would create hundreds or thousands of links that could help to boost their natural search rankings for those keywords.

Just a thought. This may be an unintended consequence of this. It could also explain why some sites that use Adsense are now ranking for their competitors brand name.

tedster




msg:3768195
 6:52 pm on Oct 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

That is what some people feel they are seeing, ponyboy96. So far, I haven't ruled it out, but I'm also not convinced we're seeing cause and effect at work... and I look at a lot of data.

Here's the complication. The Adsense algo decides which ads to display on a page. That requires some semantic indexing that can't be too far removed from the phrase-based indexing that Google uses for the organic results.

Eyebrows get raised when a page is ranking for a phrase that includes a word that is not in the on-page content. But even without running Adsense, that kind of traffic is relatively common with today's Google. It is possible that both the Adsense and the organic algorithms decide the page is relevant for the query - and the word happens also to appear in an ad occasionally.

gusp




msg:3768205
 7:04 pm on Oct 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

drall, I think you are right about the results numbers not being reliable now. Especially coupled with the facts that my positions stayed the same despite the results being halved or doubled and traffic also was within normal limits.

ponyboy96




msg:3768219
 7:23 pm on Oct 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

That could be the case. I also wouldn't put it past the Big G to implement a +1, +2 scenario in the algo for using Adsense and Adwords. I know this has been a tin-foil-hat thing in the past. Do you think they may be using the keywords that sites are bidding on to add relevance?

tedster




msg:3768230
 7:39 pm on Oct 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

Many business with access to all the data Google has would take actions like this in the blink of an eye. Google has always stated that they consider the Chinese Wall between organic ranking and paid search advertising to be essential for their long term credibility, and I agree with that value 100%.

That said, there are some interesting bits in the patents about monitoring who you sell advertising to as a trust metric. What isn't 100% clear is whether this trust metric is a "query independent" factor or a query dependent factor.

There are also patent statements for image search about looking at related sites and blending in the term co-occurences discovered. This is for image search, I understand, but the idea of looking at other domains for your site's relevance is in the wind, so to speak.

[edited by: tedster at 8:40 pm (utc) on Oct. 17, 2008]

whitenight




msg:3768252
 8:11 pm on Oct 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

Many business with access to all the data Google has would take actions like this in the blink of an eye.

Sigh, so are we comparing horribly unethical to less horribly unethical?!
These are the types of apologist's arguments that make me "sarcastic and cranky" on this board.

If everyone will recall, about two months ago Google said
that they were now going to start indexing javascript and javascript links on a limited basis.
Wouldn't it make sense for them to index their own Adsense code since it is trusted?

More importantly, this would blow a hole in their "why we aren't trying to monopolize the selling/buying links marketplace and everyone else selling links is evil and will be punished" argument.

Rest assured, the statute of limitations on this action is carefully being watched.

That requires some semantic indexing that can't be too far removed from the phrase-based indexing that Google uses for the organic results.

In fact, THIS argument is less probable than the less "Google-friendly" arguments.
IF this argument was indeed the explanation, we would see massive changes in the SERPs that would be obvious to EVERYONE, not just the top 1% of adsense sites and adword buyers who are benefiting from what's actually happening.


What I wanted to ask is if a site runs Adsense does that seem to help in the SERP?...

I also wouldn't put it past the Big G to implement a +1, +2 scenario in the algo for using Adsense and Adwords.


Nor should you.
And as I said before, this issue simply doesn't affect 99% of websites, so they would have no idea what was going on. (or benefit from it)
And among the 1% it does affect, either a vast majority are unaware of it too, or have no reason to complain.

Hissingsid




msg:3769552
 11:04 am on Oct 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

In my backwater all was still until this weekend. Minor change occurred involving top 3 shuffle. Looks like bought in inbound anchor text is being rewarded but I guess this may just be a ripple and calm waters will return in a few days.

Cheers

Sid

jeyKay




msg:3770388
 1:50 pm on Oct 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

'm getting a growing sense that anchor text has been dialed down and on-page factors are dialed up. What I've noticed is that pages that were "Google bombed" into ranking for odd phrases are no longer getting that traffic. And added, I'm seeing more sensibly targeted traffic based only on on-page content. If this is so, I like it.

Maybe G just putting more emphasis on anchor variation. I'm guessing Google bombers are usually to lazy to vary it.

potentialgeek




msg:3770523
 4:32 pm on Oct 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

I seem to remember Cutts once said AdWords ads could have an effect on ranking but it was minimal and wasn't intentional.

p/g

seofish




msg:3770609
 6:09 pm on Oct 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

It seem G doing algorithm update since yesterday. Any one got effected?

gouri




msg:3770618
 6:20 pm on Oct 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

Does anyone have an idea on what factors might be weighed more strongly now based on what you have seen?

Thaparian




msg:3771096
 1:30 pm on Oct 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

My site lost rankings around one month ago, site bounced back 2 days ago, and now its again down in serps.

I wonder whats happening.

Robert Charlton




msg:3771246
 4:22 pm on Oct 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

Thaparian - This discussion might be helpful...

Yo-Yo Effect - Observations and Understandings
[webmasterworld.com...]

potentialgeek




msg:3773111
 8:36 pm on Oct 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing more of my pages indexed on a large site and I'm starting to believe it's based on page length. It used to be said they don't get listed due to duplicate meta tag descriptions. I don't have those (and haven't added descriptions), but just developed page content from very thin pages.

p/g

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