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Google Updates and SERP Changes - July 2009
tedster




msg:3943983
 11:24 am on Jul 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

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

I received a communication last night that discussed a buzz going around that Google is going to shake up how it deals with backlinks. Specifically that Google is going to give less weight to less relevant linkage. This source also heard from another direction that a big change was coming in the next few days.

Anyone know anything?

 

classifieds




msg:3944728
 10:54 am on Jul 2, 2009 (gmt 0)


Early June I noticed a gradual decline in ranking for internal pages that continued to worsen until June 29th when there was a dramatic drop across the board.

My front page also got hit by the -50 at the same time.

The site lives off of the long-tail and overall traffic is down slightly but within the normal range of monthly fluctuations.

The site is user generated content and I've made no structural changes in the last year and I do not buy/sell links.

I'm not sure what's going on but it's got my attention. As one of the other posters commented - it reminds me of the old days like the Big Daddy update.

AnkitMaheshwari




msg:3944775
 12:06 pm on Jul 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

I see rankings shuffling between page#1 and Page#3 of Google almost on daily basis from past 3 days. There is definitely something big lined-up. Sad part is one of the competitor has taken most of the top spots (within first 3) where my site was ranking till day before yesterday. However, traffic to my site is still the same for now.

2clean




msg:3944807
 12:44 pm on Jul 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

last weeks, try for a number of years now.

Mrkay




msg:3944809
 12:49 pm on Jul 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

Something odd is definitely going on at Google. The site I run on behalf of the company I work for has been jumping between page 1 and page 4, on a competitive keyword, for the last 2 or 3 weeks but now seems to have settled at the lower position. Prior to that it was stuck near the top of page 2. At the same time the PageRank has gone up from 2 to 3.

GWT is now telling me that I have 29 inbound links, whereas before it varied between 1100 and 1200. Whatís more none of the links itís showing are to my homepage; it seems to be totally disregarding them. Granted, I have submitted my site to directories and these may well have been devalued but I did have some real quality inbounds, including one from The Times newspaper.

Any ideas anyone?

idolw




msg:3944815
 12:57 pm on Jul 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

The only think I see is getting fewer links of higher quality works best. Also, I noticed decent site optimization is important.
Seems like lots of us forgot about optimization and only run for backlinks, more backlinks and even more backlinks.

As for the link-treating update that might be a chance for old media and their sites where they discuss virtually every niche and often start discussions which lead to natural links.

So, pure e-commerce sites might be going down a bit.

SEOPTI




msg:3944852
 2:19 pm on Jul 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

"If you want to experience stability, you go for the adwords."

LOL

Hissingsid




msg:3944906
 3:33 pm on Jul 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm posting this here to see if it chimes with anyone else. Apologies for the made up examples the terms are in [ ].

The changes in the areas that I track have been subtle and so difficult to assess except one home page has appeared at #1 on .com and #2 on .co.uk. That site blows everyone else out of the water in terms of back links, 30 times more than anyone else in the general "industry".

If the term were [widget service] in my opinion it should always rank #1 for the word [widget] in fact it doesn't it is at #5. For the term [service] it is nowhere to be seen, I checked back to #500.

My own home page which is currently at #3 for "widget service" is #70 for the word service and #23 for the word [widget]. The term [widget service] is one of the alternative links at the bottom of the page but there are far more important widgets that should be there but are not.

It seems to me that the word widget is one that users might be searching for information on but the word service is just something that is bought, most people don't look for information on it they just want it as cheap as possible.

I know that this is only one example but it has set me wondering if this change is all about an extra layer of semantics categorisation. Words categorised by the users intentions when using that individual word. Whether it is associated with leisure/hobby information, educational research, purchase of a product or service.

Now lets say you give less weight to the words in a term that are associated with buying behaviour and more to lifestyle interest behaviour. That would explain some of what I am seeing.

An alternative view is that destination sites, those where users go and are "converted" have been demoted whereas sites where users go before moving on to another site have been promoted.

Or a mix of these.

Cheers

Sid

arizonadude




msg:3945026
 5:38 pm on Jul 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

I've seen a trend on some searches I've done, if I search for something like "how do i do a certain thing with photoshop", all I get back are sites trying to sale me either photoshop or photoshop tuturiols. In the past, that type of search would return nothing but informational and actual tutorials where as now it's nothing but sales sites.

freejung




msg:3945079
 6:46 pm on Jul 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

Aren't all irrelevant links artificial?

Of course not. I have thousands of backlinks from random sites who are re-using my content (with permission). Due to the particular nature of my content (graphical), most of these sites are completely unrelated to my topic.

Most of my on-topic links are solicited. There is simply no reason why anyone else in my niche would spontaneously link to me, whereas random people have good reason to.

Fortunately, most other sites in my niche are probably in a similar position. We'll see how it shakes out.

sirkevon




msg:3945136
 8:05 pm on Jul 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

Something odd is definitely going on at Google. The site I run on behalf of the company I work for has been jumping between page 1 and page 4, on a competitive keyword, for the last 2 or 3 weeks but now seems to have settled at the lower position. Prior to that it was stuck near the top of page 2. At the same time the PageRank has gone up from 2 to 3.

GWT is now telling me that I have 29 inbound links, whereas before it varied between 1100 and 1200. Whatís more none of the links itís showing are to my homepage; it seems to be totally disregarding them. Granted, I have submitted my site to directories and these may well have been devalued but I did have some real quality inbounds, including one from The Times newspaper.

Mrkay, what you described is just about exactly what happened with several competitive keywords that I look after, except for the PR change. My lost of inbound links in WMT were not very significant, yet the rankings have tanked. In fact, a couple sites that are now ranked in the 1st page for one of my keywords only have about 25 backlinks according to a Site Explorer check, and they aren't from sites that I'd consider high quality. Compared to my site with backlinks in the thousands but is now on the 4th page and beyond, I really don't know what to think. And it's happening to both singular and plural forms of my keywords as well as just one form. It looks a bit erratic. Whatever changes occurred, it's big and I get this sinking feeling that it might stay this way for the foreseeable future.

lethal0r




msg:3945180
 9:27 pm on Jul 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

maybe google just wiped a subset of pages to get rid of those that arent linked to anymore. the ones that are still linked to will get spidered and re-indexed again over the next few weeks. it would explain why this update is taking so long to get done.

internetheaven




msg:3945186
 9:48 pm on Jul 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

My opinion: roll-back, shuffle, roll-forward.

Personally, I think this thread should stay blank for the next couple of days until we actually see something.

Obviously something big is going on so why are we speculating days before it's probably over?

I'm off to the beach ... might do some gardening tomorrow ... maybe take a peek at results next Monday morning ...

chrisv1963




msg:3945374
 6:19 am on Jul 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Google is making a mess of things right now and quality of the results is definately going down. I just compared Google results to Bing results. Bing is a lot better at this moment (for the keywords I monitor): more relevant results and less spam. The scary part (for Google)is that Bing results are a lot better than a couple of weeks ago. Declining Google quality and improving Bing quality is something people at the Googleplex should start worrying about!

Optimus




msg:3945429
 8:50 am on Jul 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

As I see it in my sector, the Links of the Chain in this Update, listed in decending order of importance, are: User Geographic Location + Original Content + New PR factors + downweighting of IBL's + allintext + Server IP Location = Performance of a site in the organics, and frequency it will appear over a wide spread of search terms.

Google appears to be trying to give many more sites a piece of the pie, and rightly so. The PR update is probably completed, and from what I see in my sector, PR is far more appropriate after downgrading of IBL factors. Sites that have 1000's of IBL's have gone down in PR, others with few IBL's but good content, good site architecture and content have gone up in PR.

So a site with PR 5, with perhaps only 150 IBL's but with very good content over 100's or 1000's of pages, will get results served over a wider spread of search terms, but might not appear in top 5 places for primary search terms, but probably appears on page 1 for 100's of other secondary search terms. It's PR may recently have gone up a notch or two.

A site currently on PR3, with 1000's of IBL's, medium to large amount of content, might perform better for a few primary search terms but fare badly on secondary search terms. It might be in a top 3 slot for a couple of valuable primary terms, but is mostly off the radar for secondary terms, even if they have the content on the site. A site like this may have gone down a notch or two in PR.

It is as if the algo is calculating the amount of traffic a site is worth to users in different geographic locations. So site 1 (the PR5 example above) might get 1500 google referrals a day off a wide spread of search terms, while site 2 (PR3), might get 500 referrals a day, mostly off a few high value primary terms. This way, newer sites can also get traffic.

Although google is playing around a lot with the dials on allins, I suspect that the allintext factor will assume more importance than anchors and titles.

Results are still messy, but hopefully as the algo is refined further, a cleaner, fairer and more equitable showing of relevant sites will appear.

Mrkay




msg:3945431
 8:59 am on Jul 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Mrkay, what you described is just about exactly what happened with several competitive keywords that I look after, except for the PR change. My lost of inbound links in WMT were not very significant, yet the rankings have tanked. In fact, a couple sites that are now ranked in the 1st page for one of my keywords only have about 25 backlinks according to a Site Explorer check, and they aren't from sites that I'd consider high quality. Compared to my site with backlinks in the thousands but is now on the 4th page and beyond, I really don't know what to think. And it's happening to both singular and plural forms of my keywords as well as just one form. It looks a bit erratic. Whatever changes occurred, it's big and I get this sinking feeling that it might stay this way for the foreseeable future.

Sirkevon, that's something I've noticed as well - poor quality sites, low on content and inbound links are suddenly ranking above mine. It's as if I've been penalised for something, but I've never used black hat techniques so I'm at a loss as to why. My boss is convinced that its all a big conspiracy on the part of Google to spook companies into spending more on ppc. :)

pelizden




msg:3945444
 9:59 am on Jul 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Still no change here, my pr is still the same, my reconsideration request did not work, I don't know what could be wrong with these affected sites. And the saddest part is that google doesn't do nothing about the sites that have copied my entire articles and rank extremely high because of that. I reported these sites as spam but google hasn't done nothing to remove them despite receiving requests. Google is dropping more and more in my eyes...Of course yahoo and bing no change - still top for main keywords...

Pass the Dutchie




msg:3945449
 10:06 am on Jul 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

My opinion: roll-back, shuffle, roll-forward.

I would add roll-back, shuffle, hold, roll-forward.

I think we are in the holding position until they are done with testing. The US holiday over the weekend would be a normal time to roll out the changes.

Mrkay




msg:3945456
 10:39 am on Jul 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Still no change here, my pr is still the same, my reconsideration request did not work

Pelizden, how do you know if have suffered a penalty?

doughayman




msg:3945552
 2:11 pm on Jul 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Right now, the quality of results coming from Bing, are far superior to those being returned by Google, for several sectors that I follow. Guess What ? My default search engine has been changed to Bing.

chrisv1963




msg:3945561
 2:23 pm on Jul 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

"Right now, the quality of results coming from Bing, are far superior to those being returned by Google, for several sectors that I follow. Guess What ? My default search engine has been changed to Bing."

With the strength of social networks these days, it won't take long before the "average searcher" discovers this too.

trinorthlighting




msg:3945814
 6:45 pm on Jul 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

I have switched to bing as well. Google is such a mess lately. I am also in the process of taking down the default Google search boxes on my sites and replacing them with Bings box instead.

cangoou




msg:3945831
 7:15 pm on Jul 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

To me it seems that Google has the filter dramatically increased which put sites to the back that have a lot of "one-money-keyword-in-anchor-texts". This might effect SEOs, but it unfortunatly effects natural linked pages as well, which are kicked to +300 and more.

atlrus




msg:3945904
 8:47 pm on Jul 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Google may be testing something. I see an abundance of hi-jacked .edu domains all over first page results. This usually happens before Google changes something in the algo, I guess dropping the guard for a few days while implementing...

On a separate note, it's a shame that Bing doesn't get much traffic. They do have somewhat better results right now (my sites rank equaly on both SE, so no bias here).

steveb




msg:3945922
 9:28 pm on Jul 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

There are at least three large sets of results roatating around now, and right now it looks like all sets of the results include some trivial and penalized and junk edu pages rising into the top 50, along with some long-neglected good ones.

This used to happen all the time with updates -- shuffle things up, the poop rises, then it gets flushed, and things settle down. We haven't had an update in that format in a long time, but it seems clear we are in the middle of whatever is changing and not the end.

arizonadude




msg:3945928
 9:44 pm on Jul 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

have switched to bing as well. Google is such a mess lately. I am also in the process of taking down the default Google search boxes on my sites and replacing them with Bings box instead.
In the past, when Google messed things up and people started talking like that, there wasn't an alternative so you just lived with it.

Unfortunatley for Google, this time there is an alternatve and they have really poked the hornets nest of Webmasters who have been faithfully following them.

Even if this finally does settle down and the cream floats to the top, the damage has been done.

jeyKay




msg:3945929
 9:49 pm on Jul 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm off to the beach ... might do some gardening tomorrow ... maybe take a peek at results next Monday morning ...

I wish I could join you InternetHeaven. I think I'll just stick to my video games till Monday or Tuesday lol

But seriously, theres a saying that Humans tend to over analyze, or over complicate things. I think this is a good example. It's funny how we can find things when we want start overlooking ....even when those things aren't really there.

From my perspective, every single keyword I have been following for the last ~2 years have been showing the same set of results, with the exception of one thing: localisation. It's the only thing I've seen that could be playing a role in any kind of change I see.

followgreg




msg:3945972
 11:38 pm on Jul 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

There is a serious amount of cr.p up on page 1 right now.
I haven't seen this much for years! Maybe never.

And yes, in my industry, Bing returns more relevant results thant Google. Actually Bing returns results similar to Google's back a few months to a year ago - which WAS defenetely more relevant than was is floating around page 1 on Google for a few weeks, since July 1st is the worst of all.
There are usually a couple of relevant sites that stick, the rest are pieces of junk, obvious spam and the like.
It really isn't good, but I know of some black hat boys that love it! Good for them.

I've also noticed that some sites to which Google give 'authority' status can do ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING including keyword stuffing, CSS tricks to hide keyword variation, copy content from other sites and get ranked for EVERYTHING ANYWAY. These sites have noticed that anything goes, and they use it, and Google just let them do it. Amazing.

micklearn




msg:3946034
 4:35 am on Jul 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

"Relevant results" displayed might always be a tricky concept, from any search engine. Over the last year, many times I've seen that almost anyone can buy a keyword specific domain and rank well, across all of the major search engines. Frustrating to observe that, to say the least. I'm hoping that forthcoming July SERP's and search engines across the board can focus on that in some way. Here's hoping that the "August SERP Changes" thread will drift toward a new age where true efforts are rewarded...I'm somewhat hesitant to hold my breath...but hopeful.

arizonadude




msg:3946036
 4:38 am on Jul 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

keyword specific domain and rank well, across all of the major search engines
If the site is about the keyword, has good quality content and the owner has put in the time to make a good quality site, why shouldn't they rank?

Just because they got the domain before somebody and else and put it to good use is no reason to demote them.

More often than not when I run across a keyword domain, it is spot on. Sure there are few that stray, but certainly not enough to warrant a witch hunt.

Google has enough issues at the moment.

micklearn




msg:3946043
 5:24 am on Jul 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

arizonadude: Thanks for the reply. It's entirely possible that we are viewing very different categories of information in SERP's. The sites that I am coming across are not necessarily one's with quality content and rarely have even a basic privacy policy (displaying AdSense, no less). Also, I feel that there is a huge difference between snagging a domain and "good use" of that domain. Google has it's issues, as every search engine does, maybe a witch hunt of some sort by all of them isn't such a bad idea.

chrisv1963




msg:3946057
 6:21 am on Jul 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

"And yes, in my industry, Bing returns more relevant results thant Google. Actually Bing returns results similar to Google's back a few months to a year ago"

I'm seeing the same thing in my industry.

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