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

 

romerome




msg:3947567
 9:58 am on Jul 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

For people that have been hit by the penality. When you check rankings using allinanchor does your site still appear where it was before the penality?

classifieds




msg:3947572
 10:21 am on Jul 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

The internal pages I track continue to slide but overall long-tail traffic remains within normal ranges. -50 penalty is also still in place for the site's name [widget.com ranking for "widgets"}.

I'll continue to watch and gather data given that I don't have a clue about what changed at G.

idolw




msg:3947614
 12:24 pm on Jul 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

brinked, there may be something in what you say but I think that there is more to it than that. There's one page in the SERPS of a term that I watch that has simply bought sitewide links in a few blogs. In some it is in the blog roll, in others there is a paragraph of text in the left or RH column with links to the site. In each case they use the exact 2 word term.

If these paid links are relevant google happy about it. When I look at some sectors the entire Top 1000 is spammed with sites buying links big time. Just the ones at the top buy on-topic links and sites below buy any links.

cangoou




msg:3947620
 12:40 pm on Jul 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

@romerome:
Site 1:
Position before: 3
Position now: 350
Position allinanchor: 27

Site 2:
Position before: 5
Position now: 150 (just went up today from about 400)
Position allinanchor: 5

What could it mean?

followgreg




msg:3947657
 1:45 pm on Jul 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

You guys tell me if you see what I see, when I said that a lot of cr.p was floating around I wasn't kidding.

Now I see that the typical grey/black hat is working the hell way better than honest marketing within the Google guidelines.

It's like anything works right now.

For some of the keywords our site used to be on page 1 for years, now we have squidoo, thin affiliate (affiliate links being hidden though), ABSOLUTELY not content nor updates but very high density of keywords and their variations.

I am appaled when I see 1 site, that has 1 backlink from 1 squidoo page and not only the squidoo page ranks on page 1 but the site does as well.

I also see websites with heavy onsite SEO, with every keyword variations but not much of any other content ranking really high and steady for a few days. They actually started doing well a few week ago if I remember correctly but never that well.

Last I'd say that all penalties on link sculpting have been removed. They must have been removed somehow from what I see.
Also the actual theme of website my god, you can have websites that talk about cars setup an SEO landing page for pet food right now and it works.

Sitewide links seem to do well again.

And some sites that were penalized somehow back approximetaly 2 years ago are back in the game, they still are built for SEO, they are still spamming in my opinion, but now it's working again for them.

Not sure what Google's cooking but it looks like any bold SEO trick is working WAY better than it did in the past 3 or 4 years.

Well guys, black hat and bold cheap SEO tricks are back big time in my industry.

I actually am livid looking at some SERPs. I would have bet all I have that the some of the pages that are currently ranking so well would never make it through even close to the top 200. But they do now. wow!
They all look like disposable websites to me.

Not sure what can be done on our end. Users used to find what they were looking for and liked it, when they would find it....for years.
I don't even think that it's anything we do wrong, I think that cheap sites just got a boost and only so-called authorities keep their rankings high right now.

By the way, I was on the phone with a competitor yesterday. They got demoted thanks to another competitor trying and succeeding to harming their site. Well, Google don't tell me that it's almost impossible to harm a site, it's in fact very easy now that I see it anyone can demote any site with little effort as long as you're not trying to demote a super authority type of competitor, the Wikipedia or a .gov!

bwnbwn




msg:3947663
 2:02 pm on Jul 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

It has been my observation followgreg when the serps get like what you describe above this is what G wants to happen so the Review team and Mats team can put the necessary data in place that will deal with what your describing. It is easier to review a site when they are on page 1 verses page 200 and G knows what filters were relaxed that would allow for the "New" 1st page ranking to pop up.

I myself don't see the polluted serps as your describing but then again I am not in ever sector and can only look at the nitches I am working under

sobole




msg:3947664
 2:02 pm on Jul 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

Watch out Followgreg the people around here don't like it when someone bad mouths their precious Google. I for one cannot believe what's going on.

arizonadude




msg:3947683
 2:36 pm on Jul 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

Give Bing a try, it is returing far better results than Google.

Optimus




msg:3947701
 2:51 pm on Jul 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

Someone mentioned earlier in this thread the possibility google was letting the poop rise to the surface to be followed by a good flushing.

Clearly the cistern broke at googleplex and now the mess is everywhere and the the stench is rising along with mounting disgust among observers...

signor_john




msg:3947723
 3:04 pm on Jul 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

It has been my observation followgreg when the serps get like what you describe above this is what G wants to happen so the Review team and Mats team can put the necessary data in place that will deal with what your describing. It is easier to review a site when they are on page 1 verses page 200 and G knows what filters were relaxed that would allow for the "New" 1st page ranking to pop up.

Good point. As Yogi Berra once said, it's "deja vu all over again." If history is any guide, we'll be hearing furious complaints from a different set of members when the new, improved filters are in place.

This is the perfect time of year for major tweaks, and one should never assume that what happens today is a new standard for tomorrow or next week.

arizonadude




msg:3947728
 3:10 pm on Jul 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

This is the perfect time of year for major tweaks, and one should never assume that what happens today is a new standard for tomorrow or next week.
In the past, that probably was a good strategy for the goog, because there really wasn't an alternative. To bad this time they did this right around the time that there actually is an alternative engine that is actually providing a better quality search experience. It's peeled off quite a few supporters.
brinked




msg:3947754
 3:40 pm on Jul 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

It's funny. My mom who is not that computer savvy at all uses google probably once a week. She has even complained that she cant find what shes looking for on google anymore. I told her to try bing and she pretty much didnt even know there was a google alternative. She found what she wanted on bing on the first page and she said she will use bing from now on. Also, my mom does shopping online for birthdays and special occasions and is one of those people who will click on a sponsored listing and buy something from those ads.

BillyS




msg:3947779
 4:15 pm on Jul 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

Is this thread about SERP changes or a comparison to Bing (which is really just Live.com with some lipstick)?

whitenight




msg:3947787
 4:23 pm on Jul 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

Is this thread about SERP changes or a comparison to Bing (which is really just Live.com with some lipstick)?

Yes, I agree.
please keep your focus on how crappy the SERPs are, people!

lol, sorry couldn't resist =P

---------------
I'm loving this update.
very fun =)

doughayman




msg:3947808
 4:51 pm on Jul 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

Wow, now my WMT HTML suggestions for Short Meta Descriptions and Duplicate Title Tags list items what were issues 4 months ago (and were fixed then), have suddenly reappeared. I think Google is suffering from a bad acid trip to say the least. Have they reached their level of incompetence ? Maybe the summer team that "redesigned" WMT is now working on the algo team, and vice-versa.

freejung




msg:3947901
 7:57 pm on Jul 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

My niche is very static, the same sites have ranked for years and for the most part the same major sites rank across a broad range of related keywords. I'm seeing some newcomers - not in the top 5, that's pretty much the same as it's always been, but in the top 10. That's fairly unusual.

These newcomers seem oddly random -- some are quite good, some are complete crap with no content at all, some are subsections of larger, unrelated sites. Some appear to be heavily SEO'd, others don't have unique titles for their subpages. They seem to be keyword-specific -- that is, I'm not seeing the same new site across all keywords, but rather different new sites for each keyword.

Quite strange. I doubt this will last.

Love2Blog




msg:3947916
 8:37 pm on Jul 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

@romerome
My sites that suffered, were are all on Page 1 for both regular search and allintitle.

Now they are in the exact same pages 5-7 for regular search and allintitle, not exact positions but exact pages.

Hissingsid




msg:3948203
 7:11 am on Jul 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

Give Bing a try, it is returing far better results than Google.

Perhaps they are a bit more natural because very few have bothered to optimize for Bing. There algo looks even easier to spam than Google though.

Back to Google. There have been some major experiments this year that have been short lived and I think (really am hoping) what we are seeing now is another short term test and we will go back to something more palatable in the last week of the month.

Meanwhile I'm finding ways to pull run of site links out of template hot spots (like the footer) and into content. Those Textpattern custom fields will be finding a very useful purpose. This could be a good thing and make us a bit more creative and on-topic with each page.

Cheers

Sid

romerome




msg:3948314
 10:41 am on Jul 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

For the allinanchor I am wondering if the algo change basically threw sites back into the sandbox or if its a penality.

I have seen sites lose natural search rank but keep allinanchor rank. Not sure what that means if anything. Do penalities usually affect allinanchor rank?

I guess at the beginning of this thread tedster said a change in evaluating links occurred.

Do people think its going after paid links in an algorthimic way or if its penalizing sites for lots of small crappy links? Or is it ignoring links from sites that are off topic?

Like maybe a site about widgets links to a site about some other unrelated topic. And that link would be devalued.

cangoou




msg:3948320
 10:55 am on Jul 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

... threw sites back into the sandbox or if its a penality.

What would be the difference?

romerome




msg:3948322
 10:59 am on Jul 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

If its a penality it generally means the site did something wrong and therefore the webmaster should reevaluate what they are doing and see what violates googles guidelines.

If its in the sandbox it simply is a waiting game

tedster




msg:3948481
 3:20 pm on Jul 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

The sandbox is more than a simple waiting game - it's mainly about building trust. Do you think that the affected sites may have had their trust severely downgraded?

cangoou




msg:3948487
 3:28 pm on Jul 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

The strange thing is that (at last) for me it only happened on some keywords - other keywords of the sites are ranking well. If it's about trust, shouldn't the whole site getting kicked-off?

Shaddows




msg:3948501
 4:00 pm on Jul 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

shouldn't the whole site getting kicked-off

Maybe. It could be that trust is now variable by phrase. Possibly less competitive (or less monetised, if there's any difference) KW phrases, require lower trust standards.

Whatever criteria used for variable trust levels, this differential would have two effects, which could be easily confused:
1) High trust sites get swamped as low trust sites get propelled above them on "low trust allowed" phrases.
2) Lower trust sites lose rankings as they no longer make the grade on "high trust required" phrases.

On the crappy SERPs, are you looking at vanity or long tail phrases?

cangoou




msg:3948509
 4:12 pm on Jul 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks for your replys. For me, it's more vanity-keywords that have disappeared. The question for me is still: Is it enough to just to try to get new links and vary the phrases (like "good widget", "best widget in town", "cheap widgets") or do you have to very all (like "good widget", "other stuff here", "look here") or should I try to get rid of old links which might be suspicious (but the problem is: who really can say if a link is "evil" or not?)

Pass the Dutchie




msg:3948530
 4:38 pm on Jul 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

I am seeing lots of upper and lower case deviation in the serps.

Love2Blog




msg:3948595
 6:20 pm on Jul 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

@Tedster
RE: The sandbox is more than a simple waiting game - it's mainly about building trust. Do you think that the affected sites may have had their trust severely downgraded?

How would you gage that? If your link building strategies have always been the same, basic stuff like, some recips, related sites only, article marketing etc...and they were okay to rank for months, it is possible that suddenly 1 year later trust was lost and the site got banished?

Also, can a site be sandboxed if it is over 1 1/2 years old? Is that considered new enough to work into the sandbox theory?

tedster




msg:3948605
 6:49 pm on Jul 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

Personally, I'd like to throw away the term "sandbox". It originally got applied to the challenges of ranking a new site on Google back when we didn't really understand what was happening. But over time it becamse clear that the word sandbox had implications and baggage that didn't really fit.

As far as I'm concerned trying to discuss "the sandbox" blurs the discussion rather than focusing it. I don't know if trust is a direct factor in the yo-yo or not, but I re-framed the question that way because it seemed a better focus.

What is trust - in Google terms? That's a thread on its own, or several threads.

Put simply, my understanding is that trust calculation begins with a hand-picked group of seed sites -- and it then measures the link distance from those seed sites. If a new set of seed sites gets chosen, then the trust of any linked domains can shift. And if a site is removed from the seed set, then trust may fall away from those sites it links to, with further repurcussions for the second- and third-generation sites in the overall web graph.

It does seem to me that a yo-yo ranking (especially on and off the first page) could be a way of saying "we are not sure whether to trust this url for this keyword". So it gets shown just some of the time until the data makes things clear.

Now just because that makes sense to me in an abstract way does not mean that Google is really doing this, but the idea does have a kind of logic. Deep changes in content might upset a trust value. Suddenly getting impressions for a search term where a site never ranked before also might raise questions about why that happened.

If the company is "big", does that mean they are always "trusted"? Clearly not. But might such a company get at least a little benefit of the doubt - enough to yo-yo in and out, just to see what the users think?

[edited by: tedster at 9:41 pm (utc) on July 8, 2009]

brinked




msg:3948636
 7:54 pm on Jul 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

The sandbox is simply this: "My website is not ranking how I want it to rank so it must be in the sandbox because it cant be a penalty and it cant be because of anything I have done wrong"

I agree with tedster. There is no such thing as a sandbox. If only it were that simple. There are many reasons and factors why a page will not rank for its targeted keyword(s). Either there is some kind of penalty (over optimization, keyword stuffing etc) or simply because your site does not have the content/back link authority it needs to be competitive in your industry.

People who fail at something and don't want to try again to succeed will give up and blame it on something other than themselves.

steveb




msg:3948757
 10:43 pm on Jul 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

The sandbox was a new site penalty. That's all. That penalty no longer exists.

Some people now confusingly use the word to mean "my rankings dropped badly", which is both confusing and unhelpful. Large ranking drops can occur for several unique reasons, with no common relationship between them.

StarryEyed




msg:3948766
 10:50 pm on Jul 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hi guys- I hope I am in the right thread...I haven't had to join in a Google serp change thread in almost two years...but alas, my 8 year old site has completely disappeared from the serps today. :( It has been so steady for many, many months, well years now...but as of today, - I do not rank for any of my 10 major search terms....my extremely poor Adsense earnings today was my clue that something was wrong.

I have not made any major changes...have not been SEO'ing and no link building. No link building for 4 years.

2 years ago or so I received the dreaded 900 penalty for 30 days. Someone in Poland had suddenly put up 10,000 with my site's title and with links to me... I started reporting these what I called made for Adsense spam pages to Google as spam in the index and explained that I was in no way connected with this site and didn't understand why I was penalized. I kept this up for weeks. Then I noticed they removed all of the spammer pages and my site was miraculously back in the index- on page one for most terms. Yippee. Since then- nothing has happened rankings wise to me and I was starting to feel like a "Google Darling"- until today.

I'm still in the Index just not in the serps. Am I having a major heart attack too soon? Somehow I don't think so...

So far I haven't found any spammer pages I can blame it on...and I'm not sure if I'll be back in tomorrow since this appears to be so drastic-I don't even think I am on page 900 this time..I've read the majority of the posts in this thread and my head is spinning...I'm not sure what to do this time.

With a change this drastic - what should I start looking for -especially when I haven't changed anything?.. I'm discouraged to say the least. Can anyone suggest a good starting point for me with this? Since my site is out for all search terms - I imagine a switch was flipped and I'm caught up in it.

I'm still in Yahoo and I'm also in Bing, but we all know where most of the traffic comes from...:(

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