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Matt Cutts: Google Algo Change Targets Dupe Content
tristanperry



 
Msg#: 4259541 posted 4:59 pm on Jan 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

[news.ycombinator.com...]

Earlier this week Google launched an algorithmic change that will tend to rank scraper sites or sites with less original content lower. The net effect is that searchers are more likely to see the sites that wrote the original content. An example would be that stackoverflow.com will tend to rank higher than sites that just reuse stackoverflow.com's content. Note that the algorithmic change isn't specific to stackoverflow.com though.

I know a few people here on HN had mentioned specific queries like [pass json body to spring mvc] or [aws s3 emr pig], and those look better to me now. I know that the people here all have their favorite programming-related query, so I wanted to ask if anyone notices a search where a site like efreedom ranks higher than SO now? Most of the searches I tried looked like they were returning SO at the appropriate times/slots now.


I know there's an existing thread for SERP/algo changes, although this mainly seems to be a 'new' development in that it relates to further tackling dup content scrapers. Mods feel free to merge with an existing thread if needed though.

From Matt Cutts Blog:

I just wanted to give a quick update on one thing I mentioned in my search engine spam post.

My post mentioned that “we’re evaluating multiple changes that should help drive spam levels even lower, including one change that primarily affects sites that copy others’ content and sites with low levels of original content.” That change was approved at our weekly quality launch meeting last Thursday and launched earlier this week.

This was a pretty targeted launch: slightly over 2% of queries change in some way, but less than half a percent of search results change enough that someone might really notice. The net effect is that searchers are more likely to see the sites that wrote the original content rather than a site that scraped or copied the original site’s content.

[mattcutts.com...]

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 9:22 pm (utc) on Jan 28, 2011]
[edit reason] Added link for the Cuttlets [/edit]

 

valex

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4259541 posted 10:21 am on Jan 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

But I'm wondering how does Google know what site it's "a crap" and which one isn't.


I could add: does it mean that we've been served crap sites all these years? Why now? Google must be more responsible when serving the wrong content, manipulating what everybody is reading and people's opinion.
This has been written here, but some of my favorite sites have also disappeared and it seem that the search results are up side down - for some very competitive key words I find in the top 10 a site with just one page:
Hello world!
Posted on January 26, 2011 by admin
Welcome to hhu Sites. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!
This is close to ridiculous!
tangor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4259541 posted 10:42 am on Jan 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google keeps all kind of data (doubt they ever throw anything away, even that which has been ordered by commissions, etc. to be discarded) and with over 10 years of history, they ought to know, from their own records, which came first, the chicken or the egg and will decide which came first.

Our problem is proving if we were the chicken, or the egg, and WE came FIRST. I see no winners in the near future, not even Google... that's why the change will only be 0.5% in the serps. Parsed out over the billions of billions pages served (love Carl Sagen's rhetoric...his politics leave me cold...ignore me on that) there WILL be a SAVE on GOOGLE'S side in processing...a minor reduction in the electrial use, wear and tear on physical systems, some millions of dollars in expense... a mere lip service to making the web a better place... and padding the bottom line.

Don't expect much from this, kiddies. Smoke and mirrors. Just another kink in "doing business".

rowtc2

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4259541 posted 11:01 am on Jan 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

My affected site it has a lot of searches in Google with "my unique domain name".

Why users will search a scrap site instead the original source if not have added value like images,reviews ?

zdgn

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4259541 posted 12:44 pm on Jan 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

Stupid question: Hypothetically, Could this mean that all these years the Dupes enjoyed traffic/rankings at Orig's expense, funnelled all that traffic/rankings equity into their other enterprises (legit/orig) and now live happily and don't care if their initial Dupe enterprise tanks because they milked and transferred all the traffic/ranking/conversion equity into other now-successful projects before Google woke up?

I see a lot of Corleone families moving into legit businesses like that because the 'law' changed too late!

backdraft7

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4259541 posted 2:16 pm on Jan 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

After a brief "bubble sort" period, this morning I am seeing some positive moves in the serps as the new algo is being ingested. A recent "no content - link building - MFA - scraper - freebie - affiliate - scumbag site" that jumped into our long held #1 position is finally dropping. Our sales shut off for most of yesterday (due to zombie traffic) and now this morning sales are booming (3 sales in two minutes, that's more like it, knock on wood...) I am crossing my fingers, but my first impression is that this could be one of the best algo changes yet (for creators of original content). My question now is: How are the low-life bottom feeder's going to try to "game" this one?

PascoalINC



 
Msg#: 4259541 posted 3:13 pm on Jan 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

This would be really a good change. I'd really appreciate some changes in search engine positions, mostly because all my sites are based on unique content, mostly blogs.

@backdraft - I'm pretty sure they'll find a method. Remember, those who achieved success using black hat methods are not stupid, just lazy.

blend27

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4259541 posted 4:31 pm on Jan 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

A recent "no content - link building - MFA - scraper - freebie - affiliate - scumbag site" that jumped into our long held #1 position is finally dropping.


@backdraft7 - don't put all the hopes on google traffic, I am pretty sure there will be a plenty more to come, just a bit smarter.

Reno

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4259541 posted 5:59 pm on Jan 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

those who achieved success using black hat methods are not stupid, just lazy.

I'm not sure they are lazy, rather, they just don't have the same moral compass the rest of us use. They see nothing wrong with ripping off other people's content if it makes them a fast buck, or breaking every "rule" that G publishes. Rules just get in their way. If they get burned, no problem, let that site die and do another ... and another ... on & on it goes. Lots of work in that attitude, but no patience whatsoever for building an online business legitimately, one block at a time.

.......................

drall

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4259541 posted 6:52 pm on Jan 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

Something has gone wrong with this Matt.

A very popular game by a very big company no longer is number 1 for the game name. Instead 3 sites that republish this games information are number 1-3 and the actual company that makes it is number 4.

If you want the examples let me know and I will send them to you.

Vamm

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4259541 posted 7:02 pm on Jan 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

Why would anyone be worried about something that only affects 2% of the queries, unless the queries are limited the specific verticals?

Basically we have five short-tail queries and about 1,000 long-tail queries. 2% queries affected means we would statistically lose about 0 of short-tail and about 20 of long-tail. Not something I would care about.

drall

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4259541 posted 9:53 pm on Jan 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

OK, took some time to figure out what exactly is going on in our case/niche. I believe we havent been penalized directly at all, rather we have been moved down in rankings for many terms because Google now considers content I have never seen before more related to the query type and that is in effect pushing us and our competitors down.

Our site and most of our competitors have all been moved down to roughly the same spot which is an average drop of 14 positions.

Completely new content I have never seen before has moved up. That really doesnt bother me, nothing new with that. What bothers me is that the content in most cases that has moved up seems to be only loosly related to the query. Not all but most of the sites that have moved up are ehow type sites with large amounts of onpage junk all jumbled up with a article written by someone who really is clueless.

These pages just have massive amounts of onpage mashup. I think these pages have such huge uniqueness patterns onpage due to all of the crazy mashup that's going on that it makes this page look the most unique to Google for the query.

I dont know if that makes any sense or not but that's what I am seeing. Also many of our pages havent suffered at all as far as I can tell and some have moved up a couple ticks to result one so my earlier theory that its a domain wide signal can be thrown out.

I think for our area which is game related a huge amount of data shifted in a big way with this 2% update. The seemingly low amount of people posting tells me one thing. Very little collateral damage has been done because only legitimate sites like us will whine and complain. MFA's and scrapers will just move on.

anteck



 
Msg#: 4259541 posted 9:54 pm on Jan 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

Well the changes clearly don't work. A scraper site that has been reposting content from one of my sites, is STILL ranking #1, and my site is way down the list. Had to move it with a 301 and ever since, rankings dropped off the planet.

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4259541 posted 10:08 pm on Jan 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think these pages have such huge uniqueness patterns onpage due to all of the crazy mashup that's going on that it makes this page look the most unique to Google for the query.

I dont know if that makes any sense or not but that's what I am seeing.

That lines up with what I saw right after the Mayday Update - for a few weeks mashups went crazy. It didn't last - one of the secondary pushes or tweaks that Google made took care of it.

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4259541 posted 10:12 pm on Jan 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

What do you folks think - does this update deserve a name? Any ideas?

jk3210

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4259541 posted 10:22 pm on Jan 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

Tractor? (as in "FarmAll Tractors")

Robert Charlton

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4259541 posted 10:31 pm on Jan 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

Taking off from the farm idea, and keeping it alliterative (and alphabetical) after Mayday, perhaps "Update MacDonald"... as in Old MacDonald Had a Farm.

This is stretching it, I know, but then so are some of the results I see.

mercedesP

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4259541 posted 10:44 pm on Jan 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

What about "Harvest"? or "Harvest Season" as we were told that this is just an inital harvesting algo... ?

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4259541 posted 10:46 pm on Jan 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

One member suggested Update Taco - because it finds filler where there should be beef. Don't want to use "Taco Bell" for trademark reasons.

I like the Farm direction.

jk3210

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4259541 posted 11:18 pm on Jan 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

I like the Farm direction


Keeping in mind what we're dealing with, we SHOULD call it update "Manure Spreader," but I think "Harvester" is the most descriptive.

blend27

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4259541 posted 11:39 pm on Jan 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

@droll

Not all but most of the sites that have moved up are ehow type sites with large amounts of onpage junk all jumbled up with a article written by someone who really is clueless.


I see exact the same effect from where I am.

One of the sites that now holds #2 for the main 1 word keyword redirects to another page via DOUBCLICk(Yes Goog, Doubleclick). The reason I know this is that all DOUBLEClick urls are banned on a firewall level in the office, so the browser stops there.

But as tedster says, there might be a phase 2 to it.

Added: To keep it more relevant to Farming thing, what do you think about "UPDATE YeeHow", where YeeHow is what cowboys scream.

[edited by: blend27 at 11:43 pm (utc) on Jan 29, 2011]

mromero

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4259541 posted 11:41 pm on Jan 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

What hurts is when you see portions of your original material someone has uploaded to Wikipedia and it ranks above yours and Wikipedia ignores your protests and the band plays on......

crobb305

WebmasterWorld Senior Member crobb305 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4259541 posted 11:56 pm on Jan 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

made-for-seo blogs are working better than ever to boost rankings of low-quality sites. Some top-ranking pages have 100% paid blog backlinks, many of those blogs haven't been updated in over a year. Just an observation. I have a feeling this update incorporated more than just content farms.

[edited by: crobb305 at 11:57 pm (utc) on Jan 29, 2011]

LostOne

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4259541 posted 11:56 pm on Jan 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

paraquat - kill/weed out the farm overgrowth

mromero

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4259541 posted 6:13 am on Jan 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Further to my earlier post what hurts even more is when a government supported website lifts snippets of your content and G places it at #1.

Even if the country in question is ranked medium in freedom of expression and high in world corruption indexes.

MLHmptn

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4259541 posted 8:09 am on Jan 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Update "Author" since its supposed to credit the original authors and kill off the harvesters.

newsphinx

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4259541 posted 9:03 am on Jan 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

We own a site, all articles are original. Few years ago, we found a site copied our 240 pages and reported to Google, G removed copied page from index. Soon the site changed content by copying from other's and ranked well again. Now it still ranks top. I want to know:
1. How Google treat those copyright infringement content£¿
2. Does Google remember the history of those pages?
3. If the history is recorded, why does Google rank this site top since it removed the copied page according to DMCA?
4. As I know, DMCA cases in Goolge are handled by people not machine. Will the algorithm change consider about this?
5. If a site with only 200 pages copied more than 100 pages, shouldn't Google remove this site completely?

walrus

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4259541 posted 3:02 pm on Jan 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Weed whacker ?

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4259541 posted 5:06 pm on Jan 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google tells us that algo changes happen more than once a day, on average. So I'd feel better abut choosing a name for this algo change if we saw evidence of it working. So far the reports are pretty mixed. In fact, if Matt hadn't given us a heads-up, I don't know whether we'd have zeroed in on this in a big way at all.

All that said I did smile when I read "weed whacker". Some members here noticed an algo change on Jan 26 [webmasterworld.com], but the reports are quite mixed on whether scrapers were hurt or helped.

So what are people seeing? Is the original author getting credit a bit more often? Do we have some positive reports, rather than puzzling over lost traffic?

Lapizuli

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4259541 posted 5:41 pm on Jan 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

I noticed a slight but significant increase in visits starting on Wednesday, the 26th. I haven't been able to match it to any single page, keyword, niche, category, etc.

I do know that because I write much of my content for the very sites often cursed on this forum (I'm a writer, and they're more or less my CMS), a lot of my content is scraped the moment it's published. Mostly I ignore the violations, under the assumption that Google was already doing stuff to rank copycats badly (which they've implied in the past) and because it wasn't financially worth my time to pursue each one.

But now I wonder if what I'm seeing is the long-tail (as in, keywords so rare I wouldn't know to track them) traffic I'd have lost to scrapers slipping through the cracks.

Edit: I write the odd short article, but mostly I write long, in-depth pieces - usually between 1,000 and 3,000 words - in many different niches. They are structured and written in such a way that any human looking at the scraped versions would be able to tell which one is original (e.g., lots of hyperlinks, personal anecdotes, etc). But they still get copied - not just scraped, but copied and reposted. I really didn't think those copies were ranking well, though. I'm starting to think I was wrong.

[edited by: Lapizuli at 5:53 pm (utc) on Jan 30, 2011]

wheel

WebmasterWorld Senior Member wheel us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4259541 posted 5:49 pm on Jan 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Why would anyone be worried about something that only affects 2% of the queries, unless the queries are limited the specific verticals?

Basically we have five short-tail queries and about 1,000 long-tail queries. 2% queries affected means we would statistically lose about 0 of short-tail and about 20 of long-tail. Not something I would care about.

This is likely to affect a very small number of sites in a very large way, and a large number of sites in a very tiny way. It's possible that the majority of the problem scraper sites are manufactured by a small number of entities, and they're in the cross hairs. For the rest of us, maybe we bump up one spot on a small number of queries.

Perhaps this is similiar to when Google shut down affiliate stuff on adwords. Some folks were shut down very hard, the rest, not so much.

trakkerguy

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4259541 posted 7:04 pm on Jan 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Do we have some positive reports, rather than puzzling over lost traffic


Yes, I did have a URL jump from #11 to 6 on the 27th for the second biggest kw in it's niche, and it does seem to be a result of the farm update.

This is a site I bought last year, and the prior owner wrote extremely long, well written origional content. (I often buy sites of failed or discouraged competitors)

I've often thought the pages were TOO LONG, but never quite got around to chopping them up. It SEEMS these long pages may have helped, as I have not noticed any appreciable change in any of my other sites or URLs.

The fact that only the one site/url with the most/best written content improved seems to indicate that in this particular case Google actually hit the target. My sympathies to all those who weren't so lucky this time.

[edited by: trakkerguy at 7:08 pm (utc) on Jan 30, 2011]

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