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Matt Cutts: Google Algo Change Targets Dupe Content
tristanperry




msg:4259543
 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]

 

Brett_Tabke




msg:4259576
 5:30 pm on Jan 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

But lets note, that this does not sound at all like matt was talking about on the Google blog last week. That was about low quality ORIGINAL content, which this is about duplicate content. [webmasterworld.com...]

These are 2 different topics.

backdraft7




msg:4259580
 5:35 pm on Jan 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

I sure would welcome a change like that, but knowing how Google works, false positives are going to be rampant! A few years ago, my main competitor copied & reverse engineered my entire site structure and I told them to cease & desist with their plagiarism, providing the archive from Alexa's Wayback machine to prove my point, but the competitor quickly blocked Alexa's archiver. I guess that proves he was guilty.

I wonder how Google will determine the originator of content? or if Google will use their own archive?

tedster




msg:4259587
 5:39 pm on Jan 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

For reference, members here noticed the change on Wednesday: January 26 2011 Traffic Change [webmasterworld.com]

tedster




msg:4259599
 5:50 pm on Jan 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Here's some more precise information from Matt's blog:

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...]

rustybrick




msg:4259600
 5:50 pm on Jan 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Love it that we can see things coming like this from this forum. Love you WebmasterWorld!

drall




msg:4259608
 6:05 pm on Jan 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hey Matt, something is really wrong. You need to be a little more careful with this type of stuff. I have users asking me why they cant Google us anymore this morning. What replaced our guides, tutorials and walkthroughs of games? Ehow, hubpages and wikipedia and none come even close to the obscene amount of detailed, unique, handwritten, naturally linked pages on our site.

[edited by: drall at 6:25 pm (utc) on Jan 28, 2011]

Receptional




msg:4259611
 6:08 pm on Jan 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Matt's post is interesting, because it targets duplicate content in particular. That's going to affect Press Release material along with scrapers, which in turn means that hopefully all those reporters (and systems) lazily cutting and pasting releases will eventually need to go and verify their source and actually read them if they want any search traffic.

Spencer




msg:4259612
 6:08 pm on Jan 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

"The net effect is that searchers are more likely to see the sites that wrote the original content"

I wrote about our problems a few months ago with regard to original content. We had stopped writing new onsite content because our rate of spidering by Google was far lower than it was by scrapers. The result was that anything we wrote would end up getting top listings on a scraper site and our pages would get nowhere fast.

Does this mean that it's all over ? Because I'm not seeing anything as yet.

Reno




msg:4259622
 6:16 pm on Jan 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

"Lets just move on, Google is the new AV."

But they're not ~ AV is off the charts; G is "Number 1 With A Bullet". Percentage wise, they hold 7 positions in this week's Billboard Top Ten. They are in fact, for many of us, the prime determiner of our income level. When they get it even a little bit wrong, the pain is considerable. It does no good & makes no difference to simply complain that a Google-centric world is dangerous ... but it's true ~ and we've been saying it here for a LONG time.

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

workingNOMAD




msg:4259626
 6:20 pm on Jan 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Some people really think Google owes them a living.

drall




msg:4259627
 6:21 pm on Jan 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Im not sweating it Reno, G is less then 30% of our traffic. Will they fix us as we are clearly collateral damage? Maybe, who knows. I wonder if all the scrapers have damaged us in some way and we are not considered as unique now because of them?

Reno




msg:4259631
 6:48 pm on Jan 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Some people really think Google owes them a living.

That misguided argument comes up just about every time anyone observes the fact that Google is, for a huge percentage of online businesses, the primary traffic generator. Google doesn't "owe" anybody anything, but people slowly become dependant on Google in the same way a person may come to depend on walk-in business because a road outside their store is improved, so more auto traffic comes to the area. Then one day without notice the road is detoured and the traffic just stops (I guess we could say that the road department did not "owe them" a living).

There's only so much we can do about Google's dominance ~ they're number 1 because the public uses them. And Google has every right to do what it wants with it's own business, within the boundaries of the law. But none of that contradicts what is often said at this venue, that one company (be it Google or MS or anyone else) having so much influence & power is alarming. The online highway is littered with dead websites that followed all the rules, got a decent ranking, then suddenly crashed and burned because of an algo tweak that pushed more junk to the top. This is not the first time it has happened, and you can bet your life it won't be the last. If you're sitting pretty now, then enjoy the view ~ others have sat there, then they took the fall ~ and it's a long way down.

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

wheel




msg:4259645
 7:27 pm on Jan 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

The more I read Reno's posts, the more I like them. Always very astute stuff. Many times saying exactly what I would like to say (but without the frothing at the mouth that accompanies some of my posts).

See, I'd have responded thusly about Google owing us a living:

Checked out whats on all of Google's pages lately? Oh look, it's ALL MY CONTENT. Google apparently thinks the web owes them a living.

drall




msg:4259660
 7:46 pm on Jan 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Wow, well said Reno. Wheel you are spot on. We write content for our users, just wrapped up a tutorial for crafting in a certain online game I probably spend to much time playing. I think I spent 30 hours writing it.

Knowing that this tutorial will probably be buried like the rest of our content on page 3 of Googles results now is upsetting but isnt going to influence what we do. We have been doing the same thing day in and day out for over a decade and long before Google was born and we will continue to do the same thing because that is what our direct users come to us for.

This algo change is not scary to me, Google Inc. being the judge as to what is considered low quality and what isnt, well that is scary.

On a side note I wonder if this a domain level trigger. Matt said this is only effecting a very small section of search but our entire site got the smackdown. Maybe something like a certain % of this domains content is found elsewhere x times and then the entire domains serps gets a smackdown because of it?

Even though our content is 100% unique many big game companies forums and blogs take excerpts and snippets of our guides and post them in the official game forum but with a ref to us. We also get scraped like crazy and try to fight it but it's damn near impossible when you are a popular site. Probably millions of scrapers out there with fragments of our content.

asabbia




msg:4259687
 9:11 pm on Jan 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

what about content farms? At this point I think all contents farm out there will stay strong

Brett_Tabke




msg:4259688
 9:19 pm on Jan 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

> Matt's post is interesting, because it targets duplicate content in particular.

Yep - and a good thing. Many people have been getting scraped to death and then getting the bottom-of-the serp treatment as dupe content.

tedster




msg:4259692
 9:28 pm on Jan 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

what about content farms? At this point I think all contents farm out there will stay strong

Welcome to the forums, assabia. I agree with you - the key being your words, "at this point."

This cannot be the only change that Google rolls out. In fact, Matt's comments on the linked thread that started this discussion make it clear that more will come. They don't have the scraper thing right at this point, to say nothing of content farms.

If I could only have one, I would greatly prefer to see a better algo for identifying the original and differentiating it from the scraper, the syndication site, and the article spinner. Seems like identifying the origin of content is a foundational step in search, if they care for real about intellectual property.

But I prefer to see both: fix the scraper/spinner thing AND get the content farms out of the top. I still don't know how they'll target content farms effectively, though.

backdraft7




msg:4259709
 10:00 pm on Jan 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

at this point, I'm more interested in tracking the traffic upset that results from these algo updates than discussing / speculating on the update themselves...would you recommend a new thread ted? slowest sales day of 2011 is upon us today, so far.

ergophobe




msg:4259718
 10:26 pm on Jan 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Can someone define "content farm"?

Reno




msg:4259724
 10:34 pm on Jan 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

This cannot be the only change that Google rolls out.

Like all of us, they'll be constantly changing, sometimes for the better, and sometimes things will seem worse. But change will be ongoing ~ it's the one constant ~ that much we can count on.

So given that, here's what I'd like to see: In GWT, they add a new alert to the top of the dashboard that pops up anytime a big algo tweak is in the works. I'm not talking about minor tweaks, I mean the BIG changes that MC feels a need to announce and/or defend after the fact in his blog.

The alert would say something like this:

"NOTICE: The next Google algorithm update will focus on cleaning content farms from positions of unfair advantage in our index. This will likely affect websites with considerable content copied from other online sources. Once this update is complete, preference will be given to the originators of content. We expect this to be in effect in no less than 60 days."

So what's that do? For one thing, it gives fair notice, so legit webmasters can make sure they're running a clean operation; Secondly, it removes the shock of a rapid change in traffic patterns, and if there is such a drop, it helps explain what is going on.

The notion that this sort of heads-up to webmasters via GWT is going to give the black hats too much of a clue doesn't hold up for me any longer, because once the update takes place, we all know the black hats immediately start working on ways to circumvent it. But in the meantime, the lack of advance warning can be crushing to a whole lot of legit online businesses that get seriously hurt and feel like they've been suckerpunched.

Google is big enough and powerful enough to provide "public notice" without any worry about someone using that information to launch a competing search engine in a 60 day period. So the sooner they start working with webmasters to prepare us in advance for these kind of disruptions, the better our position for dealing with it, and perhaps, the more moderate the impact.

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

tedster




msg:4259735
 11:39 pm on Jan 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

backdraft7 wrote:
at this point, I'm more interested in tracking the traffic upset that results from these algo updates than discussing / speculating on the update themselves...would you recommend a new thread ted? slowest sales day of 2011 is upon us today, so far.

I unlocked your earlier thread so we can focus on the traffic repercussions. January 26 2011 Change - Back to "Zombie Traffic" [webmasterworld.com]

tedster




msg:4259737
 11:47 pm on Jan 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

ergophobe wrote
Can someone define "content farm"?

That's the whole challenge, I'd say. It's sort of like Justice Stewart's infamous quote about defining obscenity: "I know it when I see it."

The big deal with content farms is that some of them are making a ton of money and have a lot of "employees". Of course the content doesn't really do you much good as a search result because it's

1. superficially researched
2. derivative to the nth generation away from any real source
3. written only to trigger the Google rankings, not to serve the visitor in any real way.

How any algo is going to asses those characteristics is beyond me.

tangor




msg:4259738
 12:06 am on Jan 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google needs Watson... oh, wait, I'll bet Google thinks they're getting close! :)

Like tedster, this next step for Google, or any search engine, is going to be immense in both effort and (if successful) repercussions.

bears5122




msg:4259751
 12:38 am on Jan 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm assuming the algo tweak did some major things to some of the spammier sites. But as I anticipated, it still allows any site with enough links to scrape content from wherever they please and rank highly for it. They can pretend they are interested in cleaning up this stuff, but I continue to see the big money VC backed content farms dominating the SERPs. All of course running Google Adsense. Must be a coincidence.

shri




msg:4259752
 12:52 am on Jan 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

Keyword rich domains are still beating their dupe / quality filters.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4259772
 1:27 am on Jan 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

I took a quick Google for a specific guide I've used several times and the first 6 results are now ehow and only 1 is an actual guide but it's 9 steps long without images, not very useful.

To me that says the actual quality of the guide is irrelevant while webmaster things like links and h tags are more important...

Bewenched




msg:4259807
 5:53 am on Jan 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

It's going to be very interesting in our business sector. In ours you can purchase product information from a single source that crosses hundreds of brands, however hundreds or even thousands of sites use that purchased data for their product information.

Glad we didnt buy into the easy data plan... it's certainly going to suck for those that did. Makes me feel good that having Carpal Tunnel problems was worth it in the long run.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4259829
 7:36 am on Jan 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

Glad we didnt buy into the easy data plan... it's certainly going to suck for those that did. Makes me feel good that having Carpal Tunnel problems was worth it in the long run.


Being different online has benefits :-)
eBay's affiliate program manager in the U.S., J.J., owned(owns?) a company that provided unique product details to clients, before he started work at eBay. There's money in unique product details, if you have the wrists for it!

PascoalINC




msg:4259838
 8:31 am on Jan 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'd be very excited if this changes would REALLY take place. But I'm wondering how does Google know what site it's "a crap" and which one isn't.

This 133 message thread spans 5 pages: 133 ( [1] 2 3 4 5 > >
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