What blows me away is that the site doing best in our niche (taking up the top 3-4 places in serps for 90% of searches I test) is an un-moderated forum. There is a lot of bad stuff on this site. This site started 3 years ago by copying content daily from all the other main sites in our niche. They copied thousands of posts for months. We called them on it and they finally stopped copying our site, but they continued copying other sites.
So after that, and seeing what goes on in their un-moderated forums, to see them rewarded with the top 3-4 positions for nearly every search I am testing is making me literally sick to my stomach.
It is almost like one of the G engineers accidentally programmed a "0" instead of a "1" in some logical expression, and the copy-cats are being boosted over the original source.
I just don't get it. A few months ago my site was recommended by a federal agency as the top quality site in my niche. My site is almost 11 years old and I've run it proudly and cleanly for all those years.
Today we are being buried beneath the same sites that copied/scraped our content 2-3 years ago to get their start in the business. I said this before, but it is worth repeating, one of the sites ranking HIGHER than us we filed a DMCA against for copying over 10,000 of our pages. We filed it with Google. Google eventually removed them from the index for a year. They were then let back in and now apparently have become a quality site somehow in Google's eyes.
How can Google kick a site out for a year who had copied tens of thousands of pages, utilized link farms from hundreds of their own spam blogs, and then let them back in and reward them with a boost in serps?
Ugh. I am tired. Sorry for the rant. =)
This update reduces the rankings site wide, this is again the same as with the -950 re-ranking.
Its not side wide - I looked at my top 20 key phrases from a week today and not all have been penalized or hit. Keyword density seems to be the key to survival.
For myself this is the most interesting statement.
|It’s worth noting that this update does not rely on the feedback we’ve received from the Personal Blocklist Chrome extension, which we launched last week. However, we did compare the Blocklist data we gathered with the sites identified by our algorithm, and we were very pleased that the preferences our users expressed by using the extension are well represented. If you take the top several dozen or so most-blocked domains from the Chrome extension, then this algorithmic change addresses 84% of them, which is strong independent confirmation of the user benefits. |
Google has confirmed the value and accuracy of its Chrome blocker tool. The logical next step will be to include Chrome block data in the algorithm. Doing so will create a conveyor belt of sorts. As low quality sites are removed new sites will roll in. Any of these which are themselves low quality will become blocked by Chrome users. When enough people block a URL or site it too will be removed from the SERPs. A new site will enter the top rankings.
In this way Google can introduce constant filtering and, supposedly, improvement. If this is the Farmer Update then I predict the Kaizen Update is right around the corner.
"Keyword density seems to be the key to survival. "
Survive with a low or a high one? My guess is a low one but who knows :)
I can confirm that I do some referrals that were the same as before so it doesn't look like a sitewide demotion. Also my site ranks #1 for my name, have the sitelinks etc.
Whats disturbing to me is finding .ie and .tel - yes you heard it here - .tel websites rankings in top 10 positions for notable keywords.
Hopefully this gets flushed out - or flushed down.
Or the GroupThink update. The web according to Google will continue to shrink. Better start catering to the lowest common denominator if you aren't already doing so.
|I predict the Kaizen Update is right around the corner. |
"You fear the powerful eye of genius, that is why you encourage ignorance. This opium you feed your people, so that, drugged, they do not feel their hurts, inflicted by you. And that is why where you reign no establishments are to be found giving great men to the homeland; the rewards due knowledge are unknown here, and as there is neither honor nor profit in being wise, nobody seeks after wisdom." - Marquis de Sade
|Danny is calling this update the "Farmer Update" and the earlier one the "Scraper Update". Not exactly hurricane names, but they do make the distinction clear. |
I'd suggest "herbicide update". It doesn't exactly roll off the tongue but it is descriptive and it bookends nicely with "scraper update", scraping being another form of weed control. Or playing off herbicide and the date maybe "2-4-D update" or going farther "2-3-F"? But then I'm only a webpeon here.
In a small niche search I monitor the big farm sites which had only recently starting making inroads are now gone, but older similar content quality MFA targeted sites are still there. Otherwise the SERP top 30 or so got reshuffled with all the players still there but in new positions with the exception of the top three powerhouses who are pretty much locked in.
Survive with high.
I frankly do not understand how DM and others lasted this long. its also sad that a 25 billion dollar company cannot police the results for this stuff like what we saw in NYT over the last weekend - they are so busy on the space race and 50 other things they are forgetting to dance with the one that brought them. they really need to dedicate some resources to doing what they do better instead of doing more
Can someone clarify this initial roll out - is it .com specific or US/geo specific ?
Right now it's only rolled out in the US - but I'm pretty sure any site anywhere stands a chance of being caught in the net if it matches the criteria Google used, whatever they are.
My God. I just lost 40% of my traffic from Google today. Referrals from Yahoo, Bing, direct sources, and other sources are the same, but Google dropped like a rock.
I've been on page one for I don't know how many phrases for seven years. Now I can't find any of my phrases on page one. I just finished checking some of the phrases I monitor, and here's some samples of the movement: #7 to #49; #6 to #21; #5 to #11; #4 to #11; #8 to #50; #4 to #26; #4 to #30; #1 to #12; #1 to #10; #5 to #39.
These are all phrases that I've consistently been first page for.
It looks like a sitewide affect.
What's unusual about this, compared to reports from other posters here, is that most of the sites that were page one in my niche before are still page one.
I've gone through all of the infamous updates before, been affected to one extent or another, and came out as good as before. This one is definitely different.
As much as I haven't wanted to be beholden to Google for my success, this is going to cut my revenues. The question is how much.
1.) It's cool they are actually moving on this.
(Content origination and originality ... YES!)
2.) I'm glad I've been holding pages back from the public until they get spidered.
3.) I can't wait for the adjustments which are bound to take place over the next few days.
Before you go taking a quote of mine and saying how the update is, wait for the adjustments they are almost certainly going to make to kick in.
Every time I can remember seeing a large algo update like this they 'pull the filters off' during the initial rollout, then begin re-inserting them over the next few days.
It appears to be US only - I have a similar site that is UK based (a hobby that earns some pocket money for my teenage miece and nephew) and that has the same structure - but different products. I think the rest of the world better brace themselves. It just seems so senseless - replacing one sites based on levereged links with sites based on overoptimized text. Though after more investigation it also seems to be based how specific the search is.
|I've gone through all of the infamous updates before, been affected to one extent or another, and came out as good as before. This one is definitely different. |
|Before you go taking a quote of mine and saying how bad it is, wait for the adjustments they are almost certainly going to make to kick in. Every time I can remember seeing a large algo update like this they 'pull the filters off' during the initial rollout, then begin re-inserting them over the next few days. |
I agree. Before swearing to get a day job (how many times have we said so :)) we need to wait. Many sites come back within a few days, then new filters come back on, others get caught, filters are adjusted etc etc.
It's obvious that filters are on right now, so let's see google tweak them a bit here and there.
|Cutts tells me Google feels the change it is making does improve results according to its own internal testing methods. |
We have no idea what criteria Google brings to "its own internal testing". I am not confident it is based on anything that many of us would find to be truly definitive. But I do know this, internal testing by any organization will not necessarily reflect realworld opinion or acceptance. Given the responses posted here by longtime professional webmasters who closely monitor SERPs quality, it should come as no surprise if/when we see additional tweaking in the coming weeks, as was implied by Amit Singhal:
|We've been tackling these issues for more than a year, and working on this specific change for the past few months. And we're working on many more updates that we believe will substantially improve the quality of the pages in our results... |
In the meantime, for many of us, much of our livelihood is contingent on a ball that is bouncing wildly in their court, and where it lands, nobody knows.
|I agree. Before swearing to get a day job (how many times have we said so :)) we need to wait. Many sites come within a few days, then new filters come back on, others get caught, filters are adjusted etc etc. It's obvious that filters are on right now, so let's see google tweak them a bit here and there. |
I pray this is the case, I have been sitting at #1 for big terms myself for years. All my content is unique and high quality. I always believed that quality content stood for something given all the crap that is out there.
I have a site that gets 4k direct visits/day people love the site and come back often, it is now replaced and I am not joking with a site with articles that are keyword stuffed to the max. I have reported this site as it's basically spam and worthless, but nothing has ever come of it.
Anyways.. I am burnt from this day, stress level 10+ .. sucks to see your dreams,income and investments get flushed down the toilet with the flip of a switch.
I hate crappy content just as much as Google, that's why I spend the xtra $$ for quality content and nice sites...
As old sites are taken out by this Algo change, other sites that got pushed out by those sites will come back. User metrics like bounce rate will shuffle things up. Wait. Hold On. Let the shuffle do it's thing.
Here's a question that's bugging me. Google, Bing and Yahoo (and the lesser SE's) have apparently loved my site for years, because it's been page one for years for so many terms. If it were a crummy site, wouldn't there have been some kind of signal before? Anything?
It just makes no sense at all.
I use information and photos from manufacturers, but I re-write it, usually making it better. As for the photos, I get high-res images where possible, Photoshop them for color and overall quality, and feature them larger than my competitors to give the users a better look. If that's a "content farm", then there's a whole slew of sites still on page one that should have been gone long before me.
I don't see any change in position for my keywords, but I do see a drop in the traffic.
Edit: I do see a change in the positions now...
Our little art site that has been removed completely from the index has been 'replaced' by an old 301 redirected domain that is no longer owned by us !
This domain was allowed to expire six months ago.
My high quality site with tons of original content dropped in the serps. An old low quality site I own went up in the serps. This says a lot about this algo update ...
It looks like the affected sites had bought links and tried to diversify their anchors as much as possible. The strange thing is that links coming from relevant on topic sites got penalized as well. I agree with the fact that links from totally unrelated topics need to be penalized (or not counted) but links from relevant sources is another thing.
|From dickbaker... As for the photos, I get high-res images where possible |
From Spencer... Our little art site that has been removed completely from the index
From Amit Singhal ...This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites...At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites... with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.
I included the quotes from dickbaker and Spencer because both deal with the graphic qualities of a website, whereas Mr Singhal's quote is heavily slanted to the importance of text.
So it begs the question ~ are graphic rich websites seen by Google as "thin" unless there is a LOT of accompanying text? Suppose for example, your site is devoted to installing turntable cartridges ~ wouldn't a series of photos be considerably more effective than the proverbial "thousand words"? In actuality, such a site may require few words yet be immensely useful.
Web-1995 had to be mostly text because of slow dialup connections; Web-2011 can be graphics-rich because of broadband. Is Google taking this into account, or are they still measuring the depth of a site by the quantity of words? The Amit Singhal quote suggests that may be the case.
So for those that are seeing dramatic drops ~ Do you have an adequate quantity of quality text? Or, are you relying too much on quality graphics? (because in your estimation, quality graphics is in fact the better presentation).
Zoltan, so far looks like it has nothing to do with links, unless Google added that too in the mix. Only 'low quality sites' have been targeted according to google.
walkman, I am not so sure about this. In fact, how do they measure 'low quality sites'? In my opinion, this is all about links.
My high quality site (10 years old)gets 9% direct traffic and 17% happy returning visitors. I update the website with new original content on an almost daily basis. There's a lot of text and thousands of images. I do not buy links and I do not exchange links actively. Still it looks like the algo change thinks this is a "low quality" site.
|Suppose for example, your site is devoted to installing turntable cartridges ~ wouldn't a series of photos be considerably more effective than the proverbial "thousand words"? |
Wouldn't that really depend on the individual user and how they 'learn', which imo would make the right answer for searchers (search engines to show), the site with both the photos and the proverbial text...
[edited by: TheMadScientist at 9:01 am (utc) on Feb 25, 2011]
Zoltan, original content/duplicate content ratio could be an indicator
I agree Chris. Our dropped site is nothing other than our own pictures, descriptions of our processes and enrolling for students. We have 4 links on the site to "Our other sites" who haven't been hit.
We have only ever joined other art sites and actively participated in their communities. It would appear that we have been hammered for participating in these social activities. I certainly won't stop using them, as they send more interested parties to our site than Google ever has.
I would seriously advise people not to assume what has happened and then knee jerk their way to the usual Google wave, which can takes months to calm down.
[edited by: Spencer at 9:10 am (utc) on Feb 25, 2011]