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Google Updates and SERP Changes - February 2011
tedster

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



 
Msg#: 4261944 posted 11:19 pm on Feb 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

< continued from: [webmasterworld.com...] >
< active thread: [webmasterworld.com...] >


Related AdSense Farm Update < continued from [webmasterworld.com...] >


It's a new month and our regular SERP watching thread has been neglected a bit lately. Most of the posting right now is on dedicated threads focused on specific changes - especially the Scraping algo change [webmasterworld.com] and the promised (but not yet active) campaign against Content Farms [webmasterworld.com].

But Google's perpetual update machine keeps on turning. I'm particularly wondering about sites that publish a lot of legitimately syndicated content rather than a lot of original content. Did your rankings and traffic wobble with the "dupe content update"? If they dropped, did they rebound?

I'm watching one such website and though they are mostly republished content, nothing seemed to change.

[edited by: tedster at 6:00 pm (utc) on Feb 4, 2011]

[edited by: tedster at 8:38 pm (utc) on Feb 26, 2011]

 

jgold454

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4261944 posted 2:25 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

just do a regular google search first. then replace the ip address with www.google.com in the address bar and search again..

indyank

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4261944 posted 2:29 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

No, I don't see the new algo on those IPs! I did the search as suggested.

What is the significance? They will roll it out soon to those data centers as well.

jgold454

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4261944 posted 2:34 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure but I wish I could check more DC's to gauge how far is this rolled out. Can't seem to find a list of google datacenters anymore...

Jez123

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4261944 posted 2:47 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Is anyone in the UK affected yet? So far I am not seeing any different. You can bet your life that my site will be affected when it does hit and the spammers in my SERP will carry on as ever!

nicknackcat



 
Msg#: 4261944 posted 2:57 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

How will this effect sites that use datafeeds from other sites they are affiliated with?

I'm thinking along the lines of duplicate products displayed on affiliate sites will be demoted in favour of the original supplier, if this is the case then this form of marketing could end up in a bit of a mess. As this is all content.

mslina2002

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4261944 posted 3:12 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm in the US. Here is what I see:

64.233.179.104 - old results (shows local ads in Adwords)
72.14.203.99 - new results (shows national ads in Adwords)
66.102.11.104 - new results (shows national ads in Adwords)

GeraniumV



 
Msg#: 4261944 posted 3:12 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

For what its worth (comparing yesterday to a week previous) google organic was off 25%, incidently Yahoo was off 7% and Bing 13%. I was banging on 10000 visitors a day - so its not a small sample. Overrall my non-paid traffic was off 16% - which is just a tad under the same thursday last year. Which puts me back to about 15 months ago when looking at traffic only - luckily I've since mastered part the art of marketing since then - could have been worse.
What I don't understand is why a handful of key - search phrases from my top 20 survived and how some of the replacement site are getting away with been so keyword heavy.

ksoper78

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4261944 posted 3:13 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

nicknackrat, I run a real estate website with datafeeds and we were hit hard yesterday. We dropped from the #4 spot for a very major keyword to page 4! The datafeeds include descriptions written by the owner of the property. Other than that, all of our content is original. I think this update will make datafeeds irrelevant.

AlyssaS

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4261944 posted 3:17 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Use the adwords preview tool to see results in the US or other data centres:

https://adwords.google.com/select/AdTargetingPreviewTool

nicknackcat



 
Msg#: 4261944 posted 3:27 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

>>>>>nicknackrat, I run a real estate website with datafeeds and we were hit hard yesterday. We dropped from the #4 spot for a very major keyword to page 4! The datafeeds include descriptions written by the owner of the property. Other than that, all of our content is original. I think this update will make datafeeds irrelevant. <<<<<

Sorry to hear that, I'll have to keep an close eye on this development.

krikomoush

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4261944 posted 3:29 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

So this update has hurt us, but has hurt many of our quality competitors too, that are backed with venture capital money and 100+ employees and are premium adsense, I'm certain google is going to get a bunch of calls about this from larger companies. Remember these companies have huge Adwords accounts...

dickbaker

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4261944 posted 3:31 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Those datacenters jgold454 listed show the search results I had before this "new and improved Google".

On the datcenters jgold454 listed, one of my phrases is #1 and #2, with #2 having the "more options from mysite.com" expansion + mark. That phrase is now #13 on the new Google.

I'm going to look through all of my outbound and inbound links to see if there's any commonality.

On the "nofollow" issue, I'd just like to point out that I only use nofollow on the banner ads that I have on my site for three advertisers. I'm sure I have some inbound links that are nofollow.

As far as images are concerned, I have product photos on a couple thousand pages, but each of those pages also has at least a couple of hundred words for descriptions and spec's.

Moving on to the duplicate or scraped content point, as I've said, I have photos, descriptions and specifications from manufacturers. Some of the text by necessity will be the same as the manufacturer (and thus other sites), but I've made as many changes as possible. One site that's devoted to one manufacturer has now moved up in rankings. The site doesn't just use the manufacturer's text and photos--it looks like a clone of the manufacturer's site, with the same graphics, videos, menus, etc.

On the point about old content, I've added hundreds of new pages of content recently. I added a new manufacturer, with hundreds of pages of that manufacturer's products. Good photos, re-written content. I was ranking about #12 to #15 for "Acme widgets". I'm now at #163 for that phrase.

I don't think it's about old sites, since many of the sites still on the first page have been around since the 90's.

One thing I do have is thousands of forum signature links. There's three industry-related forums that I've been a member of since 2000 or so, and I have several thousand pages of posts with links in my sig line. At least one or possibly two of those three forums are nofollow. Anyone else have a lot of sig line links?

What's left to examine?

netmeg

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



 
Msg#: 4261944 posted 4:00 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Since last night I've been pouring over logs, stats and analytics for several hundred sites over which I have some control (mine and clients) and have not seen a single abnormal stat, either up or down. Maybe it's still to come, but so far, nada.

(I haven't checked any SERPS yet to see if the usual gang of idiots/competitors have changed around any)

chrisv1963

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4261944 posted 4:06 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

What's left to examine?


The brains of the Google "genius" that is responsible for this mess?

browsee



 
Msg#: 4261944 posted 4:16 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

I am so tired of Google's monopoly in the Search arena. Yesterday's algo change is not targeted towards the content farm. But, they made small websites as scapegoats just to prove that they are trying to do something here. Another marketing gimmick from Google.

People depend on Google's ad money to survive day to day. They are trying to see if they can get a new job. Now, in this economy it is not easy to find another job for them.

Google is saying only 12%, you know how many lives are affected with this 12%. Google is complaining about quality. Tell us what you mean by quality, how do you determine quality.

At-least they should have given suggestions on how to fix their so called "quality". Now we are in dark, we don't know what to make Google happy. I am pretty sure we can see lawsuits in a day or two as I've never seen the algo change in this magnitude for the last 12 years.

Facebook, please please start another search engine, we are really tired of Google's gimmicks.

robert76

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4261944 posted 4:18 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Has anyone seen an evidence of, or would there be any reason to believe, this change would hurt an ecommerce site with affiliate program more than any other site?

Reno

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4261944 posted 4:22 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

There’s a feeling that Google’s algorithm is falling further and further behind the very motivated people and companies out there fighting that algorithm. It’s an arms race, and Google is losing that arms race.

Read the... FULL STORY [techcrunch.com]

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

TheMadScientist

WebmasterWorld Senior Member themadscientist us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4261944 posted 4:31 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

People depend on Google's ad money to survive day to day.

Mistake #1

I am pretty sure we can see lawsuits in a day or two...

People can sue for whatever if they have the cash, but winning is another story. Google's results have been legally determined to be Opinion, twice.

Facebook, please please start another search engine...

If (when) this happens what are people going to when FB changes it's algo and they no longer show there? The same thing they do with Google... More search engines is not the answer for most people, better planning is.

Been saying it for years, but the web is not a 'free ride' anymore. If you're going to be here, imo, you better plan on building a business, not a website that ranks...

BTW browsee welcome to WebmasterWorld. Not trying to pick on you, but this happens with every update, and it's not Google's fault people depend on them for a living. They didn't stop showing the top 10 results, so other people are making the money now, and just because a site or page was there is not an entitlement to stay, regardless of the economy.

What about those of us who went out a did something different? Don't we deserve to be in the top 10 as much as anyone else, especially when they only did what others we already doing, but some of us did something new? I think I've got more room to complain about not being number 1 than ANYONE here who's complaining about rankings, and all but maybe a couple I can think of who are not, but that's not happening, because rankings are what they are...

[edited by: TheMadScientist at 4:36 pm (utc) on Feb 25, 2011]

gford

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4261944 posted 4:33 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

For everyone with a legit white hat site with legit unique content I strongly believe that if you login to your webmasters console and do a reconsideration request, explaining the problem, your rankings will return in short order.

If you are serious about the quality of your site and in-bound links, this should be a pro-active step you take immediately.

ksoper78

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4261944 posted 4:40 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

nicknackrat, I am going to try removing those datafeeds and see what happens. I'm pretty sure this is the reason. There is no way for Google to tell teh difference between a datafeed and a website that is copying another website. They both look the same to a bot.

walkman



 
Msg#: 4261944 posted 4:45 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)


For everyone with a legit white hat site with legit unique content I strongly believe that if you login to your webmasters console and do a reconsideration request, explaining the problem, your rankings will return in short order.

If you are serious about the quality of your site and in-bound links, this should be a pro-active step you take immediately.

gford, the problem is that very few sites in competitive fields are clean as a whistle. You can be much cleaner than your competitor, but is it clean enough for Google? It's not an easy decision :)

nicknackcat



 
Msg#: 4261944 posted 4:48 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

@ksoper78 hopefully you'll regain your position if the datafeeds are in question. Keep me updated.

TyMax



 
Msg#: 4261944 posted 4:50 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

@gford I agree, I tried that for a filtered page, it did not resolve the problem. But I think it comes down to a philosophical disagreement with Google editors and the pages intent. Now I have to figure out how I can make adjustments to get back some of what was lost without causing other SE issues.

What I found interesting is the Sitemap shows it indexed but the page does not show on Google. It seems clear Google is making changes and it is a work in progress.

indyank

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4261944 posted 4:52 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

One thing I do have is thousands of forum signature links.


They might have zeroed out forum links (not just the signature links) value in this update.

The more I analyze this change, stronger is the feel that they have changed something big on links.

But it is still only on U.S datacenters and if it rolls out elsewhere it will have a far bigger impact than anything else.Google has been modest in saying that it will impact around 12% of pages.

Whoa

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4261944 posted 5:02 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

In a previous post, I mentioned that my main site's Google traffic was down 40% Thursday as a result of the new algorithm. Today is a little better, but still ... ouch.

For several sites we work on for clients, we compared the google organic visits on Thursday (the first full day of the new algo) to the average of the prior 4 Thursdays. Here are the results.

Site 1 (6% below average)
Site 2 (2% above average)
Site 3 (20% below average)
Site 4 (16% above average)
Site 5 (1% below average)
Site 6 (2% above average)
Site 7 (25% above average)

All sites are white hat, original content, etc. No links bought. No links sold.

I realize some of these changes are not statistically significant for the sites, but figured I'd share them anyway. In this zero-sum game, there are winners and losers. It's tough to understand why things have shifted in the way that they did...some really good sites we support lost a lot of traffic. I guess the big question is: are Google's search engine users happier today or is this a way-too-early Mission Accomplished being declared?

walkman



 
Msg#: 4261944 posted 5:10 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

"The more I analyze this change, stronger is the feel that they have changed something big on links. "

Tell us what you know, I think you are holding something back ;)

Maybe someone with a Twitter acct can ask Matt Cutts on whether they did a link thing too. It's possible but I doubt since they may have wanted to see the thin content /farm results without adding new filters

I guess the big question is: are Google's search engine users happier today or is this a way-too-early Mission Accomplished being declared?

Results are always tweaked, sadly it takes days, weeks and even months sometimes

indyank

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4261944 posted 5:20 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Tell us what you know, I think you are holding something back ;)


I have already told mine on inbound and outbound links in this thread.... :)

Yep, I also have a feel that this thread will be the longest one, if google decides to roll this everywhere. :)

indyank

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4261944 posted 5:33 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

For one of the searches I did, there are four pages ranking from the same farm.Their titles are

1) widget free online
2) free widget online
3) free free widget online
4) brand widget free online

all these will lead to the same page but different meta descriptions and titles. The meta descriptions will differ by the titles.

This is the real "Farms algo"... Kudo googlo...

[edited by: indyank at 5:40 pm (utc) on Feb 25, 2011]

Samanthatouch

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4261944 posted 5:33 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google is complaining about quality. Tell us what you mean by quality, how do you determine quality.


I think G determines 'quality' by watching how visitors behave when they click on a link and go to a website on the SERPs. If the visitor's experience is...

"That was exactly what I was looking for. I'm gonna use Google search the next time I need to find something because they give me what I was looking for."

... then that is a high quality site for that query. They probably know how to spot and measure this reaction by watching the visitor's behavior (via adsense, toolbars, and dozens of other clever things).

So it is much easier for them to measure 'quality' as it happens than it is to tell us what is a 'quality' website.

When the people are happy, they come in large numbers followed by advertisers who come and advertise to all of these people. Then the advertising company known as Google makes a ton of cash.

My_Media



 
Msg#: 4261944 posted 6:01 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think we have wait and hear Google out. This may just be a temporary disruption.

As the editor of a reputable health website (Health Hype), with articles written by medical doctors (qualifications verified), we have lost almost 50% of our regular traffic.

It is hard to believe that Google will allow this to continue.

Some of the sites that have ranked better than us are non-US sites with scraped content that is rewritten to pass as original work (barely).

Let's see what happens with time.

dickbaker

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4261944 posted 6:15 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Here's another oddity to consider (and maybe others saw something similar).

On Sunday and Monday traffic to my site shot up substantially, to page view and visitor numbers that I haven't seen in over a year. There was no outside influence I could think of that would suddenly drive traffic.

The traffic tapered off just a little on Tuesday and Wednesday, which is normal, but stayed above the levels from previous weeks.

The boost came from Google. Then the drop.

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