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This 198 message thread spans 7 pages: < < 198 ( 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 7 > >     
CNN: Growing Backlash to AdSense Farm Update

 3:17 pm on Feb 26, 2011 (gmt 0)


Google made one of the biggest changes ever to its search results this week, which immediately had a noticeable effect on many Web properties that rely on the world's biggest search engine to drive traffic to their sites.

The major tweak aims to move better quality content to the top of Google's search rankings. The changes will affect 12% Google's results, the company said in a blog post late Thursday.

Comments from site operators lit up on the WebmasterWorld.com forum starting on Wednesday. Many webmasters complained that traffic to their sites dropped dramatically overnight, and others expressed concern that they can't adapt quickly enough to Google's changes to its algorithm.



 11:30 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)


My complaint... my commentary... is/has to do with Google's seemingly rash and irresponsible way of manipulating the search results.
I have no complaint, nor do you. You don't know that Google is manipulating the search results in some 'evil' way. And - If that IS the case, Google is a business which can't please everyone no matter what it does. Give us the URL to your business so we can critique it. Maybe your site(s) deserve to be lowered in the serps. I've had sites online since 1996 and since Google came into the Search game I've never had an algo change make much of a difference on any of my sites. Content is King, as it always has been.

Me - I'm not seeing any significant changes. It *appears* I may be getting a bit more traffic than is usual for a sunday, but since there's a certain amount of flux anyway I can't see anything statistically significant.

Get real guys. I'm new to this forum because my Professional SEO doesn't know what the heck is going on... can't figure it out.... And I'm up against a wall trying to undo this catastrophe...
Sounds like the company/person you hired for SEO isn't competent or promised you more than it/he/she can deliver. You made a mistake. We all make mistakes from time to time. And - If you think this is something you can "fix" in a couple of days or a week or something like that, you better think again. You're freaking out so quickly I'm amazed. Get a grip on reality - Your site(s) may come back up in the serps in a day or two, or a week or two. It's a bit soon to be crying and screaming doom and gloom.

...and looking into my newborn sons eye's and getting that sudden connection in between spastic seemingly involuntary muscle movement.
By golly, now you've got me in tears...

If you've been in this game since 2004 as you say, you should have known what the stakes are and that depending upon Google for traffic is not a wise decision. Maybe you should get a job in a company where you get a regular pay check and not have to depend upon Google's search results for your income.

Life is hard. As to your child, I didn't have one (and only had 1) until I was 38 years old and had plenty of cash in hand to be able to live a couple of years without a job at all. I specifically held off on having a kid until I was sure I was able to afford one. Life has been pretty good to me, my daughter is grown with a graduate degree and is an athletic trainer. I'm essentially retired and if all my web sites go down I have saved enough to live for 8 to 10 years without an income.

I still will have to let go of 7 - 8 employees tomorrow though.
In that case you have done a very poor job at planning your business. You obviously haven't planned for potential downturns. A friend of mine had 2 restaurants which both went bust during the 'recession' (or what ever they're calling it these days). He had to let more than 8 people go - A lot more. I told him years ago that he was over leveraged (and a bit of other advice) and he laughed at me. Right now he's near bankruptcy, in his late 50's and without any income, and he's crying about his failure attributing it to (blaming it on) everything but his business model and planning. He won't admit all the bad decisions he made on his own.

Based on the backlash to my commentary I think I should be a little clearer.
You have been very clear in showing you have a very poor business model and now you're crying and throwing the blame everywhere *except* where it belongs, which is your poor business decision(s). You keep on with the "Google should do this...." and "Google should have done this..." as if Google is to blame.

This may be the point in your life where you are forced to face the reality that you alone are responsible for your life and your decisions.

I agree with Lenny2, I am not blaming Google either. They helped to create so many jobs in US and abroad. But, they should have warned about this big change.
Same thing here. You say you're not blaming Google, yet you are.

 11:39 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

(HOPE someday) we'll start reading posts here about how people lost their rankings, and their bottom line might take a hit, but they were prepared, because they read through some of the threads here and realized how dangerous it is to depend on Google's rankings for a living...

Ok, here's mine.

I lost maybe 50% of my Google organic traffic in this update. But as long as I've been doing this I've said it could end any minute.

So I made preparations. I have a nice big snail-mailing list and years of experience with direct snail -mail marketing.

Of course I also have a nice big (for a site like mine) email list. I personally hate email, so I'm inclined not to use this, at least not yet.

Along the way I've put aside enough "rainy-day" cash to tide me thru this for whatever method I use going forward. That includes continuing to travel to related events around the USA.

I've had enough direct ad sales inquiries over the years to be fairly confident that I could take AdSense off the site and still do well enough.

Yeah, I have a lot less traffic at the moment, but I'm not certain there won't be some bounce back in the coming weeks. So I'm not about to do anything drastic, like get a job a McDonalds :)

Almost 11 years ago when I started designing and building my site, someone suggested I really needed to work on getting search engine rankings. My response was that I wasn't going out of my way to do that. Yes I did build pages that seemed to be easy for the SEs to read, based on what I learned here years ago, but that's about all the SEO I've ever done. In 10 years I've probably "exchanged" 10 links. I link out generously because it's good for my visitors, and I never ask for a link back.

I can make this thing work, with or without good Google organic serps.

Now if Bing copies the current Google serps, I might run out and get some beer to cry in :)



 11:41 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

Yup, so far it looks like you are right... didn't plan well enough... Still would like to feel like Google doesn't think that my hand written content is crap (like the blog post implies) and would like to feel as if the years that we were in Googles good graces it was because of the good quality and service we brought to the table... not some foregone algorithmic mistake that they are now just "fixing."

My point, the point that some seem to be missing is not that Google should be blamed for making changes to "their" business model. it's that Google execs should take their heads out of the code for a second and show some compassion. After all, as MANY people has said, this IS NOT the first time that tweaking their algorithm has caused major life changing hardship for many people (albeit at the same time as creating opportunity for others.)

It's not a complicated point. I don't understand why people have so much trouble admitting that Google needs to have a soul. My next post will be a re-written Google blog post with a soul. stay tuned.


 11:44 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

Here you go G's PR came to the rescue. Before you ask about other website info, why don't you give us your website so that we can learn your apparently competent SEO.


 11:49 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

I don't mean to pick on you, but please consider:
After all, as MANY people has said, this IS NOT the first time that tweaking their algorithm has caused major life changing hardship for many people

It's not the first time that a hurricane, flood, earthquake, tsunami has caused major life changing hardship for many people.

Yet, people continue to live in areas that are prone to these types of natural disasters. The weather does not have a soul or show compassion, nor does Google have to.

Accept the risks of doing business in an unpredictable environment, but make sure you have a contingency plan to fall back on. Or, as Elsmarc stated: get a job with a steady paycheck if you are not willing to accept the risk.

[edited by: caribguy at 11:52 pm (utc) on Feb 27, 2011]


 11:51 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

My next post will be a re-written Google blog post with a soul.

Sounds fun ... You might be on to something. ;)

Make sure your site is easy to bookmark.
Cross-Browser Bookmarking Script [webmasterworld.com]


 11:52 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

How to fix a rear spoiler on your Favorite very expensive ride!

Well, good that you found this page, lets not get our time wasted and get right to it!

Things You will need:

1.A very expensive ride.
2.Adhesive Tape(I know, but this one is for later use).
3.Internet Browser.
4.PDA, I won’t mention it here a lot cause everybody either have one or wants one badly and with the ways it goes should have one by the time this article gets the SERP rankings it deserves!

Let’s start by getting our navigation skills in tact (we will definitely need to maintain dropped calls) and fire up one of our favorite Apps on our favorite PDA. Once on the trail(watch out for the northern, larger X kind dues), make sure to check the market/sponsored ads/weather, you never know when Mother Nature is upset….

Now, where was I, ah, the spoiler!

If it is not a Saturday yet, call the mechanic, the one that fixed it last time, you know, otherwise follow to the step:

Step 1: If you are out of qualified mechanic, skip to the step 2.
Step 2: If you are a qualified mechanic: there is no reason for you to educate your self just start clicking!
3 and 4 are optional:
Step 3: All of the Above.
Step 4: Accessed*(my server can't spell) Denied: You are not Authorized to View these pages.
Step 5: Please leave a comment or leave a comment and enter to win a free spoiler for your’Yorls Roysezesez(u are twisting you tong at this point, do a better job, pretty please),. Limited Supplies are in affect, so hurry….
Step 5.1 If you can’t do the abobe, you will need a discount on a new expensive Ride, click there to see our sponsors.

Conclusion: You could skip most of these Steps if you don’t have the car in step One, but if you do, please checkout our sponsors for a better click feeling and feel-better experience.

p.s. #1 your Favorite Machinery is an imaginary car that was mentioned by someone in a local fishing joint supply store, I am just saying Yo.

p.s. #2 has to do with the TAPE(mentioned above), click here to get a deal on that! 2.

p.s. #3 Download the browser we mention too before you start messing with your ride, it helps to get the engine in tune, reall…y

[edited by: blend27 at 12:44 am (utc) on Feb 28, 2011]


 11:55 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks for posting ... It's good to hear.

But as long as I've been doing this I've said it could end any minute.

I think more people need this line of thinking. I'm actually taking quite a bit of marketing offline and doing some different things to get people to one of my new sites.

Now if Bing copies the current Google serps, I might run out and get some beer to cry in :)



 12:01 am on Feb 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

IF you can be patient, I would strongly advise against making any major changes for at least a week or two. I know it's difficult. But I just don't think it's all done yet.


 12:03 am on Feb 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

I like to use the analogy of a store I know of that thrived financially for two generations. They did a lot things wrong and I couldn't see at first why they were so successful. Then it became clear. They had a major bus stop right outside their from door.

And of course you can guess the rest. The bus line was rerouted and one year later the store went out of business. Even after disaster struck and their traffic dried up, they were unwilling to change how they did things. To this day, I hear that the owner blames the transit authority for the failure.


 12:03 am on Feb 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

I am thinking all the engineers get paid buy these so called Adsense Farms, I guess the Droid is doing well.


 12:10 am on Feb 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Below you will find Google's announcement re-written with some soul. This took me 10 minutes. There are a lot more missing points that a more professional PR person would probably catch onto. I purposely did not change much. I wanted to show people how little needed to be said to say SO MUCH.

The essential difference between this rendition and their rendition is that Google treats these changes as if they are at war with the content in their search engines. It's almost as if they are coming from behind and trying to stomp out the people that are "screwing" them. The reality of the situation is that sure there are a lot of black-hat seo crap going on.. but, how can Google for as big and successful a company as it is, be so completely compassion-less? They treated this event and the algo change and their "press release" as if they had been getting screwed by sites and they finally were able to stamp them out. I mean really Google? really? Have you been screwed for years? seems to me like you have market share because you have a pretty damn great search engine... And if you have to make an Algo change it is because you are trying to make it BETTER! And if people/sites are going to suffer, well shouldn't you thank them for their service to your search engine for years? Not, treat them as if they were not the reason you have maintained public favor?

Here was their "press release" almost 24 hours AFTER THE CHANGE, quoted parts are mine:

Our goal is simple: to give people the most relevant answers to their queries as quickly as possible. This requires constant tuning of our algorithms, as new content—both good and bad—comes online all the time.

Many of the changes we make are so subtle that very few people notice them. But in the last day or so we launched a pretty big algorithmic improvement to our ranking—a change that noticeably impacts 11.8% of our queries—and we wanted to let people know what’s going on. This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.

We can’t make a major improvement without affecting rankings for many sites. It has to be that some sites will go up and some will go down. Google depends on the high-quality content created by wonderful websites around the world, and we do have a responsibility to encourage a healthy web ecosystem. Therefore, it is important for high-quality sites to be rewarded, and that’s exactly what this change does.

In a lot of ways we are completely dependent on the brilliant webmasters and web entrepreneurs who have made up our search results, without them our business would be very limited. As aforementioned every time we make changes to our algorithm some sites go up and some sites go down; it is the natural side affect to a healthy web eco-system. In the change that we have recently launched a lot of sites that have been displayed prominently in our search results for years may see a decrease in rankings. Google has nothing but gratitude for the years that, those sites have been there for our mutual customers. And it should be noted that we do hope that those negatively affected by this change are able to climb their way back up the search results, naturally.

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.

So, we’re very excited about this new ranking improvement because we believe it’s a big step in the right direction of helping people find ever higher quality in our results. 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.

To start with, we’re launching this change in the U.S. only; we plan to roll it out elsewhere over time. We’ll keep you posted as we roll this and other changes out, and as always please keep giving us feedback about the quality of our results because it really helps us to improve Google Search.
For sites that are negatively affected please submit your site to this link: google.com/cares


 12:17 am on Feb 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

I know that a lot people don't really care... But, from a human perspective I personally think it makes a difference. For example, tomorrow I will have to let go of my masters in English (from a prestigious university) copy writer... it is one thing to let that person go and say: "it's because Google has determined that our content is 'low quality'" it's another thing to say "they changed their algo... and as they mention a lot of innocent sites are going to be affected, it must have been a hard choice for the engineers at Google to make the move..." from a Human perspective IMO it makes a HUGE difference!


 12:30 am on Feb 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Lenny2, kudos for rewriting what G should have written.


 12:37 am on Feb 28, 2011 (gmt 0)


Now - If you can just get that job at Google writing their announcements for them. ;)

I'm still waiting for a link to your site. For all I know at this point it is "low quality".


 12:38 am on Feb 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

It is really irresponsible for Google to make this gigantic change during this economy,

Why is it ?
You are not on their payroll. They don't owe you a living. They are a business just like any other company. Some companies in some countries do not give you redundancy notice.

SERIOUSLY! Anyone who thinks you're entitled to your rankings GET OVER YOURSELF. You're not any more entitled than the rest of us. That's the game we play and if you got in a spot because of irresponsibly depending on an independent 3rd party to keep giving you a freebie then that's your own stinking fault.

Don't blame Google for YOUR poor decision making!

Suck it up, take the responsibility for making a bad decision like an adult, then figure out what to do to try and correct your error, whether it be online or off.

Totally agree. None of my sites have been affected, and I don't see why either. If anything, i've had a slight increase in visitors.


 12:57 am on Feb 28, 2011 (gmt 0)


HA! I probably would have on Wednesday... Today, I'm actually wondering if the content on our site is crap!


 1:00 am on Feb 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

$.('poor, decision, making');

Once the label is pleased on something, it becomes an 'it'.


 1:06 am on Feb 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Why are people saying to wait a few days or weeks for the SERPs to adjust? Why would there be adjusting? I don't see how Google didn't do a lot of testing before this release, why would they need to adjust anything after?

I understand what people are saying about not blaming Google for their business failing after this update. However, it's a slap in the face from them for those of us who have followed their guidelines only to be punished for it. After this update, I see forums ranking very high now, which doesn't help people who are looking for a specific widget to buy. They need to go through a page and a half of forum posts on a specific widget just to get to one store that sells it. But why? Why value the forums more just because they are forums. Some of the good quality ecommerce stores have unique descriptions that are very valuable and offer way more help than useless forum posts that just tell people to search.

If you haven't been affected, you are lucky. I for one now get much less relevant results in google for searches I do not related to my business. If this is Google's intention, I will definitely be moving over to Bing or Yahoo for all of my future searches. They won't miss me, and with them returning results like these, I won't miss them either.


 1:15 am on Feb 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Why are people saying to wait a few days or weeks for the SERPs to adjust? Why would there be adjusting? I don't see how Google didn't do a lot of testing before this release, why would they need to adjust anything after?

Go back and read through the old update threads...
This is more of an 'old school' update than what we're at all used to seeing lately.

My guess is this update was so big they had to pull some of the filters and systems off and we'll see adjustment over the next days possibly weeks. (If you go and change something now that would be corrected in a few days you might 'fix' your site right out of the rankings.)

They used to do it that way most (all?) the time for larger updates.


 1:19 am on Feb 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

For some strange reason, some people expected a warning. Even if you were given one and made the changes, you are forgetting that Google are going by what they have already on record, not what you've changed. You will have to wait for that to happen.


 1:20 am on Feb 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

TheMadScientist, can you explain more, and post a link? Not sure I follow... thanks


 1:27 am on Feb 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

I want to know why there had to be an update at all? After all Google has:

- User Serp behavior data (Searches/Views/Clicks/Search Sessions).
- What I have heard called WaterFall Data That is the data from the auto complete and from Instant Search. (they know keyword streams)
- Site analytics data from all over the web (time on page, time on site, user click path, site-to-site travel)
- They have Toolbar data - raw full click stream data - the whole enchilada.
- Only they know what is coming in from Android devices and Chrome browser data (mucho data)

All of which equates to what I call The USSR (User Search Success Rate). That is the rate that any keyword search/SERP ends up with a happy Google user.

Since they have the USSR per SERP rates, why was this "update" not processed right in stream from the click an other analytics data? If G has the smarts to do a intelligent self learning algo - how come it didn't learn what people like and take corrective action filtering out the 'content farms' one SERP at a time all along?


 1:33 am on Feb 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Brett, you hit the nail on the head - well said!


 1:35 am on Feb 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

The old threads are HUGE! EG there were 7 BigDaddy (Infrastructure, not Algo) Update threads I think, so filtering through all the info in there isn't something I'm going to do, but:

This is from a single page from GoogleGuy about the Bourbon Update:
Okay, a bunch of reinclusions (and the responses to some spam complaints) went out today, along with some improvements to one of the first two things that went out with Bourbon. I also believe that we completed a binary push this weekend that has hooks for the last part of Bourbon. We'll turn on one datacenter, and then the rest of the datacenters over the course of the next week or so. After the other changes that went out, this last change should be less noticeable. In a few days, I'll post a way to give feedback, but feel free to use the the spam report form at [google.com...] in the mean time if you want to mention spam that you see in the results. I'd use the keyword "bourbon" if you do decide to use that form, so that we can separate those reports out.



Re the Jagger Update
Finally, GoogleGuy posted yesterday or so that a new binary is also wending its way from data centers like 66.102.7.x. And I wouldn’t be surprised if a second stage of the index rolls out around this time next week. I also wouldn’t be surprised if a third stage of the index rolls out the week after that. I just wanted to let people know that there’s still flux to come.


They don't do everything all at once is the point.
I'll let others do more digging if they feel like.


 1:59 am on Feb 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

If G has the smarts to do a intelligent - self learning algo - how come it didn't learn what people like and take corrective action filtering out the 'content farms' all along?

Hmmm ... Because it could learn a behavior from a click, but not the feeling about the result itself, maybe?

EG The other day I may have searched on Bing for something 'SEOish' and looked 3 pages deep at sites listed, then I may have searched for the same phrase on Google and clicked on 3 of the same sites I clicked on while I was searching Bing just to see which ones they were for sure, because I looked at about 20 on Bing, and all you can tell from my clicks and click backs is my visits were fast ... There's no way they can tell why I searched, what I learned, what I actually liked or disliked from those results, because all they have is behavior, not my reaction or reason for doing it.

There were two I liked and another I thought, 'yeah, this piece of garbage ranks on both...'

They can't tell that from my click behavior. There's no way. My visits were spread through the top 10 and time spent on each was about the same. There's no way they can tell which 2 of the 3 I liked and which one I didn't from my behavior ... It was too similar for all 3.


 2:51 am on Feb 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Please understand the suffering of other people and try to respond in a positive way.
From the admins need to re-post
Forum Etiquette
it now appears that this update is somewhat different.

 3:07 am on Feb 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

What's interesting to me is timing.

What made this update important now? Was it improvement in the detection of low-quality content from Google?

If so, how can Google even begin, at an advanced level to detect "low quality"

And what does this say about the fact that many of the websites in fact ranked for years. Was Google simply showing 'low quality' SERPs that that time for those particular queries? What made Google determine that those same content pieces were now low quality to the user?


 4:29 am on Feb 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

If G has the smarts to do a intelligent - self learning algo - how come it didn't learn what people like and take corrective action filtering out the 'content farms' all along?

Hmmm ... Because it could learn a behavior from a click, but not the feeling about the result itself, maybe?

I guess Brett's point was that they already have all information in the world that can possibly be gathered about the way people react to web pages. There is NOTHING more that can be gathered in a scalable manner. TMS is correct that they cannot know people's feeling about the pages but that's just the thing: peoples' feelings are very unreliable. Something akin to interviewing eyewitnesses to an accident: everybody saw it but everyone's story is different. You don't really want to know people's feelings, you want to know more concrete data (evidence if you will), and Google already has it.


 4:39 am on Feb 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

> feelings

Sure they can tell user feelings. They hit the back button and select another listing on the serp.


 4:56 am on Feb 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think that's the problem with detecting user dissatisfaction for some content farm pages. The return to the SERPs is too slow, because it takes a decent amount of reading before users realize the article is totally messing with them. Because it's so slow, it doesn't meet the criteria for a bad result, where the user would bounce pretty darned fast.

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