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CNN: Growing Backlash to AdSense Farm Update
Brett_Tabke

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4272916 posted 3:17 pm on Feb 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

[money.cnn.com...]

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.

 

guru5571

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4272916 posted 3:27 pm on Feb 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

My business has picked up. I don't rely on links from low quality farms. Not links at all really. Just good quality content. Finally feel that things are beginning to turn after years of being buried under commodity content.

Sgt_Kickaxe

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time



 
Msg#: 4272916 posted 3:27 pm on Feb 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google's index is not a public service and they can manage it how they see fit. I really don't see any point in griping about this change since it really did have the internet as a whole in mind. A few "big wall st companies" have produced mass numbers of "articles" to try and dominate search results but those articles are OFTEN of extremely low quality, even if that company is issuing press releases stating otherwise.

If the content was of good quality and original it's rankings didn't suffer, at least I've yet to read a claim by any site I feel is seo spam free.

I'm seeing a boost in traffic but I've never simply added hundreds/thousands/hundreds of thousands of articles just to cover my SEO keywords. Now I'm glad I didn't follow that trend.

P.S. I must have missed the hordes of people complaining about the change on this site like the article says... /shrug.

guru5571

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4272916 posted 3:48 pm on Feb 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

Just wanted to add that I run Adesense on most all of my sites as well and I don't think Adsense has anything to do with it. Obviously for all those hurt by the update, an equal number of sites will benefit. I hope this is the beginning of Google's actions finally catching up to its words and PR.

goodroi

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



 
Msg#: 4272916 posted 3:56 pm on Feb 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

To people not familiar with Google algo updates I can see how it might seem like sensational news. When compared to major Google updates, this is very tame. If your website has been impacted I am sure you will disagree with me.

Google has said this impacts up to 11.8% of queries. That means 88.2% of queries are not noticeably impacted. When 9 out of 10 queries are not impacted I have a hard time buying into the hype that this is a huge update.

indyank

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4272916 posted 4:15 pm on Feb 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing a boost in traffic but I've never simply added hundreds/thousands/hundreds of thousands of articles just to cover my SEO keywords. Now I'm glad I didn't follow that trend.


Oh you are not far away then and wait for the algo adjustments.I see sites with articles to cover SEO keywords getting a boost in this update.It is funny that you see the opposite.That speaks volumes of how this has impacted a wide range of sites.

The results of this update as I see it on my SERPS is just the opposite of what they promised to get rid off.

indyank

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4272916 posted 4:20 pm on Feb 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have a hard time buying into the hype that this is a huge update.


On what basis do you think that all big news sites/blogs are writing on this - CNN, Techcrunch, Engadget, Mashable and the list goes on.

walkman



 
Msg#: 4272916 posted 4:47 pm on Feb 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

On what basis do you think that all big news sites/blogs are writing on this - CNN, Techcrunch, Engadget, Mashable and the list goes on.



PR, they build this up with blog posts, articles and exposes for months now. Ironically the supposed target--Demand Media--is not even impacted.

TheMadScientist

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



 
Msg#: 4272916 posted 4:52 pm on Feb 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google has said this impacts up to 11.8% of queries. That means 88.2% of queries are not noticeably impacted. When 9 out of 10 queries are not impacted...

Last I read 40% (ish) of queries are new, so there's no way to know if they're impacted or not, meaning: 18.88% of 'standard' queries ARE impacted ... Almost 1 in 5.

[edited by: TheMadScientist at 4:54 pm (utc) on Feb 26, 2011]

1script

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4272916 posted 4:54 pm on Feb 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

Ironically the supposed target--Demand Media--is not even impacted.
Not even close. ehow is now above my pages on every search result where they were one or two positions below a week ago, so they have definitely gained in this update. But why do you say they are a supposed target, what did I miss?
Brett_Tabke

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4272916 posted 5:05 pm on Feb 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

From the CNN article:

A controversial decision: Any change to Google's algorithm is a zero-sum game. Some websites win, some lose.



That is true, but if 20 websites lose and 3 win - that is NOT a zero sum game - that is a loaded deck.

walkman



 
Msg#: 4272916 posted 5:05 pm on Feb 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

Ironically the supposed target--Demand Media--is not even impacted.
Not even close. ehow is now above my pages on every search result where they were one or two positions below a week ago, so they have definitely gained in this update. But why do you say they are a supposed target, what did I miss?


Because they are the largest 'content farmer' and everyone mentioned them. [google.com...]

And naturally blogs and news media has a vested $$$ interest to take them down.

Maybe they got so many new links because of the bashing that their ranking improved ;) ?


Edited to agree 100% with
That is true, but if 20 websites lose and 3 win - that is NOT a zero sum game - that is a loaded deck.
If you ruin 50 small site owners to drive their traffic to ehow, citibank or expedia is not a zero sum game. What baffles me is Google's apparent belief that in certain areas you must have 'thick content.' To make the pages thick, you have to hire some freelancers for $5-$10 a page to add crap around the 5-10 sentences or answers that people really seek. In short, you have to become what Google supposedly hates.
Tech_person



 
Msg#: 4272916 posted 5:58 pm on Feb 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

My website lost about 35% of US traffic even though I have only an original content don't use any SEO practices. Even more, I can see lots of my content copied and rephrased in the Ehow and similar websites and pretty much allover the internet, yet it seems that I get punished for this. I spent tons of research time writing my articles and regularly receive e-mails complimenting my articles.
There is something not right about this update for sure.

Planet13

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4272916 posted 6:02 pm on Feb 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

If you ruin 50 small site owners to drive their traffic to ehow, citibank or expedia is not a zero sum game.


What small site owners need is a union.

Think about it; what if you got 50 small owners who provide HIGH QUALITY CONTENT to work together, put their material on a single domain, and get it interlinked properly. they could pool their advertising budget, hosting costs, etc.

It would be something like an etsy but for content developers instead of artists. But you could make it more or less egalitarian.

Just throwing it out there...

vordmeister

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4272916 posted 6:05 pm on Feb 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

Pretty cool to get a mention in CNN news.

jgold454

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4272916 posted 6:52 pm on Feb 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

This thing needs a name...I hereby nominate the name "Zero Sum Update"

whatson

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4272916 posted 7:07 pm on Feb 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

My traffic has gone up about 40% in the last few days, I guess it is more than a coincidence that this is not the resulting affect. So does this mean that sites like mine are the most solid in Google?

nomis5

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4272916 posted 7:53 pm on Feb 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

No takers yet for Planet 13's idea? I'd be interested in taking it further.

tedster

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



 
Msg#: 4272916 posted 8:03 pm on Feb 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

That's fine - but please don't use our public forum threads for making business deals, thanks. It's not why we're online.

trinorthlighting

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4272916 posted 8:19 pm on Feb 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

I find it hard to believe that google will bite part of the hand that feeds it. Send out a lot of hype that they are fighting spam, then a month later quietly roll things back when earnings dip and no one is paying attention. This thread will be interesting to bring up again in 30-60 days.

Reno

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4272916 posted 8:59 pm on Feb 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

I find it hard to believe that google will bite part of the hand that feeds it. Send out a lot of hype that they are fighting spam, then a month later quietly roll things back ...

I agree trinorthlighting ~ sometimes the more that is said, the more that is expected. Note the multiple use of the word "quality" in the original Google blog posting:
Posted by 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..."

"... it is important for high-quality sites to be rewarded, and thatís exactly what this change does."

"...itís a big step in the right direction of helping people find ever higher quality in our results."

"...more updates that we believe will substantially improve the quality of the pages in our results."

They set the bar high, so as you said, it is difficult to imagine them ever saying "nevermind".

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

trinorthlighting

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4272916 posted 9:13 pm on Feb 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

I am not really seeing any of the adsense heavy weights chiming in here and their websites being affected. I do see a lot of "new users" posting here which may or may not be a PR stunt.

I question why we have seen some reporters lurking here at webmasterworld and why webmasterworld allowed the overstock.com postings that ended up giving them attention and got overstock.com penalized? Come on Brett, Ted and other mods, you broke some forum rules here to study a company in a public forum, how would you feel if webmasterworld did it to one of your sites that you SEO?

Why does the NY times and CNN even care? I think there are some motivations going on here behind the scenes and I smell something bad....

tedster

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



 
Msg#: 4272916 posted 9:34 pm on Feb 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

Yes, I also wonder if there are hidden agendas at the press. It's just a couple months back that Rupert Murdoch was in a very public brawl with Google.

With regard to the Overstock.com thread [webmasterworld.com], I personally take the hit for allowing the exception to our normal policy - and the way it all went does leave me feeling a bit wounded. The idea was that our members were frustrated by never talking about concrete examples. You learn just so much when you talk about "widgets".

So when that post was submitted, I took a top-level look at the Overstock SEO and it seemed like we could all learn something valuable from analyzing a big name website that was doing a lot quite well - and that IS the way the thread went for a while.

I can assure everyone that our thread did NOT start the Wall Street Journal investigation. In fact,
nothing in our thread points to a violation of Google guidelines. The discount that Overstock offered students was happening whether the links were online or not. That is not a paid link. We did not find a "smoking gun" of any kind.

As thegypsy mentioned in that thread:

"But the WSJ article seems to confirm that it was somewhat about that." Well, that's from their talking head. He obviously didn't mention the more egregious tactic that they were caught employing. So, take anything they said so far with a grain of salt.

Hopefully someone (OS or Google) will add more details to this story, but I wouldn't hold your breath.

----

I was involved in this story a few days ago when the WSJ journal contacted me about this thread (I am that guy 'Dave Harry' mentioned at the end of the WSJ article). Some of the emails I exchanged with the various parties alerted me to the 'other' issues. Sadly it is 'off the record' and I respect that.

kidder

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4272916 posted 10:14 pm on Feb 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

Our traffic is up.... Looks like we are going to have a record day today with one of our US sites, our biggest adsense site I might add. We have come up with a unique and very useful angle with our content recently and what we see more of in the stats is social media and direct type in traffic.

tedster

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



 
Msg#: 4272916 posted 10:17 pm on Feb 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

That's awesome news - so I guess you're not going to be part of the backlash that CNN reported, eh?

Elsmarc

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4272916 posted 10:37 pm on Feb 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

None of my sites have been impacted as far as I can tell. I think the publicity is mostly due to places like CNN, Techcrunch, Engadget, Mashable, etc. wanting to pump for pageviews themselves and Google made it into a big thing by announcing it.

I like this: "Comments from site operators lit up on the WebmasterWorld.com forum starting on Wednesday." as if WebmasterWorld doesn't "light up" with complainers every time there is an algo change.

No backlash from me. Business as usual.

TheMadScientist

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



 
Msg#: 4272916 posted 10:44 pm on Feb 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

...nothing in our thread points to a violation of Google guidelines.

And so what if it did?

It's their job to follow the guidelines, or not get noticed from breaking them, and it's obvious to me even if we did point out something that seems to be fairly obviously outside the rules Google doesn't do anything ... Remember: People do it in spam reports all the time ... [what happens most of the time? nothing]

IMO It's actually been done here recently, but not with Overstock, with that one site we all know and love [name omitted to protect G's bed buddy] ... Anyone who knows anything can go look at the jsNoFollow 'links' on the site and know exactly why they're there, but does it result in action? Nope.

Google does what they want to the sites they decide to take action on when they decide to do it and we don't have any say in that either way, so who cares if something was pointed out here or not?

We didn't go change someone else's site, did we?

Someone might actually have a case against the jsNoFollow site for non-attribution with those 'links' the way they are on the page, someone really might, because with the way it's coded if your turn your JavaScript off there is no attribution or link that I remember seeing ... As far as I can tell, they don't 'give attribution' as a blanket practice; they 'give attribution' in certain situations: Only when JavaScript is enabled.

[edited by: TheMadScientist at 10:53 pm (utc) on Feb 26, 2011]

aakk9999

WebmasterWorld Administrator 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4272916 posted 10:49 pm on Feb 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

analyzing a big name website that was doing a lot quite well - and that IS the way the thread went for a while.... I can assure everyone that our thread did NOT start the Wall Street Journal investigation...

In the hindsight, my feeling is that the OS thread was a some kind of setup. It was almost like someone knew all (or most) answers already at the time of starting it, and when the thread died, it got resurrected only couple of days after JCP article in NYT, and with an answer served on the plate by the user who never posted before nor after. Maybe "they" needed WebmasterWorld members reaction to ensure Google reacts the way it did.

weeks

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4272916 posted 11:12 pm on Feb 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

Seeking to Weed Out Drivel, Google Adjusts Search Engine
(Front page, The New York Times today):
In a tacit admission that Web publishers are flooding its search engine with low-quality pages, Google has revised its methods to improve the usefulness of its results.
[nytimes.com...]


I hang out in the real world quite a bit and it has been interesting to hear lay people complain about Google's results. I expect to hear it here, but when my wife--and she is as real as it gets--starts talking about it, something is up.

For the record, our few high ranking sites seem to be fine. (Most of my clients don't require SEO) But, then, they don't have drivel.

TheMadScientist

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



 
Msg#: 4272916 posted 11:19 pm on Feb 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

<OT>
Let me just tell it how it is imo for a minute, because I don't think there should be a stinking apology to these major corps running sites and getting tanked for not following the rules.

The sites we're talking about build up HUGE earnings and numbers of rankings, and some (all?) of that comes at our expense as the competition.

They should be squeeky f'ing clean, or EXPECT to get blasted by us for cheating.

We aren't talking about 'Webmaster Joe' competing for Pink Widget sales in Detroit. We're talking about companies pulling out all the stops to rank for all the terms they can, and if that's going to come at the expense of the Mom and Pop webmaster, imo they should expect the microscope and they should do it by being better, cleaner and more informative than anyone else, not by putting jsNoFollow in all of their fake links.

What one of them does (imo) is sets the example for pushing not only the limits of Google's guidelines to the max, if not walking right over them, they push the edge of content theft to go along with it.

Does anyone really wonder why there's so much spam, plagiarism, near plagiarism and copying on the Internet? If you don't know, it's because it works.

Thanks G! I HOPE you get this content origination piece right one of these days, because it seems to me the big guys sure like to take from the little authors around the web and don't even bother to give a real, free, live link to the source. PATHETIC!

Someone asked why people 'hate' eHow in a thread and I don't remember exactly which one, but I'll tell you why I despise eHow, it's simple: jsNoFollow in the source code instead of proper, linked attribution like it should be. Makes Me Livid!
</OT>

[edited by: TheMadScientist at 11:28 pm (utc) on Feb 26, 2011]

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