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This 245 message thread spans 9 pages: < < 245 ( 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 7 8 9 > >     
Google Updates and SERP Changes - February 2011 part 2

 6:39 pm on Feb 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

< continued from [webmasterworld.com...] >

But, I believe that Google now prefers sites with a much higher percentage of "valuable" pages. If you don't meet the percentage value determination, whatever that is, you get whacked.

I tend to agree with Fred. This is what I am finding as well.

[edited by: tedster at 8:00 pm (utc) on Feb 26, 2011]



 2:48 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

I've got a co.uk site and this morning almost 90% of my traffic disappeared. The strangest thing is that the same thing happened on 21st of Jan, than on 2nd of Feb the traffic returned and after a short period of joy and happiness today the story repeats. Basically for almost all my important keywords the site is nowhere to be found or if I find it it's on 18th page. But for some of the keywords (appr 1%) it's firmly on the 1st page, even on 1st place. Last time I thought that the reason were the huge design changes I made which affected the entire site's URL structure. Than after 2 weeks Google decided that my site is very good regardless the changes and returned it to it's old positions in serp. Well I haven't changed anything since than and honestly today I will have to buy a gun :-( that might help me solve this...


 2:52 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

It's this: in order to target content farms and work out their "true" authority, G dialled down the emphasis on internal linking. Therefore sites with good external links to every single page are doing great, but sites that depended on sheer size and internal linking to rank, have tanked.

AlyssaS: simple, explains some aspects for me, best short explanation that I have seen here from a programmers point of view.


 3:05 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

If you don't mind my asking, what is your link situation? Lots? Not many? Spread out amongst many sites or many from a few sites?

How large is your site? Were you first-page for most terms you wanted?

Per Alexa, it's 300 something links. These are from individual mostly high quality sites. Many from sites of the manufacturers whose products we sell.

It's notable to mention that we began an affiliate program 3 months ago so we would have received many new links from that. Most will say an affiliate program is not supposed to have an influence on rankings. (We are on 2 networks with google affiliate network being the most active one.)

Lastly there are numerous low quality sites I see in WMT, some showing many links to us. They look like junk blogs. Have no idea who they are or why they are linking to us.

Site is 10,000 something pages. We were page 1 for many items.


 3:26 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

ortelius, I would like to give you some suggestions.

Just post one item that you sell to Craigslist. Include an image that is on your web page in the html in the ad. This will bring you a better result. Also, make sure you have you hyperlink your domain from Craigslist, also. Only post an ad once a week and follow their terms of use policy.

Now if you know other people with websites, do not post a banner, but ask or pay for them to host a small blurb about a product that you sell, and link it to your site. This does 2 things, first and foremost it helps your site, and second it helps theirs, also. You will see websites doing this more often in the future, and many are now, with pages of blurbs about other websites that sell any type of products.

No iframes, or java content. Just strict html or xhtml for your seo dollar. You are better off with search results doing it this way, and so is the webmaster of the page that lets you do it. This expands your keyword hit for your site and theirs.

You need to link to other sites with information about the product. If you sell gears and sprockets link it to sites that review them and why yours is the best. (Or worst even).

The best links you can have are companies that are successful and well known. Magazines are great for this that write content about products such is Consumer Reports or other magazines and websites that review products. (Even if the website requires a subscription to read about the product, which is even better).
You may find listings of your products coming up under a search result of Consumer Reports. It may not be at the top of the search, but maybe on the first page.

Another suggestion is using Youtube with your domain name if it is available for your youtube page. This will also help. These are just suggestions that I used when I owned my store. They will work and work well, and it will boost your rankings.

Many people confuse advertising and SEO is one of the same, but they are entirely different. SEO is only for people that are impulse buyers for the most part. They search for a product and if you are number one at the top of the page they will buy it, but most people will look and see if they can find a good deal through a reputable company for a good price, that part is done through advertising.

Most people do not understand why Google is changing its way it ranks websites, but really it is only common sense why they are in my opinion. Me, myself and I are in a good situation. This is because I only need to advertise the name of my domain, in which you can do a Google search for my username here and it will be on the top, and then Google the name on the heading (Title page name) for that and see what happens. I am afraid of using too much seo because I may get sand boxed. What would you do?


 3:32 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

ortelius, I would like to give you some suggestions.

Just post one item that you sell to Craigslist. Include an image that is on your web page in the html in the ad. This will bring you a better result. Also, make sure you have you hyperlink your domain from Craigslist, also. Only post an ad once a week and follow their terms of use policy.

Er ... not sure what all this means, Rhonie. I don't sell items off my website. I don't sell anything. Even if I did, I'm not sure what you are getting at. I'm sure your advice is worthwhile, I'm just not sure:
a/why you are directing it to me
b/what exactly you are trying to help me with.

Your post is somewhat cryptic, if you know what I mean.


 3:35 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

I've got a co.uk site and this morning almost 90% of my traffic disappeared

I think this has nothing to do with this algo update. You seems to be in standard penalty circle.


 3:41 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

Some strange examples: "Canada widgets" displays on the first page 2 results with the location La Canada in California! This is certainly wrong, if I am looking for La Canada as a location I will definitely not use only the word Canada when searching for something.


 4:22 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

I send my apologies to you ortelius. I was on too many sites at the same time I believe. Maybe lack of sleep, too much caffeine and not paying enough attention to what I was posting or to whom. At least I can cut and paste it and send it to someone else.


 4:42 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

maxmoritz, I made a mistake in putting in the wrong persons username. The post was supposed to be for you instead of ortelius. I hope you can understand what I am saying and will put it to some use.


 4:43 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

ckissi, I'm looking for an explanation and an advice, that's why I've posted here. As far as I know a penalized site will not appear on first position for any keyword and in most cases for it's own domain name. This not what is happening to my site - it's on first page for some of my keywords, but for most of them the site now is on 2nd, 3th and even 18th. The other thing that bother me is that the situation repeats after 2 weeks of great traffic - some kind of a yo-yo effect which I presume has something to do with the algo update?!?!


 5:24 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

Since your situation has been going on for several cycles, it doesn't sound like it's related to THIS update. Instead, you're seeing what others here have called the yo-yo effect, and a few members have been discussing those for a couple years.

They are still mysterious - we have theories but nothing definitive. I've seen it hit one page on an major website - of a household name enterprise. In that case it lasted about 4 months! It seems to be some kind of statistical testing going on, but why is not clear.

And yes, Google can penalize a site, a directory, a page, or even just one keyword for a page. But I don't think the yo-yo effect is a true penalty. It's just a "phenomenon" based on wobbly trust for the higher position - throws the URL involved into testing.


 5:54 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

@Rhonie: Thanks, but I entirely disagree with you about SEO only being for impulse buyers, and your solutions to this algo update. My e-commerce site/company has done (prior to this update) a very large amount of business through search. My family has lived off it for the last 6 years.

Sites that took a dive due to this update are not going to be brought back by putting an ad on Craigslist or setting up a YouTube channel (which we already have anyway). As I said, we've been featured in the mainstream media, magazines, etc. We're not a small operation.

My primary interest now is figuring our why quality sites that dropped did. What is it that Google did to devalue "content farms" and why did it effect so many e-commerce sites? Looking at my AWR projects in a variety of niches, it seems e-commerce sites were affected disproportionately. I'm not talking about low quality affiliate sites. Mine is a real business with unique, quality content, more relevant and with a far better user experience than MOST of the sites in the SERP.


 6:05 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

One quick point based on the 'wobble' effect mentioned by Tedster, although my #1 keyword search item seems to consistantly produce the same set of new results. Many of the other top 20 keyword items seem to woble. For instance my #2 phrase seems to show me back in my regular position at spot 5 on the serps for hours at a time and my anylytics data show this. Right now I'm in the #10 spot. In most cases the penalty appears to be -5 spots in my case. Is this part of algorith or part of the trust effect Tedster mentioned or have the two melded together? I've seen effects like the wobble on my site in th past - every time seem to have passed the "text" - but never on this scale. Still seeing a 25% loss in Google search traffic.


 6:09 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

Here are some of my observations
The only pages that got hit in my case are the ones with external links. I have a subdomain with content that hasn't been updated since 2006 and doesn't have any external links and these pages are fine.
Scrapers rank higher than me on every new article. Some of them have my article in their description tag an no actual content on their page. Just adsense.
At least 50% of all searches in my field are dominated by 2 sites. One is a scraper and one fits the content farm description.
The first positions in SERPs are dominated by keyword stuffers. They have keywords on a title tags, on img title and alt tags, h1 title tags, simply anywhere they can put a keyword they did.
From where i'm sitting it looks like a penalty for having inbound external links.


 6:19 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

@valex, I know what I'm talking about because I got such penalty 2 times 2 years ago. Exactly the same, some keywords weren't touched and some of them moved few pages down (from my top 10 about 50% moved down).
It took about 2 weeks then recovered. Actually traffic recovered to about 95% of what it was before.
I didn't got yo-yo effect (thanx god ;)) but the friend of mine is experiencing same thing. He tried to make tons of different modification on site itself but he was never able to get rid of this.
So I assume its something related to inbound links or something off site related.


 6:22 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

What is it that Google did to devalue "content farms" and why did it effect so many e-commerce sites?

Yes - answering that is definitely the job right now. One category of ecommerce site that was hit seems to be those that depended heavily on article marketing or forum links for their rankings. But that doesn't account for all of it.

Another category seems to be "low amount of text on the page" or "overly copied text on the page". There's some suggestion, and I can't confirm this yet, that full grammatical sentences or a good reading level are part of what the algo change rewards.

There is one ecommerce client I've worked with for 11 years. Many of their #1 rankings fell to #3 - but it would take a complete redesign of their site to get more complete sentences onto the pages that lost rankings.

Fortunately in their niche, people often do shop through most of the first page and they form strong brand loyalties. So #3 isn't that much lower for traffic than #1. Customer retention through their email list seems to be holding sales together, even while total Google traffic has dipped about 10%.


 6:25 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

"From where i'm sitting it looks like a penalty for having inbound external links."

I am seeing the same thing as well, or it could be having the wrong kind of inbound links, maybe the links that were holding the site up got hit thus having the domino effect.

I have lots of sites and this is consistant across the board, fresh inbound links (not all high quality = reduced rankings). People buying/renting high quality links = no changes.

I know there may be more to it for the larger sites, but this is the case with my sites.

I am also seeing sites that have complete spam links outrank my sites, xrummer, sites with forum profile links ect.. so not sure what to think.

Only hit older sites as well.

Seeing newer sites with 100% spam spun unreadable content backlinks on page #1.. spam was not a target here.

[edited by: kd454 at 6:27 pm (utc) on Feb 27, 2011]


 6:27 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

I cant' go for the page penalized theory because both my #1 and #2 key phrases both take me to the home page. Why does one phrase seem to be set in stone, while the other biggie is wobbling. Also I keep good records of Google referals to my home page and group the rest by major sections (I have an old fashioned tree structure) and they appear all to been have hit across the board. I'm concentrating on my original top 20 google search phrases because to go any furthur would probably produce a fair amount of noisy data - not to mention be totally overwhelming. Incidently another check shows my #2 phrase at position 9 (first time I've seen it there - always been 5 or 10 before.


 6:27 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

Have you intentionally created anchor text to support those phrases?


 6:31 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm not convinced this is as link related as everyone seems to think...
There are some things I've seen that seem to say that's not quite the case.


 6:35 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

Tedster - if your talking to me - yes. The second phrase with the wobble is barely used as an anchor link. The phrase that seems to solidly penalized is used on the navigation button to that general section as text and is used as a return from the subsections to that general section. Could that be it?


 6:36 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

I agree. I think changing link weights might be a secondary effect, once the algo's new metric tags a given URL as suspect. In fact, I'll bet there are a lot of ingredients in this recipe rather than just one or two. Google didn't spend over a year on something that's essentially simple.


 6:42 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

The menu navigation button appears on all pages. I could swap them out relatively easy as both the navigation and back button are both dynamically generated. Having the same link text twice on a page (in the subsections) might not be a good idea? I'm very tempted to try it.


 6:47 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google didn't spend over a year on something that's essentially simple.

Be technically correct?


 6:51 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

GeraniumV - I was mostly talking about external anchor text, backlinks where you can intentionally create the anchor text you want. Internal anchor text is also powerful, but I can't recommend any particular action because it is so specific to each individual situation.

What you've described doesn't sound problematic to me. In fact it's very common to see the same navigational anchor text twice on a page.


 7:03 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

I know it can't be that simple, what about the other stuff. Is an overabundance of one key phrase - making the rest suspect? Most of my othere phrases seem to be wobbling too - with the exception of a couple that have been knocked back at least two pages (I haven't looked to see how far back they have gone) or those that appear unaffected. I did a quick review of my site and I see Ive done this in all my subsections - probably as part of my optimization when I first built the site. Recently, I was planning on replacing these links with breadcrumbs - but only got around to a couple of small cats/subcats.


 7:05 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

Having the same link text twice on a page (in the subsections) might not be a good idea? I'm very tempted to try it.

I wouldn't, and I don't think that's your problem.
The reason I wouldn't is it's confusing to visitors...
EG The linked text <a>Home</a> should go to the home page.
The linked text <a>Index</a> should not also go to the home page imo.


 7:07 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hi folks,
I have a website that is not supposed to be one of the ones that this algorithm affected. However what I have just found is that my page rank dropped from a page rank four to a page rank three, and my hits dropped a full one third of the total volume since this Google change happened. All total I have for commercial sites. All four of them have dropped in page rank, and taken a significant amount in organic hits from Google. Any thoughts on this? These sites were not supposed to be affected this time around, and they were big time. They are also stable sites and have done well for over 9 years now, and this time around the block they got hit big time.


[edited by: adez7 at 7:11 pm (utc) on Feb 27, 2011]


 7:11 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

Just saw slight increase in my traffic from Google.com. Did anyone notice?


 7:13 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

All four of them have dropped in page rank...

I don't check PR ... Are people seeing a PR change too? This is the second post I've read where someone said they dropped ... From what and to what please if you're seeing a change.


 7:15 pm on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

Don, you're talking about rankings, I assume - not PageRank. My first thought is that your site might be caught in a domino effect because pages that link to your site were affected. For some reason, it seems like outbound links from the top targeted pages now have less value than they used to.

I still don't have 100% definitive data to establish this domino effect, but a few people I know have also noticed that it seems to be happening.

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