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Google Updates and SERP Changes - Apr 2012
backdraft7

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4435785 posted 4:34 am on Apr 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

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

Going, going, GONE!
After over 10 years of consistently ranking between position #1 and #3 on page one for a single four letter word search term, the month of March (starting on the 10th) has resulted in falling to below the fold, then to page 2, then page 3 and today I have been completely removed for that term.

In place is nothing but garbage. Branding obviously has lost traction. I'm thinking whatever they have done is meant to stick. I checked to see if I had been over optimized for the term, but with a mere 4 occurrences on my page and my need to use that term to describe my product, I really don't know what they want from us anymore...

The effect of lost traffic has set off all the "Big Traffic change for URL" warnings and the anayltics charts have nose dived. Anyone else seeing this type of situation on their long established sites?

Lost income from March updates is just about $1000 / week.

I'd almost guess that Google is just removing older authority sites in favor of nothing but news articles and blogs.

[edited by: tedster at 4:54 am (utc) on Apr 1, 2012]

 

irishsolar



 
Msg#: 4435785 posted 10:26 am on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)


You know how when you decide to have a garage tidy the first stage is to chuck everything on the floor.


@Hissingsid I concur. It's just difficult times waiting for Google sort out the mess on the floor.

Jez123

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4435785 posted 10:28 am on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Well Google is at the stage where they have chucked everything on the floor.


Hey, I can see that penny I dropped under the workbench from my new floor position! It's not all bad!

Jez123

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4435785 posted 10:31 am on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ Hissingsid. So, you obviously think that the update will me tempered in some way? Some casualities might get a reprive? This has always been the MO in the past. Florida being a notable one which I suffered badly in for some time before returning to decent rankings.

textex

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4435785 posted 10:34 am on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Great analogy hissingsid!

fred9989

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4435785 posted 10:50 am on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

WOW!
If you ever wanted to see how the mighty can fall, try a single word search for a well known blue pill, the one for a gentleman's problem (ahem), on Google.com.
Astounding....

garyr_h

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4435785 posted 10:54 am on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Results are different again this morning...getting keywords that I've never had before.

And I should add that, overall less traffic than usual. Not sure if it's the different keywords or maybe the long weekend.

[edited by: garyr_h at 10:54 am (utc) on Apr 28, 2012]

Hissingsid

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4435785 posted 10:54 am on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

So, you obviously think that the update will me tempered in some way? Some casualities might get a reprive?


I honestly don't know but to extend the analogy I guess that depends on if you are in the sacks outside the back door waiting to go to the tip or you're still on the floor waiting to be picked up.

There's one site in my niche that has been dropped and I can see exactly why (or at least I can see several reasons).

If you have been hit you have two options.

1. Do nothing and hope.
2. Try and find out why you may have been dropped and fix it. Then do nothing and hope.

Over the years I've done both and both have worked. I still wonder if I'd always done nothing and hoped if things would have been any different.

Cheers

Sid

Jez123

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4435785 posted 11:14 am on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hi Sid, Mostly in the past I have done nothing and hoped. I will try that again as it has a high success rate for me. I have just restared an adwords campaign. Probably playing into google's hand but I have mortgage, kids, life in general, etc relying on my site to provide.

courier



 
Msg#: 4435785 posted 11:47 am on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

If you have been hit you have two options.

1. Do nothing and hope.
2. Try and find out why you may have been dropped and fix it. Then do nothing and hope.

I had been bouncing up and down the first page for my main keyword for some time. Almost all G traffic gone now, but I will be the do nothing and hope man, I still get decent traffic from Bing. if I begin making changes for G there is no guarantee I will get my position back, but the changes I would make may jeopardize my position in Bing, so in theory I could end up with nothing..

Hissingsid

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4435785 posted 11:54 am on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

If you have spare time on your hands while doing nothing my suggestion is get on with building links the old fashioned way. Can't harm.

Jez123

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4435785 posted 12:03 pm on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

building links the old fashioned way.


Do you mean a link exchgange, Sid? It's hard to know where google stands on recip linking.

gehrlekrona

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4435785 posted 3:16 pm on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

@fred9989, I did and the 7th space is to a site that "can harm your computer". Isn't that nice!?!

backdraft7

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4435785 posted 3:27 pm on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

My apologies for another editorial, but here’s my take on what has so far amounted to be one of the most devastation “quality updates” Google has released to date.

Looking at this entire issue from the "Google Love" perspective that Larry Page seems to be craving....IF they want love, then let's open the black box a little bit for honest users. Since This April thread started, we've seen endless complaints and speculation on what is happening. That right there is the problem and the basis for hating on Google.

Google recently added a feature to WMT to notify you if your CMS scripts are out of date and to update them. I thought that feature was pretty much useless and a crutch for lazy webmasters. However, maybe it's not so bad, but let's expand on that...if they are going to drop you for some reason, at least TELL US what metric we are being drop for! If its keyword loaded, let us know. If its excessive back links, let us know. A little feedback will buy a lot of user love.

It's doesn't have to be a detailed report, just send us a message saying "page abc is being de-ranked for xyz issue". You know they have the horsepower to do this, but sadly I believe their fear is that it opens up the "gaming the system" by black hatters. There’s always a few bad apples.

So how do you get around the gaming issue?

I suggest they begin a small business verification program. Remember is the old days when you could pay Google (or was it Yahoo) $299 for organic inclusion? Why not bring that back but let's make it an annual $599 or an even $1000 to register your LEGITIMATE business with Google.

Then, once you've registered, you will need to verify your business, tax ids and all the other details. You know they have most of this info anyway and if you're a decent taxpaying business owner, you have nothing to fear. Your site should be secure and conform to a certain quality standard. In a roundabout way, that’s what they are trying to force us into right now.

If you’re a web spammer from a foreign country or tying to apply with false credentials, you’re out of business. Perhaps inclusion in this program would improve transparency and a modicum of love between Google and their legitimate small business owner users and hopefully mitigate some of the financial pain we are felling every month.

If you’re a blogger making money solely on Adsense, well, then perhaps it’s time to re-think your business strategy and stop polluting the web with re-hash. In many cases this is the space junk we all abhor.

Agree with it or not, but the overseer’s are upon us and here to stay. If I have to partner in with Google and BUY their trust (like the bigs boys do already) to avoid these financial disasters called "quality updates" that are basically as costly, useless and ineffective as the "war on drugs", then so be it.

You may now continue your speculation.

[edited by: backdraft7 at 3:53 pm (utc) on Apr 28, 2012]

ladymacbeth



 
Msg#: 4435785 posted 3:34 pm on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Robert Charlton.. to respond to your questions, no the domain was never parked. That was one of my considerations when I reviewed it. I typically buy his domains for him and that one I purchased in October of last year, and did the purchase for five years. he's been in <widget> production for many years and had a lot to offer so he wanted to be sure that he owned it for a long time. We registered it for five years and immediately began to build it. I know his content is unique and high quality LOL be cause I wrote it. I've written online as well as done SEO since long before Google was a dream.

So far as the shifting, I honestly agree with you. The level and quality of sites reflected in the top of search the past few days tells me they were trying for a greater variety, but on many levels are failing dismally at that attempt. It's a fact that there is no such thing as a one size fits all algorithm so I'm going to hazard a guess that we're not done here yet and when the dust settles, we may see some of the higher quality sites resurface, or at least that is the hope.

There are some real horror stories surfacing in Google in the past couple of days and even sites that are infected showing on the top of the SERPS which is something that gives you pause because it was this type of manipulation that Penguin was designed to negate. I'd be very interested to hear of any stories that any of you have as regards your site or those you know which were high quality being replaced by lower quality sites so that I could screen cap the results <for> a study of the immediate effects of Penguin.

Best, Robbi.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 5:08 pm (utc) on Apr 28, 2012]

gehrlekrona

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4435785 posted 3:34 pm on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

@backdraft7, so would Google be nothing more than a paid links SE? Do you bid on first place or how would it work?
I agree that Google could be a little bit more approchable when it comes to telling you what is wrong with your web site. I do get some feedback in WMC but not much. They could give you a lot more.

backdraft7

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4435785 posted 3:40 pm on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

@gehrlekrona - No, this registration would just confirm with Google that you run a legitimate business. From there out, you just offer your services to users. I already pay at least two third party services in a vain attempt to convince Google that my site is legit & secure. BBB and A.S.

I'm not saying this is a panacea for what ails the web, but it might help weed out the non hackers.

ladymacbeth



 
Msg#: 4435785 posted 3:57 pm on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ Backdraft. agreed, Google doesn't open the box very often and they are the master of misinformation. If you want a real study in the hypocrisy with which you are being hit, Google is closing blog and link building networks, while taking money to advertise them on adwords. Go and Google "build backlinks". Very interesting returns in search for the paid sites. I screen capped it but it won't attach.

Robbi.

irishsolar



 
Msg#: 4435785 posted 4:07 pm on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

@backdraft7 I agree with you on most things but I think your latest idea is a bit crazy.

Paid inclusion would isolate and basically destroy mum & pop sites and other websites that are NOT designed to make money. If your idea was implemented then half of the web would disappear overnight.

The collateral damage would be huge.

Not every website was designed as a business. Many are there for mere fun or to supply free information on subjects the webmaster is passionate about.

Some site owners that fall into these categories do monetize their sites (while many do not) to help pay for the upkeep of the site and to cover their own time - or even just make a bit of money while the opportunity is there (and why not in a free enterprise. They are entitled to.).

A perfect example of a non-profit site that is NOT a business is wikipedia.

gehrlekrona

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4435785 posted 4:46 pm on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Here's my new interpretation of "Google it": "Hey man, you take it and GOOGLE IT" ;)

mvander

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4435785 posted 4:49 pm on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

@backdraft7

Your idea is good, except that google is out to make $$, and they make more on the blogs with adsense than any yearly registration fee...

fred9989

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4435785 posted 5:41 pm on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

@fred9989, I did and the 7th space is to a site that "can harm your computer". Isn't that nice!?!


You were lucky, because when I checked a search for V**gra, there were 4places on the first page of 10 results which showed sites that "may harm your computer".

Now, try something even more interesting: a search for

how does V***ra work

the search results are a real shocker!

gehrlekrona

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4435785 posted 5:52 pm on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

@fred9989, It's getting better now. I see at least 2 sites that can harm my computer now. I see several autogenerated sites so maybe this is what "Artificial Intelligence" is all about? All you need to do is to get some relevant words and spin them as much as possible and "you're it". I should try that on a site just for the fun of it...

Robert Charlton

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



 
Msg#: 4435785 posted 5:56 pm on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

...Then you start organising what is left into boxes and put them onto shelves.

Well Google is at the stage where they have chucked everything on the floor.

That's how you start artificial intelligence.

Hissingsid - Superb analogy. I'd take it a little further and say that with Google's AI there has been a constant sorting process that's been going on for many years, in which piles from previous sorts are being divided up into other piles. This is what I meant when said...

It looks to me like, on some queries, Google may be trying to make distinctions among branded domains.

Google has been already been at work for quite a bit before Penguin, and they are examining types of sites, specific sites, ranking factors, and human behavior data from many different angles. They're not being casual about what they toss out, and I've seen some rejected stuff come back in surprising ways. But garbage and questionable material of certain types must surface prominently enough that it can be tested on a large scale. It's already been tested at smaller scales before algo changes are rolled out.

backdraft - I very much agree with irishsolar that paid inclusion would be a disaster for nonprofit sites and for mom and pops. However one might feel about Google right now, let it be said that they did come in at a certain point many years back and, IMO, essentially saved free search. Also, it should be noted that paid search, at least as implemented by Yahoo's pay-for-inclusion program, did not manage to maintain a level organic playing field at all.

AndyA

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4435785 posted 6:09 pm on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

It's important to remember that for many sites, Google already has Federal I.D. numbers (for AdSense), as well as contact names, phone numbers, addresses, bank account information, etc., plus verification of site ownership for access to GWT.

What more could they really need?

ladymacbeth



 
Msg#: 4435785 posted 6:15 pm on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

LOL Andy A. that is true and more. Since the G-man is also a registrar, they know without even asking who owns what and can link you to every other site that you own. One of my clients had privacy concerns about using Google Authorship, they didn't want to connect all of their sites together, but the reality is that Google, as an ICANN registrar, has to click two buttons to find out that you own them. Realistically, they have all that they need to find the answer to any questions they may have about any site online whether or not you are a part of adwords, adsense or any other portion of their network.
It's sort of an unbeatable combination. My issue is their involvement in travel and communication and other sales areas. There is certainly no way that you're going to beat the competition in those niches in search when the competition is Google.

Markoi

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4435785 posted 6:21 pm on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

@gehrlekrona Certainly autogenerated sites rule on longtail. It's a mess!

crobb305

WebmasterWorld Senior Member crobb305 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4435785 posted 6:28 pm on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

You were lucky, because when I checked a search for V**gra, there were 4places on the first page of 10 results which showed sites that "may harm your computer".

I'm seeing 5 (in the top 20), worded "This site may be compromised". A couple of them are .edus.

backdraft7

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4435785 posted 6:32 pm on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

I think your latest idea is a bit crazy.

most of mine are...however that's what they said about the Wright Brothers too.

You're also missing my point.
The point is to register the business sites so Google knows they are businesses. Your so called "Mom & Pop" sites make no money, so where is the damage? They'll still be there and might even outrank small business sites that don't or refuse to comply to small business standards.

I'm not saying this is even a viable idea, my main point is that a higher level of transparency and responsibility is clearly needed, but with all the people out there ready to game that information, the only viable method is to somehow filter the bad apples. Perhaps this registration fee would allow more feedback to small business owners.

I've always considered Google rather paranoid, and entering into a contact with the beast might allow them some level of protection to release more information (laughing to myself, suuuuure!)

Also I'd think if 1,000,000 sites anted up $599 annually, that would trump whatever pittance Google makes on even 10,000,000 wannbe blog sites. In fact that's usually more of a losing proposition if the blogger is doing his homework.

You're free internet will always be there.
However, like the Wild West, the days of the free ride are coming to an end.

I'll digress again...because now we're into another topic.

[edited by: backdraft7 at 6:39 pm (utc) on Apr 28, 2012]

BaseballGuy



 
Msg#: 4435785 posted 6:43 pm on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

...the BBB is somewhat considered a bit of a joke with normal business owners....

....am wondering how Google views them? Perhaps they too take the same viewpoint?

Perhaps there are other professional organizations out there that we can join that are much harder to join?


I'm wondering what exactly triggers the "authority" filter, especially in this day and age.

Yeah yeah yeah, you can somewhat "fake" it....but what professional business organizations can we join that would without a doubt show Google we are legit?

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 9:11 pm (utc) on Apr 28, 2012]
[edit reason] removed previous referenced post [/edit]

Leosghost

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



 
Msg#: 4435785 posted 7:10 pm on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

@backdraft7 re message:4446956

That would be "pay to play"..some people got their start in their online businesses via beginning with a hobby site , and building on it ..

If they had to register as a business with whatever "authorities" are responsible for "businesses" ( with whatever financial outlay that involves* ) depending on where they are that can be expensive ( * in France until very recently it was illegal to trade, even on the "net" without "registration" with the "authorities" ..the cost of which was fixed at an entry level of around $8,000.00 per year..whether or not you made a single cent profit the repeating annual cost was the same at nearly $8,000.00 ) add in your Google registration..and you have a system where only the people in business already could afford to be in the serps..

The mom and pops could not compete ..because they would be absent ..and any innovation would disappear within 12 months..

The carpet bombing keyword and search spammers and scrapers are exactly those who would have no trouble at all paying ..think "ehow".."about" etc..

The problem with the influence of the adsense driven element is that once the initial site is up ..there is no control, and that G does not police scrapers and copyright infringers with sufficient rigor as their own cache would fall foul of any rules they could make ..DMCA is and was not their idea..and is about as effective as "can spam"..

In the eyes of those outside the USA ..it is not effective at all..nor is it effective if you are scraped by someone outside the USA..

90% of the crap in serps ( those of Google or Bing etc ) could be removed overnight if Google would police adsense correctly instead of passing it off to searchers and website owners to report scrapers and scam and infringers..

I won't be holding my breath..

But paid registration with search engine(s) is what we call in French ( doubtless the same term exists in many languages ) "climbing the ladder and then pulling it up after you"..we all got into Google's serps for free, some began their businesses based upon their success whilst holding a day job working for the man, or were in school etc..

Why should those who come after us have to pay to play when we did not ? ..

If you are losing a race, running with two legs, the way to win with pride isn't to suggest shooting some of the other runners in the foot...apart from the fact it would be ethically wrong ..many "innocents" would suffer..and poor folks couldn't play..

"Pay to play" or "need a permit to play", is closer to old style soviet ways of doing things than it is to free enterprise..

Bear in mind also ..Google does not only operate in the USA..would you ban non US sites from targeting the USA, or appearing in USA serps ?..or US sites from targeting or appearing in non USA serps..?

Your "view" is extremely narrow and USA focused..and "protectionist"..we don't all have USA tax ID etc..nor need it ..nor would I consider obliging a US citizen to have French tax ID to see his or her site in French serps..and not all countries have a BBB nor even an approximate equivalent to it..

It is webmasterworld here where we are posting..

@Hissingsid..:) I too love your "clearing out the garage" simile ..

edited for speeling

[edited by: Leosghost at 7:56 pm (utc) on Apr 28, 2012]

gehrlekrona

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4435785 posted 8:17 pm on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have been reading some black hat forums and it is amazing that the same things that they say is what keeps popping up here. Is that because people here have been usgin black hat without even knowing (?) it or are Googles 'updates' a war against everything that has with SEO to do? I am guessing it does. SEO=Search Engine Optimization. Why would they even think that's a good thing? It's like cheating in their eyes so they are fighting everything we do so they have to come up with other ways of indexing sites. So, if they remove all SEO tactics, what is left? The pile on the floor? Where do you go from there? Try @hissingsid's idea maybe.

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