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Google Launches Update Targeting Spam... Again? Penguin Update
netmeg




msg:4444832
 9:50 pm on Apr 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

Matt Cutts "In the next few days, we’re launching an important algorithm change targeted at webspam. The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines. We’ve always targeted webspam in our rankings, and this algorithm represents another improvement in our efforts to reduce webspam and promote high quality content. While we can't divulge specific signals because we don't want to give people a way to game our search results and worsen the experience for users, our advice for webmasters is to focus on creating high quality sites that create a good user experience and employ white hat SEO methods instead of engaging in aggressive webspam tactics."


[insidesearch.blogspot.com...]

Sites affected by this change might not be easily recognizable as spamming without deep analysis or expertise, but the common thread is that these sites are doing much more than white hat SEO; we believe they are engaging in webspam tactics to manipulate search engine rankings.

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 4:31 pm (utc) on Apr 25, 2012]
[edit reason] added quotes - updated link [/edit]

 

jmccormac




msg:4447044
 10:12 pm on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Just watching the movie 'Terminator Salvation'. Somehow I can't help considering Google as being Skynet.

Regards...jmcc

nickreynolds




msg:4447045
 10:13 pm on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

So I decided I would clean up my backlink profile. Slightly embarassed to find a large number of links from a forum i belong to. Sometime ago I must have added the website in the control panel in the section "my website". I'd like to think that G would just have discounted it, but I've removed it now anyway.
I've got quite a lot of links from forums. These are not spam links - they are people genuinely linking to my site as a reference to the topic (not necessarily relevant to the forum niche) that they are discussing. I'd like to think that G sees these for what they are, but could be they are being misread as spam.
Found links from 36 different .pl websites. These appear to be scraper sites in a network - when you visit the page, after two seconds it redirects to a page full of ads. I wonder if this is my problem. I guess there's nothing I can do about it.
Annoyingly, having checked the backlink profile of some sites that are now outranking me, their backlinks look far more spammy than mine!

realmaverick




msg:4447046
 10:20 pm on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Cleaning up links has to be the most ridiculous thing I've ever had to consider doing in my entire online life.

Matt Cutts has completely lost the plot and appears to have the spam team wrapped around his little finger.

One thing that was always a given, we cannot control anything outside of our own website. I liked it that way. It's the logical way for Google to work.

This is flawed beyond belief. Google needs to be destroyed. They'er far too powerful, stupid and wreckless.

I really wish I was not a part of it. I cannot bring myself to "clean up my back links".

They're basically forcing us to work for them.

AndyA




msg:4447049
 10:47 pm on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

realmaverick wrote:
Cleaning up links has to be the most ridiculous thing I've ever had to consider doing in my entire online life.


I agree. It's one thing if you send an automated bot out to spam hundreds or thousands of forums, but when the forum is on topic to your site, and you participate in threads, you should be able to include your site in your signature if it's permitted on that board, without having to worry about Google getting upset with you over it.

randle




msg:4447050
 10:47 pm on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Example Results -

Old page1 ranked 1st on Apr 23rd.
Old page1 ranked 110th on 24th
Fixed page1 ranks 8th today.

Old page2 ranked 3rd on Apr 23rd
Old page2 ranked 200th on 24th
Fixed page2 ranks 16th today.


Thats an amazing turn around - generally with changes of this nature, no matter how accurate the fix, theres a certain amount of time for it all to work its way through, especially if links are involved.

stgeorge




msg:4447066
 12:06 am on Apr 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

nickreynolds:

Yeah I have about 90 of those .pl sites linking to a number of our sites as well. I have tried to get hold of them but I don't think there is anything you can do.

The other thing which we have and I am not sure what to do about are literally hundreds of articles which we posied on artixles sites years ago, spread all over the place. Surely Google does not expect me to contact every single one of these webmasters? I would say 90% of them are sites that have gone to ground. Nobody is every going to answer an email, even if there is an email address.

This is absolutely crazy.

gouri




msg:4447067
 12:30 am on Apr 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

If you have a link to a website in your signature for a forum that you participate in, do you guys think that it may be a good idea to not have it there?

crobb305




msg:4447068
 12:34 am on Apr 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

.pl sites


I have tons of them linking to me. Nothing I can do about them. Very frustrating.

Whitey




msg:4447078
 1:03 am on Apr 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Some more things that I'm observing and/or sense :

-If your Panda score is increasing, the severity of the over optimized anchor text deprecation appears to be less
-If referring sites have lost their authority through Panda or ageing e.g. old blogs, then their affects may be lessening the referal over optimization damage, but of course reducing the corresponding ranking.
-Over optimized IBL anchor text affects the specific keyword, not the page

I wouldn't vouch for the above in extreme cases as it might be more.

My guess is that potential fixes for links include:

-continuing to improve "Panda Score" [ very hard to decipher - a real walk in the dark for a lot of sites ], but CainIV's earlier post will help greatly for guidelines.
-removal of links [ very hard if you have a lot of rogue links and the webmasters cannot be contacted ]
-replacement of affected URL's [ knocks out good IBL's , if you have any]
-build diversified links and to those affected URL's to redress the balance [ not sure if effected kw's affected will restore ]

I've asked 3 times, with no success [ unless i missed something ], so here i go for the last time : are webmasters seeing excessive internal links specifically targeted as a factor in this update?

Can anyone add to this, or say otherwise?

realmaverick




msg:4447086
 2:22 am on Apr 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Well I have never linked via a forum post in my life. However my users are always linking to my pages via FB, Twitter, Forums, even have their profile link as signature on other sites. I'm not going to 'clean" those up. Even if I knew for sure they were an issue. I refuse to play this dumb game.

realmaverick




msg:4447087
 2:29 am on Apr 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

In my niche, the cheats who buy links left, right and center, have gotten away unscathed, AGAIN!

These updates just aren't working how they're intended!

Scotch




msg:4447111
 3:38 am on Apr 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Whitey - I manage a number of sites and my flagship site had a ton of keywords in H1, title tags and on page content. While that site wasn't severely impacted by Penguin, I immediately updated the homepage and a number of interior pages on April 24th right after I learned the update was live. I second guessed myself and wondered if I was being rash but had to go with my gut. Anyway, the site in question has been crawled since then and the new content cached. My SERPs are up for many phrases and have made it back to number 1 and 2 for some phrases where the site was slipping. I basically just de-optimized the content and stopped repeating all of my keywords so much, added more content to dilute keywords, etc... So yes, I think that part of the penalty is completely on page stuff that, if corrected, lifts the penalty a bit or even completely (I'm not referring to spammy backlinks penalty here... just content).

brokaddr




msg:4447112
 3:39 am on Apr 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm sure it's been said at some point: Why is Google even releasing this info?

They essentially turned rankings upside down when they told everyone how important links were. By them releasing new info, aren't they opening the opportunity for scammers to tweak their sites, yet again?

I wonder why they just don't keep their preferences and algorithms completely under wraps. Once would think doing so would encourage webmasters to better their sites overall, and not adjust themselves based on recommendations by Google.

Whitey




msg:4447114
 3:45 am on Apr 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Scotch - thanks, that's good input.

But specifically on internal anchor text's, did you do dumb down anything, and how severe was your over optimization? [ sorry - i may have missed something]

Web_speed




msg:4447121
 4:00 am on Apr 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Well I have never linked via a forum post in my life. However my users are always linking to my pages via FB, Twitter, Forums, even have their profile link as signature on other sites. I'm not going to 'clean" those up. Even if I knew for sure they were an issue. I refuse to play this dumb game.


You are not the only one. Most if not all of these "algo releases" are nothing but smoke and mirror tactics played by a giant losing his way. I came to the conclusion (a long time ago) that 90%-95% of what i hear about these updates are nothing but urban myths.

MC's job is to push and keep the panic levels high...because G has become clueless and drowning in web spam, most of it created by their adsense program to begin with.

Build a site for your users. Put your keywords where it matters. Link and be linked in a natural way. Do it in moderation and good taste and you should be alright. The rest is all noise and nonsense. The google algo is as dumb as dumb can be... and they know it, hence the need to come up with major "update news" once every 48 hours.

Scotch




msg:4447124
 4:15 am on Apr 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Whitey - for internal links, I removed mention of my main keywords and just used the most simple, basic text for the navigation. I was really overdoing the anchor text for the internals ("red big widget", "blue widgets in cotton", etc.) So I dumbed it down and tried to make it obvious that it was for a human and redundant text was removed (so now it's "blue", "red", "large", "small", etc.) BTW - I have a top page navigation and bottom page navigation that link to the same pages. I did not remove the bottom nav as it's useful for the user but did simplify that text.

My OOP was not earth shattering, thankfully, but any sluggish SERPs are cause for alarm for me as this site has been rock solid for many, many years. Which makes me think that there are levels of penalties... soft, medium, huge.

willybfriendly




msg:4447131
 5:28 am on Apr 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

do a search for amazon.

You start hitting some pages about the rainforest at the bottom of page 1.

Some about the river in the middle of page 2.

I am not sure when you find anything about the tribe, since I quit clicking through.

I guess they failed to brand themselves ;-)

Panthro




msg:4447132
 6:08 am on Apr 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

-Over optimized IBL anchor text affects the specific keyword, not the page


I also believe this is part of it.

are webmasters seeing excessive internal links specifically targeted as a factor in this update?


Sorry, can't help you out there.

HermanMunster




msg:4447134
 6:15 am on Apr 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

I was just about to implement a mobile version of my blog that was hit. Does anyone have an opinion about whether that might make the situation better, worse, or have little impact?

arikgub




msg:4447135
 6:16 am on Apr 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm not going to 'clean" those up. Even if I knew for sure they were an issue. I refuse to play this dumb game.


Ditto. Not going to clean any links ever.

If the days have come I need to waste my valuable time on cleaning thousands of xrummer links that my competitor bought for me for $5 on fiverr, then .. well.. better be looking for a 5-9 job.

One needs to have a bit of self-respect and value his time.
Wasting time on cleaning internet spam is akin to Sisyphus work, and is just plain dumb.

This is so dumb, i am having a hard time to believe Google is actually penalizing for these links. I want to believe it's not, I fail to see any logic behind that. I am sure few people in G are having a good laugh now at those who are desperately contacting webmasters of all these crappy forums and blogs trying to remove the links.

onepointone




msg:4447139
 6:57 am on Apr 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Obviously G doesn't know who places spammy links to sites. If they did they would just penalize sites or discount links without all this bluster.

They have to scare people into being an ersatz link removal service. Problem is, it's 1000 times easier to place crappy links than remove them...

I see a lot of panicky times ahead for webmasters and SE's alike. I've already been ground into dust, so don't have a big stake anymore...

indyank




msg:4447146
 7:36 am on Apr 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Forget the over optimization or webspam update. There was a hint by Matt that most of the downgrades were infact panda downgrades and not the webspam or penguin downgrades - [searchengineland.com...]

If we were to believe what is said there, the webspam update actually targets outright spam sites and it is their panda updates which deal with the so called "low quality" sites.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 9:18 am (utc) on Apr 29, 2012]
[edit reason] fixed link - period at end of url removed [/edit]

arikgub




msg:4447152
 7:55 am on Apr 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Considering the dates mentioned, most of the sites I manage were hit by penguin. Certainly not "outright spam" sites. Also all these garbage sites started floating on the surface on the date the Penguin update was rolled out.

Penguin was huge. I don't understand this attempt to downplay it.

MarvinH




msg:4447162
 9:10 am on Apr 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

If you have a link to a website in your signature for a forum that you participate in, do you guys think that it may be a good idea to not have it there?


If you participate in an on-topic forum, chances are the link in your signature brings you substantial amount of targeted traffic. IMHO it is one of the best ways for you to promote your website. Not promoting your site in such manner would make you more dependent on search engines.

crobb305




msg:4447185
 12:37 pm on Apr 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Forget the over optimization or webspam update. There was a hint by Matt that most of the downgrades were infact panda downgrades and not the webspam or penguin downgrades -

I think this may only apply to the SearchMetrics results presented in the article that you linked to. What most of us observed on April 24 (5 days after the April 19 Panda update) was webspam, and Google then named the update 'Penguin' and solicited feedback. No doubt that update has occurred. Everyone definitely should look at their logs to see when their traffic changed to know for sure.

[edited by: crobb305 at 12:50 pm (utc) on Apr 29, 2012]

drall




msg:4447186
 12:42 pm on Apr 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

One thing I have learned in my 40 years on this planet.

Whenever someone says it's not about the money, it's about the money.

mcneely




msg:4447200
 2:17 pm on Apr 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

They have to scare people into being an ersatz link removal service.


They have to scare people into buying adwords

Planet13




msg:4447204
 2:58 pm on Apr 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ realmaverick:

In my niche, the cheats who buy links left, right and center, have gotten away unscathed, AGAIN!


Indeed, this is what I am seeing.

Having visited a view other SEO related sites last night that had articles on this topic, there seems to be still quite a lot of sites ranking perfectly fine due to bought / hacked links.

One well known SEO figure compared the g to b SERPS when searching for the infamous men's pill that starts with a V.

g's results were filled with a couple of hacked sites and even failed to list the official site for V (created by the manufacturer).

So while I respect the opinions of those who say that this is a universal penalization against bought / manipulated links, I must disagree with them. The scope MIGHT be quite large, but it is hardly universal.

~~~~~~~~~~

Also interesting to note that Matt Cutts has backpedaled from his earlier assertion that this was an "over optimization penalty," and is now referring to it as an "anti-spam" penalty. He didn't clarify the differences, but I have a feeling that there must be some important significance to this.

diberry




msg:4447214
 3:27 pm on Apr 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

I got hit on a site I've barely touched in a year, LOL. No paid links, no SEO tactics, white or black. The domain doesn't have any keywords for my niche. The high-ranking pages were all "link lists" - i.e., "13 resources for widget info" with quality editorial discussion of the content at the other links and some nice photos. These pages were also very popular with human visitors, who love a central and well-maintained (dead links getting replaced/removed quickly) list of resources on their topic of interest. I was cautioned a year or so ago that I was "giving away" my pagerank with these posts, but I didn't care: visitors like them.

I never thought of this as SEO - it was a type of page I created for visitors. And for a long time, Google liked it. Now they don't.

This just reaffirms for me that I made the right call 6 months ago when I decided to forget all I know about SEO and just focus on getting my site in front of people who will enjoy it. If Google's going to punish you for engaging in zero SEO, or even "giving away" your pagerank (isn't that anti-SEO?), then they're just too unreliable to be part of my online strategy.

I may have to build more sites to get the income where I want it to be, if I'm relying on social media and subscribers instead of Google, but it'll be more stable in the end.

[edited by: tedster at 12:57 am (utc) on May 10, 2012]
[edit reason] member request [/edit]

MarvinH




msg:4447224
 3:53 pm on Apr 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

diberry, was there any original content, anything else other than links to discussions on other sites and pictures?

diberry




msg:4447234
 4:14 pm on Apr 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Yes, as I said above, there was "quality editorial discussion of the content at the other links." I didn't even post quotes from the other sites - just the links with my own editorial comments and intro paragraphs.

[edited by: tedster at 12:58 am (utc) on May 10, 2012]

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