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

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 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]

 

Shaddows

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 4:54 pm on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

But then, I suppose the web has become more of a marketplace than a research tool

True enough. But if I do actual academic searches, I get academic results. Including Wiki, which I think is fine as not everyone wants University- (AKA "College-") level results for said queries. Making sure the spectrum of likely query-intents are met is the goal.

ook is actually NOT your competitor
Facebook is a platform. There is nothing stopping them adding services to that platform once they have consolidated their bases.

Look at Google. It was only after their IPO that they seriously shifted from symbiote towards parasite. It was only after "Google" became a verb for search that they started pushing the rest of their portfolio.

Like Facebook is doing now, they spent their first few years gaining trust (Google did better than FB there) and mining data (arguably FB are ahead in THAT department).

Anyway, any commercial entity that isn't you is not pro-you, which isn't to say they are anti-you either. And that is true for both G and FB.

Jez123

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 4:55 pm on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

Because Adword Ads are so good, better than actual results.


The surprise on my face! Honestly :-)

diberry

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 5:26 pm on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

@coachm, I wasn't aware people had lost account for no discernible reason. Fair point. But a FB page is not the only way to get exposure through FB - correct me if I'm wrong, but they can't stop random users from "liking" your pages, can they?

I'm not saying FB is "do no evil." :) And for the record I'm not biased toward FB - I get far more traffic from StumbleUpon. I was just using FB as the most familiar example.

What I'm saying is this: Google can ban your site. Completely. End of story. And they have every incentive to manipulate the SERPs, of which their sites and services are a part, to benefit themselves. That's what I mean by saying they're your competitor.

Social media outlets, on the other hand, have an incentive NOT to ban you - i.e., prevent people from sharing your site. Because that would irritate end users if they tried to like/tweet/whatever your page and were prevented from doing so. When Google bans you, the vast majority of end users don't even realize it. If the SM outlets ever start banning anybody, at least they'll have to do it quite publicly.

And when I said SM outlets aren't your competitor, what I mean is: what incentive do they have for trying to control the traffic flow on the web? Search engines have every incentive to try to control it, but why would SU or FB or any of them care if you've got 100k likes or something? Unless you actually ARE a direct competitor.

I fully expect companies as big as G* and FB to behave like psychopaths - absolute power corrupts absolutely. But I'm just not seeing where SM has much motive or opportunity to murder your site without anyone ever noticing a crime was committed, whereas search is in a very good position to do exactly that.

ETA: one more factor in this is that there are only a handful of winners on every keyphrase in search. Everybody else is a lottery loser. But there's far more room for success with social media. You don't have to get the top 5 most popular SU users to share your stuff in order to make a buck. Those top 3-5 positions on good keyphrases are of incredible value, and G* knows it, and this is what has corrupted them over the years. Google will always be a place where people slit each other's throats to get to #1-3. Social media is more like an ever-expanding field.

It should go without saying that the trick is to diversify your traffic sources. Don't rely on search or SM, and whatever you do, don't rely on one *company*.

[edited by: tedster at 1:44 am (utc) on May 10, 2012]

willybfriendly

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 5:56 pm on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

re 'academic searches'

I do a lot of informational searches. Some are related to potential purchases, some are for other things.

ehow always falls short. Wiki is ok sometimes, assuming I can confirm critical information elsewhere.

I doubt that I am a unique searcher wanting basic, non-commercial information about everything from how to set a fence post or hang a gate to basic information about wing paddles.

toyshop101

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 6:22 pm on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

I had several high ranking pages that just plain disappeared, Wemasterworld was the first thing I thought of. This thread was very helpful in helping me understand my issues. Especially the links to the google blogs about the updates, READ THEM So what I did was seriously dial back the seo on the title tags of my hyperlinks. I was also concerned that my PRODUCT titles were spamish in their very nature ie widget-red, wedget-blue etc. So I changed my catalog structure to just allow the bot to index the first page of ten products and all the juicy content. The rest of the products were reachable through the sitemap and “next/previous” for the user. I moved more of my content to the top of the pages and in some cases added more content. The sum of these changes fixed most of my problems. It was rather easy to do since I use a cms and all my changes were to code and templates. I’ll experiment with dialing up the seo once most of my pages are re-indexed (that's the slow going part). I am quite sure that the “exact match domain” chatter has no merit. Good luck all!

BillyS

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



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 6:33 pm on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

Google will never kill it.

Agree, Penguin, Panda they are here to stay. It's a good idea, they might be wrong in some cases, but they need to keep tweaking it and move forward.

I was leading a big project and someone asked if we could roll back because things weren't working 100%. We spent nearly $200 million on this project, the answer was No Way. We fought through the problems.

No matter how much testing you do, this stuff always happens. You just hope to minimize the collateral damage.

nickreynolds

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 6:51 pm on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

@nippi - quote - I'm not seeing any sites penalised that were not gaming the system.

None. - unquote

Not sure I find this "gaming the system" phrase very helpful.

If a site complied with G's recommendations in the past but it doesn't now - is that gaming the system?
Using your keywords in your title tag - is that gaming the system?
Who decides when keyword density over a certain amount is "gaming the system"
Todays accepted practices will be tomorrows "gaming the system"

nomis5

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 7:31 pm on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

No matter how much testing you do, this stuff always happens. You just hope to minimize the collateral damage.


A definite NO to this statement. I'm from the UK and was a self-employed computer system tester for 20 years. I worked for the best, IBM included, and more than once in collaboration with USA companies.

Time and time again it was proven that the USA companies treated testing as an aside - get it in and cope with the consequences was the USA approach

They never appreciated that correcting a software error after implementation costs 20X more than thorough testing the error out before it goes live. The bigggest joke I ever heard was when one major US company suggested to us Brits that a "testing breakfast" was a major component of the testing life cycle.

Well constructed testing, if management allow it, really does pay dividends and at the same time hugely reduces the overall costs of any computer project.

nippi

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 7:47 pm on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

Gaming the system is not subjective. Its objective. Anyone here can read a page and within seconds decide if its written for search engines, and what its true worth is to people.

Guess what.

I think google is closer to being able to do the same.

I am seeing sites with only a small link footprint, but great content and real, relevant links ranking well, and rubbish sites with lots of rubbish content and rubbish links tanking.

I see this as a good update.

potentialgeek

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 8:22 pm on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

LoL@ Google Results with search results from searches on other sites - on the first page.

ROTFLMAO!

textex

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 8:26 pm on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have a bunch of sites. Some affected and some not. The one thing I notice is that sites that are affected are being outranked by scrapers when searching for copy. Sites that are not affected are still ranking #1 for copy in quotes. Anyone else seeing this? Wonder what this is indicative of...

diberry

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 8:47 pm on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

The SEO firm that offered me a sample report of overoptimized backlinks sent the report. It shows that I have a LOT of inbounds for "My Domain." Which of course is what happens when you don't solicit links with particular anchor text - kindly bloggers and forum visitors say "I saw this article at My Domain" and stick the link on the domain name.

I'm now #4 for my domain name, LOL. Guess I was over-optimized on my own domain name (which btw doesn't contain anything like a keyword for my niche).

If Google's idea of "gaming the system" entails making no attempt whatsoever to get other websites to link to you with varied anchor text, then I am a naughty naughty webmaster.

Otherwise, I call BS on this update having sweet f-all to do with SEO. ;)

[edited by: diberry at 8:53 pm (utc) on May 2, 2012]

[edited by: tedster at 1:55 am (utc) on May 10, 2012]

Jez123

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 8:52 pm on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)


If Google's idea of "gaming the system" entails making no attempt whatsoever to get other websites to link to you with varied anchor text, then I am a naughty naughty webmaster.


LOL, be careful what you say. There are some in here that would stone you for saying that! You therefore have a rubbish website with little or no content! ;-)

crobb305

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



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 9:35 pm on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm now #4 for my domain name, LOL. Guess I was over-optimized on my own domain name (which btw doesn't contain anything like a keyword for my niche).


Same here. Still have sitelinks, but sitting at #4 or #5 for the domain name (without .com) and for company name with spaces. I still rank #1 for a few good longtail phrases, but page 2 or higher for snippets of my own content in quotes. It's such a mess.

BillyS

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



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 10:51 pm on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

No matter how much testing you do, this stuff always happens. You just hope to minimize the collateral damage.



A definite NO to this statement. I'm from the UK and was a self-employed computer system tester for 20 years. I worked for the best, IBM included, and more than once in collaboration with USA companies.

This particular project won an international award because we had so few problems. Just one area (of about 16) had over 450 test scenarios. IF we had tested everything, the combinations just in this area would have meant manual review of tens of thousands of documents. All of them possible, few of them probable.

Time and time again it was proven that the USA companies treated testing as an aside - get it in and cope with the consequences was the USA approach

Maybe that's because we Americans have the desire to work faster than you Brits ;)

I stand by my original point, with the billions of pages Google has to crawl and rank, they would spend years testing every single scenario. They need to just push the system live, gain feedback and make corrections. That's exactly what they did.

mike2010

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 11:24 pm on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

Maybe that's because we Americans have the desire to work faster than you Brits ;)


But they've got tea & crumpets. I can't find a store in the U.S. that sells crumpets.

oh yea, and that new McBaguette , when's that coming to the U.S. ?

looks tasty.

seoskunk



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 11:53 pm on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

Maybe that's because we Americans have the desire to work faster than you Brits ;)


Isn't "beta website" an american invention? I do think code is pushed out too quickly by the Americans. Its like "Ok thats great, lets run it up the flag pole and see who salutes it, if it breaks we'll call it beta"

diberry

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 12:33 am on May 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm with nomis5, and I'm an American. I've worked at a number of companies that rolled out untested software/hardware to a bunch of panicked employees who are suddenly unable to perform their jobs as efficiently as before - or at all. When I ask, "Wasn't this stuff tested?" I'm told there wasn't time before the deadline. Like the deadline is an immovable date fixed by God.

[edited by: tedster at 1:56 am (utc) on May 10, 2012]

Zivush



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 4:29 am on May 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

It's called improvising. Sometimes it works :-)
Did you ever notice how many of the programmers you know are also musicians?

scottsonline



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 4:30 am on May 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Google removed too much in this update and I'm sure they will adjust but they did hammer a lot of the biggest abusers in our vertical. Links and who bought them are tough to prove but running 20 websites offering "substantially" the same content just with different keywords isnt. On Monday one huge company doing that vanished from the first three pages and they are gone still today.

I'm glad to see google is algorithmically enforcing this one. It isnt hard to prove of debatable when the checkout button takes you from the mirror to the parent. I'm sure some of what we are seeing is the shakeout of these sites being removed.

nomis5

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 7:11 am on May 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

IF we had tested everything, the combinations just in this area would have meant manual review of tens of thousands of documents. All of them possible, few of them probable.


Risk analysis before tests are created gets round that.

And the thing about G algo updates is that they affect the money people receive from G and the money they pay to G.

Talk to a payroll system tester - you test, test and test before rolling out a change. Why? Because everyone is analysing their pay slip in minute detail. Same goes for UK telecoms because they can loose their licence if the billing isn't proveably 99.9% correct.

IMO the same should apply to G algo changes.

zerillos

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 7:26 am on May 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Are these "fellows" trying to run google into the ground? I remember Altavista having better serps...

courier



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 7:53 am on May 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

An important thing I noticed just before this update came into force, while doing a site: search on one of my domains already runnindg a penality was that there was many copies of my home page in the index via the means of sub-domains. because I have no sub-domains my server shows them as a copy of my home page.

For example there were links as
w.site
ww.site
w.ww.site
and numerous others.

Copies of internal pages like .com?page=1

I suspected when my links grew to more than 100,000 in a short space of time that it cased a penality, but the subdomeans, which produced a replica of my site as well as the .com?page=1 perhaps have a greater impact.

I have fixed this within my .htaccess so that they 301 redirect to the proper pages.

Could negative SEO include links to pages such as these and then get a penality for duplicate content?

chrisv1963

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 1:57 pm on May 3, 2012 (gmt 0)


I am seeing sites with only a small link footprint, but great content and real, relevant links ranking well, and rubbish sites with lots of rubbish content and rubbish links tanking.

I see this as a good update.


I agree, it's a good update. I can see the same in my niche. A lot of spammers disappeared.



LoL@ Google Results with search results from searches on other sites - on the first page.


I see these too for certain searches in my niche. It's about time Google takes care of these spammers too. I wish they would have done it with Penguin already. Maybe it will be one of their next anti spam steps. Anyhow, I report them when I see them. Those "internal search engines" seem to be a spam technique that still works pretty well.

Rasputin

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 2:04 pm on May 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Well, try searching in google.co.uk for a major CMS starting with a J - and then ask yourself how good the results are.

Hint: the current no 1 result has very few pages and a lot of affiliate banners ATF, and is nothing like the official site.

mike2010

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 2:43 pm on May 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Are these "fellows" trying to run google into the ground?


Seems like Facebook slowly is...with their apps.

And Google seems somewhat irritated over it.

Lately Google just seems to be doing everything wrong. Management change time ?

reseller

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 3:16 pm on May 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

It seems Google's Penguin Update is a true small business killer. I see hundreds of small business owners and webmasters posting on several places messages reflecting their anger and frustrations. Something like:

This update has pretty much destroyed my business. Spent the better part of 12 months creating quality content and linking in accordance with Google's TOS and now my site has been dropped and I've had a 93% reduction in sales.


Very sad readings, indeed (:-(

Bewenched

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 3:27 pm on May 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

It seems Google's Penguin Update is a true small business killer.


Very true, and maybe Google just wants to see more record profits for next quarter.

I can't say that we were hit hard by this, we saw a big spike around 4/26 and a bit of a dip afterwards of maybe 5-10%, hopefully that was just the loss of some garbage traffic.

Bewenched

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 4:29 pm on May 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

I take that back. Now our bounce rate is way up again. Crud, seems like we're getting garbage traffic yet again.

kidder

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 8:55 pm on May 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Garbage traffic - yes we are getting tons of global traffic on our AU domains. How simple would that be to fix? Its still broken.

SincerelySandy

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 9:13 pm on May 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

I remember Altavista having better serps...

Judging by googles results for "search engine" in plural or singular form, it would appear that google also feels as though Altavista is more "relevant" than google if you're looking for a search engine.

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