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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]

 

AlyssaS

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 7:35 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

Could it be that this update IGNORES some TLDs? Check this out - Google 'Make Money Online' right now and you find this in Canada - makemoneyforbeginners.blogspot.ca/

I'm linking that because it's a top 5 result but the page has ZERO content. I believe it's ranking because it's on the Blogspot service which means it's getting a free pass?


It's actually nothing to do with it being blogspot. That particular blog was very popular and very famous till G got annoyed with it's owner and took it away from him in 2010.

Here's the story:

[internetmarketinglessons.ca...]

I believe some other person then nabbed the domain but didn't do anything with it, not understanding just what they had picked up...

Anomalies like this are great for what they reveal about G. Clearly this update has nothing to do with on-page issues at all and is all about backlinks. Some backlinks have been discarded because they are "webspam" but others have survived, even though they too are webspam.

driller41

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 7:50 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

It cant be all about backlinks Alyssas - it does not fit what I am seeing, also just nuking sites because of rubbish backlinks makes negative seo too easy - as much as I dislike google I know they are not that daft.

Rather I am thinking about two or more triggers needed to do the damage.

I think that Poor quality backlinks combined with an affiliate type of site is enough to trigger these demotions.

That would make more sense to me, so they are looking for an SEO who creates xrumer and Scrapebox type links and points them to an affiliate type site to create the drop, rather than a B&M type site which is selling a product - the B&M site can still use poor quality links in this update.

So an affiliate type site puts you in the crosshair and the rubbish backlink profile pulls the trigger.

[edited by: driller41 at 7:58 pm (utc) on Apr 25, 2012]

brinked

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 7:51 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

Alyssa,

Thats exactly my feeling as well. I am hoping that google will simply disregard the backlinks it sees as spam.

However, I am seeing a site with nothing but spammy/hidden backlinks rank #1 and 3 in my field..unaffected by this update. These make up the entire backlink profile and are the most blatant spam links you can have. This concerns me, but perhaps google likes the sites content so much its willing to forgive...

Looks like I will have a lot of work ahead of me. A site I purchased a month ago was just dropped for #1 to #9 and its an exact match domain thats ranked #1 for many years. Hopefully beefing up the content will make a difference as it doesnt really have many backlinks.

chrisv1963

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 7:53 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

I think it is Google's way of forcing people to buy AdWords, IMHO.


I don't think so. I never bought Adwords and my traffic increased a lot with this update.

mrguy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 8:01 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

I think it is Google's way of forcing people to buy AdWords, IMHO.


Don't think so either. They kicked out a log of people who were running affiliate sites because they want to be the main affiliate.

This is just another attack on the affiliate business model.

That's OK, what goes around comes around and I've lost count of the people I've convinced that Google is the big evil and they should switch their search engine. Slowly but surely Google will regret waging war on the very webmasters who made them what they are today.

arikgub

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 8:04 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

This is just another attack on the affiliate business model.


No. I have e-commerce sites that were severely affected in this update.

c41lum

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 8:05 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

Some genius at G just removed the "make money online" result. Good work.

See they do read the forums. lmao

brinked

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 8:11 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

I think it is Google's way of forcing people to buy AdWords, IMHO.


This gets tossed out after every update. its mostly said by webmasters who do not want to admit the faults in their website businesses so they write it off to google doing this for its own gain.

Here is what I think. The web is getting really big. The web grows exponentially each and every day. That is a ton of webpages. Google has made efforts that it has bragged about in spidering/indexing this entire web world with such speed and efficiency. Google is policing all of these sites and not to mention using all these resources in doing so.

If I was google, I would absolutely aim to remove the trash and shrink the web so that it is easier to rank websites and form algorithms that are more accurate.

That is their ultimate goal, if its not that I am not going to speculate on something I have no ground to stand on.

I have a lot of questions about this update. I want to know if they will be removing some sites they see as spam and only purpose is to provide backlinks to other sites. This is what I think they should be doing. Or are they just putting a penalty on all sites they see as spammy? If a website is spam, why not remove it from your index completely?

iportco



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 8:11 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

@c41lum If you search for that exact term in google.es (spanish) the second result is a blogspot blog with just one entry. And that entry is titled 'first' and the content is 'yeah'.

Amazing...

backdraft7

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 8:13 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

@brinked - do what I did, turn off your adwords for a few days. My sales actually improved with it turned off. what does that tell you?

BTW - I agree they should take out the trash...one of my niche competitors who gives away similar content for FREE just to squeeze visitors through their many MFA pages and who blatantly proclaims on their site "A SEO project by xyz" is now gone...amen.

[edited by: backdraft7 at 8:18 pm (utc) on Apr 25, 2012]

netmeg

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



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 8:14 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

That one was everywhere, I'd be amazed if they didn't see mention of it.

The only two sites I've actually seen that seem to have been hit were both kind of garden variety ecommerce sites - nothing horrible about them, but nothing great or unique either. In fact, they looked more like a Panda hit than a webspam hit. Didn't have time to delve into their backlinks, but my knowledge of the owner of one of them leads me to believe he might have have shades of grey in his link profile. Dunno on the other one.

AlyssaS

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 8:18 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

Brinked - I think they've removed backlink pages that are full of what they've detected to be spun stuff. But other sorts of spam type backlinks like comments seem to have come through unscathed for the moment.

Check the links on the site you have purchased, there might have been some spun stuff backlinking it.

brinked

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 8:34 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

There are no bad backlinks. I bought it from a webmaster who has a network of similar sites and 90% of its links are from that network. I should have known better but it survived panda and everything else so I figured it was a good bet. I am not giving up on it yet though.

What really irks me is one of my clients were hit. This is the first time I have a client that I received that I did not receive to recover them and they have received a penalty on my watch.

They do not even rank for their own brand name. The only thing I can think of is this is a global brand and they have a different site for each country, UK and canada sites still rank well but the american one was hit really bad. Content is unique but kind of similar to the other versions...There really isnt too much changing we can do with the content....

bobsc

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 8:50 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

I bought it from a webmaster who has a network of similar sites and 90% of its links are from that network.
And those are GOOD backlinks?
mindaugas13

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 9:09 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

@iportco This shows that a no content page can rank just from anchor text links and perhaps not get penalized b/c of its domain authority? That page has 531 linking domains, 466 of which contain the terms "make money online". If the ranking is somehow affected by the fact that it is a Google property is obviously a huge conflict of interest.

brinked

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 9:17 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

bobsc,

They are indeed good backlinks. It is a network but its not a spam network. Each website is about food...a different type of food. All of the content on these sites is of very high quality.

These are good backlinks but they are all coming from the same network and that in itself should be the problem.

Like I said, I bought the site assuming there would be no issues because it has stood the test of time of all the panda updates.

Granted, this site still does rank top 10 for its main phrase so all hope is not lost, I am assuming google simply discredited the network links as the content is solid.

bobsc

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 9:29 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

...but they are all coming from the same network and that in itself should be the problem.
Agreed, but because of that - I wouldn't call them good backlinks.
brinked

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 9:32 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

Agreed, but because of that - I wouldn't call them good backlinks.


These websites were featured in food magazine, the ny times and many others. These backlinks generate about 3,000 uniques a day for the site, comparison to the 800-1300 uniques a day that google was bringing to the site.

The traffic from these backlinks converts a higher percentage of leads than google traffic. If I have to pick between the traffic from google or the traffic from the backlinks...I will take the traffic generated from these websites. :)

bobsc

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 9:39 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

If I have to pick between the traffic from google or the traffic from the backlinks...I will take the traffic generated from these websites.
Ah, that explains it.
iportco



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 9:43 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

@mindaugas13 I really don't know what to think about this case, but two things are obvious:

-Google fails miserably catching unnatural links, since that blog has no content and nobody would link to it naturally.

-Content is not so important, if important at all.

brinked

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 9:53 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

It lost 3 positions...so its not the end of the world. We all know a big difference between ranking #1 and #4 though.

I do believe that what google is doing is counting all the links from the network as 1 link...which it SHOULD do to begin with. I dont think this is really a penalty, just an effect of the changes google has made.

Gshaughn

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 10:08 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'd like to share what I have observed:
-positions of previously high ranking terms fell completely out of the top 50 for keyword phrases that were used as exact match anchor text links
-good positions 'survived' in some cases where no exact match anchor text links were pointed
-positions improved for heavily naturally branded site despite having acquired exact match anchor text links recently
-EMDs where branding is difficult b/c it is the keyword phrase got blasted
-Sites hit with sloppy backlink profiles from YEARS ago (adopted project) despite only adding quality diversified links for past 18 months
-no wbmstr tools messages for any of the sites
-top keywords I focused on (primarily with anchor text links) smashed. kws I did not focus on doing 'ok'.

I went through a list of the anchor text used in the most recent links that were added ('acquired', blog posts, social, etc.) and in almost every instance the position for that keyword was lost. Except for one site, with solid branding.

This is a bit of a ramble, but if we're able to share observations some commonalities may become apparent.

Whitey

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



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 10:21 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

Very early estimates make me think his update will be a lot easier to decipher.

EMD's have been hit , but not specifically targeted. Which makes me believe that the authority for an EMD requires more than it used to. Good backlink profiles, and/or a legitimate brand association, plus "Panda" quality of content would seem a must for survivial.

Panda is shockingly hard to decipher, which throws an unknown into the equation.

Any rankings achieved through the excessive use of "shady" links and/or with similar anchor texts seems to have been effected.

It seems to be URL/page specific based, so the "shady" backlinks would appear to have been discounted and applied to some sort of penalty per page. In turn this could effect the whole site - but i can't see anything one way or the other on that yet. It would be good to have inputs on this to support or debunk the theory of the page specifc based theory.

Is there any evidence at this stage to suggest excessive internal linking has been hit?

@Gshaughn - your post crossed mine. I think your observations look pretty solid to me.

[edited by: Whitey at 10:54 pm (utc) on Apr 25, 2012]

brinked

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 10:21 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

Also I think its important I also mention this. I launched 4 local websites with low competition a few months ago. I put unique content on each of them and bought the most cheapest spam induced links money can buy. These 4 sites all rank top 5 for their targetted terms and did not drop 1 position during this update.

Backlinks consist of forum profiles, directories and social link directories.

Whitey

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



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 10:29 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

with low competition a few months ago

I'm seeing the same thing, but anything requiring any scale on this method with links will likely get no traction. Unlike the past.

They will have to rely more on content and engagement - some of which you hint at, that you are doing.

2 markets that have likely just taken a further hit are exact match domain sellers and once again poor quality link brokers and networks.

zerillos

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 10:30 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

Oh yes, update targeting spam... The SERPs are suffacated with spam more than I've ever seen in the last 10 years. These google "fellows" look pretty clueless to me right now. This is exactly what happens when you make too many updates without assessing the results properly. They've lost the last ounce of credibility in my eyes right now.

seoskunk



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 10:31 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

I can't help thinking either google has become extremely clever with a % failure or that its just plain broken

maddawg

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 10:31 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

Gshaughn - I am seeing the exact same thing.

-Strongly branded sites of mine improved significantly. Some of these sites had some bad links, but overall the link profile was brand-based and Google gave them a pass as a result.

-Sites with bad link profiles were hit, regardless of when those bad links were acquired.
-The more bad links they had the bigger the drop
-Sites even with a very small number of bad links still were dropped, though maybe from #1 to #6 for the targeted keyword.

Robert Charlton (moderator) mentioned Artificial Intelligence in one of the threads and I think that's the case. I've never seen the algorithm detect the link-quality with such accuracy before.

zerillos

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 10:43 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

Panda is shockingly hard to decipher, which throws an unknown into the equation.
I think it's impossible. Not hard. You'd have to have g's whole database and computational power to game it. I belive panda is a transition between an absolute ranking algo (let's say a scale from 0 to 10) to a relative one (for example a scale from -5 to +5). Everything is assesed in relation to everything else. The amount of calculations required is the reason they only run it every once in a while.

Aoe2913



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 10:59 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

So I had two sites with spun text backlink profile one got hit one didn't. Interestingly, the one with the the higher ratio of blatant hard core backlink spun text spam moved up a lot in this "SPAM" update. Regardless, there is clearly something more to this update. Again, think along the lines of helping or hurting Google's bottom line because they wouldn't hurt it with any update.

Also, make sure to not put products in your site that compete with Google's bottom line or challenge their search supremacy, they clearly don't like that. I was kind of amazed at the speed at which this can happen actually in a recent test with a competitors product. I guess it shows some sort of recent desperation.

The exact keyword backlink profile, across a multiple URLS in the footer got hit.

The Results seriously just look like Adwords results with the most competitive terms just being filled with major Adwords buyers. Let's just call it what it is Adwords Search.

Whitey

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



 
Msg#: 4444830 posted 10:59 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

-Sites hit with sloppy backlink profiles from YEARS ago (adopted project) despite only adding quality diversified links for past 18 months

My sense is that this is accurate. The question is, will those phrases ever rank again using a quality backlink profile - clearly the pages can for other terms. 18 months of diversified link additions seems to suggest at best there is going to be a long delay.

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