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Google's Rank Modifying Patent for Spam Detection

 7:59 pm on Aug 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

Patent hawk Bill Slawski has published an article [seobythesea.com] about a newly granted Google patent - one that seems to explain a lot of the odd ranking behavior that has been reported in recent times. The patent is named, quite simply, Ranking documents [patft.uspto.gov]

As I understand it, the idea here is to identify, by algorithm, what looks like an attempt to manipulate rankings in a spammy way. The patent details things like keyword stuffing, invisible text, link-based manipulations and so on.

Rather than allow the rankings to respond immediately and directly to those changes, the patent explains a system that would change rankings in unexpected, counter-intuitive ways - while the rankings change from a first position through transition positions and to the final "target rank" position. In other words, significant changes in position continue to happen even though there is no change in page's ranking factors!

Bill explains:
During the transition from the old rank to the target rank, the transition rank might cause:
a time-based delay response,
a negative response,
a random response, and/or
an unexpected response

If these transitional ranking shifts are followed by what looks like a responsive action from the website, the URL or website which was previously only SUSPECTED as spam, might now be positively tagged as spam.

Read Bill's full article [seobythesea.com] (or the patent itself [patft.uspto.gov]) and see if it doesn't explain some of the odd behavior people have been reporting in recent months:



 2:09 pm on Aug 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

The patent is full of language that uses the phrase "for instance".

Don't overlook that fact that there has to be a certain amount of vagueness built into the language of the application so that the lawyers have wiggle room when defending against lawsuits...they can say "this is what it really means".

Can you mention the things that you think are important to pay attention to on page or on site?

@gouri -- I can't get into that here in this thread it would be way off-topic. Besides, I'm not inclined to go into detail anymore because past experience of doing that here has too often lead to unwarranted ridicule. Yet the sites that I manage continue to be mostly unaffected by every algorithm creature that comes along.

If you are really ambitious you can can find my threads where I've explained much of how I approach SEO strictly from an on-page perspective. It's probably not in any single one thread but spread out over a few. If I had an actual list of it here I would just sticky it to you but I'm sorry I don't. I don't document it because it is an intuitive process that varies and has become second nature so I have no need to document it for myself.


 4:49 pm on Aug 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

Some of this discussion is a bit silly. Donít misunderstand me, a time-based response or random response makes it more difficult to determine how the black box works. IMHO, this is what the patent is really about.

Google doesnít need to shake the bushes to find the overly optimized sites. Itís as simple as this: build a relationship between G+, GA and GWT accounts and websites. Build a list of scummy SEOs (e.g. the ones with the ĎGoldí package -- building 800 inbound links a month, 20 new pages, and 6 micro sites). Marry the accounts/websites to the SEOs. Bingo. Done! Youíve got a list of websites likely using bad SEO techniques. Guilt by association. Okay, go the extra step and validate it. Penalize them all and bleed-out the SEOs.


 5:28 pm on Aug 21, 2012 (gmt 0)


I am going to try to look at some of your older posts and learn more about on-page optimization.



 5:42 pm on Aug 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

Build a list of scummy SEOs...

I don't believe the motives for the unnatural link warnings were 100% altruistic, i.e. solely an effort by Google to be open with web publishers. I believe a benefit to Google was that the reconsideration requests help Google identify who is building what and where those links are being created. That data can become the seed for graphing spammy neighborhoods and identifying more sites to send link warnings to, further growing the data set. Google gives but the giving is often accompanied by a "getting."


 5:59 pm on Aug 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

I hope it makes everyone feel better to use labels like
"overly optimised",
"Bad SEO"
"scummy SEO"


Who defines those terms ?

How does it benefit Google to allow a substantial part of the web to survive purely on free Search traffic ?

How does the existence of any SEo class benefit Google?

Would Google be better off if we all had to use adwords ?

Before Adsense came along, the web was full of free for nothing info
would it be any diferent if SEO was wiped out ?

Questions, question,,,


 6:25 pm on Aug 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

Ya. Makes me and my semi-white hat feel better.

Look, the people who hire those Ďscummy SEOí folks are greedy businesses in search of short-term profit. Canít really blame them. This is our system and I live within its dominion. I liked the system better when the one man operation could outflank the global behemoth online. Those days are gone.

IMHO, our industry and peers define right from wrong and good from bad. A consensus of the group... Google cannot take away organic free search because of competitive pressures. SEOs that help to build-out web best practices benefit Google -- they make it easier for the search engines to classify and index information.


 6:40 pm on Aug 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

Ha ha

I agree that organic free search won't go, merely wondering how much off it one can get


 6:41 pm on Aug 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

greedy businesses in search of short-term profit

That's a bit extreme, IMO. A lot of steps Google took in recent times hurt upstanding businesses too. What had been considered good practice seemed to become spammy overnight. In reality the change was more gradual than that, but not everyone was noticing the gradual shift.


 7:07 pm on Aug 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

Greed is not all bad. And profit is certainly not evil. Most successful entrepreneurs are greedy and our Declaration of Independence emphasized an 'unalienable right to pursue happiness'.

Those that hire 'scummy SEO' firms might also be stupid. SEO is sort of its own black box. Lots of snake oil for sale out there. Extreme? Really?


 7:12 pm on Aug 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

Yes. Really.


 9:10 pm on Aug 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

All very telling, thanks for the contributions. We have always recommended a methodological approach to making on-page changes like title, meta, etc. We don't use meta keywords based on a panel containing the search engine reps at one of Danny S's conferences more than a year ago. If a brand has been using keywords for some time and enjoys good organic placement, we tend to leave well enough alone especially if the page enjoys an average position on the first page. If we are on a page making changes to copy because of changes to science or other discoveries/inaccuracies, we gingerly tread around.

So I'm curious about what you are seeing re: business sectors impacted by G's patent. Thanks.


 2:17 am on Aug 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

I wonder if this patent is designed to make the algo inscrutable not just to webmasters, but also to governments. I think anti-trust issues must be high up on Google's list of concerns right now. Lately, the SERPs are such a mess that users are frustrated, but maybe the tradeoff for that is that anything in the algo that might look unfair to a government is going to be so obscured by the time a govt takes a hard look at it, that no one will be able to make a case in any direction.

I don't mean this to imply that Google has for sure broken laws. Some of these laws - especially with evolving technologies - are vague and confusing. It's not like Google's been handed a checklist: "do these things, and you re in compliance." So I would consider what I'm suggesting to be a smart move that any company in Google's position should consider taking.


 10:55 am on Aug 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

In reality the change was more gradual than that, but not everyone was noticing the gradual shift.

And to make my regular point, that's because far too many people rely on outdated "checklist SEO".

I still see statements like "totally white hat link building, where I vary the anchor text" or similar.

Also, I know its fashionable to shred whatever MC says. But, he has been saying for quite a long time that people should be focussing on their users, not building for Google. Then suddenly, Penguin aggressively targets SEO techniques. You can't say you weren't warned.

Anyway, back to this patent. I think this is an extemely important development. Not in and of itself (ranking has long been chaotic following changes- the common advice to wait for stability has been shown to be wise), but because it clearly demonstrates the type of thing Google does to flumox SEOs.

Never mind the conspiracy theories about Google making SERPs worse to drive advertising revenue. They are increasing the opacity in their structurs while claiming an increased transparency in their end product.

[slightly off topic sketch]
To borrow a meme from Leo, its like some... Cult... telling you that you can join the queue for heaven near the front, if you only follow their rules. Everyone worries they are not giving you the full information, in order for the Cult leaders can join ahead of you.

In the mean time, the Cult (now co-opting the word "Universal") is building a real world empire, hiding its power structures from view, encouraging confessions (for your own good, not so they have actionable information), building alliances with "temporal" authorities, and generally extending its influence across all spheres of every day existance.

The admission that queue positions do not strictly match your perceived divinity undermines the Universal Cult's stated aim of "Organising the worlds Souls" which could make you wonder what, exactly, they are doing. But maybe the big issue is not your queue number (demanding conformity is only a small part of their power), but the influence they are amassing through providing services in exchange for nothing more costly than blind devotion and loyalty.


 11:48 am on Aug 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

The patent if it is being utilized is an admission of failure on the part of google. It's clear that by rank manipulating dynamic, changing documents downward and devaluing links (the basis of the internet) that they simply cannot deal with a dynamic world wide web based document collection.

The patent looks more like a web that they would like to index versus what exists. A genuine departure from reality, total fail. The character of the web is dynamic and ever changing, google has a problem with that, as do those who use their service.


 12:07 pm on Aug 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

<snip> But, he has been saying for quite a long time that people should be focussing on their users, not building for Google. Then suddenly, Penguin aggressively targets SEO techniques. You can't say you weren't warned. <snip>
I'm one of those that didn't do much at all with regard to SEO other than the basics. I have always built sites for users, not Google. Since my first site in late 1995 I have build my sites for people - "user experience" and all that. I never even did link building, always depending on "natural" links visitors would put places. Quite a few links to my main site are on Wikipedia, for example, that people put there, not me. My main site was hit, and hit hard starting on 25 July 2012. So - Matt Cuts can say what he wants, but just because people build sites for people, not Google, doesn't mean much, if anything. My "saving grace" is that over the years so many people have linked to my main site in various places. In fact, one of the search key words people use to find my main site is the name of the site its self (and the site name is not only *very* unusual, it is the name of a street so if you search for it you'll find very few entries). So, not even my domain name was chosen with Google (or any other search engine for that matter) in mind. If the site wasn't as well known as it is it wouldn't be getting much if any traffic. I don't know what Google is doing, but these days most of the searches I get come up with Amazon this, or Amazon that. Is Amazon building sites "for people"? Or I get a list of entries for pages on About.com which are typically small entries that they pay people to write, and those writers are typically ignorant of what they are writing about. I have no idea what Google is doing, but I'm at the point where I don't care, and I think we are finding out that it really doesn't matter if a site has "white hat" or "black hat" SEO. Google's algorithms have put them into the "drug war" territory where what they do with their algorithms has little effect when you look it from way up high. And don't get me started on the "social media" thing where they want to *make* people get involved in Google+ if they want to be in their search results. In the end, to me, if my sites don't make money I'll shut them down. I'm in my 60's and retired. I don't need the money. What I see happening is what I call the "Walmartization" of the internet. Not too many years from now only big companies/corporations will be the first page for most search results. One thing that *does* surprise me is that pages I put up way back in the late 1990's which I have never changed, are doing *very* well in Google serps right now. Cutts talked about things like "freshness" and my highest ranked pages are from the 1990's (with dates on them, no less) right now. Go figure.

 8:17 pm on Aug 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

Leosghost, nice observations. This patent does explain something I couldn't quite figure out, though, as you note, the data was there to see fairly plain as day, assuming of course one cares enough to really see it, in fact I was watching the process, but couldn't quite understand what was happening, though I did see it clearly, just not with awareness of what it meant.

Agreed on the need to see Google in a larger context, not out of any at all, and most certainly, to ignore their babble about being evil or not evil, they are a huge corporation, they have their own interests, and due to the fairly clever way they sold their class b shares, they are somewhat immune from the interests of stock holders. Which means they can explore a lot of different avenues, not all of them obvious or profitable.

The thing with Matt Cutts is that he's a corporate guy, he drinks the coolaid, and that means he's not critical of what he himself is told. To my eyes, he's too geeky to be a good liar, so I tend to believe that he believes most of what he says, unless it's something pretty specific that they don't want people to understand. I have seen this 'do not question the source of your income' among my tech friends before, it leads to some of the most ridiculous statements being made, and believed, by the employee who does not actually critically examine his employer. Doing that, generally, tends to you becoming an ex employee fairly quickly. Basic psychology, and applied self-interest. But within that, the more I go back and look at what Cutts has been saying all along, the more it looks to me like he really did roughly say what is happening, only most people don't want to hear it, because they are doing, and have been doing, exactly what he was warning about. I've seen this type of denial first hand now for a while, the old habits die hard, how do we get the dupe content masked enough to make it not dupe? (how indeed... lol) what link text combos, etc.

The amusing thing with this patent however is that it provides a pretty clear mechanism to trap people who have knee-jerk reactions to google updates, we've certainly seen little else in panda/penguin threads, what do I change, how to do I modify my backlink structures, and, the most comical, what is the proper key word density. My personal feeling is that google keeps mentioning key word density as a joke to mess with people who follow seo chatter, while their algos have left that onpage stuff long and far behind, but hey, if it trips up a few less skilled types, all the better.

Elsmarc, you raise a valid view too, but I think the thing is, google is so addicted to full automation of algos that there is always going to be damage to people who are truly doing it right. Like leosghost, my personal sites, which have nothing but white hat seo, and that's all, just chug along, oblivious roughly to each and every google update, people link to them, if they like the stuff I put up, and if not, they don't. Traffic doesn't change much. One thing I have noted, however, is that google is doing a lot of experimenting day to day with serp positioning, much more than they used to do, ie, they will try it page one, see how that goes, then page two, see how that goes. Another interesting thing I'm seeing on a heavily panda/penguin hit site is that google is letting in a steady 10% click on serps, and the number daily doesn't hardly vary at all, so they are very clearly monitoring things much more aggressively for money key words than they were doing before. Your numbers might vary, this might be different industry to industry, I don't know, but I can see how tightly they are controlling the placements of pages now in the results based on external factors.

Here's what I would suggest, as a starter, to get out of bad habits:

1. If you are asking if the content is masked adequately, ie, duplication is hidden, then stop it. That's a stupid strategy, and it just makes google laugh.

2. If you know what key word mixes your backlinks are generating, then so does google, and they know it's not natural.

3. If you spend any time thinking about key word density, using key word density analyzers, you aren't generating real content, period. Nobody who writes real or valuable content thinks about key word density, nobody.

It's my view that on page factors were largely a huge red herring put up by google, and one purpose might have been specifically to see who alters their pages and who does not, update to update, in reaction to ranking changes.

I agree the google serps are starting to get odd, but I think there's a very big thing going on internally, the generation of the parallel internet created by and for spammers really did work, and I think that google realized they are going to have to significantly alter how they handle spam. That is going to be a process.

There's other factors too, that are important to keep in mind, leosghost is absolutely right to remind you that this is a real power center, and it's not wise to ignore how power works in and through history when trying to understand it. Obviously, in this game, one thing they need to maintain and expand power is money, so generating money is going to always be one factor in the equation. I realize thinking in a macro sense is not really a habit most seo types have gotten into, except, I would suspect, the blackest of the black, who I would tend to suspect basically understand how google works without blinders or fantasies. But google isn't that concerned with those guys at the moment, in programming, there's a saying that the perfect is the enemy of the good, and what that means in this context is, if you can get the lower skilled and script kiddie seos out of the picture, you have gotten them out. Is it perfection? Of course it isn't, the most aggressive seos, the actually smart ones, that is, rely on brains and real time manipulation, empirical testing on large scales, science, more or less. And this patent is clearly designed to make that testing more difficult.

One advantage with only occasionally dipping into this world is avoiding the day to day worrying about changing x or y, when changing x or y has not mattered for years.

I agree with leosghost, google is once again doing something interesting to watch, it's not totally clear what it is, but one thing that I think is involved is facebook not doing that well anymore, and facebook was google's top worry. Interactions with large contenders, that is, have to have a role as well in the game.


 9:00 pm on Aug 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

Great post lizardx, one of the best I've seen for a while.


 8:20 pm on Aug 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm another who was building strictly for users when I got hit hard by Penguin. And I'm continuing to (re) build strictly for users.


 7:00 pm on Aug 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

I am just splitting my sides I'm laughing so hard.

The "Mess with the SEOers heads" patent.

During the transition from the old rank to the target rank, the transition rank might cause:

a time-based delay response,
a negative response,
a random response, and/or
an unexpected response

For example, rather than just immediately raise the rank of a page when there have been some modifications to it, and/or to the links pointed to a page, Google might wait for a while and even cause the rankings of a page to decline initially before it rises. Or the page might increase in rankings initially, but to a much smaller scale than the person making the changes might have expected.


 7:26 pm on Aug 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

You got that right! My personal opinion is it's a stupid tactic to take. But - Search isn't really Google's focus and specialty any more so I expect it to continue to "dumb down" and give more corporate and related results.

Not to mention - Changes have never really taken effect "immediately". It has always been a "make changes and see what happens over the next 2 weeks to a month" thing.


 9:51 pm on Aug 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

It would matter little if the transitional results were brought in past the first page.


 9:54 pm on Aug 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have seen changes show up overnight.
If you are seeing changes take 2 weeks, then it looks like their patent is working.
The Caffeine update made changes or new pages show immediately.


 9:06 pm on Aug 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Great article by Aaron over on SEOBook:

So, Google may shift the rankings of your site, in what appears to be a random manner, before Google settles on a target rank.

Let's say that you're building links to a site, and the site moves up in the rankings. You would assume that the link building has had a positive effect. Not so if the patent code is active, as your site may have already been flagged.

Google then toys with you for a while before sending your site plummeting to the target rank. This makes it harder to determine cause and effect.

Just because a patent exists doesn't mean Google is using it, of course. This may be just be another weapon in the war-of-FUD, but it sounds plausible and itís something to keep in mind, especially if you're seeing this type of movement.


 10:32 pm on Aug 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hi Brett

I'd recommend people going through the patent itself rather than relying upon interpretation of it on SEOBook. The way that's phrased could potentially be misleading.

A target rank, which is the rank that a site would move up to from the old rank, based upon the initial changes, is already calculated under the process described in the patent before a page (or site, or group of sites affiliated with each other in some manner) enters into the transition rank function.

The transition rank function period, which would cause the site to either move up more slowly than it normally would, decrease in rank for a period of time before moving up to the target rank, or fluctuate randomly or in unexpected manners before moving up to the target rank.

A page might be "flagged" as in entering into a transition rank stage, but not flagged as in determined by Google to definitely be engaging in Web spam. It's in the possible reactions to a slower than expected rise, or a decrease or random rankings where Google might determine if a person controlling a site might be engaging in Web spam by looking for signs of things like keyword stuffing or invisible or tiny text or misleading redirects, etc.

A page wouldn't "plummet" to a target rank under this patent - the target rank is the rank where the page would rise to from the original old rank.


 11:03 pm on Aug 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

@RegDCP - My experience goes back to 1995 - Pre-Google but I did it as a hobby and don't consider myself an SEO person. Yes, I have seen Google changes show up relatively quickly in the past, but it's not typically the case especially these days. Back in the Caffeine days (2009-2010 - Yup, only 3 years ago) there were a lot less web sites than today, and even then you were guessing whether algo changes were the cause for the "next day" jump (or decline) or changes you makes a few days or a week prior.

Personally I didn't even change anything for Caffeine. I do remember discussions and people going to different data centers around the world anxiously waiting to see where changes appeared first and trying to figure out if they would be rolled out all over, if it was "withdrawn" and didn't propagate to all the data centers, etc., etc. I never did that stuff because my sites weren't affected so I didn't care.

I always have had some months that are better than others, but all in all my sites just kept going right along gaining more visitors every year on a year to year basis. Even visiting "webmaster" forums (which includes here) was something I did now and again mostly out of boredom. Now - That's not to say it hasn't been a roller coaster ride. I think it was 2007 that was a "down" year for me. But I never saw anything like the drop I saw in July 2012.

This year my main site crashed in late July, but other than that no issues. I did do quite a few things to my main site starting on 28 July, got into Google's WMT and joined (and worked with) Bing's equivalent, for example. And I'm here every day these days, where prior to July I'd drop by once every week or two.

Heck - I put up the first site map I've ever put on any site last Saturday (I'm still not convinced they make a difference on an already well organized, canonical site, but figure it can't hurt) and I have a project plan for changes which should be complete in a week or two. My expectation is I won't know how much things will really change until we're into September and October.

I will say that in WMT I can see things day by day that infer whether changes I made are making (or should be making) a difference, but my measurables are visitors per 24 hours and page views (with consideration to other measurables such as bounce rate, etc.). And day by day, this week and last week, things have improved a bit every day - But no big "jump" back to where I was.

It is noteworthy that you say "If you are seeing changes take 2 weeks, then it looks like their patent is working." since it's a new patent and the discussion is whether they are implementing it or not. Not to mention the patent, if it is in use at this point, makes it improbable that you will, in a short time, know whether SEO changes you have made are effective or not, since:
During the transition from the old rank to the target rank, the transition rank might cause:
a time-based delay response,
a negative response,
a random response, and/or
an unexpected response
That pretty much tells you that you will not know *for sure* that the effects of changes you make today and the results you see tomorrow are *definitely* the effects of yesterday's change(s).

I'll stand by my statement that changes to a web site "today" do not show dependable (much less long term) "results" over night, although I don't doubt that sometimes it may *appear* that way (and in the past may have to some extent been true). If that was true, there are lots of people here (and elsewhere) who would cream their pants because it would be easy to make a change, wait a day and see what happens. That's part of the "problem" - There is no way to know, in a short period (and 24 hours is relatively short), whether or not changes a person makes to their web site(s) had any affect or not.

And these days there is more than changes to a web site. Social media is now part of the "game". Example: Do links put on Twitter and/or LinkedIn and/or Facebook and/or Google+ effect change that can be seen tomorrow? I seriously doubt it. There is one heck of a lot more to "SEO" these days (as I am painfully finding out as I make my way back into the world of SEO), and expecting to "know tomorrow" if changes made today are "working" or not isn't in the cards.


 12:35 am on Aug 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

It is not a new patent. It is 2 years old.

Caffeine did not alter results. It was strictly a process speed change.

I think that certain changes would trigger a use of the results scrambler.
Title changes, heading mods, or anything on a spam list might trigger the patent, while copy changes etc would not, as they are part of "business as usual".

One thing this patent will do is to teach us to get it right the first time as it is only changes that trigger. Nothing was said about new pages.

"Do links put on Twitter and/or LinkedIn and/or Facebook and/or Google+ effect change that can be seen tomorrow?"
Not in my results.
I spent a few months placing and documenting the effects of link building and saw no effect after 70 links were done.

However retweets and G+1 votes DO influence results, but usually only for a short period. (9 or 10 days). Then the listing drops back to it's original position.

Like sevencubed I believe that the majority of SEO should be done on page.
Google has been telling us for years that they want organic links.
They have been telling us that links no longer count for SERPs.
They have told us repeatedly that links for SEO are black hat.

Now they nail the folks that did not pay attention, they hit the thin/ad heavy/over optimized sites and they turn off the predictive factor of anchor text, because it can be gamed.

Once all this is in we find out that there is, or could be, a process to scramble results for obvious SEO efforts.

A few years back too many changes to a title in a short period of time saw the site sandboxed.

Get it right the first time.


 12:39 am on Aug 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

I started online commercially in early '94.
I have been immersed in search engine technology since '84 when I was building databases.
I am a student of Google search.


 1:03 am on Aug 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Get it right the first time.

Like sevencubed I believe that the majority of SEO should be done on page

Those have always been the best ways..
I think that certain changes would trigger a use of the results scrambler.
Title changes, heading mods, or anything on a spam list might trigger the patent, while copy changes etc would not, as they are part of "business as usual".

One thing this patent will do is to teach us to get it right the first time as it is only changes that trigger. Nothing was said about new pages.

Agreed..with the caveat that some of us had already noticed for some considerable time, prior to the patent being mentioned by Bill, that "changes" had "unusual results"..I watched others ..I don't change mine.."measure twice cut once"..or better .stone sculpture is a good discipline, you can't change a stone sculpture..you have to think long and hard about it..and get it right..first time..

Btw..companies only usually patent ( and thus bring into the light of day and to the attention of competitors ) things that they have hypothesised would work, and then tested, and then retested, have proved worth patenting..then they patent them..

Panda too , whilst not being announced as a patent in the same way..was in evidence at least 6 months in "testing" mode ..before it officially ran for the first time ..like wise penguin , ran in test mode for some time(s) , small scale testing, before it was "announced"..

But one has to be looking at serps in odd areas and at odd times and in odd ways to catch these things , focusing on only one's immediate niche(s) is too narrow a view, to see much of the testing, and the things that G later announces it has done, in action, prior to their announcements..

[edited by: Leosghost at 1:19 am (utc) on Aug 30, 2012]


 1:16 am on Aug 30, 2012 (gmt 0)


Your input is appreciated. I got into this stuff back in the 1980's running a BBS on a POTS line, which is why my main site is a forum. I started on the "web" in 1995 as something to do because I was bored (traveled and lived in hotels/motels). I've never been much into SEO so your information is appreciated. I retired in 2003 and I'm in my 60's and I figure I'll see what I can do. But as I told my forum "regulars" and advertisers, I'll do what I can but if by December things don't get back to my "normal" I'll probably close up shop and go on to other things in life. This is getting to be too much like "work". ;) It's a very old site and I'm not even sure how far I want to go in "bringing it up to speed" so to speak.

In one thread a fellow posted and was upset because his site lost 60% of its business because, he says, it went from #1 on page 1 to #7 on page 1. Number 1 slot on page 1 all the time is a bit more than I want to shoot for. But it's a forum with a lot of topics as it has, over the years, spread out into a number "categories". I do get a lot of "page 1" links, but on quite a few different terms, especially "long tails".

So.... For me it's "On With The Show".


 1:27 am on Aug 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Number 1 slot on page 1 all the time is a bit more than I want to shoot for.

Since G personalised SERPS ( whether one is "signed in" or not ), no one can say with 100% certainty that they are always at #1 all of the time , to everyone..not to mention local geo targeting and regional geo targeting, national or country geo targeting affecting who sees what etc..

That all also rolls G's ad inventory around more than it did..which is good for G's bottom line..

But is appalling for adsense publishers..

It is all now much more subject to the "Heisenberg effect", but if you can get consistently in the #1 or #2 or #3 slot of SERPS in your target area..that will do..:)..in some searches ( with not many ads etc pushing the results down below the fold ) numbers #5, #6 #7 can still bring some reasonable traffic ..as can "top of page two" ( the number #11 slot )..most "desktop" searchers have their settings at "default" of 10 results per page..

mobile SERPS...different game ..


 1:43 am on Aug 30, 2012 (gmt 0)


I understand. Whether local or not, when I saw the post where the person said they were dependent upon being #1 on page 1 and would have to go out of business if they were in slot 7 or 8 on page one, I knew for me it would be an impossible task if only for the reason that my "problem" site is too broad with too many topics to always hit page one for a given key word.

I have done well over the years so I have no real complaint. It may be time for me to move on to other things.

So it goes.

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