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When Panda and Penguin hurt the consumer
brinked




msg:4493622
 5:49 am on Sep 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

I can always appreciate when google makes updates on improving its search results. Even when my sites are negativity effected I can accept the fact that googles main goal is to provide the most accurate results to the searcher.

I have a client who I have been working with for about 5 months now who reached out to me out of desperation. He runs an ecommerce site about specialty widgets. He knows very little about seo or web related stuff. What he knows is the product he sells. It is a very specialty item and its what he focuses on his entire career. Nobody in the world knows more about these widgets than he does, I tried to find someone but no site comes close.

He used to rank #3 for specialty widgets right below wikipedia and howstuffworks. On a penguin update his website was knocked deep into the abyss of the google SERP's. Not page 2 or page 3...but more like page 50 where he will never be found. His google traffic had pretty much disappeared overnight.

His website offers the most competitive prices than any other site on the net...believe me I have looked at every site that now ranks above him, nobody comes close. He offers products that nobody else sells. Each product has its own description because he has hands on experience with every product he sells and the manufacturer descriptions dont tell the full story as he says. He has videos of him using and demonstrating more than 60% of the products he sells and these videos are embeded on the product pages to help give the user a better understanding of the product in action before they commit to purchase. His youtube videos are embedded onto 2 competitors websites which are based out of china and do not even ship to america.

To sum it up, if you are looking to purchase this product, his site is the one you want to find. And now nobody can. This is bad for him and this is bad for google. All because he paid $60 to a seo company and they made link wheels. Basically his link profile consists of profile pages that interlink to each other. This is easy for google to detect since each link can be traced to the next site.

My gripe here is that google is focused more on punishing a website trying to manipulate its SERP's than providing accurate search results to the end user. In this very case, the results are very poor and barely mention the searched term anywhere on the page. How is this good for the user?

His site has everything you want on a site that you want to buy from. He has his 800 number prominently displayed on the site. 100% price match, security badges etc. I am a picky, educated online shopper and I would have no problem placing an order on his site and feeling 100% secure about it.

Instead of google main focus being "Does this website try to manipulate our rankings", their number 1 focus should be "Is this site relevant to the searchers request?"

 

tedster




msg:4493816
 2:55 pm on Sep 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

My gripe here is that google is focused more on punishing a website trying to manipulate its SERP's than providing accurate search results to the end user.

I get a similar feeling these days - and I'm not happy about it as either an SEO or as a user. In fact, last week I lost track of an online business I used to buy from and could not surface through Google Seach. (I did find it through Bing.)

I do have a hope, however. In years past, new major ranking factors often started in with the dial set very high and then gradually it got turned down. Please let that happen again - soon!

[edited by: tedster at 5:23 pm (utc) on Sep 11, 2012]

Martin Ice Web




msg:4493829
 3:23 pm on Sep 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

brinked,

i wrote it in WebmasterWorld before and will do a second time.
High targeted sites ( not SEO optimized but widget targeted ) did take a huge hit. These are sites that will care about their products und will give you the searched information/buying place. Most of these site do have different version of this widgets, like color, lenght, height.... But instead of rewarding this sites, google rewards the simple selling sites that only have one or two of this widgets. I think if your site is to homogene then it will be catched by panda/penguin because it looks like spam.

Ralph_Slate




msg:4493831
 3:27 pm on Sep 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

I agree - and because they focused more on punishment than on search results, the result is that niche sites can no longer be found, as if there is no relevant information on certain topics on the internet when in reality, it exists, Google just won't show it.

Pjman




msg:4493836
 3:33 pm on Sep 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

@tedster

I understand your optimism on the introduction of new ranking factors. That held a lot weight in the past. The worst I remember was maybe 6 months for the overall results to improve. At least I felt like , "Hey, it was worth it because search is better!"

Ever since Panda 1.0 the results just keep getting worse on Google. Back in the "Yahoo is king days" we were all looking for a good search tool then we had Google.

Now I feel like I'm back in 1996.

I mean let's be real, Google got a new CEO, 7-8 weeks later the organic results get screwed up and their profits went through the roof.

The results are leveraged for Google's monetary gain, not the users.

idolw




msg:4493845
 3:42 pm on Sep 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

Really, get good links for him. I saw sites losing google traffic from penguin where we simply got some good links and they make a comeback.
Yes, google prefers poor sites with kosher promotion to great sites with some backlink sins, but doing a decent promotion campaign for links is not that hard.
Especially, if he is so great and everybody would love what he has.

1script




msg:4493850
 3:50 pm on Sep 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

My gripe here is that google is focused more on punishing a website trying to manipulate its SERP's than providing accurate search results to the end user.
Brinked, this is so true! Google's got into the "the whole world is against us" mode and with each successive algo/animal update it gets itself deeper in it still. They probably have this rosy idea that if only they could clean all the spam from their index, their results will be perfect. But from what I can see they are nowhere near being clean and the results are getting worse and worse because they spend all their resources (computing and human) on combating spam, or perceived spam and nothing much is being done towards improving relevancy. I mean, I do still use Google myself and you can call their results useful, far-reaching, diverse [insert a few more good words here] but they are definitely no more relevant to the query than they were in 2000. Not much of a progress toward organizing the world's information.

They started clinging to a select few very high profile sites that, although not the best informational choice for any query, at least are guaranteed to be not spam (as Google sees it) - and that seems enough rank them all over the first SERPs. (eHow, Amazon)

I guess becoming a monopoly has its own side-effects, ha? Maybe the entire world really is against them? Nobody likes a monopoly, so it would be easily explained...

goodroi




msg:4493871
 4:31 pm on Sep 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hi Brinked,

I am sorry your client is having trouble. Personally I don't like to discuss if Google is good or bad or if they are on a vendetta against SEO. I prefer to focus on problem solving and the current problem is why is your client not ranking and how to fix this. I am confused by a few things you mentioned.

His website offers the most competitive prices than any other site
If this is true why hasn't he reached out to the shopping deals/coupon site. The shopping deal websites have large communities that are always hunting for great deals and once they find it they normally link to it in their forums. These forums pass link power but more importantly can directly drive large volumes of traffic that converts making his less dependent on Google rankings.

Also when bloggers are talking about his specialty widgets why aren't they linking to him if his prices are so great? I would expect that he could gain some legitimate backlinks by informing bloggers & coupon sites about his great prices.

He offers products that nobody else sells

It is still easy to ranking #1 in Google if you are the only website mentioning a keyword. I am guessing no one else sells it but they mention it which is why he isn't ranking for these unique products.

Each product has its own description
I'd be interested to hear more about these descriptions. How long are they. What percentage of a product page is unique? If you have a 100kb product page and it only has 1kb of unique data, you have a problem. Also how is he checking to make sure he is using the same terminology that his users are typing into Google. Has he explored user generated content to boost up the amount of unique content on product pages & even if the UGC isn't good enough to publish it helps to show what keyword combinations visitors use to describe the product.

His youtube videos are embedded onto 2 competitors websites
Why not handle the videos himself so other people can't embed them? If his videos are on multiple sites then why should Google rank his site higher, since all the sites offer the same video content. I understand he made the videos but from a user experience POV, his website does not offer a better user experience if he allows his video content to be duplicated on other sites

All because he paid $60 to a seo company
Negative SEO does exist but $60 negative SEO I am not so sure. Does he not have many legitimate links (like blogger reviews, newspaper interviews, vendors & partners, or contests & promotions).

I am just wondering if his site is so great with the best prices, producing video content, plus custom descriptions from first hand experience why does he not have massive amounts of one way quality backlinks? If he didn't know that he needed to cultivate those links why isn't he doing that now?

brinked




msg:4493897
 5:51 pm on Sep 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the feedback. I made this post to make a point that legitimate sites are getting slapped.

To go further into this particular client, he DOES have very very good links. But he has thousands and thousands of these link wheel links that I have instructed him to remove. He has made great progress and we have recovered him to all the way to the bottom of the 2nd page but it still is not bringing him much traffic.

The more link wheel links we remove, the more it recovers. He received an unatural link message in WMT right before penguin hit and we have submitted 3 reconsideration requests, all were shot down despite us providing google a list of thousands of domains to discount from the backlink profile.

We just keep removing links and he has not made much progress from the 2nd page but we are encouraged none the less.

brinked




msg:4493900
 5:59 pm on Sep 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

goodroi,

He does not have a massive amount of natural links because like I said, his site deals with a very specialty item. This item is only for a specific type of business. This is not something that would be put in newspapers or blogs because the every day person would have no use for something like this. It would be like the internet creating a buzz for a commercial mulching machine that would only be used by commercial mulching businesses.

His sites are hosted on youtube because that is all he knows. I have no issue with that, he doesnt even mind that the videos are being embedded because they have his company name and website all over them so the embedding is actually a good thing.

This product is being mentioned on other sites with exact matches, but they are search pages. For example the 3rd result right now is a search result page from a china wholesale directory page 22 that has 0 original content and is just a listing page with the "generic" versions of the product.

The company created a ton of links using profiles and using a blog network...that seems to be the main issue. This was a blog network that was targeted by google penguin specifically. We have been recovering but google is not yet completely satisfied with the amount of links we are bringing to their attention.

bobsc




msg:4493902
 6:08 pm on Sep 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

The more link wheel links we remove, the more it recovers.
How can it recover when Penguin hasn't been updated in months?

From Google:
Because this is an algorithmic change, Google has no plans to make manual exceptions. Webmasters cannot ask for reconsideration of their site, but we’re happy to hear feedback about the change on our webmaster forum.

[edited by: bobsc at 6:19 pm (utc) on Sep 11, 2012]

Thaparian




msg:4493903
 6:10 pm on Sep 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

Panda/Penguin killed relevancy.

I mean let's be real, Google got a new CEO, 7-8 weeks later the organic results get screwed up and their profits went through the roof.


New CEO?

brinked




msg:4493920
 6:51 pm on Sep 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

bobsc,

I have been working with this client for about 5 months now. He was hit hard by penguin but he also received an un-natural links notice prior to that.

He has recovered slightly as I mentioned getting to the 2nd page, this happened months ago, could have been around the time of a penguin refresh.

Google is rejecting his reconsideration requests, so I assume if they were happy with the amount of links removed, they would state such.

By the way, I have recovered clients from panda and it happened in between panda refreshes. I know of others that have recovered from panda before a refresh as well.

One of my very own sites that has been steadily recovering from panda slowly has also seen improvements between panda refreshes.

TypicalSurfer




msg:4493922
 6:56 pm on Sep 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

Brinked, it's better to send these cases to main stream media sources vs. webmaster(?) forums.

When Panda and Penguin hurt the consumer


There it is.

Of course, it is not Panda and Penguin hurting the consumer. it is google.

Ralph_Slate




msg:4493923
 6:57 pm on Sep 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

Two things I'd like to comment on:

Really, get good links for him. I saw sites losing google traffic from penguin where we simply got some good links and they make a comeback.


Although I believe that getting good links to a specific page can overcome a penalty, from my experience good links to some pages on a site - even hundreds of thousands of them, which signify a highly authoritative site - do not help the other pages on a site overcome Panda or Penguin penalties.

It is still easy to ranking #1 in Google if you are the only website mentioning a keyword. I am guessing no one else sells it but they mention it which is why he isn't ranking for these unique products.


Again, from my experience, that is not true if you have a Penguin/Panda penalty. The penalty pushes your page way down, first below the other competing results, then below things like empty results, then below the scraper sites, then below the irrelevant results on authoritative pages, then below the spam that hasn't been penalized yet.

I am speaking from experience here. I have a term which is very rare on the internet because it is about a piece of memorabilia that I discovered that almost no one has. Yet when I search for that item, I see the pattern described above - my page on the item isn't returned until page 2 or lower even though the pages above me are either not talking about the object, or have only learned of the object from my site and offer less information about it. I have a lot of such examples.

As far as information sites go, I am seeing Wikipedia taking up more and more spaces at the top - even though those pages link to my site as one of the sources of their information - to the point where irrelevant Wikipedia results will outrank my directly on-topic page. I wouldn't care so much except that for whatever reason, my site is penalized, so although I may have the 2nd or 3rd most information on a topic (because Wiki stood on my shoulders to build their pages), I'm now in the cellar somewhere.

bobsc




msg:4493925
 7:06 pm on Sep 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

"More like" page 50 to page 2 is a slight recovery?

brinked




msg:4493935
 7:42 pm on Sep 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

When he was initially hit he was knocked back to page 50 and beyond. It wasnt until we started getting links removed that he recovered to where he has been at the bottom of page 2.

tedster




msg:4493964
 8:37 pm on Sep 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

How can it recover when Penguin hasn't been updated in months?

I had the same thought. The site being described sounds more like an unnatural backlinks penalty rather than either Panda or Penguin. Those two black and white critters can't take the credit for everything!

bobsc




msg:4493975
 9:12 pm on Sep 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

By the way, I have recovered clients from panda and it happened in between panda refreshes. I know of others that have recovered from panda before a refresh as well.
Then the recovery had nothing to do with Panda.
brinked




msg:4493983
 9:34 pm on Sep 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

I had a site that was hit the very day the first panda was released. This site showed moderate recovery in between panda refreshes and then it recovered almost completely on the next panda refresh (probably around a 90% recovery).

I hear everywhere that you can not recover a site between refreshes, but I am constantly seeing evidence that contradicts that.

claaarky




msg:4493989
 9:47 pm on Sep 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

I suspect there have been many more Panda refreshes than have been officially confirmed..

I recently saw the stats of a site where one section was regularly being hit and then released, always being hit on the exact date of a panda refresh but recovering 100% either at one of the official dates or a date in between. One recovery date was May 11th 2012 but officially there was no Panda refresh in May at all.

brinked




msg:4493992
 9:53 pm on Sep 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

I do not know when this specific client made the recovery to page 2, we monitor the traffic and not really the SERP's too much. When I work with a client I not only try to recover their rankings, but the main idea is to recover their profits. If that means working on converting more visitors into customers than so be it. At the end of the day, the dollar signs are the only stats that really matter.

Doing a google search for panda recovery between refreshes I am seeing a lot of chatter about that very exact thing.

bobsc it is never a good idea to say with absolute conviction anything that relates to google. Google is so complex that when you start to think you understand something about google, you will soon realize that you dont know anything at all.

As someone who does a ton of studying on ranking well in google, I still can never be so sure of myself when it comes to googles inner workings.

tedster




msg:4493995
 10:02 pm on Sep 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

a lot of chatter about that very exact thing

There used to be a lot of chatter about buying Adwords to increase your organic rankings, too. The problem I see with both Panda and Penguin chatter is that people have become indiscriminate about how they use those names. Sometimes it seems as if they get used for whole Google algorithm.

At the same time, Google did mention something about integrating Panda more tightly into the regular algorithm. But after all, Panda has been seeing a lot of data refreshes these past weeks - officially announced. I'm still pretty convinced that it takes at least a data refresh to see a Panda recovery.

brinked




msg:4494010
 10:59 pm on Sep 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

I dont think we will really get anywhere debating when a site can recover. We are all just speculating.

That wasn't my intended purpose of this post. To be totally honest with you guys, I became so mentally exhausted with all the panda and penguin updates that I do not worry about them anymore. I focus on simply what works and what does not. What stuff gets you in trouble and what stuff gives you a boost.

Things have just become too crazy with all of these updates and quite frankly it doesnt even really matter. A lot of webmasters are waiting on the next panda and penguin refresh as if they will somehow magically recover after making no improvements to their site or making the wrong ones. They will read an article on a blog about how a site recovered from panda by changing their layout and noindexing a bunch of pages. Naturally they think doing the same thing will also make them recover.

Instead of worrying about panda and penguin, its more important to just focus on what is bad practice and what is good practice (in the eyes of google of course!). This sounds very simple but it is not. It is really hard to be unbiased when judging your own sites. And then what is worse are these people hiring so called seo experts who just get too technical with keyword density and all this other technical elements that they run through their automated seo analysis software and it is way off base.

I have made so much more progress lately keeping things simple rather than trying to figure out what panda and penguin is all about.

The purpose of this post was simply to point out that some penalties/algorithm adjustments are just so uncalled for. I really do not think it is fair to punish a quality site so hard that they can not be found and they really should be. Google is trying to make a strong statement but prioritizing penalties over returning relevant results to the end user is not a good strategy in my opinion.

bobsc




msg:4494022
 11:26 pm on Sep 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

The purpose of this post was simply to point out that some penalties/algorithm adjustments are just so uncalled for. I really do not think it is fair to punish a quality site so hard that they can not be found and they really should be. Google is trying to make a strong statement but prioritizing penalties over returning relevant results to the end user is not a good strategy in my opinion.
I agree 100%.
Zivush




msg:4494089
 5:49 am on Sep 12, 2012 (gmt 0)


An algorithm is like the Internet police - A fishing net targeting the sharks, but meanwhile unintentionally catching many small innocent baby fishes.

claaarky




msg:4494122
 7:24 am on Sep 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

I think it's more about which sites google feels it can live without. I doubt that Amazon would suffer from link wheel link building, for example. They obviously feel your client is not important enough to spare them from punishment.

Ralph_Slate




msg:4494299
 1:49 pm on Sep 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

It might behoove us to try and get more press on Google's habit of penalizing sites. Mt site was featured in the Wall Street Journal for the Penguin penalty, for example - and I don't hesitate to let people know of my situation. For people - and the press - familiar with my site, they are shocked that Google would be penalizing it.

If people begin to realize that Google is suppressing legitimate sites - "filtering the results" - then that would be a knock to their reputation, and would either force them to release more information, or would force them to think twice about what they are doing. It's one thing to be pushed down in the rankings below competitors; it's another thing to be removed from the rankings completely.

robert76




msg:4494372
 4:12 pm on Sep 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

It might behoove us to try and get more press on Google's habit of penalizing sites.


It's a great idea but based on my own efforts in obtaining press on the topic I think this is going to be difficult to achieve without a major movement behind it. The press has been reluctant to write negative stories or even print op-ed pieces about Google. The media fears repercussion from Google just like many of us do if we were to bad mouth them on our own websites. No one in media wants to mess with the almighty because of the power they wield. How do we get around this fear?

aristotle




msg:4494417
 6:20 pm on Sep 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

< moved from another location >

Even a very high quality website, even if it is the best in its niche, can be brought down by Penguin. This is true even if all the main algorithmic signals confirm the high quality of the site.

In other words, Penquin by itself can negate all of the other signals used in the main part of Google's algorithm, no matter how positive those other signals are.

Penguin is based on a false premise, namely that any website which has had SEO done on it must be spam. So no matter how great and valuable a website is, and no matter how positive the other signals are, if any SEO is detected, the site is flagged as spam and demoted in Google's rankings.

I read on another thread that Google's engineers are working hard to fix the flaws in Penguin. But no matter how hard they work, or how long, they will never be able to fix it, because it is based on a false premise. The only way to fix it is to scrap it.

[edited by: tedster at 7:38 pm (utc) on Sep 12, 2012]

This 32 message thread spans 2 pages: 32 ( [1] 2 > >
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