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Penguin 2.0 is upon us - May 22, 2013
viral




msg:4576742
 12:52 am on May 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

Matt has announced Penguin 2.0 (Penguin 4). Either way it is out there and affecting.

Is anyone noticing much movement in the serps? I personally haven't seen much flux but Mozcast seems to be feeling something.

[mattcutts.com...]

We started rolling out the next generation of the Penguin webspam algorithm this afternoon (May 22, 2013), and the rollout is now complete. About 2.3% of English-US queries are affected to the degree that a regular user might notice. The change has also finished rolling out for other languages world-wide. The scope of Penguin varies by language, e.g. languages with more webspam will see more impact.

This is the fourth Penguin-related launch Google has done, but because this is an updated algorithm (not just a data refresh), we’ve been referring to this change as Penguin 2.0 internally. For more information on what SEOs should expect in the coming months, see the video that we recently released.

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 12:12 pm (utc) on May 23, 2013]
[edit reason] added quote [/edit]

 

turbocharged




msg:4579273
 12:45 am on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

So it loos like 2.0 went after all these old links and instead of just ignoring them or devaluing them they penalized me for them in 2.0.

Maybe they were not devalued before and now are. This may explain your drop in ranks. Did you receive any warnings in Webmaster Tools?

The way most people used directories is to use the same info in each one by copying and pasting. Those that did not do this are fine. All duplicate content gets devalued, whether it's on your site or linking to your site.

Garya




msg:4579278
 1:27 am on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

turbocharged

If they where just devalued then the site would not be affected, as I have strong links and a very safe link profile except for those directories.

So it was a penalty.

I did not get a warning from webmaster tools.

I do not know anyone who ever gets those, except a few elite web masters.

tedster




msg:4579301
 3:18 am on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

If they where just devalued then the site would not be affected

If you used to benefit from the PR of those directory links and now Google stopped them from counting, then your total PR went down, even if it just went from a high 5 to a low 5. Page Rank is still a major factor for ranking, after all.

Garya




msg:4579307
 3:34 am on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Ted, none of them had any page rank so it should not make any different and I am sure 200 links with the same keyword where already devalued.

Now with 2.0 they have been downgraded to spammy links and thus the penalty.

tedster




msg:4579308
 3:44 am on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Most directories, even the best ones that charge an editorial fee, show many pages without any PR (white bar, not gray bar). However, you certainly may be right. From what I can see, no one outside Google understands how Penguin actually works.

ZydoSEO




msg:4579313
 4:01 am on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Garya,

Where those directory links pointing to your home page or inner pages on your site?

Garya




msg:4579317
 5:07 am on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

ZydoSEO

They all pointed to my home page.

fathom




msg:4579346
 7:49 am on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

One of my sites got hit, it's been up since 1998. Always been on the first page sometimes top or bottom of the page over the years.

Over the past 10 years I acquired quite a bit of directory links and other type links but I never paid for them.

Last week my homepage is now somewhere in 10+ pages back in the listings.

So I went back and looked at all my links and I found out I have tons of back links from directories with the same key phrase around 200 domains. They are all old links.

So it loos like 2.0 went after all these old links and instead of just ignoring them or devaluing them they penalized me for them in 2.0.

How do I know this, my other site has a similar link profile but does not have many directory links if any. And it improved in the rankings.

So logically if I remove all of the directory links I should recover as most of my inner pages are OK.

There is no other reason I could find for the penalty.


I'm not sure how a penalty can better describe what happens more so than link devaluation... the only different between the two is the aftermath ability to regain results. A penalty implies you can't regain anything until the Google God's revoke their magic in some way where a devaluation simply means you lost the value you had and you can't do anything to return that set of specific values back to you.

Matt Cutts suggested PENGUIN 1.0 targeted homepages and PENGUIN 2.0 goes deeper but what he didn't say was whether that reference was referring to a "depth" in a metaphoric sense or from a recipient of the link sense or resident of the link sense or some combination of any of the three.

I can categorically say, if your domain was about sockpuppets and got nailed by PENGUIN for over optimization of sockpuppets and you deleted everything and made your new website completely irrelevant to sockpuppets and made the new website about Widgets... you avoid all PENGUIN issues related to sockpuppets because your domain isn't over optimized for sockpuppets whatsoever anymore and any sense of a penalty is completely and unilaterally gone.

I realize it isn't practical to completely change industries/markets - that wasn't my suggestion ... deleting all affected landing pages and moving them somewhere else in the domain (unless of course those pages were actually part of the problem) is the same philosophy with minimal effort because any hint of a penalty (if you wish to define it that way) is associated with links "by page" and not by "domain"... and a penalty by domain (according to Google) describes a Manual Review.

Anyway, time to leave the speculating up to the expert speculators.

[edited by: fathom at 8:20 am (utc) on May 30, 2013]

HuskyPup




msg:4579350
 8:02 am on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

From what I can see, no one outside Google understands how Penguin actually works.


tedster - Do you actually believe anyone inside Google knows how Penguin works or, as is more likely, someone stands there and spouts many sexy words declaring how well it's all working meanwhile neither that person, nor the assembled Googlers, really have a darned clue as to what they have actually created and released on the world?

No one dare say anything for fear of being ridiculed and not "at one" with what is going on since it's far, far easier to keep quiet and just keep taking the money!

Whitey




msg:4579361
 8:31 am on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

A major institutional brand confirmed a 50% drop in traffic to me. Interesting to see this is one of the top players, not a small/medium business.

Shepherd




msg:4579380
 10:07 am on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Do you actually believe anyone inside Google knows how Penguin works


54%... that's how much goog's stock price has increased since penguin 1.0 was released. You can bet the farm that penguin is working exactly as they intended it to.

HuskyPup




msg:4579385
 10:24 am on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Stock prices fluctuate up and down depending whether the sheep want to believe the hype or not ... their profits are up because users are resorting to SERPS ads because they cannot find what they're searching for.

The question remains, does anyone in Google actually know how Penguin works?

bwnbwn




msg:4579386
 10:25 am on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Webspam can = a very good site with good content. Like Garya old domain with old linking style = problems. If Garya had take more time with promoting and actively seeking quality links I would bet this probably wouldn't have happened. But the vast majority (I assume) of the links to the site are old school thus when (as Ted said) we either rush in and use the Google Tool, or Google's algo sees the links are all suspicious in nature. The links are then devalued the site looses most if not all it's fuel and runs outta gas and goes poof from the top serps. Quality - Security - Clean Code - Links - Social - Regular Activity - Blog - News = Possible ranking in Todays world.

The time of a webmaster running high numbers of websites by themselves is over (IMO). The cost of doing business on the net is going up (IMO), because if your not spending time on each site you will die the slow death, or in some cases a very quick one.

People say this is the Death of SEO OH how so wrong. The web world now needs a webmaster over their business more than ever, it is moving in-house not to outside SEO business.

Alex997




msg:4579391
 10:39 am on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

I think our demolitions are due to the same low quality directory link reasons as Garya. However, 50% of the directory links are a result of scrapers off of DMOZ, I didn't create the listings. Wish I'd never tried to get listed in DMOZ!

So the question becomes - do I spend days analyzing which directories are low quality enough to tell google to ignore, or do I just concentrate on getting new strong authority links to tip the balance the other way?

One of the main ways I would tell if a link is low quality is if the domain has a PR less than 1. However I suspect that after Penguin 2.0, nobody's toolbar ranking is very accurate any more and we need an update before making such calls.

Of course none of this would be an issue if such links were just zero value (not negative) and or Google actually told you which links were bad in your Webmaster links section.

Alex997




msg:4579397
 11:02 am on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Question: what's better...

a) asking Google to disavow a link/site that you 'think' may be penalizing you
b) asking the domain to take down the link (probably a 1% chance of that for directory listings)
c) changing any links that use keywords to just the company name (unlikely to be possible)
d) something else?

turbocharged




msg:4579404
 11:49 am on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Most directories, even the best ones that charge an editorial fee, show many pages without any PR (white bar, not gray bar).

The October 2012 interview with Ex Google webspam employee (Andre Weyher) noted:

take PR for example, getting a link from a high PR page used to always be valuable, today it’s more the relevance of the site’s theme in regards to yours, relevance is the new PR.

The best directories use little text to describe a business they have listed. Spread across thousands of pages, this is pretty thin and would flop the relevancy test as the link to text ratio is very high. I only know of a handful of directories that have editors who actually write and do it well. This is where I advise clients to spend their money and not with the supposed best directories. Directories with more thorough descriptions and less duplicate content appear to still carry some weight with Google and are less likely to trip any filter in the future. The only problem is that these types of directories are few and far between.

ColourOfSpring




msg:4579405
 11:50 am on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

The time of a webmaster running high numbers of websites by themselves is over (IMO). The cost of doing business on the net is going up (IMO), because if your not spending time on each site you will die the slow death, or in some cases a very quick one.


The more time you spend on fewer sites, the higher the risk you run IF you are fundamentally reliant on Google. You would need to feel really confident that the time you spend is not going to be wasted to follow your advice.

Awarn




msg:4579427
 12:44 pm on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

There is no way it can be a devaluation of links. It has to be a penalty. In my niche I dominated for years. I had rank, the inventory and the name. I had a lot of links, I still have many links. The little players had maybe 1/30th or 1/50th of the links. I can eliminate 90% of my links and still have more and better links. Still have a better site, better inventory etc. I just don't have position. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind there is a -10 or so penalty that they put on.

As far as somebody knowing Penguin. Money talks so there should be somebody from Google that defects to make a killing from the knowledge. Nobody has so does that mean maybe its a group of ideas where nobody knows the full picture. Like 10 engineers where they each do their own thing with no interaction with the other 9. That is why it is so screwed up.

Shepherd




msg:4579430
 12:52 pm on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

does anyone in Google actually know how Penguin works?

That's a bit like asking if Ford knew how the car worked, of course they know how it works.

profits are up because users are resorting to SERPS ads because they cannot find what they're searching for

And that's no accident. How do you encourage websites/businesses to spend more money obtaining traffic? Answer: take away their free traffic. How do you identify websites/businesses that can afford to spend money obtaining traffic? Answer: identify websites/businesses that are spending money to obtain "free" traffic. One identifier of this type of website/business is link building activity. Link building for the most part costs money/time.

At the end of the day if the searcher finds what they are looking for when they search, the search engine worked. It makes no difference to the user whether what they were looking for was found in the organic results, the ads, the knowledge graph, it only matters to the searcher that they found what they were looking for.

Shepherd




msg:4579435
 12:57 pm on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

That is why it is so screwed up.


It's all a matter of perspective, from google's perspective penguin is not screwed up. If they thought it was screwed up they would have rolled it back instead of increasing it's scope. Penguin is working for google, we need to move forward and stop hoping for google's perspective to change.

Wilburforce




msg:4579439
 1:05 pm on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Question: what's better...

a) asking Google to disavow a link/site that you 'think' may be penalizing you
b) asking the domain to take down the link (probably a 1% chance of that for directory listings)


Google advise doing b) before resorting to a).

I have done both with one low-quality indonesian site that has 200-odd pages linking to my home page with the same anchor-text.

It has made no apparent difference of any kind: the links are still there, WMT still reports that the links are still there, and if it was affecting my site it still is.

Obviously c) isn't possible if you have no control over the links, but doing anything to lots of links you can control probably tells Google you can control them, which isn't necessarily going to improve anything.

HuskyPup




msg:4579471
 2:02 pm on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

That's a bit like asking if Ford knew how the car worked, of course they know how it works.


I can't believe you wrote that!

Maybe, just maybe one or two people at Ford know how a car works but how many could actually build one from scratch even given the manuals with which to do it and don't forget that would be from parts, not actually making the parts themselves.

Shepherd - You seem to be very highly convinced that Google is getting this all correct even if you do keep writing "if" which makes me wonder you're typing there with fingers crossed?

If they thought it was screwed up they would have rolled it back instead of increasing it's scope.


From my understanding they either cannot or do not know how to roll it back, I do not believe that is an option for them. My feelings are that they will just plough ahead regardless with the hope that at some time it will come right ... But then again will that be for their existing search or their globally scraped knowledge engine?

Is it time for a Knowledge Engine thread and the impact this may, or may not have, together what we can do, or ought to do, to stop Google stealing our researched and paid for information?

You don't believe Google's going to pay you for your work do you?

Shepherd




msg:4579473
 2:19 pm on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Again, correct is a matter of perspective. Just because it does not seem to be correct to you does not mean it is not doing exactly what google created it to do.

I don't like what google is doing because it affects my bottom line negatively. I have to think that google likes what they are doing because it is affecting their bottom line positively.

HuskyPup




msg:4579497
 3:05 pm on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

So are you quite happy to let Google to continue taking your work for free and profiting from it even though it is affecting your bottom line negatively?

I'm sure Penguin is doing exactly what they intended it to do for their bottom line however I am also convinced that they had no idea of the massive ramifications they would be creating by so badly affecting so many sites negatively.

Since Penguin 2.0 my second biggest site is now down 30.92% and whilst I have been scraped etc the biggest reason, without a doubt, is the diabolical set of SERPs I am seeing for all that site's keyword phrases. Not competitors I hasten to add, just yet another catastrophic, so-called update "improvement".

Amazon does not, eBay does not, youtube does not, various forum boards do not, supply my widgets nor have the factual information that I have, it's as simple as that. By design or not Google is forcing users to click on ads now simply because they canot find what they are looking for.

It's a downright deliberate and crappy mess which everyone ought to wake up about.

bwnbwn




msg:4579499
 3:08 pm on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

ColourOfSpring to answer your question. Our company has a high number of sites. I have been their head SEO here now for 12 years. Several years ago I saw the writing on the wall as to the direction Google was going. I made the decision to spend less time on websites I felt wouldn't bring in quality revenue or leads we could generate revenue from, and focused my attention and work on the 8 I called our core sites. It has worked well for me/our company.

I can't tell you it will work for you or anybody else, but I can tell you it has for us. The core sites I work have not been effected fact traffic is much better since the P2 update.

I changed the way I manage my SEO/SEM a couple of years ago as well; so all of the sites I work now are different than when I worked them several years ago.

Ever read the book "Who Moved MY Cheese" The internet is and will always be a work in progress the work I/we do has to be the same. I chose to change and will not conform to any particular type of rules or best practices. My cheese is never in the same room.

BTW about 6 months ago I was questioned from our CEO as to the other sites continued drop in traffic. I tried to explain my direction but as with most CEO's they know little about this so I prepared my plan gave it to him and stuck with it. I haven't been asked about the other websites since.

Shepherd




msg:4579507
 3:22 pm on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

So are you quite happy to let Google to continue taking your work for free and profiting from it even though it is affecting your bottom line negatively?

Not sure what this is all about, google's not taking any of my work... if they were I would address it just as I would if anyone else were to violate my copyright/patent.

I am also convinced that they had no idea of the massive ramifications they would be creating by so badly affecting so many sites negatively.

Business is business and google is becoming very good at making money. They are very well aware of the "massive ramifications" of their actions, those ramifications are exactly why they have done what they did, they were not a side effect, they were the intended result.

Here's a thought, lets say someone owned a billboard right outside your office. Maybe it's the only billboard in town. For years this person who owned the billboard put your phone number and widget name on it for free, just cause he liked you. For years you got lots of calls because of this billboard. Then one day someone comes along and offers to pay the billboard owner to put their own ad up. Does that make the billboard owner a bad business that the townspeople ought to wake up about OR a good businessperson?

gouri




msg:4579509
 3:27 pm on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Dymero,

Can you tell me what are good internal linking practices and what would be considered going overboard?

Number of internal links in the body text, anchor links (#), and anchor text. What you feel would be considered good practices in these areas and what would be going overboard.

Thanks.

frankleeceo




msg:4579512
 3:36 pm on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

I am mixing together the bwnbwn and ColourOfSpring's both view points. I am producing useful sites while spending / focusing the half of my time on the producers. The producers bring in the income to help me expand more. Although I do find it very easy to get lazy with the income coming in with producers.

I try to analyze between sites work and that don't. Like bwnbwn stated, strategies have to be changed all the time. But most of the time I simply accept that sites don't work outside of my control. Then I move on to the "next cheese". I find it easier to try to figure out why sites work rather than why they don't.

Penguin 2 has either not effected me or it has given me positive boost (by taking out my crappy competitors). It is hard to tell for my case because all of my content drop in and out of favor due to their underlying search patterns / demand.

I think the key is to diversify while zooming on the producers. (it is easy to tell, what makes money and what doesn't).

I believe it's highly risky if reduce the production and become content with single producer. Any "misfire" on Google or other major search engine's part can annihilate a business. I realized that early in the business and reading many of the webmasters input on the forum.

It's all risk and rewards. Focusing on the "producers" can be highly rewarding yet also highly risky.

Alex997




msg:4579520
 3:48 pm on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Lots of directory scrappers out there - just disavowed 145 directory domains. Let's see if I make any kind of a recovery over the next few weeks.

Awarn




msg:4579544
 5:09 pm on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

disavow is a waste of time. You get much better success by contacting the webmasters at these sites. Most are willing to help. When I think about this from these directory owners standpoint I find it interesting. Google is in effect destroying these small directories. That has to viewed as infringement on business. What if the cell phones companies said hey you have to get rid of your A T & T land line or you pay a higher price. Very similar situation. Google is saying website owner get rid of the link to that directory or you wont rank as high with us. There may come a day when website owners will organize together and build stand alone Google specific websites and then within minutes the website owners could just remove the sites at will and cripple Google results. All the results would just be Amazon, Ebay, spam and dead links.

turbocharged




msg:4579694
 1:19 am on May 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

I don't like what google is doing because it affects my bottom line negatively. I have to think that google likes what they are doing because it is affecting their bottom line positively.

This is very true. The two metrics Google is most concerned about are (1)profits and (2)shareholder value. Google is exceeding projections on both these fronts. Because Google's profits are largely based on search related activity, they have to treat webmasters as competitors. This is exactly what Google is doing, in my opinion.

Penguin has instilled fear into webmasters. In an almost chaotic panic, webmasters have been sending out link removal requests left and right. Delinking the web allows surfers fewer opportunities to find what they are looking for, which in turn makes them more dependent on a search product. With Google's dominance in the search market, they stand to gain nearly 70% of the search traffic that would have otherwise been served by hyperlinks.

It's a brilliant strategy. Panda smacks you for what you have on your site and who you link to, while Penguin smacks you for who links to you. This has dazed many webmasters and left them confused as to how they can fix the problem. This confusion allows Google to continue moving forward with their plans, which I believe will ultimately eliminate organic search results for those queries that have enough Adwords users. Organic listings will become a type of filler material to serve searchers when no other paid options exist.

All hyperlinks, which deprive Google of search traffic, are in Google's crosshairs right now. This raises some interesting issues as the foundation of the internet is built on sites linking to other sites. Is Google trying to employ a strategy that reduces user choice to make users more dependent on a search product? At the same time webmasters are removing links, businesses are becoming more reliant on buying links in Google Search and in other search engines, social networks, etc. It's a winning proposition for Google and all the political infighting in Washington D.C. makes it far easier for them to stay under the radar. Additionally, no international governing body/credible group exists to stand in Google's way. Google is a member of the W3C and likely helps to fund their activities just as they do with the EFF. Then we have the Internet Association, which is Google's Washington D.C. based lobbying group that claims to be the voice of the internet economy but has only members such as Amazon, eBay, Facebook and many other 800lb gorillas that control most of the internet traffic. It's a private club for the elite, and no small businesses are allowed.

We should not be confused by what we see in the SERPS and what Google's motive is. The quality of search results are down at a time when Google's profits are soaring. This is not a coincidence, but by design. It can be spun many different ways, but Google is making every effort to continue to expand their search product. Because Google Search is already quite large, the only way it can continue to grow is by taking money out of our pockets (webmasters) and putting it into theirs.

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