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Cassandra: Google update algo analysis thread.

NO whining or cheering about how your site is doing in this one.

     
12:25 am on Apr 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

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For those who have been here a while, this is a thread topic I have started before for earlier updates. I'm starting this thread because another member suggested such would be a good idea because the main Google update thread is cluttered with posts like "OMG, I've been dropped in the new index!" and "Yippee, I'm now #1 on a key SERP". This thread is ONLY for serious, generic discussion of changes that you are observing with the new algo in this update. As in things like "Looks to me like PR is less important this month, and anchor text of inbound links counts more.", etc. How your site is doing has no relevance here unless you can explain why you think so in terms of a general algo update.

My observation for this update: More of the same old, same old. No dramatic changes from last month. Inbound anchor text in particular seems to be very important. However, I rarely look at spammy SERPs, so those who are familiar with those would be better able to evaluate whether Google is doing better or worse on squishing spam.

1:33 am on Apr 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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makes sense to me, a reciprical link shouldn't carry much wheight at all, but a one way should.

edit for typo

[edited by: NotePad at 2:25 am (utc) on April 13, 2003]

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1:51 am on Apr 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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If a one way link becomes more valuable, then you will see even more use of 3rd level domain link pages - a total abuse of links IMHO.
1:56 am on Apr 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Good point. Man, the guys & gals at google have a lot to think about.
3:12 am on Apr 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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My site still hasn't been updated. I keep checking my backlinks and the new ones aren't showing up yet. Plus the cached snapshot of my page looks 2 weeks old. WTF?

If anyone has an answer to this please sticky mail me as I will probably not go back through this thread (It's starting to appear that it will go on for at least 10 pages=)

3:17 am on Apr 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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After you do your serch try sticking a 2 on the end of the www :)
3:59 am on Apr 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Yes excellent thread.

Nothing New seems pretty much the same as the last update. I second that the Domz key word link text is as important as ever and it holds alot more value than higher pr pages elsewhere and that the longer a page has been in the index it is given a leg up over new sites. I have been getting hit both ways on this one. Site structure very important it is now at the stage where the key words have to be built into the whole site not just optimising the page. Don't know on that key word density I think that the acutal link text on the page is very important and dare I say it linking to the no 1 serp page with your key words for the result. Of course that won't work if you are number one.

4:43 am on Apr 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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makes sense to me, a reciprical link shouldn't carry much wheight at all, but a one way should.

That may be true in some categories but not in mine. I have a restaurant site that also specializes in receptions and banquets. If I link to a chapel or ceremony location, that is a valuable resource for the bride or groom that is looking. The link back to mine from the chapel will help the bride that finds them first to find my site. This is also valuable to the user. The fact that the links are reciprocated in no way makes them less valuable to the user, which is what Google cares about. If I reciprocate with an auto repair firm that is probably not a valuable resource for the end user. But it is the intrinsic value of the link to the user that makes it a poor link, not the fact that it is reciprocated.
4:53 am on Apr 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Good point Powdork, i was looking at it from the perspective of SEO...
5:16 am on Apr 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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If people abuse reciprocal linking and place a bunch of non-related links on sites, users usually go back to the SERPs to find another site. It does suck when you get knocked to page 2 or 3 because of these sites.

Past 2 updates I've seen huge inbound anchor text importance. I try to get my primary two keyword phrase in all inbounds and have noticed that even when a third or fourth word is added to this two word phrase in searches, I remain ranking highly.

Anyone know if adding words to inbound link text dilutes them.
Example:
Current inbounds: wireless widgets (main keyword phrase)
Future inbounds?: sony wireless widgets for sale

11:08 am on Apr 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Good thread.

I don't see any updates in the algo at all.
The title of your pag and the link anchor text - are the 2 main factors.

As a result in my industry amoung top 20: 17 uses "link exchange", which is actually link farms. The reason is simple ... you can get "needed" anchor text and a lot of links to your site.

11:20 am on Apr 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Well, in my case this is definately not true.

I've just requested an update for my DMOZ description as it does NOT match any of my keywords... (Great Ha :-) ) --- and, my site just went up from #3 to #1 --- and no, DMOZ have not updated my description yet...

11:23 am on Apr 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Ooops - sorry about the prev. posting. I was refering to Canuck's msg
"
One thing I noticed is that Google may really give a lot of weight to a DMOZ listing - not in terms of PR but relevance
"

which is last on the first page (didn't see there was more...).

12:57 pm on Apr 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>I second that the Domz key word link text is as important as ever

Well, it looks the same to me. Bad thing is: many dmoz editors are aware of this and "try to destroy" this effect. Last week i submitted a new site to dmoz. It took me two days to finally find a good title and description that *could* be accepted by the editor of the cat without big changes - i thought. Good thing is: the site has been accepted within a couple of days. What drives me crazy is: they totally messed up link text and description - it now reads like written by a 4 year old child. Allthough the domain is 100% the keyword, the title and the whole theme of the site is dedicated to the keyword (which is also the exact name of the cat), they removed EVERY instance of it. Not even a similar or describing word about the content. Just blah blah.

>Google may really give a lot of weight to a DMOZ listing

Bad move if this holds true. fast allready goes this wrong way ...

1:21 pm on Apr 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>Google may really give a lot of weight to a DMOZ listing

Bad move if this holds true. fast allready goes this wrong way ...

Same, same... just a recognized quality link, as any other quality link.

Have some sites with 30+, and some with none... and they all do fine in their respected topics.

<changes>

A site newly posted on March 29, 2003... refreshed in less than 24 hours... and in this month's update... is a big change from the norm.

No PageRank is currently shown (Unranked)... but pages are in and shown high in ranks (in less competitive topics).

</changes>

1:22 pm on Apr 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>>I don't see much algo tweaking this time or the last couple. Things look pretty much the same to me.

I would go along with that. Most of my sites have only moved by one or two places on serps.

Interestingly one site I was playing around with got spidered without title tags, and that made no difference to its high ranking on a competitive search keyword. They must have a delay of some sort built in to the algo.

1:37 pm on Apr 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Fathom,

are you sure its in the main index? Does the page have backlinks?
Everflux sometimes shows pages without the Fresh date.

2:42 pm on Apr 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Great thread... agreed that anchor text seems to be most important factor. Do a search using 'allinanchor:widgets' and the results are almost identical to a 'widgets' search.

And differences between the above 2 searches seem to be mainly due to page title, heading tags, PR, and other lesser SEO techniques.

3:05 pm on Apr 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I haven't noticed anything significantly different in the live serps, but find the results on -sj quite fascinating. I have mentioned this more than once here but either I am 'taking crazy pills' or no one else sees the same thing but..

..on www-sj, I am seeing really good spam free results, and, as this datacenter doesn't seen to be live now, wondering if this is a shot at a new algo with some good spam filtering.

Anyone else see this?

3:24 pm on Apr 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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mipapage... actually, on a quick check, I'm seeing 20,000 MORE results in -sj over www, www2, www3, -ex, and -dc on the keywords I routinely check for one of my sites. Try a few more keywords and see if you see the same thing.

Overall, I'm happy with all the server center's results this go around except -in, which as was discussed seems to not be updated yet.

4:23 pm on Apr 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Hmm, I see some less, some more, but what I do see is less spam. I had some spammers on some keyword searches that are gone on -sj but there on the rest.

I know this thread is about the algo (sorry rfgdxm1), I was just wondering if things were really finished yet, or if something else was up at google. We haven't seen GG here lately, and I have a small suspicion that we are commenting on something that may not be done yet... but as it says to the left of this message, I am a junior (read rookie) member...

9:24 pm on Apr 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Hi all,
I have now re-read this thread 2 times and also gone through the many other threads since the update. The following are the features that are emerging:
1) PR 6,7,8,9,10 have been made harder to achieve. Many sites have fallen off their PRs at these levels
2) Lower PRs of 3,4,5 are not affected. Sites have remained at these levels and infact many new sites have joined at these levels
3) The algo is the same.
4) The crawler hasn't done a complete deep crawl. It has become necessary to improve site structure to reach deep levels.
5) Some people have reported on-page factors such as keyword density being more important now, but it appears that this is only because PR was shuffled around
9:45 pm on Apr 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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So is the update over? Can we now find the results in the current update at google?
10:35 pm on Apr 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Issues relating to sites that have just had a DMOZ listing.

Before the last update I had a page within one of our sites listed in the DMOZ and Google recognised this with the directory information below the listing, but the relative position of the page did not change significantly.

This month prior to the current update I had the home page of a site listed in the DMOZ and again Google recognised this with directory information below. This time though the results for related keywords in the DMOZ listing and even the category name have performed worse than before the DMOZ listing.

Could it be that it really takes two Google updates for the DMOZ listing to really have an impact?

10:52 pm on Apr 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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mipapage,

Google is not limited to tweaking the "search" part of the algo, or running a filter on the index, at update time. I would swear that they made a tweak to the search algo in mid January.

vitaplease,

When I did a search on SARS a few days before the update I noticed that most of the pages had no date, but they included the *latest* major news dates of early april on the pages in the cache. Many of the sites without fresh dates did not exist at the time of the previous crawl.

2:32 am on Apr 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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While checking the SERPS for a website, I noticed that a non-DMOZ listed web site had a google description made up of the META description tag.

Have I been sleeping, or has this just changed?

( edited below )

Also, I'm noticing that google is apparently trying to parse tables by row. I have a site with two columns. The first column I use to plug a few highlighted pages via image links and a small text description. The second column I use as a content position.

Imagine my surprise to see google results from the RIGHT hand column ( closer to the bottom of the table than the top ) displaying google description content PARALLEL to left! Not only that, but visually parallel.

Have I been sleeping, am I dreaming, or are these new methods google is employing?

- Silent Partner

2:54 am on Apr 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I'm going to speculate that the PR drops we're experiencing are simply the result of more pages being indexed/ranked. Even though the official 3.083 billion pages number hasn't been updated, all the SERPs I watch have significantly more results than last month (in many you can still see the difference between www and www-ex), and IIRC, the original pagerank paper says that the total pagerank for the entire internet would be a constant number. Dividing that constant between more pages results in a lower average.
3:26 am on Apr 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Thanks Namaste

A very good summary, but one thing conflicts with what I am seeing.

1) PR 6,7,8,9,10 have been made harder to achieve. Many sites have fallen off their PRs at these levels
2) Lower PRs of 3,4,5 are not affected. Sites have remained at these levels and infact many new sites have joined at these levels

It has been widely reported that backlinks have dropped. The main "wisdom" on this is that many PR 4 & 5 sites have dropped to PR 3 and so are no longer being counted as backlinks.

I agree with the idea that we have seen PR drop, but I think that the drop *has* trickled down to the lower PR just not to the same extent as the higher PR values (due to the non linear nature of PR?).

3:52 am on Apr 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Anchor text still critical, think that will be the case for a long while; this particular update, keywords in Page Title given a boost for sure. Acquiring links with your keywords being the linked text to a page titled on your site which includes those keywords in the Page Title is the killer combo for success.
6:07 am on Apr 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Apart of the extra pages in the index, rescaling/downscaling the toolbar PR makes sense. Serps, dont change, but makes Pagerank shopping/selling and backlink hunting more difficult and cools down the overload at DMOZ ;).
6:32 am on Apr 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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A very interesting observation. One of my client loaded a one page website on or after 7th april. The site has a PR of 5 already after this update. Now the crazy part:- The site has no backlinks! Yet when you do a link: search it shows 82 backlinks! All the results shown are my client's other sites pages (all in PR 4 ,5 range).But none of those pages have given a link to this new website. The only common thing is that all the sites are on the same server!
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