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Order in which Factors are applied in the Google Algo

Trying to make sense of big changes in SERPS through the update

     
3:14 am on Jun 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

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The previous update had seen my site slide from page 2 of the SERPS to nowhere. Didn't bother me too much because I was sure that the problems with the index/algo would be sorted out and I would be back probably on page 1 with the links I had added.

Having monitored this update closely I have seen myself not listed in the top 100, 94th, 8th and now 56th for my main two key word search term.

checking for allinanchor: for the search term lists me 9th on the SERPS.

Keyword density is no more nor less than other pages on the first page.

PR is similar to other sites listed on the 1st couple of pages of the SERPS.

Links are obtained from almost the same sites.

Title Tag contains the search term

H1 Tag with the search term.

Good quality content

No cloaking, hidden text used

As I am quite lost as to where I am losing out I am hoping someone with a clue as to how the algo works would be able to shed some light.

5:31 am on June 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Your too early to discuss the new algo, everyone still watching the dance!
7:03 am on June 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

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BikeMan, When was your site originally indexed?
7:06 am on June 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I wish the dance would stop, my feet are getting sore.

Just please stop when my sites are on top!

7:08 am on June 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Webmistress my site was originally indexed in March '02 and has always been on Page 2 for the SERPS from around June '02.
10:40 am on June 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

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BikeMan,

does the problem only appear for your main page or the whole site? Have you checked allintitle and allintext for your search term?

10:58 am on June 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Well the rest of the site seems to be doing okay. However this is one of the few pages that was rather important.

The allintitle: and allintext: is pretty much in line with the regular SERPs

12:09 pm on June 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

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It sounds like the 'index page dropped' problem (you can do a site serach for this topic). A lot of people mentioned this problem after the Dominic/Esmeralda update. You'll find a discussion about this topic in the current Esmeralda update thread.
2:07 pm on June 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

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It sounds like the 'index page dropped' problem (you can do a site serach for this topic).

mine is here.. [webmasterworld.com]

6:49 pm on June 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I'm having no lucjk searching for "index page dropped". Does anyone have an URL they can post? doc_z I can't get your URL to work.

One factor I've noticed is that root level index pages are given preferance over others in same or diff directory. But then I wonder if it's a matter of having a link from the Yahoo directory as Yahoo seems do only one link to a site.

Things aren't settled enough to tell but those are a couple of possibilities that have occured to me.

7:04 pm on June 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

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annej,

here are some threads about this topic:
[webmasterworld.com...]
[webmasterworld.com...]
[webmasterworld.com...]

Also, look at the Esmeralda update discussion. There are also some posts:
[webmasterworld.com...] (Part 3)
[webmasterworld.com...] (Part 2)
[webmasterworld.com...] (Part 1)

1:25 pm on June 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Back to page 1 of the SERPS.

I guess I'll just wait till things settle down. If they do ever settle down. :)

4:53 am on June 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Any insight anyone can provide on the differences in SERPS on the ex server as compared to sj and fi would be appreciated.

I think once I'm able to identify this difference I should be able to identify the loss in ranking.

5:39 am on June 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Now that the results are more or less settled, I thought it may be wise to discuss an abnormality similar to BikeMan's and then perhaps extrapolate on changes in the algo....
On one of my search terms, I have dropped to #5 from #1. Now although that may not be too significant, what is confounding is:
1. I have a higher PR for that page than all the other 4 sites above.
2. Higher # and a higher quality of backlinks.
3. Page better optimized than the the other 4 for that term in terms of title, relevancy, description, content, metas.
Now, the other 4 sites are also old sites like mine and have existed for over a year at their positions. It is just that I have now slipped below them - not that they have overtaken me.
Any guesses on the algo based on this?
...AND surprise, surprise, the index page of the website has actually gone up in the SERPS substantially for its main keyword. So, definitely no index page problem.
6:03 am on June 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

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allinanchor, allintitle and allintext all list me in the #10-15 range. Site doesn't show up until #94. AACK! Gag...barf!

I have sites with a single paragraph of fluff ranking above me on terms for which I have 8 pages of meaningful content.

My #2 ranking on my money term is nowhere to be found.

I even had a hijacked version of my URL pointing to a placeholder site ranking even with me when I did a search for my company name, though that seems to have gone away now. (companyname vs. company-name)

I have poured over the combined wisdom of this forum without any answers to be found.

Yeah, I'm whining, but I am also hoping that this one more piece of the puzzle may give someone somewhere the insight to put it all together for us.

WBF

9:00 am on June 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Well since no one can shed light on the situation can someone answer what determines the order for allintitle: and allintext: option
3:23 pm on June 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Bikeman,

Here is where I am for my mean KW:

allintitle: number 2
allinurl: number 2
allinanchor: 2

In the serps, I think I am 120 or something now, I used to be number #2 for about 15 months.

Its way to early to figure anything out yet. Read the posts on missing index pages. It could be some form of penalty,algo change or giving higher relevance to sub pages (which makes no sense).

1:21 am on June 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I have exactly the same problem.

For one particular keyword, we have the following ranks:
allinanchor 2
allintitle 2
allinurl 2
but our SERP is now 16 (dropped from 2, where it was for the last few months).

Here is the interesting observation. We see this change for all our previously high ranking keywords which have high traffic (based on Overture search Term Suggestion tool). Previously high ranking keywords with low traffic show no change in SERPs. Additionally, the former set (high traffic keywords) showed a high degree of instability, alternating between SERP 2 to 100s since the inception of Esmerelda.

Any insights?

1:42 am on June 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Everyone seems to be discussing their backlinks but nothing here about on page factors. These might be worth taking a look at.
2:23 am on June 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I would like to know like BikeMan how the allintext thing is worked out.

I don't understand how can a site with fewer instances of "widgets" on the page and a lower density for "widgets" rank five pages higher than me on a search for allintext:widgets. (My page is not spammy, but it does use <h> tags and it is a <noframes> page......)

2:39 am on June 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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You can go nuts comparing backlinks plus every on page factor you can imagine and still wonder why some people do so well in the serps. Some mystery factor I guess.
2:49 am on June 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Well I'm ranked 9th for allinanchor: but for allintitle: and allintext: the rankings drop about 50 places....

However.... I have as much or more on page relevant content and the keyword density is perhaps on the higher side but there are a few sites with higher keyword density appearing on the 1st page.

There are quiet a bit of tables which has pushed the content a bit lower in the page. Could that be a factor.

6:25 am on June 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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"Everyone seems to be discussing their backlinks but nothing here about on page factors. These might be worth taking a look at."

I tried to start a thread on this subject earlier today, but I had a poor title.

I am in a rather small niche. Plural form of the main keyword returns 104,000 results

#1 ranking site is a FrontPage generated site suffering from serious code bloat and using image maps for navigation (not to mention the Flash slideshow).

139 words total copy. The keyword appears exactly once. PR5 with 35 backlinks showing

<TITLE> "keyword" at "business name"
URL "**keyword.com"

allinanchor = #1
allintext = #1

#2 site. A framed page with zero, zilch, nada content showing in the cache. "These terms only appear in links pointing to this page: keyword"

PR4 with 16 backlinks.

No <noframes> tag

<TITLE> keyword1-keyword2.com-keyword3-keyword4-keyword1-keyword2-filler word-keyword5

URL keyword1-keyword2.com

allinanchor = #2
allintext = #2

Singular form of the keyword - 212,000 results

#3 listing - Cache shows zero, zilch nada copy. The entire page is made up from sliced images. No alt tags. PR5 with 49 backlinks.

<Title> The Official Website of the keyword1 keyword2 and keyword3 Association"

allinanchor = #3

allintext = #3

One of these sites has a very unique word in the meta-keywords. A search for it gave 6 results, none of which were the page in question, ergo the meta-keywords are not a factor.

Conclusion - forget everything you ever learned about good html/css code. it will only get you penalized. Forget all that you have read about content being king.

Instead, stuff your domain name and title with keywords and focus your attention on links and anchor text.

Amazing that a site using proper document structure per W3C recommendations and using css for presentation, with a higher PR would appear somewhere over 100 in the serps while these examples are at the top! Why? Apparently because the keyword appears in the title, which is mirrored in the H1 tag per CSS recommendations, while it also appears in phrases in h2 subheadings. Even though it is #16 for allinanchor and allintext.

Brett needs to rewrite his guide to a successful website in one year. The rules of the game have definitely changed

WBF

7:18 am on June 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Conclusion - forget everything you ever learned about good html/css code. it will only get you penalized. Forget all that you have read about content being king.

Instead, stuff your domain name and title with keywords and focus your attention on links and anchor text.

I don't think good html/css code gets you "penalized". But if you don't have your keywords in your title and anchor text and get links, good html/css code won't bring you up in SERPs for your targeted keywords.

10:29 am on June 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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willybfriendly,

Looking at your site, and the serps for the plural of your keyword, your competition got themselves listed in a very relevant dmoz category (relavant as in category/subcategory/keyword/subcategory,) whereas you are listed under your town name. I'd say that is the main cause of your low ranking.

voodoo

11:01 am on June 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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We need to knock this "You are listed in the wrong ODP category and it is affecting your ranking" myth on the head.

Your listing in /Regional is just fine, and is helping you more than no listing at all would. You are sometimes allowed a second listing in the Topical branch of the directory if the site is suitable. Find the *one* best category there, submit the site, and then forget about it.

Furthermore the ODP is building a directory of useful websites for surfers, not providing a PR service for webmasters. Requests to change listings for those reasons will fall on very deaf ears. Don't do it.

3:37 pm on June 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Voodoo, my post was in regards to a question about on page factors. My examples were to show that the current algo is giving virtually no relevance to on page factors. 3 sites occupying top positions on two different keywords with a combined total of exactly one occurence of the keyword.

And, the #3 site on the plural terms is s simple message - "This business has been sold and no longer exists." So, make that 4 sites.

These sites have come from out of the blue, and they break all of the rules that have been discussed in these forums regarding site design and page layout.

Do not take my post as whining. I think these sites speak very well for the changes in how Google is generating rankings.

Regarding DMOZ, I have two listings in the relevant cats under an old domain name that has a proper 301 redirect to this site. (I also have submitted requests to update these listings, but you know how that goes.:0) The editors of the cats in question are both involved in the industry, and frankly, their choice of inclusion and where reflects that fact. I spent endless hours on the boards of resourcezone discussing some issues around this and a fairly recent reorganizaiton of the entire cat - to no avail.

WebMistress, there is another thread discussing the possibility of a penalty for an "over-optimized" page, including the use of H tags. My site has gone from a repsectable #11 on the plural term and a nice # 2 on "widgets for sale" to utter oblivion. It has also lost 60% of its backlinks and dropped from a PR5 to its current PR4.

I do think that on page factors are being used to "rule out" vs "rule in" a site from higher rankings. I am very familar with these listings in Google, and they have been turned upside down by the recent changes in the algo.

Now I would just like to figure out what these changes mean so I can adapt. For now I will focus on off page strategies and forget the generation of content.

WBF

5:14 pm on June 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I examined my site to find potential reasons for dropping two or three pages on main search terms. The only thing I could find was that the main search terms for which I suffered were contained in an H1 tag manipulated by css to smaller font. I noticed a similar drop for another site who used similar technique. The sites in the top 10 on these phrases may use the H1 tag, but they do not manipulate the font. Does anyone else observe this?
5:38 pm on June 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Does anyone else observe this?

I've never seen Googlebot download a CSS file, so unless the CSS was in the <head> or inline, how would it know the <H1>'s were CSS modified?

5:57 pm on June 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Our UK targeted site which has been at 4 in the results for months has just jumped to 3. The site has been rock solid through the big changes for months but now has gone up 1 place. The site is well established and has been live for 3 1/2 years now with 71 web sites linking to it according to Alexa. Something major has happened today, if I could understand what. Anyone else seen big changes today with old sites?
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