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Update Florida - Nov 2003 Google Update Part 2

     
4:50 pm on Nov 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Continued from part 1: [webmasterworld.com...]


I stopped by several times yesterday, but it seemed like people were into the analysis stage already. caveman, this update didn't add any penalties for hyphenated domains, so that's not a factor. Just a reminder that people with specific feedback (good or bad) can send it to webmaster [at] google.com with the keyword "floridaupdate" somewhere in the email. I've mentioned that a few times, but as more than one person has pointed out, it can take 2-3 hours to read the whole thread from beginning to end. :)
4:57 pm on Nov 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Wow, I go away for a long weekend refreshed and ready for work, all I have now is a knot in my stomach.
I just wanted to post what my experience is currently, hopefully it will make me feel better.

Our Index page was ranked in the top 2-3 for almost all of our keywords. It is no where to be found now. We still have a "G" pr of 5, all of our sub pages are all still ranked highly for their specific keywords, top 3.
We do link exchanges with websites that are relevent to our topics.
We are a print publishing company and have high quality content on our website.
We receive 5,000-10,000 page views per day, still!

I checked Yahoo and found the same, I was expecting as much since they pull from Google.
This is interesting though, we have moved up to the #2 position when you click on "directory" after you do a Yahoo web search for our most important keyword. Previously we were a few pages back.

I am trying to convice myself this is a temporary thing.
Any help is greatly appreciated

[edited by: yvt360 at 5:00 pm (utc) on Nov. 17, 2003]

4:57 pm on Nov 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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GoogleGuy said >> specific feedback (good or bad) can send it to webmaster [at] google.com

Before you were saying don't panic, the update would take 3 - 4 days to settle down (From Saturday, that's Tuesday or Wednesday)

Are you now saying the update is complete? That's these results are close to the final results and we should send in comments? Or should we still not panic and wait for it to settle down?

[edited by: LogicMan at 4:59 pm (utc) on Nov. 17, 2003]

4:59 pm on Nov 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Hi GG,

Nice to see you around and about. I have a quick question if I may for you. We have a large multilingual site and all of the pages that were indexed this weekend are showing in SERPs nice and healthy like. The rest of the site which does not have a cached date from this weekend are appearing nowhere in the SERPs could you advise?

{may the google gods shine on us}
J

4:59 pm on Nov 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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lasko wrote
Backlinks have not changed, and due to the arractic changes of this update I strongly believe their is more to come!

Mine have changed, actually - down by two - but I'm only looking once per 24 hours now - it's amazing how much other work you can get done when you're not worrying about something that you can't change :-)

As to why they've changed, or whether it's a blip - well, I'll go do a before and after in 2 days' time...

Two more days chilling out to do yet...

DerekH

5:01 pm on Nov 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Well, I was pretty shocked by the whole thing.

The white hat black hat thing seems a bit off the mark. We were "white hats" for soooo long and in the end when we saw Google was going to do nothing about it we gave in as we saw our rankings slowly slipping away.

So we cross-linked a little (just from home pages and 4 or 5 links per site - nothing really OTT) and we put links pages on our sites. I knew that eventually Google would find a way to deal with it, but I expected them just to eliminate the effect of those "artificial boosts". Instead it's glaringly clear that some of our site have attracted an outright penalty.

My point is that the people who work hardest on SEO are also the people who most want that top spot. They are therefore likely to be the most relevant site. To punish them for that may be morally satisfying for those at the Google mothership.

However, in my industry it makes no sense since everyone who is anyone does SEO. A few sites got past the filters, but others didn't, and a lot of good sites got buried and got replaced by weblog sites which talk about "a mate of mine who sells" keyword keyword.

I am a good Adwords and premium customer, and use SERPS as a natural second channel to find customers. I am dismayed at the way Google did this. A little telegraphing was necessary to avoid unnecessary carnage.

5:05 pm on Nov 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Could somebody tell me how this happened?.
On 11/02/03 I went from 300 hits a day to 1500 a day and then on 11/15/03 I went from 1500 back to 300 a day why did my stats return from the future to end up in old data times?. I thought this was a update. Three of my sites are in the exact same places they were on 11/02/03.
5:06 pm on Nov 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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During Dom/Esm there were obviously several issues which were later addressed - some which maybe were not initally regarded as being problems.

With regards to Florida, you have stated that there is another couple of days to go before we see the final update.

Questions:

1. Can we expect to see minor changes from now until the end of Florida, or are the filters etc yet to be applied going to have big impacts?

2. Do you or anyone else at Google feel there are issues with the quality of the florida SERPS?

I am not trying to use this as a private forum to ask you questions, I think most who have contributed to this thread up to now would be keen to have a quick progress update from your point of view so we can gauge our expections!

5:08 pm on Nov 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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All very interesting...

We've got multiple sub domains on our site as an aid for the customer (ie keyword.oursite.com), but there is no duplicate content. We did this as we believed the customer would find it easier to come back to the site, and with no duplicate content shouldn't be hit for spamming. Now it seems that most of these pages have been completely removed from the SERPs. Is it just a wait and see, or is anyone using sub domains going to be thrown out.

5:11 pm on Nov 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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SOD:
My point is that the people who work hardest on SEO are also the people who most want that top spot. They are therefore likely to be the most relevant site.

Sorry to say SOD but that is rubbish. Most SEO is done for very small sites that only deserve top spots for their own niche but want to have the single multi million click keywords. And most site owners don't do their own SEO but buy it from an SEO company.

5:13 pm on Nov 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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My subdomain which is doing better then any of my sites.

This subdomain has 2 links and 2000 pages indexed.

2 other sites that have about 300 pages and 30 links, with full domain no spam very clean pages have gone.

I have started to laugh at this then worry.

Its so funny seeing them change like this.

5:14 pm on Nov 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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LogicMan/UK Web Guy, there may be some more data to incorporate tomorrow or so. I'd send feedback now and feel free to send it later as well.
5:16 pm on Nov 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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HitProf, I don't know if what you say is true or not, since I don't have a clue what most people do. What I do know is that I do my own SEO work for my own niche site, and am only looking for good results for my niche keywords. I was succesful at acquiring these results without resorting to anything that was outside of the google rules (as far as i know, unless properly using a H1 tag or something like that is suddenly outside of the rules). Yet, I am also affected by this update by losing my index page ranking like so many others. So, while what you say may or may not be true, many of us who are not looking to capture kws that are not applicable to our niche are also being hit hard.
5:18 pm on Nov 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I'll try to be more specific, lasko. ;) I know that there is at least one minor update to some data. I don't know if it will go out tomorrow though. Fair? :)
5:22 pm on Nov 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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It sounded like you or google didn't know if their was anything left to include, like asking someone where did we put that last 6 million web pages again.

I hope its more then just a little, many of us white hats
are scratching our heads wondering why your liked us for the last couple of years and today you hate us.

Cheers GoogleGuy just for keeping in touch makes a difference :)

5:22 pm on Nov 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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GG, it sounds very much from your tone like this is the end of the update - unless you get enough examples of rediculous SERP's sent over to you. Is that right?
5:23 pm on Nov 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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> anyone using sub domains going to be thrown out

I doubt it as there are some legit sites using subdomains such as about.com - although i've currently got good on target pages appearing below about.com subdomains ranging from asthma and allergies to veterinary medicine and yoga - so I wish they would ;)

5:27 pm on Nov 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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really hope hyphenated domains don't get penalised because I have 2 or 3 pure information (not commercial) hyphenated domains that dont deserve to be hit.

Apart from this I cannot see any major changes to the serps at all for myself. On the major terms its the same as 2 weeks ago. I also have some recip links so it isn't currently hitting me.

I got hit bad by the dom update in the summer mainly due to Amazon, dealtime results etc, but can't say I notice any changes this time round.

5:28 pm on Nov 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>>many of us who are not looking to capture kws that are not applicable to our niche are also being hit hard.

That's our case. We would not know what to do with those million hit keywords if we got them. We sell a proprietory product for each region and only want to rank well for that.

[edited by: SlyOldDog at 5:28 pm (utc) on Nov. 17, 2003]

5:28 pm on Nov 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Thank you for spending your time here trying to help us out. :) I have read some of your posts in the past on backlinks and anchor text and we all know this has been (among other things) a huge ingredient in the mix in the overall ranking picture. However, it appears such is not the case right now. Can we expect overall backlinks/anchor text to be added in the next couple of days...b/c it seems it's either not being given weight right now or the CURRENT backlink/anchor text data has not yet been thrown into the mix. Your comments..or hints...anything? ;) Thanks again.

5:30 pm on Nov 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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GoogleGuy

Will there be any return of index pages with this minor filter to be added? or is that all she wrote till next month.

thanks,

[edited by: union_jack at 5:33 pm (utc) on Nov. 17, 2003]

5:31 pm on Nov 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I'll try to be more specific, lasko. ;) I know that there is at least one minor update to some data. I don't know if it will go out tomorrow though. Fair? :)

sounds fair to me...i can hear a big yippee from several webmsters too!

5:35 pm on Nov 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I personally think it will take more than one, minor update to sort the current mess out. Yeah, reassuring that its not completely over but still quite worrying.
5:37 pm on Nov 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I feel the need to reiterate what others have mentioned previously in this thread. It would be nice if such drastic update changes that take place over several days, would return to the old format of taking place behind the scenes - and waiting till the update is complete before showing results to the public. Surely, this makes sense even to Google. After all, if Google is still adding to the mix, then it must be obvious to them that they are not showing what they want to be showing (or else why add to the mix?). So why show this until it is complete? Just baffles me to no end.
5:39 pm on Nov 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Hi

I have had a few sites drop totally out of the index. Most of these sites are keyword-keyword-keyword .com with anchor text links to them as "keyword keyword". The pages themselves have quite a lot of keywords on them including keywords in directory names. Other sites that have less keywords do not seem to be as heavily effected. Has anyone else noticed this? Are the sites that have drop just a bit over optimised? Any thoughts?

John

5:41 pm on Nov 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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GG, just sent you some feedback at the webmaster address.

SOD and dazzlindonna: no offence intended and sorry if you lost rankings. I was only commenting on the sentence I quoted.

I come across *a lot* of webmasters/webdesigners and either they don't have a clue, they think they have a clue and mess up with the type of things we discarded years ago or they work for the big companies that should be on top but have their site made inaccessable for spiders. That was the background of my remark. Could be different in other countries though.

5:52 pm on Nov 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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GG: thanks very much for the input...I'm now wondering, since you chose to highlight: "...keyword-in-link are deader 'n disco..." just what was meant. I'm wondering because it doesn't explain our index page dropping four pages in the SERP's.

All: Our site (index page) in pain right now, like so many others, dropped from mid page one to mid page four. We had been on page one for some time. You've heard it before, but like others, practice conserviative SEO, and all subpages doing fine, maybe even better than before. But our index page, despite what many in here say, is unquestionably our bread and butter for the site.

We have internal backlink text repeating the site name, which is also our lead keyphrase, but I am assuming that G either gives little or no credit for those links, as it should be. I am also assuming no penalty for those links, as they are the site name (safe assumption?).

The only thing I'm aware of that we did of significance was to add about 15 very relevant backlinks from other sites in closely related areas to our own. Puzzled how that could drop us four pages in the SERP's. We stay *way* away from bad neighborhoods, or at least we think we do.

Hmmmm, maybe there is one explanation. I hate to be so blatant about it, but I do see that a large number of affiliate sites were blown up, and the site I refer to makes more from affiliate $ than it does from advertising, though it makes a bit from advertising too. Is it possible that Google has simply come to hate affiliates? One might say 'no,' since affilate subpages are in tact, but a more subtle way to wipe out affiliates would be to cripple their homepages. And Lord knows, many affiliates are spammy.

We have five other sites that have few or no affiliate links and they are all doing fine, but they also make far less $$. If G is fed up with affiliates, I would have hoped it could have distinguished between the decent players with useful sites, and the ones who repeat keywords in URL's and every inch of every page (those guys make me crazy too!).

BTW, yes we use Adwords, etc. etc. -about $20K so far this year - but as CPC prices have continued to escalate, so-called 'free' traffic has gone from being a nice extra, to essential for survival...at least in the category we're in. No one's worry but my own...let me see, where did I put that resume...

5:55 pm on Nov 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Im going to repeat my self its the only thing that makes sense.

The biggest shopping day of the year is less then 2 weeks away, then theres the month after that, and the 2 weeks of clearance after that.

Adwords relate to selling items, not information on how to build your very own Free Widget.

So how convienient to have another Dominic (florida(Disaster)) right before the biggest Adwords fest of the year? Sure noone has any common sense at google?

Would 1-2 weeks give most internet stores enough time to consider using adwords? Would after 1-2 weeks of sales down 75-95% make you use adwords?

Someone is smart.

We are all being messed with in the worst way

And here we are again reading GG post, they are riddles, why cant he just speak plain english?

[edited by: deanril at 5:57 pm (utc) on Nov. 17, 2003]

5:55 pm on Nov 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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GoogleGuy Thanks for your rely >> LogicMan/UK Web Guy, there may be some more data to incorporate tomorrow or so. I'd send feedback now and feel free to send it later as well.

I'll wait. I'm a patient guy (maybe too nervous but patient).

On the searches I'm looking at they seem to be improving as the cache date seems to be more current. Nov 16 cache date pages seem okay and are starting to bump out no cache date sites.

Last April/May, my biggest page (business wise) disappeared after being top 3 and then reappeared as top 2 after several days. That page has a pre-update cache date, so since Google considered it quality before the update (I don't do any 'funny' business that should get me penalized) I'm expecting it to pop back once it is cached. If it gets cached and still isn't rated I'll send off an email.

6:07 pm on Nov 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Most SEO is done for very small sites......

Very, very silly thing to state....unless of course you have backup statistics to prove your statement?

That statement is 100% false.

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