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Google SEO longterm?

     
8:57 am on Nov 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I had a site, SEO was done, was in top rankings for about 2 months then overnight for no reason site was positioned way down the rankings. All practices were ethical and it seemed no point or logic to this what happend to me.

If you speak to all the best Internet Marketing Pros they tell you SEO is a waste of time longterm, everyone in the industry has lost their position at somepoint from what I gather - or am I wrong?

I want to hear from anyone who has had long term success with SEO say for 6 months or longer....

5:06 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



If I wanted to know how many calories in a cheeseburger, I would type in 'calories cheeseburger' If I wanted a history of the cheeseburger; 'history cheesburger', but if I wanted to buy a cheeseburger, I would expect 'cheeseburger' to work pretty well, as it is not generally regarded as an academic subject ;)

Very nice, but do not forget : GG is a business, and the e-commerce sites pays your bills

5:07 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Does the number of Adwords Ads purchased, and their clickthrough rates, reveal anything about purchase-oriented searches / information-oriented searches?

Marin, I agree.

I also see GG's point though. Sure, it's not going to be perfect immediately. Some further analysis on phrases and user behaviour, to determine if they are likely to be purchase-oriented searches, would be useful information to phrase in over the ensuing months.

[edited by: James_Dale at 5:11 pm (utc) on Nov. 24, 2003]

5:09 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



>You want 50 pages that produce 1 referral each a day and do NOT want 1 page that produces 50 referrals a day.

I don't understand. (Yes I've read Bretts articles)
If the page that obtains 50 referrals a day does just that, then surely you've succeeded in giving the searcher exactly what they wanted. No?
How many pages can you add about a certain product without it appearing spammy?

Before Florida my site (index page) was number 1 in its niche and I was receiving on average 6 uniques per sale. My traffic has halved since Florida and now I am receiving 18 uniques per sale from vistors entering my site by internal pages that are related to my product. It seems that vistors are just not receiving what they're searching for. That sentence doesn't sound quite right, I know what I want to say but dont know how to word it. The page that has replaced mine is only remotely related to my product. The rest of the serps look like I just did a link:mysite.com, ie. it lists pages that only have my backlinks on them, serps page after page. These are topic related sites but definetly not what the user would have been looking for.

Why replace a site that was precisely what the searcher was looking for with obscure slightly on topic sites?

5:10 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)



Hi GoogleGuy

superscript, why wouldn't you type buy cheeseburger or cheeseburger prices?

Normally I would, but at the moment, adding 'buy' produces some even stranger results.

If you recall GG, I was the chap who survived the first wave of Florida - the one who you first used the now famous 'white hat' phrase with.

Now I'm sunk!

But the best of respect anyway.

5:12 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



superscript, I agree with you 100%. In my industry where I was #1 for the 2 word search term for years, I am gone without a trace. And in my place are sites that are offering an outdated version of what I was providing. I'm talking outdated by years (meaning they have not even updated the offering in several years). What they are offering is not only stale, but it's of absolutely no use to anyone looking for this 2 word search term.

I think Google has become more concerned with "who" is on top and/or "how" they got there, when in fact the most important thing for a search engine to be concerened with is "what" is on top and "how relevant" it is.

I think Google has shifted too much from a "provider of relevant results" to a "policer of who is providing results" and "how they are doing it". And as a result I think the relevancy of their search results has taken a huge hit.

There are others who may see it differently. But I see many people questioning the results they are getting.

My wife mentioned it to me this weekend that she just couldn't find anything and it was really causing her trouble timewise because of her deadline... She had no idea why she was having trouble finding what she was looking for. Naturally I told her what was going on and suggested using alltheweb until Google can give her the relevant results she requires on a daily basis.

GL

[edited by: ineedmoreexercise at 5:16 pm (utc) on Nov. 24, 2003]

5:15 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Hello Google Guy,

I have a question regarding your recent statements.

Are you trying to justify the way the results are now?

Or..
Are you letting us know the justification for why they are this way now?

Thank you

5:17 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Despite all our problems, Google HAS to be focused on the user, not the free-lunch webmaster. I've suffered, but I certainly see things from G's perspective.

This seems like the right direction to go in. I think it will ultimately make Google a better search engine from a user's perspective. It might take a few months, but I am sure Google had gone as far as it could go with the old ranking methods.

5:17 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



uh oh..now I want a cheeseburger ;)

Anyway, I used "cheeseburger" as an example of real life thinking, knowing that using "cheeseburger" wouldn't step on many web toes.

Thanks for clarifying GG, I hope it works for you guys.

5:18 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member trillianjedi is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



I don't understand. (Yes I've read Bretts articles)
If the page that obtains 50 referrals a day does just that, then surely you've succeeded in giving the searcher exactly what they wanted. No?

That point is not about google, it's about webmasters placing too much reliance on one performing search term.

Google is the first to admit to not being perfect, so don't rely on perfect SERPS - instead, spread the betting.

TJ

5:20 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Many SEO techniques will no longer work. It has become much harder to game the system I think. This is great news for the searching public, and horrible news for most people here at WW.

I don't believe "most" people.

Every update effects lots of people - but not all saw negative results, and certainly not the 99.9% of the old pros. Many of them, made out like bandits this update. There are guys throwing parties and headed to Vegas right now.

From one of the "bandits" - thanks Brett for your guidelines
and GoogleGuy for your valuable guidance over many months.
Thankful the gaming inclination was resisted.
5:21 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Are you trying to justify the way the results are now?

Or..
Are you letting us know the justification for why they are this way now?

I dont think GG has to justify anything to us. I thank god that he came back here to offer some real advice after all the rubbish that was posted in the update threads.

Seems to me that he is letting us know why things are the way they are and what needs to be done to win in the end.

I think the free lunch on Google is over.. I believe we have just begun a new era in SEO.

P.S. Caryl: Welcome to WebmasterWorld!

[edited by: synergy at 5:22 pm (utc) on Nov. 24, 2003]

5:22 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



"Why replace a site that was precisely what the searcher was looking for with obscure slightly on topic sites?"

I think you nailed it. The primary focus of this update appears to be something other than increasing relevancy. In
my opinion "increasing relevancy" has always got to be #1 for an engine that relies on people turning to them everyday for relevant results. But something other than relevancy appears to have jumped to the forefront.

At least, that is how I see it. I could be wrong now. But I don't think so. It's a jungle out there. It's a jungle out there.

[edited by: ineedmoreexercise at 5:23 pm (utc) on Nov. 24, 2003]

5:22 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator buckworks is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Stuff we know SE's like:

+ Informative textual content
+ Logical site navigation
+ Logical page structure
+ Accessibile page structure
+ Lean, clean code
+ Valid HTML and CSS (W3C standards)
+ Links

I think it's reasonable to assume that SE's will be *trying* to reward those, even if they don't always get it right. So .. no matter what else you do, strive to be strong in those basics.

As for Google "destroying businesses" ... Google cannot touch your traffic that comes from well-placed, relevant links and ads, Google cannot touch your traffic that comes from bookmarks, Google cannot touch your traffic that comes from off-line publicity, Google cannot touch your newsletter lists, Google cannot touch your word-of-mouth recommendations ...

Um, you do have those, don't you?

[edited by: buckworks at 5:23 pm (utc) on Nov. 24, 2003]

5:22 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)



John316

Anyway, I used "cheeseburger" as an example of real life thinking

Er, I think we gathered that :) - but it gives me an idea for my next business venture. I am going to sell Spam (tm) on the Internet!

I will be the most successful Spam merchant on Google!

[edited by: superscript at 5:22 pm (utc) on Nov. 24, 2003]

5:22 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member




GG:

Why is your perception of what people are looking for the overriding one? No disrespect intended, but I think your bias is fairly strong here.

I know when I search for a recipe, let's say, I use the word recipe in my search. If I want some othet piece of information, I would include that in my search.

However, when I want to purchase something like.... I don't know, a pellet gun or something, I'll search on the brand name... maybe I'll use the word "discount" or "deal".... or something.... of that nature.

Why does ecommerce get such a bad rap...? I would venture to guess that the majority of people running a business on the web, and using Google for traffic, want the same things Google does. We don't like competeing with spammers, redirectors, etc..

There IS a difference between informational websites and commerce websites. They can't be measured in the same ways...

5:23 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Despite all our problems, Google HAS to be focused on the user, not the free-lunch webmaster. I've suffered, but I certainly see things from G's perspective.

I agree, JD. But the problem is: good site vs. good services: how many customers wants to know if your site has right keyword density? May be the right SERp should count the customers vote!

5:25 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Hello GoogleGuy,

Your posts and insights are very much appreciated. Would you be so kind as to address the following?:

Have certain sites plummeted in rankings because of something they *did* (ie a penalty, such as for keyphrase in title, high density of keyphrase, etc)?

Or do these sites no longer enjoy high ranking because of something they *didn't* do (ie enough written content, quality info etc)?

The key question being, is Google imposing any kind of *penalty* that is affecting the new SERPs?

I'm sure we would all be very grateful if you could provide guidance with regards to this matter. If we can stop worrying about having been penalized for something, we can all get back to building good content. It's hard to want to write an informative article on "blue hairy widgets", however, when you are afraid that mentioning "blue hairy widgets" multiple times in the process (or titling the page "blue hairy widgets") may boot you into the black hole...

Thanks in advance for your input! :-)

5:26 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member googleguy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



superscript/marin, I'm not trying to argue, and I apologize if it comes off that way. I'm just saying for some specific searches (using "cheeseburger" as an example search), a user typing in "cheeseburger" probably isn't really looking to buy one from their Google results page. If I tried to put on my user hat, I would honestly guess that recipes would be the best match if that's all I knew about their query. Sometimes there's user-centered philosophy and SEO-centered philosophy. The best SEOs in my opinion are exactly the ones that practice user-centered philosophy.

Let me try to give a different example; check out this thread:
[webmasterworld.com...]
Read the first post. Notice how the first post only talks about rankings and different ways to manage backlinks? That post at first read sounds only like "how can I do better in rankings for this particular phrase?", without mentioning underlying quality or site utility at all. Instead, they're comparing backlink counts and asking how the keyword should be in the domain, etc. That poster would probably do well to read Brett's posts rather than concentrate on what he thinks of as his big keyword. Checking server logs would probably find many other more productive ways to build his site than spending all his time on that single phrase.

5:28 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Oh no......... I see where they are going....... They want the SERPS to be information about "Widgets" and they want adwords to be "buy Widgets here" They want to train their users to click on Adwords to buy, but look into the serps for information about.......

Atleast thats what I got from GG post....and current serps.

Thats not very nice way to play the game Google.

What you didnt think about is "What will they do to counter us". The answer is so simple :)

[edited by: deanril at 5:35 pm (utc) on Nov. 24, 2003]

5:33 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Dear GoogleGuy

I see your point; but c-est la guerre!
E commerce companies spend a lot of money and energy to
be on top

5:34 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



They want the SERPS to be information about "Widgets" and they want adwords to be "buy Widgets here".

Make sense to me.. not everyone looking for "business widgets" wants to BUY a business widget, but AdWords just happen to be chock full of people selling business widgets.

This will generate Google more money, however, if anything I think this is training searchers to become more precise with their searches such as "buy business widgets" etc. Generalized keyword searches give generalized keyword results... what a concept.

[edited by: synergy at 5:38 pm (utc) on Nov. 24, 2003]

5:35 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member googleguy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



miss understood, there's nothing like that--that's the nice thing about algorithmic changes; new scores can be computed without any human intervention. So as far as the person who not only claimed that pages were penalized but that you should make the exact same page with a completely new url just to test changes.. that's barking up the wrong tree. Building good content sites is the best thing for users, and we're trying to bring those results to users. So no, I wouldn't worry about "penalties" from the most recent changes.

Hope that helps,
GoogleGuy

[edited by: GoogleGuy at 5:36 pm (utc) on Nov. 24, 2003]

5:35 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



>E commerce companies spend a lot of money and energy to be on top

Yes but not with Google, they will have to now

5:35 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Yes, I think you are right. To be expected though, really. Google has to make money somewhere. If there's an opportunity to massively increase revenues, it would be silly for them to ignore it.
5:38 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



superscript, why wouldn't you type buy cheeseburger or cheeseburger prices? Why should just the query cheeseburger carry an implicit "buy" keyword along with it? You don't think an average user is probably looking for recipes, esp. given that it's hard to order a cheeseburger online and have it arrive fresh? ;)

I agree with GoogleGuy, BUT what about all the sites that are now no were to be seen for their 2 or 3 word keywords that narrow the search down to exactly what the user is looking for. I mean I agree, if someone was to search for "cheeseburger" then they could be looking for information on anything relating to cheeseburgers. HOWEVER, if someone types in "buy cheeseburgers" why would the history of the cheeseburger be the #1-10 result (post-florida)? Pre-Florida Update, buy cheeseburger, gave you 10 relevant links to where you could buy a low cost cheeseburgers (ie, exactly what the end-user was seeking in the first place). ;-)

I think you guys are on the right track at Google by eliminating broad based keywords from commercial only sites which have dominated them previously (thus creating a more information rich and diverse virtual world), but need to still leave the door open for very specific queries to produce relevant results if the end user's intentions were to make a specific purchase.

5:40 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Synergy:

Not everyone searching for "business widgets" is looking for just information either...

How is "buy business widgets" a generalization? That seems a pretty specific search to me.

How is Google training people to "become more precise with their searches"? It's not Google who will train users... users train themselves by using an SE. They will use whatever combination of KW's that get's them what they are looking for.

Geez...

5:42 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I think there is a door open. The emphasis may be on information, that is all. The SERPs show a mix of informational and purchase oriented results. If you can reach the top for either one of those categories, you've got a good chance.
5:43 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)



GoogleGuy wrote:

superscript, why wouldn't you type buy cheeseburger or cheeseburger prices? Why should just the query cheeseburger carry an implicit "buy" keyword along with it? You don't think an average user is probably looking for recipes, esp. given that it's hard to order a cheeseburger online and have it arrive fresh? ;)

I'm not superscript, but I'll hop in and say that I'd never buy a cheeseburger on the Web. :-)

This brings up an interesting point: Wouldn't Google solve a lot of its spam problems if it categorized pages as "information" pages or "e-commerce" pages and weighted its results toward information except where the user included certain keywords such as "buy" or "shopping" in the search string? Or, to repeat a suggestion that I've made before, couldn't Google's search box include radio buttons for "I want information about..." and "I want to shop for..."?

Obviously, some pages fall into grey areas (an information page with affilitate links, for example), but it shouldn't be too hard to figure that a page with a shopping cart or a reservations button is an e-commerce page.

Such differentiation wouldn't just keep commercial pages from making it harder for backbard BBQ buffs to find cheeseburger recipes; it would also be good for users who want to buy something and dislike having those pesky information pages cluttering up their search results. :-)

5:45 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member googleguy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



monsterisp, we've been looking for examples of searches like that, because there's always room to improve searches, and we want users to get the best results (both if they're looking for info or if they're looking to buy). If you have examples like that, we'd like to hear them. Send them to the spamreport or webmaster [at] google.com with the keyword floridaquality instead of floridaupdate. I couldn't agree more with your last paragraph, and I'd expect that going forward we want to make sure that users are able to find info if they want info and are able to find good product/service sites if they want to buy.

Okay, it's a family member's birthday today, so I gotta spend some time off-line. I'll keep stopping by off and on though.

5:45 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Generally you will find that most insurance sites offer information about insurance, in particular the insurance that they sell.

At the moment, im finding sites in my 'widget insurance country' search that provide insurance in that country but dont provide widget insurance, or even mention widget on the page or in the inbound links.

I also got the inland revenue's site up whilst i was trying to find home insurance.

Ill admit that this update hasnt been kind to me, but being as objective as i can, I can definately say there has been a big decline in the relevancy of search results.

Google seems to have taken a dislike to directory type sites (maybe we are not supposed to 'do their job for them') but i think that these sites are a great way to concisely get information , reviews and prices from different companies, without having to wade through the now often irrelevant results we are getting.

Surely well structured affilaite sites should be smiled upon rather than the opposite?

I totally agree that if i type in a search for a particular product then there is a very good chance im hoping to buy one , and if i want more information about it, then i will use a longer more specific search term (see the cheeseburger recipe/history example).

Isn't it a happy coincidence that adwords just happens to be there now....

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