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Google SEO longterm?



8:57 am on Nov 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

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....


8:48 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


Hard to argue with that. I agree it's a problem and I hope the "big brains" at Google can figure it out. I'd hate to see this ground leveler simply become another business catering to big business....

Another problem I see. If you take the travel industry as an example... there are really only a couple of big players. These guys own just about every affiliate maketing program and they book zillions of $ for the businesses they represent.... If Google were to "thin the affiliates out" in the travel market, what repercussions would that reap...?

How about other manufacturers and distributers. These guys are making a pile of cash from the web... probably huge sums from affiliate programs as well... what do you suppose the ripple effect would be if 20% or 30% of the sites selling their products simply went away?


9:09 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

One thing I can think of is that our site is dynamic and Google can only index our home page due to a complex url query string (Like I said I develop sites for content not SEO)

Anyways, my home page dropped from #2 to infinity for my popular two keyword phases.

I wonder if google is taking other pages in account when calculating its score for displaying results for 2 word keywords.

Can anybody have a dynamic site with only a home page spidered in google that has not dropped in the rankings.


9:10 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

NFFC pointed out that a search on country specfic Googles highlights the situation!

Spot on.

This is not a case of a few seo types hitting filters, this is a case of .... rising to the top.

It is also a window of oportunity...


9:26 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

You know, these results make a lot more sense when you view them horizontally.


9:26 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I think that G has been loosing ground with AdWords over the last 6 months. Think about it. My site for instance was optimized about 6 months ago and over course of about 4 months we rose to the 3 for about 15 very important kw. So what do we do? We canned AdWords. Completely shut it down. How many of you out there have done that? I'm sure a large % of you have. If not completely then some at least. And G's income from AdWords dropped, probably substantially.

too much information

9:46 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Although I don't suspect some big conspiracy by G, I will agree that I did exactly that. Got to the top of Page 1 and dropped AdWords. Why pay for placement when I can get the same spot (actually better) for free.

I'm sure there are a few AdWords accounts that have been reactivated, but I'm not sure it was Gs intent with this update. After all there are still only 10 spots on page 1. If they reduced this to 8 then you may have a point.

I do have to say that I am showing up at the top of a wider range of searches than I was before. I don't know why, but I'm not complaining.

Tropical Island

9:47 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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

Throwing in comments about the Adwords conspiracy (?) is not very constructive and does not add to the thread - Google SEO longterm?

We are strong Adwords clients both before and after Florida. I do not believe that this mess has anything to do with that.

We need to be focussing on what changes are necessary in our sites to bring the serps back to relavancy.

If we could just figure out why our sites return with the
-foofoo trick. What is it that triggers the "filter"?


9:51 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

GG: "We want search results to be relevant for both info seekers and product seekers, and everything in between. If there's a search that you consider less relevant than before, send it to us at webmaster [at] google.com with the keywords floridaupdate or floridaquality. "

Crickey... I thought we were WAY past that.

"GG, just as a general pointer your user support guys & gals would be wise to run some searches at the various country specific Google's. It seems the relative lack of web pages magnify's the quality problem, makes it much easier to see."

You must know how much me and NFFC love each other, but again, I really hate to say it, but he's right.

If Google can't see this by now... you guys really do have REAL problems.

GG: Sadly, I think your superiors already know this, and frankly it really makes me weep. The heritage of what you built deserves MUCH better than this type of sell out.

You guys painted a genuine masterpiece and now have scribbled all over it like a kid. Someone there needs to stand up and tell it like it is. A fantastic technical achievement being torn apart.

Yes maybe it's emotional (I always have been, sorry), but I really admired what you had and how you stood against short term buy in, to produce something built on genuine effort and value. Brilliant.

Now someone there has reversed it. I'll never buy into that... and I guarantee it will be your achiles heel. There's still time.

[edited by: Napoleon at 9:52 pm (utc) on Nov. 24, 2003]


9:52 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

That 'inkjet cartridge' example actually yields a link farm particpant as the number one result. 'phentermine' shows a guestbook and blog spammer. #2 for 'canada pharmacy' is a keyword stuffer and blog spammer.

At least the results returned are relevant.


10:48 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

True pmac, but as miss understood says
<Popularity vs. Relevancy>
did you search "gourmet lunches" as someone mentioned earlier. Surely Googles restaurant isn't the world's most relevant return on the subject at #1? Introspection to the point of disappearing up it's own...


10:53 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have been reading now for a week but I am still confused.

I think I understand that people are saying that the new algorhythm favors more specific searching over general searching.

IE 4 word search will bring up more specific listings, but a 2 word search will likely be a broad match that brings up authority type high PR sites.

But my index page has been optimized for some time now for


and had been #1 for a long time.

Since Florida it has spent most of the time at #189.

If there is no "penalty" as GG stated, shouldn't I have just held my rank considering it is such a specific search.

Or am I misunderstanding what people are saying?

Thanks for any advice.


11:24 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Ah - but optimising has just changed! Google is now looking for a more natural site, even as far as backlinks (in my opinion).

So the thing is that your site WAS optimised, but now might not be.


11:24 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I think the point is that Google doesn't punish your site and mark it as bad. However, if its algorithm determines your site is somehow spammy, you'll get knocked down or into oblivion. But (hopefully) you can redeem yourself by getting rid of whatever spammy things are going on.

[edited by: frup at 11:45 pm (utc) on Nov. 24, 2003]


11:26 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Are we back to continuous update mode?


11:31 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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

"But because there are so many, many sites selling the same products and services, the SERPs become cluttered with thousands of virtually identical pages,"

I think there is widespread denial about the future of search on the Internet, and its centalization around big/trusted/successful players. We have people here complaining that they lost their top ten placement for two million or more word searches. Think of that. Millions of sites could be ranked in the top ten. Google somehow manages to rank sites well (choose your word) some/most/alot of the time. This despite an ever increasing amount of pure crap that is put up online for anything that might possibly earn income, plus ever increasing non-crap that is put up also trying to get a buck.

There are only ten sites in the top ten. As has been said before, if you are selling a widget, and millions of others are selling a widget, to think that you should have a ranking in the top 1000 even is hard to justify. Google doesn't rank widget selling sites based on price, or customer service, or pretty pages.

Google SEO in the longterm has to be built on a foundation of information. That's what people want. Price and ability to order online and how to do it and all that stuff is just one aspect of providing information.

Google has made a great step with Florida in more highly valuing sites that are authoritative information sources. Just because you sell widgets doesn't mean you can't be an authoritative source. But if you aren't, you are going to lose out to other information sites on the information web. If you are losing out to an edu-type site that is only marginally on topic, then you need increase your own authority within your niche and assume Google's knob turnings will appreciate that more (and more and more) sometime soon.

Unfortunately for some people though, they want quick and easy answers: more anchor text, change their heading tags (egods), talk about absurdly conceived penalties, and whatever other quick fixes might come to mind. It's not that easy.


11:48 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)


you wrote:

Thanks Brett, Marcia, NFFC and GoogleGuy for putting this thing into perspective

In the UK we call this 'brown-nosing'

But the meaning, despite cultural differences, should be pretty clear to all!

But certainly Brett & co seem happy with the SERPS, and are delighted to tell us happless fools that it is all our fault.

This is not just the (beginning?) of the end of Google; it is also the end of WebmasterWorld as an independent forum.


11:49 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'm still waiting for GG to address my post. Talk a little to us about how much more $ you are making because of this update. My opinion is that big time players pay for this "update" to be up top and push us out so that we have to buy AdWords. That's a HUGE win win for G.


11:53 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Google SEO in the longterm has to be built on a foundation of information.

That's some pure vintage internet idealism.

Google (or any other automated system that has to distinguish/rank 4 billion of anything as complex as a web page) has no way to directly, quantitatively measure/gauge the quality of "information."

GoogleGuy, Brett, and whoever else says there's no "magic formula" just isn't looking hard enough.


11:53 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

... you see the truth (whatever that is ) has nothing to with anything , it really boils down to perception of what is true


11:55 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member crobb305 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I'm still waiting for GG to address my post

Googleguy doesn't owe anyone an explanation.

[edited by: crobb305 at 11:57 pm (utc) on Nov. 24, 2003]


11:56 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Well forgetting SEO and what is and what isn't good about Google, in the end, its the user experience. I just spent an hour trying to find a file on Google and got three pages of results all of which lead to a blasted spyware file. I have to admit I gave up in the end and found what I wanted on Mamma. My other half just remarked that if she too gets stuck and can't find what she's looking for, should she simply ask GG? Might save some time:)

Some of the results are right, but some of it is a lot worse. You can please some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time......


11:57 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)


I previously wrote:

But certainly Brett & co seem happy with the SERPS, and are delighted to tell us happless fools that it is all our fault

Regarding a shift to Adwords:

In the short term, Google will make a fortune. In the medium term - nothing. In the long term - failure.

I'm not paying for Adwords - it is a mugs' game. My business is facing closure.

I guess Brett will boot me off soon, so any messages of support would be very welcome.

Kind regards to all,

And many thanks for all your help, including GG.


12:07 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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

People are upset because they lost a lot of businesss. If they lost business then that term had a lot of people looking to buy things. There is no way around it there are tons of reason why a general term is typed in and only the sites at number one can give you a good idea of what that is. Maybe Google could alternate the front page like even results are info and odd ones are buying. They both should be there.


12:11 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Spot On!


12:11 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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

>I previously wrote

It's considered very bad form to quote yourself.

>My business is facing closure.

I'm sorry to hear that, best wishes for the future.

Anyhow back to the topic.

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

There are many, you have to be able to roll with the punches though and have the will, the strength and the motivation to get back off the floor, dust yourself off and step right back into the fight.

I think we have an easy run the last year or two, things are going to get a lot harder. The only question is, do you like a good fight?


12:16 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

NFFC - you always come out with a punch ;)

They're rarely well placed! but you always come out with one.

But given that you've missed the target, could you explain your punch? I'm particularly interested in your 'do you want a fight' concept. As a Brit, this always gets our blood up ;)

[edited by: superscript at 12:26 am (utc) on Nov. 25, 2003]


12:17 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

This forum has never allowed people to drop keywords that feature major spam, so I will sit on the juicy ones I have found since Florida roared in and made a right mess of the place ;)

This update may have rewarded content-driven sites and *big* affiliate companies but it has also managed to squash many smaller, "niche" e-commerce businesses. To death.

Nobody, at any time, should rely on the free Google listings to prop up their entire business. But it's perfectly understandable that many are distraught, upset and downright confused as to why their index pages are missing when using the most logical keywords for the site. Well, except when -blahblah is used after the keywords. Great!

So - what to do? Wait around for a few weeks, hoping sites pop back in? Or remove any sort of optimisation immediately? But then, what is considered optimisation? Where do you draw the line.....


12:21 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

it would be nice to hear one of the authorities on the subject explain why adding
-getyeroldresultsback after the dropped phrase shows our sites back where they used to be.


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

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

As far as "authoratative" and "relevency" mentioned a few posts ago. I would like to report a couple observations.

1. Our site, which I would consider "authoratative" on a rather broad topic (think travel location...) by virtue of over 5,000 pages of unique content from original news, to reviews and general info, has previously been in the top 10-20 under a certain 8,000,000+ result search term for years. Most of our competitors are local newspapers with a combo of original articles and encapsulated API content. The current Google update has not budged our home page (PR6) position for the primary term one iota. However, we previously (through the last year or so), had optimized many of our sub-pages (mostly PR5) for specific terms (think "location amenity") and ridden them each consistenly into the top 10-20 spots for 5,000,000+ result compound terms. In the last week (specifically somewhere between 11/19, when we did our last survey, and today) we lost about 20% of our backlinks on all our pages (including home page) and most of our subpages are gone from the rankings like many here have reported. (Most of our reported PRs did not change except a couple went up). However in place of their old positions (or pretty darn close) now appears our home page instead which links them all (or worse yet, in some cases, our PR6 site map!). To me this shows a significant drop in relevence (since the user must now make an extra click or two to get the specific info they want), but perhaps, at least in Google's eyes, an increase in authoritative-ity.
2. Because of our past ranking success, we have had MANY other (not so bright) websites, copy full pages (and put their own sales banners on top), copy titles (and usually meta tags) exactly (even our TM site name!), copy articles, etc. In most cases it gets THEM nowhere, but it does definitely seem to have an impact on our PRs and SERPs for the pages they've copied as those pages often turn PR0 or at least significantly lower than comparable pages on our site. There simply is not enough time in the day to chase them all down (and then many are out of Asia anyway and say "screw USA copyrights - try 'n sue me if you want - I dare you to try").
Apparently there simply is not an allowance on Google for seniority (who published an article or website first) and EVERYONE who copies content gets penalized!
So what to do, abandon every page someone else copies because it was doing well? "Here, take my content, please!"


12:28 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hey everybody!

First of all, I agree with Brett that if you create diverse content you will have more stable rankings.

What is Brett really saying? Well, if lottery tickets are free then why not buy 100,000 tickets instead of just 1:) It's a 1998 strategy, but it's just not quite as focused on "particular" KW's as was common in 1998.

Brett is also suggesting a more "natural" approach to creating 100,000 SEO pages of diverse content, which is of course easy for somebody to say when other people write their own blog style content for them 24/7;) Just having a little fun guys!;)

But seriously speaking, it is harder to agree with brett's point of view when somebody actually has to spend a lot of their own time to create 1000's of pages of their own content on a non-blog site or BBS site. Try creating 1,000,000 pages on a non blog site in reality, not just in theory, it is definitely easier said than done.

BBS sites can create diverse content much more quickly than non-blog sites, so it's easy for those sites to sometimes claim a monopoly of SEO knowledge (when in reality there are just too many pages on BBS sites to optimize in a detailed manner and so they are not seo'd as a consequence).

Therefore BBS sites "naturally" have a non seo appearance because of this factor, and this "natural" and "non seo" appearance is not necessarily present just because the BBS site is somehow more "rule abiding" in their SEO strategies.

Anyhoo, google recently rolled the dice and BBS sites won on this one, but they did not win because of superior SEO knowledge (or more honesty) but because of the nature of their BBS sites (which are diverse as a side effect of blog type sites, not because of an overt non SEO strategy).

It's just a different "landscape" now with Google, where "natural features" are more heavily favored.

Of course, these "natural features" are more inherent in certain types of sites than in other sites, just by the nature of the site itself. Therefore, now the "other sites" must attempt to fake these "natural features" (but just like 'sincerity' everything can be faked;)

Confucious says: If thou can fake sincerity then by all means DO IT for financial advantage! :)

good posts deanril and kackle, keep it up, I enjoy them.

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