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SEO is a confusing game!

Strange quirks of SEO

     
10:37 pm on May 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I was just wondering if anyone had any feedback about how weird search results are on search engines these days!

My site that has been live since January of this year and is up and down the search engines, which I know happens to everyone out there btw.

My confusion comes from sites being placed above mine basically breaking all the SEO guidelines and general advice! Like links inbound, javascript sitting at the top of the pages and no Google PR!

I mean, how can I site with no inbound links, no Google PR be ahead of me and stay there?

It doesn't make a lot of sense and im sure there is no real answer why right? The SEO business sure is a confusing game.

10:39 pm on May 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I believe apart of Googles approach is to randomly assign rankings a certain percentage of the time to test the affect on CTR.

Eg, if you had a new website, Google might place it high in the rankings to see how well it does. If it does well, then it'll stay, if it doesn't it'll filter back down and everything will return to normal.

You may need to average your rankings over time rather than look at any particular moment in time.

10:41 pm on May 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Nobody ever learns all the truths about it either. Even the programmers at Google probably are unsure of a lot of things happening at Yahoo Search, etc. I'm starting to focus on the users, and don't even want to worry about SEO.
5:45 pm on May 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Yeah, that happens to us as well. One day we are on top and the next day we are #4.

Weird.

1:03 am on May 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Hi Webber,

I'm noticing similar result changes. Although I've also launched a few new pages of my own over the past two weeks. These pages are new of course, which mean Google PR=0, and all existing back links won't show, yet I still get placement in the SERPS because the pages are built with a good structure both on and off page. There is of course more that goes into the actual rankings.

This may be one reason a site page may beat one of your pages without actually showing a PageRank value or back links yet.

Keep working on the overall SEO concept for each page until you're #1, that's what I do :-)

NLight

1:28 am on May 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

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My confusion comes from sites being placed above mine basically breaking all the SEO guidelines and general advice!

That dodgy approach might work today, but in the long run they'll get caught and banished to the SE depths to which they belong.

You have to think in terms of your website becoming a permanent institution, something that is a reference for everyone interested in the subject of the site. If you keep it clean, and serious, all those spammers will fall by the wayside while your site marches on.

(Imho, etc, etc)

2:59 am on May 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

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>>if you had a new website, Google might place it high in the rankings to see how well it does.

blaze, are you saying that there are sites that are human reviewed and chosen for testing, or that there's some evidence of an element in the algorithm that conducts such a testing process for monitoring randomly chosen sites?

>>If it does well, then it'll stay, if it doesn't it'll filter back down and everything will return to normal.

Are you saying that there are special statistics kept for sites like that, or that they're specially earmarked? Sounds like that would be resource intensive beyond whatever statistical information they could glean from monitoring randomly chosen sites.

>>basically breaking all the SEO guidelines and general advice! Like links inbound, javascript sitting at the top of the pages and no Google PR!

First, javascript sitting at the top of the page may be best linked in an external file according to SEO recommendations, but it does not violate any search engine quality control guidelines. It may bloat page size, but it isn't dodgy.

And then - what is there about links inbound that violates search engine QC guidelines?

>>how can I site with no inbound links, no Google PR be ahead of me and stay there?

Depends on how long. There may actually be PR and inbound links at times that we're just not seeing yet. We don't until Google decides to show us.

Plus, are we talking about just Google, or search engines in general? Ranking at Yahoo is not the same, either for the pages included by free crawl, or the PFI pages.

With Yahoo, Google's PR isn't a factor and pages can rank well there without some of what's needed for ranking at Google. Different search engine, different algorithm, different to optimize for.

3:39 am on May 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

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That dodgy approach might work today, but in the long run they'll get caught and banished to the SE depths to which they belong.

You have to think in terms of your website becoming a permanent institution, something that is a reference for everyone interested in the subject of the site. If you keep it clean, and serious, all those spammers will fall by the wayside while your site marches on.

That is what we all want to believe, but that is not how the real world works. Look at all the clean sites that got kicked to the curb in florida.

There is white, black, and grey hat seo. I am a little more agressive in my judgement of who goes where. Anyone who thinks about seo BEFORE they think about the user is in my opinion grey or black. From what I read here that is a very large percentage of webmasters on WW.

As far as straight black hat, most of those guys use disposable sites, domains, and methods. So if they get kicked out by an update they move on and continue making money while the white hat site if they get nailed, is up the creek with no paddle.

That being said I think the most money is to be made in the gey area with risk vs. reward being all that it is.

4:28 pm on May 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Yeah, that happens to us as well. One day we are on top and the next day we are #4.

I wish I had problems like that

8:00 pm on May 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I believe apart of Googles approach is to randomly assign rankings a certain percentage of the time to test the affect on CTR.

I too have been a believer for some months now that G and Y! both randomly assign good SERP to test CTR as well as surfer result satisfaction, i.e., how fast and often was the back button utilized, and how many subsequent clicks further down the heirarchy were performed until the surfer found a satisfactory answer.

Reading this thread sparked a thought. GG has repeatedly emphasized writing for people not the engine. Why? Because SE's realize that their robots are inherently flawed with regards to the ability:

a) to judge what humans consider an important page to be, hence PR

b) to figure out what humans cosistently find both interesting enough to bother clicking through in the SERP's they serve up in the first place, and then satisfactorily relevant, hence CTR.

With hundreds or thousands of possible matches available for a given kw phrase, it's true that their algo can decipher which pages match the query, but cannot decipher which are the most relevant or eyecatching enough to warrant a click. Some pages are equally relevant, so how to decipher SERP?

Take duplicate content for instance. Three of my 100 or so pages are articles written by a freelance writer who works for a widget website. She writes 1 article a month and then distributes it to many websites for publishing. A kw search for "widget design" has three different websites with the same exact article on page 1 SERP, mine included. The other two sites are about "widget design" specifically, mine is not. My page however, comes up first. The only difference is that I added 3 catchy words to my title to make it stand out. Their titles are identicle, "widget design". My page moved around in the results for a few weeks but seems to have settled in now. I have noticed this for many of my more competative pages-- wild fluctuations-- page 1 to oblivion, or moving up and down across the first 5 or 10 SERP's until finally getting consistent placement.

These are just my own observations, not gospel of course. But from what I personally have observed, and from what G specifically states: 1. write for people and 2. their stated democratic nature, coupled with recent fluctuations in SERP's, tells me that they realize they can't force their opinion on their users, so they offer it, let the majority tell them how far off they are, and then adjust their results accordingly. Just MHO.
JPell

2:53 am on May 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Blaze, Marcia, anyone... am I wrong or what? There have been so many threads about wild fluctuations in SERP's. In particular, I remember someone posting quite a while back, something to the effect that they used to not
bookmark pages because G used to consistantly give the same results, but as of their post had noticed a change in SERP's and placement, and could not rely on a page showing up for the same query.
JPell
12:44 pm on May 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

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SEO is not a confusing game. SEO is an intrestng game. Survival of the Fittest goes best for it.
Update yourself dude.
5:11 pm on May 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

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>>> I mean, how can I site with no inbound links, no Google PR be ahead of me and stay there?

===========================

Yes, possible! As far as I know there are at least 2 possiblities:

1) As most people would assume, the site is new and receives freshness boost.

2) If that site is not new and shows those characteristics that you mention for more than let's say one month, then you should read all the characters in its url in the Serp and eventually in the browser after click very carefully. The site in question may use "REDIRECT" and that page you are looking at in the browser might not be the same one as appear on the serp.

For instance, I use to see a very great page receiving high ranking with no PR nor inbound links. The url is pretty long with subfolders and the difference between the actual page and that in the serp is only 1 character in the subfolder. In most of the cases, it goes unnoticed by competitors.

12:06 pm on June 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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My experience of search engines is that Google has delivered both traffic and buying customers. The other search engines have delivered very little traffic to my website even though I have a respectable ranking.

I find the SEO game fun and I do enjoy it. I also find this forum to be full of good advice and truthful advice too! Thanks for everyones input as a beginner I appreciate the information.

Does anyone know when the next Google PR update might be?

 

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