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PR and Backlink Update

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12:39 am on Jun 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I am seeing a PR/backlinks update on some of my sites
3:01 pm on June 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

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>> ...buy Adwords.

Light bulb goes on.

Though I have to admit I've resisted buying into theories about G manipulating the organic SERP's to reduce relevance, to get Adwords sales up. That has always seemed like a 'shoot yourself in the foot' strategy to me.

OTOH, money is money, even more so to a wannabe public company. And their SERP's are sufficiently good that if they lose 10% in organic quality but revenues go up, I guess that works...

10:03 am on June 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Though I have to admit I've resisted buying into theories about G manipulating the organic SERP's to reduce relevance, to get Adwords sales up.

I've seen this type of theory before and I still don't understand how Google could benefit from that.

If this were true, then this would kill AdWord sales, wouldn't it?

Buy Adwords --> drop in rankings --> drop Adwords --> regain rankings --> spread the word --> others will drop their AdWords.

If *anything* (click pop?) is causing something even remotely like this scenario, Google should fix it as fast as they can before the vast majority of webmasters and marketeers is going to believe that buying AdWords will hurt your rankings.

11:09 am on June 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Buying AdWords does not harm your organic listing as far as I am aware. Caveman - were you a former AdWords advertiser with this site?

It is in the interest of any search engine (read '...in the interest of their shareholders') to kill commercial sites from organic SERPS if at all possible.

You can bet they will try. Google want cash. They may have started out doing it for the love of it, but post-IPO the love is lost.

TJ

11:19 am on June 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Though I have to admit I've resisted buying into theories about G manipulating the organic SERP's to reduce relevance, to get Adwords sales up.

Update Florida forced a lot of people to buy Adwords.

12:56 pm on June 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Running AdSense on pages seems to boost a site in the SERPS. Anyone agree?
12:58 pm on June 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I could see buying adwords being beneficial. There is a fair amount of speculation that Google uses or will use toolbar data to see user behavior on the web, and presumable more time on your site by users would benefit your ranking. We already see pages being crawled simply from a visit with the toolbar.

That said, pretty much ALL advertising you buy will improve your rankings as a result of happy users (and unhappy users as it turns out). More exposure yields more exposure, yields more exposure.

1:29 pm on June 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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That said, pretty much ALL advertising you buy will improve your rankings

Couldn't agree more. Our AdWords program assisted us in getting listed in a major magazine that has an on-line presence.

Not only did we get an initial flurry of inquiries from the article, we now get a continuing stream of clicks as people refer to the article on our area. The page itself is a PR6 which also helps in PR.

They would never have found us if not for AdWords.

4:58 pm on June 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Running AdSense on pages...

I've seen some evidence of this but, for me, it's inconclusive at this point. Also, one site that has enjoyed a PR0 and penalty for several years moved to a PR3 with this update. The only change to the site was adding AdSense. Hmmm...
5:28 pm on June 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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TJ, we were, and are, an Adwords advertiser for this site.

I've read the suppositions that Adwords ads can hurt a site's rankings, but so far I still don't see conclusive proof of it, and our sites that advertise in Adsense have not been hurt in the SERP's.

I agree with HitProf's assessment. I view it as a short sighted strategy that would cause a nasty backlash if ever proven. I've worked in media for a very long time, and when a given media outlet, even a big one, becomes viewed as working against its own advertisers, it's a hard thing to recover from.

Also FWIW, this is not the first time (during updates) that we've seen traffic stay constant, rankings stay constant, but conversions temporarily drop. I honestly don't understand it. The only potential explanation that has made sense to me has been Sublime1's point that perhaps changes in titles/summaries is to blame. But even that theory is unlikely to me, since it has also been our experience that after a while, conversions return to normal. We just can't find the cause.

5:32 pm on June 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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jcoronella said:
We already see pages being crawled simply from a visit with the toolbar.

It appears that Google is picking up data from Whois. I have seen some domains listed in the G index that were never previously registered. The domains never hosted any website and never had a visit with the toolbar. Some of these domains were ****.net that were registered to protect the ****.com

NNY

8:47 pm on June 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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hitprof,

If *anything* (click pop?) is causing something even remotely like this scenario, Google should fix it as fast as they can before the vast majority of webmasters and marketeers is going to believe that buying AdWords will hurt your rankings.

I agree. Otherwise I could buy a couple adwords for my competitor and get rid of him this way.

nerd

10:19 pm on June 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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In my opinion..setting up a site to strictly deliver Adsense revenue to the site owner by placing well in the SERPs creates some really bad content...some of the sites I have encountered are creating poor level copy stuffed at the word stemming level..reads very poorly and is not at all meant to dialogue with the visitors...

Certainly Google would want a site do well in the SERPs if it is running Adsense...more revenue in their pocket..but some of the folks building sites strictly to list in the SERPs for this purpose...at least from what I have been running into....are building very poor quality sites from the users perspective...just get the damn thing in front of traffic an hope the visitors click on the Google ads...

See how reading the two paragraphs above was not fun...

Not very inspiring..

1:02 am on June 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

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decaff

MOST of these sites are poor quality.

As a webmaster, marketer and user, I HATE seeing at the top of the serps a bunch of shiite sites, obviously only built to slel adwords.

Nothing more frustrating than finding 7 out of the top 10 are seod sites on the topic I am looking for, but do not contain any rela useful content, and the only useful links out are the same adwords that were on the main search page anyway?

Adsense and sites that seo for the sole purpose of having these on their page are a bunsh of crap.

3:23 pm on June 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

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My experience is that when the searches are cluttered with these crap sites, I tend to refrain from clicking on urls that has their keywords in the url seperated by - and _ and would select some others from the list.

The results on google are getting quite bad lately.

3:36 pm on June 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I tend to refrain from clicking on urls that has their keywords in the url seperated by - and _ and would select some others from the list.

The problem is that you are in the minority, which is why these sites are viable.

3:56 pm on June 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

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As a webmaster, marketer and user, I HATE seeing at the top of the serps a bunch of shiite sites, obviously only built to slel adwords.

Well, those pages don't clutter up search results any more than boilerplate affiliate pages do. Still, they do pose a challenge to Google Search, and I'll bet the Google Search people wish the AdSense network hadn't gone for market share at the expense of quality.

At least there's the possibility that Google can trim some of the clutter from its search results by cleaning up the AdSense network instead of having to rely entirely on filters, penalties, and algorithm improvements on the search side.

8:49 pm on June 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Also FWIW, this is not the first time (during updates) that we've seen traffic stay constant, rankings stay constant, but conversions temporarily drop. I honestly don't understand it. The only potential explanation that has made sense to me has been Sublime1's point that perhaps changes in titles/summaries is to blame. But even that theory is unlikely to me, since it has also been our experience that after a while, conversions return to normal. We just can't find the cause.

caveman, over the years I've noticed conversions dropping after an update but eventually returning to normal levels. I eventually concluded enough competitors were visiting to check out my top ranking pages (for changes, etc.) to be the chief cause of this phenomena. I kinda "proved" it (for myself) as I live in an area where "local" IP addresses are easy to identify - and sure enough the ratio of local-based IPs always rose after an update, evidence enough to me that there is a spike in competitors checking me out after updates.

Of course competitors aren't interested in buying your product or service, thus a spike in their activity causes a decline in your conversion ratios. In time their activity stops and conversion ratios return to normal. It was hard to believe competitors could cause a noticeable trend such as this, but the rise in numbers of local-based IPs (together with no other reasonable hypothesis/explanation) has lead me to believe this is at least the primary cause. I happen to be in a competitive field (real estate/accommodations) so I'd imagine those in these kind of heavy SEO'd fields would have similar experiences.

2:06 am on June 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

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ezrydr, what you posted would work better for me as an explanation if my traffic levels spiked, but what has happend is: constant traffic before, during, and after the update, with only conversions fluctuating.

That said, yours is still an interesting and plausible explanation overall...probably the best yet.

thanks!

4:21 am on June 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

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My site jumped 2 points in PR this update. All pages look indexed w/ descriptions. However, traffic seems to have gone DOWN considerbly. Why would the toolbar PR go up, but the traffic go down by 50%? I would expect more (not less) traffic as a PR 7 now? Do you think the rankings have not calculated at the new PR?
6:31 am on June 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

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hbirnbaum "Why would the toolbar PR go up, but the traffic go down by 50%?"

Sorry but the PR and traffic are not related so directly. A higher PR may possible help your page to rank higher in a search, or may not depending on the other 9999 factors and how they are prioritised in this weeks algo. Some would say that Google is starting to place less importance on PR given that you can pretty much buy it. Your toolbar looks pretty and is a useful tool in a very general way, but toolbar PR should not be the cause of anyones worries.

6:57 am on June 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

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It could also be that after an update you are getting first time traffic since your site would be in a new position. My experience as a surfer and webmastery type is that I tend to go back to sites I previously found interesting by reusing the same search, especially when comaparing products to buy.
7:03 am on June 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

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>>> constant traffic before, during, and after the update, with only conversions fluctuating.

-------------------------

Are you in the field that is Price Sensitive? If yes, this could be a signal that someone with better price than yours has gained their exposure and visibility in serp and you're unaware of it...therefore your conversions just get into somebody else's pocket. Quite a number of times I encounter with this sort of things.

8:38 pm on June 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Monkscuba,

Thank you for your answer. About 5 months ago, my site was a PR 7, and I was getting a ton of Google traffic. Then it went down to 0 overnight, and the traffic stopped. Now it is back up to 7, but the traffic has not returned. It is actually less than it was at PR 0, which makes no sense. I haven't changed the pages much, so I would expect them to rank like before? Shouldn't I see some increase in SERP after the last update? Certainly a PR 7 should rank better than a PR 0? I mean, the pages are optimised (KW in title + headline, etc.)

10:03 pm on June 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

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since adsense started my whole site seems to have been copied more than ever before . Complete conterfeits apearing with only the name changed its a real ball ache getting them out of the google results as well.

zach

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