Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from

Forum Moderators: open

Message Too Old, No Replies

September, 2002 Google Update Discussion - Part 1

Discussing the major changes that took place



3:32 am on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

How on earth can they justify dropping sites that were ranked in the top 10 and are now page 20 and NOTHING at all has changed on the sites from the last month?

The biggest thing is they move the toilet mid stream without a hint they are going to do it...(change the rules)

Googles a joke..

tired of their games..

off to support ANY other search engine..enough of this every month change the rules nonsense..good bye Google ..Good riddence..


2:47 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Guess what?

I sell "widgets" - Good ones at that for very good prices...

I have widget in my url, widget in my metas, links, anchor text and a very "un spammy" amount of widgets in my body text.

I have a "dummy proof" site navigation, quick loading pages, very specific content and links back from dmoz, yahoo and everyone else that matters.

....and I've dissapeared onto the 6th SERP from #2 position.... to have been replaced by a totally off topic site that simply mentions "widget" twice on the index page and then apparently nowhere else?

Why do I deserve to be on the first page? Quite simply because mines the best site, and all my customers have said so themselves.


We're well into the update now and things are looking bleak.

BTW why do I play so much on the "widget" theme? Because thats what I sell, not because I'm trying to trick anyone.


2:57 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I start to compare GG with the police:
"Anything you say can an will be used against you in the court of Google."

How can we discuss something like SEO while GG is looking over our sholder and correcting the algo each time he reads something intresting?

How can we now tell if the tweaks work at this moment? By testing, and we share this info again on webmasterworld, and the whole process starts again.

There is no end of this.

[edit] i see that it's beiing discusses in another thread, sorry wrong thread. [edit1]removed a line, changed my mind.

[edited by: ikbenhet1 at 3:21 pm (utc) on Sep. 28, 2002]


3:04 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hey! You know what's needed? A real, fully supported "Association of Independent Websites."
In virtually every other industry there are broadscale associations with the power of their membership behind them to negotiate with monopolistic entities, government regulatory agencies, etc.
As long as even quite large websites operate on a totally individual basis with no lobbying/advocacy association to protect our interets, our businesses can be affected by the whims of others.


3:05 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I don't think Google has made these major changes that ultimately affect 2.5 billion sites and hundreds of millions of users just because a handfull of webmasters at WW reveal a fraction of Google's Algorithms.

I feel its combatting one problem and one problem alone - PR for Sale.


3:11 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

it's not that the 'tweaks' are corrected because it's in a thread on webmasterworld, it's because every guy & girl with good or bad intentions, uses these tweaks.

Type 'Google Optimizing' in Google and you get webmasterworld, how many bad willing webmasters are reading these threads?

Like the thing with "go to hell" how do they know that achor text affects their positon?


3:17 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Even if you ascribe the most benevolent motives to Google, what they have dome this time is to implement an algo which - let's say inadventently - has hit the meat and potatoes of their "content suppliers" - i,e, us, the people whose hard work ends up as search results for Google - the hardest.
Honest, content rich, medium to large sites have suffered badly in this update. There are just too many webmasters on here echoing the same sentiment for them all to be wrong.
Lets see if Google fixes it.


3:23 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Google very successully combated the problem of SPAM a long time ago. If you are going to optimise a site for Google, whether you are a good webmaster or a bad webmaster, what does it matter? Optimise for "widget" because you sell them or offer info on them why else? If anything an optimised specific site is what Google users want to see.

Why else would you optimise your site? Because you're a very sad person with too much time on your hands so you optimise a site for "widget" when you actually sell something else - I don't think so.

Google's tried fixing something that wasn't broken in the first place, and ended up smashing it to pieces.


3:28 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

The whole point of screwing with your ranking is to CONVERT you to a pay for basis..it's really that simple.

It's really no secret that the main part of the algo is to NOT let any site rank to well for free for any period of time.

You think thats nonsense? then you need a reality check..

Every move Google makes is to help their bottom line..to increase revenues and profits ..

I wouldn't mind paying if they had a simple rate that didnt screw with MY ROI..

How do that screw with our ROI..?

Same with most these engines that allow some form of bid for placement..they allow a large corporation that can AFFORD to take a loss (out bid you with a price thats a loss leader)..the outbidding company will simply make up that loss on onother keyword..

AND once you decide to pay even once you cant go back to free for a LONG time and get any ranking worthwhile at all ! you think thats by accident !LOL

I am looking more closely at just skipping the middle men(se,s) and running direct email campaigns...


3:30 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I feel its combatting one problem and one problem alone - PR for Sale.


and where was it publicized?

you're contradicting yourself.


3:33 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

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

You should listen to Uncle NFFC more, gave you a heads-up over a month ago ;)


>combatting one problem and one problem alone - PR for Sale.

Looks like they dealt with the "loudest" seller this update.


3:33 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

exactly, subway!
those of us who remember the time when a search for almost anything would get you a porn site optimized for anything but their actual content, remember the mantra "make your page reflect your title, keywords, metatags (for SE's that read them). DON'T attempt to rank well on searches which are not related to your content."
So now it's: ok, that was fun, but we changed the rules...why don't you try and guess what they are cos we're not telling (if we did, it might lead to...GASP..spamming).


3:34 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

bad guys:

Sites with no content, just payment options to enter the site that has no content.
Sites that want to rank #1 for all keywords in the world, cause they sell banner vieuws, or make money other ways or whatever they do.

Making a site should not be about cash. but is is for many people, and they do anyting to rank high, including reading every inch of webmasterworld and using them to spam the index.


3:35 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'm not contradicting myself, They have attempted to combat PR for Sale, and in the process totally recked the whole algo.

PR for sale was never a HUGE problem, hardly anyone even knew about it and yes it was seen here first, but so was the company selling it.

Its a problem that could have been dealt with by human intervention, get the word out not to mess with page rank and then been done with it.

It didn't constitute a total algo overhaul.


3:43 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Subway...did I just miss something about PR..is google doing away with it?


3:45 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Not sure yet if they've done away with it, but thats the only posible reason they would have taken a u-turn on their algo.

It's not like spam was creeping in to the SERPS.


3:56 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

If we take your statement: "If you take as a given that Google wants to give the best page to the user that it can, you're pretty far down that path." as valid, then you are faced with two choices:
1) a significant percentage of the professional webmasters who post here are deluding themselves or lying and they were spamming, had awful sites or were otherwise violating Google rules and have suffered for it;
2) whatever you were trying to fix with this algo went horribly awry and the effect was to dramatically decrease the quality of the "page to the user" favouring spam, 404's and other junk over honest, quality relevant sites.
I realize the sheer scale of Google makes it very difficult to analyze or predict intra-category effects, but you have a pretty strong body of analysis posted on webmasterworld to indicate your algo had unanticipated negative effects on the sites you should value most on your pages.


5:14 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I for one am alittle dissapointed that the title of this thread has not been changed. Attack the update not Google. Google has proven to be a friend to this community.

To suggest that the quanity of non-tenured negative posts represent this community is a reach (imho).

To suggest that Google would kick out quality commercial sites to increase advertising revenue makes no sence at all. Add clicks are still a small percentage of the overall traffic. They are smart enough to know that they need good serps to drive big traffic.

This Update has cleaned up my industry's serps in a major way. The Google customer/user now has the best representation on the Web. This update did not make a huge difference in my rankings, up alittle here and down alittle there. I have been in the thick of it for two years. The difference is this update has brought back competitors that I haven't seen in a long time. So I am looking at things like retail prices and shipping terms again rather then being frustrated with tainted results.


5:32 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

ignoring your comments on the thread title or some of the inflammatory statements made here, your experience does not invalidate the growing collective assessment.
I, for one, don't believe this was some Google conspiricy to damage the serp of specific sites or site categories. What I do believe is it was a shotgun approach to fix a specific problem (and I do realize Google operates under tremendous time constraints) that, perhaps in your category, was successful but in many more had a disastrous effect.
What I see is that the largest sites were untouched; those in the medium to big category were hit very hard - especially content rich, honest sites with a reasonable number of related links - and tiny sites benefitted by spaces opened up by the plummeting serps of the medium sites.
If it was just my site you could say it is sour grapes, but I see the same thing with 6 of my competitors who were formerly top 10: all good sites, some better than mine.


5:32 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

David? "To suggest that Google would kick out quality commercial sites to increase advertising revenue makes no sence at all"

Yes, that would be a reach wouldnt it..trying to force your commercial listing to pay (problem is EVERY site is a commercial site..everyone is selling something)! LOL

The idea that somehow because google has been a "friend" to this community means that they shouldnt be "untouchable" represents the "goodole boy" way of doing business in the past..

I deal with my friends in an open and honest ways when they are jerks and when things are going great ..thats what "friends" are for..

Google screwed this update up big time AGAIN ! you cant seperate Google from the update...

I would like nothing better than to see Google offer some STABILITY in their listings for the webmaster as well as the searchers..

I would like nothing better than to see Google offer realistic advertising options that cannot be abused by large corporations PUMPING the bidding..

I am willing to give my money to any engine that can offer stabilty and "safe" advertising..


5:37 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

PR counts for a lot less now, therefore so do the backward links. I agree with Everyman that Google has literally dropped a smart bomb that has caused "collateral damage" in the process.

It was the only way to stop PR for sale, and will subsequently change the appearance of the SERPS for a while to come.


6:07 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


I am seeing the same thing as you.


6:33 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

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

Hang on. This thread is overwhelmingly negative. Most people who have offerred information about changes in ranking have also said that the Google results now (at least in their keywords) are sub-optimal (Excuse the conservative spin!)

Now if some sites have gone down, some must have gone up. So where are those whose sites have benefited so far? Are they waiting for a few more days? Is this an update that has blasted WebmasterWorld members mainly (though those who are posting the most seem to be fairly new members) - or amateur/professional SEO's in general? What are the implications of this?

Not wanting to beat the drum again, but I recall now GoogleGuys advice of maybe 6 months back that "amatuer SEO's" should be pretty careful.

I know it would be also interesting to know for those people who say their sites have gone down what keyword areas they are in and the type of site. There are a lot of observations of own sites and previous high rankers plummeting, together with general observations on how Google is now no good, but it would be interesting to know what "kind" of sites these are affecting.

The key question. Is anybody whose site(s) has gone up also seeing that Google results now are as horrible overall as others? Bring on these guys and lets get the other side of the story.

I just have a strong suspician we are hearing only one side of the story.


6:54 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)


I have posted many times in many threads, that I have been unable to find this great problem with the SERPs. I tried all sorts of things that I would normally search for and only one seemed to return bad results. This is an improvment over last month. So as a surfer, I am satisfied.

As a webmaster, my site just made it into the index at PR5. My only goal is to get the entire site into the index, and let the content speak for itself. But I don't have my income riding on it. I will only do some sort of SEO if it will improve the usability to the surfer.

By the way, the 2 real content pages that made it in the index, do come up #1 and #2, with no SEO, on several relevant searches. So I have nothing to complain about there either.

If someone optimizes for a competitive word, I have no problem with them being knocked down and letting other sites have a chance. Yeah, some spam will rise to the top, but Google can knock it down next month.


7:09 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Google is still changing, updating. There is no way of drawing any conclusions at this point. When it settles down we should see most of the regular sites back to where they have always been.
One sector that I track is casino/gambling, big movement. If this was to hold the results would be just as relevant than before the update.
What this would tell me is, many are targetting one or two known aspects of the algo.


7:11 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


As it relates to my industry, there are about 30 good competing sites. The top 3 are all PR8.

2 of those PR8 sites are in the top 10 just like me, and other quality sites are still there too (including my site) :)

I think the quality level has gone up if you ask me. You no longer need a 4 word spammy domain to get first page which is great. You don't have to go nuts with the titles, you just need high quality inbound links with good link text that reflect your title and content very well.

I've also noticed that many of my competitors that had multi-domains have had one site remain in the top 10, and all others dropped. (the same spammers that dominated say 1/3 or more of the top 10 previously).

So to me, this update has a mix of the high PR and well established sites in there fighting it out with the lower PR sites (like mine, now a PR5).


7:13 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

>Google has proven to be a friend to this community.<

Well thank goodness - as my daily visit totals from Google crash through the floor, at least I know we can still be friends...


7:15 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

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

Some of my pages rose for their target terms, others sagged.

The pattern I'm seeing is this: in every case the pages that have stayed stable or improved are those that have the strongest and best links that are truly external - unreciprocated links coming in from outside, as opposed to link exchanges or cross-linking within my own little empire.

My theory is that Google is trying sort out the links where the webmaster has influence and give more weight to a link's true "externalness". This pattern is holding well on pages of mine, pages that have not had any changes in the last several weeks. Of course, that could just be coincidence...

It sends us back to the basics of what page rank is trying to measure in the first place - validation by other sites.

Dauction, I'm curious: how many *truly external* links does your site have whose fall triggered this thread?


7:15 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

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

Thanks Sasquatch. To answer my own question (sorry!), I just have not been able to find any irrelevant SERPs so far and I have done around 100 searches. Most looked better than the last index.

The terms i look for are to find information - 2 or 3 word queries with keywords included such as economics, business, trade (with country name), World trade, consumer marketing, bebop jazz, country profiles, EURO currency, international business, chinese news, terrorism, Iraq, advertising channels, php scripts, RSS feeds, business books, travel, etc etc.

apart from some (country name - hotels) searches where a few came up with 2 or 3 pages from the same site, the results all look great.

What are you other guys searching on? I know these are not competitive terms, and are quite specific. I would guess in very competitive terms most sites look basically the same, and it all comes down to optimization?


6:15 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

Okay, I'm tired of the "I hate Google" stuff.

What were the real problems that Google addressed with September's algorithm change?

So far I have:

1. Fix the "go to hell" googlebomb.
2. PR sales.
3. Improve crawling of dynamic content.
4. Returning some sites with penalties to the index

Any others?


7:15 pm on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I read in some places including this message that "inbound text links" hasn't got the same value in this new google algo. On my site it seems to haven't had that effect, in my eyes this update has had a higher "inbound links"-effect or something of that long called and talked about theme effect.

The keywords of mine that are exactly in my theme has all gone up, most in top 5 now... were in top 30. But one page that is slightly off of theme and that has been in top 5 for almost a year suddenly slipped off to 120! I haven't had time to go through all my site yet, because google seems to flux a little still... but as I see it the keywords that are close to my theme and the theme in the inbound links has stayed the same and the keywords that are a little off has dipped markantly...

Input on this?

This 521 message thread spans 18 pages: 521

Featured Threads

Hot Threads This Week

Hot Threads This Month