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I have put in an ENOURMOUS amount of effort to build up my business over the last 2 years and have done everything in my power not to offend the google gods in anyway by following all the basic do's and don'ts that they suggest on their website.
I operate ONE website with enourmous amounts of content, have a good internal linking structure and a decent on-topic reciprocal linking program.
I have for the last year remained on either page one or two for many important keyword searches(occasionally slipping down to page 3 or 4), which is quite acceptable.
BUT BEING BLOWN FROM MANY NUMBER ONE POSITIONS TO NOWHERE TO BE FOUND IS SIMPLY UNBELIEVABLE AND UNFAIR.
My business supports over 20 familes around the world and now I really dont know what to tell them now - cos I just dont know anymore!
I am sure that I am just one example of millions in the same position.
How in the world can Google be so cruel?
You may say dont ONLY RELY on google for ALL your traffic and my answer to that is I DONT! I held top ten positions in Altavista, Inktomi and other engines but still 90% of traffic came from Google!
You may also say try PAID ADVERTISING!
Well I am afraid that just aint an option. How does a little guy like myself compete with the giants that are quite obviously throwing money down the drain.
Paying $4 per click when you need 100 clicks for a sale and you only average $20 profit per sale` is LUDICROUS!
Doesnt Google get it!
They need us as much as we need them!
They want quality sites - we build them - but how can they expect us to run businesses where we can be destroyed OVERNIGHT!
As I said before going from page 1 to page 2 or even page 3 is quite acceptable but going from number one positions to page 10 and beyond is extreme and UNJUST! especially where no spam tactics have been employed!
Wishing you all the best of luck with the next UPDATE!
My attitude to your particular situation, is to get back up and start looking at the reasons - causes that google could have downgraded your site. Then put the gloves back on get back in the ring and get on with it. Unless someone at Google HQ, has taken a particular interest in your site, which i very much doubt from what your saying, then it was a machine and a slightly changed algo that did it.
Anyway, i hope you figure it out and get yourself back on top.
Trouble is that there just seems to be no consistancy in the serps from one search term to the next so its impossible to understand the changes in the algo.
I.E for the serach term "Blue widgets" - I am still on page 1 but for "Red widgets" I have been dumped to page 10 and beyond and BTW Blue Widgets is a less competetive term.
Major logic error, nervous_seo. The satisfaction of webmasters with Google is a constant. You may be unhappy that your site has fallen way down in the SERPs for key search terms. However, the webmasters who moved up in the SERPs think Google finally got it right, and are happy they rank higher than you. From the webamasters point of view, it is a zero sum game. Somebody has gotta be #1, and somebody has to be #101 in the SERPs. What isn't a constant is the web surfers satisfaction. If they find Alltheweb gives better results than Google, they'll switch to Alltheweb. I haven't read surfers are abandoning Google in droves.
Based on your example - it stands to reason that Google each and every undate adds new sites and pages, and many have other SEO'ers staking their reputation on the line. Competition will always get harder not easier or remain the same.
"Quality sites" don't need SEOing, poorly developed sites need it...
This means unless you are cutting edge and always in the learning mode as to what works "NOW" you will be slowly left behind.
It's relatively easy to get a site to number #1, and alot harder to keep it there, especially in an ever-changing environment.
[edited by: fathom at 10:28 am (utc) on Oct. 26, 2002]
You are missing the point!
I understand that we cant all be on page one - its just that if a website has ranked well for the past year then it shouldnt just be bumped from page 1 to page 10 if it hasnt committed any offences.
Radical changes for no reason is what gets my goat. Going from page 1 to page 3 or 4 is normal and accepatble but being smacked down to page 10 and beyond is unfair.
Problem is, when the newbie finds something that works, they repeat, repeat, repeat until it unknowingly becomes spam, even though they don't realize that's what they are doing, and their competitors snitch or an algo trashes them.
So despite conventional wisdom that says repeat, repeat, repeat ... I say repeat a little, keep experimenting for other things that work, then repeat them a little.
Oh, and spending two years building ONE website is playing Russian Roulette with a six shooter loaded with six cartridges.
I know Google isn't just some website... it's the starting point of Internet for many people. However, it would seem many people here believe Google owes them or anything. Google traffic is probably too good to lead people think getting traffic is easy. I know some webmasters who get 10,000 daily visitors easy from Google, and when the traffic drops by 30% in some weird G dance, they go blame everywhere. I don't see the point. It doesn't make sense. This is why I think SEO is a rather risky business. The investment in time, money, and effort might be jusified in one month, but vanished after next G dance.
I'm not offending anyone in particular in here. I truely understand what kind of situation most of you are in. I have a site whose fate lies in the hands of Google. I could easily become rich in one month and begger after the next dance.
Since Google dance is a huge uncertainty for my business, I would try to diversify the risk by having other solid traffic source. I wouldn't count search engine traffic as one. Depending on the site category you are in, there are numerous options to accomplish this goal.
I hope you are back to good ranking in the next index.
[edited by: irock at 10:43 am (utc) on Oct. 26, 2002]
Oh, and spending two years building ONE website is playing Russian Roulette with a six shooter loaded with six cartridges.
... depends what you mean by that. If you mean that we should have our feet in as many camps/different income streams as possible, then I agree.
If, however, you mean that this two years worth of content should be spread over several sites 'just in case' one slips through the cracks, then I'm not sure I agree. I loathe mirrors, sub-domains, subtly-different-yet-backed-by-the-same-database sites, and it would appear that Google does also.
I may well come back to this thread with egg on my face, as it looks like our (one) site is about to disappear from the radar thanks to an IP change. It's not going to be nice in the meantime, but I'm confident that Googlebot will come back and we'll be back up there again.
My competition has also been bumped down.
The only competeition that hasnt been affected are the ones with thousands of KEYWORD TEXT RICH incoming links from OFF THEM sites. Mnay of these are affiliate doorway pages!
Serps also show lots of irrelevant results i.e Blue widget search in many cases show red widgets results.
I guess that its the travel industry that has been most severly affected.
BTW how and where do I receive sticky mail?
It is too easy to say, don't rely so much on Google, etc., but if you run an online business, the facts are:
- People use search engines to find things online
- Google is responsible for around 50-70% of searches
- You lose Google, you lose 50-70% of your business - it is that simple.
- What are the alternatives to recuperate that business lost - none, without spending an arm and a leg on Overpriced Overture or AdWords
Im not in an internet-only business. So i prpbably cant relate very well. We only use the internet as one of our marketing tools. But I would never go into an internet-only business with a business plan that included projected revenue from search engine exposure.
Really its just a bonus, and its not only the last month that its become obvious. Its been obvious for years, as those who lived through the AV black wednesday or whatever will remember. Smaller changes like infoseek folding, and many specialist directories folding - (eg. we used to get 60% of our hits from Pointcast!) Just add a couple more.. Google last month and Y! this month.
I really dont think you can build a sustainable business on being found through search engines. But that's just personal. I may well be wrong.
All i can suggest is to look at related areas away from the Web, seeing you say your margins cannot take into account paying for Web exposure. I really hope that it turns around for you. I dont know your business, but some creative thinking just may offer an answer. But like i always say, if you dont think you could pay for rank 1 to 3 in overture or adwords, you probably dont have a sustainable business.
Nervous_seo - I guess that its the travel industry that has been most severly affected.
Chiyo - I really dont think you can build a sustainable business on being found through search engines. But that's just personal. I may well be wrong.
hmmm... the travel industry is very sustainable via search engines.
This industry is backwards to every other industry with respect to marketing.
"Travel" must bring the customer (a few from everywhere) to the product vice sending the product (everywhere - one at a time) to the customer.
In traditionally marketing, local advertising works very well since these markets are more local than global.
It's a hard sell to your neighbor "to travel, stay, use, etc." with you when they are already there. The travel industry is quickly learning this... and competition is getting much harder.
But dollar, for dollar you can do alot more... particularly when Google is still "FREE"!
I couldn’t agree more. My business is close to 100% Internet based and I fear the monthly Google update. It can turn my life upside down within hours. It has never been more unsafe to rely on SE hits than it is now. In "old days" if you couldn't make it through Excite's Monday updates, well then you had AV and several other SE's to rely on. Today the Internet is over Googled and I have a hard time seeing where I would find replacement for Google visitors. All the 2nd chances worth worrying about (except Fast)are now showing Google
It is kind of like people who played in the stock market. They didn't complain when things were good and everything was overvalued, but when the bottom dropped out, all of the sudden the game was unfair and needed to be fixed.
This free advertising gives many internet based businesses a significant advantage over traditional businesses who spend thousands of dollars each month on advertising. The advantage of actually spending money on advertising is that you can count on definite placement and leads coming in on a day to day basis.
Google is always going to flux and needs to be allowed to do so. The problem is not totally one of the algo or even various penalties - plain and simple it is one of market share.
In "old days" if you couldn't make it through Excite's Monday updates, well then you had AV and several other SE's to rely on. Today the Internet is over Googled and I have a hard time seeing where I would find replacement for Google visitors
Yes, it is a cruel old world...but Google ain't in business to be "fair" to webmasters. As someone says earlier in the thread the punters are not (currently) flocking in droves to Fast, or anyone else. The punters are voting with their feet and staying/moving to Google.
Many of my sites have been around long enough to be on the first page of virtually every major SERP. However if Google "dumps" a site then I can never (currently) recover that traffic, because the other SEs do not deliver the traffic (even though I appear on their first SERP).
This year one site got "greyed" by Google and another dropped from PR6 to PR2. I still do not really understand why - but anyone indulging in SEO must accept that they are balancing on a greasy pole - its nice when you are balanced on it, but the fall is sudden and unpredictable. I have another 50 sites doing (currently) well and maximised in the same way as the ones penalised by Google.
The only thought I can offer Nervous_SEO is that most of us have been around long enough to knoew that the SE landscape is likely to look radically different this time next year, but nobody knows how.
All of googles revenues exist because of the search they provide and it's quality. People / businesses do end up relying on the traffic because they have no choice - Google is the main SE medium. If it wasn't Google it would be a different company doing almost the same thing.
When google takes a site from No.1 to No.101 for no reason other than an algo change there is something extremely wrong. Either google had the results wrong in the past or they have them wrong now - either way it's a sign of confusion. Of course there are winners & losers, but everybody is a loser in the end if Google becomes nothing more than a roll of the dice - because then nobody can rely on them, including the public & it deters people from creating good sites.
One of googles main strengths is it not only provides an excellent search to the public, but it drives webmasters to create excellent sites for the public. If a "valued site" is valued one month & then next month it isn't worth anything then nobody benefits in the end.
Nervous_SEO - I feel for your situation. I think we will find that google hit the accelerator too hard last month & will go back to a more stepwise evolution of the algo. They won't admit it - but I'm sure they realize that they messed up a bit last month. They are smart people - they will get it right.
Sure if I lose my #2 spot in google, I will lose 10% of my traffic from google and it affiliates, but with hard work, I can get that 10% back via different methods.
We are either #1 or #2 on Google. We feel we deserve this position. If Google mess up and change the alrogrithm, Google will suffer, not me in the long run.
If Google starts serving spam instead of the industry leaders, people will simply find better search engines to use, and Google can kiss their profitability goodbye.
That's what I mean, mat, but not in any of the forms of the spam you list. Any spam techniques will get trashed sooner or later, usually sooner. But since we don't always know what the rules are, and what subtle mistakes can unwittingly put us in the spam bucket, and since we can no longer diversify by optimizing for several search engines, spreading DIFFERENT content using DIFFERENT optimization approaches over a couple domains should smooth out the feast/famine cycles a bit. I see this approach as neither spam nor rocket science. It's just common sense.
I think that perhaps conditions should be added to patents to ensure that they are used responsibly, though I don't know how that could be implemented in practice.
Some very good advice in this thread I'll just add this;
Spoke to a lot of people at PubCon who had been banned/penalised at G!, they without exception said the same thing "getting a penalty/ban was the best thing that ever happened". Time to look at other traffic sources, you WILL end up stronger for it.