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Google Update Bourbon - Part 1

Has the sandbox been busted?

   
8:35 am on May 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

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continued from: [webmasterworld.com...]


Seeing something happening on 64.233.163.104 and 64.233.167.104 - might be worth keeping an eye on.
9:27 pm on May 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

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



There are over 100 threads on these issues, and I personally don't have one bookmarked. Someone more techno-geeky than me might want to contribute one at some point.

"Do you agree that there is a problem with google and the way it handles non-www and www domains?"

Sure. GoogleGuy has talked about this a lot. they try to find the canonical URL, and they sem to succeed the big majority of the time, but sometimes they fail, and they fail more often in cases where webmasters choose to be aggressively confusing (like linking to "/index.php" or whatever instead of "/").

9:37 pm on May 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

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It seems someone in the Googleplex decided that:
If your site:
- is more than 1 year old
- has PR5 or better
- contains more than 5.000 pages
- receives more than 1.000 inbound links
And:
- some dozens of scrapers have collected content from your site
- some dozens of scrapers are redirecting outgoing links to your site
- you have no enough money to be a recoognized brand

...you will be in nowhere.

Great.

It looks like this to me... My site was PR6, 5000 articles, 10000 forum entries, and since Friday my traffic from Google is 1/3 of usual, nowhere to be seem on SERPS and AdSense of course dropped like a bomb.

Not happy. Hard work for a (good) content site, with thousands of links just to have this...

9:44 pm on May 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

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freitasm relax,
we are still in the midle of the storm. Two of my sites went about 200 positions down on friday and went back to #1 several minutes ago ....
9:48 pm on May 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I agree! This is the common ingredient in the gravy:

The hallmarks of being an authority in its field are now the kiss of death.

>1 year old
>PR5
Lots of pages
Lots of inbound link
Picked up by scrapers galore
Top ten with every other search engine

Dave741... I wish I were so lucky.

9:50 pm on May 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



When I search for adult terms i see thousands of different blogs coming up, so watch out when you get visitors searching for adult terms your blog has been spammed.
9:54 pm on May 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Hello,

Im a SEO of an big German shopping portal. This shopping portal had
until May 2004 very good results. From may till august 2004 this portal were
devalued by Google strongly. By the middle of December 2004 the results were again
excellent. After this a devaluation was carried out again with heights and depths.
The results were always much worse than at "normal" times. With the new
the last 2 days, Google devaluated this portal again. We don't know why!
5-6 strong competitors are still excellent listed.

We look for a SEO (experience with portal optimization) which can compare
us with the competitors and can do an analysis about our portal.

If you are interested, please mail by PN. Thanks!

10:27 pm on May 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Why are you guys so worried about google? Get over it, the rest of the world is moving on so should you. Crappy answers on google have led most of my friends to use Yahoo! or MSN, google is kinda like the dorky thing now.

doh!

10:36 pm on May 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



The hallmarks of being an authority in its field are now the kiss of death.

>1 year old
>PR5
Lots of pages
Lots of inbound link
Picked up by scrapers galore
Top ten with every other search engine

I fit every one of these parameters, yet I'm still #1 for main kws and top 10 for many others, so I dont believe its this cut and dry.

>I think steveb is onto something...

Perhaps. My sites dont have the issues he mentioned and they are unscathed up to now.

Seems to be some tightening on criteria for subpages to rank, especially. Since Florida, subs could still do very well based largely on their content, though with some variability depending on the month.

But my early observation re Bourbon is that subpage hurdles rose more substantially in a few important ways than homepage hurdles.

This is the area where I have been impacted. Interior pages that ranked top 10 are now all over the board.

Why are you guys so worried about google? Get over it, the rest of the world is moving on so should you. Crappy answers on google have led most of my friends to use Yahoo! or MSN, google is kinda like the dorky thing now.

One word. Traffic. The same rankings in Yahoo or MSN yields less than 10% of my Google traffic.

[edited by: Kirby at 10:39 pm (utc) on May 22, 2005]

10:37 pm on May 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Why are you guys so worried about google?

Because it drives 70%-80% of your traffic - doh!
10:55 pm on May 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Okay, here's my first, last and only post in a "Brandy update" thread so do read it carefully, and act upon it. I will say this only once, and some of you will be offended, the rest will benefit:

---

Run a tight ship. Get your domains and URLs under control. Not being consistent in URLs is the single most serious Google problem and it always strikes hard during updates. As in "now" and as in "you".

Feel free to think about all kinds of penalties and other stuff in stead as blaming others is always the easy solution, but beware that they're most likely not real and you're wasting your time. Take control of your own site first. If you can't even control your own site, how on earth would you think you should have any influence over the ranking (or lack thereof) in Google?

As for 301'ing your non-www to www I wrote how already in October 2003, in post #4 here [webmasterworld.com] (as well as lots of times before and after). Being a reader here, there is no excuse for not knowing about the importance of this little thing.

Just do it. And yes, it will still take at least three weeks to get this sorted out. Nowadays it will take at least one full month. Sometimes even several months, and that's not because something is wrong - it's just dead slow and painful, so you better do it sooner than later.

---

I should add that there are probably sites that have been hit by "Brandy" but not hit by URI confusion/duplicate issues - those cases might be worthwhile to discuss, the rest is just the usual stuff, like "spring cleaning" if you like.

Oh, and best wishes to all, I hope some of you will rank better after this update.

[edited by: claus at 11:02 pm (utc) on May 22, 2005]

10:56 pm on May 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



>>For me, I see 7 varying sets of results from that list.

bunltd, look for them to match or close to a match.

10:56 pm on May 22, 2005 (gmt 0)



Nope. Unless you have a site where you can make $50K a month and only need about two good months a year. Google's motto now is "when in doubt, exclude the site". If it means hurting innocent sites, so be it.

"Congratulations on anyone who is doing well out of this update. Don't plan on retiring on your sites income though. Personally, I'm designing a 'find me in Yahoo' advert that I plan to put on all of my pages. "

11:04 pm on May 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I went from 9500 pages on google to only 5520 overnight.
and the past few weeks, my links that are still there are quickly changing to just the title and url, (not indexed).
Do you think that during the big crawls of my site it might bring back some pages, or is it time for a redesign/ new url?
11:06 pm on May 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Lesson to be learned here...

Dont use any kind of redirect or Script - It will muck something up sometime. Im sure this part of the update will be sorted with a slight ago change sometime next week. Im sure that will cause more problems as well.

PS. who makes up these update names?

11:07 pm on May 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



nealrap:

I would wait another week or two before making any big changes to your site and see if anything else changes.

11:12 pm on May 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

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>> here's my first, last and only post in a "Brandy update" thread

Bourbon - and make that two of them. Cheers ;)
11:30 pm on May 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

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thanks for the advice rj87uk
I am pretty dependent on google traffic for 3/4 of my main site income.
I probably need to get into yahoo & msn more so next time I don't go broke if they decide to do this again.
11:59 pm on May 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I rank #1 of the other search engines with no effort at all. But Google... man, it sure is hard work. Or guess work. Both.

Food for thought:

1. The webmaster believes that the drop in rankings was his fault.
2. The webmaster has an inability to place the responsibility for the drop in rankings elsewhere.
3. The webmasters fears for his income/life.
4. The webmaster has an irrational belief that Google is omnipresent and omniscient.

(If it sounds like battered woman's syndrome to you... you're good, you're real good...)

12:00 am on May 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



so should we put 301 redirects for all of our site.com pages to redirect to www.site.com? Or is this the cause of the problems for some of you? my site.com only has a pr4 and my www.site.com has a pr of 6.
12:04 am on May 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Bourbon - and make that two of them. Cheers ;)

I think he said Brandy because there's still a lot of anti-american sentiment going on.

I'm hoping it'll be the Carlsberg update next ;-)

Carlsberg don't do updates, but if they did, they'd probably be the best updates in the world!

12:25 am on May 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



My lesson learned from all this....

1) I have a small site (10 pages). It bounced all over the place for the past week, but has settled back to about where it was to begin with.
2) Since I am a manufacturer of a "widget" and developed a strong company brand identification with that widget, most of our SE referrals are from the searcher typing in our company name.
3) We have been stuck at positions 11 or 12 on yahoo, google for the past several years for the kword widget. Most of the time we are in the top 10 on MSN.
4) Some of the websites listed above us buy from us and sell our widget.

Over the past years I have tried everything I know to do...mostly getting my information from this forum, to break into the top 10 across the board. I would rather challenge our buyers and take them out by gettin better position. But this is a nut I cannot crack it seems.

I know most here have websites which generate revenue from ppc. We are at the other end. The "big box" retailers feature our product and in turn if you pull up our company name I am astonded by the number of websites under us that I guess are considered affilates directing traffic the the big box retailers.

My observation is this...control the product you are selling. It's would be great if you could make a great website with informative information about various products, then provide a click through to buy that product from another source. But in the end you are at the mercy of the Google gods. It seems from reading all the posts it has been feast or famine for awhile.

One thing I have noticed about this update. Doing searches for different products it seems that the sources of these products are now appearing at the top of the serps. Whereas before, you would get alot of referrer sites to get to the source. One poster illustrated this with the kw "via6ga".

I still say this update was more about cleaning up the serps to give what google assumes Joe searcher is looking for. Still I see sites at the top that do not validate, some blackhat seo,etc.

12:53 am on May 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



"One thing I have noticed about this update. Doing searches for different products it seems that the sources of these products are now appearing at the top of the serps. Whereas before, you would get alot of referrer sites to get to the source. One poster illustrated this with the kw "via6ga".

I still say this update was more about cleaning up the serps to give what google assumes Joe searcher is looking for. Still I see sites at the top that do not validate, some blackhat seo,etc."

Wow you are so right. I just did a search for 20 different products and the actual product company is at position one. I agree this has been a very good update as far as cleaning things up.

ann

12:59 am on May 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

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



A good thing seems to have been happening for me. A lot of the scraper and spam sites that have been ripping my traffic with use of my domain name anywhere from keywords to actually putting www.mydomain.com in two places way abovr the fold...that one has no content other then a few links and some google adsense ads.

It is gone from google as far as I can tell but it is predominately in Teoma/askjeeves. Under several variations of their url. I reported them to Teoma but will have to see what comes of it.

ANYWAY, thanks Google, ya did good.

2:48 am on May 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I was just comparing the Yahoo results with the Google results in my end of the web.

Yahoo lets in a few scrapers, sure. Much as I consider the scrapers to be a nuisance, I reckon that overall, the search result tend to bring out the true authority sites as might be defined by link popularity and site size. It blends the real heavyweights in proper order with a few scrapers.

The Google results are simply weird. Rather than the real authority sites coming up, I see an assemblage of sites that are much more weakly related to the keywords than Yahoo's SERPs. It's almost as a "barely a hint of widget" outranks "widgets, widgets everywhere, just widgets." Certainly, the SERPs aren't bringing out authority sites, not by a stretch - more than half are excessively lightweight, some are only peripherally related. Google's SERPs aren't quite right anymore.

Just this morning I was searching for some specific sites I occasionally visit, but have not bookmarked. Keying in actual site names. Google was not even close to giving me what I was looking for. When Google can't give me"Abdullah's Rocky Mountain Flying Widget Fur Corporation" when you type the whole thing in the search box, that's when I'm starting to consider giving Yahoo a second chance as my first choice for a search engine.

Bourbon might just be the update that helps Yahoo. And I am beginning to realize, reading this thread, that Google's dominance is a very bad thing for us all, making us so totally dependent on its whims.

It's going to take a long time for searchers to switch from the Google brand. But if they are regularly disappointed when Google misses the mark on a search term specific enough to zero in on the target, habits are bound to break.

I kind of like the concept of a "Find me in Yahoo" banner for my site at this point!

2:50 am on May 23, 2005 (gmt 0)



Holy cow! A site that I had written off for at least a few more months finally got some Google traffic. Not much (12 clicks) but it's a start.
The funny part? I rank 200+ for "mydomain.com". Maybe it's one of those testing DCs rotating...
2:57 am on May 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



It makes someone to believe that monthly updates is a kind of instability and self confidence or what else can that be ,so many names florida update austin alegra brandy bourbon,that is no serious is becoming a joke,if Google has all those muster minds why the hell dont make an algo and just live it for a few years,they know they can not fight spam the spamers will crack within weeks the filters and will do there job again and again,we show pages that where gone in Alegra to come back now,so whats the point of reindexing and reindexing,today here tommorow nowhere and next week back again,it looks to me just a big Joke.
3:12 am on May 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



<<it seems that the sources of these products are now appearing at the top of the serps. Whereas before, you would get alot of referrer sites to get to the source.>>

How utterly logical....

3:31 am on May 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Still doing fine and in fact a little better than since the last update. I don't know what to say to those experiencing set backs, so I'll just say good luck to all. I hope it all works out for you.

I have always put my site in the same league as EFV, so I am waiting for the axe to fall on my site as well ... but so far, so good.

3:37 am on May 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I rank #1 of the other search engines with no effort at all. But Google... man, it sure is hard work. Or guess work. Both.

Precisely. Satisfying Google is a pain in the a$$, plain and simple. Too much instability, and absolutely they are the most secretive organization in the world. As far as I'm concerned, I'd be happy if webmasters showed a little resolve and told them that if they want to constantly play games like this, then PAY US, OPEN UP, or torque off.

eBay thought they could do no wrong, and they're in the tank. Google is on the exact same path.

History does not always repeat, but it often rhymes.

3:41 am on May 23, 2005 (gmt 0)



The Google results are simply weird. Rather than the real authority sites coming up, I see an assemblage of sites that are much more weakly related to the keywords than Yahoo's SERPs. It's almost as a "barely a hint of widget" outranks "widgets, widgets everywhere, just widgets." Certainly, the SERPs aren't bringing out authority sites, not by a stretch - more than half are excessively lightweight, some are only peripherally related. Google's SERPs aren't quite right anymore.

I've noticed the same thing in some of the travel SERPs, where a search on "elboniaville" might yield a one-page description of Elboniaville in a hotel-booking site for the whole of Elbonia, a short Wikopedia article, a one-paragraph description at template-based-travel.com, and a page of hotel listings with an "add your review" invitation at community-supplied-content.com. Anything authoritative (say, a 500-page site or 100 pages of editorial coverage within a larger information site) is likely to have gone missing in action.

This isn't a new problem--it's been going on for a couple of months--but it seems worse now than it was before the update.

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