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Google Update Bourbon Part 3

     
8:35 pm on May 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Continued From:

[webmasterworld.com...]



My whole site has a new cache date of May 25th. Maybe once these other sites around me get recached, I won't hold such an honorable top position. But at least Google has found my pages worthy to sit in the Search again.:) It seems strange to look at the stats and see Google in there, after 6 months of just seeing Yahoo and MSN referrals.

My website has plenty of outbound links, but they are on relevant pages. The problem my site has always had, was a lack of "inbound links." I got tired of searching for people to link to me (with all the spammy sites around) and gave up. So my pages have acquired some links naturally I guess(and I'll bet I still don't have more than 30 inbound links for the whole site) Still have a PR4, which I've had since it disappeared in Nov.

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 8:54 pm (utc) on May 27, 2005]

2:24 pm on June 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I feel for Clint. "Throwing the baby out with the bathwater," "collateral damage," and "some go up, some go down" all sound innocent enough.

And I think part the the tragedy of this update is that there is some kind of "all or nothing" effect. People who ranked highly, and whose livelihood depends on a decent ranking, suddenly find themselves obliviated on page 37, and won't even show up for their company name.

I don't subscribe to a grand Google plot to grab more AdSense money. They might want to maintain the integrity of the system, which in theory should benefit us.

But until they restore their results to be at least as good as Yahoo's, they have s serious public relations disaster brewing. They have given themselves 2 more weeks to restore the SERPs to some semblance of relevance. But in the end, what's more important? An algo that maintains the integrity of the AdSense publishing network punishing scrapers, or relevant SERPs?

I suppose, and reseller will blow me kisses for posting this, if Google is not really sure which is best, it can rotate its algos.

2:26 pm on June 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Everything still looks fabulous in the allin's, which appear to be completely ignored.

Yep, same here, allin's good, although some of the non-relevant results are slowly trending down. We're still stuck in the basement.

LisaB

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I'd expect that things will be back to their normal level of everflux by New Orleans.

Thats the from his post.

He may be being cautious - but we have probably still got a bit of dancing to go.

2:28 pm on June 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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hellebourne,
Validate your code, this could only help your situation. You have a few errors that would be considered fatal when a bot crawls your site. I am sure to save bandwidth during this update, the googlebot is making an early exit when it hits a site that it has to make accomodations for. This could explain your drop in the serps

Hello, removal from G also has nothing to do with HTML errors. I currently have 5 websites. 2 are for my business. 3 are just domain names for sale. They are all "coded" the exact same way, meaning; if certain HTML "errors" are on one, they are on all of them (since I did all of them). My 2 biz sites were trashed, where as the 3 domain names for sale sites shot up to the 1st page, and one even in the 1st position. This is in a search for the fields they represent. One, (the one in 1st place), is so screwed up HTML wise (by some free hosts) that it is not even displayed properly in a browser! It's loaded with JS errors, script errors, HTML errors, etc., generated by their PopUp BS and ad banners--some static and some dynamically generated. You can also run any of the sites appearing on the first few pages for a G search through a validator and see tons of errors. (Recently one of these other 3 sites has also been trashed but it was not the one with all the errors).

No one is saying that it's not good practice to avoid HTML errors. Of course it is, no one denies that. Can it affect SE rankings? No, at least not in G.

I, WE are still awaiting on GoogleGuy's response as to why were certain sites targeted! What are the commonalties shared by the targeted sites?

2:31 pm on June 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Clint, I see no such movement in my keyphrases.
Still dominating the top positions are very ancient, dull sites that have lost backlinks, and some poor quality directories/linkfarms with aggressive reciprocal linking policies.

Neither have I, and same here. I still "no longer exist on this planet" according to G. I've had my "identity and life erased". I think all those in our position AT LEAST deserve an explanation.

2:36 pm on June 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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But until they restore their results to be at least as good as Yahoo's, they have s serious public relations disaster brewing.

When I hear people describe how great Yahoo's SERPs are, it is usually in the context of "because my sites do better in Yahoo! than in Google". Is anybody here applying a different criterion?

It's the old question of "why are there so many Windows viruses, and so few targeting the Mac?" Because the market leader is the juiciest target. If Yahoo! displaced Google as the market leader in search, the spammers would focus their efforts on Yahoo!, and people affected by Yahoo's anti-spam efforts would surely come here to whine that Google (or some other rival service) is better than Yahoo!, because they do better in the SERPs of that rival.

Now, there is little question but that some legitimate sites will be affected by any attempt to diminish spam, because spammers work hard to trick search engines into believing their sites are legitimate. The criteria applied to eliminate spammers will almost always affect some of the legitimate sites they imitate, as well as legitimate websites which use certain SEO techniques preferred by the spammers. If you're among that minority of sites, sure, you have grounds to complain. But Google is looking at the forest - with billions of pages at issue it has to look at the forest - not the individual trees.

Personally, I find Google's SERPs to be markedly improved in recent months for searches on commercial subjects, and to be pretty much unchanged for the academic subjects I most often research through Google. So I won't get bent out of shape until it's my ox that's being gored. ;-)

2:46 pm on June 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I've done everything I can:

1) Reduced boiler plate html by 60% on all pages
2) Reduced internal linking structure
3) Did the W3C validation so I'm left with only a few attribute name issues.

So now I'm left with 200+ pages of unique programming technique examples/discussion

And, 10-20K of scrapers linking in.

Only 15% pages now in index with description and no rankings for any keywords including company name.

Used to get 3-5K Google visitors a day.

2:57 pm on June 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Hi All,

I am happy for those who are doing well during this update but more information as to why would be more beneficial to us. All we can do is compare what sites are going down to the sites that are improving and figure out why. Obviously not quite that simple but if there isn't at least a little bit of a pattern, then wouldn't it just mean that Google has absolutely no clue what they are doing and what their point is here for this update?

I am trying to find a pattern here or something to make heads or tails of this. I keep going over and over about possibly being punished over being an affiliate for one store and really struggling with that concept since most of the site is content. I can understand link farms and spam sites getting hit but valuable sites with content and offerings seems crazy to punish. A lot of my favorite sites are falling quickly and being replaced with useless sites. I am thinking I need to find a way to start my search at page 30 just to find anything useful if I use Google. They were once so great. :/

Ok, so then I focus on content... Well, if affiliates are being punished for similar content, then sites with similiar content to others that do not have affiliates must also be getting the hit.

In my keyword area, that's certainly not happening...

For example, under my primary keywords, the first site that shows up would be a government site. Makes sense to me. Second site that shows up is an EXACT duplicate of the government site. huh? So, Google can't be punishing for content duplication. It just can't. Third site, links, links and more links.. No content on their intro page and lots of Ads. After that, confusing results. Then down to page 68 you can find us. Not our index page, mind you, but we are there! Woohoo!

Moving right along, so if duplicate content sites don't get hit, why should affiliate sites get hit just because they use the same information? Who are they to decide who you can trust to buy from? Isn't that the responsibility of the site visitor to decide where to buy from? They don't have a fool proof way to filter out scam sites from true and honest sites so they should watch themselves more carefully here. I don't feel it is Google's responsibility to make sure I don't purchase from the *wrong* place. Because according to them now, many of my old favorite sites to shop from which I have trusted for years, are bad. They are being replaced with places I would never consider sending my money to. My decision, not thiers.

So under my primary keywords, it seems that I should have created a link farm with duplicate content and tons of Ads and I would be sitting pretty right now? If I had known that, I could have saved myself so much time and skipped doing any unique work on my site. All the money I would have saved traveling to gather information just to make a site helpful to site visitors. *rolls eyes*

If anyone is seeing any patterns, can you fill us in? Are you seeing similar patterns in your keywords or the opposite?

Ellie

P.S. I am also noticing a lot of unrelated sites not under "links to" but "contains the term" "www.mysite.com". Is this damaging? I don't recall seeing them before. They are a bunch of "Consulting" companies and yet they say they are topics about jewlery or a town or something else. Very confusing!

3:03 pm on June 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I should have created a link farm with duplicate content and tons of Ads

Hey ellie, the guy dominating my SERPs now has *NO* content, and tons of ads. Save yourself some trouble.

3:06 pm on June 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I, WE are still awaiting on GoogleGuy's response as to why were certain sites targeted! What are the commonalties shared by the targeted sites?

Well that one's for you to work out!

You can't expext GoogleGuy to tell you, as that would defeat the object of the SPAM filter.

Talk (not publicly) with other members who have had problems, examine their URLs and try to spot a pattern.

3:19 pm on June 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Not only would it defeat the object of the SPAM filter, but it would also be a bad business decision for competitive reasons. They are a business, after all.

(I have to say, I don't understand the comment about people's livelihoods depending on ranking. I understand that they do it, I just don't understand why anyone would base their financial future on something over which they [rather obviously, judging by the reaction to Bourbon] have little or no control. But that's just me.)

3:20 pm on June 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Thanks again Google for bankruptcy & homelessness! Hopefully they'll catch wind of this and start using Yahoo's feed....or one of their own.

That's a bit harsh.

You placed all your eggs in one basket - a basket you have no real control over.

I've had good established sites drop and it is always temporary.


No, it's not "harsh" at all, it's a FACT. Furthermore, yes it's obvious we've no control over it, but I didn't place my "eggs" in ANY "basket". SE's picked up my site, and that's that. I pray you are correct in your statement: "it is always temporary".
3:25 pm on June 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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>Hello, removal from G also has nothing to do with
>HTML errors. I currently have 5 websites. 2 are for
>my business. 3 are just domain names for sale. They
>are all "coded" the exact same way, meaning; if
>certain HTML "errors" are on one, they are on all of
>them (since I did all of them).
>No one is saying that it's not good practice to avoid
>HTML errors. Of course it is, no one denies that. Can
>it affect SE rankings? No, at least not in G.

Logical fallacy there, Clint. Just because YOUR site wasn't dropped because of faulty HTML, doesn't mean NO sites were. Every time there's a change to the algorithm, pages disappear for more than one reason. This update it may be true that www/non-www issues, faulty HTML, sites being hijacked, and sites being caught in an anti-spam dragnet are *all* possible reasons for falling out of the SERPs. It could also just be that the update isn't finished yet and sites related to data that hasn't yet been processed are ranking artificially low. Time will tell for that, but as to other possible problems, I'd imagine they're all worth investigating and fixing in the meantime.

3:27 pm on June 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Netmeg,

It is not unreasonable to expect some level of consistency of your site's rankings when they have been consistent for 4,5,6 or 7 years and you a playing by the rules. Everyone expects that one cycle you might be 5th for a handful of keywords and another cycle you might be 20th - but this ALL or NONE update is absurd.

And, it is no more unreasonable than when I worked for a company to expect to continue to work for the company if I was a good employee. I wasn't constantly looking to have 3 job offers in my back pocket 'just in case'. So, when you do get a pink slip one Friday you say that I should have had an evening job at Burger Wopper? Just in case? Come back to the real world!

3:35 pm on June 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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petehall,

I can name several common things that are happening.

Some are caused by common server setups.

But these things are being triggered and the triggering is I suspect intentional.

What is the real problem is that cleanup is a real pain.

In some cases it appears that Google itself may have reverted some data thus reversing some cleanup efforts.

It only takes one little error in a complex system to produce tons of garbage as a result.

BTW, GG if you are reading this your NaN answer had me rolling on the floor.

I now invoke rule 4:

rule four always take a break from the computer.

Netmeg, very few people have any real control. It is a matter of degrees.

[edited by: theBear at 3:40 pm (utc) on June 3, 2005]

3:38 pm on June 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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(I have to say, I don't understand the comment about people's livelihoods depending on ranking. I understand that they do it, I just don't understand why anyone would base their financial future on something over which they [rather obviously, judging by the reaction to Bourbon] have little or no control. But that's just me.)

It's quite simple. It's not that anyone is purposely or intentionally basing "their financial future" on anything, it's just the way it happens. The fact that G has, (HAD) such a massive user-base, makes other SE's and traffic areas/methods almost irrelevant. Whether or not G is 60%, 85%, whatever, is also irrelevant. (G+AOL+Netscape probably is about 85%). The fact is, and remains, they are huge and at either 85%, 60%, 50%, etc.; huge enough that when one is deleted from G, spells doom for most of us.

When a potential customer needs to purchase the infamous "blue widget", how are they going to go about doing this? They are going to go online to a SE, and, ~60-85% of time will go to G to search for said "blue widget". There's no way around that. If one is trashed in G (who's business relies upon SERP's), there's really no way of making up for that. Perhaps you are in another field that does not rely upon SERP's, if so, you're lucky. Most of us here are NOT.

G is the only SE that has to throw the proverbial "monkey wrench into the wheels of success". Apparently they've never heard of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". They had by far the most stellar SE on the planet, and it defies logic as to why they would (apparently) jeopardize that. Hopefully, ALL this of which all of us speak will turn out to be all moot points....if things get back to what they were.

3:39 pm on June 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Sailorjwd Google is free traffic and don’t owe you anything so deal with it! I am not bitter despite now running at a loss from this update.

I don’t recommend doing nothing though cos obviously it’s a Spam update! I have taken out my affiliate shop...though it could be my duplicate pages from my Accessible version that I have robot excluded… who know just take action and move on.

[edited by: Johan007 at 3:42 pm (utc) on June 3, 2005]

3:40 pm on June 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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It's reasonable to HOPE for some level of consistency. It is not reasonable (or very practical) to EXPECT some level of consistency. Are you paying Google for your rankings? There is no contract, real or implied, as there might be in your Employee scenario. You are not working for Google (I assume) and they are not working for you. I suspect I'm closer to the real world than you think.
3:45 pm on June 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Ya, I am paying Google for my rankings... I pay about 7cents per visitor for about 5,000 visitors a day. I do miss the free ones.
3:51 pm on June 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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"It's quite simple. It's not that anyone is purposely or intentionally basing "their financial future" on anything, it's just the way it happens."

(I don't know this bbs system well enough to know how to quote with the boxes)

No, it's NOT just the way it happens, it's the way people allow it to happen to them. They may luck into some good rankings at first, and make a little money off it, and suddenly they think they're entitled. And then when the algorithm changes and their world comes crashing down, they don't have any alternatives in place. Most enterprises in the world do NOT rely so heavily on SERPs. If you're selling blue widgets, and waiting for the customer to MAYBE find you in Google or another SE, rather than making sure that he's aware of you before he goes to look, then you have other issues.

3:53 pm on June 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Netmeg,

Yaaawwwwwwwwwwwwnnnnnnnnnnn

3:56 pm on June 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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C'mon... 7 years at the top of the SERPs, and from one day to the next, ZERO?

A gradual decline may be ringing some alarm bells.

But a complete, sudden crash is not what you'd expect. I can understand that.

Dayo_UK

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Yep very Yawwwn

Not much to do about the topic either.

DC - seem to be a steady as a rock. (different on differing dcs but not much moving - come on we need some action :))

4:00 pm on June 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Dayo I was under the impression that GG was going to be our weatherman.

Have you ever noticed how fireworks never start at the scheduled time? It enhances the anticipatory experience.

4:04 pm on June 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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>Hello, removal from G also has nothing to do with
>HTML errors. I currently have 5 websites. 2 are for
>my business. 3 are just domain names for sale. They
>are all "coded" the exact same way, meaning; if
>certain HTML "errors" are on one, they are on all of
>them (since I did all of them).
>No one is saying that it's not good practice to avoid
>HTML errors. Of course it is, no one denies that. Can
>it affect SE rankings? No, at least not in G.

Logical fallacy there, Clint. Just because YOUR site wasn't dropped because of faulty HTML, doesn't mean NO sites were. Every time there's a change to the algorithm, pages disappear for more than one reason. This update it may be true that www/non-www issues, faulty HTML, sites being hijacked, and sites being caught in an anti-spam dragnet are *all* possible reasons for falling out of the SERPs. It could also just be that the update isn't finished yet and sites related to data that hasn't yet been processed are ranking artificially low. Time will tell for that, but as to other possible problems, I'd imagine they're all worth investigating and fixing in the meantime.


As I indicated in my post: run any of the sites now on the 1st pages of results through an HTML validator and you'll see all loaded with errors. I was basing my statement on those observations. Yes, I guess it is possible that "some" sites were removed due to "certain specific" errors, but this doesn't make any sense. As another pointed out: "why would G penalize for not being HTML gurus" or something like that. G should be concerned with CONTENT, (which includes hijacking sites, spam sites, relevancy, etc.) and nothing more.

I also don't think it's any type of www Vs non-www issue. I pointed out in a previous post that I ran all sites on the first couple of pages of results through the header checker, both their non and www versions and they all were http code 200, none were 301 redirect as they "should be". I however DID change mine and fixed that, because yes, of course it is logical to try and fix anything that "MIGHT" help. I however from my observations don't think it will.

Yes, time will tell.

4:06 pm on June 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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C'mon... 7 years at the top of the SERPs, and from one day to the next, ZERO?

Yes, the EXACT same thing happened to me...that is only in G (and of course now AOL & Netscape search).

Dayo_UK

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Clint

You are missing the point slighting regarding checking the first few pages of results.

Yes - in an ideal world Google works out that both the non-www and the www are the same page - therefore no action is required, the webmaster has probably not taken any action and a 200 code will be returned for the non-www and the www.

But sometimes (and IMO it seems to have got more frequent) it can go wrong - I assume you have read GG post number 7 on the following thread:-

[webmasterworld.com...]

4:10 pm on June 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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"It's quite simple. It's not that anyone is purposely or intentionally basing "their financial future" on anything, it's just the way it happens."
(I don't know this bbs system well enough to know how to quote with the boxes)

No, it's NOT just the way it happens, it's the way people allow it to happen to them. They may luck into some good rankings at first, and make a little money off it, and suddenly they think they're entitled. And then when the algorithm changes and their world comes crashing down, they don't have any alternatives in place. Most enterprises in the world do NOT rely so heavily on SERPs. If you're selling blue widgets, and waiting for the customer to MAYBE find you in Google or another SE, rather than making sure that he's aware of you before he goes to look, then you have other issues.

No one is claiming they are "entitled" to ANYTHING. Why don't we continue this off-list? You're getting way off topic.

4:16 pm on June 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I don't doubt that's true for your site, Clint, but it's probably better not to publicly dismiss the idea having merit at all or try to dissuade other users from taking the possibility seriously, because the new algorithm tripping over some bad HTML in their site or messing up www vs. non-www may be exactly what's caused their inexplicable crash and burn.

I'd be very surprised if all the sites that fell off the index after an update were having the same problem. I'm hardly an expert at what they might all be, but there are almost certainly at least a few different things going on here, not just one.

Dayo_UK

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Yep very true flicker.
This 789 message thread spans 27 pages: 789