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I did the rounds to check on the state of various data updates. I'd estimate that the "0.5" (not algorithmic changes, but rather responses to various spam/porn complaints + processing reinclusion requests) should go out this weekend sometime or possibly Monday. There should be a binary push this week to improve a corner-case of CJK-related search, and that new binary should have the hooks to turn on the third set of data. Regarding finishing up the second piece of data, there's still two data centers with older data. Those data centers will probably be switched over by Monday. By Monday, 2.5 of the 3.5 things will probably be on.
While "from scratch" is going too far, basically I would have thought that they were rebuilding several fundemental things was obvious by now...
Google is making significant changes now and this summer there will be even more significant ones.
(One thing that won't change is some will think hysterical attacks are superior to constructive discussion.)
" that one way to flush them out is to tweak the algo to bring them to the forefront so they can be identified? " "Put yourself in google's mind. "
Granted I don't claim to be a PhD like some of Google's Folks (only a BS, Comp Sci) and I've only been programming professionally for some 23 years, but even I know you ALWAYS TEST things OFFLINE, in a simulated test-bed scenario before risking putting it out in a LIVE situation where it can cause collateral damage to others and embarassment to yourself. EVERY real company I've ever worked for has always done it that way. You test it before it goes live AND you have a quick reversal contingency in place if something goes wrong. Even the military requires gov contractors to maintain a second independent system for beta testing new features and debugging old ones. You don't "tweak" in the field when your profits are on the line and the customer is watching.
Apparently the datacenters are able to run a search independently and have their own copy of the database since they often have different data. How much can one spare data-center cost compared to how much bad publicity and ill-will alone which they are creating. Even without additional expenditures and using what they have on hand, they could very simply take one of the umpteen data-center's which they typically use in rotation and reserve it for their own use in DEBUGGING their algorithm BEFORE it GOES LIVE. And only once it's perfect, upload all the data to the other sites. Sorry, not convinced their method is sound.
So that leaves only two alternatives, Either it really IS broken and wasn't EXPECTED to act as it is, or they INTEND for these versions to get out for PUBLIC use/comment/feedback, or webmaster reaction, or to discourage the wrong element. That would be more plausible to me. Now on the other hand, if they REQUIRE user interaction to provide feedback for tweaking, then if I were you all, I'd be out there clicking away on my SERPs :-)
[edited by: MikeNoLastName at 12:37 am (utc) on June 4, 2005]
It does seem that with all the processing power at Google's disposal that much of this could be done online.
As we all know PHd's somtimes lack common sense, so we have to take this into account.
As for me my company has been online for 12 years...as a manufactuer and vertically integrated marketing with the web. Eliminated all but one salesman. Of course not near the multi $billon company like google...but you can replace the "b" with an "m".
Despite the "b" we must cut google some slack...they are still young and maybe the Phd's did not understand the consequences of doing their experimention online.
Or...maybe we are just offbase totally. It could be they wanted this out in the open to get realtime feedback. Another possiblity is that google actually does not have the processing capacity to do this offline
Whatever the case, I have faith that in the end that this update will in the grand scheme of things produce a better product for google and us. They do care very much about their product, besides it is the webmasters, suppliers/advertisers, adsense publishers and searchers alike that are enabling them to pay their bills, their employees and make a profit for the shareholders.
As am outsider looking in their most pressing problem is the bad adsense publishers that are taking up the space that could go to legitimate publishers. Not to mention the click-thru's on scrapper directories that rarely convert to actual purchases for the adwords advertisers.
The much more serious problem where Google is concerned is when sites drop completely out of niches they used to FILL, leaving spam, trash, and tangentially related sites on top of a search because the relevant ones are missing.
EXACTLY what happened to me. I filled a niche with the highest quality content this niche has ever seen, modesty be buggered.
I'm positively, without a doubt, the queen of my niche. No one comes close. When people wants spinning widget plans, they want my web site.
Yahoo delivers my website. Google delivers the trash sites.
I believe "CJK-related search is about CJK scripts (Chinese/Japanese/Korean). If that's correct, I'll still be in the sewers when the Bourbon sours.
It can’t be good when a site that I have has been nr one for its main key word in all search engines for 5 years, and for good reason. It is infact the only website of its kind, it’s not a money key words, it has not one competing website. Yet Google decided it should no longer show up on the first page when it is the only website made for that key word. An algo doing this can not be right, when all other search engines can easily understand that this site should be the nr one site for this search term.
To add some value to my post I have noticed something strange. It is almost has if we have got some kind of penalty that can target single keywords. Some sections of my site have ranked well for a couple of key words that basically mean the same thing. We still rank well for one of them but have went from 3 place to 150 for the rest of them. It’s almost like they manually gave us a penalty for some keywords, but forgot to do it on some of the synonyms. Not very likely that they would manually rank sites like that but it is very strange.
EUREKA.. I found the answer to your woes.
*There should be a binary push this week to improve a corner-case of CJK-related search, and that new binary should have the hooks to turn on the third set of data.*
Get it. If not then you are not a webmaster wothy of ranking in google. Get another job.
While you are at it get me one too because looking back on a few of the posts I made my sites are going to go into oblivion with yours. Into the infested nether regions of google's cordon saintair of unwanted websites.
Hell I'd rather rank last in alltheweb than rank first in google knowing that I am only ranking in the absence of good sites. I am not gloating I am a winner, I feel sorry for webmasters who tanked for no apparent reason.
Google cannot expect every webmaster to be an expert and play its ever changing secret rules.
I'm a colleague of EFV's from his pre-EFV gig, and we both were let go from our websites at the same time. I started my own website in my topic not long after he did, so my main website has been around for quite a while - the domain was purchased in Sept. 2001 and I went live in January 2002. And like Ellie, it's a content site that supports itself with a store of merchant affiliates. I also run Google Adsense. And like Ellie and many others, my site took a humonguous hit in traffic - the stats are down right around 80%, and my income is decimated. Another, smaller site - even less commercial than my main site - was hit badly too.
This algorithm change of Google's has been really traumatic for me, but that's not really important. My neuroses and the fact that my sense of self-worth seems awfully tied into my websites and how they do is really nobody's business. ;-) I do want to say, however, that both websites that were hit are very high quality content. I have a section where I review videos and DVDs; I just found out yesterday that some of the companies, when they've reissued DVDs I've reviewed, have quoted me on their covers. I interview world-class people on my topic for the site. Even my smaller site gets very positive attention. I work very hard on both sites' content to make them worthy of the readers who come to them. I think that's one of the reasons why I'm so upset that people can't find my site anymore. I want people to read the stuff I write - otherwise, why bother?
That said, I also have to admit that the technical side of the site is a bit messy - I tend to fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to html and coding. In fact, until this update happened, I was considering having a new template designed for my site - one with all its p's and q's in place, and changing over my 850 pages of content. Of course, that's on hold now until Bourbon settles down because I need more info before I make any changes to the site. The one thing I did do, across the board, after Bourbon hit was rectify the www/ no-www issue. Now everything on all my sites directs to www.mysite. That hasn't helped, but it has made me feel better! :-)
And yeah, I am another one of those sites where, if you search on the exact name of my site, even in quotation marks, it doesn't show up 'till 700 or 800-something. Interestingly, my www.mysite.net, which redirects to my .com does show up on page one, about halfway down.
The purpose of my post? 1) to say that yes, sites with quality content that try to do everything SEO-wise by the book (like, seriously by the book) are really getting hit hard and it's not someone's imagination and 2) so that you people who are analyzing all this have a little more information. I really want to know what to do to make my site acceptable to the Bourbon algorithm. I don't know how I'm gonna eat until then, but if information about my site can contribute to the solution, great!
The problem is the cleaning up after you find out what is wrong.
We are still fighting that battle, maybe a new pushed binary (maybe I'll revert to core image, just to play with GoogleGuys mind a bit).
I thought we were getting things cleaned out and I take a look and it looks like a revert of a binary push.
Maybe that will make the code reentrant, then the search or the spider, or the infinite loop calculator will work.
I wonder how the DMOZ folks are doing?
And something else to laugh about: my third highest referrals today came from my WebmasterWorld profile...
sorry helleborine, i know how it feels, been there...
Past few days i think that if Brett or anyone could put together a series of forms that would gather all sort of esential information from webmasters who have been hit or elevated we could come up with much better views on what we are dealing with. what i mean is just basic method of gathering info such as number of pages in SERPs before hit, N after the hit, PR, page encoding used, the use of h1, h2 etc. font tags, the use css, main programming language, the existance of redirects, basic info on webserver setting etc.
combining the answers of many together it might provide some useful info, maybe even better than several hundred page long discussion.
Welcome to webmasterworld.
I hope I may help in my comments below so that you can understand what is going on and how bourbon may have affected your website.
Google has no commitment to rank any website if it so wishes. It has no contract nor is it obliged in any way to incorporate any website within its index and search results. Nor does google emphasis to a webmaster that when creating a website google should not be relied upon to index the new website within its search results. Though google conducts possibly 80% of the worlds search results it does not see any obligation to any website and there is no catalogued evidence to support that it has ever made such a claim.
So in essence, creating a website to rank in google is a near certain disaster within a timeframe based upon its ever changing algorithms. Cast iron evidence has existed since the notorious Florida update when hundreds of thousands of online business folded at the behest of google.
Google has cost webmasters more than it is worth in the stock exchange. Nobody in this huge thread can refute this fact. Nothing is for nothing in this life and google is no magician. It has made its money from the blood sweat and tears of webmasters and site owners. Google will shed no tears on your fears nor anybody else’s. It is a money making machine that is answerable to nobody. Owning 80% of the internet traffic empowers it to do what it wants at the turn of a hat. Thank God they do not own roads because we may never walk down them.
Just look at their about google pages and you will notice a dire set of pages not akin to a multi billion dollar organization. A feeble set of guidelines any webmaster could write in a day or two. No indication of its ranking factors apart from warnings about how many computations are taken into account before ranking a website. They don’t answer e-mails and deny everything you throw at them.
If you are lucky, GoogleGuy here may give you preferential advice to ask for re-inclusion through a special coded e-mail, but I personally would not ask it because it is an unethical thing to treat a webmaster here with preferential treatment ignoring the millions of others who are in the same boat as you but may not speak the lingo or may not know of this site.
Google has always known that domain names can be without the www yet has continued to class a domain upon it resolving and considers anything with any errors a totally different url’s so really your websites could be about 3 to 5 websites instead of just one. Google then attributes pagerank based upon the errors that other websites do linking to you with or without your consent. It often means the success or failure of your website and we also proved that yes, others can harm your google ranking in many ways. All a competitor has to do is check out the header of your url and may have enough info to destroy your rakings within googles results. For instance, until recently, a webmaster could point a serverside temporarily moved status code to your pages and possibly hijack them and google would consider your website as being a temporary url of the pointing website. We have been informed by google’s representative that google will consider higher raking of a website with your snippets of text rather than yours because they have a higher pagerank and that yours could also be considered to be seen by google as losing reputation if it sees a higher pagerank website with your information. In other words, the more sites with higher pagerank than yours containing any of your content the more likely you are losing popularity and google justifiably drop you from their index. Google’s words not mine.
Look to living without google. It has reached dizzying heights and there is not much oxygen up there. It has proven in bourbon that it cannot be trusted. One should not build a website based on ranking in google. It is too volatile to say the least. In fact, one should not even build a website hoping to be found in google for a unique company name.
They vehemently denied the 302 problem. They never apologized to millions of penalized websites. Google has spent the past two years punishing webmasters. And entertaining stock holders in lavish banquettes. Its algorithm is not rocket science, it’s a mixture of contradicting parameters and unknown number of filters.
I wouldn't say punishing, but definitely using a really broad brush. You can have Coca Cola's secret formula on your site, but if your site matches a few parameters that Google sees on spammer sites, you're done! They have gone from a presumption of innocence, to a presumption of guilt.
But! One must ask one self a question? Why all these updates? Why the changes?
I tell you one reason why, because our Fellow Webmasters have screwed us over. Yes, yes indeed they have, if they didn’t do their dastardly deeds then Google wouldn’t have to do theirs.......
When Google bumps my site it hurts, but I still have Yahoo traffic, and still have some MSN (err... like 10% maybe ;) ) I use to moan and groan conspiracy theories and Google trying to make money for the old mighty Google.
And sure I was right, BUT, if you owned Google wouldn’t you rank your site #1? If so, then you are the same as Google trying to make the money for yourself. What’s wrong with that?
I fotgot to mention to you to ignor a couple of individuals here that may retort to your post indicating that your loss of rank is entirely your fault and that you only have yourself to blame. I am not of that school and am in suport of your quest for an answer from google.
It would be acceptable to lose rank but common sense indicates something is terribly wrong when a site capitulates into total oblivion. Making minor adjustments to your site without knowing what to adjust could spell yet more disaster. Don't fall for any suggestions that your html needs validation. Only google can tell you why your site tanked. Indeed I think you will find that your site was within bourbon's radar. A simple parameter that tanked websites into oblivion with google expecting a good number to increase or get on the pay per click.
Ask yourself this question. 80% of all searches are conducted by google. All of these surfers must be happy with google to be using google. Why would google want to improve search quality? Webmasters here are indicating that the search quality is at an all time low. I would believe webmasters than Joe Surfer as to the quality of search.
Unless I am mistaken, google not long ago suggested or patented a gigantic 500 part doctrine with an unimaginable set of outlandish guidelines that may even dictate how a website ranks according to seasonal trends and more amazingly google will estimate how many inbound links a new site should have, and if the link numbers do not match an automatic period in the sandox for an undetermined period of time the site will go. Upon reading it becomes very clear that google cannot be trusted to represent your site on the internet because it is humanly impossible to conform to a secret doctrine of hundreds of parameters in which violation of any one will result in a penalty. All a competitor has to do is link to you and you are history is just one example.
A while ago I read that the top brass in google were only there as figureheads. Then I looked a bit deeper and noticed that these big noises of sillicon valley had a far greater hold on google than at first I imagined. Non internet big noises with gigantic salaries have indeed veered google into another direction..... A head on collision with webmasters.
The way we recovered from it was to add about 100 pages of hand written content. That brought our total pages to 164 or so. Each page ranging between 15 to 25k. I don’t know if that will work or not, but that’s how we recovered from FL. Then we diversified our traffic sources with a monthly newsletter and a freeware program.