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Dealing with the consequences of Bourbon Update

Which changes has Bourbon brought about & How to deal with them?



3:41 pm on Jun 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Assuming that the greatest part of of the latest Google update (Bourbon) is completed, its rather important to do some damage assessments, study the changes brought about by Bourbon and suggest ways to deal with them.

We need to keep this thread focused on the followings:

- Changes on your own site ranking on the serps (lost & gained positions or disappearance of the site).

- Changes you have noticed on the new serps (both google.com and your local google site) especially in regards to the nature of the top 10 or 20 ranking sites.

- Stability of the serps. I.e do you get the same serps when you run the same query within the same day or 2-3 successive days (both google.com and your local google site).

- Effective ethical measures to deal with the above mentioned changes.



12:16 am on Jun 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

After some experimenting, I've come to the conclusion that Google isn't handling multi-phrase queries as well as it used to.

Yes, I've noticed that, too.

You would think that as you increase the number of words in key phrases, words and key phrases specific to pages on your site, that you would rise in the ranks. For example, a string of five or six consecutive words unique to your site should rank you #1. But that doesn't now seem to be the case. It was pre-Bourbon.

So, this one site of mine ranks for "purple wadgets," say. If my site also covers "inexpensive purple wadgets" or "purple wadgets design," pages with those keyphrases have disappeared entirely from the SERPs in many cases.

Equally strange, my site ranks very high and even #1 for some common, single-word keywords. Alas, there are not enough of them remaining to offset the loss of the three- and four-word key phrases.

It's not just my say-so that many of my pages rank too low (the pages that have not disappeared entirely from the SERPs). We have a second and third opinion from MSN Search and Yahoo!, both of which rank them high. Heck, we also have a fourth opinion from Google itself, who pre-Bourbon was ranking all of these "lost" pages highly.

These observations suggest to me that the SERPs are broken--in certain niches. (Like I stated, my other site and its niche SERPs were little impacted by Bourbon.)

And keywords and key phrases with total page results reported in the tens of millions going only so far as six pages of SERPs (before hitting the duplicates and supplemental results)? Common keywords and key phrases where it's absurd to think that there are only 500 or so unique mentions out on the Web?

No, something is clearly broken somewhere.


12:38 am on Jun 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yeah.. My niche is screwed up alright... hmpf...


12:53 am on Jun 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The ONE site I really want to buy, guess what. That has been penalized too! Ugh, even a site that is 10 years old, and was made by soemone who did not care about SEO was killed. It wasn't optimized, (it was a forum, completely dead now though) but if you put in unique phrases that the site only contains, other sites outrank it. What a shame. What is this Bourbon update trying to accomplish?


1:24 am on Jun 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

i just saw this thread and rather than read 1000+ posts, I have a couple qurestions:

Who was responsible fo rthis update and if it was google which I think it was, why did it affect yahoo and msn?

Does this only affect your traffic and site rankings? or does it affect money made through programs such as adsense directly? (i saw ppl complaining about this but I wasn't sure whether it directly took down earnings or due to lower traffic.)


1:34 am on Jun 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Who was responsible fo rthis update and if it was google which I think it was, why did it affect yahoo and msn?

It is Google updating its index.

It doesn't have any impact on MSN or Yahoo.

As for adsense, think about it for a minute click rate x average number of visitors x average amount per click = revenue.

Reduce any factor and your revenue can decrease

The update affects a sites placement in the search engines results thus number of visitors a site recieves.


1:52 am on Jun 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

While I agree that it does seem like Google's search is not working well anymore for certain types of keyword phrases in certain niches, I've noticed that posters are generally using their own sites as examples. What about the sites that ARE appearing on the first two pages - are they equally worthy of being in those placements as your own site? And if not, why?

I think it would be more pertinent to illustrate how Google searches have degraded overall, not just for your or my site in particular. Let's face it, while I care deeply about my site, and it's supposed to pay my bills and offer me a quality lifestyle (right now it does neither), I'm the only one who really cares about my site, what happens to it and what happens to me. No one else going to make any changes based on what my site or yours does - but perhaps the people at Google will take it more seriously if they understand how and why the searches are degrading overall. That will lose them share eventually and that they may take into account more readily than the complaints of us webmasters regarding our own sites.

In my own particular niche, I have to say that a lot of the other sites that appear instead of mine are good, quality sites (along with some scrapers and stinkers), but the pages that appear for those sites may not be the most pertinent. And that there are a couple of kw phrases where my site does manage to appear on page one, but it probably shouldn't - or at least the page that shows up isn't really the best result for that particular kw phrase. If you guys can come up with your own experiences in your own niche, maybe that will bring us all closer to figuring out what went wrong, and why good sites like mine - and many of yours - have virtually dropped out of Google.

Actually, I think this whole discussion deserves a thread of its own... does that mean the fat lady has sung? (And honestly, someone should send her to me - I will help her get in shape!)


2:29 am on Jun 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

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

Hi all, Have some good news. one of the two scraper sites that stole my index page text and made it their own has been dropped by their hosting company. Took me about 3 days and proof from the wayback machine but I "gotter done". Scraper site now returning a 404.

I will keep an eye out for them as I am sure they will resurface at another hosting company.

I tried to start a thread about this but it is put on hold...not sure why.



2:51 am on Jun 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

All in all, it seems to me that Yahoo! and MSN are returning more sensible results


I hope others realize this and vote with their feet. Let google know they screwed up by NOT USING THEM ANYMORE.

MSN is my new favorite engine, sad to say...Google has jumped the shark.


4:40 am on Jun 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have a consequence of the Bourbon update that I hope someone can help me with. I had a site, and then I got a new domain, and used both domains on the site. I believe I then got hit with a duplicate content penalty. The second domain, domainB has since been changed to a totally different site, and has been different for about a 2 months now. However the duplicate content penalty still seems to be standing as neither sites get many hits from Google, and domain A used to get around 1500 a day. When I search for www.domainB.com the site that comes up is www.domainA.com but they are now totally different sites. How do I make google realise they are different sites? Both sites get spidered by google often but still when i search for www.domainB.com I get the result www.domainA.com. Can anyone please help me before I go broke.


5:51 am on Jun 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

Borek, msg #1121, thanks.

Stu2, msg #1125, thanks also.

I KNOW I said "thank you" yesterday, but my posts seem to have mysteriously disappeared!

I have sent an email to help@google.com explaining how my literary website has been penalised under the 'original content' rule. Could somebody please verify that help@google.com was the correct place to send it. I had had an automated response from this address on reporting to Google that I had problems.

Dgdclynx, I haven't tried that email address in about a week, but when I was trying it the AR's I got back said it was no longer a used address and it said to go to some URL at the G website.


8:20 am on Jun 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

1.Do you see any reason for using different code on different pages?
2.robots.txt is mostly placed in the root directory. What about a spider entering a subpage (subdirectory page).
3.What about code on a syndicated mini site?

Sorry Kgun but I'm a bit confused with your post #1140. I thought all that was already covered. Sure, you have to use different tags on each page (if that's what you mean by "Do you see any reason for using different code on different pages"), according to whether or not you want the page indexed, followed, or archived.

2. I'm not sure, but a spider is supposed to first enter the robots.txt file. I've never experimented with this before since I use "index, follow" on all of my pages. I don't know if by "first" it means the first time it EVER spiders your site, or every time it visits, or periodically. I just noticed in my stats the Aipbot spidering several pages, but it didn't stop at my robots.txt file. Could be it saw it on some previous visit.?

I also saw several hits by the Googlebot hitting some pages, but in some of them it ONLY seeing my robots.txt file and not going any further! Does anyone know why that may be? I only have one G-bot page disallowed in my robots.txt file since it's a PDF page and the robots tag of course can't be added to it.

I also see some odd things about what bots are spidering. Those of use that use cPanel are familiar with the "Web / Ftp Statistics" in it, and under that "Latest visitors", (that's from where this info is coming). Pages that are spidered (also visited by anyone) show as /whatever/WhateverIfAny. In some cases all that's shown is "/", JUST a slash alone! I'm curious as to the significance of those.

Regarding the Aipbot, I checked again and this time the Aipbot entries DOES show it checked my robots.txt file. I also see that the Aipbot is not a search engine bot, Aipbot[dot]com appears to be the robotstxt.org site! (I originally posted a bunch of info here regarding this, and I think I better put it in another forum since I think I found something rather suspicious about that site, it was also using what appears to be a "Frame spoof". See that post here [webmasterworld.com...] ).


8:54 am on Jun 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Dealing with the consequences of Bourbon Update
Google-Updates Survival Kit

Hi Folks!

Updating.. including GoogleGuy´s suggestion on how to send your feedback to Google engineers.

- Do a 301 redirect regarding yoursite.com vs. www.yoursite.com (canonical url problem)

- Removing 302 redirects
Please do not remove your own site using Google's url removal tool. All it will really do is remove your own site for 180 days.And don´t think that allinurl:yourdomain.com returning a result like someotherdomain.com/redirect?url=www.yourdomain.com could be a hijacking. That's a common misperception. All that "allinurl:yourdomain.com" does is look for documents with "yourdomain com" anywhere in the url that we saw. It's not a hijacking if you see results
from other sites with allinurl. The only time you need to worry is if you do site:yourdomain.com and then you see results from someotherdomain.com.

- Removing duplicates

- Subtle page changes and monitor SERP changes

- Create and submit a Google Sitemap (You want Google to crawl more of your web pages)

- Send feedback to Google engineers
One of the effective ways which GoogleGuy recommend to contact Google engineers if people have feedback or are unhappy with a search (or if your site(s) can't be found for any keyword phrases and you don't have a clue why?). Send an email to jun05feedback [at] googlegroups.com.
It's easier if you give a typical query you would have expected to show up for, not just your site name. If you wish to drop a notes, please include your WebmasterWorld nickname so that it's easier to put things into context.

- Optimize your site for other search engines (like Yahoo, MSN ..)
Keep working to increase non Google sources of visitors.

- Transfer your affected site to a spare/emergency site
An emergency site is an additional site with 1-2 pages of real content related to your affected site. You create the emergency site in good time, submit it to the majors (also maybe local directories) and leave it to age for at least 6 months before moving the content of your affected site to it.

- Outlet Sites Strategy
In short its about creating several sites each contains part of your contents (instead of having the whole contents on one site). Outlet sites have their own "value added" contents. The benefit of Outlet Sites is making your business less vulnerable to be hit by Google´s updates.


Google Update Bourbon Part 4

Dropped from Google - a checklist to find out why.

Further Google 302 Redirect Problems

301 for non-www. to www. not working, plus custom error stops working

Google Sitemaps

Successful Site in 12 Months with Google Alone (Brett Tabke)

Sandbox Question and SEO for Google

GoogleGuy's posts (Some posts and advice on Bourbon and other topics)

eval.google.com - Google's Secret Evaluation Lab..

Your comments and suggestions shall be highly appreciated.



9:40 am on Jun 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'm dropping in G again. Is anyone else noticing this that got back their G SERP's? I've dropped some places further back in the past 2 days. Terrific.


12:29 pm on Jun 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Since Bourbon, you may say that in the overall top 10 listings there have shown up:
-- more cloacked pages
-- more irrelivant weblogs
-- more pages with a FRAMESET and a NOFRAMES section
off hundreds or even thousands keywords and links
-- pages that use linkfarms (hundreds of artificial
-- pages whit no on page keywords at all, only in

I think that Google didn't do this because they wanted this to happen. But they couldn't overlook the results that this change in the algo would look like.

Anyhow, if Google wants to stay the biggest and (best?) SE the best thing they could do is...

Admit this was a mistake and go back to the used algo before Bourbon. Drink a few Bourbons and get back to work..

If they won't admit this (probably ..) they will lose the visitors. So it indeed may be the best for us all to get focused on yahoo and MSN, Overture. Then we've got a head start from the rest...


12:39 pm on Jun 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

I forgot to mention that most of the sites that got knocked up before me the last couple of days are should not even be there. They're not relevant to the search!
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