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Earnings affected by update "Bourbon"



5:56 pm on Jun 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

My niche "white hat" site has sat at the top of the SERPs for a very long time, and i made a good living from adsense. Now with this update, much lower ranking sites are now above me and my very large forum has basicly disappeared. My earnings are 30% of what they were.

Over the weekend, my index page returned to the top, but today it is back down again.

Have your earnings been affected as well?

Are you still seeing fluctuations in the SERPs or do you think the update is done for now?


6:19 pm on Jun 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have about 15 sites.
All were well optimised and got good traffic from google (around 80 percent.)

All were on totally different subjects using good clean genuine content in different niches and doing well for between 1996 and 2002 unaffected by previous updates. Between them they were about 5000 unique targeted happy visitors. After bourbon its nearer 3000 and one site still missing completely!

Some were unaffected completely. two were dropped in that they couldnt be found for weeks even using the site name until about ten pages deep! With many dodgy sites, scrapers and even some of my own pages above them as they linked to the lost ones. A few Days ago, one just suddenly reapeared and the traffic came back to normal. Another did the same yesterday. And yet another just dissapeared 5 days ago! I suspect its not finished. Hopefully.

And the targeting is not as good as pre bourbon either as people a) look at less pages on average, and b) click through rate on ads is lower by about 20 percent.


7:01 pm on Jun 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Sorry to hear about that.

I've been in a Google funk this month.

First half of the month we increased on all our sites in terms of revenue. Since the 16th it's like someone flipped a switch and our revenue is down 50-80%.

It's gotten so bad that the ads that are showing aren't even related to my sites. lol


7:25 pm on Jun 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I think i may have discovered why my forum dropped off.

I run an invision board which has a lofi version linked to on each post. I saw in another forum where someone appended a search result with &filter=0 to the end of the URL and his site was there in all it's glory, so i added disallow /forum/lofiversion to my robots.txt file and no follow, no index to my lofi skin and removed the links to the lofi version on all pages of my forum...i hope this does the trick.



10:07 pm on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The timing of my drop happened with the algo changes.

Someone had notes from Webmaster World where Google detailed the following changes:

Update Bourbon
- Algo A around May 20
- Algo B around June 3
- Algo C around June 10 (no one noticed)
- Algo A with newer data around June 16
- Algo D at June 16 (no one noticed)

I noticed. lol


12:08 am on Jun 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yup, i noticed too. I may have to go back to my real job :( I can't understand why crappy sites with low pr out rank me now. I'm still not sure if my forum dropped so dramatically because of the lofi versions or not. Other engines still rank me very well and the lofi's are all in there too, so i took off the diallow/noindex stuff.

Man, i'm really grasping at straws. I checked a google dance tool today and it still looks like it's moving...south.

I can't understand it. It's THE authority site for my niche, high PR, plenty of links from industry sites....and at least 1000 scrapers a scraping it.

I wonder if the scrapers are hurting me?

I would think google is smart enough not to let scrapers affect the scraped site.


2:54 am on Jun 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Algo D at June 16 (no one noticed)

Yeah - I noticed too!

Luckily, it was a small site - not my main one.

There's nothing on this site that Google could POSSIBLY object to - all hand-written pure content articles, no funny seo, nothing dodgy.

Looks like Google has a false-positive problem with their spam detector this time around that they need to sort out!

It's made me worry about the viability of publishing quality content as a business model. It's really expensive to create - and if it can be wiped out as easily as spam - well - we might as well spam really...

(Hopefully the 16th was a mistake, and things will come back soon - I don't want to be pushed down the spam road - there's MORE than enough of that around as it is!)

Could be scraper action perhaps - I noticed one has nicked part of the home page - but I wouldn't expect that to zap all rankings for the whole site!


3:18 am on Jun 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Algo D at June 16 (no one noticed)

I noticed, big time. I lost 2/3 of my total traffic at one site, as Google referrals dropped by 90% (the rest is organic traffic).

Other bad stuff happened at about the same time (DNS problem, site hijacking), but definitely something (or somethings) hit me hard about June 16.

The situation is so bad that it again has me thinking of just abandoning the whole effort.


6:16 am on Jun 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

I noticed too the "D sting".

It's made me worry about the viability of publishing quality content as a business model. It's really expensive to create - and if it can be wiped out as easily as spam - well - we might as well spam really...

That's the question.

I have three employees writing content and news. My Google's traffic dropped by 90% and my income reduced to 1/3 (non profitable business, obviously).

Should I ignore Google and let my content for other search engines and scrappers?
Should I finally block the Google spider?
Should I build a pack of pure spam sites?

Finally, I feel really stupid being kicked by Google search and using Adsense, but, once I lost my Google's traffic, my site don't reach the Overtures's threshold.
I'm catched in the Googletrap.


6:54 am on Jun 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I think that the entire Google search system is broken and beyond repair. I suspect that number of pages/content has gotten so big that it has become impossible to compile. I've seen so many problems recently (not just my own sites) that it's obvious to me that the last update was fatally flawed. I think the Google folks have literally tweaked their algorithm to death.

One thing I've noticed is that the "similar pages" feature rarely provides any matches, even on some established sites. It's like this cross-referencing never happened or wasn't completed.

I've also starting see a huge number of search entries that are bare links with no text associated with them. Again, it's like they found the links but either never went back to get the data or the data was lost.

On a personal note, I have one site that has 53,000 pages (verified with Google's "site:" feature) yet a search for the main domain name reports "no information" and no similar pages. The site has a PR of 6 and has been on-line for 5 years. About three weeks ago Google was incorrectly reporting that this site had only 300 pages.

I have another big site that for years was in the top ten for a popular search and now has vanished completely.

I have other sites that have vanished, but the hundreds of scraper sites with my content are still there, ranking highly.

And I'm still seeing sites ranked higher than my biggest sites that say "we are no longer publishing this site", or are in Chinese and totally unrelated to the topic, or single-page sites and scraper sites that are clearly designed to rank highly but have little or no content. So in addition to the problems mentioned above, the results themselves are flawed.

Hopefully they'll get all this sorted out some day.


7:06 am on Jun 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

"I have one site that has 53,000 pages"
I have a site about 3000 pages when I do the search
site:www.mysite.com Google brings back over 9000 pages and every secont page is just a url without any text,i guess as well there must be a fatal problem with this update.


7:40 am on Jun 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Mauricio ... I feel your pain. As I said in my original message it was like someone flipped a switch on the 16th. It was extremely disheartening as I have been working 10 hours a day on good, solid content.

The funny thing is that for the last two months my revenue was rising steadily. I would joke to myself not to get used to it and then June rolled around. For the first two weeks I was doing great and I finally allowed myself to believe that I had reached the next plateu.

Big mistake.

Forget plateus, I am not even on the mountain anymore. lol. I am back in the village buying supplies.

At least now I know what happened; not that there is anything I can do about it.


8:43 am on Jun 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month


Algo D at June 16 (no one noticed)

Desaster on the software area...

Big site, a lot of content ( more than 100 000 pages) and a big traffic and $ loss.


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