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Have there been Changes in the Handling of Inbound Links?

I am seeing differences in this.

     
10:24 am on Jul 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

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



An article I wrote a couple of years ago describes the value of using KW anchor text on inbound links. To illustrate this I used the fact that large computer companies such as Dell and Apple always featured in the top five results with hardly a mention of the keyword "Computer" on their home pages.

I explained that this was because of the number of other websites that linked to them using the word "computer" or "computers" in the anchor text. I tried the search over a long period of time and they were always at or near the top.

Recently I have noticed that neither of them are featuring in the natural results. Have I missed something? Has there been some sort of change that can explain this?

7:21 am on Jul 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

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



There have been several recent changes, even this year. One was described by Google reps as a change in the way backlinks are weighted. Well rounded BL profiles were rewarded, and there was much upset amonng website who were focused ohn building one or two types only.

A second change was the shift to Universal Search results. All kinds of things moved around in order to put the various relevance algorithms onto "the same scale".

Yet another shift came about through Google's focus on user intention, especially for 1-word and 2-word queries. For a while, the test SERPs were even split into several sections for some people. Eventually, they stopped the definitive split, but the various types of user intention (semantic differences, information search, consumer search, etc) are often integrated into the first page of the results, often with "related searches" shown at the bottom of the page.

One more shift that plays in - whatever Google did to lessen Google bowling incidents early in 2007.

And another, the -950 or "End of Results" penalty seems often to affect "overly SEO'd" anchor text, taking urls that used to be first page for a given search query and sending them into the very dark deep.

End result? Ranking today is often not as simple as loading up anchor text in IBLs.

11:35 am on Jul 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

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



I am not sure that I understand how this would have affected companies like Dell and Apple? The Dell website does not include the word computer anywhere within its homepage text (try it) but it used to always feature in the top five results in a search for the word "computer". Now it is not in the top 100 results.

When it was ranking highly I understood that this could only be due to inbound links using anchor text like "Dell computers", etc. Something dramatic has happened to change this and I would be very surprised if it was anything to do with their back link profile. I would in fact be very surprised if the Dell website people are involved in any SEO at all?

2:10 pm on Jul 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Part of what you're seeing is likely due to Google's fix for the Googlebomb effect which is intended to drastically reduce the chances of a page ranking for search terms that are not actually in the <body> text.
3:00 pm on Jul 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

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



Forgive me for being so slow but I now understand.

Do you think Dell would pay me for SEO'ing their website? It sounds as though all they have to do to get back to the top is to stick some keywords on their homepage. ;)

5:24 pm on Jul 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Google fights a never ending battle to stop spammers. Real web sites get taken out in thier friendly fire incidents. They are very frequent and they don't care who you are!

The google results we see today are probably worse than they were a year ago. Next year they will likely be worse again still.

When companies like Dell etc can't rank for what they do then it is obvious that google is well and truely busted.

I think the time is right for a new innovation in search. Something that all us webmasters can get behind...pretty much the way we promoted google at the start.

The sooner we have something new and not so flawed the better it will be for searchers and web masters alike.

5:41 pm on Jul 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

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



The search on "computer" does return Dell, Apple, Gateway on the first page for me at this point. But Google's challenge is always "what is the user who types this search looking for?" If their metrics indicate that a generic one word search is rarely happy with a brand name or commercial result, they can shift the algorithm to include other types of results.
7:34 am on Jul 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

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



On my UK server for the word computer Apple is in position 99 and Dell is not in the top 100. That's got to be a bad result particularly when there are many other smaller vendors above them.
8:02 am on Jul 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



I've noticed on client sites that some pages, which had ranked for phrases when modified by adjectives which do not appear on the pages, no longer rank for those phrase/adjective combinations.

The adjectives are contained in inbound links to the pages, but this apparently no longer suffices. Could be that onpage factors are more important now, and that even more inbounds with the adjectives won't help.

I'd assumed this might have had to do with the demise of Google Bombing. It was discussed some months back in several discussions which considered whether the Google Bombing algo had gone awry. As I remember, there were no conclusions.

8:57 am on Jul 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Could be that onpage factors are more important now...

Definitely. I noticed that a few months ago with two sites I forgot about that had two keywords in the domain, and whose subject was completely about that topic and nothing but.

11:42 am on Jul 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



When companies like Dell etc can't rank for what they do then it is obvious that google is well and truely busted.

Seems I owe an apology to Tedster when i doubted the Googlebombing nixes were actually put into place.
lol this is hilarious.

But I stand by the same reasoning as before.

In order to avoid the "embarrassment" of investors knowing that a very few webmasters actively know how to game G at will, they now make their whole product less useful.

God forbid, some meaningless terms, that no one cares about, bring up a specific website.
Let's make sure world renown brand name companies don't rank for their core terms.

(oops, they were too busy NOT gaming G and building a site for their users. Hmm, that sounds odd)

5:50 pm on Jul 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



...onpage factors...

To expand just a bit on this, what I've seen from this shift is a drop in "medium tail," still competitive variants of phrases expected to be searched and which did have some inbound linking for their keyword combinations, but without sufficient vocabulary on the page.

This as opposed to those longtail combinations, which are rare enough that they don't tend to be competitive, and whose vocabulary exists onpage. Those continue to do just fine, perhaps better than they did before.

A dilemma touched on in the -950 and phrase based ranking discussions, though, is that if you have too many adjective/keyphrase combinations onpage... sometimes just because you like to vary your prose... your page might be seen as a spam page that's targeting an unnatural number of phrase variants. These apparently require more inbound linking to pull them out, with appropriatel vocabulary on both the pages and in the links.

Anyone seeing similar patterns?

6:05 pm on Jul 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

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



I've whined here a couple times about the way Google was listing a url that was really one click away from the real information. I thought then, and still do, that this was the result of too much weight on anchor text and not enough weight for on-page factors. Possibly a protection against stuffing, but still, not the best user experience.

This week I've seen that shift - and the best url is now showing in the SERPs in several cases, the one with the information right on the page rather than in anchor text. If there is an indented listing, it is often the "one click away" url.

I like this. Sometimes the indented listing is actually the home page/domain root. In the recent past, the domain root often stole the show and any internal page would be indented. So I do see a shift, and I think it's well purposed. Knock on wood, I still don't have a website in my stable that suffers from a -950.

With regard to the search on "computer" that BeeDeeDubbleU mentioned, I still see the expected big corporates in the top five.

 

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