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I think Google is weeding old or stagnant pages out of the index to make way for new pages, it is the only way they can keep up with the internet IMO. I recently did a search for a topic from 2002 and it was like going back into the stone ages in search. Everything now is what is happening today, not years ago. I don't know what all your sites are about but even on the top sites it seems they weed the pages.
For example I ran a search for an electronics product from 2000, only 8 years ago. You can barely find traces of it in the sites I searched via Google. Now do the same search from a product from today, say the iphone. There is probably a billion pages on that. Now I am not saying they are doing things wrong, but with the millions of pages added every day to the internet they have to delete or else run out of space perhaps. I just wish they had the ability to search the archives easily for the topics or products that are "old". Right now you can do that with Google news but not Google search.
Anyway my point is I think Google looks at a site and compares all the content, then keeps some of the most recent content in the results including the higher PR stuff and puts the older stuff in supplemental. That is only a guess but seems to be what is happening.
Since the older stuff I looked for was probably dropped into the deepest parts of these sites I couldn't find it with Google anymore.
Maybe though this is the way the internet search will be, you use if for todays content only. If they had to archive all our sites I don't think it is possible, not with all the pages being added.
[edited by: tedster at 4:46 pm (utc) on Sep. 1, 2008]
Why does google frown upon excessive reciprocal linking?
Because the intention to build links artificially to get higher search results. If one where to be able to discriminate between natural (NL) and artificial linking (AL) the difference would be "artificial (self promoting) links" (AL) within these you could include reciprocal links, but also bought links, link triangles, and "artificial (self promoting) linking themes" (ALT)
Google has been collecting and using links and back link profiles as a major part of the algo for years now, and it does have obviously flaws.
I expect the changes we are seeing now is google building a bigger picture of back link profiles, in particular artificial (self promoting) linking themes. If you take the classic 3 way link triangle and expand on this. It all comes down to how much data is google prepared to collect and analyze to understand the difference between NL and AL. My bet is this is getting a lot of attention. If for instance unrelated websites which do not link share major similarities in their back link profile then at best these links will be discounted, as worst the site will be downranked.
I think people who have spent the last few years concentrating on building links as their main strategy, no doubt a large percentage of white hats included, as going to start noticing sites drop if the majority of the links are being marked as artificial.
It's difficult to know when Google is going to discount or penalize. It made more sense for it to discount internal link spam, because it had little if any negative impact on user experience, the #1 issue for Google; yet it chose to hit sites who did that with an extreme -950 penalty. I don't know if Matt Cutts has ever stated Google's philosophy on ignoring v. penalizing. (There may in fact be no set policy.)
> I think people who have spent the last few years concentrating on building links as their main strategy, no doubt a large percentage of white hats included, are going to start noticing sites drop if the majority of the links are being marked as artificial.
I agree with the earlier comment that resources are an issue for Google that is never going to go away. How much data it can store from old pages and "site history" may increase or decrease because of how big the internet is getting.
But at the same time, Google employees have to do something to stay busy, and since linking is the foundation of its algo, you would expect them to focus on more advanced discernment of crooked v. legitimate links.
Still, how easy is it ever going to be for Google to figure out all legit links v. bogus ones? After a certain point, there's just not enough data for humans or algos to figure it out conclusively.
I may be seeing a shift by Google to more emphasis on sites with extra content. Cutts like everyone else says content is king. Tons of links to site or pages with little content is a tougher sell now.
Is this the difference between PageRank and TrustRank? and how does natural linking -v- artificial linking effect the two?
If your website uses other websites content than there is a good chance that your website is hit by this update. One of our clients website which provides very good value to the visitors lost their Google rankings. Its a mash up website.
Is there any such thing as White Hat SEO when it comes to link building?
Yes, man. It's the natural, organic process that happens when you have a unique site that doesn't need artificial linking schemes to stand out. If you're selling used cars, you need to buy/trade links. If you're presenting original content on an interesting subject that's been poorly covered until you appeared, all you need is a few good core links to get you started, and then the others will find the site and link without invitations to do so.
I haven't ranted about this for a while, and will try to avoid doing so now, but the internet and SE rankings isn't all about commercial ventures. The original idea was to share knowledge, not create dodgy MFA directories, sell stuff, and generally try to get whatever dollars you can. If you do that, it's a struggle because there are many competitors. So it goes.
any thoughts on what this update might be about and when the "word on the street" is that it will be completed ?
[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 12:12 am (utc) on Sep. 4, 2008]
one of my sites seeing nearly 25 % drop from august 27th ?
I'm seeing strange things too therefore I have been checking all my important keyword phrases etc in Google.com for the past week or so using a proxy and they're still ranking #1 insofar as I can tell.
Having said that I've noticed that in Google.co.uk (the web) and (pages from the UK) that some of those very same pages (they are hosted in the UK but mostly with .coms) have been pushed down 2>3>4 places.
Furthermore each browser I am trying is displaying different results, some have the top couple of places the same but others are very strange with, I have to say, totally useless results ranking at the top.
As a searcher/user I certainly would not be happy with these results.
Altogether, IMHO, things are not very satisfactory with the SERPs all round for my sites, and I am gathering, others too.
I like the quotes, though, at the top. That's nice and they're usually relevant.
Long story short. Big site sisterhood, 14 country themed sites, all big, all at least 5 years old. Used to be in top 3 or 5 until last december. Started to go down, first 7, then 9, then 10, then 13 two months ago. At first we thought we were going up again(cause we have lotsa legit content and we sell a service). We started to change anchor text and correcting links, went up again, got to first page. Then we started to dance between 8 and 10. 3 weeks ago we started to fix duplicated titles and many other issues detected by webmaster tools, and we added Adsense to every page. A week and a half ago started to do better, even showing up last sunday at 3(we were in tears). Danced monday and tuesday between 4 and 8, and yesterday went back to 10. We're still fixing the content issues(there were many issues in all sites and we're working on them in a non-automated way) but are quickly losing hope, this year has been REALLY bad for us and we're thinking about selling the sites and getting into other business. Anyone can share a light here? What's going on?
Thanks in advance.
I started reading and am now wondering if although at this time I had no inbound bought TLA's if the selling of them on my site has hurt me. (?)
Worse yet, before I really started digging in to the great TLA debate, I purchased more TLA's yesterday for that site thinking surely the reason my traffic / SERPS had dropped was due to my cancelling them.
I have great concerns about this as I depend on Adsense for my primary income right now and if Google is going to penalize me for TLA purchases and sales, I need to do something fast.
Do yo ubelieve the TLA issue has an influence on my current problem?
As an aside, I have another 6 or so sites that also sell TLA (from the most popular TLA seller) but as of yet, have not been affected.
Confused and Worried
Is the dancing completed or are the dc's still updating ?
I think the general consensus from what has been happening and what has been posted by Google is that it will now be in a constant flux, or dance, state.
This has been occurring across many sites for not just weeks but months now.
Please correct me if I'm wrong.
These days, you can only count on paid ads for traffic, not rankings. And selling ads on your site that pass PR can bring you penalties.
I just had an intersting conversation with the TLA people. I wanted their official stance on the issue. They reason that publishers - i.e. those who place outgoing links on their site should be ok as long as they take great care in making sure the links placed on your site are relevant to your own. They also mention they have roughly 3500 active clients that are primarily using inbound links as SEO and continue to do so.
I am just trying to find an approach to this so as to not go off half-cocked and 1) remove a source of income woth about $750 a month and 2) Stop buying TLA backlinks if it is not proven definatively damaging. (I also just paid for a new batch and do not want to throw the money away if I do not have to)
When you buy a link, buy it for your competitors first. Then watch them, if their ranking goes down, you can buy more links pointing to your competitors and this way you can kick them out of Google
If their rank goes up, then remove the competitors link and add your own link on that page. This way your ranking will go up now.
Sounds like a smart strategy, but we don't believe in winning the game by destroying our competitors unethically.
Yeah - that sounds pretty grungy to me. Not sure if I would want to work with the company promoting that idea.
Selling text ads on a website, if they pass PR, is a major reason for drops in ranking.
While this is true, it is not always the case, and is often determined by the age and authority of the website in question. I see many top ranking websites in competitive genres selling pagerank-passing links and they have not been hammered with ranking drops or with traffic drops over the last two years.
Buying text ads that pass PR from other domains is also not so productive - the PR is being wiped out on the linking site so the ranking boost is no longer happening.
Again, not entirely accurate...it all depends on the location of the link paid for in context of the qualities of the website in question.
In the meantime, I have however, had any outbound links removed from my websites that were not relevant to the site it resides on. I believe that makes sense. Quite frankly, it always bothers me to see an outbound link for say "loan refinancing" on a site that has no content that works with it.