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Google Updates and SERP Changes - February 2011

   
11:19 pm on Feb 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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



< continued from: [webmasterworld.com...] >
< active thread: [webmasterworld.com...] >


Related AdSense Farm Update < continued from [webmasterworld.com...] >


It's a new month and our regular SERP watching thread has been neglected a bit lately. Most of the posting right now is on dedicated threads focused on specific changes - especially the Scraping algo change [webmasterworld.com] and the promised (but not yet active) campaign against Content Farms [webmasterworld.com].

But Google's perpetual update machine keeps on turning. I'm particularly wondering about sites that publish a lot of legitimately syndicated content rather than a lot of original content. Did your rankings and traffic wobble with the "dupe content update"? If they dropped, did they rebound?

I'm watching one such website and though they are mostly republished content, nothing seemed to change.

[edited by: tedster at 6:00 pm (utc) on Feb 4, 2011]

[edited by: tedster at 8:38 pm (utc) on Feb 26, 2011]

9:03 am on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I agree Chris. Our dropped site is nothing other than our own pictures, descriptions of our processes and enrolling for students. We have 4 links on the site to "Our other sites" who haven't been hit.

We have only ever joined other art sites and actively participated in their communities. It would appear that we have been hammered for participating in these social activities. I certainly won't stop using them, as they send more interested parties to our site than Google ever has.

I would seriously advise people not to assume what has happened and then knee jerk their way to the usual Google wave, which can takes months to calm down.

[edited by: Spencer at 9:10 am (utc) on Feb 25, 2011]

9:07 am on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)



I'm seeing an increase in traffic today and it's similar to the 23rd. It's actually the U.S. traffic that's growing, everything else is the same. I think this correlates with the fact that the algo is still being rolled out.
9:12 am on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Matt Cutts seem to be pointing to references of page sculpting and usage of nofollow tags. Are sites affected using too many nofollows to external links and flagged by google for indulging in it? Is this too part of this algo change?
9:14 am on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)



Indy, where does Matt mention nofollow?
9:15 am on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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We are in a classified niche with UGC. We are practically the only one who do not accept XML import of listings, we do not want to have listings that are all over the internet just to avoid duplicate content. Yet, we are affected...
Of course we offer something for our members if they link to us, this is how we grow, this is why members are talking about us on Twitter, FaceBook, their own sites, etc. If this is black-hat or even grey-hat, it looks like I am getting too old for this whole thing... I find it strange to penalize all or most of marketing efforts that are not AdWords...
9:16 am on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Zoltan, original content/duplicate content ratio could be an indicator


we all know google doesn't know the first thing when it comes to distinguishing the original from the scraper.

this could be a part of the reason for all this mess. good sites are the one that get scraped the most. as most have noticed here, the better websites are the ones taking the beating.
9:22 am on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Zoltan, original content/duplicate content ratio could be an indicator


This might explain why eHow is still ranking for content stolen from our website and why we are no longer ranking for that content.
10:26 am on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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do you know any good web-based proxy in the U.S. for us people outside the United States to check our rankings?

all i'm getting if i search google right now is junk, plus a lot of virus filled results... go figure... big algo update :))

thanks!
10:27 am on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



walkman, On twitter, pointing those references to many people, though the discussion was around when should nofollow be added and when it should not.
11:00 am on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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do you know any good web-based proxy in the U.S. for us people outside the United States to check our rankings?


You don't need a proxy. You can use the "Google Global" add-on for Firefox instead.
11:53 am on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Seen this movie before. Big algo change to improve things and tons of good sites are negatively impacted because of the changes. In past algo changes, I've watched VERY good sites, run by people I know, suffer steep declines in traffic post-algo-change and it can take Google three to six months to fix what they've broken. It's really tragic if you get hit with a "false positive" and are viewed by Google as being low-quality even when you are objectively high-quality by all accounts. Employees get laid off, kids can't go to college -- in other words, it's not just code, Google: real people suffer. In the past, I've always dodged the bullet myself, but this new algo change got me right in the heart. Google traffic is down 40%. Ouch. I actually think it's a bit irresponsible of Google to do this in the middle of an economic recovery. So far, based on posts here, this seems to be a big mistake as far as quality of the coding goes -- lots of crap results showing up in the post-FUpdate searches from what I see. Somebody mentioned New Coke and I think that's a great analogy. I've seen very few posts here that say they like Google's new formula.
11:53 am on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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hmmm, does not look too good for me so far, first glance: 40% traffic drop yesterday, but need to investigate that further!

P!
12:10 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Interesting that everyone I've spoken to seems to be mentioning a ~40% drop, I'm exactly the same on one particular site - which, in its niche is extremely high quality compared to what's showing in the top spots now :/
12:24 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)



Since this seems to be about dupes /thin content, I am removing my few thin tag pages. ALL of them, since I don't what Google is after. Maybe they saw them as too similar to the other pages (old debate) so let's hope. Almost all were in the supplemental bucket anyway
1:23 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I've got a unique set of reporting tools, so I can offer a slightly different perspective on this update. I am, as far as I can tell, the first one on WebmasterWorld to report this update. Officially, it started rolling out at 9 PM February 23rd.

If I pay no attention to what I read about this update and only look at my own reports, this is what I see:

This update seems to have affected old, legacy articles and not new articles. That's why so many here on WW are reporting drops in traffic, we all have our prized content which is years and years old, and now they're being replaced in the SERP's by Google's favorite few.

It's almost like Google throwing out all the indicators they've had on the original content creators for pages over a few years old, and giving credit to their favorite sites, like eHow.

The articles that are effected on my site are original articles which have received hundreds or thousands of visitors per day for years, and they have been scraped constantly. eHow has copied my articles in the past, but I always out-ranked them. Now they out-rank the originals on my site.

Said another way, out of the 150,000 pages that make up my website, 40% of the traffic used to go to just the top 100 pages of my site. Now with those 100 pages no longer ranking, that accounts for a 40% traffic drop right there, but the vast majority of the rest of my pages are unchanged in rankings. I haven't found any articles on my site which are less than a year old which have been affected by this update.

The good news is that Google is crawling, indexing and ranking new content on my site just like they always have. (Hey, I'm trying to find good news here.)

I also have older articles which are seasonal, which only receive a significant amount of traffic for less than a week per year and therefore haven't been scraped and copied as much as other articles. These articles don't seem to be affected, either.

I don't see any correlation with the affected pages and backlinks.

If I were to name this update, I'd call it the 'Scrapers with Venture Capital Win!' update.
1:29 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



I still have a feeling that this update has a lot to do with links.Remember a google employee mentioning about how they are going to look at links differently.

Matt Cutts tweet about nofollow and page sculpting at this time is interesting.There might be some relation between these two.

1) Sites that add nofollow to internal pages might have been affected.
2) Sites that nofollow almost all/majority of external links might have been affected.

While the above relates to outgoing links, there might have also been changes introduced on incoming links. these could be anything from anchor text to relevancy of pages inlinking.

But I still suspect that outgoing links have been impacted in a major way.So is the practice of sculpting or adding nofollow to internal links.
1:36 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Sites that nofollow almost all/majority of external links might have been affected.


eHow is using nofollow to their so called sources (= the webpages where content has been stolen and slightly modified) and they don't seem to be affected by ths algo change.
1:39 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



They don't have links to external sites at all. You can only see javascript links to external sites on eHow.If they aren't affected by this update - hmm....what can I say.

Read this thread for further info - [webmasterworld.com...]

[edited by: indyank at 1:40 pm (utc) on Feb 25, 2011]

1:39 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)



indyank, Google isn't going to trash 12% of the SERPS because someone used nofollow in their links. That's a very weak signal, if any signal at all.
1:44 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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walkman, the reality is nofollow has been abused a lot everywhere.
1:47 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Some big content farms that I see, seldom link to external sites and if they do, they either use dofollow or use other techniques like redirects or javascripts. For example, sites like eHow use JS to link externally and they too don't have to nofollow for the bots.

[edited by: indyank at 1:57 pm (utc) on Feb 25, 2011]

1:48 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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eHow is using nofollow to their so called sources (= the webpages where content has been stolen and slightly modified) and they don't seem to be affected by ths algo change.


I just check eHow and all the links ( internal/external ) on their pages are dofollow. Am I wrong or they changed the attribute ?


Edit : Sorry, I was wrong. They are nofollow

[edited by: tranquilito at 1:52 pm (utc) on Feb 25, 2011]

1:51 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I just check eHow and all the links ( internal/external ) on their pages are dofollow


When I look at the source code of their webpage I see "jsNoFollow"
1:53 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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The external links are javascript links. Check the thread that I posted above
1:57 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member themadscientist is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



They are nofollow

They're more (actually less ... lol) than nofollow, they're not even HTML links until the JavaScript modifies them, but that's not a trick to try and artificially inflate rankings, they're eHow ... And their content is touched by 12 different people after they 'find' it, which I guess makes it original.
2:10 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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True.eHow may not have been affected by those tricks for a number of reasons that we all know.But don't try to imitate them as google will bury you immediately.
2:11 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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i have also noticed decline of traffic from the US, is it because of the new algo "farmer" rolling out or its the link thing happened to overstock and forbes
2:12 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I also think this update is more or less about incoming links and overusing the title tag in the incoming links.
2:15 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Are you guys seeing the new algo throughout all the US? How about on these IPs?

64.233.179.104
72.14.203.99
66.102.11.104
2:24 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



How do you check on those ips?
They resolve to google.com and am not sure whether I am seeing results from that data center.

[edited by: indyank at 2:25 pm (utc) on Feb 25, 2011]

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