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Google Is Working on an Algo Fix - to help wrongly demoted sites

     
8:56 am on Mar 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Here's official news that many sites have been waiting to hear. Google fellow Amit Singal is quoted in Wired:

"We deeply care about the people who are generating high-quality content sites, which are the key to a healthy web ecosystem," Singhal said.

"Therefore any time a good site gets a lower ranking or falsely gets caught by our algorithm - and that does happen once in a while even though all of our testing shows this change was very accurate - we make a note of it and go back the next day to work harder to bring it closer to 100 percent."

"That's exactly what we are going to do, and our engineers are working as we speak building a new layer on top of this algorithm to make it even more accurate than it is," Singhal said.

[wired.com...]
9:02 am on Mar 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Yes, this is potentially good news for many who are feeling beat up right now. For me, it's also a signal to understand as much as I can about the present moment before that "second layer" gets applied. Between the two iterations of this change, I expect there may be a lot of insight to be gained.
9:14 am on Mar 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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That's Good News. Hope to get my rankings back. :)
9:16 am on Mar 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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If their testing shows that their "farmer" algo is accurate, how can they pick up the good sites now? I assume there will be atleast some manual intervention by Google for the high traffic websites.
9:36 am on Mar 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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in other words the admit they messed up? "even though all of our testing shows this change was very accurate" - of-course, they couldn't say it wasn't but we know and they must know that's not the case.
9:49 am on Mar 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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The Wired.com article has been updated with a statement that one site has already seen its rankings return - after losing 96% of all traffic last week.
9:52 am on Mar 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I still think that mostly this update was based on content, freshness, age, 'quality' and weight of the sites as a whole (rather than page by page). I think they will now go back and look at it with more emphasis on deep links & devaluing internal links so that a site carries less weight and so the good content can still come up while the rubbish gets buried.

Its when certain types of pages or websites get a mark against them (which could devalue out going links?) that I think would cause unknown SERP changes like we have just seen, Google should have spent longer in test mode before rolling this one out.
9:53 am on Mar 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Tedster, that site (cultofmac) was manually admitted. Matt Cutts saw his tweet and in a day he was back up.

But yeah, many sites have been hit for no reason.
10:00 am on Mar 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Lets hope that my sites make a return once they are done correcting the algo. Strange that one of the sites mentioned in the article already saw a return, manual review?
10:03 am on Mar 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Walkman, manually aquitted? I thought this was an algo change and not a penalty?
10:07 am on Mar 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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[twitter.com...]
"@lkahney [cultofmac editor?] the appropriate people at the Googleplex have heard that report, I'm sure. Feel free to snag me at SXSW if you see me though. "

So it's manual unless someone says it wasn't :)
10:18 am on Mar 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I thought this was an algo change and not a penalty

If a new "page quality" factor was introduced into the ranking algo, then that factor could have been manually reset for a particular site. Now I suppose all the other kids will want want, too ;)
10:19 am on Mar 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Here's the post from Cult of Mac.
[cultofmac.com...]
10:38 am on Mar 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Just did a link:http*//cultofmac.com/ and shows that backlinks are no help with this latest algo. They are linked from lots and lots of top sites, any site owner's dream.
11:54 am on Mar 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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"We deeply care about the people who are generating high-quality content sites, which are the key to a healthy web ecosystem," Singhal said.


+1

Since they developed this algo from 1 year, is clear is not an easy task what they want to do. Especially if after has been applied, useful, clean and authoritative sites has been hit with 30-90%.
11:56 am on Mar 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Google is literally running the Web. We are all at their mercy, hoping they send us a bit of "free" traffic.

In the meantime they keep more and more valuable visitors on their SERPs, the expensive ads are on their SERPs, our content is on their SERPs and we are here praying they tune the algorithm so our hard work is valued?

That is the definition of a monopoly. I hope law enforcement is also working hard on an "algorithm change" to clean up Google's act.
12:40 pm on Mar 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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This is going to be interesting.

We run a moderately sized site (AdSense ads and all unique content). Had millions of visitors over the past few years and are a premium publisher... go figure, after this update - 50% traffic loss from Google organic.

Interestingly enough, we were never affected by any previous algorithm changes at all. This is first time in many years.

Even more entertaining was a reaction of our AdSense manager being rather puzzled by our recent stats...

I am very glad for Cult of Mac's reinstatement, but our site is still down 50%.

Moreover, at least four web sites featured on a well known Google AdSense Success Stories page are also hit hard and are listed in another well known list by Sistrix (Hometips, Teachnology, EzineArticles, Askthebuilder).

If I was guessing on the aim of this latest update, I would say Google is regretting the whole AdSense Publisher Network idea and is working toward gradually phasing it out. Otherwise, I see no reason, given Google's resources, for such a wide fallout.

[edited by: gotmetoo at 1:00 pm (utc) on Mar 2, 2011]

12:48 pm on Mar 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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This article shows a few things.

1) Despite Google's claims, Google staff do manipulate search results for certain people they like which is unfair (i.e. the Mac website).

2)
Therefore any time a good site gets a lower ranking or falsely gets caught by our algorithm - and that does happen once in a while even though all of our testing shows this change was very accurate


Perhaps this Google employee would like a a few search results out of the thousands that are full of spam results while quality sites are buried.

3)
Google is literally running the Web. We are all at their mercy, hoping they send us a bit of "free" traffic.


More evidence that Google has become an unhealthy monopoly and needs to be broken up.

examples:

Google Blocks Smaller Ad Rivals, Competitor Says in EU Antitrust Complaint

[bloomberg.com...]

Google facing US competition probe

Google is facing its first US anti-competition probe, after the Texas Attorney General approached the company following complaints over search rankings.


[pcpro.co.uk...]
12:58 pm on Mar 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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It's encouraging. Remains to be seen though.
1:01 pm on Mar 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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More evidence that Google has become an unhealthy monopoly and needs to be broken up

I was saying that last year.

Not necessarily broken up but certainly restricted in the way they run rampant.
1:32 pm on Mar 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I feel a little like Lloyd Christmas in Dumb and Dumber, "So you're saying there's a chance!" (In response to the odds being one in a million.)
2:47 pm on Mar 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Knowing my luck, the algo tweek will make things even worse for me.
2:58 pm on Mar 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Perhaps some legislation is needed to regulate the World Wide Web search business.

Ranking rules should be transparent, open, accountable and then webmasters can work towards a better web knowing *exactly* what to work for. In LEGAL terms, not any company's current whatever-they-want terms.

Because right now it's a Russian-roulette, really.
3:09 pm on Mar 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Thank you for the link to this article. I had to email it out to the team and I'm hoping it will help. I can tell you that as the SEO, I've been getting beat to death the last couple of days because of this algo change.

Let's just all hope that they make a fix soon. In the mean time, I've been looking for ways to adapt and work to better the quality of the sites I work on.
3:12 pm on Mar 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Walkman - I tried that link you gave but for one of our websites and found a picture stolen from us and posted on Wikipedia. The image has had its copyright watermark removed:

"(Removed watermark from uploaded image)"

Under the "File Links" it states:

"No pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file. (Pages on other projects are not counted.)"

It lists our website URL but you cannot click on it. But somehow G found it and I wonder if this is a real back link and whether we should leave it?

Is this one reason Wikipedia outranks so many sites?
3:46 pm on Mar 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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If I was guessing on the aim of this latest update, I would say Google is regretting the whole AdSense Publisher Network idea and is working toward gradually phasing it out. Otherwise, I see no reason, given Google's resources, for such a wide fallout.


Well, as an Adsense publisher, I sure hope not.

Plus, not all Adsense publishers were affected by this update. Our sites all run Adsense and we remained relatively untouched with this update (keeping fingers crossed).
3:53 pm on Mar 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Yes, Google regrets making billions and billions of dollars and giving thousands of their own people jobs, and millions of webmasters an income.
4:01 pm on Mar 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Interesting that he states they are making a note of any "good sites" that get falsely caught up. How can they tell "good sites" from "bad sites" if not by their algorithim?

It couldn't be a blacklist for known "bad sites" or there wouldn't have been any mistakes to start with. Are going off Webmaster Tools reinclusion requests? Reports in the media? Internal reports filed by Google employees for friends?
4:13 pm on Mar 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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This fix was meant to demote sites who were exploiting and abusing "content farms" to gain rank and PR.

You know, Google has its own content farm - Google Knol.

Did anyone else notice that the embedded article links on all google knols went from DoFollow to NoFollow right around the algo update?
4:13 pm on Mar 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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@Content_ed looks like they are only counting sites that get big media mentions and the buddy system. I sure hope this isn't the case and they indeed roll out an update of some kind.
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