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Matt Cutts and Amit Singhal Share Insider Detail on Panda Update

     

tedster

10:54 pm on Mar 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

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



Senior member g1smd pointed out this link in another thread - and it's a juicy one. The Panda That Hates Farms [wired.com]

Wired Magazine interviewed both Matt Cutts and Amit Singhal and in the process got some helpful insight into the Farm Update. I note that some of the speculation we've had at WebmasterWorld is confirmed:

Outside quality raters were involved at the beginning
...we used our standard evaluation system that we've developed, where we basically sent out documents to outside testers. Then we asked the raters questions like: "Would you be comfortable giving this site your credit card? Would you be comfortable giving medicine prescribed by this site to your kids?"


Excessive ads were part of the early definition
There was an engineer who came up with a rigorous set of questions, everything from. "Do you consider this site to be authoritative? Would it be okay if this was in a magazine? Does this site have excessive ads?"


The update is algorithmic, not manual
...we actually came up with a classifier to say, okay, IRS or Wikipedia or New York Times is over on this side, and the low-quality sites are over on this side. And you can really see mathematical reasons.

limoshawn

1:53 pm on Mar 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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oh, and they're not done yet...

Edge

3:01 pm on Mar 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I guess the secret to rank well after the Farmer update is to just do the opposite of what Suite 101 does...


There be gold in them thar wired interview...

bwnbwn

3:50 pm on Mar 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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



It boggles my mind as to why a website seems to think by stuffing more adsense ads leads to more clicks. I have run 1 uno ad on our sites since adsense was born, and our CTR has always been high, well above the average. I did try adding more at one time and it caused our ctr and revenue to drop. That told me people just are getting turned off with stuffing all these ads in a page and move on to get a less clutterd page.

If I hit a site with ads all over I am gone, about time Google came to the same conclusion.

chewy

4:15 pm on Mar 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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this -

[blog.articlesbase.com...]

and other articles like it - are also extremely instructive.

mromero

4:19 pm on Mar 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



incrediBILL

"Another reason I advocate everyone use NOARCHIVE as cached pages gives Google more face time and less to your site."

Has this been tested and confirmed by others?

We did a one week test and results appeared to be worse - as if G suddenly did not like this. This is for a content site - no ecommerce. But it may have been a coincidence.

Any case stories that this is a best practice?

Do AFF sites and ecommerce use no archive.

Does it make a site appear dodgy or sneaky in the eyes of a surfer or search engine?

Most big, medium, small media we see are cached on G.

netmeg

4:23 pm on Mar 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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



I NOARCHIVE everything I'm responsible for, my own sites, my clients, ecommerce sites with thousands of pages, affiliate sites, 'brochure' sites, blogs, wordpress membership sites - everything. Have for about a year. Have no reason to believe it's hurt anything.

incrediBILL

4:36 pm on Mar 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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



I remember the days before Adsense and believe many webmasters were getting peanuts. It has brought alot of money to small time publishers so although you can disagree with what they are doing, do remember the fact Google has done webmasters many favors.


Yeah, I remember those days too.

I remember when HP, Apple, Ricoh and others used to directly advertise on my site, give me big fat checks up to $30K/month, on the same site AdSense gave a fraction, and now Google decided to throw down the farmers hole.

Heck, if it wasn't for my site they wouldn't have had one of the major hubs for one of the major niche topics when they started that stupid search engine and this is how they repay my pioneering efforts?

Back in the day we used to do something called LINKING which is how others found similar sites. Now if you do LINKING big bad Google threatens you with a penalty. Sure links can and are abused, but if they can effectively break the original chain of LINKS that built the web that's yet another way they dominate the system.

Loads of fun Google is, take away my big advertiser money with AdWords, give me webmaster welfare with AdSense, then park me at the bottom of the abyss when they're through using my site for all it's worth.

I'm doing A/B testing at the moment and if AdSense was what caused my site to be thrown down the farmers hole, AdSense will be permanently removed, relationship over.

pageoneresults

4:41 pm on Mar 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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



Has this been tested and confirmed by others?


We use NoArchive by default also. In fact, we usually serve it as an X-Robots-Tag and it is a default install for all sites. I also use incrediBILLs robots.txt Whitelist method.

I'm doing A/B testing at the moment and if AdSense was what thru my site down the farmers well, AdSense will be permanently removed, relationship over.


Dude? Sorry to hear about your loss. :(

hyperkik

4:59 pm on Mar 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I have a site with two distinct areas of content, one of which has been affected to a significant degree and another of which has not been affected at all (or may have received a slight boost). It's too small a sample size from which to extrapolate, but I can tell you this: The algorithm is considering more than "how many ad units are there" or "what size are the units", and you can trigger the penalty without having an excessive number of units on a page, and even if you have a ton of text on the page.

My impression at this point is that it's the placement of an ad with CSS that's causing the problem - Googlebot can't figure out where that ad unit appears on the page and that is causing the trust to plummet. I'll be doing some testing, albeit probably not as scientific as incrediBill's, to try to determine if my hunch is correct.

Play_Bach

5:24 pm on Mar 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member play_bach is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



I remember when HP, Apple, Ricoh and others used to directly advertise on my site, give me big fat checks up to $30K/month, on the same site AdSense gave a fraction, and now Google decided to throw down the farmers hole.


Ouch incrediBILL. Those are some mind-blowing numbers! Sorry to hear it... hope things turn around for you.

TheMadScientist

5:32 pm on Mar 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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



Yeah, that sucks incrediBILL...

Out of curiosity, would you say your sites 'evolved' with the Internet, meaning look, feel, source code, or do they still fit 'yesterday's Internet' (for lack of a more 'descriptive' phrase) in those respects?

Also, are they built to be 'fully backward compatible' for deprecated and obsolete browsers or do they use 'less inclusive' techniques to display information, page changes, etc?

I'm not wondering if they're 'good' or 'well made' as much as how they're made, what they look like and what the coding is like...

Richie0x

5:50 pm on Mar 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Back in the day we used to do something called LINKING which is how others found similar sites. Now if you do LINKING big bad Google threatens you with a penalty.


I think what has happened here is that Google has gone feral on us.

Publishers are now penalised for displaying too many adverts when the number of paid-for results on a Google SERP can often outweigh the number of organic results on it. We're also being penalised for linking even though Google's entire reason for being is based on links.

This update has cut my traffic by more than a quarter.

So what I am going to do, is remove hundreds of links to Google maps and Google Streetview from my website, and direct visitors to Multimap instead. Then I'm going to replace Google site search with Bing's, strip the analytics code from my pages and close my analytics account down. Basically I'm going to systematically eradicate everything from my website that promotes or encourages Google. :) Except adsense, which can gtfo just as soon as I find a viable alternative...

incrediBILL

6:10 pm on Mar 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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



I'm not wondering if they're 'good' or 'well made' as much as how they're made, what they look like and what the coding is like...


Has both CSS and some old code, it's a brundle-fly thing that I've been cleaning out aggressively but I'm pretty sure that had nothing to do with it. Some pages are still top 10 for major 2 word niche terms so I don't think the format is what killed me or they'd all be gone.

TheMadScientist

6:15 pm on Mar 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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



Cool, thanks for the clarification and info incrediBILL ... I didn't think that would be the case but wanted to make sure, because WhoTF knows these days? Mine are a bit 'more exclusive' to newer browsers than most and didn't get hit, so I figured it was worth asking about to make sure...

browsee

6:29 pm on Mar 4, 2011 (gmt 0)



@Richie0x, thats exactly I did. Removed G analytics, I've created my own analytics. Removed G ad-sense completely, I am not going to add any other ad network for couple of months. Removed all orphaned pages from G index based on this link.

[searchengineland.com...]

I also added Javascript nofollow, it took less than an hour to do this. Let me know if you need sample.

Just saw that HubPages starting their own ad program, this is good news and this is just the beginning. There will be alternative ad networks soon.

I know G does not care. However, if more and more people avoid G then they will definitely notice.

[edited by: browsee at 7:14 pm (utc) on Mar 4, 2011]

Planet13

6:39 pm on Mar 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Basically I'm going to systematically eradicate everything from my website that promotes or encourages Google. :)


I gotta' ask; Are you doing this because you think it will end up putting more money in your pocket?

Or are you doing it to just get revenge?

If google does something that MAKES you money, then use it.

If google does something that COSTS you money, then DON'T use it.

Planet13

6:40 pm on Mar 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



I know G does not care. However, if more and more people avoid G then they will definitely notice.


With all due respect, wake me up when that happens.

Panthro

6:40 pm on Mar 4, 2011 (gmt 0)



QFT:


Look at the big picture, they're not only pushing sites down into oblivion but are leveraging those same sites to make Google Places...

frontpage

7:32 pm on Mar 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Freaking Google! They just sent out emails asking people to add more adsense units.


Ahh.. Grasshopper... You are assuming Google is referring to their ads not third party ads that compete with Adsense.

MrFewkes

7:47 pm on Mar 4, 2011 (gmt 0)



From IncrediBILL

Webmasters can take back the web.
We are the web.
Without us Google is nothing.
Freedom is within these 2 lines of a robots.txt file:
User-agent: googlebot
Disallow: /

Then take all incoming search traffic from Google and 301 redirect it straight to Bing to make a point.

'Nuff said.

Icredibill - that is what is known here as a "Call to Action".

LOL - you are a Moderator.

I happen to be totally in agreement with everything you say in that post.

Is there a website I can go to which is some kind of a movement against all that incrediBill is saying is coming our way?

The internet IS ours - NOT googles. We are fools to let them trample on us like this.

Im being polite :)

econman

7:48 pm on Mar 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



This is an article I have published on a "content farm" that got hit.


It sounds like this might be an example of a page dropping in the SERPs not because of its own characteristics, but because it is located on a site that has numerous other pages (or a high proportion of other pages) that have been scored as poor quality.

If so, it isn't clear why this ripple effect is taking place. I see two basic possibilities:

Perhaps all pages on a "low quality" site are being demoted -- some sort of site-wide ranking change which is adversely impacting your page.


Or, numerous low quality pages on the hosting site are now being devalued by Google when it does all of its internal link juice calculations. In other words, perhaps your page was previously benefiting from being located on a huge site, and now it no longer gains that benefit. This wouldn't have to be a huge shift -- even a small shift in the ranking algorithms could be sufficient to push your page down several notches in the SERPs.

fabulousyarn

7:55 pm on Mar 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Im sorry, maybe i missed something - so its you're either HUGE or you're low quality? IRS/WIKIPEDIA/TIMES or S**T? What am I missing?

Thats the equivelent of going into a small town and dropping a walmart ontop of a whole bunch of fabulous little boutiques and saying its' better cuz its bigger. Sigh.

MrFewkes

8:01 pm on Mar 4, 2011 (gmt 0)



^^^^
You are right fabulous.

I was talking about that to a mate the other day - and we were discussing the merits of being a "one man band" for our customers (we are both in business).

We definately provide service second to none. We both bend over backwards for our customers - dealing with big companies is a fight just to get to speak to a human these days. I just personally emailed a customer and its 8pm on a friday night!

The old saying "Much Gets More" is the popular big business mantra - and google are in that in a big way.

Freedom

8:02 pm on Mar 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



"Thats the equivelent of going into a small town and dropping a walmart ontop of a whole bunch of fabulous little boutiques and saying its' better cuz its bigger. Sigh."

Great Comparison.

IMO, if you got hit by 80-90 percent loss, you were the intended target of this update.

If you got hit with a 40 percent loss, you were a "mixed-quality" site (in Cutt's terms via last article on Wired), and you got taken down by collateral damage.

There might still be a chance for the 40 percent losers (myself included in that) to receive a comeback if there is indeed a "fix" to the algo that's coming.

fabulousyarn

8:17 pm on Mar 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I think that google is treading very dangerous waters here - I mean, for a buncha people, the web is about shopping. Now, shopping can be either amazon, or it can be a little eboutique. Or in between etsy. Now, I understand that google makes judgement calls about CONTENT in terms of INFORMATIONAL content - ok, yes, I have NEVER found anything of value on Ehow. But to judge ecommerce sites with the same measuring stick means inevitibly that the little guy loses, and in a lot of cases, the little guy (or gal) is what made the web good AND bad. I have had my share of both, but to be left ONLY with AMAZON? I love amazon, don't get me wrong, but sometimes I want to go to a different places/space and buy from something other than a giant shop. Like, for instance, when i buy YARN. Not that I"m taking this personally or anything. But I do think that there is a huge problem now that google has become the gatekeeper - they are just not objective anymore, and neither are their friggin' algorithims. They are doing, in some cases (like mine) Evil. I have turned off adwords. This is my third day. I got slammed by the update, so i juiced up my ad buys on targeted communities. the last 3 days have been fab. So..I will keep kissing g's a** a bit, and also continue to wean myself from dependence. I am also doing SEO for another ecommerce site and I we are just going live with a redesign - I am thankful that this update came out first - we'll be adjusting so that we can live with google, and without it. There is no denying its power, but you have to mitigate it.

Also - did anyone get pummelled in terms of adwords traffic? One of the reasons I turned AW off was because my traffic from AW just VANISHED, too!

Overall, my traffic is down about 7%. For a day or so, sales were too, now they seem to be back. Who the heck knows.

fabulousyarn

8:26 pm on Mar 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



'same experience that engineers and users have'

Whoa, that is scary. Since when to engineers have the same experience as users. NOT.

The inmates are definitely running this asylum.

fabulousyarn

8:27 pm on Mar 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I mean google, not WebmasterWorld. btw.

TheMadScientist

8:31 pm on Mar 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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



I mean, for a buncha people, the web is about shopping. Now, shopping can be either amazon, or it can be a little eboutique.

Uh, if you read through enough of the linked resources around here (I would go find it, but I already read it and don't know WhereTF it's linked any more) you will find Google says one of the biggest complaints they've had is too many shopping sites (iow e-commerce) ... I think the more we know, listen and look at the why from Google's perspective the more sense things seem to make.

I would have thought just the opposite, as I'm sure many do, but the biggest complaint about the results at one point in time (recently) was too much shopping, not 'give us more' e-commerce variety...

MrFewkes

8:41 pm on Mar 4, 2011 (gmt 0)



I wonder if google are scared of the likes of amazon - im just trying to think things through.

I have a friend whos not involved in the net in any way in terms of making a living from it - but he uses it to buy things.

I explained how my little sites were not doing too well. His reply came very naturally, smoothly, calmly and yet matter of fact.

"When I want to buy something I just go to amazon".

He has done the google thing and just bypasses them completely for shopping and goes to amazon from his favourites. google dont get a look in.

I **suspect** that many of us here are site writers etc - and I fear we are indeed a dying breed. But also by that score - for shopping at least - google is dying too maybe?

Maybe in 10 years time - google will be in the past - but so will us small site owners aswell where shopping is concerned.

From this perspective - google should support us and this way of existence - and bury the likes of ebay and amazon in the serps. If they dont - then they are building the big shopping sites into bigger sites than themselves.

I dont know - I am confusicus now.

[edited by: MrFewkes at 8:43 pm (utc) on Mar 4, 2011]

proboscis

8:41 pm on Mar 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



There might still be a chance for the 40 percent losers (myself included in that) to receive a comeback if there is indeed a "fix" to the algo that's coming.


So who is waiting for the "fix" and who is starting to make changes now?
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