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Google to Target Overly SEOd Sites

     
3:03 pm on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Matt Cutts says:

What about the people optimizing really hard and doing a lot of SEO. We don't normally pre-announce changes but there is something we are working in the last few months and hope to release it in the next months or few weeks. We are trying to level the playing field a bit. All those people doing, for lack of a better word, over optimization or overly SEO - versus those making great content and great site. We are trying to make GoogleBot smarter, make our relevance better, and we are also looking for those who abuse it, like too many keywords on a page, or exchange way too many links or go well beyond what you normally expect. We have several engineers on my team working on this right now.


Article here:

[seroundtable.com ]

Any guesses on what it likely to change?
4:41 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

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



is the answer just 'don't do business that way'?


You can do business any way you want. So can Google. Every action has a reaction.
4:47 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

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



> You can do business any way you want. So can Google.

I remember reading somewhere many years ago a Google page directed to webmasters (at least I *think* it was by Google) which said as much. Something like, "You can do whatever you want with your website, and we can do whatever we want with our search engine."
4:51 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

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



I doubt that Google consider "business relationship" linking to be natural linking (even if you do).

Of course, you could also nofollow everything; that might help.
4:53 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)



SnowMan68 wrote:
and Google's brand bias isn't already doing this?

I don't believe it is, but I'm also not convinced that Google's bias is nearly as strong as some people have been proclaiming.

I'd be willing to bet that the perceived strong bias comes from user influence. I know that I'll click the Wikipedia result at #3 or #5 over some-website-I've-never-heard-of at #1 if that other website isn't obviously more directly related to what I had in mind. If enough people do that, the Wikipedia result might as well be #1, right? (Assuming a long click, of course.)

--
Ryan
4:55 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



You can do business any way you want. So can Google.

Better is this one, I think :-)

Don't ask what Google can do for you Ask what you can do for Google
5:01 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

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



But it's not what I said.
5:51 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

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



Found the quote (I wasn't too far off in spirit, but I wasn't right either)

Their attitude is more like: "You can do anything you want to with your pages, and we can do anything we want with our index--like exclude your pages."
--
Google Hacks, O'Reilly, First Edition, 2003, page 306


BTW, I just noticed in thumbing through the book, that the section "26 Steps to 15K a Day" was written by none other than (drum roll please...) Brett Tabke!
6:38 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)



Just a few months ago the consensus seemed to be that a site could not be damaged by people linking to it, only by linking to junk sites. Has that changed? I have heard it both ways, it seems.
6:39 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)



@netmeg. Obviously. We don't plan to change our business model just to suit Google. It was more a rhetorical question. There should be a sensible path for webmasters to take to avoid penalties if the underlying business practice is legitimate.
6:55 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

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



Just a few months ago the consensus seemed to be that a site could not be damaged by people linking to it


I can say with 100% certainty that they CAN be damaged by incoming links, if certain conditions exist. I launched a new site a couple of months ago and noticed some initial success but two weeks ago seemed to fall out of the rankings completely. I assumed a Google sandbox, boy way I wrong.

A check of Google webmaster tools showed a good number of incoming links already, some pages having 15-20, but then the bigger picture revealed itself.

A lot of those incoming links were from spammy .info domains with RSS content from Google as the only content. All of them pointed to what I would call my weakest pages too. If you did not know me you would assume I had set up a crappy linkwheel scheme and of course that's what it looked like to search engines too.

The conditions were: newer site without authority and no rel="author" tags linking my Google profile to my site. Google had no trust signals to work from.

The fix was equally simple, just two steps. Step one was to hook up my Google+ profile to my site and vice versa and use rel="author" tags. Step two was to improve my weak content page, or to remove and/or merge it.

When your site provides a solid value and you as an author are willing to stand behind it you have no worries... and THAT is going to be important from now on. Relying 100% on SEO won't be enough, I hope my example here explains at least one of the reasons.

I now think this is a good move by Google, talk about an 180 degree about face from my original 'aw crud, here we go again' feeling. An you know what? I think there is no person on the planet I'd trust more to do it right than Matt Cutts.
6:56 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



@Dan01 - A site absolutely can be damaged by links pointing to it. Google has always stated that there was "almost" nothing a competitor could do to harm a site.

It is certainly not talked about much, but it can happen and it seems as if it may be becoming easier recently.

A client of mine was recently hit with a "link attack" and dropped due to it. Some 90,000+ links built to it from spammy directories and the like over the course of a few days.
7:02 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



no they have not always said there was ALMOST nothing, before that they had said nothing, this was changed to ALMOST after many examples of just that.

[edited by: santapaws at 7:03 pm (utc) on Mar 19, 2012]

7:02 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)



Type 2) is an attribution link that reads like 'Content ABC provided by XYZ.com', and always ties back to our index page. Those links are not blocked or tagged in any way, since they reflect a real business relationship between our site and the partners in question.


I've seen a site get knocked down for this, but it depends on your entire profile. In any event, if you're worried I think Google is pretty clear about the appropriate times to use rel=nofollow


@sundaridevi Can you point me to some WebmasterWorld thread or another resource that explains the point penalty notion for Twitter? That's the first I ever heard of that, and it occurs to me that it might be affecting my site!

No. I've only seen a statement on WebmasterWorld implying the opposite.
8:24 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



This is full 2012 SXSW Transcript with Matt Cutts, Duane Forrester and Danny Sullivan. Very long one :)

[robsnell.com...]
9:47 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

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



I also encourage people to pay attention to what Duane Forrester (from Bing) has to say in that transcript or video. For one thing, he has been a hands-on SEO.
3:15 am on Mar 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Matt Cutts: ...or whatever they are doing to sort of go beyond what a normal person would expect in a particular area.

and then later on:
... Google does not hate SEO, because SEO can often be very helpful. It can make a site more crawlable. It can make a site more accessible.


This is a bit contradictory. Because what IS normal that a normal person would expect? What kind of "normal person"? I doubt that many of "Mom & Pop" sites know much about site being crawable and acessible.

The way I read it is: technical SEO skills are still important (crawable/accessible), this most likely also covers duplicate content etc issues.
Add to this a good interesting content, ease of navigation etc (user friendliness).
And all this will still leave "Mom & Pop" sites behind.

In fact, what I would like to know is - how is the "overly SEO-ed" site defined, as opposed to "black hat SEO"? If the site is technically clean, with good relevance signal, is this "overly SEOed"? When Google in fact advocates the same in their SEO starter guide.
So somehow I think it must be about the links.
3:32 am on Mar 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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



I'll bet it's about a bunch of different metrics, just like Panda was/is. In fact, it sounds like another machine-learning project to me.
7:28 am on Mar 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



There were 500+ Google Updates during 2011. Expect the same in 2012 including some anti-spam updates (keeping in mind that Matt Cutts considers overly SEOed methodes as spam and he has been writing about that since 2005!).
7:37 am on Mar 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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



it sounds like another machine-learning project to me

They'd be getting good at this skill set by now. Seems possible
8:02 am on Mar 20, 2012 (gmt 0)



In this new changes, SEO companies are going to do good business. But I think its fair from google point of View the new website which have started almost 2 years back mostly rank higher as compared to other websites. This is a good for the website who are not doing much SEO on their pages. What so ever SEO companies again going to get good business.
10:40 am on Mar 20, 2012 (gmt 0)



I've got the feeling that in some markets SEO is already dead and google are strangling it harder as time moves on.

I'm in a very competitive niche of the office consumables business, have been for over 8 years.

The paid search results based around my target keywords are littered with eBay and amazon - amazon often have a paid text ad and a picture ad.
Then in positions 1 & 2 natural there is good old amazon again. So above the fold I'm seeing 4 links to amazon out of over 2 million results, oh and as we know the margins they run on, they are obviously the cheapest too.

I'm thinking - why go to the trouble of maintaining my own ecommerce site any more - forget about the worries of competing with Ama/ebay, just list my stuff on their marketplace.

Ok, my margins will be a lot lower, but they have the traffic and Google is now funnelling a lot more their way. No more sleepless nights worrying about how google don't like my sneaky anchor text links and my content that's not quite right for them!

Also, the natural results are now useless for mail order type businesses targeting the whole country. Eg. If I do a search and google thinks I'm in Edinburgh - it gives me three links to ridiculous websites that offer me no content, a mobile phone number that's been disconnected and no shopping cart. This is not progress and the search results have just gone back to spam in my opinion.

I know this is all a cynical move by google to squeeze more dollars out of their one trick adword pony. But, I think its going to backfire on them, only ebay/amazon and corporates can compete on adwords these days. All us independents are going to start leaving adwords up to the big boys and the lack of competition will lower the bid price and ultimately lower their overall revenue.

When I want to search on amazon, I go to amazon and use their search box (it works quite well), I want to find new things when I use google.
Rant over...
11:35 am on Mar 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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



I'm thinking - why go to the trouble of maintaining my own ecommerce site any more - forget about the worries of competing with Ama/ebay, just list my stuff on their marketplace.


You're certainly not alone in this. The traffic to Amazon and eBay I've long considered to be like a fire hose in comparison to drinking straws for everybody else. Coupled with the page design shifts for Google and Yahoo! of the top spots going to ads, Wikipedia, Amazon, eBay and other big brands at the expense of organics, the fight for what's left in some areas really may not be worth it anymore.
1:36 pm on Mar 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I'm thinking - why go to the trouble of maintaining my own ecommerce site any more - forget about the worries of competing with Ama/ebay, just list my stuff on their marketplace.


That's what they are ultimately after.

Goo wants to streamline the web and give big players the spotlight while weeding out the noise and redundancy on the net. Unfortunate for many of us.

You may be safe under the Amazon or eBay umbrella for now until they also find that their own sites are crowded and then they will start their internal trimdown by looking at your ratings, performance, etc. I am sure spammers and scammers are bound to abuse this situation too.
2:23 pm on Mar 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Updated blog post:
[googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com...]

5 Common SEO mistakes and 6 SEO tips:
(full article has explanations of points)


Avoid these common mistakes

1. Having no value proposition
2. Segmented approach
3. Time-consuming workarounds
4. Caught in SEO trends
5. Slow iteration

Six fundamental SEO tips

1. Do something cool
2. Include relevant words in your copy
3. Be smart about your tags and site architecture
4. Sign up for email forwarding in Webmaster Tools
5. Attract buzz
6. Stay fresh and relevant
2:26 pm on Mar 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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



(Blaming Google for ranking Amazon and eBay in the office consumables business is a little bit outside of the scope of this particular discussion. Those sites aren't ranking because they are overly SEO'd.)
2:53 pm on Mar 20, 2012 (gmt 0)



You're missing the point meg - I'm saying you could have the best site, attracting the juiciest links, have the smartest content.

Create cool useful and unique tools on each product page etc etc etc and you're still going to get the second hand cast off dribble traffic - because the top 5 adword positions are hogged by ama/bay and the top few organic spots are either junk local sites or amazon again.

Also, I'm saying this is happening in most physical product sale searches, not just office supplies.

To get serious buying traffic from page 1 you need to be investing big money in adwords.
4:34 pm on Mar 20, 2012 (gmt 0)



wokka wrote:
To get serious buying traffic from page 1 you need to be investing big money in adwords.

Err... Is your complaint that running a successful business online is becoming more and more like running a successful business in the real world?

--
Ryan
4:43 pm on Mar 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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



I'm not missing the point, and I'm happy to have that conversation with you, but it's not germane to this discussion.
5:17 pm on Mar 20, 2012 (gmt 0)



Cutts:
We are trying to level the playing field a bit.


As Jim Royle says "my arse!"
6:13 pm on Mar 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



wokka said: You're missing the point meg


netmeg said: I'm not missing the point


Please lets return back to discuss "Google to Target Overly SEOd Sites". Thanks :-)
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