I've been holding back on starting a discussion on this topic in hopes it would be resolved on it's own...so far it has not.
Back in April 2012, Google released a series of significant quality updates.
Two of them interest me (codenamed "Xirtam3" and "Horde") simply because they seem to contradict each other. I am also interested why that Horde in particular is missing the biggest domain crowding sites.
Those updates hit in April 2012, it approaching one year later so they should have had time to digest & adjust.
Here's Google's description:
Categorizing paginated documents [codename: Xirtam3] will help surface more diverse results, even when dominant documents contain multiple URLs and span several pages.
More domain diversity [codename: horde] will help prevent results from becoming crowded by one dominant domain.
Try deciphering those seemingly contradictory descriptions...
Xirtam3 - seems to be set on "low"...I'm not seeing any decent diversity. The stuff I am seeing is poorly related to the search term and thin.
Horde is more noticeable - it has removed all of OUR duplicate listings and probably yours too, but we're just a small site (less than 100 pages). The problem is with large, multi-million page photo spam sites. No names are needed, there are several examples and more wannabee types on the way. It seems these guys have figured a way past all of Google's quality filters by using massive volumes of pages with keyword loaded comments and descriptions. The more pages it seems, the lower the quality needed to reach the top, the entire page and beyond.
Social photo sites are nice, but not nice enough to take up entire pages (or more) of the serps.
One popular home related site has the record with 14 consecutive pages for one term. IMHO, that's ridiculous. After all, how many pages show up from FB these days? Remember a few years back?
The incredible number of spammy comments and associated tag pages for that photo site, thanks to it's CMS, is truly astronomical. If I were their webmaster, I'd be asking myself "is this something users want?" . If anyone else did it, this would be 950'd as spam in a heartbeat.
This is currently one of the (my) biggest problem with Google's results. So I'm wondering, is this an intentional test by social happy Google? are they eying these sites for future purchase? or is it a flaw in the algo that needs to be fixed?
Seems there's always a hole in the loop.
Feel free to discuss...