Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 54.242.115.55

Forum Moderators: Robert Charlton & goodroi

Has Google's algorithm been demoting one-person sites?

     
3:25 pm on Feb 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

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

joined:Aug 4, 2008
posts:3545
votes: 327


One impression I get from reading these threads is that one-person sites (also blogs) are steadily losing out in google against larger operations. Most likely google's algorithm can usually identify a one-person site from various clues.

As a hypothetical example, why would google send more traffic to a 3-year-old one-person general news site than to the site of a large well-known news organization that's been around for decades?

Of course there can be exceptions. I know of a "news blog" started by one person about 20 years ago that's still doing pretty well. But after its initial success, several new writers and regular contributors were added. So it's no longer a one-person site.

But I think this trend also applies to various other types of sites, both one-person e-commerce sites and informational sites.
12:02 am on Feb 25, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

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

joined:Nov 29, 2005
posts:9233
votes: 780


Why have those articles fallen in the rankings? The answer is simple --

Competition. Those who were once first have been incorporated by those who follow who have more fire and beans (bucks). Something's got to give. Being first once is not that difficult. Being first forever is the most difficult thing one can do. Don't need web metrics to look for answers, just look at all the one shot wonders in pop music from 1896-2019. :)

The web these days is more like Billboard 100 than the old days of "links" when the web was "new". Doesn't work quite the same way.

Producing "hits" (think songs on the radio) time after time is REAL WORK and requires all kinds of OTHER STUFF to make it happen. That said, decent income can be made from "ex" hits in perpetuity by keeping the "brand" alive with updates, new content, collateral content (images, text, audio, media).

Beauty of the web is EVERYBODY gets that first shot (compared to the music biz in this analogy) and that is something to treasure. And horde. And work like heck to maintain IF a "hit" happens. That original special thing can be milked for all it is worth. Reality is, that OVER TIME, that "song" passes to history because there are so many others coming along and a few (or many!) will shine brighter for a time. All things come to an end... after all Lennon and McCartney enjoyed 4 years... and yet remain to this day.

Rethink, regroup, and double down on what DID work and see what you can do to keep it alive regardless of what the competition is doing.

And always keep looking for other methods to monetize!
12:30 am on Feb 25, 2019 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Mar 9, 2018
posts:130
votes: 13


Great analogy Tangor
2:15 am on Feb 25, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 9, 2011
posts:15494
votes: 744


That is against Googles rules according to an hangout the google employee said focus on good content and NEVER ask for links
Who said anything about “asking for” links?
8:56 am on Feb 25, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:July 29, 2007
posts:1877
votes: 122


Those myths keep resurfacing so...

- If you look there are a bazilion examples of content by a single person ranking just fine
- adwords has nothing to do with natural rankings
- backlinks are one metric but if you can't get passed rankbrain for any given query you could have a million of them and not top rank. On the flip side you can have top notch content without backlinks and float quite high, even to the top in some cases.
- Abuses still happen but if you do something like use mass redirects to get to the top you won't be there for too long.
- Ranking is SLOW. From publish to top spot takes over a year on average, which may feel like "I can't rank", but you can.

As for WW, everyone in this industry is busy planning, creating, managing, overseeing etc and doesn't have the time they once might have to be a mentor here. #1 takes a lot of work, content takes work, results take work etc... the nature of being a webmaster is different, you can't go from publish to #1 in a weekend anymore.

As for the topic, if your content is opinionated Google will always prefer the opinions of many over the opinions of one. One can gather the opinions of many so, technicaly, one can still do just fine. If you state facts you'll do just fine. If your content has stuff like "I think" and "I recommend" then your content floats on the sheer value of your authority. Google will still prefer aggregate data, the opinions of many etc.

Look at it this way, when you write "everyone loves pizza" that's a statement of opinion, the fact is no, not everyone loves pizza. Google will rank a poll with votes on do vs don't love pizza opinions before they rank a singular opinion. Stick to provable facts and you'll do just fine. Mashup is alive and well too if you want to provide opinions as a solo webmaster.
9:54 am on Feb 25, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 7, 2006
posts: 1066
votes: 108


- adwords has nothing to do with natural rankings


If you were talking to me - I'm the only person to mention adwords in this thread - I never said they did.

My point is that you are never going to achive natural rankings without links. If you don't ask for links, the only way anyone will find your site in order to link to it is by adwords.
10:58 am on Feb 25, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 15, 2001
posts:1738
votes: 41


By one person sites I suppose you mean sites where just one person produces the content?
Because I know of various one webmaster sites, where there is piles of user generated content and such sites seem to do well in the Serps.
4:09 pm on Feb 25, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

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

joined:June 28, 2013
posts:3373
votes: 716


Our one-and-half-person informational site is doing fine.

It stands to reason that a lot of one-person sites are going to do poorly, just because there are so many of them. Take sites about widgetology: If there are a thousand of them (or even a hundred), not every widgetology blogger can be a winner.
8:17 pm on Feb 25, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

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

joined:Aug 5, 2009
posts:1683
votes: 337


One-person sites: Is the juice worth the squeeze? In my area of the web it's safe to say webmasters aren't squeezing hard enough. I think if most people were being honest, the answer is pretty obvious. There are always exceptions and slivers to monetize and everyone here knows that. My next plan is to become with words most famous rock singer, but I won't hit social media or the internet. No YouTube either. People will ultimately discover me, somehow, someway. I'm so good, that my pure talent will create a storm of coverage in the media and social media. If I'm good enough, magic will happen all on its own. No marketing budget required! I'll update my success story as I move along here.
8:49 pm on Feb 25, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

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

joined:Nov 29, 2005
posts:9233
votes: 780


@MrSavage: Love it! You go! (seriously)

For most things 90% confidence will pay off in 10% dividends. (Actually a compliment!)
8:47 pm on Feb 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:Sept 13, 2004
posts:833
votes: 12


Yes

Since Panda this has been true. One example is, many doctor's sites versus a single article by a patient which appears on a multi-topical site. A patient writes an article on a small website about an experience, with a certain procedure; patients, of which there are many, may be more interested in another patients perspective, but when the search topic is entered, invariably, (since Panda (tweaks)), doctor's websites, who have written articles on the topic dominate. So a new patient, rarely gets a patient's perspective from a site that is not totally dedicated to medical topics. And of course the term "authority" comes to mind, but is certainly not always the case.
There have been some sites that have escaped Panda, primarily because they have truly focused on their primary topic. (If that's your goal you're gold!)
So basically any site the has many articles about a specific topic will dominate any site that has the best single article on a topic because Google has not learned to determine the searcher's true intent or perspective; in this example, does a new patient want to hear from hundreds of doctors that have website's or from a single patient that has already experienced whatever the procedure might be.
3:32 am on Feb 28, 2019 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Mar 9, 2018
posts:130
votes: 13


Panda, Penguin, etc I read people on other forums say there is NO WAY to recover and the ones who did just gambled right, meaning they got lucky with what they fixed

People who don't even break the rules, never link exchanged, dont duplicate content have low rankings even with good content.

We dont really know what the algo penalties are only thing I remember is some former google news employees saying humans will randomly review websites for quality just to feed the algo and that they have thousand of human reviewers who will go off an eye test and do side by side ratings the one they like more than the other in the same niche and the one they favor more or looks better will continue to rank well while the other one is forever penalized.
2:17 pm on Feb 28, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

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

joined:Aug 4, 2008
posts:3545
votes: 327


Well penalized sites and one-person sites are two different topics, although obviously there's some incidental overlap.

My question, when I started this thread, didn't refer to penalized sites, and people who want to keep talking about them should start another thread for that purpose.

The example I gave involved a one-person site which ISN'T PENALIZED, but is still losing out in the rankings anyway to the sites of large organizations, universities, govenment agencies, etc. It has nothing to do with a penalty.
6:51 pm on Feb 28, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 7, 2006
posts: 1066
votes: 108


@aristotle

What is your personal view of the respective qualities of those sites? Has the-one person site:

1. Better/equivalent/worse content?
2. More/less information/products (as appropriate)?
3. More/fewer and/or stronger/weaker backlinks?
8:07 pm on Feb 28, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

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

joined:Aug 4, 2008
posts:3545
votes: 327


Wilburforce -- As I said in a previous post, the articles on that particular site are still the most informative. This is because I spent a lot more time and effort on them. Most of the competing pages have much less relevant information. My site is also better organized and the information is better presented. Many of the sites of big universities and government agencies are poorly organized with primitive navigation and highly-variable quality from page to page.

For years most of my articles ranked number 1 in google for their main keywords. Then about 3 or 4 years ago, the pages on the bigger sites began to push upward in the rankings. As a result, my articles have been slowly dropping. It has been a very gradual process, but now most of them are near the middle or bottom of page 1.

This is a non-commercial niche, and my site doesn't have any ads or products, so I'm not affected financially. That's why I've made no effort to update the site -- I've done no work on it for at least 10 years, because I kept moving on to new projects.

As for backlinks, in the early years the site did pick up some good backlinks and still has most of them. But you can't expect it to keep getting new backlinks now because the traffic has fallen to about 30-50 visitors per day (from a peak of about 600).
9:12 pm on Feb 28, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

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

joined:Nov 29, 2005
posts:9233
votes: 780


Sounds like ordinary erosion. The river once ran swift and rapid, but over time the silt of other sites began to pile up and the rock of information has gotten covered up by others. The river is now shallow, wider, and weeds are restricting the flow.

In other words, if ordinary management is not maintained, things get covered up!

The site still has value, just is not as easy to find in all the muck that is out there. Make it shiny again. Note: not doing anything with it for 10 years might be a clue.

That said, pick and choose what to do. Going gizmo and splash might not be the way to move forward, but making sure the site is all it can be, is responsive, has fresh content (related to it), images that are useful and unique (that won't last long, expect those to be ripped off the first instant). Adding a real internal site search to make the site more useable, etc. These days moving forward simply means don't do something stupid.
10:42 pm on Feb 28, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

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

joined:Aug 4, 2008
posts:3545
votes: 327


tangor
You're right -- I could update that site and improve it, but I'm busy with other projects that I'm more interested in at this point. I've always had a lot of ideas for things I would like to do but never had time to even get started.
11:13 pm on Feb 28, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 7, 2006
posts: 1066
votes: 108


@aristotle

Well, I have experineced a similar problem, but I agree with Tangor: I think it is more likely to do with erosion than with the one-person question.

I don't know how (/if?) one can do much about updating evergreen information, however: why would you rewrite an article whose content is as correct and relevant today as it was ten years ago, especially if it is still a better article than anything anyone else has written since? Google's drive for fresh content sometimes feels a a bit like bulldozing heritage buildings to make way for a shopping mall.

I would personally prefer it if they would wait for me to die before they bury me in the pursuit of progress. I wasn't even ill.
11:38 pm on Feb 28, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

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

joined:Nov 29, 2005
posts:9233
votes: 780


@Wilburforce... let me know when you take the comedy on tour! I will buy front row seats! On a more serious note, it is better to have a sense of humor about accretion and erosion than suffering bouts of anxiety and heartburn.

Kudos ... as for what to do with evergreen ... that sounds like a new thread that needs to be done!
1:24 am on Mar 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Mar 9, 2018
posts:130
votes: 13


aristotle
you said demoting which means giving someone a lower rank or lesser position as a punishment, and isn't the algo penalties basically demoting websites, not forever banning them where they cannot appear but pushing them back and bringing others up who they feel are more qualified?

It could be some Algo update that your website is triggering a flag for, they have so many algos.
2:17 am on Mar 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

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

joined:Nov 29, 2005
posts:9233
votes: 780


The OP was querying if g's algo demoted one man shops.

This long thread kind of debunks that in general, but I will add these thoughts:

No.
Not Likely.
Why would they?

I suspect, more than anything, that those who are asking this question have been on the web longer than most (like myself) and enjoyed a long run with little or no competition until the last four to six years.

Then things changed. Most of these changes were politics---which webmasters tend to ignore and discount as having any impact on the "web". Changes in demographics accessing the web. Changes in advertisers (and their revolts against the "machine"). Changes by MSM against the "machine". Changes in ideologies. But I suspect the biggest change is the old pharts are dying off and the new kiddies have attention spans of gnats and are only interested in instant gratification. Sadly most of those can't be bothered the read anything, seeking videos and music or freebies. If any effort is required they bounce bounce bounce and lurk like vultures over entertainment stuff, games, or (ahem) pr0n.

Are you demoted? Probably not. But you are probably being ignored. And if you are in ecommerce, if your products cost more than a dollar or take longer than five minutes to deliver, you're also toast.

Perhaps it is not so much we are being demoted ... perhaps we just need better clientele!
3:16 pm on Mar 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

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

joined:Aug 5, 2009
posts:1683
votes: 337


In my area of the web, I've seen this for years. Seen what? Fresh or amount of new content trumps everything so long as you have a big net. If that site's article sucks compared to yours? Doesn't matter. If you cover the subject 98% in your site's content and they have 1 article of their 1.2 million articles? They get the rank. Once you pump out the content, you have to keep pumping it out. If you're on the island by yourself? Maybe you can break free.

A big site that covers everything but nothing (well) at the same time will crush any small operation that has better expertise or has article after article on the subject. You can be an "expert", but it simply doesn't matter. Google says if you are good, people will find you. You will flourish with copious amounts of links and most certainly, according to the Google, you will find your righteous place just below the ads and the answer box and video links in that new, #1 organic search spot. Bon chance!

If there are big sites that pump out content on a frequent basis that could be folded into the inquiry, Google loves you. Said another way, the algo will look for every possible way to put a big site above a site that is clearly a one-person operation regardless of merit. It's why so many people here talk about big sites putting up one or two crap articles and ranking in those top spots. It's because everyone is aware of this situation.

It's like a gold ticket. It's a free pass. License to print money. You're the chosen one. You can't do wrong. You're a winner. You can hire more staff. You can dominate. You can be found and gain links. You can become? One with the Google. Or you could say you "won" with the Google.

People can talk about solutions. There is always a way around everything. However, is the juice worth the squeeze. Clearly by the enthusiasm of the "webmaster" community, the audience has spoken and have been speaking for quite a while, should people choose to accept that fact. An empty restaurant isn't a positive indicator. An empty parking lot isn't indicative of popular.

Have a great day!
4:37 am on Mar 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Mar 9, 2018
posts:130
votes: 13


Tangor

Ignored is a great way to put it

MrSavage
your theory makes a lot of sense
I know for a fact google puts big websites on the top of search now, when I was in college back in 2008 and 09 I just started my blog
What I noticed is when I would do research for my school assignments id type in a sentence or keywords to find what I was looking for and google would give me what I NEEDED, articles and info from all types of websites big and small
Now I type in a sentence or string of words Im looking for you know what comes up a Huge money making corporation website like Time, even Vogue magazine, Esquire, LA Times and they dont even have the type of info im looking for.

Those days of someone just starting up a wordpress blog and making a living from home doing what they love are long gone.

The search is pretty much horrible now in terms of trying to find exact info

They were even changing youtube recently, I typed in some keywords I remembered from videos I used to search all the time, now I cant find those videos anymore.

This change mainly started in 2016 on word.
5:41 am on Mar 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

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

joined:Nov 29, 2005
posts:9233
votes: 780


This change mainly started in 2016 on word.

I think we all remembered what happened in 2016, and the tech aftermath which is continuing to this day ... and getting worse. I suspect a lot of collateral damage is being done in the effort to censor "fake news".
11:54 am on Mar 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 5, 2004
posts: 529
votes: 55


@MrSavage - Well put. Another nail in the coffin for small websites was when nofollow was pushed by Google. My site is linked multiple times by Wikipedia and other large sites but virtually everybody is nofollowing their links now days.
2:42 pm on Mar 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Dec 26, 2003
posts: 1368
votes: 22


Is there such a thing as "one person blogs"? Let's be real, if a one person blog becomes successful they do so on the shoulders of others. IMHO they're no longer a "one person blog" if they have to write 2-3 guest posts a month, 2-3 collab posts a month and participate in 3 way link swaps with other blogs that depend on the "circle of link juice". They just figured out how to manipulate the game in their favor to increase their search coverage. There is no way "one person" can do all of that and still create good content for themselves. No way. I can guarantee they've expanded into Fiverr and upwork and are paying people and playing the guest post game to fill in their content while they guest post on others...

And therein lies the problem... one person blogs have always been penalized in that they just can't rank unless they play the game. Google may finally be "on" to that game and the penalty for doing what they said not to do may finally be catching up. It's always favored "follow the money" and now that funnel is pushing further and further into pay to play.

I don't really buy the nofollow thing either... let's be honest, that was just another trick of the trade that faded away and was used and abused. a link from wikipedia still has juice, just not the battleground for link juice it used to be.
This 55 message thread spans 2 pages: 55