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  1. #1
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    Question Does anyone understand the latest Google update?
    At the beginning of the week thoguht my sales had dropped because of superbowl, but by Tuesday realised that Google was to blame as it has dropped all the pages on my original first affiliate site way down its results for important keywords.

    I am still getting traffic from google but only at 1/10 of what it was in October (i.e. pre Xmas sales)

    Been having a trawl around yesterday and found this enoromous thread on Webmaster World:
    http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum30/27801-1-10.htm

    It is so long I am still only half way through reading it.

    There seems to be no consensus what Google has been up to and why it has affected site like mine, but it is clear I am not the only one who has got a long established site which tries to be sensible about SEO (i.e. good use of title,H1, text in links, etc and no underhand stuff) who has suddenly been dropped way down.

    I found one site I have never heard of before at #1 out of 464000 for a two word phrase where I would normally be in the top ten and one of the words never even appeared on the new sites page but was present in just one incoming link. It was however stuffing keywords in ALT tags and even had keywords in the content value of the "robots" tag.

    Any insights or references to good articles about this latest Google update nicknamed "Allegra" gratefully received.

    I am temped to try some changes but wonder whetehr it is better to just sit on my hands and endure the drop in sales for a while in case Google rebounds.

    Les

  2. #2
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    I don't have any ideas for you - I guess only time will tell (which is usually the case when Google does an update!)

  3. #3
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    Wink
    Well as it is Friday I decided to go down the pub for a couple of pints of good old english beer (Courage's Directors bitter for those in the know) with an ex-colleague.

    I can't say it has thrown any new insights in the Google update, but I feel a lot better for it and probably the mile walk to the pub and the mile back was good for me too.

    Les

  4. #4
    The Eternal Optimist zimmy's Avatar
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    long established site which tries to be sensible about SEO (i.e. good use of title,H1, text in links, etc and no underhand stuff) who has suddenly been dropped way down.
    Back in December when we had the last Google update my site (which is just like yours described above) dropped drastically from the SERPS. I read all of the threads on it as well and someone here at ABW gave some very sage advice - they said to just be patient. Don't change things...just wait. I wish I knew who it was but I did just what they recommended.

    Well, this past update Google likes me again and my site ranks higher than it did previously.

    I hate being in the hands of the search engines and continually look for other ways to bring good traffic to my site. But Google sure does make a difference in my income.



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  5. #5
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Secret ...write your pages for the shoppers ...not the SERPs.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador Jane's Avatar
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    Google doesn't want anyone to be able to SEO a site. If you find a way to do it, they will find a way to undo it.

  7. #7
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    Well, the one that was #1 of 464000 is now #5 of 486,000

    Maybe I should go back down the pub.

    Mind you I did send an email to comments@google.com about it yesterday so maybe they do look at feedback and gradually tune their algorithms on an ongoing basis.

    Les

  8. #8
    Sinclair Oil Lurker Jones's Avatar
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    First scenario is the guy at Google Watch dot org has a reasonable suspicion that Google has finally bit off more than it can chew. Google is now regurgitating.

    Second scenario is that the Google team has become so obsessed with fighting seo tactics that they have now rendered their index, and algo useless. [Hasn't Google learned by now that they can't out us buzzards?]

    Third scenario is that wmw/bt has been given full snob rights to the web and they control the index, now.

  9. #9
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    "I am temped to try some changes but wonder whetehr it is better to just sit on my hands and endure the drop in sales for a while in case Google rebounds."

    Don't chase the algo, hold tight and let it come back around to you. I think Zimmy might have been referring to something i always say. When you make a page keep the basics in mind and after that the only thing you can really work on is getting some links in. After that the SE's are going to do what they want with it. I've seen people sometimes change their whole site after an update, constantly chasing the algo around where sometimes you're just better off standing still and letting it come back around to you.

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador darkstar7's Avatar
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    I just emailed Google about some screwed up SERPs just to hear their reasoning. And I got the usual canned speach about how everything is totally automated and untouched by human hands. And if its messed up then its your fault not ours. Here's how you use Google to fix it.

    The site has been on Google since 1999 and is optimised for Google by using Google's own parameters. Which just goes to show that the tech didn't even investigate the problem at all. He just blew me off.

    Yep, they've gotten too big. Must be nice counting all the billions.
    Luke
    Have you promoted your brand name today?

  11. #11
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrustNo1
    Don't chase the algo, hold tight and let it come back around to you.
    Yeah, I think this is going to be my strategy.

    I'm still at a loss to understand what's going on. I think there might be some PageRank shifts that we're not seeing on the toolbar, and there certainly seems to be an incomplete index.

    At the moment I'm concentrating one broadly the same products on three very different sites. My BIG site is waaay down, but my two smaller sites are up. I think the best thing for me to do is shift some attention to the smaller ones and keep the big one ticking over to see if Google comes back.
    Innovative advertising with Slimeware Corporation and Telephore. Mail-order fuel with Petrol Direct.

  12. #12
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    Well, as I started this thread it is time for an update.

    I have basically sat on my hands as various people have suggested and was my natural inclination, but have got on with some minor changes that I would have done anyway.

    All of a sudden this morning I am suddenly back on the first page of Google results in those places where I have been for the last 18 months or so.

    Still it has caused me to put a few non affiliate internet projects back on the project agenda, so I am a bit more diversified. Don't really want to go back to working for someone else full time anymore.

    Also have started to investigate Overture but it doesn't seem to get anyhting like the volume of impression that Google Adwords does, and Iit is a pain waiting for new things to be approved.

    Les

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    I'm finding that Google is taking away newer websites that have no unique information and not a very strong PR. I think a lot of it has to do with incoming PR in a related market or area of interest. I have one site that has very strong PR in a very small niche that hasn't budged from #3 for several years. I'm confident that no new site can come in and take that from me due to the sheer strength of PR in that niche. I've got links from all the largest related sites and they all link to me with this phrase. Traditional SEO works quite well in this case.

    I'm seeing that a lot of the results are in this same situation. Google is starting to show much older websites because they're better established with links. I think Google is putting a lot of emphasis on the anchor text of incoming links and the anchor text of links to those links. Just the fact that they maintain groups of related words goes to show that Google is really focusing on links from related sites.

    I have a few datafeed sites that I created about a year ago. One site has a good niche so I was able to find quite a few incoming links from the same niche. The others were more difficult, so I couldn't find as many links from their individual niches. I started each of these sites off with my strongest PR site and that worked quite well despite the lack of relevance between the sites. As time went on the sites without the strong niche links started to falter. First came the site that was most difficult to acquire related links, then the site that was second most difficult. Finally a couple months later the site with the strongest related links fell.

    Google is smart and unless you can maintain the incoming links and get many organically without link exchanges, they'll push you back. If your site gets them routinely without reciprocation, Google will keep you ranking well. We're talking about a lot of links from a lot of different websites. You need to be talked about in blogs and forums and referenced in news articles. I think the normal algorithms are still in place, but at the rate the internet is expanding, you need to expand with it. It's a race folks and unless you can one-up the next guy, you'll fall.

    Make sure your site is smart. Read books, reference your knowledge on your sites. Research products, write in depth reviews. Show the world that you really know what you're talking about. It's not easy and as time goes on, it's going to get harder and harder, so just make sure you're putting your time into something of value. Think about the future and make sure what you do will stand up to the test of time. Don't just throw something up with no thought about how you're going to maintain it. If you're going to use datafeeds, have you thought about what happens when products go out of stock? What if their category changes? Do you change the prices automatically? Are you ready to maintain something of this magnitude? Don't get in over your head. Start simple and offer unique and valid information that nobody else has.

    Good luck!
    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  14. #14
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    spent just a little time today plugging in some common content into google of one of my oldest sites, one which has been hit hard by recent google changes. saw results showing long-dead pages on long-dead sites, so I'm having a real problem wondering what kind of update they've done.

  15. #15
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Second scenario is that the Google team has become so obsessed with fighting seo tactics that they have now rendered their index, and algo useless. [Hasn't Google learned by now that they can't out us buzzards?]~Lurker Jones
    Finally, someone else who understands the real score, and hasn't capitulated to the purveyors of the Google Kool-Aid!

    This is just one piece of the arms race. Whatever they code can be decoded!
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  16. #16
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    Observations
    Couple of observations:

    1. Google does seem to be obsessed with SPAM emlimination and they place much less relavance on the title tag/ body text except for "exact phrase" searches. Otherwise, they use backlinks and other factors for ranking now, even if it means non-relevant results.

    2. If you do a search on google vs. yahoo for a very general word or phrase (like "hotels" or "chicago hotels", both engines produce similar results in the top ten. (It would be interesting to have a forum dealing with search results)

    3. If you do a search on google vs. yahoo for a specific result like "bookcase building plans" (without the quotes), the results really diverge. Yahoo's top ten results are nearly all relevant whereas only 3 or 4 of google's are. In another search I did, yahoo faired only a little better (9 out of 10 vs. 6 out of 10) but yahoo had one unrelated SPAM listing in the top 10. Apparently, google feels they must sacrifice everything to get rid of the one spammer.

    4. Google loves these stinkin' BLOGS. I have actually found one of my newly created BLOGS outranking an actual page because it had a link to the page. So, pay some 16-year old to publish blogs for you. Prediction: The internet will be littered with BLOGS in a very short time, cluttering results terribly.

    Conclusion: Since the majority of searches are done on single words or very short phrases, I don't think these changes will hurt google real soon, at least not numbers-wise. In the long run, however, there may be a drift from google to yahoo/msn for users trying to find specific items requiring longer search strings. This may be offset however by the SPAM reduction at google. The BLOG factor may cause problems down the line as an over-abundance of these things will water down results.

    Irony: I thought google was the "common man's" search engine? The way it is now, only those with a corporate or large organization presence are to be found in google searches. The little guy is shut out on google as it now stands.
    This World is Not My Home
    We're gonna go inside, we're gonna go outside, inside and outside. . . And then we're gonna go go go and we're not gonna stop til we get across that goalline! Quotes from the movie Rudy, 1993

  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    I agree with you Cheesehead. I've noticed that Google used to offer a lot of very specific traffic, but now they've taken it away because that's how we used to do datafeed marketing. They've essentially removed every site that's based on a datafeed leaving nothing but the underlying results which in many cases are outdated. They realized the commercialization of specific search phrases and did away with it. It does make sense because a lot of these sites were pretty worthless content-wise.

    I think what they're doing is just making it more difficult for us to make an easy dollar. I think this will have a painful yet positive effect on the net because it forces us to provide more useful information. We need to diversify and become entities of substance. The old formulas don't work anymore, so we need to come up with new ones. I see this as a challenge and hope I can surpass this and develop a strong name brand of my own.

    - Scott
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  18. #18
    Chick with Brains Tracy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lurker Jones
    Second scenario is that the Google team has become so obsessed with fighting seo tactics that they have now rendered their index, and algo useless.
    I have to agree with this scenario. I've always maintained high ranking at Google. I think this is because I don't worry about SEO, I just write my pages so that people can find what they are looking for. I think to myself, "If I was looking for XXXXX, what would I like to find?"

    But this last update just killed me. And the pages that gained in rank over my pages, provide garbage and not near the quality of what I provide.

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