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New Sites Put Into a "Sand Box" by Google


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#41 wize

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 03:46 PM

I am usually just a "reader" but after seeing john's -dfsdgsdsd -sdfgsdgsdfg -sdfgsdgsdg -sdfgsdfgsdfg -dsfgsdgsdg -sdfgsdfgsdfg -sdgsdfgdsfg and after having over 30 sites affected over the past 3 months by exactly what is being described in this forum, I am AMAZED!

By typing in the search terms that they used to all rank in the top 5 under (prior to Feb.) and adding the -dfsdgsdsd -sdfgsdgsdfg -sdfgsdgsdg -sdfgsdfgsdfg -dsfgsdgsdg -sdfgsdfgsdfg -sdgsdfgdsfg
The old rankings show up perfectly!

Without the jibberish, the sites are no where to be found. I have been stalling the clients' concerns for months now telling them to just be patient. What else can we do? This obviously proves that the correct rankings are there, but hidden?

Very frustrating!
Thanks for listening anyways.
Angie

#42 peter_d

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 04:06 PM

BTW - This isn't new, it happened with the Florida update. See Danny's article here.

This obviously proves that the correct rankings are there, but hidden?


No, the correct listings are showing. The game has changed.

#43 projectphp

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 07:19 PM

No, the correct listings are showing. The game has changed.

Hhehe, reminds me of Fliorida when people would say "Put -asdasdasd -adasd after the result and you will see the Real results || the results the way they should be || the proper results".

As if it makes any difference that a page should be ranked higher. if it isn't on a page regular non-rankings obsessed people can see, then the result isn't "proper || correct || the real" result.

If this "sand box" is real, it just changes the timing. Three months is not a long time to wait in business, and it just really encourages a pre-launch to do proper user testing, bug checking and other user centric testing that should really occur anyway.

#44 peter_d

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 03:38 AM

Aman,

techniques employed (deployed?) by SEOs could, in essence, be reduntant in the short- to medium-term rather than longer-term.


Agreed. I think that is happening now, but few are prepared to admit it.

an effective and efficient user vote system rather than a smiley face in the Google Toolbar


Yah, interesting eh. That toolbar is tracking user behaviour on the target site, which is essentially a background voting mechanism. Your site had better be what the user was looking for :D

change the need for PR building and hoarding, and focus more on the on-page techniques like ensuring you have well written SEO'd content and well built sites, rather than link strategies.


All elements mentioned above will come into play, and then some.

Or you could say that I'm talking nonsense. Sorry, I've strayed somewhat.


On the contrary. It's nice to read such a well considered post :)

#45 JohnScott

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 05:46 AM

My source for that minus out thing, and the idea of links being on probation, is a fellow who used to work with Krishna Bharat at another company. (Not Google.)

The probation does not apply to new sites. It applies to links. When the algorithm was deployed certain older links were grandfathered in. After that, links will be (are being) given partial credit, and be essentially on "probation".

It applies to links, not sites. And the age of the link is not the only factor. The IP range of the links and other considerations are made, and the person who I discussed this with said that Krishna Bharat is at Google primary to develop and implement this new algorithm. It is supposed to radically change the way links are evaluated.

If you do a search for "web directory", and you'll see BlueFind is back behind #150 or so.
Old Algo puts us in the #13 spot

With new filter we're in the 150's

BlueFind is, as you call it, "sandboxed". But BlueFind has been up for quite a while now. It's not the age of the site or domain; it's the age of the links.

Disclaimer: This is my opinion and that's all it is.

#46 bwelford

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 06:36 AM

My hat off to you, JohnScott. When I go birding, we often cite a particular bird seen (say the yellow-bellied sapsucker) as the Bird of the Day. Well for me your post is probably Post of the Month.

That's a real insight. I checked it out with my brother's new site, the BrainwareMap, which deals with knowledge and is an aid for Creative Learning. This is a pretty tough field with 6.83 million web pages for a search on Creative Learning. The website was on the web on April 13. For the regular search for creative learning it is currently at #169. I just did the 'creative learning -nonsense' search and the web page shows at #29.

This is all very intriguing.
:glasses:

#47 peter_d

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 06:44 AM

Yah, nice one John. Here's some papers Mr Bharat has authored:

#48 JohnScott

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 09:05 AM

Just replied to a PM and I though I'd post here as well.


Hi, so how long would new links be on "probation"?


I have no idea. The fellow I talked to said that the link probation was set in phases, and it is entirely up to Google to determine at what point a link should be given full credit.

....

Also, I want to reiterate that I am totally ignorant in this matter. It's just something I heard from a "guy who knows a guy".

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 09:08 AM

John,

If you look at my example in the first post on this thread, you will notice that a page with one link should rank #1 for that term. It is not competitive, no one really wants it. So the 'link' concept is visionary but I don't see how the links are being "sandboxed", I am still under the impression that the sites are being "sandboxed."

#50 Conqueror

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 09:25 AM

Google did a very similar thing during the "Florida" update. I believe after it was roughly two months and then the SERPS reverted to showing the proper ranking.

My site is now #20 for direct tv (am I allowed to say that?) but would be #7 with the extra characters typed in.

I think just like with "Florida" that eventually the SERPS will change to the non filtered? rankings.

#51 HHI Golf Guy

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 12:13 AM

Man, I hope that the actual SERP's end up the same as with the "gibberish filter". Our new client site will be at #2 and #5 for its primary keywords.

#52 HHI Golf Guy

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 12:33 AM

It's late - I guess I didn't read the previous messages properly.

So, is it the conclusion that we need to live with this new filtering process for a while and somehow this filter is tied to Adwords? Should we now recommend that all of our clients sign up with Adwords if they want to improve their Google ranking?

#53 John AlphaOne

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 01:57 AM

Sorry, have I missed something here? Where did Adwords come into the equation?

#54 HHI Golf Guy

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 10:00 AM

See the link on the post by peter_d. The article talks about Google's "money words" and AdWords.

#55 John AlphaOne

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 10:31 AM

Ah right. Actually I think that's quite a separate thing. The Moneywords hypothesis was just one of many put forward to explain the Florida carnage. I don't think it ever gained much credence - too many counter-examples of highly commercial sites who were doing just fine in the rankings.

JohnScott's explanation gives an alternative scenario that explains the arbitrary nature of Florida - some old links were "grandfathered in". I'm not sure what that entailed precisely, but it does suggest a process whereby some sites might emerge relatively unscathed, whilst others were pole-axed.

Mind you, if there was any prioritisation involved then it might be possible that Google gave preference to sites that it knew were registered with Adwords. Given a choice you would take care of your paying customers in preference to those enjoying a free-ride in the SERPS.

#56 janetldriscoll

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 11:12 AM

I've experienced this same problem, and my theory is that Google is trying to encourage sites to use the AdWords program.

In January, I launched a new site, and it performed well for a few weeks -- then -- it just dropped off the radar screen completely. It was all very strange. I don't have any sort of questionable content on the site, and I wasn't doing any of the "cheat" SEO methods that Google hates. So I wondered, what's up??

Well don't you know I ran an adwords campaign to boost myself. Then I was back. I'm not entirely sure the two are related, but it makes one wonder.

Also, from survey findings, users who go to Google click on natural search about 70% of the time and ads only 30% of the time. This makes Google's ads much less effective for advertisers than other SE properties, like MSN, which is about 50-50.

My theory... it's all about the ad money.

#57 Guest_rustybrick_*

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 11:15 AM

Google is not 'evil'. They would not force people to use AdWords.

I am sorry but I totally disagree.

#58 James

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 11:19 AM

I'm coming into the discussion a little late and in a rush. Not sure if this theory has been explored...

Google picks up on a new site, it gives it a boost. Soon after it drops out of the index because of a low PR. The site owner resorts to AdWords to maintain the initial traffic generated from the boost. This leads to more search engine visibility, and therefore other sites start linking to the site, increasing popularity, boosting the PR and the site climbs back in the listings.

The rules haven't really changed. Keep content fresh and enticing enough for sites to link to. Not just today, but tomorrow, the next day, etc, etc. There's no room to stand still and sit back on your laurels.

{ Damn the topic review for only letting me look back so far through the topic! ;-) }

#59 John AlphaOne

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 11:36 AM

James, you probably do need to read the whole thread. I think there's some evidence here of factors that lie outside currently accepted Google SEO thinking.

As for the Adwords question, well Google is a commerical organisation. Within reason it is quite legitimate for it to pursue policies that push its customers towards products that generate revenue as opposed to those that don't. Nothing 'evil' in that, assuming we are all willing particpants and beneficiaries of the capitalist system.

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 11:39 AM

John,

When i referred to 'evil', I am talking about Google's modo.

Its an ethical thing that the CEOs *say* they wont step over.

#61 John AlphaOne

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 12:01 PM

All large corporates have their values statements and the guys at the top generally buy into them completely. It's the guys a little further down the chain who have to live with the compromises and contradictions of squaring these off against their financial targets.

But anyway, this is all idle speculation - clearly Google aren't going to tell us one way or the other. What would seem to me to be much more important is finding a way of veryfying JohnScott's "links on probation" theory. Does anyone have any thoughts on how to tackle this?

#62 James

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 12:03 PM

my theory is that Google is trying to encourage sites to use the AdWords program.


Who can blame them?! ;-)

However, I wasn't implying that Google weren't doing some form of filtering and that AdWords wasn't in some way involved.

Should we now recommend that all of our clients sign up with Adwords if they want to improve their Google ranking?


Most clients want their web pages on page 1 for their favoured search terns. Adwords gives them that option. They don't need to resort to understanding the ever-changing 'black magic' surrounding SEO or paying an SEO to perform the black magic. However, they need to pay for that privilege either direct to Google or via a campaign manager.

For some people, the decision is simple. According to Google AdWords, you can see traffic within 15 minutes. No need to wait for a spider to find the site, or link popularity to boost its position within the results. However, there is still the need to choose the 'right keywords', choose negative words, pay for a good position, etc, etc.

AdWords is a winner. However, as Janet states, only 30% bother to click the ads. Using it to get a new site traffic and to help understand what keywords convert best is very helpful. However, there are plenty of people out there losing lots of money through AdWords.

#63 bwelford

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 12:51 PM

I just had to use this new Quick Reply: space. I couldn't resist it!

However I wanted to say, like rustybrick, I do not believe Google "is trying" to push clients towards Adwords. They're having a 'spamming websites' problem and time is one element in trying to overcome that. If you have no time, then you're forced to use Adwords. However Google did not have that in mind in doing what they did. IMHO.

#64 Guest_rustybrick_*

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 12:53 PM

agreed, (really wanted to test out the quick reply) :D

#65 amabaie

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 01:01 PM

Similar issue - new site - no PR yet (That is normal) - found through seed links on another site and indexed.

Article with resource box distributed and listed already in Google in at least five different sites. But no backlinks show.

Maybe this is just the normal lag, but from past patterns, it looks like this is something new. To me, it lends a bit of credibility to the idea that the links are on probabtion rather than the site.

#66 decaff

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 01:29 PM

There's no question in my mind that Google has figured out how to control spam out of the gate...look at it historically...the Google engineers (that is, the one's who are working on this problem) sat down and had a basic conversation one day...
"hey jim..remember when we put up our first site back in 1996?" ... sam answers, "yeah..that was cool...we took all that time to develop out the content that was our passion and built a really cool looking site with easy navigation so our VISITORs could find the things that the site focused on....I thought the scrolling text was wicked...and the animated gif was really cool also.."....jim says..."then we submitted our site and after a bit saw the site ranking for our primary keyword phrase over at HotBot...man was I excited..." sam says.." yeah but what I thought was even more exciting was when we discovered after SEVERAL MONTHS that some folks had set TEXT LINKS to our site from their sites....and our log files started to show traffic from other sites....we knew we were in the game then...hey?"...

So what I am saying here is that Google had to find a way to stem the assualt of ready made, ready linked, pr fat sites out of the gate...these are obviously built to slam the SERPs with new content that ranks well and captures traffic...I applaud Google for this move...it stabilizes the SERPs, somewhat, and allows the sites that have been working at it for a while to continue to build our their audience, usability and usefullness as valuable resources....the unfortunate collateral damage of controllling new content is that folks who are simply putting up new sites (without all the SEO tacticals thrown in) are being affected as well...oh....by the way...there's always AdWords in the meantime...nice move Google to once again show how a Search Engine can cleverly direct new and currrent users to their revenue channels....more bucks for Google...they are learning their lessons well from Yahoo...

#67 bwelford

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 04:14 PM

BTW the results were even more dramatic re backlinks going in the sandbox than I quoted earlier in this thread. You can see the results in my latest Blog entry, "Mature links seem to be best for Google".

#68 phish

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 09:11 PM

I've been checking out this thread for the past few days as I have a couple of sites that seem to be effected by this "sandbox" effect. Lots of great information to be found here, unfortunately I don't have any in site to add.

The reason I decided to post was that I received an email from webpronews which talks about this an links to this thread. Small world. :)

#69 Conqueror

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Posted 08 May 2004 - 06:32 PM

Just got out of the box today! My site which is 4 months and 10 days old just turned up on page 1 (#8) of Google for a primary industry keyword and on page 1 (top 5) for roughly another 15 sub-keyword phrases.

For quite a long while after the original high rankings disappeared back in January, my site wasn't even in the top 1,000 sites for this primary key phrase and now it is finally #8. Had been ranking #8 for several weeks in the allinanchor search and # 7 for both allintext and allintitle.

So a process that used to take 8 weeks, took 17+ weeks now. By process I simply mean of designing, optimizing (keyword in Title, ALT tags, Heading Tags, Bold text, Title tags, Meta Description and Meta keywords tags, proper keyword density, good prominence and placement, building quality reciprocal links with industry related sites, etc.) and submitting to the search engines (did NOT submit to Google) and directories, including Yahoo! Directory LookSmart and DMOZ.

So I guess the good news is that if there truly is a "sandbox", that it is a temporary thing. But in the old pre-Florida days my site would have ranked on page 1 much sooner. It's a quality site with around 160 pages and growing.

Hope this post gives some comfort to those with websites still in the "box".

#70 dpam

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Posted 08 May 2004 - 07:58 PM

I understand the theory of what this 'sandbox' is but I don't see how this helps Google. If they think results are screwed up because of 'manufactured links' how does not counting them for 120 days do anything but slightly slow the decay of their results?

I guess it sort-of screws link purchasers, as they must pay for 4 months without result, but I don't see the long term benefit to anyone beyond that. And isn't the fact that hot new sites that legitimately become 'relevant' for key terms and are now being 'blocked' from the access to Google users do them (searchers) a clear dis-service. This seems a weak response to the link manipulation problem.

#71 HHI Golf Guy

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Posted 08 May 2004 - 10:34 PM

Conqueror,

Before your site was released from the sandbox, did you run the key phrase -dfsdgsdsd -sdfgsdgsdfg -sdfgsdgsdg -sdfgsdfgsdfg -dsfgsdgsdg -sdfgsdfgsdfg -sdgsdfgdsfg test?

If so, how do your actual rankings compare?

#72 AmanM

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Posted 08 May 2004 - 10:45 PM

I've had exactly the same experience as conquerer. Since site launch (around 1 Feb 2004), a couple of weeks in Google SERPs for the odd phrase followed by a complete disappearance from the results.

However, on Saturday 8 May 2004, our site reappeared in the SERPs and ranking highly for very competitive keywords. That's 14 weeks.

We never checked out key phrase followed by -dfsdgsdsd -sdfgsdgsdfg..., so can't really help on that front.

dpam says:

I understand the theory of what this 'sandbox' is but I don't see how this helps Google. If they think results are screwed up because of 'manufactured links' how does not counting them for 120 days do anything but slightly slow the decay of their results?


Would this not assume that Google are intentionally 'sand boxing' sites? This is pretty much the only SE forum I check out, so don't know if GoogleGuy (?) has said anything, but I was under the impression that there wasn't any conclusive proof that Google are choosing to penalise new sites and that there could be numerous other causes for the sand box effect (e.g. Google being 'broken' mention earlier in thread).

#73 Conqueror

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Posted 09 May 2004 - 03:30 AM

HHI Golf Guy

Yes, I did run the primary keyword search with all those extra characters added and my site was #7. Without the extra characters it was #20. That was about a week ago that I ran the search with the extra -dfsdgsdsd, etc.

And my site had showed up in the SERPS about 3 weeks before that. So really my site's time in the "sandbox" was around 14 weeks and not 17 weeks. But it did take 17+ weeks to get the page 1 rankings that typing in -dfsdgsdsd, etc. said that I should have. Hope this helps.

#74 Sophist

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Posted 09 May 2004 - 09:31 AM

I am in the same boat.

I launched my site in early December. Up until the middle of February I was getting almost 250 visits a day. Mid Feb that changed as my index page and all tier 2 pages disappeared.

This was long before I had any page rank. By the beginning of April I finally has PR assigned to my site and that made no difference to my rankings.

Right now if a page on my site is a main page it isn't in the top 1000. I have product pages that target specific product and are ranking well but I also have some top level pages with PR of 5 and fully optimized not show up in the top 1000 while the top ten is pages with 2 or 3 PR and little optimizing.

I hope this sandbox is truly real.

#75 Black_Knight

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Posted 09 May 2004 - 04:29 PM

Throughout the past year, there have been many times that webmasters have suddenly noticed that Google was using an old (usually stated to be three months old) links database.

The coincidence of the similarity, (of the links being 2-3 months behind the time), may be just that - a coincidence - but it is bugging me, just as it did at the time. Why keep an index of links that was 3 months old anyway.

Now recently, I've been revisiting the details of hilltop and similar algorithms. These depend on building a list of 'expert' pages prior to calculating ranking. They also depend on filtering out 'affiliated' experts.

There have also been advances in semantics and other fields, any of which may require pregenerating a supporting second index. Now I find myself examining the idea that Google have been using a second index which is not updated on the fly, but rather, that gets updated only every few months. An index that is used to determine hubs and authorities, expert pages, or something else.

Hilltop seems to have obvious use for such an index, and furthermore, has reasons why you'd only want to use it for popular queries, or at least, queries that have a large enough set of results that there would be 'expert' pages among them. However, it could be something else that simply works in a similar way, or something else that occurred as a new application for a similar proceedure.

I'm still suffering from a lack of test sites or accurate data, so am unable to do the testing to narrow this down more quickly. However, that sort of area of research is where I'm focussing right now, and those of you who do have sites affected to study may want to do the same.

#76 John AlphaOne

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 12:39 PM

Ammon, I think there could be something in that.

We know (Ten Top Things About Google - http://www.google.co.../tenthings.html) that they are committed to fast response times. From this we can surmise a couple of things. Firstly they will index extensively to minimize the processing that has to be done real-time. Secondly they will sacrifice advanced features of the algorighm when response times are under threat.

I think this explains why the -nonsense trick works - more keywords implies more work to do to process the search, so the advanced features get dropped. (BTW there's no particular magic about the use of exclusion terms for the trick - compare the results of these two searches: "negative pressure isolation rooms" and "negative pressure isolation rooms negative pressure isolation rooms negative pressure isolation rooms").

However, I doubt if what we are seeing is Hilltop as in the published paper. That paper is now over two years old - the R&D would have moved the thinking a long way forward in that time. Furthermore I believe that Hilltop is mostly concerned with popular, highly competitive search phrases whereas the effect we are seeing here applies equally to uncompetitive phrases such as "negative pressure isolation rooms". More likely that Hilltop has evolved into a more general purpose expert system for evaluating link quality - as such not at odds with JohnScott's post earlier in this thread.

#77 OracleKid

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Posted 14 November 2004 - 10:16 AM

I don't know whether the new sites listed have relied solely on a free listing, via the traditional SEO route on Google or have they had to look at Google Adwords.

I am not one to be cynical but could the non-inclusion of new sites be related to Googles flotation and their business model relying on advertising revenue (their only source of income bar froogle).

I launched a web site www.theoraclejobsite.com in May having paid for SEO. I performed some link exchanges with another web site we operate www.nurserve.co.uk that has a 5/10 page ranking and 20 links from the nurserve site to theoraclejobsite were included almost straight away. I also performed some other link exchanges but only a couple of these got listed.

Due to the reliance on traffic to generate revenue, I registered for google adwords with the belief that I could pay for a high ranking position for chosen key words until the search engine optimisation kicked in. I am still waiting and paying!!!!! the link references from the initial exercise have stood but even though I have been exchanging links like billy-o nothing is getting indexed on google and even though I have no links (bar the original 25)I am now getting a page rank of 4/10. I know of at least 50 good related websites that have exchanged links with the new site, but don't show.

So my original comment is from a business point of view rather than a technical one. Google floated in the summer and it is now driven by increasing advertising revenues quarter on quarter, last quarters released profits were up 100%.

If Google kept on giving free space to new sites this growth would be financially limited and slow, so is the plan to force new sites into pay-for-placement rather than allowing them to jump up the queue through SEO.

I would be interested to know if the algorithm checks for google ad words inclusion first and then de lists new sites or sites that are paying for advertising, hence you can still get a good page rank, but you wont get a high listing in the free index. They need you to pay and want you to keep on paying!!!! They are after all a business not a charity and the stock market is only interested two things projections and profits.

#78 amabaie

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Posted 14 November 2004 - 02:19 PM

If Google kept on giving free space to new sites this growth would be financially limited and slow, so is the plan to force new sites into pay-for-placement rather than allowing them to jump up the queue through SEO.


I doubt it. What everyone keeps forgetting is that tehre will still be only ten results in the top ten for any searcht erm, no matter how many new sites pop up.

Anyone else who wants to get on the first page for that term has to pay. if an old site displaces a new, the old site has to pay. If a new site waits longer, the new site has to pay. It's a zero-sum game.

#79 sanity

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Posted 14 November 2004 - 03:41 PM

Welcome to Cre8asite OracleKid :wave:

I would be interested to know if the algorithm checks for google ad words inclusion first and then de lists new sites or sites that are paying for advertising, hence you can still get a good page rank, but you wont get a high listing in the free index. They need you to pay and want you to keep on paying!!!! They are after all a business not a charity and the stock market is only interested two things projections and profits.

Can't see it personally.

IMO as important as it is to ensure your website is well optimised, a mix of organic and PPC advertising is vital. Not too mention utilising additional marketing channels appropriate for your business.

Any business relying purely on free traffic from the search engines is a disaster waiting to happen IMO.

#80 OracleKid

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Posted 15 November 2004 - 04:48 AM

Thanks for the response just a couple of thoughts

['Anyone else who wants to get on the first page for that term has to pay. if an old site displaces a new, the old site has to pay. If a new site waits longer, the new site has to pay. It's a zero-sum game.']

Is it a Zero sum game or is that the value of CPC will keep on rising and rather than be a cheaper, cost effective way of aquiring customers will become as expensive as traditional advertising, which I am sure Google would like to see.

Overture has risen the base CPC from 5p to 10 pence in the UK and now you have to spend a minium of 20 per month even if you don't achieve 20's worth of click throughs. Advertsing will not go a way and I am sure you will see revenues not replaced but displaced.

I can see a problem arising for SEO in the future as how can you show results when you can't get any traction with Google and it would take a ground swell of users to stop using Google to make them change their current policy (if it is one). I hope this does change soon, as for those of us with new businesses we will disppear before we have even started.



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