The problem of success
The kind of success that Google has achieved may attract others who seek
to profit from this success. If these others are unscrupulous, then this
may cause problems for the principal, Google. This is now occurring.
It is interesting to review how Google has developed its technology through
the years, in order to understand the present situation.
The strongest feature of Google is its intensive spidering
and analysis of web pages. Spidering is an automatic process in which
the Google computers follow links in the World Wide Web to find as many
web pages as they can. Its databases currently hold over 3 billion webpages.
process until recently used two processes of spidering: the spiders or
robots are known as Freshbot and Deepbot.
Freshbot tries to find any new pages or pages that have been recently
modified. If it finds a page that has been recently modified, then it
may return soon to that page to check whether it has been modified again.
Results from the Freshbot spider can be seen rapidly in the Search Engine
Ranking reports for given keywords. However they may rapidly disappear
from the lists if not confirmed in their placement by the other spidering
process, based on Deepbot. Deepbot has a regular monthly cycle and will
explore in depth all web pages it finds within a given website.
intensity and thoroughness of these Google spidering processes is truly
impressive. They are perhaps the key factor in achieving the high Relevancy
and immediacy that Google delivers.
More page types
Google has also tried to extend the range of document types that its search
engine reports cover. Documents created by Adobe Acrobat or pdf files
are now included in the database. Documents are indexed in a large number
of languages. Google searches can now be requested in any of 35 languages.
Avoidance of SEO Manipulation
The other area where Google has put major effort to keep its Search Results
relevant is in avoiding any attempts by others to “fool” the
search engine. Google wishes to evaluate the web page as it would be seen
by a human visitor. Two techniques that were used and which are now automatically
outlawed are “cloaking” and “using
was a programming trick that showed a different web page to the search
engine than that seen by the human visitor. Websites using this are automatically
eliminated from the database. Only by removing the cloaking and making
a request to Google can the website possibly be added to the database,
but probably after a delay of some months.
hidden text is a way to have multiple keywords on a webpage that are not
seen by the human visitor. The colour of the font of these keywords is
set to be the same colour as the background. They appear in the source
code of the page and thus are visible to the search engine. Again such
sites are automatically dropped from the database. If the hidden text
is removed, then the web page will be automatically added back to the
database on a subsequent analysis round, say after a month.
two techniques are not acceptable under the Quality Guidelines
set out by Google. A summary of these Guidelines, taken from the Google
Guidelines - Specific recommendations:
- Avoid hidden text or hidden links.
- Don't employ cloaking or sneaky redirects.
- Don't send automated queries to Google.
- Don't load pages with irrelevant words.
- Don't create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially
- Avoid "doorway" pages created just for search engines,
or other "cookie cutter" approaches such as affiliate programs
with little or no original content.
These quality guidelines cover the most common forms of deceptive or
manipulative behavior, but Google may respond negatively to other misleading
practices not listed here, (e.g. tricking users by registering misspellings
of well-known web sites). It's not safe to assume that just because
a specific deceptive technique isn't included that Google approves of
People are encouraged to send what is called a Spam Report to Google if
they find websites that are in violation of the Guidelines.
The Current Chaos
Nothing will appear amiss at this time to most users of Google. A search
for given keywords will produce a highly relevant list of web pages and
those at the top will be the most relevant. The only sign of something
not right might be if the searcher presses the Function Key F5
to refresh the Search Engine report web page. For example a current
Google search for the keywords – strategic marketing – showed
SMM Strategic Marketing Montreal at #11 position. On refreshing the search
page, SMM did not appear in the first 20.
is the tip of the iceberg. Search engine experts talk to each other on
certain website forums about such matters and there are a number of current
concerns. The following information is derived from views expressed in
the following forums:
Cre8asite Forum http://www.cre8asiteforums.com
Free Search Engine Forums http://www.ihelpyouservices.com
WebmasterWorld Forum http://www.webmasterworld.com/
the normal Google Dance
Up until May, there was an intensive process of recapture and reindexation
of the web pages in the Google databases that occurred early each month.
This was known among the experts as the Google Dance. This was a complex
process involving the 9 major datacentres for Google. Usually the datacentres
would all home in eventually on the same rankings. At that time, the dance
was over. This has not occurred in May. Those interested in the technical
details can visit a site, http://www.google-dance.com/
, where this is all explained. At that site, Google searches for particular
keywords can be compared for the different datacentres.
Old algorithms with new indexes and vice-versa
Google is bringing in a new algorithm or mathematical formula to better
rank web pages for particular keywords. The reasons for this are discussed
below. During the month of May, there was much turbulence with some datasites
using the new algorithm with old web pages, while other datasites seemed
to be using the old algorithm with some newly updated versions of web
pages. The casual Google user was probably not aware of the intense activity
that was happening behind the scenes.
Cached pages over 2 months old
Early in June, anyone looking at a cached version of a web page in a Google
Search Report listing would find that the page was probably at least two
months old. What this means with respect to the web page used in determining
the ranking is unclear.
The Current Problem
Google has been too successful
Part of the current problem is created by Google’s success. For
certain businesses, a high Google ranking can be highly profitable. So
people will invest a great deal of time and money in devising methods
to “beat the system”, based on how they determine the current
system is operating.
The sad fact is that some methods of spamming the search engines do work.
Google has an algorithm that depends a great deal on the PageRank of any
given web page. Google describes PageRank as follows:
PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by
using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page's
value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as
a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer
volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page
that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves "important"
weigh more heavily and help to make other pages "important."
website owners arrange their own multiple pages to generate additional
“votes” for their web pages. Although this may be against
Google’s Quality Guidelines, it may not be spotted. A human spam
reporting process will hardly be adequate.
wishes to expand even more
Google has stated that it wishes to expand the number of web pages covered
from the present 3 billion to 10 billion within the next year. The present
fluid situation is partly explained by Google’s attempt to put in
place spidering processes that can cover many more web pages.
The Possible Solutions that Google is putting in place
When the Google system returns to some stability, it will likely incorporate
the following strengthened features.
Better Spam Filters
Automatic methods will be in place to catch more instances of breaches
of the Google Quality Guidelines.
Better evaluation of “back-links”
Again automatic methods will do a more intensive evaluation of the “back-links”
that web pages have to ensure a more rational treatment of affiliated
Less frequent spidering
To be able to cover very many more pages, spidering will be done in a
much more efficient process. Sites that change very infrequently will
be spidered less often.
Competitive Search Engines will win
Google is under question
It will likely take some time for Google to institute and operate smoothly
the major reforms they are putting in place. The search engine professionals
are now questioning whether other engines may do a better job. For example,
AllTheWeb has over 2 billion pages in its database and has many attractive
features. Some searchers may change their search engine preference if
they feel that the Google search engine is seriously deficient.
Google has the momentum
Most people use the search engine they are most familiar with. Google
is very well known and still does a credible job. It is highly likely
that, if the Google problems are resolved within another month, then most
people will not realize there has been a problem. We are now entering
the summer season in the Northern Hemisphere so many will be using search
engines less frequently.
What you should do
Given the high likelihood that Google will emerge from this construction
period as a much strengthened search engine, it would be foolish to switch
horses. Thankfully that is not necessary. The best practices are remarkably
similar for all the search engines, so what works for one will not go
counter to the best practice for other search engines.
Design for the best practices of all search engines
This advice is no different from what might have been said 6 months or
a year ago. In a sense, web pages should be designed to work well with
all search engines. Only a few search engines still take any notice of
the Metatag for keywords. However for those who do, it can be included.
It is unlikely to be penalized by other search engines.
advice for Titles, Descriptions and the Text body is remarkably similar
for all search engines. No difficult choices are involved.
Avoid spamming practices
This is the area where the rules may change dramatically and will be enforced
with greater thoroughness. It will be important to avoid anything that
may be deemed to be spamming, since this will lead to exclusion from the
Google database for an indeterminate period.
Google will continue to win
The likelihood is that Google will achieve its ambitious plans and will
emerge from the current “Under Construction” phase a much
stronger and larger search engine. Provided your website is constructed
and linked as it should be then you will be a winner. The changes will
likely downgrade or eliminate other websites that erroneously were given
high rankings in the past. It will be easier for the reputable websites
to stand out from the crowd.
Others will be stronger
Other search engines may strengthen their share of the search engine user
market during this period whilst Google is getting its act together. The
Google changes may also incite other search engines to adopt similar processes
to keep up with the competition. Good practices by Google standards in
constructing websites will prove to be effective for other search engines
as well. So the reputable website owner will win on all counts.
this newsletter was written, Google and the other Search Engines continue
to improve and modify their search algorithms. If you wish to be sure
that you will be a winner, contact SMM
to review how well your website will perform under today's rules.
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