Google Answers Some Tricky Questions

Well, most of them

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Recently, during a live chat Q&A, Googlers Matt Cutts and Maile Ohye, among others, faced the burning questions of webmasters around the world. Together, they put to rest some fears and myths, and confirmed some speculations.
Google Answers Some Tricky Questions
Below are the meatier results, with the straightest answers given first, followed by responses that were a bit on the ambiguous side, which we took the liberty of translating. Did you know there are about 200 factors that go into determining a site’s ranking in the search results? How about that Google made 450 tweaks to its algorithm last year? 

Only one question during that session received conflicting answers from Googlers and wasn’t reconciled: Does the age of a website/domain affect its ranking? 

Ohye answered this way: a site’s reputation can be a indicator to search engines, but of course, it’s not everything. Having a site for a long period of time can establish credibility with users, and as a search engine we also want to reflect this type of credibility. Of course, newer domains can also gain users and credibility. It seems like running a good site is a bit like running a reputable business. So yes, if your domain has been credible for years it can help. If you buy an old domain and put all your content on it in hopes of getting instant rankings, that’s not the best idea.

But, when the question was rephrased from another webmaster, Cutts answered: In the majority of cases, it actually doesn’t matter–we want to return the best information, not just the oldest information. Especially if you’re a mom/pop site, we try to find ways to rank your site even if your site is newer or doesn’t have many links. I think it is fair for Google to use that as a signal in some circumstances, and I try never to rule a signal out completely, but I wouldn’t obsess about it.

Official translation: Sometimes, when we say it does.

Google Answers Some Tricky Questions


Do 301 redirects carry over PageRank?

Where appropriate, ranking signals will be transferred across 301 redirects (if the same page has moved from one URL to another). This may take some time, so you should probably leave the redirect in place as long as you have control over the URL.

How many 301 redirects are acceptable?

It’s ok to chain a few together. The HTTP 1.0 standard allows for a maximum of 5 redirects for a URL, so keep it minimal.

Why do pages translated into different languages each have different rankings in their respective engines?

Google looks at content on a URL-by-URL basis, so even if you have translated top content from one language to another, Google might not treat it the same way as they would treat the original content. It’s also possible that the translated content is not as relevant as other original content in that language. Generally speaking, making sure that your content is as unique and compelling as possible for the users in that target market is the best thing to do.

Do backlinks from bad sites negatively affect my PageRank?

Those links might be positively affecting your PageRank (PageRank does not go down from "bad" links like those from adult sites). In general, you don’t have to worry about bad links like that which point to your site that aren’t under your control.

How often does your search algorithm change?

We change the algorithms all the time – last year we had over 450 changes.

Could sharing an IP address with a bad site get my site penalized?

The situations where it would matter are when the server is overloaded (can’t respond to your visitors) and when it’s incorrectly configured (not returning your site to your visitors). But otherwise that is no longer a concern.

Does Google have a problem with rank-checking software?

Rank-checking software is against Google’s Terms of Service and could result in blocking your IP address, and it doesn’t really help, especially when it comes to personalized or geotargeted results.


Question: Is there PageRank boost from .edu or .gov links?

Google’s Answer: You don’t get any PageRank boost from having an .edu link or .gov link automatically. If you get an .edu link and no one is linking to that .edu page, you’re not going to get any PageRank at all because that .edu page doesn’t have any PageRank.

Translation: If the .edu or .gov page is linked to, then yes, because that webpage now has some authority, just like with any (non-.gov or .edu) page.

Question: Does a page load time play a crucial role in Google Page Ranking? If yes how important is it?

Google’s Answer: I think the more important issue here is user experience. If your site loads fast, your users will be happy; if it loads slow, users will be less happy. Make your users happy, right?

Translation: Yes, and as important as 200 other factors.

Question: Aaron D’Souza of the Search Quality team was reported as stating that publishing the same content on two separate geotargeted paths under your domain will not trigger the dupe content filters. Is this correct?

Google’s Answer: In general, in a case like that, we’d try to pick the best page based on various factors, including geotargeting and language choices. If that page is one which is also available for other geotargeting/language choices, we will generally try to pick the version that our algorithms feel makes the most sense.

Translation: Yes, we think.

Question: I have reported sites that clearly have paid links (e.g. the backlink page says "Advertising" above the link), but Google does not seem to take action. Why would that be the case? These are .orgs who are clearly selling their .org juice.

Google’s Answer: While paid links and spam reports are being taken very seriously by Google, the results may not be seen immediately for users or even not at all. This does not mean no action is being taken on the offending sites. Also, the TLD of the sites should not be a factor being taken into account. For this reason reporting both, web spam and PageRank passing link selling makes sense and contributes in an important way to the quality of Google’s index.

Translation, partly based on .gov/.edu response: Google treats all top level domains the same, so a .org would have no more juice than a .com or .info. Further, clearly marked paid links (ones on pages labeled “Advertising”) are not necessarily violations of Google’s guidelines. If the links you reported were found to be nofollow links, then no action would be necessary. But keep trying to sabotage the competition. Business is war.

Question: Is it true that the fewer the links FROM your website, the more influence they have on the sites receiving those links?

Google’s Answer: PageRank is split up over the links from a page, but I would recommend not concentrating on this (as you won’t be able to "measure" and act upon it anyway) and instead making your site as usable as possible for your visitors.

Translation: Yes, the more you link the more the link juice passed on is diluted, but don’t go trying to figure out the formula in order to game the system. We’ll figure you out. We’re Google.

Question: Does getting a lot of comments in a blog help in being well indexed/ranked by Google?

Google’s answer: Having a lot of enthusiastic users commenting on your posts and doing so generating content on your site, certainly does not harm your rankings :-) Furthermore, a large fan base gives the webmaster a bit of independence from search engine traffic, which is the reason why generating original and compelling content in order to nurture a group of committed users is something I would highly recommend to any blogger

Translation: Yes.

Question: Recently, you removed this suggestion: "Submit your site to relevant directories such as the Open Directory Project and Yahoo!" from your guidelines. Is there any chance that you will be discounting these kinds of links for ranking value in future?

Google’s Answer: There’s always the chance that we’ll discount directory links in the future. What we were seeing was quite a few novice people would see the "directory" recommendation and go out and just try to submit to a ton of directories, even if some of the directories were lower-quality or even fly-by-night directories that weren’t great for users. Right now we haven’t changed how we’re weighting directory links–we’ve only removed the directory suggestion from the webmaster guidelines.

Translation: Possibly.

Question: Until recentley (the last six months or so) a high ranking was achievable by submitting articles to article directories (providing they were 40%-60% unique),  it no longer seems to be the case.  Have links from article sites been de-valued at all?

Google’s Answer: In my experience, not every article directory site is high-quality. Sometimes you see a ton of articles copied all over the place, and it’s hard to even find original content on the site. The user experience for a lot of those article directory sites can be pretty bad too. So you’d see users landing on those sorts of pages have a bad experience. If you’re thinking of boosting your reputation and getting to be well-known, I might not start as the very first thing with an article directory. Sometimes it’s nice to get to be known a little better before jumping in and submitting a ton of articles as the first thing.

Translation: Yes.

Google Answers Some Tricky Questions
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  • http://amazonkendal.blogspot.com Amazon Kendal

    Thank you for this great post. I thought some of these questions would never be answered by Google. Maybe this is a sign of Google’s "loosening the lips?" Can we expect more questions to be answered?

    I understand the need to keep some information under wraps so we can’t "game" the system, but a few answers like these from time to time is nice.

    Great report, Jason!

    • http://howtomakeblog.net How to Make Blog

      Exactly what I was thinking! Now hopefully they keep spillin the beans..

  • http://truthtalltales.blogspot.com/ dave loeff


    A good article. What I learned was:
    Moderation in all things (except blog comments).
    Deliver unique and useful content.
    Avoid junk link directories and junk article directories. They can’t help and might hurt.
  • http://www.petlifestyleonline.com derek

    Great to see Google open up a little but !!



  • http://www.adacprogramming.com ADAC

    Good information.

    In a way it just confirms that Google is doing things pretyy reasonably. Moderation is good in SEO. Try to look at things from the perspective of the searcher, not from the perspective of the website owner.

    Do things in a manner that will keep the searcher happy and you will fall in line with what Google is trying to accomplish. That will become more important as Google gets better at reaching thier goals.

  • http://www.expressmedicalsupplies.com Express Medical

     It’s nice that they are starting to take the time to open up…still foggy…but at least it’s something to work with for a change!


    Thanks Jason for sharing this!



  • http://www.cholesterolcholestrol.com/index.html Donald of cholesterolcholestrol.com

    This seems a really great news article for us web masters.

    I think many of us realised that directories had been devalued, and I suspect DMOZ and yahoo have to a lesser degree had their links out devlaued somewhat.

    Also tells us something about what’s coming, so I’ll certainly be improving and limiting my own cholesterol directory, and hope other web masters will do the same with theirs.

    Thank you

  • http://awholewideworld.blogspot.com/ niche site review

     Well done post; I, like many others, have been paying close attention to various influencial bloggers in the MMO niche over the past year and it is interesting to compare their different observations to the responses from the big G that you have covered here.  Some of the MMO people have definitely been on the money more than others this year.

  • http://www.b-seenontop.com ShandE

    This article is a gift.  It has told me to always ask a question before I complete any optimization task.  The question is "By completing this task, will I be honoring Google’s desire to offer up the best results based on a search query, or am I just trying like everyone else, to game the system?"  I am going to assume Google is always at least 5 steps ahead of me in understanding the latest optimization trends and techniques and go with my gut instincts. 

  • http://www.OmBliss.com OmBliss Tantra Kriya Yoga

    It is wonderful when we can get information straight from the horses mouth.

    I am interested in learning more about article submissions. How do we know what article directories are ligit and which ones are not? What about Video Articles?

    I am new at all of this and really want to get into Article marketing for my site. Did I miss the boat?

    open to suggestions (c:


    • http://www.brooksvillepc.com Florida SEO

      Hello Rafa.  For the most part I’d say that you could probably trust most authors of SEO books recommendations as to which article submission sites make most sense. I’ve compiled a bunch of them from a few books I’ve studied and put the whole list on my home page on the right hand side column, along with more than 100 other links to various useful Search Engine Optimization and web design related tools etc. I can’t list them all here, but if you take a look (click on my signature “Florida SEO” and it will take you to my site) you’ll see not only the link for each good reliable article submission site, but the page rank of the site itself.

      Articles are still useful for a few different reasons. Obviously they contain information that can help establish you as an expert in your field and they can help educate people. They also get picked up by people using them for WordSense ad sites to help them earn money – and you’ll get links back to your site whenever they do this legitimately and leave your own back link in place. And of course, you will also receive some more traffic from them – which in turn means that your Alexa traffic ranking will improve too.
  • http://www.fourthfloormarketing.com Fourth Floor Marketing

    As much as I loved this interview I think the translations were truly what made this post lovable.  My favorite was the last one with article marketing, "yes".  I wasn’t too happy to hear about the death of article submission, as I obviously noticed diminishing returns from the practice but I still find it useful for traffic.

  • http://www.gravnetic.com Gregg Hawkes

    I am in a storm of Realty SEO…nice to have somthing for them to read that is very real!

  • http://www.quitsmokingeasily.net/Are-Smoking-Aids-Helpful-To-Stop-Smoking.php Vicky Adams

    Very interesting to know a bit inside about Google. I Google was very close and intransparent about their internal business. Although, I think this interview open just very little of them, but it’s a good start.

    • http://theluxurywatchstore.biz/ Audemars Piguet

      A good article. What I learned was:

      Moderation in all things (except blog comments).
      Deliver unique and useful content.
      Avoid junk link directories and junk article directories. They can

  • http://katie448.livejournal.com/ Katie

    Was indeed lloking for inforamtion like thsi and by going throught this piece of words content made mnay thing clear. Definitely theses updates on regualr basic will help us to followi teh SEO path and guidelines of Googel will boost to make everything free and fare.

  • http://www.brooksvillepc.com Florida SEO

    We can’t pay for links, we should consider maybe not submitting to directories (including dir.Yahoo, DMOZ or second tier directories), blog posts are ok and "translated" site text doesn’t have to rank as well if it’s not as relevant in the "other" languages etc.

    But it’s that last one that gets me most, because it happens even when English is the language.  I have sites in America that can’t get close to ranking anywhere near their top competition here in America, yet when I check the referral logs I see that they consistently come up on page one in Google in Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand above these identical web sites when they show up in their Google search engine results abroad!

    What I’m saying is that these are the identical sites I see ranked first here in America showing up in Google over there beneath my own sites.  So where is the relevance?

    One such site is for organic skin care products.  Do the English, Australians and New Zealanders have more skin problems or a greater need for skin care products than Americans?  Hardly!  And if so – then why is it that the American competition is also showing up over there – but ranked lower?  Skin care is skin care!

    I can make all kinds of guesses about alternative ranking algorythms here as opposed to overseas, about human beings working here at Google USA manually interfering, or that the sheer number of back-links counts only in America (over the actual content of the site) but not overseas,.  In any case, they’re all English speaking countries using Google as their search engine and their databases, since they show the same results, are the same databases as ours – only apparently they aren’t being filtered using the same algorythms or human imposed rules.

    I’d love for someone to ask Google to answer why that is.  I’m sure their answer would be very interesting to quite a few people.

  • http://www.tincanwebworks.com Stephen

    but the comments had me rolling…thanks!

  • http://www.healthcarereviews.com Guest

    Make a website people like and google will rank you well.

    With Google making so many changes so frequently the days of ranking exploitations are dead.

    You’re better off focusing your time and money on making a great website.

    Great article !

  • http://www.raysadventures.com RaysAdventures

    Good to see Google is emphasizing the user’s experience. I see too many sites trying to "game" the system and usability goes down. Creating good original content and maintaining site usability are still the core of the matter.

    Thanks for the clarifications.

    • http://www.brooksvillepc.com Florida SEO

      I don’t think Search Engine Optimization is so much "gaming the system" as it is simply looking at the competition to see what they have done right, and then doing as much or more of the same and better if possible.  
      Surfing the web means the freedom to surf where you want, and when building a site and optimizing it, we want to be part of the party where the most people are, and as the old saying goes in business it’s all about “location, location, location, and in either case – for the surfer or the business, that happens to be Google’s first page.  

      To make an analogy, compare actual physical land-locked businesses and surfers at popular beaches to online businesses and web surfers constantly arriving on the first page of Google.  In either case we all know that in business the phrase is "Location, location, location".  So Google rules are to web based businesses and surfers what the Government laws and regulations are to business owners who have set up shop near the highly profitable tourist filled surf area beaches.  There are rules that you have to comply with or they shut you down.

      In Google it can happen in the blink of an eye.

      All the surfers dry off and head to their favorite restaurant and bar – only to find out that it’s not there anymore (it was there last night) but has been replaced by a not for profit library filled with encyclopedias about sea-food and beer, and the once popular restaurant now finds itself lost somewhere in the Adirondacks along with all the restaurant staff who still have families to support – and all because Google didn’t tell them that they were changing the rule about leaving full color flyers (links) at the county Tourism Information Bureau Office (online directories or whatever) when for the past four years it was perfectly fine to leave them there.

      So search engine optimization isn’t gaming the system so much as it is keeping or improving your position by knowing and observing the rules. 

      To make another analogy, knowing what the rules are and observing them so as not to be penalized is the same as keeping up with changes in the law to avoid punishment because, as the courts love to say: “ignorance of the law is no excuse”. 

      If the law permitting right turns on red were changed, and you no longer turned right on red to avoid getting a traffic ticket nobody would call it “gaming the system”.  People would call that “obeying the law”, “being smart”, and “driving responsibly”.

  • http://www.cometocapetown.com Cape Town Hotels & Accommodation
    interesting article, always interesting to hear the differing opinions on how a sites age affects its rankings. There still seem to be some differing views on this point


  • http://seo.pittwebsite.com Pittsburgh SEO

    Thanks for the great article! Here are my comments:

    Well that proves it .edu and .gov sites are no better than any other link, unless of course the site linking has more backlinks to it (thus more pagerank). I know that one has been a heated discussion in the past.

    Your translation of the question "I have reported sites that clearly have paid links…" s totally off. They were not saying that the sites you reported "are not necessarily violations of Google’s guidelines" rather they we saying that Google does not take direct action on each reported website instead they analysis what the issue is and come up with an algo that will detect this issue and handle it a proportionate. So your reports help their developers make the algos for the spam your reporting on.

    And WOW, so Google did not change the link value of directories. The why was everyone crying about directory links being de-valued?

    On the links from article sites, he did not mention that they were all de-valued. I believe there are only specific article sites that have been de-valued where as other ones remain valued because they do have quality content like ezinearticles.com for example.

  • Anzo

    A man wanted to get into his work building, but he had forgotten his PIN

    Code. However he did remember five clues.

    These are what those clues were:
    1). The fifth number plus the third number equals to 14.
    2). The fourth number is one more than the second number.
    3). The first number is one less than twice the second number.
    4). The second number plus the third number equals to 10.
    5). The sum of ALL five numbers is 30.

    • Jason Lee Miller

      Dude, you up and brought math into my thread. You don’t know me very well. All posts are official no-math zones. My brain is tired just from reading that.

      I would like to know the answer though…just too lazy to care.


    • http://www.jackpalmer.us Jack Palmer

      Clue: First number must be odd since it is one less than a double.

      Answer: seven-four-six-five-eight

    • Don


  • http://www.keepsakes-etc.com/photoblanket.html Keepsakes Etc

    The biggest take away I think I recieved is to STOP submitting articles to ezinearticles.com and articlemarketer.com.

    Jason – Should I stop submitting articles?


    • Jason Lee Miller

      You know, I can’t say about those sites specifically. I think Google probably takes it on a case-by-case basis and you probably should too. If you’re getting benefit from it why stop? I think the emphasis was on low quality article directories and, apparently, syndication across multiple directories…the user-experience doesn’t seem great on those types of things, but I’m just one user. The only thing I can say, from a writer’s perspective, it’s usually not just THAT you are published, but WHERE you are published and how many people are able to access what you write…some write for the purity and love the obscurity and others actually want to be heard…for most it’s the latter. So the question is likely, are you being heard? If so, don’t fix it if it ain’t broke.

  • http://www.seowebmarketing.co.uk Guest

    Love the article and agree with many thats its nice to see google opening up more and sharing its tweeks!  It has told me to always ask a question before I complete any optimization task.  The question is "By completing this task, will I be honoring Google’s desire to offer up the best results based on a search query, or am I just trying like everyone else, to game the system?"  I am going to assume Google is always at least 5 steps ahead of me in understanding the latest optimization trends and techniques and go with my gut instincts. Will keep checking back to find out more information, thanx Google! – Sue

  • samuel


        we are having computer with internet connection and we are searching for a true home based add placing job for one year ago But still now we diid not get a true home based work.if it’s possible means, kindly search and tell me the write website to earn money in home.





  • http://www.seo=freelance.co.uk Drew

    Great article – what it really means is everything needs more time and effort but try telling clients that they need to spend more!

  • http://www.seo-freelance.co.uk Drew

    How do you edit on this blog when you’ve made a typo?

  • http://www.investorloft.com real estate investing

    It would be great to get feedback like this every month – or at least every quarter!

    I am surprised they are devaluing the articles like that. Many SEO sites push the article submission as a great way to get links – which it can be if done right.  I suppose you need to publish on your own site first and let google find the content so you become the authority before submitting to any article publication sites.

    Thanks for publishing this info!

  • http://www.groundfloorseo.com/index.php/2008/11/13/wow-google-you-really-impressed-me-with-spilling-the-beans/ GroundFloor SEO

    Nice post.  Have you seen the latest from Google — they have created a 22 page search engine optimization guide.  I find it amazingly shocking that they are catering to the SEO community in such a manner and sharing as much information as they are.  The SEO guide is definitely well deserved and can help anyone focus on building the perfect (authority) website.  However, I wonder the motive behind Google revealing this information, even though it’s pretty common knowledge amongst ethical WhtieHat SEO, but it definitely raised my eyebrows because Google has until recently been tight lipped about any SEO tactics — aside from the Webmaster Guidelines and notably, Matt Cutts blog.

  • http://1031trader.com 1031Trader

    Google seems to really be focusing on user experience – data which they are probably getting from Google Analytics. Seems safe to say that a variety of traffic sources, a high page view count and time on the site, and a low bounce rate would be among the most important factors.

    • http://www.brooksvillepc.com Florida Search Engine Optimization

      I just thought of something.  When you mentioned Google Analytics, Google Ad Sense came to mind.  Lots of bloggers are using Ad Sense in their blogs to make money, and I’m wondering if blogs count as the highest percentage of Ad Sense carrying sites.  If so, then an innocent tweak by Google to their own algorythms that happens to make more potential revenue making Blog sites come up first on Google would accidentally make Google a whole lot more money.

  • http://www.impactmedialtd.co.uk/ Adrian Bold

    Thank you for making this information available and sharing with the Internet community.

  • http://www.weight-loss-surgery-or-weight-loss-program.com Andrea

    This is great information to know.  The bottom line is never a straight one in the online game, is it?

  • http://www.internetmarketingiq.com/ quest

    So are url links from comments on blogs like this:  http://www.internetmarketingiq.com

    going to penalize the site that is linking from the blogs or going to drain the link juice from the site that hosts the blogs?


    This was not addressed?

  • http://anythinginternetmarketing.blogspot.com/ Chad Flick

    This is one of the best articles I’ve read on this subject in quite awhile.  Im grateful for the valueable information, and I really like the way it was translated into terms we can understand. Thanks a bunch!

  • http://www.freelanceadminsupport.com Dawn Lawson

    Did you know there are about 200 factors that go into determining a site’s ranking in the search results? How about that Google made 450 tweaks to its algorithm last year?


    Yeah, 200 factors with 500 million variables and 2 billion terms! (According to Google’s Page Rank Technology Overview  http://www.google.com/corporate/tech.html) I guess the bottom line is stop trying to maipulate your website’s page rank. Provide good quality content and a user friendly site. If you keep people happy and coming back for more, you’ll get the outcome you’re striving for. SEO is just a big hype that too many people have gotten obsessed over.

    Dawn Lawson- http://www.freelanceadminsupport.com





    • Guest

      So I guess plastering your web address everywhere like graffiti is our only option left?

  • http://www.discount-leather.net Guest

    I’m glad to hear Google may finally be devaluing directory links, since after six years, I’m still not listed in DMOZ. Also nice to see that doing the dog and pony show for G’s sake, i.e. reciprical linking, article submissions, doorway pages and on and on, is counting less and less. It appears that perhaps G has found the proper algo to figure out which sites are actually producing value for the searcher and not spam.

    I know most readers and commenters on this thread are so concerned with SEO techniques, that user experience possibly has only been marginally considered. Is this a wake up?

  • http://bhutjolokia.blogspot.com Jason Winbs

    My guess is that it is up to us to determine wich article and site directorys work for page rank and indexing. Page rank maybe?

    And regarding comments from a person before, seo is not hype.  Using white hat tactics such as alt tag descriptions, my new pages(6 months or less) get indexed and ranked well and quickly in competitive keywords.




  • http://www.wsjprimerate.us/ Prime

    Google has matured in many ways recently, including the removal of some silly penalties. They will return to being the good guys when they remove the rest of the unwarranted penalties they’ve imposed on honest, white hat webmasters. I’m sure many here would agree.

  • http://www.katrinakaifpictures.com/ Katrina Kaif

    So directory submition is still good.  I have got excellent results by submitting to deirectories like.

  • http://www.ultrasuperaffiliate.com Gabriel

     It’s great knowing some of the considerations from Google’s angle.


  • http://www.tooncave.com Brow

    Excellent article.  I have been climbing that SEO ladder for quite awhile now and its good to learn about the newer ups and downs with google.

    This puts everything into better perspective big time.

    And hey, my comment is helping your PR. :)

  • http://www.my16bars.com Logan

    Wow thanks for posting this. Im helping you out by commenting :) I can use all these tips on my rap lyrics site.

  • http://www.karmakerala.com sholto

    if we could write great interesting content, provide a great service and Google actually knew that…

    Meantime we have to SEO compete against other sites that offer a rubbish service, pack in keywords, have out of date content and the only way to compete is to article submit and god knows what else.

    I look forward with all my heart to the day when I can concentrate on what I do and leave Google to work out that it is good. Oh happy day!

  • http://www.tradeshowemporium.com Colin Waters

    So I am a realitve newbie when it comes to SEO work, however it makes perfect sense to me exactly what the theory behind it is. So I’ve been doing this and improving our site and then I read this and I feel like I have been doing everything backwards. Once I feel like I finally have something learned, Google says that it doesn’t work.

    By the time I make these adjustments there will probably be another article like this that will again prove that I am doing things completely wrong.

    • http://www.brooksvillepc.com David at BrooksvillePC

      Hey Colin, I know what you mean.  I eat, sleep and drink this stuff all day, every day, month after month, and watch them turn into years.  Sometimes, all night long I have dreams about it.   And then, every once in a while it all falls apart and dissolves into total uncertainty. 

      I just build good sites made for people to find what they’re looking for and do my best to be honest about everything right up front.  That usually works for me. 

      Keep up the good work and keep on trying – that’s all anyone can do.

  • http://www.lewiscom.ca Vancouver Web Design

    This article just goes to show that Google themselves can’t decide on a lot of issues.  They seem to be admitting that link valuation is beyond them

  • http://www.catdoor.net Laura

    You provide a great service.  The only information site i read every day.
    It is a relaxing feeling to hope you can work on what you do well and make a good site with information that is important, than to spend every hour of the day working on things outside of that site just to impove rank.  Google is vital.  Thank you again for a great article.  Sunny days! ps- cant believe you are making us do math :)

  • http://www.asifism.com Asifism.com | QuickPlay, Accounting & Small Business

    This is great information.  Truly a worthwhile and useful read, and coming from Google itself, it’s less speculation and more information to work with!

  • http://www.brooksvillepc.com SEO Florida

    Google may have the power, but that’s just part of it.  You said you focus and have been focusing on content and not SEO.  Since you’re now in the position (or lack thereof) of finding yourself with content but without as much ranking as your site obviously deserves, now would be the time to adjust to the changes and consider allocating some of your resources toward professional Search Engine Optimization to counter Google’s actions. 

    The facts are what they are.  Google can and will create man made storms that play the same role as an "act of god" (small "g") on the internet – and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.  So if the tsunami, hurricane, tornado or whatever is coming and damage (getting ranked lower and lower) to the value of your content is inevitable if you simply continuing doing what you’ve been doing and don’t adjust to the new rules then you really have no choice but to bend and counter it.  The mighty stiff oak gets snapped in two, but the willow survives by bending with the storm.

    Most of your pages have multiple parameters and not good clean URL’s – such as:

    http://viajar.clix.pt/paises.php?xsr=3662&lg=fr  which is actually a redirect that takes the visitor to: http://biztravels.net/biztravels/geo.php?sr=3662&lg=fr

    The programmer of your database should be able to fix this problem by using the mod_rewrite tool for Apache Web servers or for  Windows servers by using the ISAPI Rewrite tool so that the server can convert the meaningless parameters into real keyworded document names and page links.  From there you can hire a few SEO’s (if you want it done more quickly use more than one) either from the same firm or that can work well together on the same project, and have them do what you need to do before you go out of business.

    There’s no reason to wait until you start running out of money and have to lay people off – get started sooner rather than later because optimization takes a little while to work.  On the positive side of that though, since you’ve ranked well in the past, Google will recognize that and probably boost you up more quickly to where you once were.


  • http://joy,engelman.com Guest

    I find Google’s answers always a bit absurd!

    They definitely do not reflect the reality of surfing the web. I’ve had my site for 0ver 12 years now and have been a Google Webmaster for several of those. So I have always tried to follow the rules and build a simple and relevant site about my artworks.

    I have over 125 external and relevant links as well as .gov and .edu links fthat date back several years, although Google doesn’t list them in my analytics, however, when the Google ranks my page, it finds these listing sites pages and ranks them above my own site.

    So Google’s claim they rank on content is bull. Other search engines stick me at the top but Google, I’m down around 30 or below……with referral sites listed above me.

    This has only occurred over the last 18 months or so as Google has tried to be clever with it’s algorithms. There have been comments from journalists  that Google is no longer the best choice as a search engine as it doesn’t return the most relevant pages anymore.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love Google and I love all their gadgets and doodahs etc, but as far as searching is concerned, I feel they have tried to be too clever and have lost their way somewhat.



  • http://www.golfakademie-gmbh.de Bob

    Yes the comments are correct but definitely its easier to beat the system as to play the system . Link building is still more important as content building that cant be right . However google results are the best ever so I guess they are moving slowly in the right direction

  • http://www.espaco2d.com.br Murilo

    Very interesting article with some "breaking news" (at least to me), like devaluation of article submission and .edu+.gov links relativeness.

    I particularly feel Gg does give importance to old domains, but think they should try to figure a way to de-rank some freezed-dead domains. I see a lot of links from abandoned sites still contributing to search results ranking.

  • http://www.freelance-website-designers.co.uk Freelance Website Designer

    Im curious as to the shift in the value of Article marketing. When I build websites or Ecommerce sites for my clients I usually recommend that they write a few articles. I then have them distributed.

    Until now I had believed this to be a good and legitimate strategy, does anyone know how much less value these links and articles have in the eyes of Google?


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