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    Interpretation of what is happening in Google


    What I believe is happening with Google is that Google has a dictionary of specific phrases to which it applies special algorithms, in an attempt to eliminate spam and abuse, as well as to limit the effects of professional search engine optimization.

    In fact, Google has always had this dictionary. What we are seeing this month is a broadening and expansion of that dictionary.

    Google didn't change its algorithms in any major way. Rather, Google simply added many thousands of new terms.

    Google has had such a dictionary from day one. I have followed certain terms for a long time. For example, the term BREAST was in Google's phrase dictionary right from the start. Type in BREAST, and Google has always steered you to sites about health and breast cancer.

    Google has been building its phrase dictionary over time. At some point, the term MORTGAGE was added to that dictionary. Currently, the number one site for MORTGAGE is an educational site from AARP that is designed to help seniors avoid some of the worst abuses in reverse mortgages.

    Any variation on MORTGAGE brings up useful educational and professional sites, like the Mortgage Bankers Association, or an interest rate or tax calculator. However, if you try misspelling the term as MORGAGE or MORGAGES, you get a long list of commercial mortgage mills. Search Engine Optimization still works for misspellings, which are beneath the radar of Google's editors.

    My industry may be an interesting case study because it is highly competitive, but has not been subject to a great deal of manipulative search engine optimization.

    I check rankings, backlinks, advertising, SEO behavior, and more on a regular basis for all companies that sell art supplies. The leading search phrase for the industry, by a longshot, is ART SUPPLIES. Other search terms, such as ART MATERIALS, get only a tiny fraction of the searches that go to ART SUPPLIES.

    What I see is that there has been virtually no fluctuation at all in rankings for the term ART SUPPLIES. The same companies have been appearing in more or less the same order throughout the major updates that have taken place this month.

    One suggestion has been that Google may have improved its ability to focus on modifiers to specific phrases. I disagree. Here's an example from my industry.

    The specific term MARTIAL ART SUPPLIES has absolutely nothing to do with ART SUPPLIES. It is not just a modifier of art supplies, the way DISCOUNT ART SUPPLIES is. The results for companies selling martial art supplies have always been interspersed amongst those of companies selling art supplies. And they are still there this month, in roughly the same order as last.

    What's happening this month is that Google is applying specific algorithms to specific terms only. Google has simply added a huge list of new terms to its dictionary. The rest of the Google index is unchanged, and their algorithms appear to be stable right now.

    I can understand why they are doing this. It had gotten to the point where you couldn't find educational information at all on certain subjects because of all the manipulation and abuse that was going on.

    Howard Metzenberg
    Highland Park, IL
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    Howard, you have some good points and a great interpretation. However when I see the results for my 2 main keyphrases the results I am getting are way too contradictory to your hypothesis. One of my sites is selling a very common household product category, and recently has been dropped. Before the update when you searched for this category the top 50 had alot of seod sites as well as educational sites that are very relevant to the specific keyphrase. Now after the update top 10 consist of Amazon,KMart,WallMart, Bizrate,Target,Epinions,A Canadian Chain Store, A UK Online Shopping site like AMAZON. Top 50 does not have any sites that have educational content which are not SEO'd at all.
    Looking at your hypothesis I will have to say that you need further investigation to develop your interpretation. Please share your thought as I really appreciated the information you have supplied. I wish I could verify the same.
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    What terms are affected by algorithm changes?


    What are the terms to which you refer?

    I have been trying the results at www.scroogle.org, and I am even more convinced of my hypothesis that nothing at all has happened to minor keywords.

    For example, the term ART MATERIALS brings up only 6 pages that have different rankings in the entire top 100, and none in the top 40.

    Google may have made some minor adjustments in algorithms, but on the terms that are not in their special treatment dictionary, I am finding that the top 10-20 positions are very stable.

    Howard Metzenberg
    Highland Park, IL
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    I can hardly imagine Google adding 'English Tea' to their special dictionary, yet I dropped from a solid 3-4th place down to 189 for my main page.
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    Originally posted by Sincerely
    I can hardly imagine Google adding 'English Tea' to their special dictionary, yet I dropped from a solid 3-4th place down to 189 for my main page.
    What do you mean, you can hardly imagine it? That looks like a perfect example of a competitive shopping term, which is exactly the kind of term Google has added to its dictionary of exceptions for more filtering and processing.

    I searched on ENGLISH TEA, and there was a full house of commercial links on the right side of the page.

    Howard Metzenberg
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    Hi you have a full stop on the scroogle link .

    Does your theory only apply to double keywords because "software' according to scroogle doe not seem to be missing any .

    If the filter does not apply to single search terms that may be useful info.
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    Originally posted by sleuth


    Does your theory only apply to double keywords because "software' according to scroogle doe not seem to be missing any .

    If the filter does not apply to single search terms that may be useful info.
    No. My theory is that terms like SOFTWARE were already added to the dictionary ages ago, and that the sites in question were already filtered out in previous versions of the Google Index. Likewise BREAST and BREASTS.

    I believe that the Google index is built cummulatively. It wouldn't make sense to do such computationally intensive processing and throw away your results.

    What we are observing is the effect of a massive number of new terms being added to the dictionary of filtered terms for the first time, terms that weren't there already.
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    My theory is that terms like SOFTWARE were already added to the dictionary ages ago, and that the sites in question were already filtered out in previous versions

    A touch too convenient . They seem to have missed other terms too ( or according to your theory cleaned them up some time ago)

    take 'reseller ' for instance , but it does appear that if you target single terms as the filter stands you may be better off
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    Nice theory... Maybe this is what toolbar vote buttons are used for inside "Google" - to build up an internal hit&miss- directory.
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    Do you mean, using actual hits on pages as a kind of vote?

    I don't think Google's toolbar information is really any different than their HTTP log information. I haven't heard any evidence that installing the Toolbar causes Google to receive any information about which pages you actually choose. People have analyzed the clickstreams and data that the Toolbar generates. The Google Toolbar is not a piece of spyware, the way some of the others are.
    In any case, that was the technique used by DirectHit, a search engine that has passed into oblivion, absorded into Teoma. Before Google, the DirectHit approach of using customer clicks to determine relevancy had a brief run of popularity. Imagine how easy that would be to game! DirectHit was never that effective, and it is long forgotten.

    The data that Google does appear to use is its receipts for the AdWords program. Perhaps what they are doing is taking every search term that generates some threshold value of revenue, say $5K or $10K, and applying extra processing to such terms to eliminate spamming and optimization techniques.
    Last edited by Howard Metzenberg; Nov 27th, 2003 at 01:27 AM.
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    Do you mean, using actual hits on pages as a kind of vote?
    No! What if toolbar vote-buttons are used to build up an internal directory (maybe a replacement to dmoz). A vote means = add to directory, promote this site or something similar.

    Only google employees could vote. It would be simple, trustworthy and efficient way to build a directory based on keywords.

    The Google Toolbar is not a piece of spyware, the way some of the others are.
    I know, there are some excellent pages of what it sends/retrieves. There's nothing special...
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    On a search term that returned more than 7 million pages, I found the following:

    keyword1 keyword2 -p position # 94
    keyword1 keyword2 -c position # 81

    Using other letters after the minus can return other different raking positions.

    Perhaps others with more informed insights can explain this or expand upon it.
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    Interested theory.
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    - letter search works like any regular -keyword search; it simply drops off pages containing the letter.

    However, I found something that must have been there earlier, but had slipped my eyes. Keywords used in "Searched the web for" link in many cases point to dictionary.com.

    ie. quering
    keyword -a -b -c

    ends up usually
    having
    http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=keyword
    http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=a+b+c

    maybe this is where google is getting their wordlists. Happily, it doesn't know any finnish ;)
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    Interesting (and fresh!) viewpoint.

    However, IF Google would be doing this, they are doing a very bad job. I've already pointed out some in the other thread.

    - extremely irrelevant result for some terms (example: web design holland)
    - irrelevant internal pages ranking higher than index. (my own site has a contact-form ranking #26 while my index page is at #645 for certain searches)
    - still SEO'd sites ranking high (example: online casinos ,#1 is a one-page affiliate site, pushed by a linksmanager-powered directory)
    - the '-pachinko trick' that just doesn't make sense.

    Plus, personally I doubt the idea behind this theory. I'm pretty sure that a lot of 'breast' searchers are actually looking for something else than information about breast-cancer....
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