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    A Message For Google


    Dear Google,

    I am a webmaster. I have a website that is 5 years old. My website covers one segment of a popular search term. It is rather unique in the information it provides, as much of it isn't available elsewhere. If it is available, it's sprinkled around in small amounts, and difficult to find. I've got it all together in one place, convenient. I've had pretty good rankings in Google over the years, and I appreciate that very much.

    I don't do anything sneaky on my site. I'm not an expert at optimization, I just try to build a good site that is easy for my site visitors to navigate. I didn't set out with the purpose of designing the site to rank well in any search engine, as I figured the SEs would do their job and find my site, and list it in the results when people did a search for something I have information on. That is the way it's supposed to work, isn't it?

    I understand that there are webmasters out there who will take advantage of a good thing, and pull sneaky tricks to try to get their pages ranked higher. The first time I heard about this was when lots of sites started stuffing "Pamela Sue Anderson" in their meta tag keywords because she was one of the big news stories at the time. I guess that was back in the days of big payments for ad impressions, so people didn't really care WHAT got people to their site, they just wanted the ad impressions. I never did such things, as I felt that was not helpful to people searching. Anyway, I see that as the beginning of the battle between the search engines and the webmasters.

    Somewhere along the way, all of this started affecting the rankings of my site. Some pages got harder to find. I still did not do anything sneaky to try to cheat the search engines in an attempt to get better positioning. I just kept writing unique content and building a bigger and better site. But I did have to go back and make sure my site was optimized, so it would stay competitive. I just made sure the page titles were descriptive of what was on the page, and that my images all had alt tags on them, things like that. Nothing anyone would ever consider "over optimizing." But while doing this, I couldn't put as much new content online. A loss for me, for searchers, and for Google, because that's one less new page to index.

    Then along came the mid-December 2004 update. My site for the most part vanished from the results pages. WHY? What had I done to deserve this treatment? I have no doorway pages, mirror sites, redirects, or anything else. My traffic from Google dropped 75% within the first month after this update, and is now about 10% of what it was prior to the update.

    My pages are still in your index, if I do link: or allinurl: commands, they are all there. But when I search for them, I cannot find them. Maybe they are buried deep, deep within, but they are not doing me or anyone else any good there. Googlebot is still visiting my site, and Google Images is still referring traffic, in fact, Google images is referring TWICE what Google search is referring. And for the first time ever, both Yahoo and MSN are referring more traffic than Google. That tells me people AREN'T FINDING WHAT THEY'RE SEARCHING FOR ON GOOGLE. My site is there. It has what they want, but they aren't finding it on Google. MSN, yes. Yahoo, yes. But not Google. Not since mid-December.

    Take for instance one page: let's call it a Merlin Blue Widgets page. Merlin Widgets were pretty rare, limited edition Widgets. I have a page about them. It is the only page that exists anywhere related specifically to Merlin Blue Widgets. Even searching using the exact text of the page title, which is Merlin Blue Widgets, my page comes up at 56. 56!!! None of the other sites listed before mine have much to do with Merlin Blue Widgets, if anything at all, but they are there and I am at 56. And I'm the one with all the information!

    So my question to you, Google, is how is this relevant? Why is my site being treated in this manner? I've heard you don't like affiliate links for some reason. Guess a lot of affiliates build garbage pages that are link farms, and they aren't really very helpful. OK. Well, I do have some affiliate links on my site. Perhaps 10% of the site - tops - has advertising on the pages. The rest - 90% - have NO ADS! This includes the Merlin Blue Widgets page. Are you penalizing entire sites because a small percentage of pages have affiliate ads? Not smart, you didn't get to be Google by doing stupid things like this. I would hope Google would be smarter than this, but no one knows for sure if that's one of the reasons their sites are hurting.

    I don't know why this is happening, nor do I know what I can do to fix it since I don't know what I've done. If Google wants to provide relevant results to searchers, it seems to me the webmasters who also want that need to be given a break. If good sites are being lost in the effort to eradicate the bad ones, that's not a good plan. And it's been this way for almost 2 months now.

    Google, please fix your search engine, or tell those of us who've been penalized what we've done wrong. The webmasters who are cheating will always cheat, and they will always come up with a sneaky way of getting their sites into your results. I'm glad you're trying to deal with them, but please do it in a way that doesn't destroy the rest of us in the process.

    I'm almost to the point where I'm thinking about banning Googlebot from my site. That way, you can't take credit for indexing all of my pages. It's not doing me any good right now, so I have nothing to lose. If enough webmasters like me do this, you'll have a big problem, Google. Word will get out that not all sites are in Google, because the webmasters don't allow Google to spider them. People will go to other SEs because of this. Certainly not everyone will do this, but if enough do, Google's results suddenly will be less relevant and less complete, because it doesn't cover the whole picture. Talk about a front page story: WEBMASTERS REMOVE GOOGLE WELCOME MAT - I doubt your stockholders would be thrilled with this.

    You see, without us, Google, you have nothing. We have the pages that you need to survive. We don't NEED Google to survive, it would be nice, but it's a two way street. You can't claim to index our pages just because you know they exist. Searchers must be able to find them as well. That isn't happening, Google. Get to work and GET IT FIXED! Please, before I have to start promoting the new MSN to everyone.

    Regards,
    A Concerned Webmaster
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    Heh, nice one Adrew.

    Couple of valid points, bit of pathos near the end... ;) Which address did you send it to? help@g0ogle.com?

    Well, if within a week or so, we all mysteriously start to rank as deserved, then we'll know who to thank for that.

    Cheers.
    ...please help me w/ the real Redscowl Bluesingsky...how2 check backlinks...now postin' @ SEO Refugee ...
    <`)~ LOL now that I finally have a paypal account, I'm charging 19,- for SEO advice via PM. Seriously...
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    Jeez, I hope they have the time to read all this!

    Just kidding, I see your point Adrew, and I definitely know how you feel. I hope things will move to the better soon... It is very sad when bad things happen to good people..
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    A few comments on your letter:
    1) Google could care less about your site or my site. It does care about search users. Instead of making up a situtation, give Google a real search querry with real results. Point specific sites that should not be showing up high in the search results with a brief explaination of why they are not relevant. (e.g. I searched for widgets, but the third site is Gadgets4U.com, a site that is all about gadgets).

    2)Make sure you send it to Google.

    3)It helps if you email directly to Google's search team. If you click on the "dissatifisified with with results" link, you'll be able to find email addresses. They do read these, because I've gotten emails back from real, live individuals.

    4)Everybody here should be doing the same thing. I already have.
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    You took the words right out of my mouth - WELL DONE!!!
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    Good point. Andrew, do you realy think they care about you and your website? There are thousands of webmaster out there in the same situation as you are. Instead of writing these letters I would suggest you to work on building traffic from sources other then G.

    Originally Posted by Sweat
    A few comments on your letter:

    1) Google could care less about your site or my site. It does care about search users. Instead of making up a situtation, give Google a real search querry with real results. Point specific sites that should not be showing up high in the search results with a brief explaination of why they are not relevant. (e.g. I searched for widgets, but the third site is Gadgets4U.com, a site that is all about gadgets).
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    Actually, you SHOULD write these letters. They help blow off steam, and if you've already met your daily backlinks acquisition quotum (DBAQ), what else to do with your time? ;)

    It's just that yet another widgets example (YAWE) might not appeal to any one of the Google people. It might be better to make it a bit more real, with real keywords and examples, and you might just get the attention you desire (or at least >0 attention - which would be a nice start).

    That said, it's not wise to post a letter - with real keywords in it - here. In that case this very forum thread page might nudge your site another step down the serps in a day or two. So, on SEOChat forums, a widgets-on-Google letter is best the way to go
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    Unfortunally, without google you're dead. They have the power and they don't care about us.

    Originally Posted by faremax
    Good point. Andrew, do you realy think they care about you and your website? There are thousands of webmaster out there in the same situation as you are. Instead of writing these letters I would suggest you to work on building traffic from sources other then G.
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    I don't think so. We have never ranked good in G and don't think we will in the near future but we have been doing pretty good for the past 3 years. And our business grew. you are right about the power and that they don;tt care about us. And that is exactely my point. If we eventually start ranking good in G, what can I say, thanks G. If not its fine with me too. I will try to find more ways to bring in the traffic.

    Originally Posted by cnxnet
    Unfortunally, without google you're dead. They have the power and they don't care about us.
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    I removed google toolbar / got MSN toolbar, I'm getting better results in MSN Beta...I'm not talking about my own site...just not finding the right stuff in google....
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    do you realy think they care about you and your website? There are thousands of webmaster out there in the same situation as you are. Instead of writing these letters I would suggest you to work on building traffic from sources other then G.
    I can't say if Google cares about me or my website or not. But they should. Their continued success depends on whether or not they deliver relevant results to their searchers. If this continues, many of the webmasters who get fed up with Google in the months to come might start promoting MSN, or Yahoo to site visitors. If word gets out that Google's results aren't relevant, or complete, or in proper order it will be bad for Google.

    Google can't just do whatever they want to do any more, they have stockholders to answer to. These stockholders are doing searches on Google just the same as any of us. How long do you suppose they're going to stand for not finding what they really want, especially if they find better sites listed on MSN that don't show up or get buried on Google, for whatever reason?

    Drew
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    Webmasters that don't have patience, like yourself, are fed up with G already. You are absolutely right, that thier success depends on relevant results and they have shareholders to protect. And if they allow anybody to manipulate their results too easily, it would be filled with low grade affiliate sites or spam-sites. This, I can guarantee you, would bring their death very very fast.

    Originally Posted by Adrew
    I can't say if Google cares about me or my website or not. But they should. Their continued success depends on whether or not they deliver relevant results to their searchers. If this continues, many of the webmasters who get fed up with Google in the months to come might start promoting MSN, or Yahoo to site visitors. If word gets out that Google's results aren't relevant, or complete, or in proper order it will be bad for Google.

    Google can't just do whatever they want to do any more, they have stockholders to answer to. These stockholders are doing searches on Google just the same as any of us. How long do you suppose they're going to stand for not finding what they really want, especially if they find better sites listed on MSN that don't show up or get buried on Google, for whatever reason?

    Drew
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    Originally Posted by sv800
    I removed google toolbar / got MSN toolbar, I'm getting better results in MSN Beta...I'm not talking about my own site...just not finding the right stuff in google....
    it's no longer an "MSN beta". The new algo results have been officially launched on MSN.com
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    Adrew,

    Well said. Two suggestions - include several examples and also send your letter to MSN. MSN needs to know how folks feel about Google so they can avoid the same mistakes.

    Ed
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    Originally Posted by sv800
    I removed google toolbar / got MSN toolbar, I'm getting better results in MSN Beta...I'm not talking about my own site...just not finding the right stuff in google....
    It's no longer the "MSN Beta". The new algorithm has been officially launched on MSN.com and those results show up 100% of the time now.
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