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Is Google Dancing – or Shooting Itself inthe Foot?

Atlanta, GA (PRWEB) January 29, 2004

Google, the Internet’s dominant search engine employing more than 100 Ph.D’s, transitioned to yet another “improved” set of search results yesterday in a monthly recalculation known as the “Google Dance.” But this time, many industry professionals say, Google wasn’t dancing; it shot itself in the foot.

100 Ph.D’s Can’t Be Wrong . . . Right?

Roughly once a month, Web site owners nervously await the Google Dance, named for the shake-up that occurs as changes to the well-guarded algorithm are populated across its 10,000 servers around the world. As the new changes begin going live on different servers, varying search results are seen for a day or two for the same search from different countries and even on consecutive searches on the same computer.

By the time the dust settled this time, however, those who watched it happen were howling with protest. “We all support Google’s changes to deliver more relevant results to the user. But for many web site owners, this isn’t an improvement; it’s a disaster,” says Brad Fallon, founder of SEO Research, LLC.

Such sentiments, though not uniform, appear to be widely shared among early observers. While many are cheering Google’s efforts to continually deliver better, more relevant results, a trip through the professionals’ online forms reveals that many more are not impressed.

According to one poster to an online forum for SEO (search engine optimization) professionals at webmasterworld.com, “Google knows the results stink, they just won’t admit it. They are trudging forward, hoping to get the quality sites back, while keeping the spam out. Right now Google is failing big time.” http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum3/21443-30-15.htm

Others are more direct:

“This truly is a disaster. Google [has] to be stopped,” says one poster while another fears for his livelihood, “Oh my god, I am going to have to sell my house.” http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum3/21443-2-15.htm

Of course, there’s always two sides. Some seem to appreciate Google’s efforts. Regardless of how one’s web site fared in the latest update, there’s no denying the shakeup was significant.

Out of the Hurricane – Into the Fire

Prior to this weekend, the last significant change to Google’s search results, the Florida update, was made on November 16, 2003, slightly more than two months ago. (Like hurricanes, significant Google changes are now given their own names.) Last Fall, “Florida” cut a path of destruction across thousands of mostly commercial search terms. In many cases, more than 60 percent of the Top 100 search results for a given search terms were simply dropped from the listings — poof!

Right before Christmas, many web site owners and online retailers saw their site traffic fly away like a piece of driftwood in a hurricane. Of course Google keeps a tight lid on what’s really occurring. So not surprisingly, theories abound. Late last year, the leading conspiracy theory posited that Google dumped commercial search results before the holiday buying season to drive desperate online retailers to its paid AdWords pay-per-click program. Cynics noted that the additional revenue wouldn’t hurt Google upcoming IPO. Google, and most professional SEO’s, deny any relationship between Google AdWords and the natural search results.

For a large number of web site owners, however, regardless of the reason that’s exactly what happened. For many, accustomed to years of high rankings for their relevant web sites, it was a simple choice – paid traffic or no traffic.

Now, it appears that the first update of 2004, Austin, has gone on where Florida left off. Many top-ranked site owners that survived Florida woke up Monday morning and immediately wished they had stayed in bed.

As Fallon explains, “It’s hard to describe the feeling these site owners get. But when you’ve gotten used to running the same search over and over and seeing your site #1, it’s quite a shock to suddenly look and . . . nothing! You hit refresh a few times because you can’t believe it. Then you start looking through the next couple pages, and when it’s not there, panic sets in as you start trying your other search terms. Depending on what you find, it can be slightly comforting, or real panic as the economics start to sink in.”

“But the worst part is when web masters start looking at the new results that appear,” Fallon adds. “When they see the kind of junky, off-topic, irrelevant sites that just replaced the site that they have been working on for years,” he explains, “Well, you can see where they’re coming from. They’re frustrated and they’re thinking, like a lot of us, ‘What is Google thinking?’”

This week, there are many examples that make people wonder. For example, a search for “atlanta criminal lawyer” prior to this weekend delivered first page search results that included, not surprisingly, many Atlanta criminal lawyers. Not so anymore. For example, the number one search result is for a Canadian directory owned by, ironically, a Canadian Web marketing firm with three listings for lawyers – in Toronto. Huh?

The rest of the first page listings are mostly filled with large-site directories related to criminal law – but no Atlanta criminal lawyers. Indeed, some of the “directories” is merely a link exchange page on one law firm’s site – in Indiana.

“What we’re seeing,” according to Fallon, is not a “filter” or “penalty,” (one popular theory), but simply a change in the overall algorithm. ”Unfortunately for smaller or local businesses, the change that seemingly attempts to benefit national directories and central resources, tends to hurt the individual web site owners,” he says. “Whether intentional or not, what’s happened is that Google has changed their algorithm to the detriment off the little guy,”

Will Another Apology Help Google Stay Cool?

Although Google won’t divulge much about ongoing changes, they do seem to be hearing the frustration. In fact, after the Florida update, Google Senior Research Scientist, Craig Nevill-Manning, was widely quoted in what to some was a stunning apology.

“I apologize for the roller coaster. We’re aware that changes in the algorithm affect people’s livelihoods. We don’t make changes lightly,” he said.

Interestingly, many of the web masters feeling the most frustration were the biggest “fans” that originally spread the word about the new kid on the block when Google started out. Now, many of them wonder what Google thought was so broken that it needed fixing this badly. If market share is any judge, most users were happy with Google’s search results. Since November, however, the grumblings have grown louder.

Already, there are indications that Google is losing favor with its early-adopting professional web masters and techies. Ironically of course, it was the computer geeks who led Google from nowhere to dominate an already crowded field of bigger, established search engines. Word spread quickly about the simple, efficient search engine that delivered excellent results.

In short, Google was cool.

Now Google’s hipness may be in question. It is not just the people that observe and test search results every day are starting to move on. This time, the techies are hearing it from their non-computer-oriented friends.

“Have you heard of All the Web,” computer novice recently asked his search engine optimizing friend. To a professional SEO, that’s sort of funny.

Whether Google maintains its status as the King of Cool long enough to put billions in the founders’ pockets with their coming IPO is probably not in doubt. Whether it can sustain and return profits to public shareholders who will buy in soon thereafter is much less certain.

Already, Google is facing much stiffer competition from seasoned players with deep pockets who say they now “get” the long-term importance of Search and believe that they’re not too late.

Both Yahoo (a big customer until later this month) and MSN plan to launch their own search engines. Yahoo plans to dump Google and begin delivering Inktomi results by the end of next month. MSN is already deep in development of its own search engine. And although starting a search engine from scratch is no easy feat, head-to-head competition with Microsoft is never something to look forward to.

Of course Google probably has nothing to worry about. Even after Yahoo stops delivering Google results by the end of next month as promised, Google will still provide more than 50 percent of all internet searches. Not bad. But long-term success seems less certain as Google drives away users fed up with changes that deliver ridiculous search results in many cases.

Staying Cool May be Easy for the Consultant of Hip

Google’s struggle to maintain superiority as the hip search engine is especially ironic given the fact that Sergey Brin, one of Google’s co-founders is now a “Hipness Consultant.”

No kidding. According to Business Week Online (http://msnbc.msn.com/id/4065453/) Brin, spoke last week at the World Ecomic Forum. His topic? The Secrets of Hipness. Among his tips, “If you have to think about being hip, you’re never going to be hip.”    

And by all accounts, Google is still about as hip as companies get. For example. their long-standing corporate policy encouraging their super smart employees to spend 20 percent of their time working on side projects bodes well for maintaining their edge.

According to Business Week Online, the Hip Guru, Brin, joked that once he’s finished with Google he would like to develop a scanner to be used at airports to prevent unhip people from boarding airplanes. He likes his fellow passengers to be cool, he said.

Don’t worry, Sergie. You’ll have your own jet soon enough.

But as much as one is concerned about Brin not having to hang with the unhip, one hopes for the sake of the small business owners around the world that Google fixes things fast.

Otherwise, isn’t it amazing how fast things can go from hot – to not?

About Brad Fallon and SEO Research, LLC

Brad Fallon is the founder of SEO Research (www.seoresearch.com), a unique think tank and research lab focused solely on gathering hard data about leading search engine algorithms. Using carefully designed experiments, researchers reverse engineer the “secret formulas” behind the major search engines for business clients where search engine rankings mean the difference between financial success and failure.

Brad Fallon is the author of Creating Customers Out of Thin Air: Secrets of Online Marketing for Offline Businesses. Among other things, he advises clients not to depend too heavily on Google traffic for their business model. Current projects include Googleisms – 21 Fun Things to Do with Google.

###

If you’d like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Brad Fallon, please call Brad at (404) 849-2199 or e-mail media@seoresearch.com.



Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by - February 3, 2011 at 9:17 pm

Categories: Criminal Lawyer   Tags: , , , , ,

How to Defend your Website From the Google Duplicate Proxy Exploit


by Igal Koshevoy

How to Defend your Website From the Google Duplicate Proxy Exploit

How to Defend your Website From the Google Duplicate Proxy Exploit


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Home Page > Internet > How to Defend your Website From the Google Duplicate Proxy Exploit

How to Defend your Website From the Google Duplicate Proxy Exploit

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Posted: Aug 22, 2007 |Comments: 0
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There is a current and active way to knock a website out of Google’s search engine results. It’s simple and effective. This information is already in the public domain and the more people that know about it, the more likelihood there is that Google will do something about it. This article will tell you how it works, how to get a website knocked out of the search engine rankings, but most importantly, how to defend your own website from having it happen to you.

To understand this exploit, you must first understand about Google’s Duplicate Content filter. It’s simply described thus: Google doesn’t want you to search for “blue widget” and have the top 10 search terms returned copies of the same article on how great blue widgets are. They want to give you ONE copy of the Great Blue Widget article, and 9 other different results, just on the off chance that you’ve already read that article and the other results are actually what you wanted.

To handle this, every time Google spiders and indexes a page, it checks it to see if it’s already got a page that is predominantly the same, a duplicate page if you will. Exactly how Google works this out, nobody knows exactly, but it is going to be a combination of some or all of: page text length, page title, headings, keyword densities, checking exactly copy sentence fragments etc. As a result of this duplicate content filter, a whole industry has grown up around trying to get round the filter, just search for “spin article”.

Getting back to the story here, Google indexes a page and lets say it fails it’s duplicate content check, what does Google do? These days, it dumps that duplicate page in Google’s Supplemental Index. What, you didn’t know that Google have 2 indexes? Well they do: the main one, and supplemental one. 2 things are important here: Google will always return results from their Main index if they can; and they will only go to the Supplemental index if they don’t get enough joy from their main index. What this means is that if your page is in the supplemental index, it’s almost certain that you will never show up in the Search Engine Ranking Pages, unless there is next to no competition for the phrase that was searched for.

This all seems pretty reasonable to me, so what’s the problem? Well there’s another little step I haven’t mentioned yet. What happens if someone copies your page, let’s say your homepage of your business website, and when Google indexes that copy, it correctly determines that it’s a duplicate. Now Google knows about 2 pages that it knows are duplicates, it has to decide which to dump in the supplemental index, and which to keep in the main one. That’s pretty obvious right? But how does Google know which is the original and which is the copy? They don’t. Sure they have some clever algorithms to work it out, but even if they are 99% accurate, that leaves a lot of problems for that 1% of times they can get it wrong!

And this is the heart of the exploit, if someone copies your websites homepage say, and manages to convince Google that *their* page is the original, your homepage will get tossed into the supplemental index, never to see the light of day in the Search Engine Ranking Pages again. In case I’m not being clear enough, that’s bad! But wait, it gets worse:

It’s fair to say that in the case of a person physically copying your page and hosting it, you can often get them to take it down through the use of copyright lawyers, and cease and desist letters to ISP’s and the like, with a quick “Reinclusion Request” to Google. But recently there’s a new threat that’s a whole lot harder to stop: the use of publicly accessible Proxy websites. (If you don’t know what a Proxy is, it’s basically a way of making the web run faster by caching content more local to your internet destination. In principle they are generally a good thing.)

There are many such web proxies out there, and I won’t list any here, however I will describe the process: they send out spiders (much like Google’s) and they spider your page, take your content, then they host a copy of your website on their proxy site, nominally so that when their users request your page, they can serve up their local copy quickly rather than having to retrieve if off your server. The big issue is that Google can sometimes decide that the proxy copy of your web page is the original, and yours is not.

Worse again, there’s some evidence that people are deliberately and maliciously using proxy servers to cache copies of web pages, then using normal (white and black hat) Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques to make those proxy pages rank in the search engine, increasing the likelihood that your legitimate page will be the one dumped by the search engines’ duplicate content filters. Danger Will Robinson!

Even worse still, some of the proxy spiders actively spoof their origins so that you don’t realise that it’s a spider from a proxy, as they pretend to be a Googlebot for example, or from Yahoo. This is why the major search engines actively publish guidelines on how to identify and validate their own spiders.

Now for the big question, how can you defend against this? There are several possible solutions, depending on you web hosting technology and technical competence:

Option 1 – If you are running Apache and PHP on your server, you can set the webhost up to check for search engine spiders that purport to be from the main search engines, and using php and the .htaccess file, you can block proxies from other sources. However this only works for proxies that are playing by the rules and identifying themselves correctly.

Option 2 – If you are using MS Windows and IIS on your server, or if you are on a shared hosting solution that doesn’t give you the ability to do anything clever, it’s an awful lot harder and you should take the advice of a professional on how to defend yourself from this kind of attack.

Option 3 – This is current the best solution available, and applies if you are running a PHP or ASP based website: you set ALL pages robot meta tags to noindex and nofollow, then you implement a PHP or ASP script on each page that checks for valid spiders from the major search engines, and if so, resets the robot meta tags to index and follow. The important distinction here is that it’s easier to validate a real spider, and to discount a spider that’s trying to spoof you, because the major search engines publish processes and procedures to do this, including IP lookups and the like.

So, stay aware, stay knowledgeable, and stay protected. And if you see that you’ve suddenly been dumped from the Search Engine Rankings Pages, now you might know why, how and what to do about it.

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Sophie White
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Sophie White is an Internet Marketing and Website Promotion Consultant at Intrinsic Marketing an SEO and Pay Per Click firm dedicated to supplying Better Website ROI.

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How to Defend your Website From the Google Duplicate Proxy Exploit

This article tells tale of a new way to completely knock a website out of Google’s Search Engine Results Pages. Unfortunate if it happens to your competition yes? But what if it happens to you? This article describes the process and more importantly, the defensive measures you can use to stop it happening to your website.

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Sophie White is an Internet Marketing and Website Promotion Consultant at Intrinsic Marketing an SEO and Pay Per Click firm dedicated to supplying Better Website ROI.

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More Copyright Lawyer Articles

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by - January 17, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Categories: Copyright Lawyer   Tags: , , , , , ,

Are the search inquiries suggestions in google from previous search inquiries?

Question by Yvonne: Are the search inquiries suggestions in google from previous search inquiries?
Or are they random? At home I have a 8 month old PC. The reason I’m asking because there are some crazy suggestions that my husband could be looking up. I’ve emailed Google but can’t get a response. (ex. I typed in “child” and these suggestions came up: child support, child custody, child custody lawyers, child custody laws)

Thank you.
It’s an explorer browser with a google search engine in it.
If it was random are there a lot of other suggestions for the word “child”? such as Child education, child clothing, child proof?
I just really wish someone knew the answer and was not just guessing.

Best answer:

Answer by nickehh
Haha.. no they aren’t previous search terms.
It’s just popular search terms from other users on Google.
It does not mean that someone on your PC has looked it up.

Hope that helps =)

Well wait, is it Google toolbar, or are you on the actual website?

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

1 comment - What do you think?  Posted by - December 23, 2010 at 3:17 am

Categories: Custody Lawyer   Tags: , , , , ,

Microsoft Logs on to Google Complaint, to Alter Vista

Microsoft Logs on to Google Complaint, to Alter Vista

MICROSOFT agreed to make changes to its Windows Vista operating system in response to a complaint by Google that a feature of Vista is anticompetitive, lawyers involved in the case said.

The settlement, reached in recent days by state prosecutors, the Justice Department and Microsoft, averted the prospect of litigation over a complaint by Google that Vista had been designed to frustrate computer users who want to use software other than Microsoft’s to search through files on their hard drives. Google had made its complaint confidentially as part of the consent decree proceedings set up to monitor Microsoft for any anticompetitive conduct after it settled a landmark antitrust lawsuit five years ago that had been brought by the states and the Clinton administration.

The federal government and the states were planning to file a joint status report by midnight in the consent decree proceedings that outlined the changes Microsoft would be making to Vista. State and federal lawyers were exchanging drafts of the report.

They said they had reached agreement on a remedy, al- though there was still some disagreement over the report’s language. The disagreement reflected tensions between the Justice Department, which initially sided with Microsoft in the dispute, and some of the states, which have supported Goog1e and advocated a more aggressive stance.

Google has sought to keep a low profile in the dispute, in part because the Federal Trade Commission has recently opened a preliminary antitrust investigation into Google’s proposed .1 billion acquisition of DoubleClick, an online advertising company.

Lawyers involved in the proceeding said the changes to Vista would allow consumers to decide which desktop search program they want to use, and that selecting software from Google or some other company would no longer slow down the computer as it does now. They said that as part of the settlement, Microsoft would let Vista users know how to change their desktop search program. But the settlement would not require Microsoft to make all the changes that Google had sought.

Google maintained that its desktop search program was slowed by an equivalent feature that is built into Vista. When the Google and Microsoft search programs run simultaneously, their indexing programs slow the operating system considerably, Google contends. As a result, Google has said that Vista violated Microsoft’s 2002 antitrust settlement, which prohibits Microsoft from designing operating systems that limit the choices of consumers.

For more details on Children’s Museum visit www.halfvalue.com and www.halfvalue.co.uk

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Universal Health Care Centers — Are Physicians Doing Their Part? / Video. Film on why health care workers and health care centers are needed to care for the uninsured, homeless and poor. From the public domain film, “A Right to Health”. Creative Commons license: Public Domain. Universal health care is health care coverage that is extended to all eligible residents of a governmental region and often covers medical, dental, and mental health care. These programs vary in their structure and funding mechanisms. Typically, most costs are met via a single-payer health care system or national health insurance. Universal health care is provided in all wealthy, industrialized countries, except for the United States. It is also provided in many developing countries and is the trend worldwide. Universal health care is a broad concept that has been implemented in several ways. The common denominator for all such programs is some form of government action aimed at extending access to health care as widely as possible. Most countries implement universal health care through legislation, regulation and taxation. Legislation and regulation direct what care must be provided, to whom, and on what basis. Usually some costs are borne by the patient at the time of consumption but the bulk of costs come from a combination of compulsory insurance and tax revenues. Some programs are paid for entirely out of tax revenues. In some cases, government involvement also includes directly managing the

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by - October 31, 2010 at 3:18 am

Categories: Federal Lawyer   Tags: , , , , ,