Google artikelen



After Google latest update nicknamed "Florida", many webmasters discovered that their traffic plummeted.

door: Per Strandberg, Dan Thies, efactory.de, Rich Hamilton Jr

Being dumped by Google?


Learn how to avoid becoming a victim next time around!

What happened?
More importantly what can you do about it?
And what will Google do next?

What happened was that Google made an algorithm change on how they rate web pages. Every time you make a search, Google tries to show the most relevant web pages that match your search term. By being able to give the most relevant results for queries, they have become the most used search engine in the world. In order to keep out competitors they have to constantly adjust and improve how they judge web pages.

Because this judgment is done automatically using software, many webmaster have been modifying their sites in order to improve their position in the search results. To do this they have exploited different shortcuts and loopholes made possible by shortcomings in the software algorithm. Periodically Google make changes in order to stop some webmasters to get unfair advantages by plugging one or two of the loopholes.

This is what happened during the Florida update. With this update Google introduced new algorithms which intended to stop overuse of some search engine optimization techniques. More specifically they seem to have targeted search terms found in text links also called anchor text. Web pages with good positions in the search result, which had had a disproportional number of in-bound links to them from other web pages with the exact same search term in the anchor text that the page was optimized for suddenly, disappeared from the listings.

The pages did not disappear altogether. Just for the search term that the page were optimized for. For Google, the high proportions of anchor texts with the same text indicate that the texts were put there for one purpose only, to boost ranking. One suggestion for you is to spread out the anchor text with a mix of different texts to keep your page in the search results. We don't know if your pages will come back after some time if you do this, but it is likely. Apparently the search result generated after the latest update have been of a lower quality than before.

What seems to have happen is that a large percentage of web sites have traded links with one another. This link trade has been done with the same search term in the anchor text that they have optimized their pages for. The victims more often than not have been commercial web sites that relied to heavily on search engine optimization technique. The search results have been taken over by web sites composed of low quality directory and link farms. Now, what will Google do next? I don't know, but TRY TO THINK like Google! This is what I would do if I was responsible at Google for this.

First I think that they will modify and adjust the new algorithm they have introduced during the latest update. Changing the threshold or don't let the "over optimized pages" drop out of the search result so easy, but rather penalize them and put them under the threshold point. I think, Google have a problem! You see, many "over optimized" sites are of higher quality that those that are not. To simply drop them out and say that there are enough pages for the same search term is not always true.

There is a thin line between optimization and spamming and where this boundary should be. After this, what will Google do next? It is clear to me that the many low quality directory sites found in Google search results is a nuance to Google and to the average web user. It is in this area that, I think, they will make the next modifications. Google rate web pages according to relevance. The level of relevance is judge based on the web page content and/or how popular the web page is in the view of Google. To get a page popular you need to have links from other pages. This can come from pages on your own site or from other sites.

Ideally these links should be many, come from pages dealing with similar or identical subject or come from pages that themselves are popular. The best is to have many links from pages dealing with the same subject that themselves are popular. This had led to an intense link exchange active among webmasters. And the primary reason has been to achieve better ratings. The primary purpose has not been to increase the visitors experience value.

This goes against Google's principles.
To quote Google webmaster guidelines:
· Make pages for users, not for search engines.
· Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings.
·Don't participate in link schemes designed to increase your site's ranking or Page Rank.

To counter this I think Google will target several popularity increasing schemes like:
- Low value directory sites which have been created automatically by robots. These sites contain extracts taken from search engines and directories.

Google can easily spot these sites.

Of course, one can say that by doing this you can add to your visitors experience as the directories make it easy for them to find similar web sites. However this is an argument that Google most likely would disagree with. Web sites using tactics like this are easy identifiable by Google. The directory pages are composed of outgoing links which either have the Title, Meta descriptor or other content directly taken from the web pages they are linked to. Google just have to look at the texts from the directories and the text on the web pages for matching. Using product or services for this purpose is risking you get banned or at least being penalized by Google.

Will this happen? I think so! When?

I don't know! Anytime soon, next month,..next year! Nobody knows, only Google can tell!
I think Google also will look into reciprocal linking as a whole.
Maybe they will start to identify pages with outgoing links on them that link to other web sites and identify which links are coming back from those domains. What they like to see is spontaneous linking to your site from web owners that regard you as a valuable resource to link to, without you linking back. I believe that they will limit the impact of reciprocal linking, somewhat! What can you do to improve your web traffic from Google without violating its guidelines? Build web sites that give value to your visitors. Make it into a popular site, so that others want to link to your site. Build niche information rich sites. Either as mini sites or as larger information sites. Larger sites within a niche are given higher popularity rating than smaller sites by Google. If you do this your web site will not be affected next time Google make a change. Unless of course your competitor drops out of Google, then your traffic will get a boost.

About the author.

Per Strandberg is a web marketer and software developer! Currently he operates a web site for backup products and data security information! At data-backup-and-storage.com

Are you ready to Froogle?

Google has recently introduced a beta version of their Froogle online shopping search engine. Unlike their well known search service, Froogle attempts to provide a searchable index of online merchandise catalogs. In this short article, I'll describe what Froogle offers searchers, how online merchants can participate and offer a few simple tips to make the most of this new search engine.

What Froogle offers searchers

Froogle offers searchers three major features. These are a directory of products by category, a searchable index of online products and the ability to narrow searches by price range. Froogle attempts to display a price and product description for each item listed. If you haven't taken a look at Froogle yet you can see how it looks at http://www.froogle.com or http://froogle.google.com At the moment the search results are not sorted by price so it's likely that Google's famous PageRank system is responsible for determining which sites end up on the top at Froogle, at least for now. Searchers however can input a price range to narrow down their search.

How to get your catalog into Froogle

Google has already been actively searching the web, including many online product catalogs to build the Froogle database. For many online merchants there's a good chance that Froogle already has some products listed. However letting Froogle search your site is not the only way, nor the best way to participate. Google also allows merchants to provide a "data feed" listing their products, descriptions, pricing and URLs. In a moment we'll discuss why this is important to you. Google has been kind enough to provide instructions on getting your online store listed in the Froogle index on their "Information For Merchants" page located at http://froogle.google.com/froogle/merchants.html

Note: at least during the beta test, Froogle is limited to those merchants doing business in US dollars, who take orders online and ship their products to customers.

How to profit from Froogle search.

Tip 1: Control the content
If you spend just a little time surfing around Froogle you'll see very quickly that some products have clear and enticing descriptions, while others seem to be random snippets from the product page. Those with clear descriptions are from the sites that have taken the time to give Froogle a data feed. It's not enough to show up in the search, if the searcher doesn't click through to your site. It appears that Froogle allows merchants to make their product descriptions into miniature sales pitches. At the moment Froogle is just a beta test, but if it becomes a popular service it might well be worth engaging the services of a professional copywriter to create your product descriptions. If your online store isn't converting traffic into customers as fast as you'd like maybe it's time to do that anyway.

Tip 2: Leverage the price
Since you're providing Froogle with a data feed, you can set the price that's displayed on Froogle. While you can't offer Froogle's visitors a discount on everything, it makes sense to offer special discount prices (and special product URLs) for Froogle within major product categories. For example - there is a category on Froogle for "DVD Players" - offering a loss-leader discount on a low-end DVD player will bring more visitors to your site when they search that category by price. It's a relatively simple matter to drill down into the Froogle catalog to find the names of the major categories your products will fall into. You'll also want to consider any common keyword searches that might occur, such as brand names. How many folks shopping for electric guitar strings are going to type in "guitar strings," and how many will type in "gibson strings?" Make sure your product titles and descriptions include brand names, if those brands have any value in your marketplace

How to make the most of every Froogle referral.

Doing a good job of building your data feed, with effective product names and descriptions will certainly bring you more traffic. Once you get them to your store there are three things you *must* do: close the sale, follow up on the sale and provide a reason for that visitor to start their shopping excursion at your store next time, instead of Froogle. This is doubly true if you decide to offer substantial discounts or even loss leaders to bring visitors to your website.

1. Upsell and cross-sell!
If your shopping cart software doesn't let you suggest guitar strings to someone who's getting ready to buy a guitar it might be time to shop for a new cart. If you can't show the person who's about to buy that $49 loss leader DVD player why the $99 player is worth the extra money you're throwing profits down the drain.

2. Get permission to keep selling!!
When someone makes a purchase from you, capture their email address and ask for permission to send them further special offers. Amazon probably brings in more business by follow-up email than they do from any other source. A personal email from a customer service representative will dramatically reduce returns and increase the number of customers who buy again. The bigger the sale price the more important this personal touch can be.

3. Offer sticky services and content!
If you sell 20 kinds of DVD players, providing reviews of them all and side-by-side comparisons will bring people back when it's time to upgrade. The more useful and impartial the information the better. There are plenty of ways you can enhance your website to make it a better shopping destination.

Is it worth the effort?.

Right now Froogle is just a beta test. Google might expand it, or they might shut it down at any time. The fact that Froogle takes no commission and charges merchants nothing should be a strong incentive for merchants to participate. Beyond that, I have learned not to underestimate the Google team. A few years ago Google itself was just a research project and now they control two thirds of all searches on the web. Hopefully this article has given you a few ideas about how to compete on Froogle and other price-shopping portals. I welcome your feedback (you can email me at froogle@cannedhelp.com and I'd love to hear anything new you've discovered about Google, Froogle or any other search engine. I wish you success...

About the author.

Dan Thies is the author of "Search Engine Optimization Fast Start," the ultimate beginner's guide to higher search engine rankings - available today at http://www.cannedbooks.com

Google Dance - The index update of Google


door: By efactory.de

The name "Google Dance" is often used to describe the index update of the Google search engine. The Google update occurs on average once per month. It can be identified by significant movement in search results and especially by Google's cache of all indexed pages reflecting the status of Google's last spidering. But the Google update does not proceed as a switch from one index to another at one point in time. In fact, it takes several days to complete the index update. During this period, the old and the new index alternate on www.google.com. At an early stage, the results from the new index occur sporadically. But later on, they appear more frequently. Google dances. The start dates of previous Google dances have been compiled by WebmasterWorld's administrator Brett Tabke. The previous Google (at time of writing) Dance took place from 01/26/2003 to 01/29/2003. The next Google Dance is expected to take place by the end of February. The reasons for the Google Dance shall be presented here within this article.

The technical background of the Google Dance.

The Google search engine pulls its results from more than 10,000 servers which are which are simple Linux PCs that are used by Google for reasons of cost. Naturally, an index update cannot be proceeded on all those servers at the same time. One server after the other has to be updated with the new index. Many webmasters think that, during the Google Dance, Google is in some way able to control if a server with the new index or a server with an old index responds to a search query. But, since Google's index is inverse, this would be very complicated. As we will show below, there is no such control within the system. In fact, the reason for the Google Dance is Google's way of using the Domain Name System (DNS).

Google Dance and DNS.

Not only is Google's index is spread over more than 10,000 servers, but also these servers are, as of now, placed in eight different data centers. These data centers are mainly located in the US (i.e. Santa Clara, California and Herndon, Virginia), indeed, in June 2002 Google's first European data center in Zurich, Switzerland went online. Very likely, there are more data centers to come, which will perhaps be spread over the whole world. However, in January 2003 Google has put a data center on stream which is again located in the US. In order to direct traffic to all these data centers, Google could thoeretically record all queries centrally and then send them to the data centers. But this would obviously be inefficient. In fact, each data center has its own IP address (numerical address on the internet) and the way these IP addresses are accessed is managed by the Domain Name System.

Basically, the DNS works like this: On the Internet, data transfers always take place in-between IP addresses. The information about which domain resolves to which IP address is provided by the name servers of the DNS. When a user enters a domain into his browser, a locally configured name server gets him the IP address for that domain by contacting the name server which is responsible for that domain. (The DNS is structured hierarchically. Illustrating the whole process would go beyond the scope of this paper.) The IP address is then cached by the name server, so that it is not necessary to contact the responsible name server each time a connection is built up to a domain.

The records for a domain at the responsible name server constitute for how long the record may be cached by a caching name server. This is the Time To Live (TTL) of a domain. As soon as the TTL expires, the caching name server has to fetch the record for a domain again from the responsible name server. Quite often, the TTL is set to one or more days. In contrast, the Time To Live of the domain www.google.com is only five minutes. So, a name server may only cache Google's IP address for five minutes and has then to look up the IP address again. Each time, Google's name server is contacted, it sends back the IP address of only one data center. In this way, Google queries are always directed to different data centers by changing DNS records. On the one hand, the DNS records may be based on the load of the single data centers. In this way, Google would conduct a simple form of load balancing by its use of the DNS. On the other hand, the geographical location of a caching name server may influence how often it receives the single data centers' IP addresses. So, the distance for data transmissions can be reduced.

How data centers, DNS and Google Dance are related, is easily answered. During the Google Dance, the data centers do not receive the new index at the same time. In fact, the new index is transferred to one data center after the other. When a user queries Google during the Google Dance, he may get the results from a data center which still has the old index at one point im time and from a data center which has the new index a few minutes later. From the users perspective, the index update took place within some minutes. But of course, this procedure may reverse, so that Google switches seemingly between the old and the new index.

IP addresses and domains of Google's data centers.

The progression of a Google update / Dance could basically be watched by querying the IP addresses of Google's data centers. But queries on the IP addresses are normally redirected to google.com . However, Google has domains which resolve to the single data centers' IP addresses. These domains as well as their IP addresses are shown in the following list.

Domain - IP Address:
www-ex.google.com - 216.239.33.100
www-sj.google.com - 216.239.35.100
www-va.google.com - 216.239.37.100
www-dc.google.com - 216.239.39.100
www-ab.google.com - 216.239.51.100
www-in.google.com - 216.239.53.100
www-zu.google.com - 216.239.55.100
www-cw.google.com – 216.239.57.100

For every domain www-xx.google.com, there is an additional domain www-xx2.google.com. The IP address of such a domain ends on .101 instead of .100. These pairs of domains and IP addresses belong to the same data center and, hence, the same index is searched by queries on them.

Note: Searches at www-sj and www-zu are currently redirected to other data centers. Since results for searches at their IP addresses fluctuate heavily during a Google Dance, also these searches seem to be internally routed to other data centers. As we can see from our statistics for Google's DNS records, there are currently no searches at www.google.com directed to www-sj or www-zu. So, we can assume that the two data centers are offline.

Those that keep an eye on Google's index updates often think that the Google Dance is over, when they see the new index at www.google.com or when they don't see the old index at www.google.com for some time. In fact, the update is not finished until all the domains listed above provide results from the new index. The index updates at the single data centers seem to happen at one point in time. As soon as one data center shows results from the new index, it won't switch back to the old index. This happens most likely because the index is redundant at each data center and at first, only one part of the servers (eventually half of them) is updated. During this period, only the other half of the servers is active and provides search results. As soon as the update of the first half of servers is finished, they become active and provide search results while the other half receives the new index. Thus, from the user's perspective, the update of one data centers happens at one point in time.

Finally, it shall be noted that the access to the single data centers is generally controlled by the DNS only, but sometimes queries are redirected. However, this is easy to detect: When for a query at one of the domains listed above, the links to Google's cache do not comply with the IP address that belongs to the domain, then the query is redirected. If this happens, Google inhibits - for whatever reason - the access to one data center

Google Dance - The index update of Google - part 2.

The beginning of a Google Dance can always be watched at the test domains www2.google.com and www3.google.com. Those domains normally have stable DNS records which make the domains resolve to only one (often the same) IP address. Before the Google Dance begins, at least one of the test domains is assigned the IP address of the data center that receives the new index first. Building up a completely new index once per month can cause quite some trouble. After all, Google has to spider some billion documents an then to process many TeraBytes of data. Therefore, testing the new index is inevitable. Of course, the folks at Google don't need the test domains themselves. Most certainly, they have many options to check a new index internally, but they do not have a lot of time to conduct the tests.

So, the reason for having www2 and www3 is rather to show the new index to webmasters which are interested in their upcoming rankings. Many of these webmasters discuss the new index at various Google forums out on the web. These discussions can be observed by Google employees. At that time, the general public cannot see the new index yet, because the DNS records for www.google.com normally do not point to the IP address of the data center that is updated first when the update begins. As soon as Google's test community of forums members does not find any severe malfunctions caused by the new index, Google's DNS records are ready to make www.google.com resolve the the data center that is updated first. This is the time when the Google Dance begins. But if severe malfunctions become obvious during this test phase, there is still the possibility to cancel the update at the other data centers. The domain www.google.com would not resolve to the data center which has the flawed index and the general public could not take any notice about it. In this case, the index could be rebuilt or the web could be spidered again.

So, the search results which are to be seen on www2.google.com and www3.google.com will always appear on www.google.com later on, as long as there is a regular index update. However, there may be minor fluctuations. On the one hand, the index at one data center never absolutely equals the index at another data center. We can easily check this by watching the number of results for the same query at the data center domains listed above, which often differ from each other. On the other hand, it is often assumed that the iterative PageRank calculation is not finished yet, when the Google Dance begins so that preliminary values exert influence on rankings at that point in time.

The new PageRank values during the Google Dance.

Most webmasters are interested in ranking changes for their website during the Google Dance. But, besides that, many also want to know about their new PageRank values. Normally, the Google Toolbar fetches the PageRank values from the data center that is specified by its IP address in the actual DNS record for google.com . Hence, when the Google Dance begins, the Toolbar usually displays the old PageRank values. Google submits PageRank values in simple text files to the Toolbar. In former times, this happened via XML. The switch to text files occured in August 2002. The PageRank files can be requested directly from the domain google.com. Basically, the URLs for those files look like follows (without line breaks):

google.com/search ?
client=navclient-auto&
ch=0123456789&
features=Rank&
q=info:http://www.domain.com/
There is only one line of text in the PageRank files. The last cipher in this line is PageRank.

The parameters incorporated in the above shown URL are inevitable for the display of the PageRank files in a browser. The value "navclient-auto" for the parameter "client" identifies the Toolbar. Via the parameter "q" the URL is submitted. The value "Rank" for the parameter "features" determines that the PageRank files are requested. If it is omitted, Google's servers still transmit XML files. The parameter "ch" transfers a checksum for the URL to Google, whereby this checksum can only change when the Toolbar version is updated by Google. The PageRank files that are requested by the Google Toolbar are cached by the Internet Explorer. So, their URLs and the checksums can simply been found out by having a look at the folder Temporary Internet Files. Knowing the checksums of your URLs, you can view the PageRank files in your browser. Since the PageRank files are kept in the browser cache and, thus, are clearly visible, and as long as requests are not automated, watching the PageRank files in a browser should not be a violation of Google's Terms of Service. However, you should be cautious. The Toolbar submits its own User-Agent to Google. It is:

Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; GoogleToolbar 1.1.60-deleon; OS SE 4.10).

1.1.60-deleon is a Toolbar version which may of course change. OS is the operating system that you have installed. So, Google is able to identify requests by browsers, if they do not go out via a proxy and if the User-Agent is not modified accordingly. Now, let's see how we can get the new PageRank values. Taking a look at IE's cache, you will notice that the PageRank files are not requested from the domain www.google.com but from IP addresses like 216.239.33.102. Additionally, the PageRank files' URLs often contain a parameter "failedip" that is set to values like "216.239.35.102;1111" (Its function is not absolutely clear). However, it is pretty easy to get the new PageRank values. Simply modify the IP addresses in the URL so that the request goes to one of the data centers that already has the new index. The necessary information is given above.

Well that's all folks hopefully you can now better understand the reasons behind the Google Dance, the workings of it and how to check your ranking and PR while the dance is on. You have just read a guide to the Google Dance. This article was originally published on dance.efactory.de and has been reprinted with permission.

Is Adsense set to turn associate programs obsolete.


door: By Rich Hamilton Jr

When Google introduced their new Adsense revenue sharing program, people began to wonder if things would change. Certain questions have been burning in people's mind like: what's going to happen to Associate Programs, how do they compare against Google's Adsense and will Adsense cause Associate Programs to be obsolete? Well, that really depends on a number of things, which I will go over. In this article I am only going to cover a few advantages and disadvantages of using Google's Adsense vs Associate Programs and which Associate Programs will prevail.

In case you are not familiar with Google's Adsense, Adsense is a new service provided by Google. This service allows you to have text based advertisements on your web site, known as Google Adwords. In return, you will receive a share of revenue based on a pay per click arrangement.

How does Adsense's advantages compare to associate programs

Adsense and Associate Programs share some of the same advantages such as, Adsense is free to join and so are most other Associate Programs. Making them both easy to start and suitable for you whether you are a beginner or an experienced marketer. Another advantage with Adsense, is that you never have to search for advertisers. Google supplies you with the advertisements by using highly relevant content targeted ads. This will insure that only precisely relevant advertisements are displayed on your web site. As for Associate Programs, you will have to search for quality programs and the relevancy of the program will depend on the one you select.

Adsense enables you to filter out up to 200 urls, so you don't have inappropriate ads or display advertisements of your competition. The last thing you want is to send traffic to your indirect competition. No one in their right mind would do that, right! Moreover, with Associate Programs you can select which ones you want to promote, instead of worrying about advertising your indirect competition.

How does Adsense's disadvantages compare to associate programs

One of the biggest disadvantages of Adsense, is that they never really tell you what percentage you will receive. I don't know about you, but wouldn't it be nice to know what percentage of revenue you will receive. If an Associate Program was to do that, they would have absolutely no one participating in their program, but somehow Google can manage to get away with that. With associate programs, you immediately know what your commission percentage is going to be before you sign up. Even though you can filter certian urls, you will still receive inappropriate advertisements. The advertisements are only as good as the person who wrote them and if they select keywords or phrases that are too general, this will result in inappropriate advertisements appearring on your web site. Most Associate Programs enable you to write your own promotional advertisements, giving you a little more freedom.

Adsense does not rotate their advertisements, so eventually your click through ratio will decrease, as repeat visitors are less likely to click through them. Eventually, I'm sure Google will improve the way it does it's content targeting and start rotating their advertisements. By promoting an Associate Program you can simply change the wording of the advertisement, but with Adsense you can't do that, you have your hands tied behind your back. Adsense's stats are terrible, they don't tell you which advertisements your visitors are clicking through or which keywords are involved. Google supplies Adwords users with the adequate stats, you would think that they would do the same for their Adsense partners.

You should keep in mind that any advertisement that is on your web site, is portrayed to be your recommendation. If you are advertising a poor product or service on your web site, it will reflect on your credibility. Any product or service that you promote, should be a reliable one. Otherwise people will assume that you have poor judgement and it will hurt your credibility. By promoting Associate Programs, you can pick and choose quality products or services to promote, giving you full control, without damaging your credibility.

Which associate programs will prevail.

Even though Adsense has a substantial amount of disadvantages, it will still have a major affect on a lot of Associate Programs that are currently operating today. In fact, you could say it's a wake up call for many merchants, especially for the ones who operate a poor Associate Program. So if you operate your own Associate Program, that has a low commission percentage and/or has a poor conservation rate, now might be a good time to start thinking seriously about improving your Associate Program.

As to which Associate Programs will survive and prevail over Google's Adsense, it will be determined by a number of things. In order for Associate Programs to prevail, they will need to offer a high commission percentage of 40% or higher, have a high conservation rate of 1% or higher, and be a breeze to promote. In the end, Google's Adsense is merely just another avenue of generating profits on your web site. Associate Programs will not become obsolete. Moreover, they will filter out the good Associate Programs from those that are bad, and only the quality ones will prevail. Moreover, you can expect that Google will improve their Adsense campaign overtime, proving that they are a worthy adversary to the Associate Program industry. You must be able to adapt and improve as changes occur.

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