SEO Tips for today Thursday, June 22, 2006 Consult from Marvin

BigDaddy's Fall

November 2003 with the Florida update Google's algorithm changes, it is now remembered as a legendary event among the webmaster community. Google updates used to be occured monthly, now quarterly. Thus with so many servers, there seem to be several different results rolling through the servers at any time during a quarter.

Partly it is BigDaddy one be blame. It's 64-bit architecture, BigDaddy is an update of Google's infrastructure as much as it is an update of its search algorithm. Pages lose their first page rankings and drop to the 100th page, or worse still, the Supplemental index!

1. Canonical Issues. These occur when a search engine treats,, and as different web sites. When Google does this, it flags the different copies as duplicate content, and penalizes them. If is not penalized and all other sites link to your web site using, then the version left in the index will have no ranking. These are basic issues that other major search engines, such as Yahoo and MSN, have no problem dealing with. Google's reputation as the world's greatest search engine (self-ranked as a ten on a scale of one to ten) is hindered by its inability to resolve basic indexing issues.

2. The Sandbox. It's believed that Google has implemented a time penalty for new links and sites before fully marking the index, based on the presumption that 100,000-page websites can't be created overnight. Certain web sites, or links to them, are "sandboxed" for a period of time before they are given full rank in the index. Speculation is that only a set of competitive keywords (the ones that are manipulated the most) are sandboxed. A drifting legend in the search engine world, the existence of the Sandbox has been debated, and is yet to be confirmed by Google.

3. Duplicate Content Issues. Since web pages drive search engine rankings, Black Hat SEOs began duplicating the content of entire web sites under their own domain name, instantly producing a ton of web pages (kind of like downloading an encyclopedia onto your web site). Due to this abuse, Google aggressively attacked duplicate content abusers with their algorithm updates, knocking out many legitimate websites as collateral damage in the process. For example, when someone scrapes your site, Google will look at both renditions of the site, and in some cases it may determine the legitimate one to be the duplicate. The only way to prevent this is to track down sites as they are scraped and then submit spam reports to Google. Issues with duplicate content also arise because there are a lot of legitimate uses for them. News feeds are the most obvious example: a news story is covered by many websites because it's the content that viewerss want to see. Any filter will inevitably catch some legitimate uses.

4. Supplemental Page Issues. "Supplemental Hell" to webmasters, the issue has been lurking in places like Webmasterworld for over a year, but it was the major shake-up in late February (coinciding with the ongoing BigDaddy rollout) that finally led to all hell breaking loose in the webmaster community. You may be aware that Google has two indexes: the main index, which is the one you see when you search; and the Supplemental index, a graveyard where old, erroneous and obsolete pages are laid to rest (among others). Nobody's disputing the need for a Supplemental index, it does indeed provide a worthy cause. But when you're buried alive, it's another story! Which is exactly what's been happening: active, recent, and clean pages have been showing up in the Supplemental index. The true nature of the issue is unclear, nor has a common causing leading to it been determined.



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