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Re: Bourbon Update - trying to sort out aftermath

  • Subject: Re: Bourbon Update - trying to sort out aftermath
  • From: Roy Schestowitz <newsgroups@schestowitz.com>
  • Date: Mon, 11 Jul 2005 08:08:22 +0100
  • Newsgroups: alt.internet.search-engines
  • Organization: schestowitz.com / Manchester University
  • References: <1121034809.7d36cc16ac51eb91a0cc465c4e2b341f@teranews>
  • Reply-to: newsgroups@schestowitz.com
  • User-agent: KNode/0.7.2
Lupercali wrote:

> I'm co-editor of a film database site. Principally I do the editorial half
> and my co-ed does the coding, which means she should probably be talking
> to you, not me, but such is life, and I would sincerely like to understand
> what the hell has happened, and is still happening to our site after the
> Bourbon Update.
> Basically on May 21st, or whenever it was, we lost virtually all of our
> Google-referred traffic overnight. Since this accounted for more than half
> our total traffic, our total hit count dropped by something like 60-70%.
> Pages which had previously ranked in the top 5 Google URLs effectively
> disappeared. I found one which had previously ranked #1 hiding down at
> #101. Others which had ranked at #3 were entirely removed from Google's
> database. At the same time our link count was slashed by over 90% (please
> note, we were doing absolutely nothing wrong, or even slightly naughty
> according to Google's guidelines. There may have been some 'reciprocal'
> linking in there, but we were probably unaware it even existed.)
> In any case, around June 23rd, there was an equally sudden, partial
> recovery. Overnight, almost a month to the day after the cataclysm, we
> suddenly got back about 50% of the traffic we'd lost, and Google quickly
> overtook MSN and Yahoo again as our main traffic source.
> This much I can comprehend. I don't understand why we were so savagely
> dumped, or why we were suddenly partially restored. The adjustment doesn't
> seem complete either. I've watched a page which, since the restoration,
> has crept from #11 up to #7 (I think it was about #4 originally)
> What is driving me nuts is why this restoration has been so _selective_. I
> don't know, if I write up a new page, whether Google is going to stick it
> at the top of their rankings or pretend it doesn't exist.  Considering
> that our pages are essentially identical in every respect except for the
> synopsis of the movies (which are short, and occur well into the text
> body), why would it be that some of our pages have been restored to their
> top 3 positions, and others which used to rank in the top two or three are
> still absolutely absent from their database (i.e., if you search our site
> for them, they simply aren't there.)
> There seems to be a pattern to this. For instance, every short film
> produced by the Russian studio Soyuzmultfilm has been obliterated, yet
> their two feature films have been left alone. European and other
> non-American films (including British and Australian) have generally fared
> worse than even obscure American films, even though the English language
> title is always given. On the other hand, some French films have been
> almost completely restored.  I simply can't see any logic to it.
> Basically it seems as if Google aren't ranking our _site_; they're ranking
> each page, based on some arcane criteria. But seeing as how each page is
> so close to identical in respect of things that would matter, why would
> that make any difference?
> Sorry if this all sounds very ignorant. Like I said, I'm the writer, not
> the coder. I just wondered if anyone else had experienced such an uneven
> effect from Bourbon, and what may have caused it? I mean, I just find it
> hard to believe that they programmed the thing to hate Russian short
> films, but not French animated movies.And it doesn't even hate all our
> soviet short films. One of the Czech ones is now at #1 on Google. *shrug*
> Tim Gadd

The dates you quoted are quite aligned with those when Google 'patches' were
installed, which would indicate Bourbon was the culprit. Several sites lost
traffic throughout Bourbon and traffic was restored (not always from what I
hear) almost completely at the end. In my particular case, I seem to have
been badly panelised by Google Images and I have not the slightest clue as
to why.

I wrote a few bits about Bourbon during the time I was badly affected (
http://www.schestowitz.com/Weblog/index.php?s=bourbon&submit=Go+%E2%80%BA )
and as far as I can recall, the sites to be suffering at the end, ideally,
should be scrapers and spam sources. Either way, the equilibrium was broken
in what was the biggest Google update in many years.

As for the solution or suggestion:

You mention the 23rd of June as the date of recovery. Bourbon was in fact
completed a week or so beforehand.

Is it possible that you have similar content elsewhere? As in mirrors? Any
reviews of foreign films that overlap with others? If you post the URL, we
can perhaps look at the structure of your site and get a better clue.

Localisation of search results is another thing which might provide an
explanation, especially when it comes to foreign films. Something tells me
Google are driven towards selective SERPs that are tailored to regions


Roy S. Schestowitz

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