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SEOBook writes: "My site was stuck ranking at #6 in Google for a lot of keywords...on page optimization for it was done years ago. Realizing the issue might have been on-site as much as off-site I decided to tweak it a bit..."
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from theGypsy 2500 Days ago #
Votes: 4

Sorry Marty but come on... this is complete BS and there is NO freakin #6 filter just like the magical minus 90...900 bla bla bla. These anomalies NEVER have any real consensus on a large enough data set to even be considered a viable theory. I am always saddened when SEO folks of repute spread such garbage. It is like they forgot math or something…  I sure hope Aaron (and Brett) are doing this for some pimping action as I would hate to believe such smart fellas actually buy into this for of SEO FUD…..  Bah humbug…. Back to my cave….

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from Sebastian 2500 Days ago #
Votes: 5

As long as Bill can’t find a plus|minus-n-raise|penalty patent, or at least a white paper or so leaked out from Google, or for all I care a study that provides proof instead of weird assumptions based on claims of webmasters jumping on todays popular WMW band wagon that aren’t plausible nor verifiable, such beasts don’t exist. There are unexplained effects that might look like a pattern, but in most cases it makes no sense to gather a few examples coming with similarities because we’ll never reach the critical mass of anomalies to discuss a theory worth more than a thumbs-down click. IOW, gut feelings and common sense are way more reliable.

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from theGypsy 2500 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Amen

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from aimClear 2500 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@Gypsy: DUDE, do not shoot the messenger :). I saw the post (from SEOBOOK) and thought "hmmm, what the hell is this?" That would be WHY I Sphunn it. Maybe Aaron is joking. Maybe he thinks he has invented the next light bulb. Whatever...not my call.Please note that, in my commentary, I did not endorse the concepts, or take any position for that matter-only brought it to our community for commentary and debate-which is what this site is for.

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from Gamermk 2500 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Haha... aimClear the conventional "don’t shoot the messenger" ideal doesn’t apply here. You are voluntarily the messenger and let’s be honest... The messenger is always going to get shot ;)But ya I gotta say Aaron is grasping at straws on this one. It’s just the kind of stuff that his readership will just eat right up though. I’m waiting for him to discuss how Google has their data centres at Area 51.

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from bwelford 2500 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Since we don’t have the Desphinn button yet and since I didn’t want to ’sit on my hands’, my Sphinn vote is actually a desphinn vote since I would like this topic to be seen by many.  Sheesh.

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from Gamermk 2500 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I think you misunderstand the purpose of the DeSphinn button bwelford. Using it is like voting for less people to see a topic, not more. So regardless if the button existed or not just now, if you want more people to see a topic, you’ll always be hitting Sphinn. Back to the topic at hand though:What Aaron really needed to do for this post to not be a complete load of BS is to actually show the terms that were ranking at #6 and more to the point show that the sites that were #1-5 for each keyword weren’t the same sites across all search terms. The reality is that if there are 5 bigger players in his niche then he could easily end up #6 across numerous keywords. Or... he could just call it the "Below the Fold" penalty and gain a lot of free links to his site. :/

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from aimClear 2500 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Wow...hot with a bullet. LOL

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from theGypsy 2499 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@ Marty.... wasn’t shooting atcha my brother. I was poking U in the ribs... saying ’aw come on buddy’, as for the dialogue I have already covered the recent #6 craze and the -30, -900 bla bla bla in the past, the theories are always unsound. The only reason this one even stopped me at all was because folks at WMW were talking PaIR (phrase based indexing and retrieval) and probabilistic/engagement chatter. It is just some people that have DECIDED on an end result and trying to make various hypothesis fit the situation ( you know, like tobacco lobby scientists)….. this is simply bad form IMO….…once again M… was just poking ya, no need for a bullet proof vest ( or the FBI he he)

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from aimClear 2499 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@ Gypsy: LOL...you would understand why I’m a little edgy these days. :)

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from IncrediBILL 2499 Days ago #
Votes: 3

Marty, the appropriate title for this should be "How to lose industry wide credibility with a single post", then it makes sense ;)

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from aimClear 2499 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Check out SEL. There is a headline regarding the SEOBOOK Post.

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from Gamermk 2499 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Ya I saw that too aimClear and I must say I’m a little surprised to see SEL talking about it too. Surprised and disappointed. "Just because Aaron said so" just isn’t enough for me.

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from dannysullivan 2499 Days ago #
Votes: 6

Well, I’ve personally seen this weirdness. Pages that I absolutely thought "what on earth is that doing at six" rather than at the top of the page. Not four, not seven -- six. It was freaking weird for several different searches. Nothing competitive, either.For example, liberal fascism lolcats. Last week, I had a guy asking me about why his page (now at the top) seemed not to be ranking at the top any more. I looked, that was one of the queries. He was sixth -- behind stuff that he shouldn’t have been behind. Sixth.Coincidence? Maybe. But in the past few weeks, I’ve seen other things that came up from time to time in sixth that made my eyebrows go up. As Barry noted in his post, more than the usual supportive stuff on the forums have been that way. You might recall Sugarrae had a long post (and here on Sphinn) about weirdness, too -- two of the examples at least have her at sixth.I don’t know that sixth was actually some magic number. Personally, I’ve felt like there’s some glitch or problem with Google’s ranking that has prevented the most authorative page in some instances from being at the top. But something was going on.As for our post, it’s here and did explain that it wasn’t just Aaron saying this. We also said it was a theory. Maybe I needed to edit in allegedly in the closing paragraph. But even if you completely disagree with Aaron, I see no harm in talking about what a lot of people are speculating.Remember, there’s no sandbox, either. We got that for months and months, until eventually it was acknowledge that there were a range of filters that might produce a "sandbox like" effect.The biggest problem I find with these types of theories is they often start with a specific example, sometimes that can be replicated, then they become a catch-all. Not ranking. Oh, it’s the sandbox. Well no -- not if you were an established site, it wasn’t. The sandbox was typicaly something that hit brand new sites. But it became a common excuse for anything, producing confusion.

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from webuildpages 2499 Days ago #
Votes: 2

FYI, I’ll jump in and say I truely believe in the 6 filter. I’ve seen it. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it happen to a few sites.  Laugh if you want - it’s real.

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from Sebastian 2499 Days ago #
Votes: 1

"But it became a common excuse for anything, producing confusion." That’s why I rant.  Such  terms tend to become a life of their own, IOW an excuse for nearly every way a Webmaster can fuck up rankings. There’s no such thing (yet) as a correlation between a #6 position and a particular cause that can be replicated on a reasonable data set. Of course Google’s query engine has thresholds (yellow cards or whatever they call them) that don’t allow some sites to rank above a particular position, but that’s a symtom that doesn’t allow back-references to a particular cause, or causes. In this case it might be a glitch, or a phenomenon that appears depending on the results of an algo like the anti-google-bomb thingy that doesn’t run daily, or real time, as well as being influenced by other factors. In any case, it’s speculation as long as we don’t know more. Aaron’s tweaks might have rescued some top spots, or maybe they had absolutely no effect because the site suffered from a temporary software glitch that was silently fixed - we don’t know. On such an alert it’s reasonable to tweak a site based on experience, commen sense, and gut feelings - that can’t hurt. But it’s not worth a headline talking about a "penalty" that’s not yet proven to exist. Actually, Aaron’s post was good, just the title was, uh, well, overdone attention bait.

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from IncrediBILL 2499 Days ago #
Votes: 2

I definitely believe it’s some sort of filter or algo tweak but it’s certainly not a penalty which is why I scoff at calling it such. One morning you wake up and Matt has turned all the dials to the left and suddenly some criteria bumps you UP or DOWN. Sites have been going up and down in Google SERPs for years, nothing new or shocking about that and this too will have some obvious cause and effect that could probably be identified if people weren’t using the shotgun approach at changing their site like Aaron did.Everyone seems to be ignoring the fact that this same criteria change in the filter now favors whoever is above you in the SERPs which should give you a clue.Seems to me that this could be very profitable to anyone tha could identify what this characteristic is and then start marketing their knowledge to rake in a bunch of $$$ before the rest of them figure it out.Oh well, best kept secrets and all that ;)

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from g1smd 2499 Days ago #
Votes: 0

By the time anyone works anything out with Google,  they will already be in the process of moving the goalposts to another country.

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from SlightlyShadySEO 2498 Days ago #
Votes: 1

The #6 filter is a fallacy.How about this.Results get really competitive in the top 5. The top 5 results are not normally people who had a single popular post with the keywords in the title, or mentioned it in one of their pages. The top 5 are people who explicitely targeted those keywords. People seem to get stuck at #6 just for that reason. The competition rises a lot faster.

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from oldschool 2498 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Here is a theory.  It certainly occured but only affected certain sites.  We have credible people on both sides admantly reporting what they did or did not see.  I personally did not see this, but I wouldn’t agrue with someone credible (i.e. Danny Sullivan, Jim Boykin) who says they saw it.

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from dannysullivan 2498 Days ago #
Votes: 2

SSS, it’s not a matter of being stuck. It’s a matter of seeing results where an authorative page that totally should be at the top isn’t.Perhaps it would have been better called a -5 penalty. Consider. Say Google for some reason sees a domain but decides good, but not sure if I trust it. Assign a -5 to it, and that might knock some things off the first page of results, right?But in cases where it should totally trust that page, where previously the page was at 1, that would consistently knock the page to position six.Look -- it could all be coincidence, and it certainly might not necessarily be a penalty. But it was weird to see pages that for the life of me, I couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t be at 1, showing up at 6.

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from theGypsy 2498 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Well what can I say after today (SEO image speech)? If locales such as Sphinn and SEL ( and Aaron) are considered industry resources, is it no wonder there is a dwindling respect for the industry? We perpetuate unsubstantiated claims and then wonder why we’re thought of as scammers and magicians. I appreciate Aaron’s and everyone else’s interest and theories, but when the editorial integrity dwells upon National Enquirer levels of grandeur and mythology, are we doing ourselves any favours?

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from SlightlyShadySEO 2498 Days ago #
Votes: 1

@oldschool and dannyI don’t mean to be argumentative. I respect many who believe in it’s existance, and awknowledge them as being far more experienced than myself.But that seems like a completely bizarre penalty. Not google’s style. When they’ve penalized anything in the past, it hasn’t been a "well, I guess you can stay on the frontpage" penalty. It’s been a smackdown to prove a point. And they normally let webmasters(at least as a unit, though not specifically) what the problems are[like paid links].It would be a tremendously odd step to change that now.

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from seoimage 2498 Days ago #
Votes: 0

-->theGypsy...."(SEO image speech)?"what do you mean by this?

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from dannysullivan 2498 Days ago #
Votes: 1

@theGypsy, with respect, I disagree. Forum discussions are very good "canaries in the coal mine" places for when there are serious problems with search engines. Absolutely, there’s a lot of misconception that goes on. But consistently, forums have also spotted real issue (hijacking wasn’t a myth) or SEO change (like the sandbox).Posting that there is a lot of discussion about a particular issue is useful if only to educate people and let them make their own decisions. Absolutely, things can be rumors or not backed up. But if there’s a lot of chatter about it, it is helpful for those who might encounter this chatter (almost inevitable) to get some type of background about it.

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from fskipper 2497 Days ago #
Votes: -2

I have to agree with Danny. I have seen this happen. I have a hush-hush (don’t tell the boss) pop culture/gossip blog that I run with a PR of 6, a 4 yearl old URL and hundreds of thousands (that’s right) of organic backlinks (Never bought a link in my life) that, until last May, was getting anywhewre from 10-100K referrals from Google searches each day. Mostly tabloid headlines and celebrity keywords etc. As of May 13th 2007 my Google traffic went from the aforementioned traffic to 1-2 referrals from Google PER WEEK and it’s still like that today. I rank for my brand name and even "unique Post title here" + brand name. However, I do not rank #1 or even page 1 for my own unique titles + brand. Sploggers, scrapers and even people who link to my site using the "post title here" rank #1 - 30+ for MY ORIGINAL CONTENT. Very peculiar. Especially since my site is fully indexed by Google, with no banned pages and I get lots of love from MSN and Yahoo. In my case I can with 99% confidence say that there is a penalty. I don’t over optimize, but I do use SEO to make sure my conetent is optimized. I have written for reinclusion every month since last May with no feedback and luck. Google hast forsaken me. I’m sure of it. Ugh.

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from seobook 2497 Days ago #
Votes: 1

>>but when the editorial integrity dwells upon National Enquirer levels of grandeur and mythology, are we doing ourselves any favours?We get people in your situation, who already know everything, write off truth as lies, and are not open to learning new ideas, unfortunately.

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from Sebastian 2497 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Aaron, I think the issue some of us had with the post was the title bait - and we’re all guilty of that (at least I’ve used such titles to attract attention more than once). Looking at the title alone it seems you state as a fact that there’s a #6/-5 penalty. The post itself doesn’t say that.  It’s a good call for action. As for the "#6 penalty/filter", there’s still some research and analysis to do before we can work with the theory (or not, or something completely different...) - and as I understand it, that’s happening at various places. I think it’s too early to talk about truth vs. lies. Until today, we just know that a fair amount of Web pages rank #6 but seem to deserve better positionings, but not (yet) why.

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from Halfdeck 2497 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I’m dealing with a client that has several terms stuck at #6, #7 if there’s one indented listing, #8 if there are two indented listing above his URL. It can be just coincidence. Who knows? But fact of the matter is, people have been reporting regaining position for the past 2 days, and my client with this issue reported to me this morning that he’s regained his old spot for 5-6 of his search terms.It’s a mistake to jump to the conclusion that the penalty is real based just on hearsay. But its also a mistake to jump to the conclusion that the penalty doesn’t exist. The jury is still out.

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from seobook 2496 Days ago #
Votes: 2

After tracking the rankings of a site daily for 3 years and never seeing it rank #6 for a core phrase for a period of time greater than 3 days for a couple years and then seeing it for weeks straight that tells me something is up. Then searching for ~ 50 related phrases where the site was #1 to #3 for ALL go to #6 (including derivatives of the domain name itself when added to this other keyword), AND seeing many other trusted people discuss similar symptoms takes the situation from hearsay to conclusion.But after Google burned one of my domains that was mentioned on an SEO blog I would be stupid to keep putting out more of them again and again unless I wanted to risk them getting burned too. And why should I put myself at that much risk to prove stuff to people who claim I am writing at the National Enquirer level? I will just keep launching new sites and keep learning while they think everything beyond their scope of experience is garbage. Over a couple years time that will lead to a nice competitive advantage for me. :) 

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from beussery 2495 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I’m not sure if the SERP in question contains indented results or Universal features but I thought I’d offer this up for folks to kick around in case it is related.It does seem like something is up but, I’m not sure it has to do with #6.  These days, number 6 in the SERPs isn’t actually "ranked" number 6 in more and more cases especially where indented results are involved or Universal features are present in my observation.  I’m aware this has always been the case to some degree and in some cases but, it seems the gap if you will has increased in recent months.Here is a simple example I posted at searchenginewatch a few weeks ago where #2 in the SERP GUI actually ranks #4, #2 in the SERP GUI actually ranks #3 and #4 in the SERP GUI actually ranks #3.- http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/showpost.php?p=121631&postcount=4In my example, one indented result despite it’s actual ranking value has negatively impacted other higher ranked results as seen by users in terms of position within the SERP GUI.  If positioning order values within the SERP GUI has changed but actual ranking value remains the same, it would indicate to me that no penalty is involved.(Note: quantity, proximity, position and the presence of Google Universal features and/or other variables seem to act to jumble actual ranking values vs. position in SERPs even more)Either way, before any data can be collected as Sebastian has suggested (which is a great idea) it seems there would need to be a proper method for the collection of that data other than positioning as seen by users in SERP GUI.  Any ideas?My theory is that what users see as #6 in the SERP GUI isn’t actually ranked sixth and that the frequency of this occurance has increased expodentially in recent months.  On a side note, this could also help explain why the perceived of difficulty level of moving up in the SERPs has increased in some cases recently.Comments, thoughts, ideas?

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from Sebastian 2494 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Crosslinking related position #6 stories: http://sphinn.com/story/24687 (SEL coverage) http://sphinn.com/story/24626 (Aaron Wall gets rid of his #6 positioning) http://sphinn.com/story/25142 (#6 exists, but perhaps there’s no penalty) http://sphinn.com/story/25695 (It’s a software glitch, Google rolls out the bug fix)

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