Google updated its index a couple of weeks ago, and introduced a
filter to try and remove websites that were achieving high rankings
for commercial keywords because of clever optimizing. There has been a
lot of debate about how successful / unsuccessful the filter is, with
webmasters who have lost earnings complaining, and some web searchers
saying the results are less spammy.
That there is a filter has been determined by a consensus of webmaster
opinion. Google has not mentioned it.
HOW IT WORKS
After reading all the good Search Engine Optimization forums I
determined that this is how the filter is working:
There is a list of commercial keywords that Google references - nobody
knows how they created it, but they have at their disposal a list of
keywords webmasters are willing to pay for (Google Adwords) and will
have data on how often the keywords are searched for.
Most affected are two and three word phrases.
If your web page is ranking well (Top 100 it would seem) for a
commercial keyword, Google then looks to see if your site has an
abundance of either:
- text of internal links containing those keywords
- text and description of links pointing to your page, containing those keywords
To make sure I was correct, I offered to test 20 websites, and all
that were submitted to me had either of the above happening. The
thread is at JimWorld:
Sites caught by the filter tend to drop out of the top 100 altogther.
To see the filtered and non-filtered results, search for your keywords
Without the filter your home page was ranking #5 for "professional
logo design" and #64 for "logo design".
YOUR HOME PAGE
Your home page is invoking the filter primarily because of links to
your site, and possibly also because of your internal links.
There are more than 70 links to your site containing:
"Professional Logo Design from Logo21"
The purpose of such links is to improve the ranking of your site. Any
high ranking you had previously for "professional logo design" was due
to such optimizing, but also against Google guidelines:
"Don't participate in link schemes designed to increase your site's
ranking or PageRank."
There is also the graphic internal links that point to your home page.
They all have the ALT tag of:
"logo design, logo, corporate identity, business card, logo designers,
logo design company"
Having those keywords in the ALT tag has the same effect as having
them in a text link.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Some webmasters think it is best to wait, because they feel the new
filter is such a disaster that Google will stop using it, or at least
reduce how much it affects results.
Others have made changes and found they have bounced back in the
rankings. It could be that Google is re-indexing affected sites
Some experts believe that aside from what is triggering the filter, on
the page optimization is looked for, like having too high a density of
your keyword, or having it appear in multiple heading tags. I think
your site is okay in this regard.
I suggest that you do the following ASAP:
1) Remove any connection you have to reciprocal linking schemes, and
ask webmasters to remove or change the wording of links to your site
that say ""Professional Logo Design from Logo21" or "Professional Logo
2) Remove the ALT tag from the graphic home links within your site. It
seems to be mainly home page links that are affected, so leave the
other ALT tags there, but perhaps make them different for each
graphic, so that they are useful to your visitor
Ultimately the best way to get high rankings is to create great
content and to get genuine links from quality websites. Neither is
I focused my attention on the link factors that trigger the filter.
Other folk have their own ideas of what is happening:
Florida Fever: The Google Update Uproar
Gord Hotchkiss adds that PR6 sites and higher are not affected, and
that search terms with less than 200 searches per month at Overture
Google Sells Christmas
Aaron Wall focuses on the on-the-page SEOing of keywords being the filter trigger.
Filter Flow Chart
Been Gazumped by Google? Trying to make Sense of the "Florida" Update!
By Barry Lloyd
I have been saying to webmasters that rather than think of the filter
as an unfair penalty, look back at the good rankings you have been
achieving purely because of clever SEOing, and be grateful for them.
Request for Answer Clarification by
01 Dec 2003 22:39 PST
Thank you very much for the information, it was most helpful although
it's still too sad. I'm not good in web optimization therefor, I don't
think my web site was cleverly optimized. However, when you said "
text of internal links containing those keywords" do you mean that an
internal link in my website like:
http://www.logo21.com/logo-design-aboutus.html will trip the filter ?
Also, you said that my website was removed from top 10 because the
wording of links to my site that say ""Professional Logo Design from
Logo21" or "Professional Logo Design"
Looking back at "http://www.scroogle.org/cgi-bin/scroogle" you will
see that many pages that was removed from the top 100 does not
contain any wording of links to my site that say ""Professional Logo
Design from Logo21" or "Professional Logo Design" So I really don't
My last question, I hope I'm not abusing and I apologize for my bad English.
You suggest that I changes the wording of links to my site
that say ""Professional Logo Design from Logo21" or "Professional Logo
Design" do you think replacing that with the wording " logo design"
will have the same effect since the top ranked sites are using this
term in their thousands links to their website?
Thank you very much !
Clarification of Answer by
02 Dec 2003 04:29 PST
The main problem is the large number of sites thar are linking to
yours using the same wording - this would be unlikely to happen
naturally. Google's filter would be making the assumption that you
have told the other sites the wording to use, which means you are
probably doing the same in return, otherwise known as reciprocal
To follow Google guidelines, you should remove any instance of
reciprocal linking - "I'll link to you if you link to me". If you
choose to keep such links, at the very least make sure that there is a
variety of wording used, not the same 5-word phrase. This is what is
triggering the filter.
The internal links may also be triggering it - it is hard to tell
because they don't contain the word "professional". My guess would be
that they are not, but will affect your ranking for "logo design". The
ALT tag for the graphic "Home" link at the top of each page should
just be "Home". The purpose of the ALT tag is so people who are
browsing with images turned off, or with a visual disability, know
what the purpose of the image is. Giving each image an ALT tag full of
keywords is purely to influence search engines, and Google is
To get a broader picture, this is why the two sites above yours in
Scroogle results for "professional logo design" have dropped:
They offer a link exchange on this page:
They require the link to contain the phrase "professional logo
design". In this instance, on-the-page optimization means that this
page has ranked higher than their index page.
The logo at the top of each page links to the index page, and the ALT
tag says "Professional logo design, high speed, low cost"
When I look at a random site that links to their site, it is a
reciprocal link that contains that same keyphrase "professional logo
The same link text appears on over 30 sites: