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How Search-Engine Rules Cause Sites to Drop Out
engine




msg:3280676
 3:30 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Some entrepreneurs have built thriving businesses largely by getting search engines such as Google Inc.'s to direct customers to their Web sites. But what happens when the search engines suddenly start pointing consumers somewhere else?

That is a possibility with which Topix.net Chief Executive Rich Skrenta is struggling this month. The news site, which is majority owned by media giants Gannett Co., McClatchy Co. and Tribune Co., paid a Canadian company $1 million for the Web address Topix.com in January. Mr. Skrenta intends to switch his site over to the more popular .com Web address from .net soon to help eliminate confusion and increase credibility with consumers.

How Search-Engine Rules Cause Sites to Go Missing [online.wsj.com]

 

Yogesh Sarkar




msg:3280709
 3:48 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

interesting read however this part:

VLSI Research Inc. ran into a different problem. The Santa Clara, Calif., research company recently started a social-networking site for technical workers in semiconductor manufacturing and related industries. Chief Executive Dan Hutcheson was dismayed to find Google wasn't including the site in its search results two weeks after it launched. He says VLSI called Google to ask that it include the new site, and it bought Google search ads in the hope it would help. After VLSI contacted Google repeatedly about the issue, a Google employee threatened to blacklist VLSI sites from its results, Mr. Hutcheson says. The blacklisting never happened, and the site began showing up in Google results two weeks after it started.

i mean come on, what they want a preferential treatment? i mean if i start a site i would have to wait for a few weeks for it to be included in search results, why should it be any different for any one else?

next you would know a publisher would be calling google to tell them to place their site as number 1 result for keywords they want!

oddsod




msg:3280714
 3:51 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Damn, do SE algos change? And some sites lose traffic? That can't be!

Grow up, Skrenta.

sonny




msg:3280733
 4:04 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Mr. Skrenta is crossing his fingers as the changeover approaches, and he says he has no animosity toward Google. "It's not that they're bad guys," he says. "It's just that they didn't set out to wield this level of influence over the Net."

You chose your words wisely, Daniel Son!

crobb305




msg:3280751
 4:22 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Further frustrating him is that Google's response to Topix's plea for help was an email recommending that, if the switchover were to go badly, the company should post a message on an online user-support forum; a Google engineer might come along to help out.

I can't imagine Google would ever say anything like that. Sound's like this guy is familiar enough with SEO and webmastering to know that GoogleGuy participates in some forums.

Further, I don't understand why the article is called "Search-Engine Rules Cause Sites to Go Missing" when the gist of the article is that "Mr. Skrenta intends to switch his site over to the more popular .com Web address from .net soon to help eliminate confusion and increase credibility with consumers". Sound's like any ripple effect from a search engine has more to do with his own actions than their rules. We all wish we could buy different extensions for our domains and immediately get ranked. Am I missing something?

Jonerock1t




msg:3280764
 4:40 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

I agree with other comments in here - you cant blame google for lost revenue due to your site losing position in the natural results:

1. natural results are ordered by the relevance that the engine determines - just because a site is the most relevant today doesnt mean it will be tomorrow. New websites are always being built and exisiting ones modified - it is very unlikley that one page would remain the most relevant for ever.

2. sites get listed in the natural results for free - google do you a favour by including the site and sending you free additional traffic on top of traffic you bring to the site yourself - you should never rely on just one method of sending traffic to your site - if he had carried out a little PPC on his brand/site name he could still have is site appearing in the sponsored results even if the natural ranking dropped (not putting all your eggs in one basket).

3. surely when doing a name change it makes sense to have both sites running at once for a while even if only one is being used for customers - this would allow your old site to stay in the rankings whilst the new domain can start builing its natural rankings, then turn the old one off once you are happy the new domain is ranking well - he could also keep the name as it is but use a redirect for the .com domain - this way retaining the natural rankings of the old site but still allowing users to enter the new site name.

Regards

Jon

sem4u




msg:3280775
 4:55 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Of course you will lose rankings and traffic for a while if you change domain names. Having recently changed a domain using a 301 redirect I know that it causes pain. 50% of the traffic lost over a nearly 3 month period so far. I expect this to continue for another 3 months.

However, as Topix.net probably have a lot of inbound link strength, changing over domains probably won't have such a big impact - see Marcomedia moving content over to Adobe.com. Topix could of course just redirect people who type in the .com address to the site hosted on the .net.

As for some of the examples in the article, Google is doing companies a favor by listing their sites for free. If they want to guarantee listings, then use PPC (I would advise doing both SEO & PPC).

Martin40




msg:3280916
 7:51 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

sites get listed in the natural results for free - google do you a favour by including the site

The way I see it, users pick the search engine that lists the best results. Period.

The only truly scarce commodity on the Net is content.

andy benkert




msg:3280951
 8:32 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

"The search companies change the algorithms partly to frustrate people who are trying to inappropriately boost their sites in the results..."

While a true statement, it seems only part of the reason, and from what I gather, a lesser priority for search engines than providing better, more relevant search results. The whole gist of the article seems to be how search engines are spiteful and willfully trying to harm companies by modifying how they rank websites - stirring up **** just to stir it up. How disingenuous.

And I agree with other comments about VLSI looking for special treatment - if you want that, go build your own SE and you can be number one for every word in the dictionary.

Martin40




msg:3281041
 9:27 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

The problem that I have with the present Internet is that it's ruled by extremes. On the one hand by people that want to rank without content (the spammers) and on the other hand search engines that don't seem (?) to feel obliged to rank content-rich sites.

MikeNoLastName




msg:3281160
 12:45 am on Mar 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Just another example of the whiny-a$$ holier-than-thou attitudes which some big suit-wearing, corporate, business execs who get used to getting everything they want or crying and suing over it and trying to throw their capitalistic weight around, and the ignorant media who listen to them and give them yet more free press. Glad to see them having to live in the REAL world for once. We've had to live with it over and over. No sympathy from here. I wish they HAD black-listed them just to let them try to take it to court and teach them, and all those like them, that G DOESN'T HAVE to put them where they want, and waste legal fees learning it. Man, the nerve of some people! :)

[edited by: MikeNoLastName at 12:46 am (utc) on Mar. 14, 2007]

night707




msg:3281374
 6:37 am on Mar 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

The problem that I have with the present Internet is that it's ruled by extremes. On the one hand by people that want to rank without content (the spammers) and on the other hand search engines that don't seem (?) to feel obliged to rank content-rich sites.

Very good statement. However the day will come, when smart investors will launch the future competition between "quality results" and "biggest amount of results"

activeco




msg:3281401
 7:23 am on Mar 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think WSJ should have chosen more Internet savy journalist to cover the topic.

Oh wait, there would be no story then.

oneguy




msg:3281507
 10:25 am on Mar 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Further frustrating him is that Google's response to Topix's plea for help was an email recommending that, if the switchover were to go badly, the company should post a message on an online user-support forum; a Google engineer might come along to help out. "This can't be the process," Mr. Skrenta says. "You're cast into this amusing, Kafkaesque world to run your business."

LOL

That sounds slightly like the response from DMOZ at one time.

Topix.net has 10,000+ DMOZ listings. I imagine he can get those changed without losing any, so I'm not surprised that he sounds a little spoiled.

sem4u




msg:3281527
 10:57 am on Mar 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

The problem that I have with the present Internet is that it's ruled by extremes. On the one hand by people that want to rank without content (the spammers) and on the other hand search engines that don't seem (?) to feel obliged to rank content-rich sites.

Well Wikipedia ranks well....as do many other sites with IMO great content.

gibbergibber




msg:3281564
 11:56 am on Mar 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

-- I agree with other comments in here - you cant blame google for lost revenue due to your site losing position in the natural results:--

It's true.

Really, this is all about businesses who think they're entitled to a living and start whining when they run into competition.

The more established a business, the more it complains when another business starts outperforming it, and the more it will try to use politicians and public opinion to help it out. The idea of trying to actually compete to win back their previous position seems too much like hard work.

night707




msg:3281565
 12:02 pm on Mar 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Well Wikipedia ranks well....as do many other sites with IMO great content.

This forum is full of comments dealing with MFA sites and spam that occupies top spots.

Many search terms are ruled by irrelevant and outdated sites from time to time depending on the quality of G`s data refreshes that even tend to hit authority sites here and there.

Perhaps one day Wikipedia might not show up at Google like it does today. I remember some Wiki annoucement for a user based directory ...

surfin2u




msg:3281628
 1:49 pm on Mar 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think WSJ should have chosen more Internet savy journalist to cover the topic.

Oh wait, there would be no story then.

My sentiments exactly! No real news there, just an attempt to lure eyeballs. Moving on...

AjiNIMC




msg:3281741
 3:18 pm on Mar 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

After reading the post, I recommend few things

  • Teach SE basics at school level. Let Matt be a visiting faculty teaching redirections. Assuming that all Entrepreneurs will go to school.
  • Journalists covering a SE related topic should have had posted atleast 1 topic in WebmasterWorld or similar forums.

1 million dollars for a domain and then why not a SEO consultant? Interesting fact, hurting reality. SE Ranking is like GF, needed but certainly not reliable. I feel sorry for him.

Martin40




msg:3282049
 7:44 pm on Mar 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Well Wikipedia ranks well....as do many other sites with IMO great content.

Of course, Google's undervaluing of content isn't absolute, but nevertheless conspicuous, imo.

weeks




msg:3282380
 2:51 am on Mar 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

Topix is a spammer scum.

They bring together news from other sources and have phony forums for thousands of communities, then sell ads around it.

They contribute next to nothing to the web or mankind, other than to enrich their executive, staff and investors--all who are not willing to do the hard work and careful thinking it takes to run a worthwhile community website.

PHP_Padawan




msg:3286915
 7:02 am on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

This might not be obvious to everyone, but most of Google's "secrets" can be found in their own publically researchable patents. Look for 'relevance' and 'ranking' for some specifics.

[arnoldit.com...]

Software patents are a very bad idea in my opinion and are often obscure and abused.

Example:

Methods And Systems For Image Sharing Over A Network (WO2004104759)
Methods and systems are provided for sharing images over a network. A first user selects an image for sharing and designates an image recipient. Metadata for the first image is transmitted from the first user's terminal to the image recipient's terminal. At least partly in response to receiving the metadata, the image recipient's terminal transmits a request for the first image at a first resolution to the first user's terminal. In response to the request, the first user's terminal transmits the first image at the requested first resolution to the image recipient's terminal.

Like Google's saying they invented the "A"nchor and "IMG" tags and TCP/IP protocols? Or am I missing something?

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