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Google vs. Altavista

 8:02 am on May 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

I see a lot of posts about dominic and Google taking so long and people saying Google can be the next Altavista meaning they once were on top but fell. But have you checked Altavista lately? Search for you key terms the way you would on Google, not much that different for the terms i check. And i noticed changes i made to a few of my sites already showing. It says Refreshed in past 48 hours or Refreshed in past 24 hours, talk about fresh results. Since i'm kinda new to SEO how exactly is Altavista bad when it comes to search and fresh results. I know nobody uses them, but compare Google to Altavista in terms of search results and freshness.



 8:12 am on May 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

AltaVista has improved steadily and slowly for a while now.

There are many who feel AV's downfall was their Black Monday/Wednesday? when the index turned bad for many webmasters. Often people (many of whom i respect) then argue that the reason for their downfall was the loss of webmaster's confidence, and people are bringing forward this argument regularly now.

I may be wrong, but my feeling is that AV's downfall was due to several factors, one of the least being webmaster confidence. The higher ones including the misplaced strategy of selling on by often deceptive means - users overwhelmed with commercials (often masquerading as "search services")on their front page and SERPS. eg "Buy "Singapore" on Ebay!"... Less and less of screen estate was being devoted to content!

The other one was just simply a ***sustained*** poorer performance of the SERPS when compared to up and comer Google which had a killer simple, and at the time, revolutionary USP for search engine services.

None of those factors apply to Google at present.

It was just getting harder for users to get want they wanted on AV. At the same time Google went for simplicity, and increasing user satisfaction, rather than bringing them in for something, and trying to spin/sell them on something else before providing what they came for.

It was the users that killed-off AV, not webmasters.

If that's true it makes a lot of the chest-beating in Forum 3 now fairly pointless.


 8:23 am on May 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

chiyo, once again I agree with your analysis 100%.

The only thing I would add it this.....Your summation implies that Google became popular because webmasters made it so.....then do webmasters have the power to take Google's popularity away again?....possibly giving it to AV or ATW or INK?

I would like to hear your thoughts!


 8:28 am on May 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

compare Google to Altavista in terms of search results and freshness.

I posted a "recent event" test a couple of days ago - a search for the latest virus to hit me - WORM_PALYH.A still got me zero results on Google a couple of minutes ago.

MSN, Altavista, AllTheWeb all have lots of results.

What's up?


 8:31 am on May 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

well if webmasters produce sites that users want to see AND are not listed in google AND consistently can be found somewhere else...

is it likely?


 8:34 am on May 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi percentages.

I guess i was one of the first to have a google search url on our website, way before Google actually paid us 3c a referred hit! I accept that webmasters do have some influence in guiding people to new destinations, especially search engines.But lets not over-estimate it. So does word of mouth from satisfied users, on-line discussion by USERS rather than webmasters, and off-line media.

Having got someone to your shop-door however you have to deliver for them to come back again. And provide a distinctly better service/products than competitors and maybe a better "feeling" (brand) too. That's what Google did, and that has less to do with webmasters, wom, and the off line media that got them there.


 8:41 am on May 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

I agree overall Google is better except in Freshness which i thing is very important nowadays and increasingly so in the future. Usually Altavista has fresher results, at least from what i'm seeing, and on my sites. Like i said all the pages Googles freshbot usually hit, Altavista is refreshing them every 24 or 48 hrs. Google needs to keep up.


 7:22 pm on May 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

My logs started showing a few AV referrals about a week ago. Don't recall seeing any for the year before that. That prompted me to check around the forum to see if there are any signs of AV life out there. - Not much it seems...

The Serps are so blatantly commercial. Category wide affiliates drown out the local and the topical sites. Quite a contrast to G's results in my cat. Not likely to win the hearts and minds of G users.

Oh well. Let sleeping dogs sleep.


 7:50 pm on May 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

AV has improved tremendously in the last year. Traffic can vary a lot depending on topic. I'm seeing a steady 3 - 5% of SE referrals from AV for good quality terms.

jeremy goodrich

 7:52 pm on May 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Altavista has been picking up for me considerably as well. Agreed with the above about the user interface being a major source of their downfall, as well as the hiatus by loads of webmasters. :)

Now, the experience is much improved, but still many things they could do to make it better.

3-5% of total SE traffic sounds about right on some of my sites.


 8:08 pm on May 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think AV's downfall was a direct result of them caring more about *how* the SERP's were as they were rather than weather they were of use to the user's.

Google are showing similar symptoms imho, having said that I think they are smart enough [and have acted upon] to pull back before the whole thing goes down the pan.


 9:03 pm on May 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

> I'm seeing a steady 3 - 5% of SE referrals from AV for good quality terms.

My mileage obviously is different; I am seeing a whopping 0.65% of SE referrals from AV so far this month :(


 2:57 am on May 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hey folks! I'm trying to broaden my horizons and make it out of forum3 more often. :) gstewart, that's an interesting way of testing freshness. I just did a quick search for WORM_PALYH.A on the engines you mentioned and got
MSN - 17 results
AV - 58 results
ATW - 38 results
GG - 373 results

Not sure why you didn't get any, but I agree that freshness is helpful. cindysunc, it's a little-known fact that AV's choice of which pages to refresh is done by looking at what search results are clicked on. I'm guessing that your pages were crawled because you clicked on them.

If you want to optimize for AV (and I always encourage SEOs to diversify and to optimize for non-Google search engines ;) then you could keep updating your pages and clicking on them in search results to try different experiments about what works well for your site.


 3:26 am on May 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Coming soon to Altavistas webmaster page:

"GoogleGuy SEO tips are frowned upon here at AV."


 8:35 am on May 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Altavista has started sending very noticeable amount of traffic for me (5% or so) .. up from close to 0 a month ago.

I feel it will improve further as more and more people realize their quality has improved.


 3:21 pm on May 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the AV tip, GoogleGuy. Got any ideas about Ink to share with us? :)


 2:19 am on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

i think Askjeeves.com is really the most overlooked search engine. We do a PFI trusted feed with 100,000 pages in alta, intk, fast and askjeeves.

Referrals are;

intk: 900 Per Day
ask: 200 Per day
alta: 45 per day
fast 75 Per day

I was very surprised with ask.com's traffic. And if they didnt stuff over 8 google adwords listings first, it would be even higher.


 1:11 pm on May 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

My kilometreage varies with AV. Scooter comes by daily, sometimes three times in a row for the same file, but the only fresh result was for a 301'd file at the old domain.

Am trying GG's tip at AV now.

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