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How would Google Pay_for_Inclusion affect professional SEOs?
Marcia

WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13578 posted 2:19 am on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

I don't believe what we're seeing is genuine PR in some cases. And certainly some PR0 pages we're seeing are most definitely not penalty related at all. Hey guys, who says the toolbar has to reflect the actual PR any site has at any given time?

We're seeing an anamoly of various incarnations of websites and what's shown in cache, and PR that can be based on links at a point in time we know_not_when or what or where from.

How can we come to conclusive deductions about what Google is doing when they haven't concluded? They're doing something, and my best guess of the day is that they're testing schemata for the purpose of evaluating the possibility of real-time PR recalcs and <forgive me, shut my mouth for mentioning it> - Pay_for_Inclusion.

Think about it. The big PR0 sweep hit last year right in the heat of Holiday season. How many got zapped and had to go to AdWords to get any traffic or sales? What IF it all gets so confusing that there can be no such thing as SEO any more because the fluctuations caused by Google's brain-trust is so cleverly devised that we can't figure it out?

What IF what they're doing now actually does relate to real-time processing and if PFI were to be introduced in time for the next Holiday season, with testing begun plenty of time in advance to perfect processes and iron out possible bugs? The timing makes perfect sense for them to be testing such a possibility at this point in time, several months in advance, to me anyway.

What would be the ramifications, consequences and implications for us as SEOs if Google were to introduce Pay-for-Inclusion? Could we survive it, or would it actually benefit us?

[edited by: Marcia at 2:29 am (utc) on May 26, 2003]

 

makemetop



 
Msg#: 13578 posted 12:20 pm on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

>PFI might take countless pages out of the index ..

Why? I can see PFI adding pages in - but taking them out? It hasn't happened elsewhere.

vitaplease

WebmasterWorld Senior Member vitaplease us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13578 posted 12:35 pm on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Immediate paid inclusion into the Google "results page" = Adwords?

Thats how I see it. Added advantage - Google wants people to get a hang of Adwords, also after regular crawl/index inclusion. (entice Adword addiction)

I for one would certainly be fooling around with a paid inclusion every day to see how on-page and site internal factors would affect rankings.

I think the Freshbot and Fresh-indexing engineer is one of the most important within Google at the moment, nevermind how well introduced it is right now. In the recent past - in some cases it has been faster than pulling your credit card and waiting for inclusion, at other search engine PFI programs.

internetbrothers

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13578 posted 12:43 pm on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

It does not matter what google does, no search engine can be perfect and if they try to use a lot of filters a lot of innocent sites will be sacrifised as well.

SEO practioner

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13578 posted 2:14 pm on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

In light of all of this, I think Google has some serious thinking in deciding where it is now and where it wants / needs to go from now on.

In most successful and young (Google is only 5 years old!) companies, at one point in time, there are big and serious decisions to be taken.

Sergey Brin and Larry Page don't need introductions anymore. They both wrote the book on what a good search engine is and what it can do to businesses of any size.

Now, they have reached some sort of intersection where decisions need to be taken. Are we to continue straight ahead, do we turn right or do we turn left? What do we do?

mayor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13578 posted 3:12 pm on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

If PFI is a great idea, why did Ink nearly go down the hopper and have to sell out to Yahoo? And PFI didn't save Alta Vista or Fast either, did it?

PFI is seriously flawed. It's not good for the users and it's not good for the websites. It's only good for the coffers of the search engine. Without a win-win-win scenario for this triad, failure is inevitable.

PFI programs drive the SE to dull their index by delaying the debut of the new, but unpaid, starts, and to further contaminate it with yesterday's index (except for the paid commercial ones). PFI can only work if there's incentive for sites to pay and that incentive works to degrade the rest of their index.

Google is going another route, striving for rapid inclusion of stellar new sites and rapid updating of their index. An ever-increasing level of quality will pull more and more users over to Google's engine while the competition scurries to milk their dwindling ranks of cash cows.

I've tried PFI on Fast and Inktomi. Alta Vista's program was just not oriented toward ROI advertising for me. Fast returns were too poor to continue. Ink returns have been OK at times but take far too much optimization efforts to make them work on an ongoing positive ROI (return on investment) basis. I've finally decided to throw in the PFI towel for good. The money and effort spent just can't be made to work for me.

egomaniac

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13578 posted 5:08 pm on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think Google is going towards a continuous update. This is why the live index is incomplete. The technology for spidering the web with G's various bots is already there. What is taking them time is re-configuring their 1000s of servers to handle a near-continuous recalc of PageRank.

Supposedly the reason they have done only monthly updates until now has been largely due to the time it takes to calculate PageRank using their huge server farms. I've read it theorized numerous times that the PageRank calculations for billions of pages takes weeks.

Whether or not G goes PFI or not, I can't guess. However I don't think it would be as bad as some people think. Take a look at INK. PFI pages get spidered and refreshed every 48 hours. Free pages only every couple of weeks. INK inlcudes all of my pages and I am not paying them anything. If a page is important enough, INK will spider it irregardless of whether it is PFI (I even had a PFI account with INK for awhile. When I discontinued it last year, I saw little change in my rankings).

Someone will likely follow-up my post by saying that INK results suck, but whenever I use it, they aren't that much different from G, and I find them to be quite relevant since they rebuilt their system last fall.

What G has been doing with Freshbot is somewhat similar to INK's PFI. Freshbot spiders pages it has deemed more important more frequently. And changes to these pages can definitely affect the rankings of some SERPs. Technically they are similarities. The difference at this time is one is free and the other costs money.

G has to gear up for a big battle ahead with Yahoo, MSN, and Overture. This "broken" index is really just an incomplete index. They are in the process of tearing down and rebuilding something so massive, that the only way to do it is in full view of the public eye. The good news for them is that the majority of the public doesn't read WebmasterWorld so they will not have a clue that Google was serving up somewhat degraded results for a few weeks.

BigDave

WebmasterWorld Senior Member bigdave us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13578 posted 5:18 pm on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

PFI, whether or not it influences your postion in the results, loses you searchers. Always has, always will.

You don't lose all of them, but you lose enough to matter.

So how would PFI affect professional SEOs? It would make it so you would have to target more SEs. This would give you the ability to claim more #1's but it will also be a lot more work.

chiyo

WebmasterWorld Senior Member chiyo us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13578 posted 5:32 pm on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

egomaniac said >> I don't think it would be as bad as some people think... ...If a page is important enough, INK will spider it irregardless of whether it is PFI<<

Good point ego, got me thinking. What will be interesting is how they would define "important", or even "authority" or "information resource". I think its very good point to muse on... I am one of those who feel it was ink's implementation of PFI that led to a fast decline in quality, but I am open to considering a different implementation that avoids all the bad consequences of PFI in its current or past forms.

jeremy goodrich

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jeremy_goodrich us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13578 posted 6:05 pm on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

You can't successfully sell the idea that an index is not corrupt (in some fashion) after going the PFI route.

Aside from the quality questions, PFI revenues for Ink were how many millions per quarter? Not nearly as many as Adwords revenues are right now for Google, according to every story out there.

So, would this new source of revenue compete with Adwords? It might, because it is the same market of people they would be selling to - commercial web sites. However, since by & large, the market would overlap - it would make it easy to mine their current database of Adwords customers to convert them to a new program.

But let's not forget that Google gets paid to syndicate it's database. After the inclusion of PFI into the mix, those new revenues would more than likely be shared with the portal partners, so Google wouldn't get the total dollar value of the PFI revenue. Only a percentage of it.

The question then becomes, is the percentage of revenue of this new program going to be big enough to justify the expense, not damage Google's image, and not put a dent in existing growing revenue streams such as Adwords & the database syndication?

To my mind, there are just too many potential negatives for such a questionable amount of money.

If Google did go PFI - things would be pretty simple. Build commercial website - pay them a fixed amount - and ignore adwords, then watch the revenue climb. Tweak to suite the algo, as needed, for maximum CTR. :)

NFFC

WebmasterWorld Senior Member nffc us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13578 posted 6:11 pm on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

>PFI revenues for Ink were how many millions per quarter

PFI, Index connect, selling the dB to partners - the whole nine yards = $12-13 million a quarter. Cost them more to do it than it brought in though.

Compared to a good destination site with good ad revenue PFI is chump change, I don't think you can have the best of both worlds, its choose your weapon and choose wisely imho.

Cossack

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13578 posted 7:00 pm on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

How would Google Pay_for_Inclusion affect professional SEOs?

One more test question before IPO? It already exists in form of AdWords and Sponsored Links ;) and as I understand - it only stimulates websites' owners to hire SEOs.

Only one way to affect SEOs - is to close "normal" Google and switch to PFI model completely, but in this case we will see no Google :), just one more PFI.

grifter

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13578 posted 7:42 pm on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

PFI in Google is not possible. Ever. Doing PFI would be like voluntarily giving themselves a lobotomy. They have separated themselves from their competition through superior tech and they have retained their cachet.

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 13578 posted 7:58 pm on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Whether or not G goes PFI or not, I can't guess. However I don't think it would be as bad as some people think. Take a look at INK. PFI pages get spidered and refreshed every 48 hours. Free pages only every couple of weeks.

The problem with PFI is that it favors commercial pages. Google's stated mission is to index the Web's information, and PFI would compromise that mission by making Google less of an information tool and more of a shopping guide.

I can't see Google going the PFI route for the main index. For Froogle or another shopping index, maybe. In fact, that could make a lot of sense, because it would let Google leverage its technology and audience to earn greater revenues without compromising the core product.

egomaniac

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13578 posted 8:34 pm on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

If Google were to do a PFI program, IMO they would still spider the entire net. The PFI would determine who gets spidered more frequently. The only difference between what they've done in the past with deepbot and freshbot and this hypothetical future is that money would be a determinant of what's important enough to get frequent spidering. Since Google is creative enough that they usually do things differentally than has been done before, they would likely come up with a new twist that we haven't thought of yet. For example, some higher PR pages might still get frequent spidering like freshbot today. And newer sites could PFI to get more frequent spidering.

If this were the case, the skewing of the results would be an issue of freshness (which we already have today) and money being a new determinant of that instead of PageRank alone.

As for PFI corrupting INK's results, the real corruption related to INK is MSN's use of INK. INK is the backup to MSN after any Looksmart results are served. That's where the subjectivity comes in. Personally I think search engines deliver better results than directories do. MSN results are less valuable because they cram the paid LS ads in front of them. Google is good because it separates the directory results out onto a separate tab. When viewed by itself (do some Pure INK searches) INK results are pretty good and similar to Google's.

I am not arguing that Google is going to go PFI. As others have pointed out here, the economics of it may not make any sense. I do think though that if it happens though it won't be bad. Heck it might even be a good thing for those people lauching new sites and wanting fast ranking and optimization feedback.

victor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13578 posted 9:15 pm on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

I don't see any objection to PFI provided all the numbers are open and up front. I'd like to see an extra option on the Advanced Search page.

If I am thinking of buying a holiday, I'd probably only want to look at pages where the PFI is upwards of USD2000. That way, I'd be sure to avoid most of the affiliate, mirror, fraternal site etc, spammers.

On the other hand, if I'm looking for hobby sites about bee-keeping, I'd be interested in the sites who have paid nothing or maybe just cents for their inclusion. That way, I don't get to see the sites for professional factory-farming bee keepers.
:):):)

steve128



 
Msg#: 13578 posted 9:53 pm on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Froogle maybe worth $5.95

google is worth a bit more ;-

Nobody will pay for inclusion in froogle, ever.

The whole idea is flawed.

Google do what they do best, ie provide results, and sell to others.

PFI is completely alien to google mentality, they do not know how to do it, nor does antbody else, otherwise google would have been sold by now.

jady

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13578 posted 10:23 pm on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

PFI is useless to searches because some sites can care less if you visit them - but it might contain the most valuable information for the user searching. If that site didnt pay the piddly $30 bucks, then the user wont see the results they are looking for!

Shak

WebmasterWorld Senior Member shak us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13578 posted 10:32 pm on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Froogle maybe worth $5.95
google is worth a bit more ;-

Nobody will pay for inclusion in froogle, ever.

The whole idea is flawed.

Google do what they do best, ie provide results, and sell to others.

PFI is completely alien to google mentality, they do not know how to do it, nor does antbody else, otherwise google would have been sold by now.

Google mentality is quite interesting if you ever watch and read what they say/do/are/want etc etc.

Something which does NOT get mentioned a lot on here is:

"Most" internet companies are NOT interested in small webmasters and their few $20 submissions, or $100 on Adwords.

What "ALL" of them want is a slice of that "BIG" cake which is currently being shared by TV, RADIO, PRINT, in other words the big budgets which are normally controlled by big egos and very little common sense and NO roi tracking facility.

10,000 small webmaster V 1 big company which spends $100 million a year on their current advertsing spend will tell you what/who is running things.

No w I cant say for definite that this is Google will go, but to simply say they do NOT know how to do something is ridiculous, if they want to they will just go hire Mr PFI himself (whoever he is)

rant over...

Shak

RawAlex

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13578 posted 12:52 am on May 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

Shak, if Google let's itself be too influenced by money, surfers will run away in droves! People use google because they get better results than the other engines. If those results get corrupted by money, the results will be poorer, and the public will leave.

Case in point is Yahoo. They started charging for submissions (up to $600 per listing) and stopped doing quality control. As a result, the results have gotten poorer, and the surfers aren't using them as much. In order to get back to where they were, they are actually using Google results!

Surfers know when they are getting stiffed, and that is why Google has ended up as #1, and overture hasn't. (Be honest now, would anyone here use overture to find anything? )

Alex

chiyo

WebmasterWorld Senior Member chiyo us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13578 posted 5:10 am on May 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yes i think Y! and Ink! are great examples of how PFI murdered SERPS. Ink seems to have imporved by taking more notice of sites that don't pay

>>If that site didnt pay the piddly $30 bucks,<<

In my part of the world $30 USD is 1-2 days worth of the average income. And can feed a family for a week. so its hardly piddly. On the other hand it will favour sites from high currency countries. And remember ink PFI is per page, and yahoo PFI/PFR is 200 USD. So once you add it all up, even for you who thinks that 30 USD is "piddly", the reality may be somewhat different.

To a commercial site who wants to make sure their main "Selling" "Buy me" pages are indexed fast it may be affordable. To information sites with thousands of specifically targeted pages it does not. Result? reduction of ranks of info pages as compared to commercial spin pages.

PR and on page text analysis may not be perfect for a mathod of determining the quality/worth/relevance of a page, but they are far better criteria than how much money a site owner has.

There IS a place for people to PAY for reliable exposure on Google, and that's Adwords. I agree totally with those saying that PFI would cannibalise adwords revenue, at the risk of muddying the waters badly for searchers and creating the sort of PR problems that Y!, Ink and LS has had. Once people start paying for inclusion in an otherwise "free" index, they suddenly expect special consideration, and dont blame the engine when they dont read the fine print of what PFR or PFI indexing really means. (for how long?, at what level of support? for what guarantees?)

Seeing there IS a way to get links up instantly to commercial pages in adwords, and in a way that targets far better people willing to buy why do we need another way, which is not as fast?

Having said all that, I still like egomaniacs suggestion that PFI need not be as bad as peviously implemented in other sites. I have no idea how they would do it, but then again, my mind is piddly compared to 30 Phds.

[edited by: chiyo at 5:22 am (utc) on May 27, 2003]

percentages

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13578 posted 5:11 am on May 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

>Be honest now, would anyone here use overture to find anything?

Many B2B companies use Overture all the time. It is an excellent source when looking for companies who have an existing Internet marketing budget that could be diverted elsewhere;)

>What would be the ramifications, consequences and implications for us as SEO's if Google were to introduce Pay-for-Inclusion? Could we survive it, or would it actually benefit us?

I don't think Google will implement PFI in the next six months. They may eventually implement some kind of PFI model, but I doubt it will be anything similar to the other existing PFI models. GG has said it is not a priority for them, but he also didn't say they had ruled it out. I took that to mean it is being actively discussed but keeps getting pushed to the back burner.

If Google do implement some type of PFI I doubt it will financially affect SEO's that much at all. It may just be an added cost which we pass on to the client (depends upon the costs involved)....I don't see an issue with professional SEO's surviving it. Those folks attempting to start affiliate sites might not be too happy though?

I think it is reasonably likely to benefit many professional SEO's, regardless of costs. Unfortunately this point may be Google's biggest issue with why NOT to implement it, at least prior to IPO.

Marcia

WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13578 posted 5:39 am on May 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

How many owners of purely informational sites are willing to pay professional SEOs to have their sites optimized because they are generous and philanthropic and want to provide the internet public with information they need and want purely out of the goodness of their hearts?

Some information sites do derive revenue - but then they are no longer purely informational in the same sense as a government or university site would be. Once they derive income from their site, directly or indirectly, even if it's got a lot of content, it's moved over into the realm of being commercial.

Now in some cases, it's part of the strategy to promote an information site - for purposes of raising PR by qualifying for a lot of quality links, and then using that site to link to commercial sites owned by them to transfer that PR and rank well for the sites that sell the stuff.

It's kind of like being in the hog business. Someone can raise corn - not to make a profit, but to have it to feed their hogs. Then they make their money from selling pork. Same thing - it's still motivated by profit, and so is any information site that's getting revenue from selling ad space or affiliate programs.

It's commercial sites that are willing to pay for SEO services, so those are the ones that the pro SEO is concerned with.

If Google cut back to monthly or every 6 weeks on updates for the majority of sites and only did frequent updating for PFI sites the SERPs would be just as impartial as they are now.

IMHO it would have definite benefit for SEOs with a track record of optimizing for Google successfully. What I'm wondering is how it would affect how the business model would have to be set up.

percentages

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13578 posted 6:50 am on May 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

>How many owners of purely informational sites are willing to pay professional SEOs to have their sites optimized because they are generous and philanthropic and want to provide the internet public with information they need and want purely out of the goodness of their hearts?

Not many!

>It's commercial sites that are willing to pay for SEO services, so those are the ones that the pro SEO is concerned with.

Yep, 100% agreed!

>If Google cut back to monthly or every 6 weeks on updates for the majority of sites and only did frequent updating for PFI sites the SERPs would be just as impartial as they are now.

Not totally true, many information and government web sites get regularly freshed now, maybe PFI would illiminate this.

ciml

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ciml us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13578 posted 5:43 pm on May 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

> Someone can raise corn - not to make a profit, but to have it to feed their hogs. Then they make their money from selling pork.

That's a nice analogy Marcia. I wouldn't expect Google to sell off their corn (SERPs) when the pork (ads) sells nicely.

I don't think that Google's ranking changes indicate a push for PFI; for one thing I haven't come across droves of non-webmaster Google users complaining about the results (as has happened with other engines in the past).

Cossack

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13578 posted 5:44 pm on May 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

How many owners of purely informational sites are willing to pay professional SEOs to have their sites optimized because they are generous and philanthropic and want to provide the internet public with information they need and want purely out of the goodness of their hearts?

No one, but they also do not pay to PFI.

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 13578 posted 12:43 am on May 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Some information sites do derive revenue - but then they are no longer purely informational in the same sense as a government or university site would be. Once they derive income from their site, directly or indirectly, even if it's got a lot of content, it's moved over into the realm of being commercial.

Sure, and the Department of Motor Vehicles is a commercial site, too, because it's selling drivers' licenses and license plates. For that matter, universities are in the business of selling themselves to prospective students, and I'd guess that the majority of large universities in the U.S. also have sections of their Web sites that are devoted to bookstores, computer sales, and tickets to sporting events. Does that mean that the typical large .edu site is "commercial"? Yes, according to your definition.

A better way to distinguish between "information" sites and "commercial" sites is to identify their primary missions. Do they live to sell (like a retail store or a mail-order catalog), or do they sell to live (like a newspaper or magazine)?

As far as PFI goes, it may be practical for "commercial" sites (pure e-commerce and affiliate sites) because--if well-designed--commercial sites can convert a significant percentage of visitors into buyers. PFI is seldom practical for "information" sites, even information sites with affiliate links, because an information site's main product is the text on its pages (which users get to read for free unless the site is the WALL STREET JOURNAL or Dirty Della's Porn Emporium). PFI might work for a handful of revenue-producing pages on an information site, but not across the board.

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