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How would Google Pay_for_Inclusion affect professional SEOs?
Marcia




msg:80460
 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]

 

cindysunc




msg:80461
 2:25 am on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Opens the door. Meaning lets not forget why Google is #1 today. Now that they are #1 its time to monetinize(probably misspelled) on it? New Coke failed because nothing was wrong with the original Coke. You make too many changes people will start to look for a "Google Like" engine if Google changes too much. Sometimes change is progress, sometimes its not. Sometimes people, search engines, try to do too much and lose focus. People just want an easy search with relevant results. Maybe Google should have stayed the way they were, small and private. Now new offices, maybe going public in future? I love Google, but don't want to see it bite more off than it can chew.

SEO practioner




msg:80462
 2:46 am on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi there Marcia

Well the tought did cross my mind once or twice in the past week... I guess most of us now are getting all kinds of toughts some way or the other.

I guess the issue is: what's going to be next?

If we (I sure hope) survive this, then what's next?
As you said Marcia: what are the ramifications of all of this?

Is Google going to the "pay for inclusion" business model? Personally, I don't think so. Of course I am a bit biased in this assessment, but aren't we all?

I think the next coming weeks are going to be important, especially the next major update will. It's clear to all of us now that Google is definitely doing "some important changes to its algo"... what exactly, nobody seems to know... except probably Google Guy. And I certainly don't expect him to spill the beans here...

My 2 cents
:-)
SEO

rfgdxm1




msg:80463
 2:48 am on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Or Marcia, what if Google's goal is not PFI, but this is all just being done to boost Adword sales? SERPs I have been seeing look like a random element has been added. And, many sites are inexplicably falling way down with no logical explanation. This is all kinds of bad to anyone involved in e-commerce if they have no clue where their site will be in the SERPs next update. Looks to me like there are 2 possibilities at the moment:

#1) Google is just broken.
#2) Google isn't broken, but this was all done by design to boost Adword sales.

Too early to say which it is.

"Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained
by stupidity."

-Hanlon's razor

Google doing #2 makes a lot of sense, however by applying Hanlon's razor this favors #1 at the moment.

[edited by: rfgdxm1 at 2:53 am (utc) on May 26, 2003]

cindysunc




msg:80464
 2:53 am on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well whatever they do now, if its not good for search, might hurt us in the short term, but in the long term be good. Hopefully Google hasn't developed the "Laker mentality" that we're great, been great for awhile and can turn it on when we need to. You need to be great all the time. And if they make changes that aren't good, theres always other search engines, search engines come and go, SEOS will be around forever. I remember when i first went online Webcrawler was #1, where are they now? Maybe there was a screw up somewhere don't know. Seems kind of odd the last crawl isn't in the index and the time frame that this is supposed to be done, is when the next update was to occur. From reading all these posts it seems people are saying this is a Feb or March index with freshbot listings, wheres the last crawl? And since most of us are SEOS, we have the ability to adapt and move on.

born2drv




msg:80465
 2:57 am on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Unless they were going to give speacial treatment to PFI, what would be the benefits of it?

1. Quicker indexing?
2. More frequent calculations of PR within site?
3. Submission of URLs that aren't being indexed for whatever reason?
4. Guaranteed inclusion? (no accidental drops, server downtime, etc.)
5. Penalization status / customer support?
6. SPECIAL TREATMENT IN SERPS!?!

If there are no benefits why would anyone sign up? And if it's only #1-5, not many would likely sign up since only most "hardcore webmasters" or SEOs are likely to pay for this.

If its #6, then the FTC is likely to breathe down their neck if they don't seperate it as sponsored. :) They would just be spamming their own SERPs in a way, and could risk driving their customers to other search engines because Google would no longer be impartial.

Chris_R




msg:80466
 3:03 am on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

I agree with born2drv.

Search Engines with PFI are a joke. You can't have PFI and good quality SERPs. Google has always focused on quality searches.

I can't imagine in my wildest dreams google (in its current form) going to PFI.

Google doesn't need to go PFI to make money.

mrguy




msg:80467
 3:04 am on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think Google going to a pay per inclusion would be their downfall.

Many companies cannot afford to pay 20 or 30 bucks per URL when they have more than 400 URLs in the index. They would turn their efforts towards the engines that are still free which would in turn drastically change the SERPS, since the pages would no longer be optimized for Google.

When Yahoo launches their Inktomi driven search, Yahoo and MSN will roughly have 40 to 50% of the SE searches. At that point, many webmasters may choose to spread their money around and if the results from MSN or Yahoo return good searches for the searchers and more people use them, you will see a decline in Google. It's happened to other engines before and will happen again.

Google needs to focus on providing the best possible results so people keep using them. If they do go the PPI route, then that is what the mentallity that the "Money Man" they brought to run the company. His last companies while they did well, are not all that well off now.

I really hope this latest change is about going to a rolling update which would be a great thing and not about going to PPI.

martinibuster




msg:80468
 3:07 am on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

born2drv,

You forgot one big and major benefit of PFI: Frequent spidering and refresh.

The huge benefit of frequent spidering and refresh is obvious (you wait 48 hours to see the results of your optimization as opposed to once a month).

How would a Google PFI affect professional SEOs?

More business, for the above described reason.

europeforvisitors




msg:80469
 3:13 am on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

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.

I think it's more likely that their goal is to:

1) Merge the "deepbot" and "freshbot" function to create a continuously updated index, as others have suggested. Whether this would include continuous (probably not real-time) PR recaculation is hard to say, but PageRank seems to have less importance than it once did, so the answer to that question may not matter much.

2) Automate spam detection and penalties to the greatest extent possible--not only by having more and better spam filters, but also by using data from those filters to calculate "spam scores" and impose penalties quickly (thereby eliminating or reducing the window of opportunity for the Disposable Domain of the Month Club crowd).

I can't see Google using PFI for anything but a separate, clearly identified commercial index like Froogle (where sites could be required to pay for inclusion or for daily feeds).

rogue




msg:80470
 3:16 am on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

rfgdxm1:
<#1) Google is just broken.
#2) Google isn't broken, but this was all done by design to boost Adword sales.

Too early to say which it is.>
Neither one. Google is not dumb. If they wanted to boost Adword sales why not just leave the spam in the results, unless they are plain greedy, which would be dumb and your theory would make sense.
I'm sure everything being done right now is by design and PFI would make some sense but again, I think they are a little smarter than that. After all, since the time they started G until now they haven't looked back and have us all on the line (by design). Why risk it now unless they want to cash in and retire?

1milehgh80210




msg:80471
 3:16 am on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

G may have hit the ceiling, earnings wise.
1. Already control 80-85% of all searches.
2. Ad-words. There are only so many words (may grow slowly due to current events)that people will bid on, and so much thay will bid (driven by market).
So it would'nt surprise me if what they are doing did'nt have some correlation to trying to expand their financial horizons!

born2drv




msg:80472
 3:33 am on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>>>Automate spam detection and penalties to the greatest extent possible

I'm all for Google implimenting SUPER TOUGH spam filters, especially for competitive searches. Searches with less than say 50,000 competing sites you can be more leniant on --- these are most likely to be "educational/informational" anyways.

Throw out the baby with the bathwater, who cares! Then just have a way of responding to webmaters (even for a fee) to tell them why they were penalized so they could redesign their sites accordingly. Also Google could use the feedback they get from these webmasters to finetune their filters for the future.

dvduval




msg:80473
 3:53 am on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Google's ability to find information on just about anything has been dependent on its spidering of billions of pages.

Google's ability to show the very BEST quality results has been dependant on it's amazing algorithms.

PFI would ruin the above.
There is no way this is going to happen unless Overture buys Google, and when that happens, I'm moving some place where I don't need a computer (Northern Canada?).

projectphp




msg:80474
 4:10 am on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

I can think of a few instances of PFI would be good: Jobs sites / frequently changing, DB driven sites. The actual jobs wont need to rank well for generic, PageRank relevant SERPS, but should do well for obscure, multiple keyword searches i.e. java c++ programming jobs in sydney metropolitan region. This sort of search will usually have pretty funky results, and PFI of frequently changing pages would be a very good idea, add value to a user and teh index. Daily crawls of MSSIVELY changing pages, with reindexing of ALL pages of a certain format could be a REALLY good thing IMHO. How the site's pay for this, well, that aint MY problem, but for Google, it would be a GREAT thing.

<added>BTW, for those who think the ceiling has been hit for SE< (i.e. PPC ads), and who attribute this index botch to said scenario, think again. VERY few companies have PPC ads in their budget, and when they finally do, the projections for growth in this industry look pretty damned good.</added>

gopi




msg:80475
 4:20 am on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think born2drv is right , just eliminate all the spam from competitve commercial searches so that only non-ecommerce/ non-affiliate educational type sites rank ... This will automatically increase the adword CTR therby more $$$ for google .

I dont think google will go for PFI ... They will make more money by just making the top 2 premium listings as 4 filling them with adword listings than with PFI

Clark




msg:80476
 4:26 am on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Google PFI? Naah... That would be their death. And if they plan to sign the death warrant, it will be after they IPOed, founders cash in. Not before. Been there (as early employee in a later IPOed tech company).

True, just before IPO company is forced to make some moves sometimes to grow quicker than they're ready. But the real pressure comes in Post-IPO. It also ruins the company from the inside. I used to think that Options gave people motivation, but it just makes them bitter they didn't get enough. They quibble over colleagues getting more when *they* deserve more, etc. No one is happy except the millionaires that come out of it, and even they have complaints because they didn't make as many millions as the other guy who made more millions but didn't deserve it. In the end though, whoever is smart (read lucky) in *when* they sell does the best...

I'm not looking forward to the day Google goes public. If there were something I could say personally to Larry et al is DON'T DO IT! You'll make plenty as a private company, it will be more secure and fulfilling. But I can't blame them. There is some hefty change to be made for them if they IPO, plus their investors may force it on them.

But there are precedents of successful private tech companies. Look at SAS (which data mining experts should know about). They are a multi-billion dollar company. Largest privately owned software company. They are control freaks but they do things THEIR way, they get away with it and their product is excellent and the owners *still* made a fortune. They are the largest software company I know that no techie has head of :) Their owner is probably better known for owning Midway airlines (if memory serves, that is the airline).

mil2k




msg:80477
 4:31 am on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

For me the changes are more to do with Upgrading their algo before the shakeout begins. Yahoo! will not be showing google results and MSN is also targetting google. So the algo changes for me means that google is trying to improve the quality of their serps before the Real Shakeout in the SE market begins.

Again i do not think google is going PFI simply because the amount of informational content which it's users look for.

born2drv




msg:80478
 4:41 am on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

The key though to implimenting the tough filters will be to have a mechanism in place to tell webmasters why they were banned (for a fee, I wouldn't mind at all), and get it back re-indexed right away.

So by eliminating the spam, they make more money in PPC, clean up the SERPs, and get paid even more to tell the spammers why they spammed :) And if an innocent site should get penalized, they can always get back in if they contact Google. Can't beat that! More money for Google, good results for all, and reliability for webmasters, everyone is happy :)

internetbrothers




msg:80479
 4:58 am on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well, I think Google has a serious Technical problem and as for Googleguy, I think if even he really works in Google his own knowledge is limited. working in Google does not mean that he or she has all information.

mil2k




msg:80480
 5:08 am on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

a mechanism in place to tell webmasters why they were banned

That would be heaven for Spammers. Get the knowledge of what got detected and what went undetected. Then you know which areas to manipulate ;)

working in Google does not mean that he or she has all information

In google everyone generally works in a group of three and there are various new innovations they try to work on. They maintain a priority list of top 100 things to be done. It would be difficult to have a knowledge of everything that goes along but our experience has been that many people have benefitted from GG's responses.

chiyo




msg:80481
 5:17 am on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

i agree 100% that Google is trying to make it more difficult to optimise pages, especially using any automated methods based on guessing the key elements of the algo. Moving from a monthly more-or-less static index to one which changes more frequently, thereby providing SEO's with a more difficult "moving target" and maybe even "shuffles" pages with very similar "rank scores" will go a long way to reducing the amount of rankings based on SEO rather than just content, reputation, and quality.

I also beleive part of this is "encouraging" commercial sites to have a more reliable ranking via adwords. The Google algo was never designed to rank commercial and SEO'd sites after all. It was designed for ranking sites based on information. I dont think thats a bad thing. And i dont think adwords and main index listings can be seen as the same. As far as we can see, adwords listings attract far more motovated "buyers" while main index listings bring "information seekers". The ***real professional*** SEO's and spammers are like email spammers - get your url hit as many times as possible, regardless of targeting, and someone will buy! After all there are no or minimal DIRECT costs.

PFI will kill the index. It will reduce google's competitiveness against Teoma, Ink, etc etc. After all almost all surveys say people search for information, not ads. As far as i know, Adwords is a large component of Google revenue now. Kill the quality of the index ->lose market share -> lose eyeballs to Adwords. PFI DOES reduce the quality of index by giving an advantage to those that pay - and these are usually commercial sites with enough revenue to justify PFI. They would be refreshed quicker than say gov edu and info sites, and at any one time would have more chance of being higher in the rank.

I agree with just about everything that MArcia is suggesting, but beleive that PFI, at least substantially as we know it, would not be part of the google inc strategy. Basically, it's their loss leader, but much more. The ONLY real substantive thing that Google has going for it is the perceived quality and speed of their main index. Everthing else, from adwords to licensing to new products like news.google, is dependent on that.

Clark




msg:80482
 5:22 am on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

chiyo and mil2k said what I was thinking and *meant* to say, but I'm known to ramble too much :)

Google charging to tell webmasters where they spammed? Not in a million years.

I'm surprised no one mentioned earlier that their algo was lacking a lot by waiting a month or so to update. Even if it's the best out there, that data is stale in internet years. The one great thing about weblog content is that it is fresh. That's why Google bought blogger I think.

And GG is a high up. Definitely got that impression from one of his responses on that question elsewhere.

Also agree that for competitive searches, mixing up the results isn't a bad thing. But they should do it every few days, not every search. You kind of expect when you do a search one minute, that you'll get the same dataset back a few minutes later.

Hunter




msg:80483
 5:24 am on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

"Kill the quality of the index ->lose market share -> lose eyeballs to Adwords."

Well said chiyo, agree 100%. Google does not need to go Full PFI, they are much smarter than that.

As far as ramifications, consequences and implications for us as SEOs if Google were to introduce full FPI, we will be fine. Google may always have the power to decide it's direction, but we will always be the hungry cats chasing the mouse, no matter where it try's to run or hide.

born2drv




msg:80484
 5:33 am on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>>>>That would be heaven for Spammers. Get the knowledge of what got detected and what went undetected. Then you know which areas to manipulate ;)

You think so? Maybe in the short term. But how many GOOD SEO-tricks have emerged in the last 2 yrs? Not many I don't think, everything has been done. The problem is SE's haven't been keeping up with hidden text, CSS spamming, and other shady - but detectable tactics. Right now Google has to dance around their filters to make sure no one is caught that is innocent, that's a huge task, and most likely why so many people with hidden text slip through the cracks. I say, screw it... if it is borderline spam or something trips the filter on their site, let them contact me or view my FAQs page why their site may be penalized.

It would be totally opposite for me if I were running a SE. For non-competitive terms, innocent until proven guilty.... for average-competitive terms, I wouldn't be so hard with the filters. For very competitive commercial terms that have tons of spam, it would be guilty until proven innocent through use of strict filters :) For those big money terms, they can shell out a few bucks to contact me on how to clean up their site.

Chris_D




msg:80485
 6:04 am on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

rfgdxm1 said:

#1) Google is just broken.

Before we all run around screaming 'the sky is falling' - just do a search on Google for:

search engines

and tell me that result number 1 is really the 'best on the web' - the 'I'm feeling lucky' result and all that....

Once you've stopped laughing - look at the PR for number 1.

Then try the same search on Alta Vista or any other SE. Same result? Hardly.

Then tell me again that this is about adwords sales and PFI - this isn't a strategy - its just that we can now all see a 'work in process' - which isn't finished yet. Like how a half built freeway isn't as good/fast/wide as when its finally finished.

I agree with rfgdxm1 - harsh but true - broken wins. But its broken because its not finished yet - which is what GG has been telling us for weeks now.

I apologise if I have 'technically' broken the TOS in my attempt to clearly make this point...... but I couldn't think of another way to demonstrate this.

rfgdxm1




msg:80486
 6:34 am on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yeah Chris_D, based on numerous SERPs I have seen, Google being broken seems the most plausible scenario. Dunno I would necessarily think saying this is harsh, given my alternative hypothesis is that Google is just doing this to boost Adword revenue. The latter would mean that this was done with greed in mind, rather than happening through error.

[edited by: rfgdxm1 at 6:48 am (utc) on May 26, 2003]

makemetop




msg:80487
 6:47 am on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

As a passionate advocate of PFI when it is appropriate - I say bring it on - but I don't think these changes are a precursor to PFI. I imagine that Google are trying to construct a method of overcoming the problems of defeating the more obvious SEO tricks whilst maintaining the freshness of their index.

I believe GG when he says PFI is not envisaged currently - but do I believe it will eventually happen? Almost certainly (IMHO).

chiyo




msg:80488
 8:35 am on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>greed in mind<<

or profits in mind?

Any business that is not interested in profits will not get many investors or owners. OK so maybe we can characterise some companies as greedy, but its very subjective and often depends on the motivation of the person saying it. Personally i dont think google is anywhere close to being charactised as greedy, just sensibly looking at ways to grow and return profits.

As said before, I have absolutely no problems with google encouraging webmasters who depend on more reliable listings or good exposure from people using Google to invest in Adwords.

Its hardly a conspiracy.

But its a reflection of reality.

Their main algo was not designed for promoting commercial sites and no algo like this can be expected to keep everyone happy,webmasters and users alike. If i was them my strategy would be - make it harder for people to SPAM. make it harder for people to SEO, - mix around results a bit for pages with similar relevance to queries - offer a PAID service for people who NEED more reliable exposure, but keep it seperate from the main index as the main index can never do it anyway.

parabola




msg:80489
 11:44 am on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Google only gets paid on Adwords when visitors click on ads. The easiest way for them to increase revenue is to generate more clicks via searches. Users will only search on Google if they can find what they are looking for. Hence, relevancy is paramount to their business success. PFI might take countless pages out of the index which would be contradictory to their goal.

On the other hand, it does seem that many results are just plain random now. I have seen pages with 19 backlinks showing on Google and 26 on alltheweb ranking first page on HUGELY competetive term. I don't think Google themselves thinks they are broken but I'm not sure the new changes are going as well as planned...

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