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This 184 message thread spans 7 pages: < < 184 ( 1 2 3 4 [5] 6 7 > >     
I would give Google a rating of 8/10.
Are Google overreacting to negative feedback?
kaled

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



 
Msg#: 13848 posted 5:03 pm on Jun 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

Whilst pondering the subject of another thread (no prizes for guessing which one) it occured to me that a disproportionate amount of the feedback Google get is from whinging webmasters. Therefore, it would be very easy for the boys and girls there to form the opinion that Google is more badly broken than it is in reality.

From my own experiences AS A USER, I would give Google a rating of 8/10.

So AS USERS, how do other people rate Google? Forget dance issues, page-rank, etc. can you as a user find the information you want?

 

bcolflesh

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13848 posted 10:09 pm on Jun 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

My thoughts as I read this:

This is an often quoted theme,

Because it is true.

however, the fact is this.

however, my biased interpretation is this.

If a good site is not getting traffic because of technical problems at Google,

My site is not getting good traffic because of processes I am not privy to and do not understand at Google,

that means USERS are being let down.

that means my potential income sources are being diverted.

They may be provided with alternatives but those users are being denied CHOICE.

They may be provided with competitors but those users are being denied MY WIDGETS...

Fair/unfair?

Regards,
Brent

IITian

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13848 posted 10:10 pm on Jun 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Google does not owe you any traffic at all.

What will happen if the TV network first gets you addicted to their Survivors show and then, without any warning, cancels the final episode?

I think there is some expectation factor involved. Not long time ago, a couple will live together without getting married and in a few cases , one day, mostly the guy, will get bored and throw out his partner. Since he didn't promise her anything she didn't get a thing. Try it nowadays!

kevinpate

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13848 posted 10:20 pm on Jun 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

>What will happen if the TV network first gets
>you addicted to their Survivors show and then,
>without any warning, cancels the final episode?

Peeps who have made that particular show far too important in their lives may suffer some severe angst, perhaps even become enraged. These same peeps won't likely pause to consider that perhaps they could have avoided their dependency on the show with some effort earlier on.

Peeps who care only slightly about the show might become curious, but won't lose much, if any, sleep over the decision to pull the show. They will go on, secure in the knowledge the show did not define their existence.

Peeps who couldn't care less about the show (including moi)would simply shrug, not even bothering to try and understand what all the fuss was about to begin with, as it was, when all is said and done, simply one of many available options.

And yeah, I think that's fairly applicable to SE's too.

IITian

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13848 posted 10:33 pm on Jun 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Peeps who couldn't care less about the show (including moi)would simply shrug, not even bothering to try and understand what all the fuss was about to begin with, as it was, when all is said and done, simply one of many available options.

Even I don't care much, but this was (is) the only show in town currently and it is being missed badly.

merlin30

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13848 posted 10:42 pm on Jun 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

"Since he didn't promise her anything she didn't get a thing. Try it nowadays!"

If, before the couple began to live together, the guy presents an agreement to his partner, witnessed, that he may throw her (him) out at any point - no obligations and his partner agrees to these terms then the guy can throw her out any time.

Now, show me, in the Google ToS (which you accept by using Google), where it states that it owes webmasters an agreed level of traffic. Also show me where it states that it promises to deliver the same results to users every time they search for "widgets".

Google's results are merely its own opinion of a website's relevance. That point has been tested in law - and (sensibly) upheld.

1milehgh80210

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13848 posted 10:52 pm on Jun 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Big picture: If G stops making it easy for users to find quality sites (info & commercial),then users will leave G for another engine. This could be happening NOW -OR NOT- its still early nobody knows. The market will solve any problem webmasters have w/ G.

kaled

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



 
Msg#: 13848 posted 11:18 pm on Jun 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

We're getting off-topic chaps. We are supposed to be looking at Google FROM THE USER'S viewpoint. There are plenty of other threads more appropriate for some recent postings.

Brent,

This is an often quoted theme

Because it is true

God may possibly be on holiday, but I doubt that he left you in charge of the determination of absolute truth. Of course, if I'm wrong, that would go a long way to explaining Google's current problems.

With bests wishes, regards, love and kisses,

Kaled.

IITian

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13848 posted 11:18 pm on Jun 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Now, show me, in the Google ToS (which you accept by using Google), where it states that it owes webmasters an agreed level of traffic. Also show me where it states that it promises to deliver the same results to users every time they search for "widgets".

Everyone writes very restrictive TOS but whether those will hold in a court of law I am not sure.

I think that Google is special becasue of its dominant position in the SE market - sort of like the utility companies. Normal business rules shouldn't apply to it because webmasters can't live without Google just like it is very difficult to cut-off electricity supply to someone because of non-payment of bills.

kaled

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



 
Msg#: 13848 posted 11:45 pm on Jun 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Everyone writes very restrictive TOS but whether those will hold in a court of law I am not sure.

So far, the courts have backed Google. However, the law may only change slowly, but it does change.

Of course, I'm only guessing, but someone might just be planning to open a thread on this subject in the not too distant future.

Kaled.

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 13848 posted 3:49 am on Jun 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Google need free content just as much as webmasters need Google.

Yes, Google absolutely can't do without Webmasters who offer free content in the form of cookie-cutter affiliate pages at disposable, interlinked how-many-keywords-can-I-cram-in-domains that use hidden text and other tricks as a service to users. :-)

merlin30

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13848 posted 7:30 am on Jun 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Kaled, IITian

So you obviously believe that Google must maintain the positions it gives websites indefinetly. And when do we baseline this static structure - from the time your sites happens to be #1? (Did I mention that you can't both be #1 - unless of course the courts demand that listings are presented horizontally - oh no, we have the left to right issue to contend with! Great for manufactures of super wide monitors though!)

I must say I've come across nonsense in many guises, but this "Google owes me traffic" nonsense really does take the biscuit.

But then its totally indicative of the compensation, someones to blame, not my fault culture that pervades these days.

merlin30

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13848 posted 12:07 pm on Jun 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Has someone just deleted a post by Kaled just now or was that just my other brain cell playing up?!

PollyG

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13848 posted 12:15 pm on Jun 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Ah - a bit like Brigadoon. one minute it's there - then it's gone.

merlin30

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13848 posted 12:20 pm on Jun 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

PollyG,

Exactly!

I'm quite sad about it - I was just typing my reply - then POOF! Vanished into thin air.

Just like some of my websites lately!

IITian

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13848 posted 12:52 pm on Jun 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

merlin30:
So you obviously believe that Google must maintain the positions it gives websites indefinetly. And when do we baseline this static structure - from the time your sites happens to be #1?

Currently I am very happy with the excellent positions my site is occupying as a result of this 'update' even though I must admit when my site vanished completely or dropped to low positions on and off last couple of days, that was quite unsettling. (Google is still my #1 SE though.)

Google has built its reputation as a SE bringing relevant results. Any time, however temporarily, if a site that occupied a good position, say #1, dropped to an almost-invisible position (say #68), it casts serious doubts about its claims. Some on this board have pointed out this.

On a macro level it can be argued that Google is right in its claims of bringing the relevant results if a large number of its top webpages retain their membership in that elite group of top results, with a few positions shifts allowed. From the perspective of the website operator who fell from #1 to #68 or even moved from #68 to #1, this claim of relevancy is plain wrong.

If Google made the claim that
Google has no idea what it is doing. We return a few sites as the top results but their being there is purely coincidental and depends to a large extend on how many good-quality links that webpage has been able to get either on merit or otherwise. Probability is quite high that a site that belongs there will be deemed to be relevant by Jane Surfer as being meeting her need even though if she had known about that #68 site, that would have been her #1 choice by far but she didn't go to Stanford (our founders did). Please don't sue us because our ToS covers us well. BTW our algorithm team has defected to other SEs and we are looking for a few good SEOs on WebmasterWorld board and we do serve great food. Great SERPs? That's another story.

then I won't have any problems with that. ;)

pixel_juice

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13848 posted 12:59 pm on Jun 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Google don't claim to index and rank every single site that has been published on the net.

You cannot claim that Google is not returning relevant results because it omits some sites - you can only claim this if Google returns irrelevant sites. As long as the first couple of pages all match the search (and I guarantee that they will, whether it's spam or about something else, it will match the terms you typed in one way or another) the the results are relevant.

To decry Google's relevancy because it has omitted something is like saying that a dictionary's definitions are incorrect because it does not contain every word. You could certainly come up with some other criticisms, but I don't think that relevancy can be one of them.

Websites and links change every day, so in theory the most up to date and accurate search engine would be changing rankings constantly, every time you clicked the search button.

IITian

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13848 posted 1:07 pm on Jun 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

There must be a valid reason why a site fell from #1 to say #112. One day it was relevant and the next second it is gone! A dictionary does not throw away a word just like that.

I am loking for the word run as in 'moving fast' but that is omitted and all I get is 'to operate as in run a company', 'flowing down as in running nose' , ..., will it still be relevant?

pixel_juice

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13848 posted 1:23 pm on Jun 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

The definitions of words are constantly changing as their usage in language adapts. The same is true of websites and ranking algorithms. The internet changes at a much faster rate than langauge tends to, and so changes in rankings are to be expected.

Now your example is obviously a little more extreme, but it follows the same principle. The people that make dictionaries use as many reliable sources as they can to 'define' the meaning of a word. Google use the same techniques. No site has ever dropped 100 places for no reason. Either the site itself has changed, or the kind of sources that Google was using to put you high in the listings are now the kind of sources that are putting you below #100.

A drop of so many places is either down to one of 2 things. Either some of the the sources that boosted your site are not being counted anymore, or your site has been judged to be a bad source and therefore irrelevant. I'm sure i've seen many of the people criticising Google now that their own sites have dropped, also calling for stronger action against spam. Well, stronger filters mean more relevant sites who fall on the wrong side of the line will be dropped.

I'm not saying that Google don't make mistakes, but a level of error is something we have to accept. The searching public will vote with their keyboards as to Google's relevancy, and between you and me, I think we know what they will think ;)

Hey, I have my own problems with the new update, but I don't think search relevancy has anything to do with it

merlin30

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13848 posted 1:25 pm on Jun 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

IITian,

You say:

"Google has built its reputation as a SE bringing relevant results. Any time, however temporarily, if a site that occupied a good position, say #1, dropped to an almost-invisible position (say #68), it casts serious doubts about its claims"

The only time Google's results will be brought into question are when the top results are perceived by users as *irrelevant*. To answer the question posed by the thread, and as I and others have stated, users are not complaining about irrelevant results as a consequence of this update. So a site drops down to #68 - so what? It may have become irrelevant which means it would have to drop. As long as the first 2 or 3 pages contain relevant sites then that is all that matters. In Google's case, it is very much more than the first 2 or 3 pages that contain relevant results, but you don't usually have to hunt that far.

You either accept that :

a) Google owes you no traffic
b) Google does not guarantee the same results for the same search terms (even though this generally happens in practice)

or you don't, in which case you

a) Believe that Google owes you some traffic
b) Google has an obligation to retain the positions of sites

So, which category do you fit into.

I believe that Google's only responsibility is to its users, not webmasters. And currently its users are happy bunnies.

merlin30

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13848 posted 1:26 pm on Jun 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Pixel_Juice,

You obviously type faster than me!

IITian

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13848 posted 1:46 pm on Jun 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

pixel_juice:
This on and off position shifts are most likely transient but by being visible to public, cause real damage in terms of lost revenues. Also, Napolean on another long thread has correctly pointed out that there is a social contract between the webmasters and Google and that seems to be broken now. Nobody is denying Google its right to change its algorithms or is forcing it to return all the relevant results but the confidence by the webmasters is waning that might result in more spammy sites.

merlin30:
I believe that if I played by the rules of Google by listening to them and designing a site according to their guidelines, I have some expectations.

merlin30

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13848 posted 1:55 pm on Jun 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

IITian,

You say,

"Napolean on another long thread has correctly pointed out that there is a social contract between the webmasters and Google"

The term "correctly" in the above statement (currently) has no place. Napolean *may well believe* that there exists a social contract, but this is a point that would need to be tested in law. And the last time Google's postion on what it does with its index was tested in law - Google won.

Now if you do believe, like others, that there should indeed be social contract then, seriously, follow your beliefs and get this point tested.

I am not saying you would lose, but be warned you may win.........

kaled

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



 
Msg#: 13848 posted 1:59 pm on Jun 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yes, a message was deleted. I would tell you by whom, but I'd probably be breaking the rules if I did that and this message would be deleted!

However, I see no reason why I should not publish the rather long-winded explanation.

Please don't be rude.

Better not say what I think about that.

Kaled.

pixel_juice

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13848 posted 2:01 pm on Jun 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

>> I played by the rules of Google by listening to them and designing a site according to their guidelines, I have some expectations.

But you have no right to.

I recently had to take offline a site that offered a useful (free) service, because of time and bandwidth limitations. The service had started to get pretty unreliable and I figured it would make more sense to dump it than work it into some kind of order.

I got quite a few emails about it, ranging from

"Thanks for the service while it lasted! Sorry that it can't continue."

Which I replied to promptly with some suggestions of other services they might use, all the way along to

"You suck! I really needed to use your service and it's just gone! I'll never visit your site again!"

To the latter emails I sent out a curt, standardised reply along the lines of "I was providing a free service, and I am no longer able to do this. I was doing you a favour every time you used the site. Please don't be abusive about something that you have never paid for, and were never asked to pay for.

The same applies to Google. When your site ranks well they are doing you a favour. Are you paying them to crawl the web, index your site, and serve up search results. No. So how justified are you in your expectations?

merlin30

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13848 posted 2:06 pm on Jun 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Kaled,

I read your post. It was a shame it was deleted. I don't mind a heated debate and I can give as good as I get! I did have my reply ready but the post went AWOL.

Never mind.

We each have our own positions - as it should be.

kaled

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



 
Msg#: 13848 posted 2:08 pm on Jun 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

I believe that Google's only responsibility is to its users.

I don't think even Google think that. If they did, I can see no reason why GoogleGuy would waste time hanging around these forums, presumably, on company time.

However, as I explained in the deleted message, bad results from a webmaster's viewpoint may well translate into bad results from the user's viewpoint. The thing is, the users won't necessarily notice when they are getting bad results, but webmasters do.

Kaled.

pixel_juice

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13848 posted 2:15 pm on Jun 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>I believe that Google's only responsibility is to its users.

I don't think even Google think that.

This is a rather strange claim. Google's 200 million searches/day are from people looking for stuff. This is what made them a success, not being nice to webmasters. In fact Google have annoyed a great deal of webmasters over the years by outlawing certain techniques.

You forget kaled that the vast majority of sites are made by people who don't know (or care) about Googlebot and PR etc. and almost certainly haven't been to webmasterworld.

The type who analyse Google in depth are a very vocal minority, so sure, Google are interested in what we think, but they don't make their search engine or results for us.

If you eliminated every SEO'd site from Google, users might notice, but do you think they'd care all that much?

IITian

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13848 posted 2:16 pm on Jun 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

merlin30>
We each have our own positions - as it should be.

Positions? Positions in Google SERPs? ;)

kevinpate

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13848 posted 2:21 pm on Jun 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Regarding social contracts, expectations, responsibility of Google to webmasters, etc. ... huh?

Sorry, but I simply do not fully comprehend discussions of partnership, symbiotic relationships, google owes X, google gives and takes away, google is wrecking my income, google is broken, etc.

Now admittedly, Google doesn't seem to spend a great deal of time regarding enforcement of its TOS (perhaps that is now changing, I don't know). However, I find it a tad difficult to reconcile concepts of partnerships and duties owed by Google to commercial sites in light of this TOS passage:

Personal Use Only
The Google Services are made available for your personal, non-commercial use only. You may not use the Google Services to sell a product or service, or to increase traffic to your Web site for commercial reasons, such as advertising sales. ..... If you want to make commercial use of the Google Services, you must enter into an agreement with Google to do so in advance. Please contact us for more information.

It doesn't sound like Google recognizes any partnership or duty owed to anyone promoting commerce interests via the left side of the serps.

I've got no personal qualms with a commercial/non-commercial mix on the left side, and the fact that Google doesn't more actively enforce the TOS makes it easier for me to find small operations that don't have much in the way of an advertising budget.

But I don't see where Google has promised anything to commerce sites other than issue an invite to discuss entering into a business relationship. Based on the TOS, any traffic from port side is iced tea, and if someone wants a guaranteed meal, Google says give us a yell, we'll discuss the menu for the starboard gally.

dwilson

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13848 posted 2:24 pm on Jun 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

As a user, I'm still happy w/ Google. Every time I've turned to another SE b/c I can't find what I need, I'm more disappointed by the other engine.

I give Google a 9.5/10.

As a webmaster, I wish they would pick up my new pages more quickly. Otherwise, I don't have a lot of complaint.

IITian

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 13848 posted 2:26 pm on Jun 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

pixel_juice:
You forget kaled that the vast majority of sites are made by people who don't know (or care) about Googlebot and PR etc. and almost certainly haven't been to webmasterworld.

True, but the ones who really matter and pay indirectly and directly for Google's survival are the people who care about such things. They pay for adwords and Google's IPO depends on that. Google is not a tax-supported utility.

In most competitive searches, I would be surprised if most of the sites made by people unaware of Googlebot and PR make into the first few pages. Those pages count as being part of x million search results returned but I doubt anybody checks those sites out exept for a few friends and family members. (Some non-commerical informational sites were extremely popular to begin with and perhaps don't need SEO's but are few and between. )

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