|Google SEO longterm?|
| 8:57 am on Nov 19, 2003 (gmt 0)|
I had a site, SEO was done, was in top rankings for about 2 months then overnight for no reason site was positioned way down the rankings. All practices were ethical and it seemed no point or logic to this what happend to me.
If you speak to all the best Internet Marketing Pros they tell you SEO is a waste of time longterm, everyone in the industry has lost their position at somepoint from what I gather - or am I wrong?
I want to hear from anyone who has had long term success with SEO say for 6 months or longer....
| 5:47 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)|
Googleguy, thanks for your comments in this forum.
Please could you confirm whether it is possible for a webmaster to effect the postioning of a competitor site. What I mean by this is could a webmaster create lots of links with the same anchor text from their site, and arrange for links from other sites in order to cause a detrimental effect to their competitor?
If the competitor site was created professionally with appropriate page titles, page text which contains words / phrases which are relevant to their line of business, could a competitor by arranging for a large number of links with the same anchor links potentially cause their competitor to be filtered from search results on the term contained in the anchor text?
The reason I ask is because I know of a site which I use quite frequently to purchase certain products (not one of my sites), but I notice they no longer appear for a search on their company name. Their company name happens to be "word1 word2 ltd" and is descriptive of the products they sell. They appear to have no reciprocal links, only inbound links with a lot of the text links being "product name", on page welcome to company name ltd is in a H1 and the page title is "word 1 word2 UK" and product name is mentioned a couple of times within the home page text as well as an anchor text link. There appears to be n evidence of spam techniques, hidden text etc.
However the site is no longer listed for a search on "word1 word2" but as have many have noticed, when you search for product name -xxdff -xffff, they do appear?
This site has been going for a few years and sells an number of specialised and obsolete products.
My original point I made regarding a competitor is could they not reproduce the effect I am seeing for this site, which has no outbound links only inbound? It seems that because this site has lots of inbound links using the company name which is descriptive of the products they sell, they have been filtered out of the results.
Finally with regard to your comment concerning buying links, could you clarify this as for some businesses surely is would be beneficial for them to get listed in appropriate directories such as Yahoo and other business specific directories which might require a payment. I imagine you mean paying for links on sites which are irrelevant in terms of subject in order to benefit from the PR?
| 5:48 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)|
Maybe the question some of us should be asking on this thread is, "What is SEO, cos I think I was mistaken?", rather than the statement, "My SEO'd site has gone down in the SERPS."
GG and Brett have explained on many occasions what is SEO for Google.
It would appear to me, IMHO, that some of us are actually saying, "Well I did all that, but I thought of lots of other things as well, and they worked, and now the extra things don't work, and it's not fair cos Google won't tell us which ones I should not have done."
Not having the benefit of being an HTML coder, all my work is based on Google's advice, Brett's list, and the advice of the "seniors", on page content. So they get the credit for 400 KW on first page, with 230 at No.1. They also get the credit for the fact that the list of No.1's has gone to 250 over the last few days.
| 5:49 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)|
some commercial items dont naturally lend themselves to the use of the 'buy' word. take the niche 'php hosting' for example. (i do NOT have a site related to php hosting btw). if a webmaster were to try to rank well using 'web hosting', he probably would have a very hard time. so he instead focuses on the niche phrase of php hosting, which would still be very competitive, but it is as reduced down as you can get for the subject matter. no one is going to type in 'buy php hosting' even though they are buying it. that phrase just doesn't roll off the tongue. this webmaster can include a few pages related to php hosting, such as a glossary of hosting terms, etc., but there's only so much good content one can write about php hosting. yes, you could have a huge site about the php language, but then, that's not what the site is about. it would be a place for users to find the best php hosting for their needs.
so...if a site has ranked well for many months for the term 'php hosting' and suddenly drops out completely, what does this say? the site can still be found by typing in 'best php hosting' or 'php hosting [put any word here that appears on the homepage]' right back at the previous rank. yet, the 2-word phrase 'php hosting' has dumped the page that it thought for months was worthy.
just wanted to make the point that sometimes the phrase itself is really the phrase people do type in when searching for something to buy - without using the buy word.
please note that i have not compared the serps pre-florida / post-florida for the term 'php hosting'. it was just the best example i could come up with to mimic some situations.
| 5:53 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)|
dawlish, the idea of sabotaging another site by linking to them with whatever anchortext has always been barking up the wrong tree, and still is. :) I wouldn't worry about that. "Yes" as answer to your last question.
dazzlindonna, I agree that keywords can imply that you want to buy things without explicitly saying so.
Okay, I really am going to try to hang with my family now. :)
| 5:54 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)|
|...a user typing in "cheeseburger" probably isn't really looking to buy one from their Google results page. If I tried to put on my user hat, I would honestly guess that recipes would be the best match if that's all I knew about their query. |
GoogleGuy Have you tried searching on "cheeseburger" in Google? Not very pretty but the heading that comes up "Category: Recreation > Humor > Bizarre" just about sums up the Florida update :)
| 5:55 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)|
I understand all this talk about many pages of useful content targeting many different keywords. Before the update I was appearing #1-#3 for just over 1,000 keywords. These searches brought me about 3,000 unique visitors per month. So I certainly understand the importance of all the smaller phrases. However, I was #3 for my main keyphrase which brought in 675 unique visitors per day. This main keyphrase now brings me nothing, cause I am number 600 or something.
There are no more smaller phrases to equal this traffic!
That is over 20,000 unique visitors for the month. So now, instead of having close to 25,000 unique visitors per month and making way over $100,000 in sales per month. I am now only receiving about 2,500 visitors per month. I will be lucky to make $5-10k in sales per month now.
I am only talking about google here. These numbers do not reflect other search engines, links, etc. I understand Google Guy's logic in his posts on this thread, and agree with most of it. Even though I have been hit hard, I agree with a diverse search intention.
However, why on earth is my main keyphrase showing me number 600 when I used to be on first page for months. Google, you used to think that my site was the absolute most relevent. Now, you think it is absolutely not relevant. This is ridiculous. The first 2 pages are complete junk. Period.
My site is relevent to the tune of over 2,000 satisfied customers in the past 10 months. I sell a high priced item and don't sell anything less than $650. I accomplished this because my site is great for people typing in my main keyphrase.
I am very excited that I am selling this business and starting fresh with a "membership site" model. I have many joint ventures, newsletters, and affiliates that I will use to get visitors and sales. My new site will never ever rely on Google for its visitors. This is my plan from the get go.
I still love Google and will continue to use it as a searcher, so I hope that these moves provide great results, however, I don't want not even 1% of my business relying on this beast. These are all my opinions and I realize that you have opinions too. If you want to share them in response to this post, please do, but I do not intend to argue or debate with anyone.
I also don't want to hear "add more content, content, content" I have an ecommerce site and I sell high priced widgets. You don't go into the local luxury widget shop in town and find a community of people sitting around talking about things (like message boards), or loads and loads of books laying around (like extra, unneeded content), etc...
I will not stuff my pages with picture ratings, message boards, and BS articles just to make a search engine happy. I sell things and people coming to my site intend to read things related to the products (which I do provide) and make a purchase. Period.
I made the plunge and started working full time on line in December of 1997. Through this time I have read thousands and thousands of pages related to search engines. I have made multiple seven figures and lost quite a bit as well. I am tired of playing this game, so I am done. Today. I will never again rely on search engines. If I build a site and I get search engine traffic, then fine, I will enjoy it while it lasts.
My point is this...there are many other successful business models out there that don't rely on google, or other search engines. I have chosen to take this new road and I am very excited.
| 5:55 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)|
I built a site - it's taken 4 years work - and it has been position one on G for all of our (31) keywords for 18 months. The Florida update has messed things up slightly, but I'm convinced that is short term. Having said that, we still hold well over 60% of the positions we held pre-Florida. In my opinion SEO works long-term - but it means constant development and work. The single biggest mistake I believe is to build a site and believe that with some optimization the job is done, and here comes the money! Continued development, lots of relevant content, and hard work is the answer. In three years our earnings have trippled each year - long term I believe SEO (plus continued hard work) is the answer. Websites are not businesses in themselves, they are the 'shop front', and they need to be seen as exactly that.
| 5:55 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)|
you said "Oh no......... I see where they are going....... They want the SERPS to be information about "Widgets" and they want adwords to be "buy Widgets here". They want to train their users to click on Adwords to buy, but look into the serps for information about......."
-- I just checked my main 2 word keyword and lo and behold 19 of the top 20 sites in the listings are giving away their version of this search for free! Amazing. I thought a search for free plus the 2 word search phrase would show results like these. Hmmmm. Not to mention the outdatedness of these results that I mentioned in a previous post. Perhaps I should eliminate all mention of the word "buy"? Maybe I should ask people to call me for an order instead of having a link to a secure server order like I do now? After all, now that I am gone from the search results I'm sure I would get more orders that way if need be to get back in the search results for my RELEVANT content related to the 2 word search. O brother.
you said "Google has to make money somewhere. If there's an opportunity to massively increase revenues, it would be silly for them to ignore it."
-- I say that Google used to be about "relevant search results". Now if they are going to be about "increasing revenue" instead I fear it will come at the expense of relevant results. I think we are already seeing it.
The bottom line is, Google has to beware of the greed factor. Trying to increase revenues by 10% for example by eliminating commercial providers from the search results for the purpose of forcing them into adwords would only cheapen the search results that users have come to expect because it eliminates an entire class of search result from the regular listings.
And all for what? To increase revenues by 10% or so?
But what will the overall affect be? If users do not like the search results, they will search somewehere else. And there wil be no 10% increase in revenue. There will be a 50% drop.
The greed factor. How far is a company willing to go to squeeze out that extra 10% in revenue?
Is it worth it?
Not if it takes away from the core philosophy of the company that enabled them to get where they are in the first place.
| 6:02 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)|
Well it is evident that Google has decided to dilute general search terms and have introduced filters to remove the dominant commercial sites from the top of those searches.
Since this "information" thing does NOT hold true across commercial product lines, it is evedent that it was only important to dilute the competion in the highly sought after adword categories.
I have just done a search for the keyword "Jackets" a broad term that, according to Googles new theory, searchers would prefer patterns, sizes, materials, history, etc. (not my field)
Well, guess what, no information sites to be found, just those pesky old commercial sites - how annoying :-)
| 6:04 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)|
If I'm doing a search and the results I get back are way too general, I narrow down the search. Doesn't everybody do this? If I type in "widget" because I want to buy a widget, but all the top results are about the history of the widget or a porn star whose first name is Widget, I will refine my search to "buy widget" or "widget store" or "small green widgets" or whatever. If I type in "widget" because I want to know how to build a widget and all the top results are widget-sellers and pictures of Widget the porn star, I will try again with "widget instructions" or "build widgets."
Unless a user goes online ONLY for shopping or ONLY for research, he is going to have to go through this some of the time. If informational results are showing up a little more than commercial results now, what does it really matter? They'll find the page they were really looking for two clicks later, and if your page is good, they should still find it.
I've said before that the educational searches I did looked great (my own site went down a couple pegs, presumably because of the algorithm shift, but all the results above it are good informative sites now and some spam is now gone). Well, this morning I did some online shopping, and I didn't have any problems at all finding good sites to sell me three different kinds of mainstream merchandise. I don't see any problems from the user end at all.
I think the damage zones from this update are really rather limited-- in heavily-spammed, heavily-optimized, heavily-repetitive commercial areas, even small changes can cause huge fallout, since there are so many sites competing against each other so actively. In the rest of the web, the Google results are working just fine. Hopefully as Google deals with the new spam any update reveals, the most chaotic commercial areas will come into better focus too.
| 6:08 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)|
Thanks for bringing the "long term" back into this discussion - a lot of good posts since i checked last time :) >> The entire concept that you can remain top 10 with the same page under the same kw month-to-month is flawed
I'd even say; "The entire concept that you will rank the same with the same page for any two users/queries is flawed." - not that much now, but increasingly so, long term. As for Google, they've come a long way with geo-targeting already, mosly visible to those of us running searches in more than one language though.
Indeed some will want to buy a cheeseburger. Others will want the recipe. Still others will want a nice picture of one. Some will not even know what a cheeseburger is. It is very rare that the same individual page serves all needs for all people. >> But what if you're trying to promote your main site in Google?
I can see the importance of "domain.com" ranking well for "domain", but as the list of TLD's gets longer, i'm not even sure i find this natural. The only query i would really want to return an index page from a specific domain as #1 in any case would be "domain.com"...uhm.. make that "most cases" in stead.. (oh, and make that monority a duality) >> SEO is an abbreviation for...
... Sociedad Española de Ornitología - among other things. Google (and any other SE) will always have to consider a lot more diversity of needs than any individual in any specific business. You said it yourself, layer8: "Google ... are the market leaders in search engine services for a global market" >> Why can't we make the search engine better?
If "we" can do that, then by all means "we" should build one. If it's about Google, then that's simply not our job, unless we work there. Google has a lot of employees doing exactly that - our job is making our own sites better.
| 6:34 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)|
|So as far as the person who not only claimed that pages were penalized but that you should make the exact same page with a completely new url just to test changes.. that's barking up the wrong tree. Building good content sites is the best thing for users, and we're trying to bring those results to users. So no, I wouldn't worry about "penalties" from the most recent changes. |
Google must be referring to that post by Brenda_J, at the tail end of that thread that has now passed into oblivion since the thread was locked last night. (Part 4, Page 39, No. 574). It was bad enough that you always had to be logged in before the thread was even visible, but now it's also scrolling off of the page because no one can add to it. Down the memory hole....
I thought it was a good post. Some webmasters who have multiple domains, some penalized and some not, were starting to switch things around with new filenames and/or new domains on re-optimized pages, to see if the penalty got lifted. We were just on the verge of discovering whether the keyword filter was page-specific or site-specific. I can't make tests like this because I don't have any penalized pages.
But of course GoogleGuy is right. We shouldn't be trying to figure out what Google is doing. Instead we should be building "good content sites."
| 6:41 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)|
I would like to apologize the members of this forum.
I must admit to being very frustrated by this whole process.
There are many things about this update that really get to me. I wasn't particularly hurt or helped by this update but I feel for those that were.
Here are some of my frustrations:
1. It appears that many good sites have been replaced by the very largest online marketers.
2. This update happened before Christmas.
3. I still see tons of spammy sites, redirects, sub domain dominators, etc.. in the serps...
4. It seems that those selling products on the web are all "black hats" now...
5. It would seem the "relevance" is now bad and "obscure relevance" is now good... who does that serve?
6. This update seems aimed at driving users to adwords... and people seem to think that's ok...
7. The very people who can answer the hard questions are saying the same thing they have always said... even though some of it seems to contradict what's currently happening...
Don't get me wrong... Google IS the best SE going... but this update has been rough....
| 6:45 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)|
|But of course GoogleGuy is right. We shouldn't be trying to figure out what Google is doing. Instead we should be building "good content sites." |
How many of us blindly trust that Google/the world will reward them for their efforts in building "good content sites?"
|Small Website Guy|
| 6:48 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)|
|Let me try to give a different example; check out this thread: |
Read the first post. Notice how the first post only talks about rankings and different ways to manage backlinks? That post at first read sounds only like "how can I do better in rankings for this particular phrase?", without mentioning underlying quality or site utility at all. Instead, they're comparing backlink counts and asking how the keyword should be in the domain, etc.
I mean no disrespect to GoogleGuy, but people who want to learn how to build a better site will probably go to the bookstore and buy a book on website design, or HTML, or ASP.NET, etc.
People come to Webmaster World to find advice on how to get to the top of the search engine rankings.
Some of the people who want to get to the top DO have quality sites. Some don't care at all about quality, they just want their spammy site with affiliate links at the top so they can make money. But both types of webmasters are here for the same reason.
The Catch 22 of a quality site is that no matter how great the quality is, no one will ever find it unless it ranks in Google (or you pay a lot of money for adwords and other marketing). You can't build natural unreciprocated links unless people find your site first, and often getting people to find your site requires you to use SEO tricks, the kind that GoogleGuy says you shouldn't be focusing on.
In the real world marketing is everything. SEO is part of marketing. If you invented a soft drink in your kitchen that tasted better than Coca Cola, and then tried to sell it, would anyone buy it? Nope, they wouldn't. You don't have Coca Cola's marketing muscle. Quality, in this exapmle, is completely irrelevant.
| 6:50 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)|
How many of us blindly trust that Google/the world will reward them for their efforts in building "good content sites?"
I don't. Like I said before, for my industry (printing) a constant turnover of content pages is just not possible. Prices are what my visitors are interested in and we were thriving because of our high visibility on Google. Now the time has come to increase efforts in other marketing areas and forget Google. My blood pressure can't take the ups and downs of the update.
|Small Website Guy|
| 6:58 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)|
SEO is to websites as the "Shopper's card" is to supermarkets.
I HATE those shopper cards, I hate having to carry around extra junk in my wallet, and I hate the fact that some big corporation want's to track what I purchase on a computer.
Yet the marketing experience of the supermarkets have shown that the shoppers card helps them increase sales. That's all that they care about.
In the same way, I'm willing to decrease the quality of my sites to increase traffic. How's that? By linking to disgusting ugly sites so they will link back to me. By repeating keywords to the detriment of good writing. By spending time doing this stuff instead of increasing the quality of the site.
| 7:06 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)|
|How is "buy business widgets" a generalization? That seems a pretty specific search to me. |
Please re-read my post as I think you misunderstood what I was saying. "Business Widgets" is a very generalized search that has generalized results. A search for "Buy Business Widgets" is not a generalized search, thus having more relevant serps that let you "buy business widgets" rather than learn how to "make a business widget origami figure" as one top10 result for "business widgets" currently shows.
|It's not Google who will train users... users train themselves by using an SE. They will use whatever combination of KW's that get's them what they are looking for. |
I agree. The point I was making is that people will start learning that they will need to be more detailed in what they are searching for.
| 7:14 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)|
I have a site with good content - I sell noun widgetry which is also an artform - people do not come to my site to read all about this artform - there are plenty other sites for that.
What this sounds like is that if I want to get found for noun widgetry, I will have to add dozens of pages of waffle. If tried to add a fresh page of content every day, I would have more waffle than products.
There is an irony also in this, in that if you now search for noun widgetry, you don't get information sites abour the artform, and only one or two of the results are noun widgetry shops, the rest are all shopping malls which advertise sellers which sell everything.
How can a shopping mall with perhaps 0.05% of its listings being dedicated to noun widgetry, be more relevant than a site which informs about the artform, or a single shop which sells nothing but noun widgetry?
Thirdly, GG says we should try and capture more search terms - what are you supposed to do when your customers only ever use the term noun widgetry, or noun-thingying-widgetry (neither of which term I show up for anymore...)? My site is optimised for hundreds of wide ranging terms, and can be found on top for most of them, but if people don't use these terms to search, I might as well not be there.
I would love to go away and make my site better for people, and hope that I once again become at least visible for noun widgetry, but I wouldn't even know where to start anymore.
I can only wonder why not one of the other search engine agrees with G's results. (except those which are fed by it...)
| 7:16 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)|
The number one site for cheeseburger is a hoot. But I know why. Googlers only eat gourmet lunches. Check out the number three site for gourmet lunches.
Superscript: You can't test that way. You have to take a page that is penalized for a particular search term, change the filename on that page to a file on the same domain with approximately the same PageRank, de-optimize for the problem search term, wait for the freshbot to update, and see if it's still penalized. If it recovers its ranking, then the penalty was page-specific. If not, then do the same test except jump to a new domain with the de-optimized page. Evidence suggests that the parsing of pages for "bad" keywords is probably done once per crawl, which would mean that merely de-optimizing a page won't help you until the next update. Unless, that is, you define it as a different page (or even a different domain?).
| 7:17 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)|
Maybe someone suggested this already, but...
Is it possible that this last change was a manual one? Maybe it was a combination of algo tweaks, but mainly it was just google staff manually targeting sites they got complaints about? For companies that had SEO done on them and can't understand why it's happening to them, is it possible that some user or some competitor complained about it to google and google responded? It's true that legitimate sites may have been penalized, but maybe this was a manual shift and mistakes were made?
| 7:20 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)|
>> Building good content sites is the best thing for users, and we're trying to bring those results to users <<
GG: And this new approach does that? I genuinely can't believe that you really believe that. Check out the number of content providers who are now moving over to spamming (your definition, not mine).
Check in at the reality hotel. I'm actually desperately sad about this, I really truly am, because I thought Google had the potential to continue to build a wonderful "Mom & Pop" (as you seem to call it Stateside) way forward for everyone. You could have continued to defy the commercial shortcuts and could have made a real difference long term.
What a pity.
| 7:26 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)|
>people will start learning that they will need to be more detailed in what they are searching for.
I think a lot of searchers already know how to do this... I mean, I get 4-word queries all the time on pages aimed at grade-school students. It would seem the proverbial 8-year-old knows how to make searches more specific. (-:
So is the current theory now that one-word and four-word searches are getting different treatment from Google (the one-word searches being assumed to be vaguer, and the multiple-word searches more specific)? If so, it's an idea that could use a little refinement (some single words are already extremely specific, especially technical terms), but definitely a step in a good direction. Honestly, if somebody just comes in looking for "cats" the shotgun effect is probably the best chance at serving them; if they ask for "BreedX cat breeders in LocationY" it's reasonable to assume they know exactly what they're looking for.
| 7:29 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)|
This isn't sour grapes - I honestly think surfers will go to a different SE. I was explaining what had happened to Google to some friends in the pub last night (none of them work on the INet). They said they only occasionally used Adwords when shopping, they much preferred to chose a site from what they called 'the proper listings'.
[edited by: superscript at 7:30 pm (utc) on Nov. 24, 2003]
| 7:30 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)|
"I think people will click on and start to use extra words when searching"
I don't think so. Some people might. Others don't want to take extra time to refine a search they previously used to be able to conduct without needing to refine...
They will move on, and find a new place to get search results.
Honestly, for many searches I have tested the results are what I would expect to see from back in 1997.
I am seeing sites in the top 10 that basically have not been updated in years.
It is laughable. Good businesses have been replaced by outdated, un-updated, abandoned sites.
Ho ho ho, it's not Merry Christmas, it's a bottle of rum.
| 7:31 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)|
I don't think it's about "good content" anymore. It's about "lots of content".
For the terms I watch it's the massive dynamic sites that are doing well... probably because of the second new piece.. which is "relevance" is out and "obscure relevance" is in.
So... in order to get to the top you need to have tons of barely relevant pages. This will net you all of the low quality, low traffic search terms... this way the highly competetive keywords can be bid on through Adwords....
| 7:34 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)|
|They will move on, and find a new place to get search results |
I,m ok then, two word searches on other engines still bring the desired results, there is more to life than Google :)
[edited by: curlykarl at 7:34 pm (utc) on Nov. 24, 2003]
| 7:34 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)|
Also Ineedmoreexercise, its tempting to think that people *know* what the correct search terms are. Sometimes you have to use a broad search to get into the subject, find a relevant site, do some reading, then refine etc. etc. (I guess its called 'research'!) But if the first word or word-pair comes up with off topic pages all the time ...search over, hello AV.
| 7:38 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)|
If Searchers cant find where to buy Widgets they will buy somewhere else, and Google will ultimately lose.
This plan was not well thought out by the Suits at google, just a half brained idea.
I remember Voodoo saying we wont sell the chips, we'll make the video cards ourselves(another half brained idea). Where is Voodoo Now.
Another thing Yahoo is not playing ball as far as I can tell, those Serps are a week+ old. Inkomi hurry up!
| 7:40 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)|
IMHO, Miop's post #211 captures the essence of a very widespread problem that is killing thousands of legitmate sites of all kinds.
Sites generally about e-commerce are best when they are utilitarian; find the product, get in, get it bought. Who has time?
And if I want to read reviews of goods or services, I rarely read the reviews at the site I'm buying at anyway, since those reviews are too often slanted to the items/brands being sold there. That is what the review / editorial sites do well.
When algo changes shake things up and webmasters complain about unfair changes or lost ranking, I have little sympathy; particularly when changes are an attempt to stem spam and improve SERP's...that's life and all those "rethink your business model" comments apply to the whiner on those days.
However, when a SE turns against anyone on the Web who is trying to sell things for a living (or at least anyone who is not a multi-billion $ company)...that's a different matter.
Spammy affiliate sites, spammy e-commerce sites - they are a blight on the Web.
But affiliate marketing per se? Small and medium sized businesses? I get the feeling that those categories in general have become the object of disdain. Not sure why that is. Especially when AdSense is in effect an affiliate marketing program.
| 7:40 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)|
|Why does ecommerce get such a bad rap...? I would venture to guess that the majority of people running a business on the web, and using Google for traffic, want the same things Google does. We don't like competeing with spammers, redirectors, etc.. |
I don't think e-commerce gets a bad rap per se. But because there are so many, many sites selling the same products and services, the SERPs become cluttered with thousands of virtually identical pages, most of which are constructed with boilerplate content. This is frustrating to users, whether or not the Webmasters of those e-commerce sites are pushing the SEO envelope. It's like trying to find information in an index comprised of The Magazine Index, the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature, Books in Print, and every Yellow Pages directory in the world.
The clutter problem would be bad enough if merchants were the only people selling things, but there are also thousands (tens of thousands? hundreds of thousands?) of affiliates selling the same things, often with the same vendor-supplied advertising copy. So you end up with a situation where you search for the Hotel Whatsit in Shelbyville and you can't find its Web page without digging half a dozen pages down into the search results.
Some people might say "Well, that's the free market, and may the merchant or affiliate site with the best SEO win." That may be a valid point of view if you're a businessperson or an economist, but it isn't a point of view that Google can afford to share. Why? Because Google's stated mission is to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." Simply delivering hundreds or thousands of virtually identical search results in what, to a user, appears to be random order isn't good enough. I don't know what the solution is, but I suspect that it won't be found by continuing to rely on one massive, all-inclusive, undifferentiated index. There has to be a way to channel users into the types of search results they're actually looking for.