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What exactly is right or wrong with Google?
It looks just fine from this consumer and information seeker's view.

 2:30 am on Nov 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

What’s the reason everybody claims that the current Google index is terrible, bad, full-of-crap, the spawn of Satan, an elaborate conspiracy to get us to spend more on Adwords, etc.? 90% of the reasons I’ve seen listed were “I fell from #2 to not even in the top 100” which I would never use as a measuring stick for the quality of SERPs. I’ve even seen people claim that the Ink results are better than Google.

I can say that based on the searches I have done as a consumer, I like this index more than the old one. When I put in a city I get SERPs that have information about the city, not ten thousand affiliate sites waiting to send you to the exact same site. I just got done doing quite a bit of x-mas shopping and guess what, I found what I was looking for without having to go to page two of the SERPs.

I realize this place is full of the SEOs who’s #1 (if not only) concern is their own sites ranking highly and in most people opinion on here their site is always the most relevant site for whatever keyword you are looking up. But, what reasons other than “my site was optimized for Google and ranked #1 for a year but now it’s not ranked THIS IS GOING TO RUIN MY BUSINESS!” are there for the condemnations of this new index?




 5:01 pm on Nov 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Prior to the Florida update we had a high position for our "keyword(plural)" phrase. This keyword is for a particular sporting equipment and is always referred to in the plural form. Since the FLorida update, that keyword(plural) phrase returns a mostly link farms to organizations who enjoy playing that sport. Interestingly, the "keyword(singular)" phrase returns the pre-florida listings for the keyword(plural) phrase.

Since customers would not be interested in purchasing just one of these instruments but several, the search is meaningless.


 5:39 pm on Nov 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

In GOOGLEs eyes there is NOTHING wrong with the results or the "engine" ... It is performing just as they would like and/or had planned it to!

They clearly researched which terms were considered "highly competitive" e.g. terms/phrases that users were likely to purchase adwords for. If your keywords fall into this category then you too are expected to participate in the bidding war if you want traffic ;)

If the SERP's your site is located on do not have 3 to 4+ ads then Id say your terms for that particular search are NOT considered competitive and thus your site was not sent to the back of the line (so-to-speak.)

For highly competitive terms that have 6-7 ads on the SERP's it appears 70% + of the previous top 100 sites are no longer in the top 100!

The way I see it if Google wants to play this game (hit 70% of sites with competitive terms in the pocket) then we need to hit back STOP USING ADWORDS!


 5:44 pm on Nov 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Steveb recently said,

How about not looking for a handout and instead earning what you get?

I bet you think I really do get up at 6am for my hand outs from the omnipresent and benevolent Google. LOL.

So what is Google doing if it is not giving every web page it lists a hand out? The point is that everyone is in the same line, even you, but Google has stopped some sites even waiting in line. Google is in a very powerful and privileged position. I just wonder if it is abusing that power and privileged.

The good news is that we are already starting to hear that people with nice white hats are finding ways around the new algo, so how long do you really think it will be before the dark side has got the whole thing cracked?

Best wishes



 5:49 pm on Nov 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Crisco - AMEN!

Already as a "general user" I have begun using A/V for searches. As I was ATTEMPTING to Christmas shop on "G" I found only directories and other junk. C'mon, does the end user really want to search for "ABC", connect to one of many directories - then search again for "ABC". Nahhh...


 5:55 pm on Nov 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'm a webmaster, but speaking from a google user's POV... I used to have favorites stored in my browser... now I pretty much use google, unless I'm searching for before and after breast implant photos of Carmen Electra - they don't have good results for that...

I once made my company $30,000 profit on one sale by finding an overseas vendor for a hard-to-find item on Google.

Me like google. Google good. Google BETTER for finding hard to find things than finding very common things.

You CAN build and run a site and get it listed in google's index without spamming or using SEO proper. I've done it several times. If your livelihood depends on your site being in the top 10 results for "Carmen Electra" or "Cheap Insurance" or World's greatest web site" - you have made a bad career move, and there is nothing Google can do to change that fact.


 6:14 pm on Nov 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Again, my case is related to the term "mycountry real estate".

Since November 20, 80 plus "mycountry real estate" related Web sites were removed from Google's Top 100.

Those 80 sites were a good representation of "white hat" and "black hat" sites and everything in between.

I had 3 "white hat" sites among the 80. 2 of the 3 were Top 20.

What exactly is right with Google?

ALL of my competitors were removed from the Top 20. So I don't have to worry about my competitors receiving more traffic.

All of us aren't receiving any traffic via "mycountry real estate."

I'm in a better situation since I targeted quite a few other search terms with non-index pages. So my overall traffic is only down 10 to 15%.

It's been more than a week since all this started. I've spent the last few days analyzing Google's situation.

It makes sense now.

The most important search results are the ones found on the first pages.

It's easier to filter "white hat" sites from "black hat" sites within a small sample of sites. It's easier to work with a sample of 100 than a sample of 10,000 sites.

What exactly is wrong with Google?

Perhaps not knowing how long this task will take.

I hope to see interesting SERP's within a few more days. I'm glad to know Yahoo is replacing Google soon and Altavista isn't looking bad.

In the meantime, I don't mind Google making some extra bucks by selling AdWords. However, I'm not buying any.

Instead I have made my sites "whiter".


 6:25 pm on Nov 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

A perspective ...

Conspiracy: An agreement to perform together an illegal, wrongful, or subversive act.
Theory: An assumption based on limited information or knowledge; a conjecture.

Therefore, the name conspiracy isn't appropriate to describe Google's actions. And theories isn't appropriate either.

Web people shouldn't be afraid of naming Google's action of this month: Business Strategy.

It's a business strategy because there are events properly identified that could shake Google's business foundations:

1. Yahoo replaces Google.
2. Google's IPO

It'll be OK to name Google's actions "conspiracy theories" if the above events were fictional.

Don't be afraid of calling what Google deployed this month by its proper name: Business Strategy.


 6:40 pm on Nov 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

It is hard to earn a living if you get no passing trade. To trade you have to parade your wares. You also have to parade them where people are - there is no point in parading your wares down a country lane in the middle of the night. If the person that controls the trading space won't let you in, then it doesn't matter how hard you are prepared to work for a living.

Your "trading space" is the Web. Your monthly rent is the fee that you pay to your hosting service.

Google isn't a "trading space," a downtown retail street, or a shopping mall. It's more like the newspaper or TV station where you hope to promote your goods or services. Now, with traditional media, you might be able to get the occasional bit of free PR coverage, or you might not. But in general, if you want to use those media to reach an audience, you're expected to buy ads. Why should Google be any different? Why should anyone think that it's Google's reponsibility to subsidize e-commerce businesses with free search listings? IMHO, Web-based businesses should consider themselves blessed: They pay far less rent than brick-and-mortar businesses do, they can be open 24 hours a day without having paid clerks around to operate the cash register or watch for shoplifters, and--just as important--they can advertise their wares free of charge in search engines like Google...at least for now.


 6:42 pm on Nov 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Ordinarily, I don't pipe up in these bloated threads about Google. However, I must say that some of the top ten SERPS I've come accross are appallingly bad. With some I've seen three or four discussion boards listed that only tangentially relate to the key words. The only alternative is to clidk on the Adwords listings to get relevance.

Google - Are you pulling a 1999 AV on us?


 6:57 pm on Nov 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>>The only alternative is to clidk on the Adwords listings to get relevance.

That'd be my shiny new ad. Being the only relevant link in the midst of directory serps might be a good thing. Narrowly target your one MIA money phrase & let the subpages do all of the free work. Yes, I've said "Uncle" to Google.


 7:15 pm on Nov 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

I sincerely doubt any site is entirely dependent on having number 1-10 rankings for each of its keywords or phrases or has only one keyword. It’s the limiting of the site exposure by questionable means to me. What sites have a right to is fair and equitable treatment if competitors sites can be shown as receiving preferential treatment. That’s regardless of it being a free to submit search engine or not. If it’s free then all are entitled to equal treatment. If preferential treatment can be shown by Google and the consumer is not made aware of it, then this violates FTC guidelines.

Why does the number one site in my area (which is a notorious spammer) use the keyword term 50 times while 87 companies have been penalized for using it? And why does this site go un-penalized under dozens of other search terms while these companies still go penalized. Is this companies genius so great that it would lead an ordinary man on a jury to believe they alone figured out the algo well before it was introduced. If some sites were given preference was information made available to all to correct for this? Were the Google Guidelines vague? Were there two sets of Google Guidelines?

Google can limit spam but did their new algo extend preference to some while at the same time severely penalize others. Free has nothing to do with it. I believe this is Googles’ Achilles’ heel legally. I believe it can be shown as I believed the Looksmart case could be shown.


 7:16 pm on Nov 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

europeforvisitors - the 'web' is useless with out a way to locate what is there. SE's are just a window on the web that enables people to view what is there. Without SE's and prior knowledge, they would not be able to navigate around it.
Google is not like a TV station or a newspaper - it is a shop window as much as it is a library.
Google doesn't have to provide free coverage for people wanting to get exposure in that space - it just has to index the web. If there are some portions of the web that it does not want to index for free, then Google should state that. Other SE's make it clear that you cannot be indexed without a fee - Yahoo makes it clear that you cannot be in their directory without paying (as a commercial web site) and ou pay to get a listing in Ask Jeeves. Google has not to my knowledge made any such announcement or intention.
Perhaps someone can suggest another way of navigating the web apart from using SE's. Even commercial shopping malls must get a listing in Google before a customer can find a site which is listed in the shopping mall.
If this is Googles new business strategy, then let them be honest and say so, and people can stop doing their heads in trying to beat the algo, and just stump up the cash instead.


 8:56 pm on Nov 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

europeforvisitors - the 'web' is useless with out a way to locate what is there.

Sure. So are the Postal Service and the UPS, if a business is using them as its "trading space." That's why mail-order companies buy ads in magazines and send out catalogs.

Google is as much a shop window as much as it is a library.

Google's corporate mission statement suggests otherwise.

Google doesn't have to provide free coverage for people wanting to get exposure in that space - it just has to index the web. If there are some portions of the web that it does not want to index for free, then Google should state that.

Google does index the Web, including the commercial sites. I'm sure we'll all hear quickly if its indexing policy changes. :-)


 9:10 pm on Nov 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Google can limit spam but did their new algo extend preference to some while at the same time severely penalize others. Free has nothing to do with it. I believe this is Googles’ Achilles’ heel legally.

Even if you were a lawyer making that argument (which is highly doubtful), I'd question it because it's based on the illogical assumption that Google knowingly is giving preference to some spammers while penalizing others.

Fact is, no algorithm, perimeter wall, security system, burglar alarm, etc. is 100% reliable. Some bad guys are always going to slip through...and if enough of them keep slipping through the same hole, that hole is likely to be patched eventually.


 10:49 pm on Nov 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

"So what is Google doing if it is not giving every web page it lists a hand out?"

What an astonishing attitude. Google is doing no one a favor by serving up quality results. Certainly some webmasters and seos have this upside down view of the world, but the fact of the matter is that the root of Google's wealth is delivering quality results to people. Webmasters who create quality content are not being done a favor; Google needs to deliver quality to make its money. And the reverse is also true. Webmasters with quality content needs search engines that value quality content. The public rewards both sides of this equation. This is why PFI engines are a complete disaster. They don't value quality, and they don't deliver it.

The best and most successful webmasters will look at Google as a partner. They need each other and benefit from each others work.


 10:55 pm on Nov 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

What Google needs to realise is that Google needs SEO's more than the other way round.

It might be argued that optimization is the greatest obstacle to having good results in any of the Search Engines, and that SEO's are the very ones who make the task more difficult. One can hardly point to spammy results as a flaw in Google, which has been done in thousands of posts here recently, when it is SEO techniques that put the spam there in the first place. Those who live by the algo die by the algo.

ADDED: What the hec, as long as I'm on my soapbox...

What the internet, and Google, needs, is sites with unique content that are worth visiting, not 1 good site and 1000 directories/affiliates/portals/etc trying to ride into riches on others original work, by way of dodgy SEO techniques.


 11:26 pm on Nov 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Europeforvisitors saith: If there are some portions of the web that it does not want to index for free, then Google should state that.

Fair enough. Check out [google.com...] which says, among other things, that there are portions of the web that Google doesn't want to index AT ANY PRICE, as well as flatly denying your allegation that individual sites are given preferences.

In view of the fact that the Google ranking algorithms are partly secret and partly complex enough that they might as well be secret so far as most people are concerned, theories involving hand-tweaked preferential treatment, elves, black helicopters, april fool chickens, or bug-eyed monsters really don't serve any rational purpose.


 11:59 pm on Nov 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

I found NONE of what you described on that page. Are you inferring that the hundreds of thousands of missing index pages are the result of hidden text and such?
Besides, we all know the pages are still indexed. They are simply being forced out of the range of findability on searches where it makes financial sense for Google.
The FCC should require them to say at the top of the serp that the query has tripped a filter which affects the relevance and quality of the results.


 12:16 am on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

This is what bugs me about G pre and post Florida. I was shopping for a DVD player last week. I searched for
<brand name> <model number> reviews. EVERY serp for about four pages was the same information. They were all Amazon or dealtime sites repackaged for all of the affiliate sites.

I know that all of these sites want to sell to me. But as I consumer this repetition is not helpful. To me this is G's major weakness. If I want to find statistics, quotes, song lyrics, etc then G is right on. But searching for a *variety* of info on a *product* with G is worthless.

RE: What G has changed this update.
I have 4 sites that I work on. The MOST optimized site went UP in the SERPS for the home page. The 2 LEAST optimized sites have now disapeared in the SERPS (home page only) where they used to be top 10.

All of the sub-pages have moved UP in the SERPS. Strange indeed.


 12:21 am on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

I just came across another big problem. Not only are most "first page" results directories and such, but the following results are pulling up from the keyword ANCHOR text pointing to our sites! FUNNY! Guess we better hope people click on that site that has our link THEN finds our link and clicks on it. Wait - wouldnt that be extra work? A step backwards for the end users in a world of technology and laziness?


 12:53 am on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Are results better or worse for the user since hurricane Florida struck? I don't know and I don't think anyone else can know for sure either unless they have access to Googles private stats. However, there is no doubt that some searches produce dreadful, spam-infested, duplicant results - that's a fact pure and simple.

Is there a policy of deliberately producing bad results, or is there a problem with bad data and/or bad filters, etc?

I'm sorry but as an honest guy and as a programmer, I just don't understand why people think poor results are deliberate. In the long term, this could not possibly pay off. I would say there is only one company so low and devious that they would try that and it's not Google.

Google's results may be bad (for some searches) but I'm still confident that their intentions are good. However, they really should announce new algos in advance so that webmasters can test them out (on www2 or whatever) and report problems. And they should deal with cross-linked, spammy duplicate domains by banning them when they are reported. There are some dreadful examples out there.



 1:30 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Just a thought, but for users who honestly don't know how to refine their searches, perhaps returning directories and authority sites is the best way to help them? They're not going to be able to use Google to its fullest potential anyway, so maybe pointing them to directories where a variety of useful sites are indexed and described is better for them in the long run. This is certainly true of children, anyway. I get pleading emails from grade-school kids all the time telling me their "eyeballs are about to fall out" from trying to do web searches. Granted that links to the Yahoo and ODP directories are quite useless to me when I'm doing a specific websearch--I obviously already know how to reach those directories--but naive users may not, and the overwhelmed kids trying to do web research will be relieved to find directories and authority sites "cluttering up" the front page, instead of related commercial pages.

Besides, I think Joe User's getting underestimated here. Lots of average folks already know enough to at least add "buy" or "store" to their search if they want to buy something. If Google's assuming that someone who types in a single vaguish keyword is probably confused and needs to look at some directories, they may well be right. *shrug*

Just Guessing

 3:16 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

What's wrong with Google is that regardless of the quality of the results, Google is no longer honest with webmasters.

I quote from their Webmaster Guidelines:

"Following these guidelines will help Google find, index, and rank your site, which is the best way to ensure you'll be included in Google's results...."

"Think about the words users would type to find your pages, and make sure that your site actually includes those words within it...."

"Make sure that your TITLE and ALT tags are descriptive and accurate...."

Folowing these guidelines will now ensure that your site is wacked way down or out the results for many "commercial" search terms.

I think this is the first time that Google has penalised sites that follow the guidelines and avoid spamming techniques.

Google doesn't have to publish guidelines, but if they do, they should be honest.


 3:20 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

The serps are full of off-topic sites for many many keywords.

This is a fact. It's not about webmasters losing rankings or anything.

It's about surfers being presented with a load of junk which has nothing to do with what they are looking for.

Surfers are being denied sites which offer clean, on-topic content. These are honestly constructed websites and Google's quality is suffering.

Just Guessing

 3:43 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Sorry, I got it all wrong. It's all part of Google's admirable mission to stop us finding all the really evil things in this world. The worst affected search terms are all to do with porn, gambling, loans, drugs, frilly socks, flower delivery, kitchen worktops..... Hang on, what was I saying?


 4:11 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Just Guessing -
note - optimised my site as per the G guidelines - nowhere on Google but way ahead of where I was on the other search engines (except MSN who indexes my page once every three years by the look of it).
Now I just need someone to use them.


 4:16 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

It's all part of Google's admirable mission to stop us finding all the really evil things in this world. The worst affected search terms are all to do with porn ... flower delivery,

Don't be hasty! If you suffered from hayfever as badly as I do, I might be grateful that a wellwisher is unable to find a flower deliverer on Google... ;)

Regarding porn - I have enough in my inbox thank you :)


 4:36 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

I notice in various threads that searchers should add 'buy' to the particular product to exclude the info sites, not only does it exclude the info sites on many examples I have tried in travel sector it doesn't bring up the products I need either because it is looking so hard for 'buy' which doesn't crop up that often in the most pertinent sites so offers sites that have the keywords + buy but in no particular order taken from the content of site.

My tests showed a 30-40% rate of sites offering the product for sale when using 'buy', worse than without which is currently approx 60%.


 4:41 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)


Try typing in "yohimbe" on google and only 3 results come up! (i'm in the uk but using google.com)
try it on yahoo and 240,000 results come up!

Whats happening! This has to be a *mistake*

google basically has many issues - which are inherent in its search engine "system" - it cannot be *expected* to deliver results which are "perfect". They *will* get progressively worse - not better as the system cannot determine what sites are quality content.
New search engine *systems* need to be developed that offer a better standard of search by detecting quality and relevance- i.e. use of semantic ontologys.
Plus, although they cannot be expected to, if users used simple boolean logic (AND, OR, MINUS...) and the correct syntax (i.e. quotes...) to search then poor results would be far less likely.



 5:31 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

I notice two their really two opinions about the Florida update. One from commercial site owners who have been annihilated by Google and the second opinion from the less commercial side of the Internet who target terms that were unaffected by the update. Those in the second group seem to turn to a blind eye to the devastation of the Florida update. It doesn't affect me so what's the problem, kind of attitude.
The thing is what if Google decides to go further with the filter and starts applying it to every term, then what?
It is obvious that Florida was a slap in the face of honest site owners and SEOs who built Google to what it is today. It is important that we all stick together and make Google understand that such actions will not be tolerated. We must stop using Adwords, recommend other search engines, and not let Google get away with what it has done.


 5:48 pm on Nov 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yeah - ok - stop using adwords. In the meantime, I would love to get more clicks with adwords.

That has to be the "" suggestion of the month.

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