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This 186 message thread spans 7 pages: < < 186 ( 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 7 > >     
Google serp quality has gone down hill
For the first time ever that I notice this

 10:21 am on Jan 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Several times recently I have had to swith to AltaVista to find what I was looking for.

(For some searches I know for a fact that I used to be able to find what I was looking for with Google.)

This was mainly for computer related technical searches. (Have not noticed much difference with other searches, but my other searches are often less specific.)

This is the first time in years I've had to do this! If this keeps up, there will come a time when I start in AV instead of Google.

Just thought I'd mention this in case they think all is swell. Google should not think their status is etched in stone for the remainder of all time.



 11:31 am on Jan 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

-its an information search engine-
-your search is too vague, add keywords-
-your search is too specific, subtract keywords-
-everybody spams the popular search engine-
-theres an update in progress-
-theres an algo change in progress-
-you need to use the proper limiters ("",+ etc.)
-nobody searches for that-
-everybody searches for that-
any more?

Tropical Island

 12:09 pm on Jan 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have just done a review of our AdWords and Overture stats for the last week and compared the impressions. We have made no changes to these campaigns in the study period however Over is showing some "content match" even though it is turned off since their changes last weekend.


Jan. 21 to Jan. 23 - impressions - 16,982

Jan. 28 to Jan. 30 - impressions - 13,912

Down 18.1%


Jan. 21 to Jan. 22 - impressions - 2126

Jan. 28 to Jan. 29 - impressions - 2488

Up 17%

Because Over is so far behind in their reports I can't give an accurate number for yesterday.


 12:18 pm on Jan 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think we have been expecting too much from Google. We type in one or more words and expect Google to read our minds. Let's face it - even humans can't agree on what the serps should look like for any decent search. Take any keyphrase and ask the people you know about what 10 results and in what order should appear on the first page and see the vast disagreements.

However, I must say that quality of current serps, in my view, is quite bad. A machine-algorithm trying to prevail over humans trying to beat it! No chance for some time. Google is fighting a tough battle.


 12:19 pm on Jan 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think that the PageRank system has had it's day.

It was flawed for several reasons, one of which was the manipulation of links by Webmasters (like ourselves).
However, it was doomed anyway simply because Google became so important. What I mean by that is that when Google became so influential the outcome could only be this: Only websites that have good Google positions get new links because only websites with good Google position are found. (the big get bigger scenario).

Google has tried to counteract the effects of SEO (and possibly introduced a commercially motivated filter at the same time) but it is obviously not working.

The influence of the people in this Forum alone is going to have a major effect on Google.

I am no longer using Google and I have removed the Google Toolbar (my PR6's and PR5's don't seem to matter anymore).


 1:05 pm on Jan 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

My one hope is that this IS a process, and a momentous one, whose end will justify it's means.......


 1:16 pm on Jan 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

I must add to the above - most other SERPS look decent to me - I think they have more work to do and it will be interesting to see what happens in the coming months.


 1:32 pm on Jan 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

The influence of the people in this Forum alone is going to have a major effect on Google.

I think you have that backwards from what I've read in this thread. I'd tend to say:

The influence of Google is going to have a major effect on the people in this Forum.

If the people in this forum were making an influence on Google then the SERPS should turn back to where they were, but they are not, and I do not expect they will.


 1:44 pm on Jan 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

>> a virus that would automatically set everyones browser to MSN search?

That's not a virus, it's called an Operating System.

>> the Google SERP quality going downhill?

- that's not exactly a "yes or no" type question. In some areas it's easy to find the pages that meet your needs and in others it's harder. It was like that before Austin, Florida, etc. as well. Even before Google.

So, you have to look at it for a longer period to answer such a question. Also, you have to factor in the constraints of the equation, ie. (a) only 10 results on the first page, and (b) a large amount of webmasters eagerly trying to get listed on page one for a large span of different searches (some of these even completely unrelated to their site, ie. spamming). Also, (c) the total amount of indexed pages and (d) the different formats and languages of these.

Over the last couple of years (a) has not increased, but (b), (c), (d) certainly has. It is very rare for me not to be able to find what i'm looking for - i might not find your particular shop, but if i'm looking for exacly that shop i will find it, otherwise i will find another.

I can't remember the last time i used the "I'm feeling lucky" option, but i've always wanted a list to choose from, so even in the beginning i didn't use it much. OTOH, i've set my default now to display 100 results in stead of 10 - that happened well before Florida, so there's no changes there. Generally i seem to have less problems finding what i seek the more i know about it in advance - ie. if i can put in a specific product code or any other highly specific combination of terms - otherwise i often find myself doing "the search operators thing" excluding and including terms, but it was like that even before Google.

The googlebot has gotten a lot better at indexing, that's my primary concern - in the past year or so things like blogs, forum posts and email-lists have flooded the serps for a lot of searches, and these are mostly utterly useless, as they tend to ask the same questions the searcher does in stead of providing the answer. I've seen a decrease in blogs, but the maillists are still there. Some forums, eg. this one, are generally valuable but not all forums have the same quality - maillists in particular are utterly useless.

So, what we have is a situation where a drastically increased amount and variety of data must be displayed on a fixed amount of space.

The logical solution would be to identify subsets and groups within the results and display these selectively somehow - perhaps like the Northern Light engine used to do (or like the ATW clusters) or something like that. Otherwise you could work hard on eliminating results that are very similar, but the inflow of data and the rate in which sites are published will likely continue, so that's not a perfect solution, albeit it is a necessary one.


 2:33 pm on Jan 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

still relevant for certain searches it seems

[news.bbc.co.uk ]


 2:41 pm on Jan 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

>Bottom line - Real Estate searches still stink

The stench is now much worse. For numerous locations you are lucky to find one broker or agent in the first 20 results, for some locations there isn't a single broker in the top 100.

I'm planning to move....Google is of no help at all!

How does Google see weather sites and Amazon as relevant to real estate?

I never thought I would say these words....but, "thank goodness for Dmoz!"....at least I can navigate that to something useful.

Google is supposed to be a search engine, now it looks more like an index of directories and irrelevant pages that happen to have a high PR and some sparse incidental wording in many categories.

Google need to get back to thinking about on page content and how they can determine what a site is really about. Their paranoia with webmasters and SEO's manipulating results is going to bring them down if they don't correct it.

In some categories Google looks like a sponsor's only SE now. If you want relevance you have to select AdWords.....we all know how well that strategy works for SE's.

It is a great pity MSN didn't remove L$ earlier and Yahoo are still testing Ink results. It is now very difficult to tell what the true cause and affects are as all these changes came at once (as always). MSN traffic is way up, Yahoo a little.

I can't really tell if Google is losing users, but it is odd that AV and Ask traffic has increased for no apparent reason!

12+ months ago Google was acclaimed as the most relevant engine by just about everyone. At which time it displayed results not that dissimilar to what most other SE's have today.

Now Google results are way out of line in many categories with its SE competitors. Is it now far ahead of the competition or has it dropped the ball? You don't need to do much searching to determine the answer!

Long-term the relevant sites won't suffer, people will just find them using other SE's. Google is now looking like an AV of yesteryear, and AV is looking more like a Google of a last year. It is time to buy some Yahoo stock, they seem to have the better strategy!


 2:48 pm on Jan 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have noticed the search quality get better in the last 24 hours. I was using Google as a SE, not a webmaster, and actually found what I was looking for at the top of the SERPs. Maybe some shaking up is still going on.


 3:01 pm on Jan 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

Well im back at #8 after 45 days of oblivium. Its not
the #2 as I was pre florida, but its a step in the right direction. I don't expect it to last, however.
It appears that google changes or tweeks its algorithm
every week or so. If only Google would go back to those long weeks or months of stability before Florida.


 3:20 pm on Jan 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

lgn1 -
Same here. I came back, but not at #1 or #2. More like #8-20. Better than not being there at all



 3:44 pm on Jan 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

Same here. I came back, but not at #1 or #2. More like #8-20. Better than not being there at all

Being at 8-20 might be better then #1 or #2 if you're surrounded by rubbish ;)

I'm at #8 on a KW I was #1 at - but it still means I'm in less than the top 1/100 of a percent of all available listings for that search term. There aint much room at the top.

All the best


 3:53 pm on Jan 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

Since this has been described as a process, I am content to sit back and watch the process take shape and learn - however, and I think GG already knows this based on emails I recieved back from google, I do take issue with the censoring that is occuring on some keywords. I always thought the purpose of the safesearch settings for searches was to let adults decide what they want to see in the results - evidently that is not the case anymore. It's unfortunate that Google has made itself fall into the trap of being "politically correct" in the face of the coming IPO - but I guess it was to be expected.


 3:58 pm on Jan 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

>Being at 8-20 might be better then #1 or #2 if you're surrounded by rubbish

That is very true. :)

Google is tiring out the surfer. In some categories the visitor is so pleased to finally find something relevant that they just can't wait to buy. Forget comparative shopping, at the bottom of page 2 the surfer feels like they may never find another site that is relevant.....better buy right now.


 4:22 pm on Jan 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

Does anyone can explain why results in Google (in English) are different from country to country?

My website gets on the top on non-english country results (for English pages), but is not even on the first 1000 pages on the English pagesÖ

Is it related with the host being in France? (the site is all in English)


Miguel Duarte

wifi on the fly

 4:53 pm on Jan 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

I still refer to yesterdays search of ATA0

4 of the top 10 aren't even readable. I am sure they would be info if I could just speak the language.

That is entirely uncommercial, but it proves how crazy things are over at Google.

Come on Google - It isn't just commercial that you have messed with. These are your results for everything. We were one of the ISP's that you were paying to get users to switch to you back in the day. Now what have we done?

If only I could find a toolbar for AlltheWeb I would be set.

And Google - If you are really listening, you guys have done a killer job for a long time. The natives are extremely restless, please don't lose the people that helped you get to where you are today.


 5:54 pm on Jan 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

Google is now providing only at best public service announcements. This will require us employ other search engines that utilize content.

The IPO offering withdrawal - may be partly the problem.
They are loosing market share either purposefully or because of poor leadership. Which one is it.



 6:10 pm on Jan 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

I dont doubt that this has been said in one shape or form, but Ill say it again, as I feel some people might be missing something here.

If you accept the idea that seo's are not particularly welcome and that there is a recognition that Google looses millions of dollars in lost revenue by way of monies that have gone to seo's than have gone to adwords accounts, then it begins to make perfect sense as to why most money serps are crap.

The message is clear. Dont pay SEO's money to manipulate our serps. If you do, then you are playing an extremely randomised unpredictable game, and will probably be better served sticking your money on a number on a roulette wheel.

Sure, Im not saying that you cannot still attain a good position, or earn a living from doing so, but the fact is, that as of late, there have been so many variables and disinformation thrown into the mix as to make the algo practically unfathomable. Yeah yeah ok, so yes, provided you are found in the right places and have sufficient link pop, and properly optimised content, and quality content etc then you can still get there, however as has been demonstrated on a multitude of kw's the landscape is often nothing but a lot of cack.

I personally do'nt think that the serp quality has gone down hill, especially if im looking for informational stuff. If im looking for a service, I either use adwords or an INK or Fast based engine.

Message from G - dont pay seo's to deliver yourself new business from 'our' technology. Buy adwords.



 6:56 pm on Jan 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

I agree Travelman. I feel like I am playing craps. Roll the dice and keep your fingers crossed.

For every theory, there is a group of sites that disproves it.

What boggles my mind is that I am seeing tons of redirects and cloaks for many SERPS. I can understand dropping out of top rankings but to be replaced with redirects and cloaked pages is ABSURD!


 10:11 pm on Jan 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

the results right now speak volumes to me and what they are offering is nothing useful to the surfer hence why they are leaving G.

Hi Tigger. Here and elsewhere you claim people are leaving Google. Have you any evidence to back up that assertion? Your traffic from Google may be down, but mine is up. I think it's way too early to make the kind of claim you're making.


 10:29 pm on Jan 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

Here's some evidence:

"Any good alternative to Google?"

A thread title from one of the biggest computer geek forums on the internet. This forum has over 12,000 registered users and at any given time from 500 to more than 800 users online. These guys are/were all hardcore Google users, now starting to drift away, and they all visit multiple forums. Dissatisfaction is spreading.


 10:47 pm on Jan 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

"Dissatisfaction is spreading"

Well delusion is anyway.


 10:49 pm on Jan 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

>If Google is evolving then the current algorithm is neanderthal man.

I like it.

Let's see: Altavista: Australopithecus
Inktomi: Homo erectus
MS: still adding viral DNA to dung-flinging spider monkees
(Humans, still doing it better)


 10:58 pm on Jan 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

>Being at 8-20 might be better then #1 or #2 if you're surrounded by rubbish

That is very true. :)

Very true, and my traffic has TRIPLED this month as a result of being one of only two of the sites users like percentages is able to find in the top 10.

>Google is supposed to be a search engine, now it looks more like an index of directories and irrelevant pages that happen to have a high PR and some sparse incidental wording in many categories.

Dead on description of the problem. It may be a process, but that doesnt excuse anything. Its been an ongoing process for too long. Im one of the lucky ones with sites that still do well, but I hate searching for anything on Google anymore.

Just look for a well known PPC search term suggestion tool. It used to be #1 as one would expect. Now it isnt found for several pages. This is inexcusable from a SE like Google. There are too many other obvious searches that Joe User does that leave Joe scrating his head wondering what's up.


 11:00 pm on Jan 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

>So people who want to find philips are unlikely to use a search engine, unless they're profoundly stupid.

Then you would be surprised how many do a search for Y! on Google.


 11:26 pm on Jan 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>Why do you think GG had been so absent of late?

He jumps in on message 92 of this here thread titled, "Google serp quality has gone down hill", and explains why.

He also spending some weekend time helping out these folks:



 11:33 pm on Jan 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

But anyway, the discussion was focussed on the ridiculous idea that 'Google was meant to find information with

That ridiculous idea may have been derived from Google's own mission statement:

"Google's mission is to deliver the best search experience on the Internet by making the world's information universally accessible and useful."

Different people may define "information" in different ways, and Google's definition should become clearer as its search results continue to evolve.


 11:36 pm on Jan 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

I know that there was a lot of crap that needed cleaning from the SERPís, especially in the extremely competitive areas, but this simply hasn't made the majority of results any better.

The reason people are moaning here is because their *legitimate* sites have been purposely chucked to the bottom of the SERPís. It's gut churning stuff to actually think about what Google have done to the *innocents*. They're calling it a process. :-) - thatís good, unfortunately a process that will take too long to achieve and will result in people going elsewhere long before the "process" is complete. Even Google's not big enough to change the way people think and behave - that takes hundreds of years.

BesidesÖ it's not Google's job to decide on behalf of it's millions of daily users what *it* thinks they are looking for. It's Google's job to rank the best sites at the top and the worst sites at the bottom. It actually seems to be doing just the opposite. This is sheer craziness - suicide. People are noticing.


 11:41 pm on Jan 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

a process is not defined as a means to an end...a process may imply an infinite requirement....under which circumstances a process can be defined as a lost cause.....

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