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Google serp quality has gone down hill
For the first time ever that I notice this
TryAgain




msg:189622
 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.

 

soapystar




msg:189742
 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.....

Go60Guy




msg:189743
 11:50 pm on Jan 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

Well, a process can move in both a positive and negative way. Here, if it is a process, wouldn't we expect to see some incremental improvement that the bulk of posters here could point to with approval?

Or, perhaps there's a silent majority here that's just tickled with the way Google is "improving", believing is to be so obvoius that it requires no comment. ie. Only the crazies see deterioration in the SERPs.

Again, I don't think I've seen such intense condemnation of a Google update since WebmasterWorld began. That should say something IMO.

Also, I take a little umbrage at the notion that a commercial site is unlikely to provide valuable and useful information.

[edited by: Go60Guy at 11:51 pm (utc) on Jan. 31, 2004]

c1bernaught




msg:189744
 11:51 pm on Jan 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

Google is driving the user to Adwords and to click on paid sponsored listings, driving the webmaster to Adwords, sponsored listings. They must do this as a company.

However, there may be a way to get what everyone wants... I would be willing to pay Google a percentage of my web profits for the use of thier search engine. Profits would be much higher if Google actually worked with Webmasters instead of against them.

They could still play with the algo to stop spam, still penalize, etc.. The difference would be that they would make money in every case, ecommerce Webmasters would make money by being the best at what they do, information sites could create revenue through an Adsense type of program, the user would get relevent serps that don't require a 1/2 hour of searching to find what they want...

Many ways to skin that cat. Many ways for Google to stay dominant and to become more sucessful by helping others be successful... powerfull stuff...

My 2 cents....

[edited by: c1bernaught at 11:52 pm (utc) on Jan. 31, 2004]

oraqref




msg:189745
 11:52 pm on Jan 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

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

The idea is ridiculous because its presumptious and didactic rather than practical and effective. Bombastic too, as anything whatsoever can be labelled 'information'. Errant, since the current google algo ignores on page factors.

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

Lots of wool and little content - such 'statements' are so full of common place expressions they really don't mean a thing at all.

Badly written too. Making information useful? Oh, please.

skipfactor




msg:189746
 12:19 am on Feb 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>a commercial site is unlikely to provide valuable and useful information

Commercial sites are alive & well on Google last time I checked. Some sectors are definitely trickier than others, and guess which ones?

Authority commercial sites are diamonds in the rough in the previously spammy comm serps; anchor spam doorways are apparently wiped out in the competitive serps I piddle with, but I still see them occasionally on non-competitives--better than a grey bar, keeps them tweaking instead of starting over.

Took a commercial hit on FL, took an informational hit on Austin. That screams 'process' to me. I believe in the process.

steveb




msg:189747
 12:34 am on Feb 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

"Here, if it is a process, wouldn't we expect to see some incremental improvement that the bulk of posters here could point to with approval?"

I think only a few people are missing this obvious point. Most complaints here are about authoritative, but low relevance sites that are ranking high. Except for the spammers, most people would wish those sites were authoritative and highly relevant.

But authoritative and low relevance is better than non-authoritative and low relevance. Some areas didn't have this problem, but in the areas it was a problem, the difference in the "bad" results is obviously encouraging. Pure junk doorway, hyphenate-the-specific-keyword crap has been replaced by wired.com articles that might mention the words on different parts of the page. I can't understand how anyone would not see that as an improvement, and see the logical next step as discerning niche relevance with the discerned authority.

More to the point, if better niche relevance WAS the next step in the process, wouldn't that make a lot of people feel optimistic?

Rob_Cook




msg:189748
 12:39 am on Feb 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Just adding my agreement. I'm the first to admit that Google's new results are not to my benefit as a webmaster. However, even when this has been the case in the past I've still EXCLUSIVELY used Google as my search engine as the results were valid. However, I actually haven't used Google as my own search location for a month or two now - the results are just junk. I tried to find a hotel I often stay at (not my area of webmaster business) but Google fell short - instead opting to offer me spam and useless links. I headed over to alltheweb and bam! - found it immediately.

Thing is... alltheweb isn't all that great. Right now, it's more use to me than Google but what we need is a s/e that is now as good as Google used to be. I'm talking from a USER's point-of-view as much as a webmaster's.

andy_boyd




msg:189749
 12:47 am on Feb 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

From my point of view it is harder to find what I am looking for with Google, instead I am going to AllTheWeb.com much more frequently than I used to. My friends and family have also been asking just why on earth they can no longer find things as easily as it used to be.

Obviously there is a bit of generalising here, but there seems to be a train of thought developing - Google is not as it used to be.

subway




msg:189750
 12:51 am on Feb 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

More to the point, if better niche relevance WAS the next step in the process, wouldn't that make a lot of people feel optimistic?

Yes, but that's speculation with no indication at all (at this time) that it is the next step in the process if indeed there is a process!

marmalade




msg:189751
 12:56 am on Feb 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

I rarely post here because I am a bit dissapointed with the prevailing attitude that so many here seem to think commercial and/or affiliate sites dont have a right to pay their server bills or even exist unless your name is amazon. Sometimes it makes me think we should all spend our time building info sites for no reward other than to please what has become an ad agency that also owns a search engine.

I am happy to see google doing what they are doing because webmasters (the people who got G where it is today by producing relevant results for them to serve) will have no choice but to promote other search engines.

jimmy139




msg:189752
 12:57 am on Feb 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

"Dissatisfaction is spreading"

Well delusion is anyway.

You're deluding yourself if you don't think the general user is beginning to look elsewhere for SE results. I began noticing a trend in mid-December and am seeing more and more of this kind of thing every day.

The people on that particular forum I was referring to, half of them are in IT and the other half go to college. These are the same professionals and computer hobbyists that tell their less-than-knowledgeable clients, or their network, or their friends, or their mom, or their dear old aunt Bessy, where to go to search for something. The same people that put Google on top will send Google down to the bottom. It's not Google who decides who's king, and it's not webmasters or SEO companies; it's the user who decides, and I'm seeing more and more evidence, real evidence, that they are beginning to turn away.

But keep on deluding yourself if you must. Haecceity asked for evidence. It was supplied; very appropriately that thread on the other forum was just posted today. Other similar questions have come up there previous to today and on other forums. Go ahead, ignore them if it makes you feel better.

skipfactor




msg:189753
 12:57 am on Feb 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>if indeed there is a process!

Process confirmed MSG#91 & 92.

Sorry, miss that 'confirmed' stuff from the old update threads.

Brett_Tabke




msg:189754
 1:03 am on Feb 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

We DO NOT post specific search keywords on WebmasterWorld. We never have. It is specifically in the charter to this forum, and in the TOS itself.

You have a specific problem with Google - take it up with Google.

There were several members posting rights turned off in this thread.

Please, if you EVER see an adult keyword search, please let a moderator know asap.

warduck




msg:189755
 5:16 pm on Feb 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

This is exactly why government regulation is in the future here. The losses to companies and individuals is potentially staggering. Unfortunately left to their own devices these companies cannot manage themselves.

It is unfortunate and a shame. But, these companies clearly bring regulation on themselves by their actions and in-actions.

Enough for the future. Today we build web pages.

Yours,
Warduck

europeforvisitors




msg:189756
 6:08 pm on Feb 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Also, I take a little umbrage at the notion that a commercial site is unlikely to provide valuable and useful information.

I don't think anyone has said that. Commercial sites can provide useful information, and the ones that are likely to have an advantage over those that don't as Google continues to evolve. (I can think of at least one attractive, well-designed hotel-booking site that does a great job of "adding value" by offering more information on selected hotels than the hotels' own Web sites do. Such commercial sites should continue to do well in Google.)

Side note: Elsewhere on this forum (it may have been in this thread), a member drew attention to a December, 2003 Google patent on a way to detect "duplicate and near-duplicate content." IMHO, that news deserves the attention of e-tailers and affiliate-site owners whose pages consist of vendor-supplied content that runs the risk of being blocked or "de-ranked" by a duplicate filter.

Go60Guy




msg:189757
 6:34 pm on Feb 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

It has been said over and over again. There's a prevailing stereotype that all affiliate sites are spam and should be filtered out by Google and the other SEs.

That said, I agree fully with your premise that commercial and affiliate sites often are sources of useful information (unique content), and should be treated as informational sites by Google.

Zeberdee




msg:189758
 6:59 pm on Feb 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

"You're deluding yourself if you don't think the general user is beginning to look elsewhere for SE results"

This is not true. In my area people are definitely looking at other engines because Google's results are turned on their head. The core topic sites are gone, and all we can find are deep links on general sites that say nothing or very little.

It is hard to change over I will give you that, but once you dip your toe in the water and try a couple of others you quickly become comfortable again. For me going back to Alta Vista was like finding a long lost friend again. The results look familiar, a bit like Google's used to in fact, and are definitely better than what Google is serving now.

wellzy




msg:189759
 7:03 pm on Feb 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

It is hard to change over I will give you that, but once you dip your toe in the water and try a couple of others you quickly become comfortable again. For me going back to Alta Vista was like finding a long lost friend again. The results look familiar, a bit like Google's used to in fact, and are definitely better than what Google is serving now.

Well said. I couldn't agree more. My family gave up on Google long before me. I finally went back to alltheweb and altavista last week.

giigle




msg:189760
 7:19 pm on Feb 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Google "ha muerto" long live to Vivisimo

[cnn.com...]

leila222




msg:189761
 7:20 pm on Feb 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

G keeps on dissapoint the people. We lose business , guys.. then i think it is time to say good bye G and to find something really better

europeforvisitors




msg:189762
 7:46 pm on Feb 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

It has been said over and over again. There's a prevailing stereotype that all affiliate sites are spam and should be filtered out by Google and the other SEs.

The problem isn't just spam; it's search clutter from duplicate content. Even if 99 out 100 affiliate sites practice legitimate SEO techniques and are pure as the driven snow, Google's search quality suffers when the same boilerplate text for the Hotel Whatsit is listed under 500 URLs. (That's probably why Google just patented its "duplicate and near-duplicate content" detector.)

That said, I agree fully with your premise that commercial and affiliate sites often are sources of useful information (unique content), and should be treated as informational sites by Google.

You've misstated my premise. In any case, I think a more practical scenario would be for Google to distinguish between informational and commercial pages rather than sites, as it's already doing in a limited way with Froogle.

To use a hotel example, if you had an original three-page section about the Hotel Whatsit, with two pages describing the hotel and the third being a booking page, the first two pages would legitimately fall under the heading of "information" while the third (the booking page with the e-form) would clearly be "commercial." And if any of the pages were vendor-supplied boilerplate content, they'd legitimately be purged or moved down in the rankings by the "duplicate content" filter to minimize clutter in Google's search results.

europeforvisitors




msg:189763
 7:58 pm on Feb 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

You're deluding yourself if you don't think the general user is beginning to look elsewhere for SE results. I began noticing a trend in mid-December and am seeing more and more of this kind of thing every day.

If that's true--if former Googlephiles are morphing into MSN fans or AltaVista aficionados--then why agonize and obsess over Google's search results? Focus your attention on the search engines that are winning converts from Google. Webmaster World could use some more traffic here [webmasterworld.com].

skyhighpn




msg:189764
 8:15 pm on Feb 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

I was just looking through some search results, and notices that the same exact page is coming up on every page of the results. I don't mean like a www.example.com and an example.com or a http and https, I mean the exact same url showing on the 1-10, 10-20, 20-30, etc pages. Anyone else seen this?

div01




msg:189765
 10:01 pm on Feb 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

You're deluding yourself if you don't think the general user is beginning to look elsewhere for SE results.

I was listening to a local talk radio show this afternoon and they had an "Ebay Powerselling Couple" taking calls and offering advice on buying and selling on Ebay. So one of the callers asked a few questions and the Ebayer replied by saying, "...oh you can go on MSN and type in XYZ contract and you'll get tons of hits for sample XYZ contracts".

I was somewhat surprised because up until recently, pushing Google on TV/Radio seemed to be the in thing to do.

Becky




msg:189766
 11:53 pm on Feb 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

skyhighpn

I didn't notice until you said something. But I found the exact same thing...one of my competitors has the same url listing about every ten spots for about 30 pages straight.

Very strange things are happening in this update.

lasko




msg:189767
 6:19 am on Feb 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

they'd legitimately be purged or moved down in the rankings by the "duplicate content" filter to minimize clutter in Google's search results.

You have a very fair point however, a company I deal with has very unique set up of providing detailed content of all its hotels around the world published on its very own web site and exported in CSV for other web site developers.

We are able to reproduce this content dynamically and if required we can insert more unique content into the pages but what about the origianl supplier. Now that he has exported all his content that could be the best and most informative content regarding the hotels around the world, will they be punished as well?.

It seems that these new filters have been pushed too far, you will end up with a searcher looking for a really good web site thats full of content and what used to be supplied by a top web site can no longer be found, because this particullar website exported all its content to other 50 web sites. Now google can no longer decide which site is the original provider and which to rank well.

If Google wants to go down this path so bit it, its their choice and good look to them, but its not going to change the way many do business or handle their content.

Europeforvisitors I know your site very well which I rate very highly and producing content is very time consuming say I create a very informative web site related to my local area. The pages are very unique with content, news and tips for the destination, suppose I added some of these hotels for that detination that people may be interested in, now will Google punish the whole web site just because I choose to add something that will help support my web site and pay the bills.

Their are only so many Adsense and adverts we can display on our pages and if we don't provide good content and the chance to purchase a product how will web sites survive? We will end up with people going around in circles still searching again and again. Searching in other search engines and clicking on one adsense to another.

If people didn't like these Affiliate pages then why do people book or purchase through them? Maybe because some affilate sites actually do a better job then the original provider.

The company I deal with is a big corporation with a huge e-commerce set up and are the best in providing on-line bookings however they no very little about X destination so its up to us to inform the world and use them as a way of providing our visitors with the best booking engine and choice of hotels for X destination.

Whatever happens it still appears that Google has a big grudge against developers and whilst Google is trying to be too clever they are in danger of destroying their own success. All because they pushed it too far.

Search results used to be very good but lately they have really gone a stray. It would be far better for Google to concentrate on Hidden Text, Miss use of Redirects and cloaking which is still finding its way through the search results. Instead of trying to guess which sites may have been optimized.

Please take note:

Some web sites have unique content like tourist boards etc who have been punished because they have been over linked too and they have have used one or two many keywords by mistake. They never wanted to optimize as they have no need however it would be the best site for Google to return but Google has punished it.

So what does a tourist board do? Go straight to a professional SEO to help improve its rankings. I thought Google wanted to make it difficult for SEO but seems they are providing us with more work :)

By almeans improve your search engine thats what we want but if you push it too far users will drift else where.

KenB




msg:189768
 7:43 am on Feb 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

Whatever Google is doing, either it kind of like Boston's "Big Dig" that made a mess of everything and we had to believe it would eventually get better, or they have become so paranoid about SEO that they have driven their ship into an iceberg.

Some of my sites are slaughtering Google SERPs and have been totally unphased by any changes. In some cases they show up in high in non-relevant SERPs where the phrase was mentioned once. Other sites I manage have fallen completely off the radar screen. For some SERPs of specific key phrases, even the competitors for one of my sites have also fallen off the map. Instead, most of the top pages are totally non-relevant to the key phrases being searched for.

I agree with many others here, while I have been a very loyal user of Google for my own searches, in recent weeks I find myself turning to the other players to find what it is I'm looking for.

In regards to the "silent majority" theory, my hunch is that there isn't a majority of unaffected users. The simple fact is that many may not yet be aware of the problem and others are afraid to speak up on this issue. I personally thought twice about posting anything as it is better to suffer in pain than have one's head cut off so to speak.

If Google is going to retain their top position as a search engine, they had best get through this funk they are in and start returning more relevant SERPs. If they don't they will quickly lose their "golden child" status and someone will replace them. Personally I am not making any adjustments to any of my design practices as there just doesn't appear to be any logic in Google's SERPs. At least my sites that have been hurt by Google still do well in competing engines.

subway




msg:189769
 1:04 pm on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Checking my log files - and then checking the SERPs to see where abouts one of my sites in particular is positioned is proving something very interesting…

I'm noticing a lot of referrals from keywords in Google from position 7-10 in the SERPs. Something I have never really seen before (from Google). I think this is further proof that people are increasingly not finding what they are looking for within the first few results!

BallochBD




msg:189770
 2:40 pm on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have just spoken to a prospective client on the telephone (an employment consultant in London). She is considering setting up a website and the subject came around to SE promotion. Inevitably Google came into the conversation and I mentioned that they had made changes recently which had demolished many businesses throughout the World. She immediately commented that she had noticed that the results she was getting in her research recently were $^!£.

The strange thing was that she had not even thought about changing to a new search engine. Many people use Google and unknowingly accept what is offered as de facto. They do not know about or do not think about trying something else.

Once again however this is a clear illustration that all sorts of people Worldwide are well aware of the continuing deterioration in Google's Results. I believe that all this takes is a little push and some high profile publicity and the snowball will start rolling, then who knows?

Chelsea




msg:189771
 2:47 pm on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

All it takes to create a shift is a confident advertising campaign by another SE though. I recall Yahoo (or was it Ask?) did one in the UK last year on the TV and their referrals went right up. In addition, many people use the default search on their IE homepage provided by their ISP. It only takes a few big ISPs to get wind and change over.

Haecceity




msg:189772
 3:04 pm on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Google "ha muerto" long live to Vivisimo

While I think rumors of the death of Google are greatly exaggerated, Vivisimo rocks, and I thank you for bringing it to my attention. I like it much much better than Grokker, which I found almost impossible to use. In fact I like it better than Google, and that's saying something since I use Google almost exlusively and my sites rank well on it.

IMHO Google is going to have to start clustering search results. If they don't do that Vivisimo will wipe the floor with them,

AV results are also much improved from the garbage they were serving up last time I checked.

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