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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.

 

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.

mikeD




msg:189773
 3:07 pm on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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.

I agree, if you are searching for a certain make of television for example, much better to have affiliate sites with links to actual places that sell them, than an info page about the inner working of a televisions set.

Chelsea




msg:189774
 3:14 pm on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

I agree, if you are searching for a certain make of television for example, much better to have affiliate sites with links to actual places that sell them, than an info page about the inner working of a televisions set.

How about a site that actually sells TVs *and* has info about the technology available. TFT, widescreen, flatscreen, built in satellite rx?

Properly informed you're then free to search using all the info you have gleaned from the site - as well as search for the actual models they are offering - to look for a lower price.

Frankly I'm amazed that any surfer actually enjoys looking at lists of links to sites - but 'each to his own' as they say at the GooglePlex :)

europeforvisitors




msg:189775
 3:18 pm on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

I agree, if you are searching for a certain make of television for example, much better to have affiliate sites with links to actual places that sell them, than an info page about the inner working of a televisions set.

It's even better to have the manufacturer's page in the #1 spot, with articles and reviews about that brand of TV in the other top 10 or 20 search results--unless, of course, the user has searched for "buy brandname TV" or "brandname TV dealers," or unless the user is searching in Froogle.

In addition to fufilling Google's stated corporate mission, this behavior offers the greatest convenience to the user. Why? Because the user can find both information links (in the main results) and shopping links (AdWords in the right-hand column) without having to leave the page or start a new search.

Chelsea




msg:189776
 3:24 pm on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

europeforvisitors,

Yep, you've finally won me round. It all sounds absolutely dandy, info and adwords - what a team!

I am very, very sorry for ever criticising Google (as I'm sure we all now are).

I am going to spend the next few hours clicking on my competitors' Adword links as a sort of twisted penance ;)

Then I am going to instruct my accounts department to pay Google the 20k per year required to put us back on page one, then sack one of them, because I need the 20k.

I'll explain to her, through the unnecessary (and illogical) tears, that I finally saw the light when I read your excellent post on buying TVs at WW :)

[edited by: Chelsea at 3:27 pm (utc) on Feb. 3, 2004]

Zeberdee




msg:189777
 3:26 pm on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Before I chime out I have to say that I sympathize with you people who depend on sensible results for a living. In our topic the results are now almost upsidedown with the important sites at the bottom. It doesn't matter too much because it is an academic field and nobody is losing money. The visitors will just go to another engine or read a periodical and find us through that.

There must be a logic to what has happened with Google, but I'm afraid it is well beyond me.

Chelsea




msg:189778
 3:31 pm on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

You've provided some interesting insights, Zeberdee, into the effects of the new algo on non-commercial sites.

Your posts have been much appreciated (by me anyway)

Good luck

subway




msg:189779
 3:36 pm on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

There must be a logic to what has happened with Google, but I'm afraid it is well beyond me.

There is total logic. The only problem is they took out thousands and thousands of *innocent* sites in the process. That is what they have to balance out in order for the current SERPS to look less crappy. The idea in theory was great, in practice it's had disastrous effects.

AthlonInside




msg:189780
 3:47 pm on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Google is broken because my site is gone.

While you are thinking of that, someone else might think ...

Google was broken because your site was there.

---

Google has 3,307,998,701 web pages, what makes you #1 instead someone else from the 3,307,998,701?

zeus




msg:189781
 3:49 pm on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

I still think the serps looked best in 2003 May, but now it is full with ebay, epinoins, amazon and edu,org sites that has nothing to do with the search.

Special product seach in the normal Google search is gone down huge.

zeus

soapystar




msg:189782
 4:12 pm on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

i think its pretty simple. We now have a situation where a few people are trying to convince a lot of people that Google isnt broken. Therefore this is proof Google is broken. When a lot of people are trying to convince a few people google is'nt broken we will know its fixed.

europeforvisitors




msg:189783
 4:15 pm on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Chelsea, your sarcasm is misplaced. Go to www.google.com and read Google's corporate mission statement. Where does it say anything about being a shopping directory? Or about guaranteeing income for Website owners?

Fact is, Google has always had a corporate bias toward information. It started out as the Web's counterpart to The Magazine Index or the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature, and there's no reason to think that it ever intended for its SERPs to morph into the Yellow Pages. Why shouldn't Google follow the traditional media business model of using advertising to support its information content, and using its information content to attract advertising?

In the offline world, companies use public relations, special events, etc. to get free coverage of their products and services on editorial pages or programming. When they want to make a sales pitch, they buy ads. Over the long term, e-commerce and affiliate businesses will need to use similar strategies as the online world becomes more like the offline world.

AthlonInside




msg:189784
 5:34 pm on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Google has 3,307,998,701 pages index.

I believe the number of webmasterworld members can't even come close to 1% of that.

lgn1




msg:189785
 7:27 pm on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

The bad news is I dropped 8 positions to #9. The good news is, that there is only one competitor above me, the rest is all junk. Not informational, not commerical, just junk.

c1bernaught




msg:189786
 7:31 pm on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

europeforvisitors:

Corporate bias towards information? Is that what we are seeing? It looks like monetization of the Google index is where Google's bias lays...

If I understand what you are saying, it has always been Google's goal to use the free information they obtain through spidering sites as a lead in to selling advertising. So, if I follow, using the ecommerce listings that were also spidered was intended to bring in commercial traffic, and in turn that traffic was intended to bring viewers to the advertising that is now being sold.

If this is the case than I would assume that Google also meant to have the ecommerce listings, as these ecommerce sites will pay for advertising.

europeforvisitors




msg:189787
 7:43 pm on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

What you're seeing is a rework in progress. As GoogleGuy himself has said, it isn't finished.

I don't think Google has anything against e-commerce per se; if it did, it wouldn't have created Froogle. But the main Google index has become so swamped with e-commerce pages (many of them duplicates) that Google's value an an information-search tool is in jeopardy. So it makes a lot of sense for Google to (a) filter out duplicate content [which could be bad news for affiliate sites that use vendor-supplied pages] and (b) juggle its algorithm to favor information pages over sell pages. Increased Adwords sales would be a beneficial side effect (for Google) if that kind of shift occurred.

Another possibility would be for Google to extend the Froogle concept and maintain separate indexes (or use dedicated search options) for information and commercial searches, as in "I'm looking for information on..." and "I'm shopping for...".

Either way, I think it's likely that most duplicate content will be purged from Google's index or pushed so far down in the rankings that "search clutter" 'ceases to be a problem for Google and users.

[edited by: europeforvisitors at 7:52 pm (utc) on Feb. 3, 2004]

c1bernaught




msg:189788
 7:45 pm on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

There is a difference between what is said and what is done...

How does Google fund its advertising on Google.com if it pushes ecommerce sites down in the serps? Aren't these sites, the ones Google is getting its Adwords "side benefit" from, the very sites that pay for advertising?

I think we are seeing these changes in Google, the monetization of the index... precisely because Froogle.com has not lived up to expectations... for the time being...

valeyard




msg:189789
 8:28 pm on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

As GoogleGuy himself has said, it isn't finished.

Feel free to point me to an example of this, but I don't remember him being that specific. The only comment I remember was an agreement with someone else's statement that algo changing was an ongoing process.

Hardly informative.

Of course GG is just a minion (no offence meant!). He can't come out and make public statements on the company's behalf. But SOMEONE should.

We - by which I mean end users as well as SEOs - have for over a week now had to put up with Google SERPS that are frankly rubbish (today for the first time one of my non-technical friends commented on this unprompted).

Maybe the end of this process will be some kind of SE nirvana. I hope so, I want to believe in Google. But unless they come clean and make some statement soon they may not have many users left to witness their end game.

Edit: Minor typo fix

ThomasB




msg:189790
 8:52 pm on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

a bit late, but nevertheless:

Google has 3,307,998,701 pages index.
I believe the number of webmasterworld members can't even come close to 1% of that.

I'd guess more than 5%, but it's definetly more than 1%.

BallochBD




msg:189791
 9:05 pm on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Valeyard said:
<We - by which I mean end users as well as SEOs - have for over a week now had to put up with Google SERPS that are frankly rubbish (today for the first time one of my non-technical friends commented on this unprompted). >

Just a week?

Kirby




msg:189792
 9:23 pm on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

>He can't come out and make public statements on the company's behalf. But SOMEONE should.

To what end?

>But unless they come clean and make some statement soon they may not have many users left to witness their end game.

That appears to be a risk they are willing to take.

c1bernaught




msg:189793
 9:43 pm on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Action is required... words are only that....

europeforvisitors




msg:189794
 9:50 pm on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

How does Google fund its advertising on Google.com if it pushes ecommerce sites down in the serps? Aren't these sites, the ones Google is getting its Adwords "side benefit" from, the very sites that pay for advertising?

Not necessarily. I'd guess that a fairly small percentage of the e-commerce vendors and affiliate vendors who rank high in Google SERPs are spending money on advertising. In any case, why should one assume that e-commerce vendors are incapable of doing what their offline peers do and setting ad budgets that are based on a percentage of current sales, a percentage of anticipated future revenue per customer, etc.?

Mind you, there are different kinds of advertising, and it's possible that (for example) Google might someday sell advertising in the form of a PPI "trusted feed" arrangement for a shopping index (or even in specialized shopping indexes, such as consumer electronics and travel) in addition to AdWords on SERPs and content sites.

c1bernaught




msg:189795
 9:56 pm on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)


That's the point... if no one can rank high, everyone must use Adwords... The webmaster is being driven to the spend.

The answer to your budget query is a simple one. The very nature of the business and the instability of the serps preclude the abilty to forecast, which in turns precludes the ability to budget. It is my contention that many sites depend on free (legitimate) serps to fund Adwords. By taking away one, you will eventually take away the other.

valeyard




msg:189796
 10:01 pm on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

>He can't come out and make public statements on the company's behalf. But SOMEONE should.

To what end?

Customer relations.

All of us in business know that a happy customer tells five other people, an unhappy customer tells a dozen or more.

Right now Google are making a lot of unhappy customers (no I don't mean SEOs, I mean real users). The fact that the customers don't pay is irrelevant.

It's a basic bit of business sense. If you have a problem that prevents you from keeping your customers satisfied then you apologise, explain, and try to keep the customers as happy as possible with the promise of a rosy future relationship. That's especially true in a service based business.

Any business that suddenly starts to provide dreadful service and refuses even to acknowledge customer concerns isn't going to last long.

Imagine if your local coffee shop suddenly started serving the wrong drinks. You complain and the manager refuses to talk to you leaving one of the staff to say: "We're implementing a new process, just wait and we'll get it right one day. Dunno when."

Google isn't king. The customer is. And anecdotal evidence suggests that the king is not amused.

jranes




msg:189797
 10:01 pm on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Well we all know that reducing quality of search results to induce sales of paid inclusion is super business model that has spawned internet success stories far too numerous to count.

c1bernaught




msg:189798
 10:15 pm on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

jranes:

I can only surmise that you say this in jest.

If I am mistaken, can you please cite some examples?

europeforvisitors




msg:189799
 10:27 pm on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Well we all know that reducing quality of search results to induce sales of paid inclusion is super business model that has spawned internet success stories far too numerous to count.

I think you can safely assume that Google is working to increase the quality of its search results.

Of course, some may believe that "search quality" is defined by their own rankings or measured by the number of Google referrals in their logfiles. :-)

markis00




msg:189800
 10:47 pm on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Can someone who is doing well on the Google SERPS please sticky me their URL. I'd like to see how it's possible

eatapeach




msg:189801
 10:59 pm on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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.

this is the route i'm taking. in several of the keywords i follow the on-page factors seem to count for little in the ranking of the page. i'm still trying to figure out how on one keyword phrase the webmaster got #1 with his 404 page.

it seems like a better idea to just keep building sites as usual and hope for the best.

take it easy,
michael

flobaby




msg:189802
 4:09 am on Feb 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

Nothin' like a personalized response. Do you think they even read your email?

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