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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.



 12:17 pm on Jan 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Agreed, seems you have to have an ebay store to get to the top now.

Behind me for a long time, were other very relevant sites, on target with the search results and with very good content, and the top 50 was pretty much on target, however since the last updates for this 2 KW search, there is now an Ebay store that has 2 items for sale sitting happy at 2#, amazing really as it offers no value at all to the results, and to be listed above all the other good content sites just shows how mad the google serps are now.

Forget SEO or concentrating on filling your site full of good relative content, as its no longer a necessary requirement to come high in the Google serps.

Google has lost something money can't buy and that's its COOL tag, and its downhill from here unless they get back to providing relevant quality SERPS.


 12:30 pm on Jan 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

In my field am happy with the SERPs now, lots of websites with almost non content is gone, they were ranked high due to their effort to link trading.

More real content rich websites grabbed back the top positions and thats good, but Google can not please everybody, for every non happy webmaster there is a happy webmaster :)


 12:38 pm on Jan 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Glad it is working out Ok for you Nicke.

>>for every non happy webmaster there is a happy webmaster

However, not always true, it can be for every 1,000 non happy webmaster there is one very very happy webmaster (or corporation.)


 12:42 pm on Jan 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have started using MSN UK for my searches and interestingly enough my logs and those of most my clients show an increase of about 125% of visitors coming from MSN!


 12:57 pm on Jan 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm even seeing AV, G must be loosing out big time here


 12:59 pm on Jan 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Yay, Seeing AV, MSN & Ask a bit more in the logs.

Shame they dont have the crawling power of Google - but this is probably part of the reason that has led to the problem that Google is trying (?) to tackle.

too much information

 1:12 pm on Jan 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have noticed a few from MSN but since last night Yahoo has made a very strong run in my logs. Even some from Dogpile.

creative craig

 1:17 pm on Jan 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

MSN has brought in 27% this month compared to an average of the last three months of 9%.

Google has only 57% this month, with the last three months of 81% average. AOL and Yahoo have both dropped a fair bit.



 1:19 pm on Jan 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Funny, I have talked here about real estate searches before, and this past updated Google even tightened up searches related to REAL ESTATE IN MY CITY. As a consumer, last week, I was searching the web for REAL ESTATE IN LAS VEGAS as we are going to buy a second home/condo there. I could find NO real estate agents to contact! Went to Alta Vista - found what I needed right away.

From a SEO side, we have a handful of Realtors as clients. First few weeks following the Florida update traffic was down to practically nothing! Now MSN and A/V traffic are up about 60% total and our Clients are again getting their inquiries.

I think Google made a big mistake with this particular field. If I search for something, I want to find that something - not a directory leading to another list of many somethings!



 1:26 pm on Jan 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

I am seeing lots of redirects and google serps linking to pages that are blank or not displayed. I would fill out spam reports but I have not had time there has been too many. Although, these just happen to be things I search for recently so they may have always been in the serps may not be any new change in this area.

creative craig

 1:26 pm on Jan 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

I like AV alot, the results IMO seem to be good for several different searches , just they dont send alot of traffic :(


 1:55 pm on Jan 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

while G watches their Pigeons

what do you think users do if they do not find what they are looking for?

click on adwords if any
try av, msn, or yahoo ... or directories
use more advanced search

too much information

 2:02 pm on Jan 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

I was just on searching for help with perl and I noticed that a high percentage of the SERPs are non-english. I'm searching from the US on www.

There are quite a few german results and I've also seen some that I believe are arabic? but I'm not sure.

I'm also getting some .co.uk sites which is fine as long as they have what I'm looking for.

Could this mean that Google is no longer trying to isolate search results to the sites in the same country?


 3:24 pm on Jan 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

interestingly enough my logs and those of most my clients show an increase of about 125% of visitors coming from MSN!

Google is still the big kahuna on my referrer list. If Google were assigned a value of 100, MSN and Yahoo would be about 20 each, with AOL Search and AltaVista being about 2.5. Everything else is background noise.

IMHO, it's important to remember that things change, and--if you're lucky--the SE losses and gains even out over the long run. I used to get more referrals from Ask Jeeves than I did from Google, and there was a time when I got most of my traffic from Infoseek. Ask Jeeves is now off my referrer radar, and Infoseek is long gone, but--for now, at least--Google is making up for both (and then some).


 3:48 pm on Jan 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Yesterday, I did a search on Google for an online tool that I know is available for free from a number of sources. I have a new computer, and was too lazy to hook up my old computer to find the bookmark.

What I got in the top ten was several listings for articles on the topic, some other rubbish, and no listings for the tool itself. Same seemed to be true for the second page.

I went to MSN, and there it was, bold as could be, exactly what I was looking for at #1.


 3:55 pm on Jan 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

<Google is still the big kahuna on my referrer list.>

No one is disputing this but this thread is about the quality of their search results, which most people are agreed are much worse than they were before the update. This is clearly not a satisfactory performance from the big kahuna.

The fact that they are ignoring this fact makes the situation even harder to swallow. Their public face seems to suggest that they are very happy with the Florida outcome and oblivious to the harm they have done. They deserve to get screwed for that alone.

For those of you who don't already know, in the IPO watch forum there is a thread called "Google to delay IPO". This is based on a report in Yesterday's London Times, quote, "The Times has learnt that Google’s management, headed by Eric Schmidt, the chairman and chief executive, has grown wary about the timing of a float because market conditions are not right." Full article here: [timesonline.co.uk...]

Market conditions my a$$! My view is that they are getting lots of negative feedback, which may snowball if they decide to go ahead with the IPO right now. If enough noise is made about this just watch then quiver!

Europeforvisitors - you may be doing well right now but what happens when the next update. let's call it Hades, makes your site(s) bomb? Would you still be a fan?

Incidentally, has anyone seen any press or media reports about this latest debacle?


 4:11 pm on Jan 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Jady, where are you searching from, do you have the Toolbar installed?

Wouldn't surprise me if Google were giving different commercial search results depending on your location. After all, Adwords are targetted this way.

Have to agree about the SERPS though, today I was searching for the exact name of a Holiday Villa and it's location. I ended up using MSN to find it.

Incredible that Google learned nothing from the mistakes of AV et al.


 4:14 pm on Jan 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

I actually found myself doing an allinanchor search (completely unrelated to any SEO activities) today because I wanted to find the actual company selling the product I was looking to buy rather than the 800 or so seemingly unrelated sites that were showing up in the search. I am just about done with google.


 4:16 pm on Jan 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

No one is disputing this but this thread is about the quality of their search results, which most people are agreed are much worse than they were before the update.

I don't think "most people" would agree with that at all. Certainly there's been a lot of teeth-gnashing on this forum, but we need to remember that:

1) This forum's members aren't typical of Google's target audience (which consists of end users);

2) Our opinions will be influenced by our personal exeriences and agendas as Webmasters, site owners, or SEOs; and...

3) On most forums, wails of sorrow tend to be louder and more prevalent than yawns or whoops of joy. :-)

Speaking as a publisher, I haven't noticed any great changes in the post-Florida SERPS; and speaking as a user who prefers information to shopping, I'd say the current SERPS are slightly better overall than they were before Florida. (Although they'd be better still if directory pages and Amazon.com catalog pages weren't treated as "content.")


 4:18 pm on Jan 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

I've said in postings and sticky mails that the last thing any company needs prior to a stock flotation is bad publicity.

If recent changes are an attempt to boost revenues before flotation then it is a VERY HIGH RISK strategy.



 4:25 pm on Jan 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

As the "computer guy" among my friends, I am often confronted with questions reguarding anything computer related. Recently the question has been "Whats another search engine other than google?"
To which I respond "alltheweb.com" Its ironic because i was the one who introduced these people to google years ago.

Google screwed itself.

Its time for another SE to capitalize on this opportunity.

Who do you think will pick up the market share?


 4:52 pm on Jan 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Even my wife commented the other day that she thought Google was becoming crap - without any prompting from me. And that's from someone who doesn't know what a SERP is, even after I've spent months *lovingly* explaining it to her :)


 5:06 pm on Jan 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

<No one is disputing this but this thread is about the quality of their search results, which most people are agreed are much worse than they were before the update.>

<I don't think "most people" would agree with that at all. Certainly there's been a lot of teeth-gnashing on this forum, but we need to remember that: >

Well, so far it certainly seems that most people on this forum are agreed! I suppose that if your site is still in there you would have different opinion but just remember, "there but for the grace of Google go you!"


 5:14 pm on Jan 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Serps seem fine to me and still producing relevant results. I worry that this thread is turning into biased complaining. I do admit my sites haven't been hit yet (touch wood) but after every update we hear the same things about Google and I am not sure they are true. With the advent of Froogle I can only see Google growing, and I do not see any other SE's with a similar bright future.

I am in the UK so maybe the US is different. But a lot of commercial serps are now going to manufacturer pages which wasn't so before this update.


 5:29 pm on Jan 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

>biased complaining<

Probably. One thing to note however is how the complaining has changed. Pre-Florida the constant whine I heard was in regards to spam, now the whine is about irrelevance. There has been a paradigm shift imho about how the serps are percieved since mid Nov.


 5:47 pm on Jan 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

I was getting ready to start a thread about this myself. I have noticed my day to day searches returning irrelevant garbage.

One good example of how I can't find what should be an easy one: Overture view bids tool and Overture search term suggestion tool. I spent five minutes trying every combination of keywords to find those. Nothing. That's sad.

Who is poised to capitalize on this? Yahoo, MSN? AV, alltheweb, & others seem to be Al Sharpton (not nearly enough pull or $ to pounce and take significant market share).


 5:48 pm on Jan 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Of the 53 sites diverse topics that I own or manage for my clients - only one new site was affected - and only for one keyword.

Every other site held its own or improved.

I doubt I am the only one here with similar results in Austin.

Honestly, if it weren't for these threads, I would not have considered this an update.

While I am very sympathetic for the frustrations that everyone feels (one of my sites got hit hard by "Florida" and I was subsequently able to recover it) - I suggest you look at a broad spectrum of SERPs in a wide range of industries and look for commonalities.

There is no "magic bullet" - no one factor holds true for every site and industry - but I would suggest to you that there are certain criteria that can trigger these "spam" filters and it is just a question of scaling back one at a time until your site drops back into the "tolerance zone".

There will always be another update - there are no guarantees. However, by keeping a weather eye open on the trends in the SERPs you can anticipate changes and adapt.

For instance it is generally accepted that Google "prefers" directory type sites right now.

Does that mean you should throw away all of your sites and only make directories? No - I would suggest that use the directory format as only one part of your overall strategy - you never know what will be scrutinized next - and rather than scrambling to create new sites after each update - create a broad base of strategically designed sites - and the chances are that when one drops the others will rise.


 5:48 pm on Jan 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

I normally read on this forum and dont post :) But its not just commercial sites that are being affected by the changes from FLORIDA and AUSTIN.

I run a small non-commercial site, 500+ visitors a day, that is probably the most informative on the www for keyword1 keyword2.

We have always rated highly in SERPs, first page for as long as I can remember.

AUSTIN has left us nowhere .....

Search on keyword1 keyword2 and the results are awful, the first page of results is all spam. There is no informative content for keyword1 keyword2 in the first couple of pages.

None of the informative sites that used to be there are now present. I do wonder how many more small informative sites for other keywords have also been lost in the algo 'rhythm' ;)

I appreciate that there still may be more to come from AUSTIN but if this what Google is showing as results then I wouldnt be surprised if those who use Google dont start switching to other search engines.


 5:53 pm on Jan 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Most people will try Yahoo! if Google fails them (which is rare.) (The average user is not aware of Yahoo! using Google.) The only problem for now is that Yahoo! still uses Google for its results. When that changes it will be a smoother world for SEOs.

This 186 message thread spans 7 pages: 186 ( [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 > >
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