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G traffic dropping
metrostang




msg:116449
 3:56 pm on Jul 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

Is Google losing it's battle with the other search engines? I'm seeing serious shifts in where my traffic originates. Below is a summary of the trends on my site. Has anyone else seen this? I saw recently where Bill Gates said we would see a change in the MSN search starting in July. Are we seeing the results?

Six months ago Google provided 80% of my traffic and sales, two months ago it had dropped to 40% Google and 40% Yahoo. Last month it was 35% Google and 45% Yahoo with MSN ranking behind some of my on pages with 10%.

This past week, google took a severe drop with MSN increasing until yesterday when MSN passed Google in referrals. It's now Yahoo 35%, MSN 30%, Google 20%.

Sales have remained steady during the month with an upward trend this week. Is this particular to my site or sector or are others seeing the same shift? In the past I've optomized for Google, looks like I might need to change tactics.

 

walkman




msg:116450
 2:08 am on Jul 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

0 sum game at work maybe. Your competitors maybe are getting the traffic you were getting.

digitalv




msg:116451
 2:45 am on Jul 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Sounds like your competitors just moved up higher in the search engine than you did.

BigDave




msg:116452
 3:03 am on Jul 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Nope, Google is not losing the SE wars. They aren't even losing many battles.

Trying to extrapolate from a couple of sites to the entire web is pretty pointless.

webnewton




msg:116453
 3:48 am on Jul 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Not Yet. But with amazing workout at Yahoo's end and MSN recent activities Google is not going to stay as the numereo uno search engine for too long. Thats for sure.
MSN will have an edge when it integrates its toolbar with the windows.

vbjaeger




msg:116454
 4:00 am on Jul 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think Google has a long enough lead that they will stay on top for a long time. Yahoo's search is so bad right now that I think they will go back to Google within a year's time.

bhd735




msg:116455
 4:27 am on Jul 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

As long as google continues to return irrelevant results, the other search engines will continue to gain back share of the search market.

Google has a very big lead, but their biggest enemy right now is themselves. Since they keep modifying their algorithm, placing more value on links and thus link farms and less and less on actual content, their results will continue to slide.

Why they think links are more relevant than actual content is baffling. It is also making a mess of the web as webmasters scurry to add thousands of otherwise worthless links to appease the google monster.

metrostang




msg:116456
 4:25 pm on Jul 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm not trying to draw any final conclusions from what is happening with my site, just asking the question and wondering if anyone else is seeing the same changes.

My site has remained on the first page of results in Google for the money words for the past two years and is still there after a brief drop during the Austin update. I don't believe competitors taking traffic is the problem.

The site is in the same relative position on Yahoo, Google and MSN as in the past. The difference is the number of referrals from each and one other interesting change.

With this shift in traffic, the average session length and page views has increased. Session length did average just over 2 minutes, but over the past few weeks has increased to over 4 minutes.

I know you can't draw conclusions from a sample of one. That's why I'm here asking if anyone else is seeing this. While the site's rankings on the SE's hasn't changed, referrals and statistics have. It's a fact that I'm getting more from MSN and Yahoo than Google, just trying to determine what has changed.

mikeD




msg:116457
 4:35 pm on Jul 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

If google lose a war to yahoo and msn it would be a very black day. Or maybe people losing all sense of reason.

As yahoo just try to copy Google's algo, it will take a lot of free thinking (yahoo are not renowned for) for them to overtake Google's innovations. Or Google going the way of AltaVista with over commercialisation of results. But this is more likely from Yahoo and Msn

vbjaeger




msg:116458
 4:59 pm on Jul 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Why they think links are more relevant than actual content is baffling

I dont agree with this for the searches I watch. Granted, my view may be somewhat limited and I cant speak for everybody. But for those I do watch, I see Yahoo returning relevent results full of sites that were optimized for the search engines while Google is returning relevent results optimized for the person searching. It may not be what a SEO expert wants, but it is what i want as a searcher.

For instance, in Yahoo for a particular search (the search is for a type of industry specific product - many companies make this type of product):

1. keyword1keyword2keyword3.com (hijacked from another company and lists every possible search phrase linking back to the site/page - if this isn't spam i dont know what is)
2. keyword1-keyword2-keyword3.com (very small site)
3. domain/keyword1-keyword2-keyword3.htm
4. domain/keyword1-keyword2.htm
etc...

This seems awefully easy to get listed at the top.

On Google:

The first 10 sites are all branded domains and products that have been around the block for a long time.

Neither are returning results that dont fit the search criteria necessarily, but Google, in my opinion, is showing better results for the user.

I also do not think it is all about the links. I think Google looks at one page relevence while Yahoo just looks for the closest site match.

Just my opinions...

tedster




msg:116459
 5:19 pm on Jul 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Why they think links are more relevant than actual content is baffling

This was Google's main assumption, from back when it was only a student project at Stanford. The idea (very true at the time) was that it is hard to manipulate what other domains say about you - but easy to manipulate what's on your own pages.

The issue of course is that new domains are cheap, and it doesn't take a huge bankroll to create hundreds or even thousands of domains, all under your own control and all "saying good things" about each other.

As Google pushed more and more traffic, being well ranked there became more and more valuable. And so we get this growing complication back and forth between Google and webmasters - with algo filters, good and bad neighborhoods, link farms, domain networks, etc.

Webmasters try to boost their sites, and Google tries to nullify their "search engine persuasion" and find some way to have pure measure of relevance for a given search. And the beat goes on.

I don't see Google losing anything much so far, except that Yahoo stopped using the Google index and began using their own. But traffic from Google itself is holding very strong on all the sites I manage.

[edited by: tedster at 10:06 pm (utc) on July 3, 2004]

BigDave




msg:116460
 6:00 pm on Jul 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Yahoo, MSN and even AOL appeal to different types of users than Google. It just might be that your product is more appealing to those categories of users. In my case, it seems that google is gaining ground against all competitors, including those that use their index. Yahoo is down under 9%, MSN and AOL don't even do as well as Google Images 3%. Google is sitting at 81%.

It could also be that, even though your site is pretty much where it always has been in Google, a new competitor has also shown up on the front page that has a far more appealing snippet. And don't overlook the possibility that the snippet might be a sponsored link.

Or that what you consider "the money keyword" is really only "the traffic keyword". You never know unless you track every user from search to purchase.

rfgdxm1




msg:116461
 6:33 pm on Jul 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

>I think Google has a long enough lead that they will stay on top for a long time. Yahoo's search is so bad right now that I think they will go back to Google within a year's time.

Try running a number of totally non-commercial searches. These are the SERPs Yahoo really cares about. Yahoo SERPs for non-commercial searches look pretty good to me.

europeforvisitors




msg:116462
 8:14 pm on Jul 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Six months ago Google provided 80% of my traffic and sales, two months ago it had dropped to 40% Google and 40% Yahoo. Last month it was 35% Google and 45% Yahoo with MSN ranking behind some of my on pages with 10%.

I'm seeing the opposite trend on my editorial site. Google referrals are way up. In June, my Google referrals were about 10.5 times my Yahoo referrals, compared to 7.5 to 1 in May and 5 to 1 in March. Monthly totals for Yahoo and MSN have also dropped in real numbers since March, while Google referrals have grown.

vbjaeger




msg:116463
 12:15 am on Jul 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

Try running a number of totally non-commercial searches. These are the SERPs Yahoo really cares about. Yahoo SERPs for non-commercial searches look pretty good to me.

Just did that with about 5 different non-commercial topics and the results were very similiar. Unfortunately, I would have to say there is a pretty even split between commercial and non-commercial searches nowadays and there is a clear difference in how Yahoo and Google rank them.

ownerrim




msg:116464
 12:30 am on Jul 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

My own google traffic is continuing to increase as well. I talk to people at work as well as friends and relatives who say they don't like the interfaces used by yahoo or msn. too cluttered some will say. others think that too many ads appear (yahoo). I tend to think that people trust a SE that seems focused on search, rather than one that attempts to be a portal or "everything-to-everyone-kind-of-deal". people prefer to trust specialists rather than generalists. as far as the value of links, when you have billions of pages and millions of sites, how else do you rank sites? You allow individual websites to do the ranking FOR YOU to some extent by looking at whether or not they've put their stamp of approval on a site by placing a link to it. You weight that stamp of approval by analyzing the text of the link and the content of the page that the link originates from and extend that thinking even further into things like hilltop. And then you further discount "certain links" by analyzing factors such as improbable numbers of links flowing from site A to site B and whether or not those sites exist in the same ip range. And, of course, you take into account onpage factors that tend to run logically in sync with content relevancy for the sake of delivering good results. I think google has the only approach that really works.

mikeD




msg:116465
 1:00 am on Jul 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

a great post ownerrim.

you sum it up totally.

Yahoo only care about profit and traffic. They couldn't care less about the product they produce.

As long as Yahoo is the main company they are happy, f**k the user. yahoo have Microsoft written all over them.

Commercial and profit, that's Yahoo God.

If anyone cares about what the web was created for (free trade of information) they would shun Yahoo and love Google.

In my opinion anyone who supports Yahoo is biased. I have been in the SE business a few years and to say Yahoo's search is honest and good is a lie.

They only care about money and profit. I pray Google never go the same way.

I love Google, because at least their hearts in the right place. Webmasters should remembers this, regardless of their rank.

bhd735




msg:116466
 3:02 am on Jul 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

Ownerrim,
I disagree. The only legitimate way to rank the web is by the content on the site. If the content is not there, then the site should not rank for that topic.

Ranking a site by the quality of its links just means that you are doing the same thing as magazines are doing. You are trusting the person with the biggest advertizing budget. Google says sites like cnn and forbes are now authorities and count more than little sites that may have better or more appropriate content - they are a trusted source. And the little guy site is now invisible to google.

So what does the little site now have to do? Go out and get as many links as possible. Which is basically an advertizing campaign like in the pre-internet days. Before the latest google change, content was king. Didnt matter how big or small you were. If you had the best content, you came out on top. Now it is all about those links. Google has brought the old days to the internet where money talks and content is meaningless.

The other search engines like teoma and alltheweb still return results based on the content on the page and not based on who is linking to the site. Hopefully google will either lose market share to these guys as google continues returning link farms and paid advertising or they smarten up and go back to results based on content.

europeforvisitors




msg:116467
 4:46 am on Jul 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

And the little guy site is now invisible to google.

Hey, I'm a little guy, and Google has been very good to me, even though I don't spend any time trolling for inbound links and my home pages are only PR6.

PageRank definitely isn't as important as it once was. If it were, those PR6 home pages wouldn't rank #1 for their most important keywords and keyphrases--some of which have a good deal of commercial value.

JuniorOptimizer




msg:116468
 2:24 pm on Jul 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

Reality dictates Google getting more corporate after they go public.

I'm pretty sure they'll become more and more commercial as they grow, monetizing every penny they can. Each quarter as Wall Street demands more profit, they will squeeze and squeeze to get that profit.

The ones being squeezed will be webmasters. Free SERPS as they exist now will probably not even be around in 3 years.

MaxM




msg:116469
 3:55 pm on Jul 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

Yahoo SERPs for non-commercial searches look pretty good to me.

Hey, I'm a little guy, and Google has been very good to me, even though I don't spend any time trolling for inbound links and my home pages are only PR6.

As a non-commercial little guy I have nothing to complain about Google or Yahoo. :)
Google domination runs at about 80% each month. In technology/science nothing comes close to what Google has to offer.

walkman




msg:116470
 4:31 pm on Jul 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

"Try running a number of totally non-commercial searches. These are the SERPs Yahoo really cares about. Yahoo SERPs for non-commercial searches look pretty good to me. "

They should just say we're a "non-commercial" engine then and redirect people to Y! own section when someone searches for commercial stuff. Think about it...Y! has everything between it's stores and XXXX.Yahoo.com. It's not far fetched to believe that maybe it's by design.

arubicus




msg:116471
 7:49 pm on Jul 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

JuniorOptimizer -

"The ones being squeezed will be webmasters. Free SERPS as they exist now will probably not even be around in 3 years."

If that happens another free search engine will arise and take over. Just like google did when almost all search engines and directories tried to go PPC or PPI in the past. There is a need for free search engines especially in the non commercial - information side of the internet.

As far as the search engine war,

Google has a strong brand right now. It will be very hard for Yahoo or MSN to go head to head with them.

Yahoo is a serve all portal in most people's mind. Trying to be all things to all people. Stretching their brand to every corner of the internet market. It will be very hard even with faster more highly relevent results than Google to win this fight because Google owns the brand of fast highly relevant results in people's mind.

MSN? Do you think they are after the Google search market? No, I highly doubt it. They are after Yahoo's market plain and simple. Yahoo is being lead into a fight with Google (a seperate brand category). It would take some rebranding by Yahoo to win. This is difficult, costly, and can take alot of time.

Yahoo is put into a pich. Do they go after Google's market or stand their ground.

If Yahoo stands their ground MSN goes after Google themselves and will be in great position in becoming the #1 portal next would be the weakening AOL as internet provider.

If Yahoo goes after Google then they will end up in a costly brand battle that they are unlikely to win at the moment. MSN will continue to pressure Yahoo in the search market until either Google or Yahoo looses. If Google looses then MSN will take 2nd easily (possibly purchasing their technolody) since the Google brand will be destroyed. The Yahoo brand will be stretched between 2 categories - #1 in portals and #1 in search - and become weakened. MSN will go after their portal brand.

If Google wins then the Yahoo search brand will be become weak even their portal brand as the #1 portal. MSN will have and easy time claiming Yahoo's current position of #2 in search while making a major push for the Yahoo market.

Microsoft has the ability and resource to brand and rebrand their services. They are known for integration. They are know for trying to be all things to all people. It won't hurt them a bit to stretch their brand out.

Either of the above examples, Microsoft wins. They grab a bigger market share.

(Does anyone here believe that the msn search preview is anything like what they really have?) Even they can see that those results are crap. They are just trying to boost the Yahoo and Google ego, get a bunch of free feedback and will be dishing out the real thing much much later when things get heated up between Yahoo and Google and then surprise!

europeforvisitors




msg:116472
 10:41 pm on Jul 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

The ones being squeezed will be webmasters. Free SERPS as they exist now will probably not even be around in 3 years.

I don't think any SERPS "as they exist now" will be around in three years. Search will continue to evolve and improve over time.

We may also see more segmentation of search results, because it's becoming increasingly impractical to display information and commercial results on the same SERPs. There are simply too many sites and pages in the index for the traditional "throw everything into the mixer and see what rises to the top" approach to function well for users.

arubicus




msg:116473
 7:36 am on Jul 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

Very good point EPV. It will be hard to automate the process with spiders to segment results. Hopefully in the future spiders will be a tad bit smarter is this respect but will have to go further than just commercial and information.

Rob_Cook




msg:116474
 1:54 pm on Jul 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

I tend to use Yahoo rather than Google these days. I get much more useful results, rather than a page of sites all owned by the same person.

IITian




msg:116475
 2:23 pm on Jul 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

We may also see more segmentation of search results, because it's becoming increasingly impractical to display information and commercial results on the same SERPs.

I think one simple rule could be to check the percentage of backlinks that are either part of reciprocal linking schemes or come from high PR non-relevant sites.

If total number of links (excluding DMOZ clones) is greater than say 100, then if percentage of links coming from reciprocal linking partners is, say, greater than 50%, classify a site as "commercial" (after considering a few other factors) and let it compete with other commercial sites. (Links from non-relevant high PR sites in general indicate bought links and can be dealt with in some appropriate manner.)

I think classifying in this manner, and not by the content of the sites because almost all hard-core commercial sites have learnt to appear like pseudo-informational sites, with addition of a select "informational vs commercial seach" tab near the search box, will make results more relevant.

-------------

I am happy with Google's informational searches but the commercial searches are mostly spam as it would be for any search engine. Any site with the budget (and/or effort) to buy and exchange links can appear at the top of the any competitive serps, regardless of whether their content is relevant or not. Most sites are relevant because otherwise appearing at the top of the serps wouldn't result in conversion. But the fact remains that even if my site is about "monkeys" it can come on top of the serps for "widget" if I have some money to buy and trade links with anchor texts related to "widgets."

By breaking up searches into informational and commercial, Google will benefit financially since many commercial sites that are getting free lunches from being on the top of "informational" serps, would be forced to pay for adwords in "commecial" searches.

raptorix




msg:116476
 3:10 pm on Jul 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

I am also seeing an increase in yahoo traffic, and also a small increase on MSN.

BigDave




msg:116477
 5:09 pm on Jul 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

then if percentage of links coming from reciprocal linking partners is, say, greater than 50%, classify a site as "commercial"

Refuting this one is getting really old. Reciprocal links are *absolutely not* an indication that they are "link partners", nor is it any indication that the sites are commercial. And it certainly is not any sort of indication that any SEO has been happening.

Sites that cover a subject tend to link to other sites that cover a subject. Those sites that they link to are also likely to link to pages on the same subject as themselves, i.e. the first site.

Think about blogs. Live Journal has a friends list, where you have links to all your friends' blogs. In almost all cases they will also have you listed as a friend. Sure sounds like a commercial link partner scheme to me.

IITian




msg:116478
 6:12 pm on Jul 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

>Sites that cover a subject tend to link to other sites that cover a subject. Those sites that they link to are also likely to link to pages on the same subject as themselves, i.e. the first site

I think many .edu sites cover the same topics but I hardly see any reciprocal linking between say Stanford and MIT. Or between US .gov and UK .gov sites. However, lots commercial widget parts sellers cross link to each other. The reason is very clear. One group cares about its free ride in the Google serps and the other group can't care less.

There are a few genuine non-commercial cluster of sites linking to each other but that can be easily identified by 1) lack of shopping carts 2) lack of links from commercial sections of fee-directory like Yahoo and business.com.

I think, erasing the importance of reciprocal links (ie making the effect of anchor texts to 0) will make Google a 'relevant' search engine instead of being a favorite among SEOs for obvious reasons.

Blogs! Most reciprocal links are between friends. Do I want to see a blog come up on top for a serious topic because all 1000 of her high school friends had cross links with some common anchor texts? Only when a blog gets links from authority sites for some valuable content, I want to see them.

I say, give 0 weight ( or even negative weigth) to reciprocal link anchor texts.

This 70 message thread spans 3 pages: 70 ( [1] 2 3 > >
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