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Telling Customers about Time it takes to Rank
being honest about expectations
dvduval

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 25768 posted 1:34 am on Sep 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

I could once easily predict how long it would take for their new site to start ranking in Google. There was a predictable cycle. Generally, within 2-3 months they could count on having their site indexed and even ranking for things like their company name or unique product. Now I don't know what to tell them. Here are a few comments I have made to customers recently:

1) "Honestly, it is going to be at least a year for you to see any decent results unless you purchase Google Adwords. Google is pretty much a Pay Per Click search engine now, unless you've been around for a year or more."
2) "I realize it has been 6 months and you have spent over $20,000 on your site. Unfortunately, no amount of money is going to make you rank in the "pure" results. I sincerely apologize for telling you that I thought it would be 2-3 months. I was wrong."
3) "You are asking when your site will start making money? I have no clue, because there is this mysterious "sandbox effect" going on at Google. I know my answer sounds like "smoke and mirrors", but I mean this sincerely, and I don't know how long it will take for things to change."
4) "I'm very disappointed that you have decided to stop using my services and instead are now using spamtheseachengines.com. I've tried to market your site using knowledge I've gained with over 6 years of experience, and unfortunately there is a major delay in seeing the results that I expected. I still believe you are going to benefit, even though spamthesearchengines.com is going to get all the credit."

What are you telling your customers?

 

merlin30

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 25768 posted 1:18 pm on Sep 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

"Because Greed is Good"

Because Profit is Good.

drall

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 25768 posted 2:05 pm on Sep 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

pmkpmk,

It is not a assumption, it is fact and the "Don't be Evil" concept was out the door long long ago in a galaxy far far away...

G is now a business like any other, I am not saying they are right or wrong, I have lost over 100k this year alone in profits due to the changes and am by far not there biggest fan but the fact remains they have one source of revenue.

How many sources of rev does Yahoo or Bill have? I see here people arguing the serps are fine, well maybe for low end 6 key terms sure but if theres money most serps I see are so overloaded with scraper spam it would make your head spin, blatant spam to, heck the one guy calls his page TERM TERM spam:)

I think they have two real problems now, they cannot stop html spammers period, throw in a sandbox and they will just up the production to counter. It is unstoppable and they know it so they have to let adsense run on these pages, as a side benefit there ctr increases greatly on there search adwords due to lack of good results.

G is very smart, they do things that usually have 3-6 immediate benefits with several longterm benefits.
Change the algo, adwords sales go up due to webmasters loosing free traf, clicks go up due to less then stellar results, adsense runs on the spam so if they do clicks the "natural" results its still money to them.

I do not think they have much choice, they have zero other revenue products and have lost the spam war.

ILLstyle

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 25768 posted 2:34 pm on Sep 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

drall
where do you get your facts?
you must get inside info.

Total Paranoia

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 25768 posted 2:38 pm on Sep 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

ILLstyle I do not see drall is stating any facts, it is just his opinon. Although I am inclined to agree. Nice post drall.

spaidermen

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 25768 posted 2:48 pm on Sep 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm curious (actually surprised) why Google doesn't provide an option to pay them to have a site spidered on a priority basis. Didn't they or altavista do that way back when?
The payment would just be for priority spidering and wouldn't impact where you end up in the index. It could be a substantial revenue stream for Google.

Google never did "pay for inclusion" because it is an avenue open for spammers, unless it has a pay per click attached like Yahoo's Site Match.

petehall

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 25768 posted 2:54 pm on Sep 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

I don't know why Google don't just create their own directory instead of using DMOZ.

Then after a manual review, they can give the site the all clear (bypassing any sandbox) and as happens now with DMOZ, apply the site "boost" up the results.

If they made directory results an annually charged service, this would maintain integrity of the results and put $$$$$ into the Google bank each year... but best of all... we could have a GUARANTEED site review.

Now that would make me happy :-)

nuclei

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 25768 posted 3:21 pm on Sep 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Drall, very nice post.

GlynMusica

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 25768 posted 5:23 pm on Sep 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

If you want certainty and predictability you will have to use the PPC mechanism.

Sandbox lasts about 2 months.

Some generic listings keywords you will NEVER get via organic optimisation with new domains.

Motives are all fairly logical.

Have fun ;)

dvduval

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 25768 posted 5:24 pm on Sep 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

I second that Drall...nice post
I wonder if Google can continue to make it with this single big source of income?

When other engines start competing more heavily, I'm certain Google will take a hit. I think Google is better off doing things to remain popular with webmasters and seearchers alike. Adsense is a good product to keep some webmasters happy.

But in the long run, Google had better think about other revenue streams. I'm sure they could do things like hosting and domain names and make money just because of their brand name. I think they could sell software products or services too.

What I am telling my customers...
In the mean time, I am telling my customers to put a little into Adwords, but I am also developing some other marketing techniques like getting products listed on more shopping sites, purchasing email lists, developing newsletters and advertising on large industry sites, and even putting a little into Overture.

I made the unfortunate decision a year ago to devote 90% of my marketing and SEO toward Google. I don't feel too bad about it, because Google has always earned my respect (definitely moreso than others). But now I am faced with the reality that I need to diversify.

HayMeadows

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 25768 posted 6:01 pm on Sep 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

For what its worth, when a client is insistent on some sort of guarantee....we usually offer a top ten listing on either Google or Yahoo.

We are also talking about Yahoo a lot more often than we used to. A year ago, it was Google is the only one that matters. Now its, you really want to be ranked well at Google and Yahoo.

We're also slowly moving more and more pay per click to Overture.

Clients listen to us - because WE make them money, not search engines!

We still like Google (and Yahoo)...its just we have to follow who's making us and our {new} clients money. And right now its not Google.

sean

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 25768 posted 6:35 pm on Sep 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Because Greed is Good.

True, the same way Greed is Good for a forum of Independent Web Professionals. If we want to understand Google's intentions, we need only look at our own intentions, but on a much larger scale. Unless our intention is to not make any money, in which case, to paraphrase a member at Pubcon, we are just plain weird. A partner in greed is a partner indeed... and few companies have the partnership potential of Google.

Instead of "Telling Customers about Time it takes to Rank"

Change to "Telling Customers about Time it takes to Make Money"

ncreegan

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 25768 posted 6:41 pm on Sep 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

//Massive swings in the algo will be constant now to stimulate adwords sales which is their sole source of revenue.//

I'm by no measure as Google savvy as some of the other people here, but am quite sure that AdWords is not Google's sole source of revenue, even if you are focusing in on search results.

nuevojefe

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 25768 posted 7:17 pm on Sep 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

True,

They sell their search technology to businesses and universities. The little yellow boxes I think they are called?

pmkpmk

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 25768 posted 9:10 pm on Sep 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

drall:
as a side benefit there ctr increases greatly on there search adwords due to lack of good results

Sidenote: I had some problems with understanding your posting as being not an English native speaker and you not exactly using Oxford-English...

You mentioned spam contaminating the serps forcing webmasters to use AdWords. Howerver there is spam in AdWords too, or what do you call all those eBay-doorway-sites and shopping-portal-doorway-sites that grab almost every keyword.

Hey, we deal in an absolute niche market, and our cheapest widget is at $15.000, and yet for some of our keywords we have eBay-spam and shopping-portal-spam in the AdWords - and sometimes the URL's in these ads are not even working!

What I tell customers: well, my problem is that my "customer" is actually my boss since I'm the inhouse guy for this stuff. What I just told him today is that I need additional budget for starting with Overture and that I need additional ressources to start to focus more on MSN and Yahoo. It was a hard discussion and what made me succeed were actually the web-stats for our US-site (mentioned very early in this thread) which showed Google declining and Yahoo/MSN gaining.

steve128



 
Msg#: 25768 posted 10:24 pm on Sep 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

>For what its worth, when a client is insistent on some sort of guarantee....we usually offer a top ten listing on either Google or Yahoo.>

I also give guarentees for keywords like "tadpole vaulters"
But "viagra" Mm, sorry not taking on any new clients at this time -;...unless you give me 6-months to get it in there, pun intended -:)

Doug10

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 25768 posted 10:48 pm on Sep 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Just to add a few more stats:

Search engine traffic to my (established, non-sandboxed) site is currently:

Google..... 71%
Yahoo..... 15%
MSN..... 7%
AOL..... 2%

For the key phrase I target, I believe Yahoo produces more relevant results than Google.

If I was purely interested in searching for stuff, I'd replace the Google Toolbar I currently have on my browser with the Yahoo Toolbar.

But I'm a website owner and since Google delivers me the bulk of my traffic, what Google does is more important to me than Yahoo..........but for how long I wonder? ;-)

drall

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 25768 posted 12:26 am on Sep 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

rofl steve 128

Vadim

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 25768 posted 2:35 am on Sep 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

It is not a assumption, it is fact and the "Don't be Evil" concept was out the door long long ago in a galaxy far far away

I believe it is not so.

Simply Google tries to differentiate between the commercial and noncommercial sites. It also seems differentiate between beginners (starting companies that have no money to advertise) and well establishes business.

It seems that their approach is that well establishes business should pay for AddWords but they have option for starters to grow up. For me itís still "Don't be Evil".

My own experience seems confirms this. The new part of my site quickly got PR4. Week after I began to use AddWords PR dropped to zero. I redesigned my site. Two weeks later just one seemingly not commercial page with outbound links only got PR2. Other pages had PR0 2 month (sandbox for commercial pages?).

But I had little money, my keywords are competitive so actually I stopped adwords company (paid too low for PPC). 2 month later PR returned to my site.

Of course it is not pure experiment but it would be interesting to know whether somebody saw correlation between AddWards and PR as well as commercial sites and sandbox effect?

If so, all this means the end of commercial site optimization. Better go straight to AdWords. However Google seems gives a chance for beginners also. Simply they have to wait more so that Google be sure that they are too poor to pay right now.

This seems fair and reasonable.

Vadim.

Chazhound

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 25768 posted 5:14 am on Sep 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Why is Google going after some new sites but not others. Could they be going after agressive activity rather than optimization?

If you start a new site naturally it will grow natually and at a constant pace of popularity. What happens if a new website was to instantly build a high level of popularity. Would it be 'sandboxed'?

Lokutus

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 25768 posted 7:11 pm on Sep 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

As I'm shifting through this thread, I'm also looking at my competitor's sites and how they do in terms of SERP, PR, and Alexa. I just installed G's toolbar. It's mindboggling!

Sites with a PR0 (yes, zero) show up on the first 2 SERPS. Some sites with over 1000 incoming links have low PR. Some sites with high a Alexa ranking have low PRs. Pages with high PRs have low Alexa rankings.

Can anyone decipher all this data and make sense of it?

iThink

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 25768 posted 7:44 pm on Sep 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

Can anyone decipher all this data and make sense of it?

That is exactly what they want to do. Making it difficult for an average SEO (no offense intended) to reach to the top. Even after the sandbox effect etc. there are folks out there who can rank in top 5 for their targeted keywords in around 120 days from the start while average SEOs who were wildly successful before update Florida using time tested and standard methods have lost their edge.

About what to tell the customers? I believe one should be honest with them clearly that they can't count on free traffic from google in their business plan. Any free traffic from google is a bonus but they must have a business that is sustainable even after spending on PPC, if they want stay in business for medium to long term.

Easy traffic from Yahoo has been mentioned more than once in this thread but I think no one knows when Yahoo will do what google did last year during update Florida.

Lokutus

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 25768 posted 1:59 am on Sep 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

What is this reference to Florida?

grandpa

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 25768 posted 5:24 am on Sep 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

What is this reference to Florida?

Update Florida - Nov 2003 Google Update [webmasterworld.com]

Essex_boy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member essex_boy us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 25768 posted 7:09 am on Sep 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Florida - Font of all evil

papachumba

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 25768 posted 1:50 pm on Sep 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hmmm.... in my opinion (as a searcher not an SEO) i think google results have weakened (felt more now than 6 months ago), There is significantly more spam appearing on listings and unrelated content which just makes me loose time as a searcher. i am having to resort to yahoo/msn on occasions to find what i want. If this is how google are trying to stop spammers from appearing on top while giving us more relevant results it certainly isnt working.

Thinking as an SEO (novice), i gave up on google in March '04. It seems that our company's SERPs have gone down the drain way back then. We have followed every possible piece of good advice from this forum, BRet's guide, etc but nothing could bring the serps back up to what they were pre florida update (mind you we NEVER had any spamming techniques on our sites, we played according to the rules - even though we didnt know exactly what the rules were?!?)
Now i am seeing many more big commercial companies in google results appearing at the top. Does this mean they have experienced SEO-ers who get paid gazilions to push the company in question at the top with their master knowledge of google and SEO? Do the companies themselves have a business link with google of some kind? Some of these companies have pages in top positions which have no valuable content on them!(except a search form leading to search results selling companies products). how the hell does that work!?

On the other hand, we seem to be doing really well both on MSN and YAHOO, getting top rankings across many keyword searches for popular keywords (possibly due to our flawlessly constructed pages ;)

We are having to spend ridiculous amounts of money on adwords and overture to get anywhere with google. The only site that seems to be doing well in google is a site whose listing appears in DMOZ. So if you want to appear anywhere in google get into DMOZ. Not so easy. We have at least 15 other sites focusing on different subjects who are similar in every possible way (navigationaly) to the site that IS in dmoz and they are still refused entry. Because of this we are not appearing anywhere in google for those competitive keywords (yes, yes we have built up our backlinks...)

So where are we right now?
Since the florida update i saw a few SEO-ers moaning about their results (including me). Now i see many more. Unhappiness is spreading in the webmaster arena.
I do not know how the general Joe public feels about their results from google and whether they are inclined to switch to different engines but im sure that day will come, sooner or later.

One thing to note, which i was always unhappy about is that there are no rules and guidelines when it comes to SEO. even the word SEO means spamming to me. Search engine Optimization. Google has got some guidelines on their site but nothing concrete, most of the information was retrieved thrawling through these forums, and even then you cannot take it for granted as most of the theories on here are just that - theories and suggestions. People that have managed to achieve good rankings have done that incidentaly or intentionaly, they can use that knowledge to promote any crappy site out there that might not be necesarilly important to Searchers. During this time, a novice webmaster with a brilliant site for his home business selling something or giving out information regarding something which might have much more interest to a general searcher cannot get anywhere because he doesnt know where to start from. He might pick up a wrong piece of advice from a so-called "experienced" SEO-er and ruin his mediocre rankings on google thus ruining his home business or having to resort to adwords once again.

Bottom line - KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. Those who have it will not share it, those who dont will suffer. It applies to everything in life including SEO.

Lokutus

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 25768 posted 3:03 pm on Sep 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

>I do not know how the general Joe public feels about their results from google and whether they are inclined to switch to different engines but im sure that day will come, sooner or later.

I participate in another forum not focussed on anything to do with online business. At the beginning of the year people just started complaining about their G search results. Many said that they had started going to Y and Dogpile for searching. I did a few side by side comparisions and found that G's search results came in dead last in terms of quality.

With G you get a first page of SERPS showing old dinosaur sites started in the mid-nineties, which by virtue of longevity have a ton of incoming. Many of these are pay-per-view in my space. Meanwhile the same search through any other SE shows fresher and better sites.

I used to be one of G's biggest unofficial salesmen until the summer of 03. Then I started seeing how crappy its SRs were in comparison. This year, upon hearing others complaining as well, it really dawned on me that G is a crappy SE.

pleeker

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 25768 posted 5:08 pm on Sep 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Can anyone decipher all this data and make sense of it?

I've heard a lot of Google toolbar users say they were able to make sense of things after UN-installing the toolbar.

drall

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 25768 posted 7:03 pm on Sep 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

ncreegan,

"We generated approximately 97% of our revenues in 2003 and 98% of our revenues in the six months ended June 30, 2004 from our advertisers"

this is from this
[sec.gov...]

newsphinx

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 25768 posted 8:11 am on Sep 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

I see here people arguing the serps are fine, well maybe for low end 6 key terms sure but if theres money most serps I see are so overloaded with scraper spam it would make your head spin, blatant spam to, heck the one guy calls his page TERM TERM spam

That's not true. I am in travel indusctry, watching on mostly two words phrases. Google Serp are sill better than Yahoo and MSN results. By the way, Yahoo has many spam sites in its Serp.

pmkpmk

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 25768 posted 9:36 pm on Sep 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

Today, our International Sales Director approached me and complained that Google results are not only not what they used to be, but sometimes barely useable at all. The person in question is brilliant in certain aspects, but rather computer illiterate and surprisingly naive in others. I was asked whether there was "any other good search engine out there" I could recommend.

All my alarm bells rang! That's how Joe User sees it! Sergey and Larry, read the writing on the wall!

Aaz7

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 25768 posted 11:35 pm on Sep 21, 2004 (gmt 0)


That's not true. I am in travel indusctry, watching on mostly two words phrases. Google Serp are sill better than Yahoo and MSN results. By the way, Yahoo has many spam sites in its Serp.

hehe :)
sure, SRs for queries such as "online casino","mortgage quote" etc definitely will have no crap :)
but try to type any non-commercional keyword, or not so "popular" keyword :)
as for me, i like to use adult keywords for SRs quality tests. and i can tell you, that they are 99% full of #*$!. even not spammy #$%^ (anyway adult spam as well as gambling spam leads to real content), but useless #$%^. such as messageboards, blogs, etc.

okay, okay.
i can understand that crappy results for keyword "online casino" will give more hits to AdWords, but also those crappy results for keyword "my favorite dog's photo" (with it's AdWords for Gift Baskets :) ) will be totally useless. so who needs this? there are tonns of keywords that are really useless for PPC (i will not pay even $0.01 for keyword "aaz's homepage".

and at last.
i'm almost sure that owners of google are just working for money, and they don't care problems of "average SEO" or "average user" :)

[edited by: eelixduppy at 6:01 am (utc) on Feb. 18, 2009]

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