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IMHO Google has gone too far
secret rules only hurt the little guys

 11:48 pm on Sep 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

When I first began using Google I thought it was great because it picked up sites that the bigger engines didn't and presented them in far better order of relevance. So here was a search engine for The People.

So now it's fall 2002...and Google's become not just one of the Big Guys, seems to me like it's become a monster bully.

I've stopped using them as a search engine for the simple reason that my favorite sites seem to have disappeared, only to be replaced by (for lack of a better term) "bubba sites" -- along with the now-intensive plastering of text-based ads. (and then head on over to yahoo, or lycos, or whatever...same EXACT results...geeeez)

After reading these forums for awhile and reading the usenet discussions, it seems unpardonable TO IT'S USERS that Google would so callously just dump sites without warning and have some sort of secret code book of rules that we're all just supposed to guess at...

This is WHY people hire SEO experts...and now those who felt helpless to understand the OLD rules are floating out there in never never land because they got banned or reduced because now there are NEW RULES. Should businesses hire new SEOs?? What if they change the rules again???

I'm not a site owner, I'm a web developer...and researcher...and writer. I "work" the web for a variety of reasons, mostly to get reference material for whatever code or subject I'm working on. These last few weeks have been miserable insofar as getting the usual good results of my searches. And yes, I KNOW how to search.

But I finally connected the dots!

Google is definitely going downhill because they've forgotten who put them where they are today! Just when us developers are seeing the light at the end of the browser war tunnel, suddenly we NOW have to intuit the GOOGLE coding rules...and develop a new site that adheres to it...huh??? It reminds me of government regulation...big business love it because it shoves the little guy out.

Has anyone at Google wondered what all their rule changing/banning/reducing is doing to USERS?? Or do they only care that their precious secret "ranking algorithym" remains undecipherable to the average joe?

Does anyone else see what's wrong with this picture?? I think The People need a new search engine!



 12:07 am on Sep 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

Thanks for making the case for why Google is the best search engine out there, by far.

I think "the people" who think hidden text, bogus links and cloaked pages designed to lie and mislead should try and understand that the real people out there have voted and use Google because (while flawed) it delivers the best on-topic, useful search results to the users.


 12:20 am on Sep 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

>>big business love it because it shoves the little guy out

I think people are just beginning to latch onto the fact that Google is the easiest engine on the web to manipulate. For the commercial entries, it is indeed money that buys the position. Yes, the little guy can optimize his site and grab some market share, until someone notices that there is money to be made in that niche and then the biggest budgets rule the SERPS.

What suprises me is that people think that the web would somehow remain different from the rest of the world. It's always about the money. :)


 12:21 am on Sep 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

I agree Steveb. Being the knucklehead I am, I tried pants tricks and I got booted - deservedly. Sure, there are other search engines aside from Google but the rest (well, apart from Alltheweb I reckon) have more spam in them than a Hormel's processing plant.

It's very true that Google is massive and vital. Much more than any other search engine. And it's also true they are dreadful at returning e-mails. But the upshot - GoogleGuy comes here and helps out many, many people. They also keep a close eye on the Google support newsgroup too.

Google's coding rules are existing general web rules. Don't try and cheat by using linkfarms. More content + Great quality links = well ranked sites. Keep it simple and you will do well....


 12:38 am on Sep 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

Atriana - welcome to the board.

Secret rules - well for most part of it it's not secret at all. I suggest reading around here a bit to get you updated on the game. 99% of the rules are pretty clear.

If on the other hand you push the envelope - then you either have to be lucky - or good at the game.

Google has gone too far? Only in one point, really: they are the biggest engine worldwide towering above anything else. You can hardly blame them for being successfull.

Big money can buy top ranking. It's a matter of resources. If a small guy wants to compete he gotta be good.
This place is the best to learn howto.


 12:43 am on Sep 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

Sounds like an old press release.

The new one should read:

"Google announced today that it no longer has need of its millions of live users. They have been replaced by a highly classified neurally networked algorithym that will not only instantly detect and delete sites that don't capitalize the G in Google, but will also simulate highly satisfied Google users who will monitor public postings areas in order to spin positive PR drivel."

Gotta keep those adWords coming.


 12:59 am on Sep 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

Addendum: I don't care about HOW to trick Google...it ain't my business and hopefully it never will be my business because I really don't envy you your jobs.

However, I AM a long time Internet user and I've seen a lot, done a lot (am in my 40s)

And if I'm not mistaken, the way Google USED to work was that someone got a good position by whatever means necessary BUT, if their site sucked, and folks stopped clicking on it, it would eventually go away.

Yeah, sometimes some baddies got in. Welcome to democracy.

But overall, I was highly pleased with the "OLD" system. The new system, whatever the heck it is they're up to now, is just not working for ME, a simple user...ok, let's make that an Internet addict...

I have a feeling the only people who complained about the "old" way were sites that sucked, maybe?

Anyway, the writing's on the wall. Google's direction has definitely changed and I honestly don't think they'll be maintaining the popularity they thought they had so nailed down...


[edited by: Marcia at 1:57 am (utc) on Sep. 8, 2002]
[edit reason] URL drop deleted [/edit]


 1:15 am on Sep 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

I'm a college student, I run a few web sites, I'm beating a lot of BIG BIG companies on Google. 'nuff said.


 1:32 am on Sep 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

And if I'm not mistaken, the way Google USED to work was that someone got a good position by whatever means necessary BUT, if their site sucked, and folks stopped clicking on it, it would eventually go away.

I'm afraid you are indeed mistaken. Google never cared what people clicked on. What you describe as the "old system" must have been a different search engine. Directhit used to work like that.


 1:33 am on Sep 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

And if I'm not mistaken, the way Google USED to work was that someone got a good position by whatever means necessary BUT, if their site sucked, and folks stopped clicking on it, it would eventually go away.

I don't think it ever did work that way.

If anything has changed, it is that the webmasters have become more competitive over the years, and the number of websites to be ranked has grown. Google has responded by tightening its algos and dealing with spam as best it can, just as every other search engine has done.

I don't, however, think Google has changed its direction or ranking philosophy substantially over time at all, except for the aforementioned tidying.

Truth be told, I'm not sure what it is you are seeing that is so objectionable.

<add> ok. I just noticed the URL drop. Unfortunately that has just completely switched off my interest in any point you might make. I find it just a tad suspicious when people who loudly decry one thing conveniently throw in an 'alternative' at an opportune moment.


 1:48 am on Sep 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

I think google does do a pretty good job with spam. For what(?) nearly three BILLION pages now? I don't think many of us truely appreciate the magnitude of this volume of information. Google will have many pressures in the future to 'join the darkside', but at least we'll be the first to know when they do:) This topic always brings up the age old question of privacy......"Who monitors the monitors?" Will enough money one day be able to buyout the competition's listings and give them a PR0 penalty? I guess I won't go too deep into 'conspiracy theory' here, but I hope you will all keep a skeptical eye on a company with as much power as the G now has. Long live the little guys! Too bad they grow up;)


 3:20 am on Sep 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

I think for the small businesses, Google does pretty well by them. Link popularity, ODP and Google are pretty helpful for businesses that have little to no budget for paid inclusion/PPC.

I've got two sites by small businesses doing well on Google. One has minimal paid inclusion and the other has none, just free submissions. At least there are a few ways for the little guys to make progress still.


 4:27 am on Sep 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

Sorry, the "url drop" was to a completely nonprofit search service for librarians, ok? Non-commercial and one that I'm sure wouldn't appreciate being a google-substitute.

And I know folks who do well or have done well in Google too. Everyone's missing my point...it's not about YOU doing well. It's about people who come to search (i.e. USERS) doing well. Without them, why would you want to be on Google??

Here's what makes absolutely no sense to me...you go to any weblog and it's got an automatic rank of 6, right? (Played with the google tool last week...that's how all this started in my mind...and it disturbed me) Heck, even the NYTimes recently did an article about Google's love affair with blogs. And YET they frown deeply on web rings...uh...okkkk. Right...maybe it's a generational thing...

Blogs are nice but I have to be in the mood. When I do a search for dollhouses or jazz or whatever, I don't want a bunch of blogs...I want real information. I don't like typing in ASP reference and getting back Joe somebody's college notes.

Am I making sense here?? People actually depend on search engines to do real work...when I use a search engine I'd like citations to come back that contain sites with solid information. The best businesses on the web do this, regardless of whether they also happen to be spamming or whatnot. But as a user, I really don't care how they "manipulate" Google...so long as they have the material I'm looking for and they show up when I type in "global warming" or whatever. What I don't want is a bunch of college kids' opinions and laments.

This seems to be a repetition of what happened with Yahoo, right before Google hit the scene. Yahoo used to catalog everything that got submitted...then they started taking forever...and then they said MAYBE we'll do it...if you're lucky. No, wait, now you gotta pay us $300 and THEN it's a maybe...

So when Google came along and had spidered EVERYTHING...duh...where did all of Yahoo's users go?

Anyone getting it yet?? It's not about you guys...if Google doesn't keep the users happy and they find a better search engine then all this fuss and detail about making the Googlebot happy (let's see if I got this right...char codes are the latest sin???) is just faldarol, isn't it? The really horrible new thing I discovered tonight was that the best results seemed to come from a certain search service based out Redmond...oh yuck, is Google REALLY gonna force me to use them???


 4:58 am on Sep 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

My only websites are a few I run as a hobby and a learning tool. However I do a LOT of searching. I look for stuff to put in my blog for fun and as a graduate student searching for information is part of my "job".

And as a user I'm very happy with google. Sure I don't use it for hardcore scientific information very often but that's not what it's made for. The internet at large isn't the place for peer reviewed journal articles anyway.

I've tried every search engine I can find in the past six months, which is a lot, and found Google the best overall. The results speak for themselves. Using a carefully worded search term I don't get SERP's full of blogs and advertising, but useful, on topic information. I'm not the only one who likes them, the reason Google is so big and so everywhere is because searchers love them and use them, not because people like being listed in them. There is nothing stopping me or anyone else going elsewhere. They aren't perfect and don't fill all search niches but their market share didn't appear from thin air.

if Google doesn't keep the users happy and they find a better search engine then all this fuss and detail about making the Googlebot happy (let's see if I got this right...char codes are the latest sin???) is just faldarol, isn't it?

This is 100% true. However right now it appears that Google is keeping the majority of users happy. This is why webmasters care about them, Google brings traffic because so many people use Google.

As for weblogs, it took nearly a year's work to get mine to PR5.


 5:03 am on Sep 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

Atriana, I have no idea what you're talking about. I think Google is still a great resource. Even your example of "global warming" ... the first 2 pages are solid. Not one commercial site (that I noticed) out of 20 web pages.

As far as some secret code book of what makes sites rank well, if they didn't keep some things secret then they would be overrun by spam and your problem would be much worse. At the same time, the underlying "building blocks" of Google's algo have remained the same, and are very hard to "fake" without a lot of hard work and quality content. I'm talking about Pagerank, of course.

Google has about 2.5 billion pages indexed, so if you feel Yahoo is too commercialized and does not have good enough content (with their about 100,000 sites, just guessing), then I don't know what you're looking for. If you want sites that have been hand-picked for quality content with descriptions generated by supposedly non-biased editors, then perhaps you should use DMOZ. But DMOZ will not contain the same amount of content as Google, especially not for recent developments/breaking news. I find DMOZ great for finding definitive sourcces for information (especially when sorted by Google's PR in their directory). But that's just me.

[edited by: born2drv at 5:06 am (utc) on Sep. 8, 2002]


 5:05 am on Sep 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

atriana - you seem to be taking your experiences as a searcher and applying that to all users. All I can tell you is that my user experience with Google is apparently very different to yours.

In my 'other life' I work for a group of consultants in various primary production fields. These guys do a lot of reading and research in their fields, and after six months of trying five of the major engines all have settled on Google as their search engine of preference.

For my own research, which focuses on four diverse areas, Google is also meeting my needs better than any other engine.

I have yet to see a blog feature in search results in my areas.

As a user I'm not terribly worried about my 'favorite sites' not featuring one month after the other, because I use bookmarks.

As a user I couldn't actually give a stuff about toolbar page rank. In fact I believe that most users don't know what it signifies at all (witness the number of webmasters here who are confused about what it means :) )

It's very much a matter of perspective. This month's algo may not suit your sector of interest for some reason. But it's working just fine in my areas, and I suspect in the majority of areas.


Putting on my webmaster hat, I'm pretty comfortable with Google's behaviour as well.

A lot of the energy surrounding Google actually comes from the fact that they are somewhat more transparent to webmasters than a lot of the other engines.

What other major engine can you identify within a couple of days, month after month, when you will see search results updated, or when you will see their spider back on your site? not many.

What other major engine hands you an insight to a major part of their algo on a plate the way Google does with page rank on the toolbar?

How many other engines can you feel on a level playing field with every other site without spending a dime? Not that many these days.

At any rate, the Google algo rewrites are like buses - if you don't like this one, give it a month... there'll be another along.


 5:12 am on Sep 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

When I do a search for dollhouses or jazz or whatever, I don't want a bunch of blogs

Are you using the same Google everyone else is? I just tried searches on "jazz" and "dollhouses", and I can't see a single blog in the top 20 for either.


 5:12 am on Sep 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

> Addendum: I don't care about HOW to trick Google...it ain't my business and hopefully it never will be my business because I really don't envy you your jobs.

Last time I checked, this was a community of SEO's, wasn't it?


 5:16 am on Sep 8, 2002 (gmt 0)


I've got to agree with Deejay on this. I have been doing a lot of research the last 15 months and have probably used every search engine known to man:) and I have consistently had the best results using Google and have had the least amount of blog. Let's also realize that Google has to index 2.5 billion(?) pages and taking that into consideration it does an extremely good job.


 6:13 am on Sep 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

<rant>Arrgh. I consistently see the term "research" used in conjunction with seach engines. Research involves more than reading what someone else has written. You can't 'research' the effects of drought by reading about it anymore than you can 'research' the impact of drug use on society by reading about it. Unless of course 'research' is used in the scope of regurgitating information without critical analysis and without the proper protocol. The word research is so often used as a replacement for "study" that I can't stand it. :) Arrrghhhhh. </rant>

Old Professor: What are you studying?
Young Student, located in California: I'm researching the effects of global warming on the ice caps.
Old Professor: Really, from here? Don't you mean you're reading someone else's research?
Young Student: Well, I suppose I am.

Anyway, Google, or any other search engine for that matter falls short of my needs for research. The library and living people are still my best source. For most fluff topics I can use Google, for anything meaningful, the library. If' I'm researching an article, I actually need to talk to people. If I can find everything I need with a search engine, I don't need to write about it. :)


 6:23 am on Sep 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

*hands digitalghost an apple and a blood pressure cuff... and proceeds to write on the blackboard*

I will not use the term 'research' inappropriately.
I will not use the term 'research' inappropriately.
I will not use the term 'research' inappropriately.
I will not use the term 'research' inappropriately.
I will not use the term 'research' inappropriately.
I will not use the term.....



 6:28 am on Sep 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

I consistently see the term "research" used in conjunction with seach engines.

All new work needs to be put into context with what has already been done. Yes, being a researcher isn't just about finding other people's work, but this is an important part of it.

The work I've been doing isn't a 'study', it involved over nine months original lab work. However I've also had to do six months solid searching, some before the practical work and some after, and this is where Google came in. You can't just start investigating something new without an understanding of why you're doing it and what others have already done, and the results afterwards are meaningless until put into context of current knowledge.

While Google isn't my first choice search tool in this case (Science Citations Index is), Google is my favourite internet seach engine and has played a part in giving me background information to my lab work (I changed majors for this degree and was rather lost). There is a lot of good information out there on the web which is relevant to research of whatever nature and a good search engine is necessary to find it.


 6:40 am on Sep 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

Thanks Deejay, for the apple, and the cuff.

Shelleycat, I apologize. I didn't mean to imply that anyone in this thread was unclear about what research actually is. Unfortunately, I hear undergrads remark all the time that they are 'going to research Bertrand Russell' or 'research' Kant or Locke. Makes me a little nuts, but after the apple and a quick blood pressure check the twitching has stopped. ;)


 6:44 am on Sep 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

*giggle* It's alright. I'm just bitter because I'm rewriting my discussion to add in all that stuff about current research :)

I'm glad to see I'm not the only user who likes Google though. I've been using it for nearly two years, much longer than I've owned or ran a website. It just always seemed to work the best.


 12:13 am on Sep 9, 2002 (gmt 0)


The only word appropiate for me to use was research. You can't study what would be the best hosting company, or the best ppc company or the best whatever, you have to go out and do research. But yes I do agree that the word is used way to often and more times then not inappropiately


 12:27 am on Sep 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

Good discussion on this thread in general. Other than confirming a thing or two (e.g. we don't use clickthrough data in our scoring. The vast majority of the time we don't track clickthroughs at all because the redirect slows down our users. We do spot checks every so often to make sure our quality stays high, but you will rarely see redirects on Google).

The one point I would second is deejay's which is that most people on this forum are not typical users. That's a point that a lot of people forget, until they see all the ways that people misspell Britney Spears. :)

Back to the original topic a little: atriana, I would be interested if there are any specific searches, or genres of search, that we're not doing as well on as before. We're always interested when someone says: "this search used to work well for me, and now it doesn't."


 1:22 am on Sep 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

.....I've been seconded by Googleguy *SWOON*


 1:24 am on Sep 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

I'd like to weigh in on the usefulness of Google to the small/medium business. I speak in this case of a client I took on a little over two years ago. I should qualify my remarks by saying that I don't do any "old school" dedicated SEO - I'm a web developer who considers the search engines in everything I do, but I don't offer programs exclusively designed to guarantee the "top ten" or anything like that.

This particular small business was a newcomer in their market niche when they came to me, and all the relevant searches everywhere were dominated by the same handful of long-time players. Did I say this business is small? Even today, they have only one full time employee (the owner) and a handful of part-timers linked virtually across a rather wide geography.

But today they are found in the top results for thousands of relevant searches on Google. Now, did I "trick" Google? Not at all. I encouraged this business put up tons of relevant content, unique things no one else offered as well as the general information needed for their niche.

I made sure it was all clearly linked, titled, and validly coded. No tricks at all, but no "cowboy" HTML either. I put a lot more energy into usability than I do into Google's algo. If anything, you could call my approach "Search Engine Usability" rather than SEO.

When this business says they would like to be found under a particular keyword, my instant reply is not to build a doorway page or a feeder domain. I say "OK, give me some content. Write an article about it."

It's clear, atriana, that you've had a very different experience than mine. But it's not possible to generalize either my Google experience or yours to the entirety of web users.

Is PageRank a hard thing to manipulate? Yes, and it's getting harder. And I'd say that's a good thing. It's what any search engine needs in order to return good results over an extended time period - an algorithm that is not easy to influence.


 2:29 am on Sep 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

>>Is PageRank a hard thing to manipulate? Yes

Pagerank, quite simply, is the easiest thing to manipulate I've run across. You can BUY it.


 3:06 am on Sep 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

GoogleGuy says:
The one point I would second is deejay's which is that most people on this forum are not typical users. That's a point that a lot of people forget, until they see all the ways that people misspell Britney Spears.

Exactly. And one of atriana's points, in my interpretation, is that Ms. Spears probably shouldn't even be in Google.

The Library of Congress probably doesn't have much of anything on Ms. Spears. Is it deficient?

Google indexes over 1.2 million pages on Ms. Spears. Is Google superior?

In a nutshell, this is probably what China is concerned about. They're trying to keep their culture from getting utterly dumbed down.

This 33 message thread spans 2 pages: 33 ( [1] 2 > >
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