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Google seems to be getting more difficult to use for me
Brett_Tabke




msg:135879
 7:12 pm on Feb 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

I am finding Google more and more difficult to use. I don't think Google is any worse or any better in that regard than it was a few years ago. However, I do expect more from them today than previosly.

This isn't anything new really, it's just a level of frustration setting and waiting for Google to come up with an easier way to search than they have at current. It feels like they have stopped dead in the water on search and settled for what they have.

I really didn't even know there could be a faster, more accurate way to search until using that 'other engine' with it's nifty suggestions. They cut search time by multiples and make the actual process much less of an intellectual brain teaser. Instead of figuring out the right keyword combos to get Google to generate the result I want, I could be putting that effort into viewing information I want, or getting back to work.

In alot of ways, Google today is feeling more an engine from the pre-Google days. I sure hope they have something up their sleeve.

 

Visit Thailand




msg:135909
 3:13 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think Google is still number one and will be for a very long time, but I think it is the users who are becoming more demanding.

For example we are now beginning to expect that the answer for every possible question is out there on Google or any search engine. Almost to the ridiculous.

This I see as one problem Google and other engines have, when the searches become more complicated, when we are looking for an answer that just may not be out there.

JeremyL




msg:135910
 3:26 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

I would definitally like to see the local and search refine/suggest listings.

Also maybe listing of related categories in the directory at the bottom of search results. Where they are now below each listing seems cluttered to me.

I would definitally like to see searches of other media like audio and video. FTP search would be nice too but not used as much.

My biggest wish is for look customization. The way ATW does it is great, but if we could at least pick font color and size that would be great to. For some reason teoma and ATW are just eisier on my eyes. Im not sure if it's color or font selection or the result layout.

A sort by option (page changed last / freshness / last indexed) date would be nice.

Just some ideas. I have no complaints about google overall and I love the results. It's mainly about usability. Not lack there of, but there is always room for improvement.

The idea of the plural and singular being combined, I disagree. I like the chance to get rankings in one if I can't get it in the other. The more chances to get ranked on different search phrases the better if you ask me.

Spica




msg:135911
 3:56 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

I can think of two things that would greatly improve the relevance of searches:

1) Give significant weight to the relevance of entire web sites rather than just the relevance of individual pages. If I do a search on “hand-made widgets”, I would like to see listed on the top those sites that focus exclusively on hand-made widgets. In all likelihood, larger, higher PR sites with a single page on widgets, and zillions of other pages on irrelevant topics, are not what I am looking for.

2) Ignore reciprocal links when calculating PageRank. There is no significant difference in my mind between link exchange programs and linkfarms. Why should a site be more important because it links to a lot of other sites (most often totally irrelevant) that link back to it?

BigDave




msg:135912
 4:06 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

Spica,

I don't participate in reciprocal linking, but almost all my links are reciprocal links, precisly because they are on topic.

What you are suggesting is that any site that happens to link to DMOZ should not have the link from DMOZ count.

Naturally reciprocal links (non traded) would naturally be more on topic than non reciprocal links. Think themeing.

Spica




msg:135913
 4:20 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

BigDave:

Do you really think that widget-selling stores would spontaneously link to other widget stores if it was not to increase their PR? If the reciprocal links are there for the benefit of the visitors, that’s fine. But why should a site get higher PR because the webmaster spend hours and hours contacting other webmasters about exchanging links? Does that make the site any better?

I don’t think that the topic of DMOZ is relevant. They do not insist on a reciprocal link before listing you.

Beachboy




msg:135914
 4:27 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

I agree with Big Dave's first post. There are some potentially great SEs out there, but if they aren't conscientiously spidering on a frequent basis and indexing voraciously, then they lose importance. It's unbelievable to me that the people who run those SEs aren't handling the basics very well.

BigDave




msg:135915
 4:28 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

How does google know if you have insisted on a link? The whole DMOZ question is very relevant. What you are suggesting is that if you link to a site, and they link to you, then they should not count either of those links. Therefore DMOZ would no longer be a PR10 site, it would lose almost all it's incoming links.

If you can figure out a way for Google to figure out the difference, then I'm sure they would love to know about it.

GoogleGuy




msg:135916
 4:39 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

Okay, I see several votes for related queries and refining searches, some votes for more geographic ability to search, a few votes for singular/plural scoring changes and one vote against hermaphrodite video clips. kevinpate, look for some improvements in that area soon. I see a mention about ftp and more flexibility in sorting. What other changes would you *as a user* like to see? I'll pass on the feedback about recip links and pagerank's role, but I don't think that affect average users as much.

"I think Google is still number one and will be for a very long time, but I think it is the users who are becoming more demanding."

I would agree, but I think more demanding users are a good thing. :) There's got to be more features that you've wished for as you searched--what else do you wish you could see?

Spica




msg:135917
 4:44 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

The fact that Google can’t tell the difference between spontaneous and reciprocal links is precisely the problem. Because of link exchange, link pages are becoming useless to the surfers. They just look like billboards along the freeway.

willybfriendly




msg:135918
 4:47 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

Ignoring reciprical links would only generate a program of "circular" links. Might be a little more difficult, but I am sure that webmasters would find a way to network in order to beat the algo.

I too would like something to help me narrow down a search. It is a pain in the rear to scratch one's head trying to decide what combination of words will find me what I am looking for. Usually I can go right to it, but when I can't, it sure is frustrating.

On the other hand, I can't stand the paid listings on the top of most of the other SE's. I have learned to block adwords out (unless I feel moved to charge one of my competitors a few bucks).

Visit Thailand




msg:135919
 4:47 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

"I think Google is still number one and will be for a very long time, but I think it is the users who are becoming more demanding."

I would agree, but I think more demanding users are a good thing. :) There's got to be more features that you've wished for as you searched--what else do you wish you could see?

Not really, perhaps one thing which may be fun and get me to spend longer on Google would be an Amazon style, People who searched for this also searched for XXXX etc.

That could also help you with relevancy and also give people suggestions for other search terms.

Zapatista




msg:135920
 5:12 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

willybfriendly is absolutely right. Change the PR value of reciprocal links to one ways and people will find a way to beat it. With some algo factors, it doesn't matter what they do, there will be a process found and used to work it.

born2drv




msg:135921
 5:23 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

Regarding the plural/singular thing.... I think more basic users would want them merged. If you want only one or the other, you could put quotes around them for advanced users...

"widgets" search (w/quotes) = widgets only...
widgets search (w/o quotes) = widgets + widget

Most of us SEO people know searches for "widgets" is usually much higher than "widget", so we tend to optimize for "widgets" more, and probably search for "widgets" more too. But I feel sorry for the 30% (or whatever it is), of searchers that always search for "widget" instead of "widgets", they are missing out on all the good SERP's, or at least the most optimized ones.

Overture has managed to build a database of popular search terms with proper plural-forms, I can't see why Google can't do this too. It's a once off thing, that's not going to change (vocabulary doesn't change very much over time). And they have lots of data from the tool bar, I'm sure regarding searching behavior.

JeremyL




msg:135922
 5:28 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

Alexa gave me the idea, but how about an option (not on as default probably) to have a cahced thumbnail of the site next to it's listing. When doing searches for ecommerce this would be especially helpfull because I won't buy from a company that hasn't spent the money on a clean proffessional design. It smells to fishy to me. That way I wouldn't waste my time visiting all the sites I wouldn't buy from on first impressions if I could get a glimpse of the site first.

I could also see this helping with spam, or avoidence there of. Although I don't see it that often on google, everyone in awhile you will click on a link and it's nothing but a keyword stuffed page without and real content. While not that easy to see from the thumbnail, if it helps me avoid just one pece of junk page I'm happy.

Visit Thailand




msg:135923
 5:44 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

JeremyL I like that idea but they would have to radically improve their caching techniques to ensure the image is the most up to date (i.e that day or as close as).

born2drv




msg:135924
 5:49 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

Jeremy, thats'a good idea, but I think that would slow the searching significantly.... having 10 images load on every page, if you know what i mean.

Powdork




msg:135925
 6:13 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

I would like to be able to check backlinks domainwide, rather than for a singular page.
The plural singular thing used to bother me. I have a restaurant website. People always search for 'restaurants'. It is awkward to fit the plural form onto my site. So my site ranks poorly for that search. It is the directories that win because they offer 'restaurants' rather than one. Now we're in all the directories and it doesn't matter. In general there are probably lots of cases where low quality directories beat out quality sites the user would be looking for simply because of pluralization.
Just to be sure, I also bought a directory.:)

europeforvisitors




msg:135926
 6:30 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

Google has a clean, simple, no-nonsense interface that's very easy to use. I doubt if more than a fraction of Google's users want more bells and whistles on the main search page or on the SERP--and I *know* they don't give a fried fig for features like improved checking of backlinks.

snowfox121




msg:135927
 6:42 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

Indeed, what many of us in this forum want has no bearing at all on the average user's needs.

I think the idea of combining singular and plural instances of words into one result might be a good idea, but I 'd have to see what it does to my SERP before I can say for sure. (grin)

As for "other engines" as far as I can see from my logs they aren't generally in great use. When I calculate my search-driven visitors the only other engine (aside from Google) drawing any traffic is MSN at about 15% of search-driven traffic. Google (Yahoo/AOL/etc) traffic combined is over 80%.

This means fewer than 5% of my visitors are using anything other than Google and MSN. Google responds quickly to the changes I make at my page, rewarding me in a matter of weeks. With MSN (for example) it has taken a year to slowly move incrementally up the SERPs. What I do to my site -- or add to it -- seems not to matter to the other engines, at least not in the short term.

JeremyL




msg:135928
 7:03 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

JeremyL I like that idea but they would have to radically improve their caching techniques to ensure the image is the most up to date (i.e that day or as close as).

That would be a good thing :)

Jeremy, thats'a good idea, but I think that would slow the searching significantly.... having 10 images load on every page, if you know what i mean.

Thats why i suggested it be a preference setting and not something on by default. I'm on dsl so i won't see much wait for 10 thumbs but it would suck for dial up users.

GoogleGuy




msg:135929
 7:07 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yah, I'm more interested in things regular users would want rather than webmasters/seos. Maybe some things are features, but I'd also be interested to hear about common types of searches that don't seem to work as well as you'd like. A couple people have mentioned freshness as a strength, but what are the areas where we could do better?

BigDave




msg:135930
 7:10 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

If singular and plural are combined, I would hope that there would be weighted results in favor of the one that truly matches what was typed in. There are many words where switching from plural to singular will change the meaning of the word.

vitaplease




msg:135931
 7:49 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

Googleguy, freshness is fine, but let us users find it [webmasterworld.com].

Suppose someone is searching something on a disease.

He wants to know the latest information on it from an authoritative source.

I know of no ways of finding really "new" content on this subject in Google. Show me how to search for the totally new pdf document that was indexed in the last two weeks by Google on xyz disease from a high PR site?

As far as I understand it, Google puts high PR pages, pages with a lot of recent new links towards it, and really new pages, all in the same "Fresh" category. Let users find the Fresh pages that are really new, or of which 60% of text body content is new.

Goofresh helps in some occasions, but not thoroughly, and does the regular searcher know Goofresh?

Googlegroups could help, but it is difficult to weed through panic, gossip and real authority there.

daroz




msg:135932
 8:00 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

...common types of searches that don't seem to work as well...

I would give specific examples but I think I'd run afoul of the TOS. (If you would like them Sticky me)

There are several 2-3 word searches in a particular industry I was looking for earlier this week that just gave me crap for 8/9 of the first 10 listings.

The kicker is, that of the crap entries are all 'affiliate' domains owned by the same company.

The fact that a couple of these sites are in DMOZ probibly attribute to the PR5+ they have, but they only show up in this list (1 keyword, 1 word city (not the capital), 2 word state) because they have semi-visible text spamming keywords everywhere.

The problem is two fold:
1. PR is good, PR is nice, but PR!= Everything. There _has_ to be some other method to 'assist' in determining relivance of a page. (And if I get a real good one, you can all read about it after a small trip to the USPTO. :)
2. Google _must_ start to really crack down on sits that cloak or spam to drive up a SERP or to decieve the SE. (Note: That a site that disables flash detection and/or disables session IDs is 'technically' cloaking, but with entirely different intentions - and IMHO should not be peanalized)

The problem is actually simpler then it looks -- improve relivance and remove crap and you get a better SE. Some of the wizbang stuff Goole does is _great_ but most users go to Google to hit a few keywords and find something.

troels nybo nielsen




msg:135933
 8:47 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

Both as a user and as a webmaster I'd like to see a Scandinavian option. (The same technology might be used with other closely related languages.) Something like 20 millions speak Scandinavian languages and we live in some of the most IT minded countries. The option would certainly be used.

When I choose Danish I would like to have three possibilities offered below the search field:
1. Search the Web
2. Search Scandinavian pages
3. Search Danish pages

A lot of words are spelled slightly different in Scandinavian languages. You would have to build a database with those words, but I am sure that the users would happily help you.

Troels (Truls in Norwegian)

cornwall




msg:135934
 8:53 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

common types of searches that don't seem to work as well as you'd like.

OK, it is difficult to get information about hotels in any major city, without coming up against a large number of what are (probably) affiliate sites with the same data base that one has to wade through.

The same applies for similar searches on, say, car rental, or airport parking in a major city.

vitaplease




msg:135935
 8:55 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yah, I'm more interested in things regular users would want rather than webmasters/seos

We have about 10 young trainees a year coming fresh from school/university.

For some reason they think that searching for word1 will yield word1word2 results as well.

I guess this has to do with them getting used to Microsoft's search option with "search all or part of.." and also that dutch/scandanavian/german languages tend to stick together words into words.

There have been initial movements from Google into this matter:
[webmasterworld.com...]

Maybe an old fashioned wildcard asterix search could help? [webmasterworld.com]

I think regular users would be happier with an advanced search option fill in box containing: containing part of the word:

Powdork




msg:135936
 9:05 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

This has been debated alot especially regarding implementation, but i would like to see local results weighted more for travel related searches. When I say local results, I mean results from sites originating in the region. As a webmaster and a searcher I feel this would improve results. If you enter "lodging 'vacation destination'" (no quotes of any sort) for a particular location it would be better to receive the actual property before you receive a multinational affiliates listing for the property. In some cases this is because of the weakness of a local property's site, which is understandable, but in other cases it is just because of the hundreds or thousands of links from dynamically generated pages which are increasingly being spidered.

Powdork




msg:135937
 9:20 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

oops,
yeah, what vitaplease said.:)

indigojo




msg:135938
 9:27 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'd like to see the skins idea that FAST has, on Google.

oh and never see spam again to!

Receptional Andy




msg:135939
 9:37 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

>There are several 2-3 word searches in a particular industry I was looking for earlier this week that just gave me crap for 8/9 of the first 10 listings.

The kicker is, that of the crap entries are all 'affiliate' domains owned by the same company.

The fact that a couple of these sites are in DMOZ...<

This sounds EXACTLY like a search term I can think of, with hundreds of identical, content-free sites with the only difference on each being a country/place name. They all show up for "keyword keyword" which is the main search and dominate the results...

Maybe I'm easy to please, but I haven't been to a non-Google search for a while. I used to flit from engine to engine, but I've found that my searching skills can now find me what I want pretty quickly, even if I do end up with horrendously long search queries with quotes and minus symbols everywhere ;)

I figure, Google indexes the sites, it's up to me to figure out how to use the database to find what I want.

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