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This 64 message thread spans 3 pages: 64 ( [1] 2 3 > >     
Article in This Months UK PC Pro
BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:732467
 3:20 pm on Apr 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

I just got my June copy of PC Pro (UK) and it includes an article on its opinion page about Google's struggle to provide good results. I cannot provide a link to this because the article is not yet on their website but basically it is a real bad report by Jon Honeyball, that includes the following.

"Go to Google and enter the name of a London hotel for which you'd like the homepage. You'll be confronted by pages and pages of hotel reseller aggregator websites, all offering to make the booking on your behalf. No, I just want the website of the actual hotel please, so I start scrolling down the list. I count myself lucky if I find the right URL within the first ten pages of hits.

Let's try something else - some computer or home hi-fi product. Again I get a vast number of irrelevant websites, many of which are aggregators of not only Google but also Amazon or eBay. Tearing my hair out, try to dive into the search terms to find a way to stop it giving me all this unnecessary rubbish. And it isn't easy to do, since Google is giving me all this stuff deliberately.

I understand from fellow contributing editor Davey Winder that there are some magic incantations I can add onto the search terms to knock out a number of these aggregators. But this isn't the long term solution. The reality is that Google has thrown the baby out with the bath water for my daily searching, and I confess that I've gone back to Yahoo! for the time being. It's far from perfect, but I find things quicker. ...

... I don't know the definitive answer. What's clear is that the current model isn't working. And it's really sad to see a once-great product such as Google become corroded, polluted and rendered ineffective by third parties and its own internal workings.

So there you have it. This is the opinion of a respected pro magazine. If the rest of the business press pick up on this and it snowballs we could see Google being rattled severely. Could this be the thin end of the wedge?

 

Brett_Tabke




msg:732468
 3:29 pm on Apr 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

> Go to Google and enter the name of a London hotel for which you'd like the homepage

If you know the homepage, why would you go to google?

That paragraph is a reflection of the internet wasteland known as the hotel and travel industry - it says nothing about google.

> some computer or home hi-fi product.

Hmm - Ipod goes to apple, and intel goes to intel. Looks pretty good to me.

> unnecessary rubbish

Ya, learn to use a search engine before using a search engine.

> unnecessary rubbish

Welcome to the internet.

> What's clear is that the current model isn't working

Appears to be with the surfing public. Googles market share is stable in the face of strong fresh competition from 'hoo and msn.

> respected pro magazine.

lol. It appears to be an op ed peice by a clueless search newbie.

kaled




msg:732469
 3:49 pm on Apr 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

I know how to use Google (far better than joe public) yet I still struggle to find what I'm looking for if it is remotely commercial.

The number of directories that rate highly is ludicrous.

If you're listening GoogleGuy, how about an option to ignore all commercial directories. I would hope you know which they are.

Kaled.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:732470
 3:56 pm on Apr 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

If you know the homepage, why would you go to google?

He didn't know the home page. He was looking for the home page. I think his point was valid. If I am looking for information about the "Widget Hotel" in London it is not unreasonable to expect the hotel's own website to be amongst the top results.

lol. It appears to be an op ed peice by a clueless search newbie.

I think you may have missed the point Brett. This has nothing to do with a "clueless search Newbie". My own research suggests that the writer is a respected IT professional of a certain vintage. What we must remember is that very, very few IT professionals know anything about SEO and why should they? What most of them do know about is the use of the Internet and search engines and I believe that they are well enough qualified to comment on the quality of SERPs.

Powdork




msg:732471
 3:56 pm on Apr 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

Or from a listing of the top 100 classic web sites from PCMag's April 26 issue.
It's becoming fashionable to view Google as a mini-Microsoft (evil, that is), but it's a great search engine

Interestingly, with each site they listed they also give the number of pages indexed by Google and the number of backlinks. The backlink number they chose was whichever was highest between G, Y, and M.

That paragraph is a reflection of the internet wasteland known as the hotel and travel industry - it says nothing about google.
I beg to differ. At a minimum it says Google can't handle one of the web's most popular subjects. BTW, knowing a hotel's name is not the same as knowing it's URL. That's what SE's are for.

Ya, learn to use a search engine before using a search engine.
It would be nice if I could just ignore the 99% of the population that hasn't learned how to search yet.

Having said all that I tried three searches
Embassy Suites Tahoe #1
Plaza Hotel New york #1
Hotel Maximilian Innsbruck #4
So they seem to have a handle on the wasteland.;)

reseller




msg:732472
 4:11 pm on Apr 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

BeeDeeDubbleU

<... I don't know the definitive answer. What's clear is that the current model isn't working. And it's really sad to see a once-great product such as Google become corroded, polluted and rendered ineffective by third parties and its own internal workings.>

Actually .. Jon Honeyball is just repeating what several fellow members of these forums have mentioned in few threads; there is a decline in the quality of Google´s serps.

<So there you have it. This is the opinion of a respected pro magazine. If the rest of the business press pick up on this and it snowballs we could see Google being rattled severely. Could this be the thin end of the wedge?>

Maybe we are witnessing the beginning of the end of what once was "The Mother of All Search Engines", unfortunately.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:732473
 7:55 pm on Apr 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

Maybe we are witnessing the beginning of the end of what once was "The Mother of All Search Engines", unfortunately.

Probably not but I just thought that it was significant that a well known PC magazine chose to print this article. This is an indication of what genned up non SEO people are thinking when they come across all the scraper sites and directories.

g1smd




msg:732474
 8:15 pm on Apr 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

Another magazine in the UK criticised Google's search results last month. I read the piece, but can't remember which magazine it was now. The mainstream computer press, in the UK at least, is now becoming more questioning and critical of what Google is doing.

trimmer80




msg:732475
 8:52 pm on Apr 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

It's just the normal google bashing. If MSN was the top SE then the article would have featured them, just replace "google" with "msn".

I find it hard to believe that google could have the market share it does but serve up useless results. Oh wait... thats because for most people there is no other search engine that can get close to the usability / results that google provides.

Of course there are people that don't like google's results, and those people happily use the alternatives.

It could have been a decent article if it gave defined queries with comparisons to other search engine results.

For me market share speaks louder than words.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:732476
 9:29 pm on Apr 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

If MSN was the top SE then the article would have featured them, just replace "google" with "msn".

I think not.

Google has been the undisputed top SE for the last four or five years. The criticism it is now receiving is a new phenomenon - but then perhaps the people who are unhappy with G's results are just imagining that they are bad. The guys who write for these magazines are probably dead heads who are not qualified to comment ;)

wordy




msg:732477
 9:46 pm on Apr 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

usability - very good point trimmer80

We can debate the quality of SERPS of each SE until the cows come home. In terms of usability, Google has it licked. A home page that focuses total interaction into typing a word/words into a box and clicking search.

Until Yahoo! and MSN address the fundamental usability mindset of the general populus of "I search therefore I Google", they will always lag behind.

If Teoma and Wisenut had the financial/technical resources, my money would be on them to be the first to start treading on Google's toes.

yump




msg:732478
 9:48 pm on Apr 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

Judging by comments on other threads about sudden loss of positions, perhaps its worth reserving judgement for a few months to see if Google recovers. In the UK search I've never seen so much junk appearing on the first page. Have recently seen
pure affiliate link pages for blue widgets appearing near the top of the first page of search results, which are actually sub-directories of sites which don't even sell widgets or wodgits.

First time I've seen it for so long and its no joke for those of us with good content blue widget sites. Ain't in the public interest either.

Just randomly talking to a few (general public) friends about directories appearing on Google searches generates a burst of expletives. imo some of the larger ones have a limited life because of the ridiculously high search results they get on terms for which they have a ludicrously useless page. Bit by bit I hope the credibility and profitability of these sites is destroyed as people get more used to which results to ignore.

Kennyh




msg:732479
 10:28 pm on Apr 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

Sorry Brett, you're wrong.

Honeyball is no newbie. He's not a journalist whose opinions or writing style I particularly care for, but he does know his stuff. He is far more knowledgeable than your average web surfer.

The first sentence in your reply demonstrates that you either misundertood the piece or read it with a pre-conceived opinion. He didn't know the URL of the homepage, he knew the name of the hotel and, quite logically, figured finding the URL via Google by using the name of the hotel as a search query would be straightforward.

It's no good saying 'learn how to use a search engine before using a search engine.' Why should your average surfer have to know anything other than you put some words that best describe what you're looking for in the text entry box? Google became so successful precisely because it was that simple to use (among other things).

Fact is, from the UK at least, Google is a mess. Not just for the travel industry, but many others as well, particularly technology. I say that not just from personal experience but from talking to colleagues in the UK IT industry and friends and family whose only experience of Google is as a searcher.

Google has released some great products recently (I'm a huge fan of Gmail) and is still better than the alternatives. But popularity brings with it responsibility and makes you a huge target, the reason that journalists are beginning to write about Google results being poor is because it makes for a good story. Saying Ask Jeeves isn't as good as it used to be is not a story at all. So it's true that if MSN or Y! were top of the tree they would have articles written about them, but they're not.

For as long as G serves up price checking engines, search results and other crap in its results, the articles will continue to be written. UK IT journalism is a very small pool and so an article in PC Pro or one of its contemporaries quickly becomes a story in The Guardian or on the BBC website, from where it's picked up internationally.

I suspect this is a story that will grow over the next few months, unless G gets its act together.

irishaff




msg:732480
 1:50 am on Apr 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

Bottom line , sentiments such as those in the article are more mainstream. If if as some have said hes a " Search Noob " ..bottom line he has changed engine ...

We " geeks " can either defend google or jump on the bang wagon of google bashing, but its never the geeks who decide..its " Joe Blogs " .

panicbutton




msg:732481
 5:25 am on Apr 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

This is a valid complaint. I was trying to find a hotel in Thailand a couple of weeks back but all I got was page after page of booking sites. Even searching the name specifically with quotes just yeilded the booking sites. It was dead annoying!

Pradyumna




msg:732482
 5:26 am on Apr 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi All,

I would like to say something that i agree with what Brett said,

I feel this is same as any ecnomic market where the SEO plays a bigger game than the brand name. The company which has the best SEO will definitly rank well in the listings.

I have seen for few of the most competitive keywords the brand names stands first as they have the best SEO's in their company.
What do you say?

Essex_boy




msg:732483
 6:40 am on Apr 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

Search engines are less than perfect, I dont have a lot of love for Google - but its way better than search engines.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:732484
 8:16 am on Apr 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

Scratching head in confusion ... isn't Google a search engine? :)

BTW good post KennyH. I must confess that I am not too clued up about the IT writers in the UK but PC Pro is a good magazine that has been around for about 11 years and one that I would assume is respected in the industry. I went back to it last night and I note that Jon Honeyball wrote about four or five articles in this month's issue so he obviously knows a wee bit about what he is talking about.

Brett, like KennyH I don't think you gave a lot of thought to your post and it did sound a bit knee jerky. You are probably not au fait with the UK IT press but if you are interested have a look at [google.co.uk...]

Does anyone know him? If so tell him about this thread, it would be nice to hear his comments :)

yump




msg:732485
 8:35 am on Apr 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

Perhaps the algorithm is just getting too 'clever'. Like I just found 2 sites near the top which just mention 'here's our price comparison results'. Guess what - just a list of aff. links with a few prices which look like a real price comparison site (whatever they are supposed to be). There should be a big warning somewhere that misrepresented information will get a site and all its offshoots banned.

So is Google being clever, picking up 'subtle' phrases like that and misinterpreting them?

Fair enough to say wait until it sorts itself out as it has in the past, but I reckon that totals up to about 20% of the year.

awebguy




msg:732486
 9:35 am on Apr 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

First Brett, are you a Google employee?

If yes, your opinion is clear – you protect your employer.
If not, you should be more tolerant.

Google is not stable! It is very sensitive to small disturbances.

It is impossible that small changes in indexing algorithm lead to such dramatic changes in search results. If a web page is relevant yesterday it cannot be totally irrelevant today with adding to index one, one hundred or even one hundred thousands of other web pages.

It takes months to return to more or less stable state after various floridas, allegas and other similar events.

PageRank algo results with enormous number of “phantom” sites generated automatically to provide backlinks to spammers. Reciprocal linking in order to improve page rank is nonsense.

Google should do something to stay “the first”.

zjacob




msg:732487
 10:27 am on Apr 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

IMHO, one of the major things that I think has been causing the decline in G SERPs is that there seems to be a gradual devaluation of links from human-edited directories, mainly DMOZ and Y! Directory since mid-2004, and that has resulted in a lot of fluff overtaking the true (hand-chosen by editors) authority sites in the G search results.

On the other hand, I feel the association is still there with Y!, which made me do the switch to use the Y! search, the same thing Jon Honeyball seems to have done.

acee




msg:732488
 11:06 am on Apr 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

SEO is not really an option for the majority of hotels. Joining a hotel reservation network is the more practical option for internet driven bookings enabling them to appear in many of the directories at the top of the SERPs.

The hotel is effectively indirectly paying for SEO services and a secure online reservation facility. The person booking the room, will invariably get a better deal booking online.

A hotel directory can also offer alternative accommodation and real price comparison.

If the info about the hotel can't be found on a hotel directory, the chances are that it won't be on the hotel's website.

The point I'm trying to make is that directories do have their uses. If you require very specific information about a hotel wouldn't you try telephone directory enquiries in order to ask them directly?

The problem is not directories themselves, but the rubbish that Google chooses to display above sites that actually have relevant content.

Content is king? Naaaa! Content is dead.

Lightweight pages of garbage are king.

Google is living on a reputation it built in the distant past! But for how long?

DrGUID




msg:732489
 12:47 pm on Apr 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'd have to agree with some of the magazine's findings. Yesterday I tried to find a specific soft toy for my niece's birthday. All Google showed me for my widget searches were eBay reseller sites and shopping comparison sites. While I found what I was looking for on the eBay site, the top search results were sadly lacking in the type of mom and pop stores I thought would sell them.

Galtego




msg:732490
 12:54 pm on Apr 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

Last weekend I needed to find the location of a local club sporting event. In a search for team name, type of sport, and town, Google failed, while Yahoo's top result was a recent team schedule with the location in town of the game (an obscure PDF attached to a personal page of a team volunteer).

leveldisc




msg:732491
 1:02 pm on Apr 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

Does post 2 in this thread conform to this extract from the tos?

Always be respectful of other users

Or at least read the post before rubbishing it.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:732492
 4:20 pm on Apr 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

The point I'm trying to make is that directories do have their uses. If you require very specific information about a hotel wouldn't you try telephone directory enquiries in order to ask them directly?

No.

I would rather look at their website. In my experience most good hotels also have good websites, I would rather look at them first.

As I said earlier, if I search for the Widget hotel London I think it would be safe to assume that I wouldn't mind seeing their own web site as opposed to a list of directories.

acee




msg:732493
 4:43 pm on Apr 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

I agree that searching on an individual hotel's name should deliver that hotel's website, at least within the first page of results.

Delivering Widget hotel London's website at the top of the SERPs would be great, but would immediately take that visitor away from the search engine, illiminating the opportunity for clickthru revenue.

Google has in the past had the ability to provide quality SERPs. So what's changed?

Is the need to satisfy shareholders greater than the need to satisfy searchers?

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:732494
 8:48 pm on Apr 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

Is the need to satisfy shareholders greater than the need to satisfy searchers?

Hmmmmm ...?

Yes. The need to satisfy shareholders is paramount in any company - Google included. Searchers do not provide revenue.

Pragmatic hat goes on ...

No wait a minute - perhaps they do - when they click an ad? ;)

decaff




msg:732495
 9:01 pm on Apr 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think one must consider that as Google moves forward they have to find a way to balance..."presenting excellent relevancy and immediate access to quality content" with how to "drive traffic to their revenue generating machine(adwords)"....

do the math...

reseller




msg:732496
 9:17 pm on Apr 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

From my site tracking I can see that Google is loosing ground. Through the last few months traffic from Yahoo went from 10% to around 25%.

Several fellow members of this forum have mentioned something in the same direction.

Is it possible that searchers have started leaving Google to Yahoo due to the decline in quality of Google´s serps?

This 64 message thread spans 3 pages: 64 ( [1] 2 3 > >
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