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Sunday Times Article on Google
Couldn't have got it more wrong if they'd tried!
surfgatinho

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 29153 posted 12:15 pm on Apr 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

But try searching for the lowest air fare to Prague, or a cheap family holiday in Orlando, and Google gets confused, throwing up many thousands of websites, a few of which have paid large sums of money to come near the top of the results.

[travel.timesonline.co.uk...]

Google gets confused! LOL!
Nice idea about paying to get to the top of the SERPs though - is that lible?

The rest of it isn't much better - shows a complete lack of understanding and research into the whole affiliate industry.

OK, it's nice that they are picking up on the whole G$ thing but this kind of (possibly libleous) badly researched rubbish doesn't help anyone.

 

reseller

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 29153 posted 8:45 pm on Apr 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

WemasterWorld.com
Terms of Usage and Conditions of Service

14. Please keep your language clean and decent. This include personal inflammatory language as well as obscenities.

wordy

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 29153 posted 9:26 pm on Apr 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Steady reseller

Let's not get over zealous.

Reid

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 29153 posted 7:56 am on Apr 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think this article is just fueling the fast growing stereotype that SEO is a 'black art' using 'hidden coded words'.

Maybe it's a view from Joe surfers perspective but 'Joe surfer' should be the one reading it not writing it.

That is another source of 'clutter' on the internet.
Self-proclaimed 'writers' spewing off topics which they know nothing about.

reseller

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 29153 posted 8:14 am on Apr 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

<I think this article is just fueling the fast growing stereotype that SEO is a 'black art' using 'hidden coded words'.>

Good morning Reid

Agree ....to some extent though :-)

That means that SEO, SEM and publishers have a lot of work to do to EDUCATE the Joe Surfers.

One of the ways might be through inviting relevant journalists to WebmasterWorld.com and other related forums for friendly educating discussions explaining to them what SEO and SEM are really about. Once those journalists started to know us, like us and trust us, they shall start including our points of views as well in their articles.

A good example is inviting Jon Honeyball (jonhoneyball) to this thread:
[webmasterworld.com...]

We need to make friendship with those journalists. I know you... I Like you... I trust you...

Don´t you think so?

ncgimaker

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 29153 posted 10:29 am on Apr 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Somehow I don't think Joe Surfers care to learn that SEO is what fills the gap between what he searches for and what the websites talk about.

He just wants to type in (like this UK Journalist) "cheap flights to Prague" and get a list something like:

Easyjet
Ryanair
BMIBaby
Jet2
Any good site using GALILEO
...Travelocity
...Amadeus
...SABRE
...Worldspan

I'm with him on this, something does have to change. For Google to pull up that list each carrier would have to have a page optimised on a UK server targetting 'cheap flights to Prague', and hundreds of other phrases. Its not going to happen and so it has to be done another way.

Skier

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 29153 posted 5:09 pm on Apr 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

The results for travel searches are not ideal. Joe Surfer is not getting what he expects when he types in a simple request for a flight or a hotel. I don't think anyone can argue that.

The travel sector cranks out enough e-money to justify a new approach. There is a clear opportunity for some new thinking here.

ncgimaker

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 29153 posted 5:43 pm on Apr 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

The travel sector cranks out enough e-money to justify a new approach. There is a clear opportunity for some new thinking here.

I would say that's true of most searches that aren't written by an expert searcher. The crawling search engines have long relied on SEOs to fill that gap, first in Meta tags, then in links, later in on page text.

When too much spam filled the meta tags, they got ignored, now that too much spam uses SEO & links Google has taken to avoiding SEO & links.

But what will fills the gap?

'cheap flights prague' has been reranked by hand I think since he did his article, but I can't imagine they'll do that for all the billions of possible queries.

mrMister

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 29153 posted 6:28 pm on Apr 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Nice idea about paying to get to the top of the SERPs though - is that lible?

Libel requires malicious intent.

Libel also requires the information to be false!

I think the original poster assumed that the journalist was suggesting that the site owners pay Google. If you read further down, it becomes clearer.

I think lazy journalism is rife, but lazy jounalist crticism is even more rife.

That's how a well written article should be. Start off with a summary of points and go in to detail further in to the article.

In my opinion the article is a good one. The intended audience is Googlers, not webmasters. It's simplified in to terms that the average surfer would understand.

katieray

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 29153 posted 6:51 pm on Apr 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

I bet that article caused SEO phones to ring for two or three weeks.

You can look at the article from many different points view, and all of them can be correct.

But free advertisment is free advertisment.

He is at least bring SEO and Website Design into Joe Surfer's and Jo Business Owner's life paradigm.

Essex_boy

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



 
Msg#: 29153 posted 9:01 pm on Apr 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Now every Joe is going to ask me about SEO when they find out I have a website.

Ohhhhhhh

Elixir

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 29153 posted 2:04 am on Apr 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

Very interesting. First this is an excellent article why should the jorunalist spend weeks researchng SEO to educate surfers he is simply offering his findings based on his Google search "average Joe" could care less aboout SEO and he was writing to them not us. It is the responsibility of the SEO/SEM industry to educate the public about SEO/SEM.

At SES in New York in March a member of the SEMPO board stated publicly that the growth in PPC could be directly attributed to the fact that the organic results were "pure CR**" It made little difference how many journalists were in that session. This from a board member of an organization whose mission it is to provide education and promotion of the industry. So it s not too difficult to see why the industry is having so many problems being taken seriusly when that is the message being spread by an organization which is seen as an "authority" on the industry.

As an SEO who used to work in travel I think one of the issues here is that the travel industry has traditionally beeen sold through a second channel once it was travel agents now its the Internet. The hotels miscalculated the dilutation of brand that was about to take place turning over the inventory to the likes of Expedia, Hotels.com etc. They are now on board with selling directly to the interent customers however, no hotel could ever fill its rooms by itself they way the internet portals do for the price they pay so they walk a fine line between keeping their hotels full and regaining their brand.

Reid

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 29153 posted 4:34 am on Apr 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

Search engine optimisation (SEO) software enables firms to bury coded words into their web pages, forcing them up the lists of results. SEO is a black art and doesn’t come cheap: some companies pay thousands per month to SEO providers (Google receives no money) to have their sites tweaked.

All the guy had to do was google 'search engine optimization' and he would see what SEO is all about.
Spend a half hour reading up on what you are 'authoratively' writing to Joe surfer about.

'some companies pay thousands per month to SEO providers ' and some companies do it themselves or have a competent webmaster who does it on the fly.

Ecmast

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 29153 posted 12:03 pm on Apr 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hey guys.

This is likely to be a PR campaign of the site listed in the article.

The site owner probably knew the journalist who simply wrote what his friend asked him to.

BeeDeeDubbleU

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



 
Msg#: 29153 posted 2:41 pm on Apr 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Cynic :)

subway

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 29153 posted 3:13 pm on Apr 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Search engine optimisation (SEO) software enables firms to bury coded words into their web pages, forcing them up the lists of results

Wow! Does anyone know where I can get hold of this software? It sounds fantastic!

surfgatinho

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 29153 posted 3:26 pm on Apr 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Ecmast - yeah that thought crossed my mind too. I work in this industry and have never heard of the site mentioned. It is however similar in concept to a site I have been running for 3 years

reseller

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 29153 posted 3:57 pm on Apr 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

surfgatinho

<yeah that thought crossed my mind too. I work in this industry and have never heard of the site mentioned. It is however similar in concept to a site I have been running for 3 years>

I guess you are right. Those UK journalists must have been busy promoting their friends, neighbors, relatives and mother-in-laws sites :-)

Ecmast

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 29153 posted 6:38 pm on Apr 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Come on, we all know that the PR industry thrives by feeding stories to the press. Heads of States made us believe through the press that a country must be invaded because it possesses dangerous weapons of mass destruction. This story atleast didn't hurt anybody. It's certainly not going to hurt Google. So why not help a friend in need.

BeeDeeDubbleU

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



 
Msg#: 29153 posted 9:16 pm on Apr 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Ahem! This is the UK Sunday Times we are talking about, not the National Enquirer.

Elixir

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 29153 posted 1:26 am on Apr 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

You tell them BEE DEE...I mean not trust the Times what will they come up with next.....

sit2510

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 29153 posted 5:12 am on Apr 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

>>> Google gets confused!

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

Is the author biased? It looks like he tried too much to target solely and negatively on Google...how about the others such as Yahoo and MSN? Are the latter two doing better? Obviously not; it is not only Google, but any search engines could face similar difficulties when talking about travel industry.

Problems here are not because of Google (or any other SE) lacks of competent, but they are hidden in this particular industry by itself. It is all about the knowledge where to find the right source, even before the internet era. There is "no one monopoly" in term of cheapest price in this travel industry.

What most outsiders and some insiders don't know is that - Hotels and airlines have different price levels for the same services depending upon the type of distribution channels, locality, etc. In many instances, people in this industry are legible and capable of making super high profits based upon the lack of knowledge of individual travelers who don't have idea where to find the right sources for the best price.

To illustrate my point, lets look at one example - A hotel in "anywhere" has a standard room and it offers different prices to different channels/partners as below:

First it has the published price at US$ 300 for a standard room (normally called walk in rates). Any travelers who book this hotel directly, or walk in without prior reservation, may face this price, or if lucky, may receive some promotional discount.

For this same type of room, the hotel may offer Internet or Commissional rates to Agent at US$ 250. To retailed travel agency and for this room, it also gives special contract "net" rates to travel agent A (local retailer) at US$ 200 and travel agent B (also local retailer) at US$ 180. Then italso give special "Net rates" to travel agent C (also retailer but oversea) at Us$ 150. At the same time, this hotel may also give top special "NET Rates" to travel agent D (wholesaler) at Us$ 120.- All the above are for the same type of standard room.

The agents have to mark up their own prices and there is possiblity that these prices may or may not be disclosed to public at first shot.

Even for the same hotel and same room, different travelers pay different prices based upon whom they make reservation with. It is all about the knowledge where to find best deals. The world of travel industry is like this even before the Internet. In my point of view, Google and other SE has done its job by offering various sources or sites for further research; it is individual's responsibility to find and research for the best deals if they wish to and if they are capable to.

Further comment: The author's example of comparison site in his article is a "Joke"!, and very importantly, quite biased and misleading toward a particular site. In reality, there is no guarantee that comparison sites actually offers the best deals to consumers in comparison to other sites on real serp. In many instances, it depends upon who are the hotel providers they have partnered or contacted with.

hfwd

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 29153 posted 6:16 am on Apr 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

From the article:
“At the moment, many still use Google as their first port of call, but gradually they are realising that Google’s results are becoming less accurate. They are starting their searches at sites like ours.”

The article does have a valid point: G's serp quality has declined and Joe Surfer is noticing.

----

From Sit2510:
Problems here are not because of Google (or any other SE) lacks of competent, but they are hidden in this particular industry by itself. It is all about the knowledge where to find the right source, even before the internet era. There is "no one monopoly" in term of cheapest price in this travel industry.

Yes, travel is a hard search topic. It's competitive & info changes frequently. Some specific topics in travel may even be inherently unsearchable (non-public, non-disclosed data on special rates).

But this doesn't make travel a bad example for the article - quite the opposite. Like the author says, it's easy to find specific, hard fact info on G like gestation period of an African elephant (I Googled it - it's 22 months. #1 on the serp, btw).

However, it's hard to ask something like cheapest hotel or airfare. Unfortunately, vague search like this is probably one of the most common types of searches that Joe Surfer performs.

EBear

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 29153 posted 2:28 pm on Apr 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

yeah that thought crossed my mind too.

surfgatinho, the first thing that crossed my mind was that the real name of the person who started this thread must be Liam Lyon ;)

surfgatinho

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 29153 posted 2:46 pm on Apr 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

the first thing that crossed my mind was that the real name of the person who started this thread must be Liam Lyon

Now that is cynical! I wish I did have contacts in the mainstream travel media - maybe I'll approach the Guardian next month with an identical story about Yahoo or MSN and give them some of my sites as examples!

Back to the thrust of the original article - I did a search for paris hotels and found a whole host of sites offering exactly that.
What's the problem too much choice?! If you want to find a specific hotel that's trickier - but then again I'd expect to be using slightly more specific search terms.
I have a problem with when I look for Dell UK and the 3rd result is a 'guide to Richmond London' website.

reseller

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 29153 posted 3:11 pm on Apr 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

surfgatinho

<I wish I did have contacts in the mainstream travel media - maybe I'll approach the Guardian next month with an identical story about Yahoo or MSN and give them some of my sites as examples!>

Better to wait a little bit until Yahoo and MSN serps decline as Google´s, have problem like 302 redirect, their PR doesn´t update but "Yo-Yo", started penalizing innocent webmasters etc...

Only then you will have a unique chance to approach the Guardian :-)

surfgatinho

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 29153 posted 3:33 pm on Apr 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Better to wait a little bit until Yahoo and MSN serps decline as Google´s

Working in this industry I didn't realise Yahoo and MSN's results were any better than Google's. Personally I find it a lot easier to manipulate Yahoo and MSN, but I can't say the results are any better for 'Joe Surfer' which is what I keep hearing people bang on about - better for webmasters though (like myself)!

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