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|Filters and penalties|
Most relevant page, or most relevant UNFILTERED page?
Could Google's diminishing relevance be due in part to extensive filtering that takes a LOT of pages "out" of the index?
If a page that violates an obscure TOS rule is more relevant should the search engine show that page or favor whiter hat sites that give the user inferior info?
You are assuming that Google is suffering from diminishing relevance. While many webmasters may be saying something like this, most of the people I talk to in the general population have no such perception. If anything, they are going to Google even more.
But you are pointing out an inherenet dilemma. How does ANY algorithmic engine serve the most relevant results and not be wide open to manipulation?
I see less relevance and not just in my market area. We sell specific types of scientific testing instruments, most of the top results are either sites that link to us, or sites that are only vaguely related and have a page or two that mention the key phrases. We don't show up anywhere.
I am finding that my site showing up for topics I am researching, but these topics are really not about the theme of my site, it's just that the keyword may appear once or twice on a specific page.
Basically, my site doesn't rank for any keywords that are substantially relevant, but ranks for key words that are not relevant. The only traffic we are getting from Google is for people looking for information that we do not have, they back out as soon as the page loads and they see they are on an irrelevant site.
I find more and more often that when I am researching, Google is giving the worst results of any engine. On Google I may have to dig 4 or 5 pages deep to find anything close to what I am looking for, while MSN and yahoo have several choices on the first page that are helpful.
I am not searching for hotels or travel, I am researching various environmental and scientific topics, though the same holds true for searches done to troubleshoot computer problems and errors. Last week I was searching Google for a windows error to see if there were known resolutions, All I found were sites linking to windows media player, msn pages advertising their mediaplayer, and other unrelated pages. One quick search on yahoo yielded 5 or 6 pages about the exact error message.
Several of my friends and family members (non-computer-geeks) have asked me "what's the problem with google?" I reply "what do you mean?" and they say, they can hardley ever find what they are looking for anymore, they used to just type in what they wanted and there was a list from which to choose, now they have to search several pages and wade through pages of junk. Many have said they have started using yahoo and think it is much better.
I tell them "Google has so many problems right now, I'll be surprised if they ever get it right." I'm not trying to bash Google or give them bad word of mouth, but I really doubt that relevancy problems are limited to just those who have lost rankings in google.
I'm sure there are some areas where results are more relevant. I sent a spam report last week about a brand name search that yeailded over 70 pages in a row that were duplicated on subdomains and completely unrelated to the search, they are still showing.
No other search engine is having problems with www vs. non-www - no other search engine is listing %20 or tracking urls - no other search engine is listing pages that were removed more than a year ago - the list goes on and on.
"I find more and more often that when I am researching, Google is giving the worst results of any engine. On Google I may have to dig 4 or 5 pages deep to find anything close to what I am looking for, while MSN and yahoo have several choices on the first page that are helpful."
The same here, I was looking for info on server problems at Google with no luck. I did the same search at Yahoo! and get the info I needed on the first page. Somethings wrong at Google.
Now that is an interesting report, my3cents. When the general population starts saying it, then there really is a problem
From the site owner's point of view, the list you started is only the beginning -- but the public's love affair with Google has shown few signs of abating. They still push the serious traffic, and the last metrics I saw this summer showed Google actually improving, even while some webmasters were yelling loudly.
This thread started with the thought that the filters and penalties have become so thick that too many good pages are not getting through. I know that something is wonky. For example, I have clients who are one of maybe 2 or 3 real authorities in their field. While all the authority sites are in the first two pages for most searches, there is a lot of flotsam and jetsam ranked too highly.
I hope that G can fix it, I really do. It does no good for the industry to have this kind of trouble. But their main metric is going to be end user satisfaction.
It seems GoogleGuy spends all his time reading about how webmasters are trying to get to the top of google, and spends so much time trying to keep webmasters from getting to the top of google, instead of reading these posts which would tell him what his visitors would actually desire to see as the results to their query. Isn't that what got google so popular in the first place, relevent query results?
I read in one of these forums that google keeps irrelevent results where they have paid advertising so that the people click on the paid ads instead of the search results.
Google seems to me just another company that has a monopoly on an industry, and thus they are able to do whatever the heck they want to do no matter what is right, no matter what dissention there may be, as long as they make their money and people keep going to them.
Which means relevent search results are s*** out of luck.
I've noticed the "problem" with Google beginning sometime last year. It used to take me seconds to find something with Google, which is why I started using it to begin with.
You see, I was a big fan of altavista and hotbot (boy am I old). They way I found my way around the net was with the advanced search and various filters.
Then I saw a little blurb on ZDTV (see, I am old...) about a nifty new search engine called Google, so I gave it a shot, and what do you know, with just a couple of keywords, bang, out popped what I was looking for. No entering in stop words in the advanced section, just search and go.
Now jump to the present...
When I need to find something now, I have to enter in whole paragraphs, complete with: "key phrase" -keyword +keyword to find what I'm looking for.
So to make a long story short, I'm right back where I started, it's just as hard to find stuff now as it was when the internet was in its infancy.
That just plain blows monkey butt.
What can Google do about it, hell, if I knew the answer to that I'd write my own search engine, make a few billion dollars and it would be crap in 7 years too.
Maybe Yahoo! had it right all along (when they first started anyway), hand edited search engines.
"I read in one of these forums that google keeps irrelevent results where they have paid advertising so that the people click on the paid ads instead of the search results."
A user does a search and the ideal page with the information they want is listed at #1, plus over there on the right, is a PPC add which also has the information the person wants, which link do you think they will click? How much money has Google made from this users search?
A user does a search and there is nothing listed on the first page of the SERPS to suit, but there is a long list of PPC adds on the right that do suit. How many SERPS pages will the user scroll through looking for the information they want before they click on a PPC add? How much money has Google made from this users search?
After all, what is Google trying to do? It's not like they are providing a Search Engine for the greater good of humanity. Maximum return to the shareholders is the first, last, and only reason for their existence now as it is with all listed companies.
They must get as many people as possible that use their search engine to click on the adds.
Imagine what would happen to their revenue stream if every search done actually produced good results. Who would still click on those tiny little adds?
Would like to keep this forum at the top a little while longer, so perhaps googleguy will come by and read it.
"Attention" all sites begininng with the letter "A"
will be penalized next week....why....just because....
Sound ridiculous?...so do all the penalties Google keeps implimenting for this and for that....that most webmasters have absolutely ZERO control over.
Sound like I'm p'offed? Yes I am, we try over and over to fix whatever is prickling Google's hairs this month, and then next month something else comes along that trips some
new filter, that we have, I SAY AGAIN, ZERO control over.
Google really needs to start ignoring feedback and input from anyone who knows what the letters SEO stand for.. This is what has gotten them in this mess. They seem to have become so focused on eliminating the bad that they have no idea what the good is anymore.
They need to re-focus and get in touch with real people who use the internet and not the bunch of webmasters here and elsewhere who are always clamoring for their attention. It has totally thrown them off course, and when being honest, we are not the best source of information for relevant results. Every single one of us is EXTREMELY biased.
So if Google wants to find out how they are doing with relevancy go out and talk to random people who are interested in dog-collars, not people who make websites about dog-collars.
|You are assuming that Google is suffering from diminishing relevance. While many webmasters may be saying something like this, most of the people I talk to in the general population have no such perception. If anything, they are going to Google even more. |
Sorry, but I disagree. I have had quite a few people, not Webmasters and not what I would call internet savvy, ask me why Google seems to be "hosed up" lately.
Picture soccer moms with mini-vans wanting to buy some whimsical doo dad for their house, and not being able to find it on Google. That's what I'm talking about.
These conversations started right after the first of the year, so it was being noticed during the holidays last year. Usually they tell me they're able to find it on Yahoo, MSN, or Ask Jeeves right away. This is not good for Google.
I'm a webmaster and I could care less where my sites place in Google because I don't rely on my sites for income. I notice the crappy results during regular searches for information.
Google is collapsing under it's own weight. It sucks, and probably would and will happen to any search engine that becomes so popular that legions of people are deriving their entire livelihoods based on its results.
Filters and penalties are indeed killing Google a LITTLE bit, but they are still the best search engine. And I'm not the only one that thinks that, but many of my friends think the same thing. I also hear the same thing from others. They also rely too much on link popularity. Today it's not that hard to get links.
Actually MSN and Yahoo have this problem as well.
|other search engine is listing pages that were removed more than a year ago |
I find this hard to believe. The number one reason people visit Google is for the search results, if the search results get real bad people will just leave.
|I read in one of these forums that google keeps irrelevent results where they have paid advertising so that the people click on the paid ads instead of the search results. |
haha, here's a conspiracy theory for ya.
When the Ads in the search results become more relevant than the results themselves, G will cash in big time.
I'm only kidding of course.
I think some of our feedback is useful, no matter how biased we are.
I am showing up (top 5 and top 10) for search terms that have very little to do with my website!
1. I sell a specific type scientific instruments
2. These instruments can be plugged into a specialized type of computer system.
3. I only mention the computer system type on a few pages, nothing in-depth, just a mention that these instruments can plug into them and how that can be useful.
4. There are plenty of sites out there that sell, service, program and configure these types of computers. Whole businesses dedicated to these specific types of systems.
My internal product page, with only a handful of internal backlinks - outranks them all!
I don't rank for any of the keyphrases that have to do with my market or my products - but I rank highly for popular search terms that have very little to with my products or business.
Now, no matter how biased I may be, how can search results be relevant?
For my keyphrases - adsense pages, fake directories and blatant spam is ranking, along with a list of pages that link to myself and my competitors.
For Unrelated keyphrases - I rank highly, but the companies who are the experts, cannot be found.
I don't care who you are - this all adds up to one thing - IRRELEVANT RESULTS!
Sheesh, reading these different threads on here,
I feel we should have a new category designated as
Now some are worried if changing fonts will cause a penalty...?
"Now some are worried if changing fonts will cause a penalty...?"
It's funny that you say that because just at this last little mini update I had changed my fonts from arial to verdana and all of a sudden my rankings dropped. I went from #2 for my main keyword and dropped to page six. The only thing I changed was my font.
Of course, I am joking, but I can see a post like this from someone somewhere in the future, can't you?
I think that some others have copyright, trademark, and patents on the theory you are mentioning. If you act fast you might be able to servicemark it in some countries ;-).
Font changes, now why didn't I think of that?
Tell you one thing tho that feeds back to the idea on another thread that Google has a totally new ground up algo and bot script that's causing all sorts of problems.
I had some pages that I hadn't bothered to correct that had lists in the form of:
ascii special char 149 <url>
ascii special char 149 <url>
yeah, I know you should avoid ascii special chars but NO bot ever had a problem reading it INCLUDING Googlebot until recently so I left it.
Now Googlebot can't deciper it and strings all the urls into one long, unfollowable url.
This is not a guess or suspicion. I noticed the failure on my logs recently, went back to old ones and saw Googlebot used to index them fine.
|then next month something else comes along that trips some new filter |
Right, and I don't think Google understands how often webmasters are simply clueless as to what "rule" has been broken. There is black hat stuff they should penalize, but I think now there are tons of pages that are filtered for reasons only Google knows.
I'm upset that they are so reluctant to share info about site specifics that would be helpful and hope they expand the current program to help sites identify their problems with Google.
The argument I hear from many here at WebmasterWorld that says "they can't because then the black hat SEOs will manipulate things" is weak - transparency of rules leads to stronger, better, less manipulated systems (e.g. democracy vs autocracy). Google should implement a site review process. If they feel it would be expensive than they could charge sites for review as Yahoo does.
Now we are showing that we have 18,000 pages indexed, this gets worse each update #*$! Over? I couldn't write 18'000 pages....no wonder the G index is getting so large.
I'm sure this has some affect on why we get penalzied each month with our main page being depressed in the Serps. 18 K is probably about 5X the actual number.
You may want to check for improperly indexed "pages" such as dynamic pages, old pages, scripted directory listings, etc.
We had pages that had been 301 redirected for many months yet the index was showing both those old and new pages and then (I think) hitting us with dupe content filter - though I remain TOTALLY confused and frustrated about duplicate content filtering which I think has ravaged the relevance of many Google SERPs.
With sitemaps we now appear to be getting indexed properly but remain filtered into obscurity for all but a tiny handful of Google searches.
My page count has gone up and down by tens of thousands over the course of the past year with no changes on my part. Google has shown my 1,700 page site as having anywhere from 2,000 to 50,000 pages. Oh, and they are all supplimental and outranked for "unique phrase in quotes" by numerous scrapers.
This site used to be page 1 for hundreds of phrases and generated 10,000 hits from G everyday. Now I get drips of 1 or 2 referals a day.
Google's problem, not mine.
Much happier and more profitable since I realized that...
|The argument I hear from many here at WebmasterWorld that says "they can't because then the black hat SEOs will manipulate things" is weak - transparency of rules leads to stronger, better, less manipulated systems... |
I have said this for years. The age-old argument that Google would just help spammers spam them better by laying out clear, concise do's and don'ts is simply rediculous.
The black hats will always be on the cutting edge regardless of what Google does. IMO they would be much better off to establish a clear, concise set of rules and publish them for all to see. If a webmaster breaks one of the rules he's out of Google for good - every domain he/she owns, now and in the future.
In short, they should draw a clear line in the sand and let it be well known that crossing it means incurring severe, permanent penalties. Most webmasters would be so afraid of crossing the line they'll back off a bit not wanting to risk it. Of course the black hats will continue to risk it, but they already do with apparent success. Only this way they'll incur a permanent ban. SE spam can only decrease under this scenario unless I'm missing something. Am I?
The silence from GoogleGuy is deafening.
All of you that have been affected you can read a very important article at the Guardian.
|establish a clear, concise set of rules and publish them for all to see |
Good points birdstuff. I agree with you emphatically that publishing more specific guidelines and penalty criteria would CUT WAY DOWN on spam due to the fear factor and the fact that most of us doing this would prefer to simply create content rather than spend so much time second guessing other sites and the search engines.
Most honored Googledudes - "do things that users would like" is NOT a clear guideline. Some users hate things other users love. You are filtering good stuff out of the index in mysterious ways - take out the mystery and all will live happily every after"
[edited by: joeduck at 1:33 am (utc) on Oct. 11, 2005]
nah. They are so many sites out there, so even G leaves out a lot of them, most people will not feel it. Other sites will fill in.
It is scary though, you can get caught in seme penalties totally innocently.
True, but they'll be less relevant due to the problematic filtering. I think the penalty filters are killing a LOT of good content, especially for very obscure searches *where relevance is hardest to obtain*.
I actually think Google knows this well and is probably trying hard to find ways to minimize the collateral damage.
A GOOD WAY is to create more specific guidelines and site reviews and webmaster help so that the content creation can trump the SE strategics.
| This 33 message thread spans 2 pages: 33 (  2 ) > > |