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Five years of updates - but have results really improved?
Freedom




msg:739041
 10:22 pm on Feb 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

With all this going on, I have to ask a philosophical question: From all the famous or infamous algo changes over the years, the ups and downs, is Google really any better then it was in 2001 or 2002?

Did all these updates make a damn bit of difference in how well people find what they are looking for? Is there any improvement at all? Can we look back with hindsight and say - Google is better then it was and these algo changes and DC's made a big difference?

I really don't think we can. In fact, Google's latest algo preference has changed it's boolean search from ALL words to ANY words from "authority" sites ranking higher then pages that are actually more relevant.

I don't have an axe to grind against Google, and I don't have an anti-Google agenda to progandize - but I have slowly, not very noticable, been relying more and more on vertical search engines. And when I do use Google, I have to go the advanced search function and set up lots of paraments that I never had to use before.

From the monthly Google dances, to Florida to Brandy - and so on, the intended goal was never met, Google engineers are overpaid on a lost cause and "invented" work, and the future of search does not lay in bipolar manic depressant algorthym changes.

In the final analysis, this route that GOogle has sold itself on is a waste of time, and the Big Corporation is infested with a case of Group Think not seen since the Bay of Pigs Disaster, or the Iran Hostage Rescue fiasco.

Google is the best, the very best, at selling their brand name - which fools people into thinking they have gotten better at what they do over the last 5 years by these "Updates."

2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and now 2006. If you look at the big picture instead of your own selfish considerations of how your site did during a given year, everything has changed - but nothing has really changed.

What was it all for? It's like an unpopular war that goes on and on and on and years later, the common folk (not the politicians or generals) ask themselves - what the hell was it all for? What good did we do?

The future, IMO, likes in vertical search engines with specialized topics, semantic text indexing, taxonomy and a much small DB of 100 million pages from hand - picked websites. Vertical search engines can offer specialized searches better then the big boys do, and can decentralize the power away from the Super Corporations who assure us they know what is best for us.

I apologize for rambling here, but I have been putting together these loose thoughts on the state of search affairs from a different perspective - and don't have all my thoughts elequently written or or thought through. This is a theory that's a work in progress.

Thanks for reading, feel free to blog my insane ramblings.

Freedom

 

europeforvisitors




msg:739071
 1:35 am on Feb 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

Adsense was the worst thing that happened to the net

Worse than SEO or affiliate spam?

The Web was awash in junk and clutter before AdSense came along. And on the positive side, AdSense has been a boon to small mom-and-pop content sites in sectors that don't lend themselves to being monetized with affiliate links. I fault Google for opening a Pandora's box with the way it deployed AdSense, but the AdSense concept was good (and still is).

Getting back on topic, I think the SERPs are probably better today than they were two or three years ago when affiliate spam predominated. I'm usually able to find what I want, even when searching in highly commercial categories such as consumer electronics and travel. And I can usually find all the results I need in the first page or two of the SERPs.

To be sure, Google's search results are nowhere near perfect (though they're better than Yahoo's or MSN's), but that's inevitable with a general-purpose search engine that can't read users' minds.

outland88




msg:739072
 4:08 am on Feb 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

>Personally, I think there are too many off page factors invovled and the switch from "Exact Phrase" words to "Any" words coming from "authority sites, is what is really killing their search results these days.<

Absolutely!

Thatís particularly true in my areas. The corporate sites dominate the first 100 results on any major keyword. Rarely do these 50,000 + page sites devote more than a few pages to the subject. Time after time the cache reveals that the keywords only appear in links pointing to the page. Geez, that's a sweet deal because seldom do I associate the site with the keyword to begin with.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:739073
 10:13 am on Feb 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

The Web was awash in junk and clutter before AdSense came along

"Awash"? I think many people would dispute this. Junk and clutter has clearly increased exponentially since Adsense because Adsense is by far the main driving force.

And on the positive side, AdSense has been a boon to small mom-and-pop content sites in sectors that don't lend themselves to being monetized with affiliate links.

I am sure that it has, but that has nothing to do with results quality. The Internet and Google were not created to help mom and pop make a living. Advertising could eventually turn the Internet into just another cr@ppy commercial channel.

Freedom




msg:739074
 10:39 am on Feb 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

Can we side-step the Adsense sub-theme and discuss the merits of Google changing from Exact phrase matching to Any words, and whether or not all these updates over the last 5 years have actually done users any good?

And, how many pages is Google searching now? 10 billion? 20 billion? Is bigger better? Or is it information overload?

idolw




msg:739075
 10:54 am on Feb 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think many here are now programmed into thinking big, mega million dollar companies provide the most useful, interesting, or even important information when, in fact, it is mostly utter crap. And the guy who writes his arse off about a topic he KNOWS and loves gets pushed to the back in favor of cookie cutter content from semi relevant sites.

yeah, that is 100% true. the SERPs I watch get full of large sites full of autogenerated pages. the #1s for less popular searches happen to be pages from big sites full of adsense and offering exclusive chance to be the first one to write a review.

there will be more of these in future. i am sure it will come to a point when google has no idea how to organize its results. so whenever they see a problem they would look into the brandnames showing in the SERPs, compare with TV and show the "correct" ones.
will be lethal for many many webmasters. does not have to be bad to the world.

Dayo_UK




msg:739076
 11:15 am on Feb 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

Overall - looking at the serps then I have little complaint - Big Directories linking to their own serps suddenly appear now and then - but if you know it is spam then a Google engineer knows it is spam and a spam report normally takes care of them.

The Big Problem as said by Jakpot is when sites go into a black hole - this seems to be more like an indexing problem than a penalty - but could be a penalty of sorts.

Hopefully Big Daddy will address the possible indexing problems Google has.

I have always been a supporter of exact phrase matching being a strong force in the results and I am not sure why the decisions was made to move away from this in the first place.

In the olden days I always thought that Google would be able to find the pages I want - OK, it might have taken some refining of the search query etc but the big plus point of Google was that it indexed virtually everything - nowadays due to either indexing problems or change of targets by Google I am a lot less confident that Google can find the page or all the pages which are relevant to the search.

Web_speed




msg:739077
 1:19 pm on Feb 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

I don't think the SERPs are better today, exactly the opposite if you ask me. It gets harder and harder to REALY find what you are looking for on Google as oppose to two years ago.

Here is a small example, a search i did recently. I was looking for "Abbreviation for wholesale" on Google and gave up after the second page with nothing useful but excuse my french, crap. Yes, Google listed an abbreviation dictionary on first result but the abbreviation for "wholesale" is not there.

I then checked with yahoo for the same key phrase and surprise surprise....first result leads me to a good online abbreviation dictionary, one click more and there it is, Spot on!

There are many many more examples like the one i just gave. Lately i find myself using yahoo more and more. For the simple reason, i can not find the info on Google fast enough as it used to. A darn shame really.

Google has changed but not for the better IMO.

Web_speed




msg:739078
 1:47 pm on Feb 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have always been a supporter of exact phrase matching being a strong force in the results and I am not sure why the decisions was made to move away from this in the first place.

Better Adwords/Adsense CTR. They will always be spot on for the key phrases you are searching.

Something I'm sure that many have been observing for some time now. I see no coincidence there.

HiltonHead




msg:739079
 9:00 pm on Feb 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

"Jakpot - I don't have a problem with the SERPS. But I seriously feel bad for webmasters, including myself, whose sites have gone into a black hole. Somebody is enjoying the cash flow we once had."

"Dayo_UK - The Big Problem as said by Jakpot is when sites go into a black hole - this seems to be more like an indexing problem than a penalty - but could be a penalty of sorts."
***************************************************
Greetings All.
If Big Daddy fails to address the black hole problems soon it's gonna get hard to keep the boat in the water.
Bottom line - Hopefully Google has a cohesive corrective action plan and executes it sooner then later

Publisher




msg:739080
 10:14 pm on Feb 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

Blaming Adsense for all the garbage on the net is like blaming the inventors of email for spam. The problem is not the system, but the abuse of the system.

Spine




msg:739081
 11:54 pm on Feb 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

Poogle is having a HORRIBLE problem with ranking spam very well in my category. I'm in a competitive area of the web, and while there's always been lots of spam, now it dominates the Poogle SERPs. MSN is cleaner I find.

The good sites are so mixed in with bad bs.domain.cc type sites that you literally can't find the good ones without a magnifying glass. Sites (not mine) that I consider authorities are on page 4, while crap owned by the same spammers owns 80% of the spots on the first 3 pages.

Interlinking networks of garbage on disposable domains started doing well in my sector around 2004, then they faded - now it's back worse than before.

MSN puts at least 4-5 good sites on the 1st page of SERPs for most searches I try now, with less garbage network spam for the searches in my sector.

MSN must find these same networks of auto generated crap that Poogle is ranking so well, but they aren't giving them any traffic (unlike Poogle, who's rewarding them with good ranking/traffic).

jomaxx




msg:739082
 12:35 am on Mar 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

Spine, thanks for continuing to refer to the company as "Poogle". It's an at-a-glance indicator that the poster has some kind of personal grudge and the rest of the post can safely be ignored.

ulysee




msg:739083
 12:45 am on Mar 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

Spine,

I agree for the most part.
I see spam galore in my sector sometimes 80-85% of the 1000 search results are either spam related, redirects or 404's.
All the black hats pushed the majority of white hat sites to the back of the bus lol.

Google needs to clean up it's index.

Stefan




msg:739084
 12:46 am on Mar 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

Blaming Adsense for all the garbage on the net is like blaming the inventors of email for spam.

Because of the dominance of Google, they might as well have invented search. By creating Adsense, they have been directly responsible for pumping much spam into the serps, for all SE's. We can quite rightly blame Adsense for the proliferation of spam sites.

It should be noted that G stock has just dropped again, because of poor growth. Their main income is via Adsense and Adwords. Don't expect any positive changes soon.

What I would like to see is a new SE that specifically filters out all sites that run Adsense, and all the new websites that will soon appear hosted by G. In effect, a Google-free version of the internet.

Spine




msg:739085
 12:51 am on Mar 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

Jomaxx, ignore away. The results have gone to complete crap in an entire sector of the internet that I follow, I can call them whatever I want - it doesn't change the facts as I see them.

I've seen the evolution, and now devolution of their SERPs, regardless of how my sites fare, they are falling for old school black hat manipulation.

europeforvisitors




msg:739086
 1:17 am on Mar 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

What I would like to see is a new SE that specifically filters out all sites that run Adsense, and all the new websites that will soon appear hosted by G. In effect, a Google-free version of the internet.

And I'd like a search engine that automatically filters out boilerplate affiliate pages, right-wing commentary, fundamentalist religion of any flavor, hip-hop, and Britney Spears. I don't think you and I are likely to get what we want, though. :-)

The results have gone to complete crap in an entire sector of the internet that I follow, I can call them whatever I want - it doesn't change the facts as I see them.

That just goes to show that one man's meat is another man's poison, and posting a question like "Five years on updates--but have results really improved?" isn't likely to yield any definitive answers.

frakilk




msg:739087
 1:26 am on Mar 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

>>> That just goes to show that one man's meat is another man's poison, and posting a question like "Five years on updates--but have results really improved?" isn't likely to yield any definitive answers.

Maybe not but it makes for interesting reading.

Stefan




msg:739088
 1:34 am on Mar 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

And I'd like a search engine that automatically filters out boilerplate affiliate pages, right-wing commentary, fundamentalist religion of any flavor, hip-hop, and Britney Spears. I don't think you and I are likely to get what we want, though. :-)

Exactly, EFV. None of the SE's have advanced filters available. You can try "-whatever", but it's ineffective.

Personally, because I think Adsense is the worst thing that ever happened to the internet, and it wastes my time as a user, I'd like to filter out all Adsense sites - every last one of them - from my searches. G, of course, is not likely to make that option available. So, there is a great niche awaiting an enterprising new SE creator who can advertise, "Google-free Search!". Market it as, "the internet without Google-spam". I'll be the first to make it my homepage on Firefox.

Sorry for again straying off the actual topic: No, things have not improved over the last five years.

theBear




msg:739089
 2:50 am on Mar 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

LOL,

EFV I can see it now an internet with one site on it.

Folks sometime you should try figuring out how to do natural language processing while allowing for fakers.

Both are unsolved problems.

Meanwhile back on the farm all sites are encased in boilerplate.

Doing a Karnak now the results are different then they were five years ago, as to if they are better would depend on the what the user thought.

In other words beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

See, no change.

dodger




msg:739090
 3:19 am on Mar 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

Googles results have gone backwards over the past 5 or so months, before that everything was ok.

They stopped dealing with spam so now 5 or so months down the track it's all comming apart with the most appalling results appearing for even very popular searches as the spam takes hold and grows like a cancer.

If this continues MSN will be better then Google something I could have never even imagined 6 months ago.

The theory is they are concentrating on rolling out Big Daddy then they'll deal with spam.

Let's hope they can undo the damage that's being done to Google hourly.

CygnusX1




msg:739091
 5:22 am on Mar 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think your right dodger. I just hope that they get this latest update finished.

colin_h




msg:739092
 5:56 am on Mar 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

I just wish I could tell the good guys from the bad on this forum. If I knew who to trust and who was trying to point me in the wrong direction judging Google's performance would be easier. I can see the same old comments from the seniors here, just as when Alegra hit us hard. It makes me wonder ...

All the best to the honest ones amoung you

Col ;-)

roycerus




msg:739093
 6:28 am on Mar 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

Well my sister is not very internet savvy. She works as a demand planning manager at a multi national company and the company didn't allow internet access untill a couple of months ago.

For the first time I saw someone "discover" the internet. I always wondered how I must've felt when I was first exposed to this medium of information - but I can't remember :-¦

Anyways, when I spoke to her a few days she said she was amazed how useful Google is - it just makes it so easy to find information on ANY topic. I think her statement has a lot of significance. Google is extremely easy to use and even people who don't have much experience only can instinctively tell what they need to do to find information through Google.

I think the results HAVE actually improved when you try to judge it in light with the number of people trying to fool the system - Google still works.

Gimp




msg:739094
 6:29 am on Mar 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

This is what the consumer says about the quality of results.

Google ended January with a 41.4 percent share of the U.S. search engine market, up from 40 percent in December, according to comScore Media Metrix. Yahoo Inc.'s share declined to 28.7 percent in January, dipping from 29.5 percent December, while Microsoft Corp.'s MSN held a 13.7 percent share, dropping from 24.3 percent in the prior month.

simey




msg:739095
 7:14 am on Mar 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

Who got the 9% or so that MS lost, but the other 2 did'nt gain?

jomaxx




msg:739096
 7:44 am on Mar 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

How can a property the size of MSN lose almost half it's traffic in a month? Anyway there's something flaky about those MSN numbers. I didn't see that specific article but I saw another comparing Jan 2006 to Jan 2005 instead, and in that one MSN had dropped just 2%, from 16% to 14%.

<added>
Found the article with December's numbers on the wire. I think there was a typo in the above post, and MSN dropped from 14.3 (not 24.3) to 13.7.
</added>

percentages




msg:739097
 8:13 am on Mar 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

>From all the famous or infamous algo changes over the years, the ups and downs, is Google really any better then it was in 2001 or 2002?

I preferred Google in 2001!

Google has jumped through hoops to avoid spam, and failed!

In the process Google has also relegated many relevant sites to "the end of the universe" for no good reason other than lack of link popularity.

Google is still very good to my personal sites, so I don't have an axe to grind on a monetary level.

Where I do have an axe to grind is when I shop for something! When I shop I would prefer local results, I make the search terms appropriate, but, still Google in it's wisdom ignores the city name in favor of the rest of the search term keys.

"Widgets" is important, "Los Angeles Widgets" or "New York Widgets" is even more important. How can Google be working when I get sites in China or Kansas based on these terms?

Google has overdone the link popularity and anchor text in favor of the on-page content for the "lesser" used search terms.

Google is now great for simple common search terms, but lousy for looking at the lesser common items.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:739098
 9:02 am on Mar 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

What I would like to see is a new SE that specifically filters out all sites that run Adsense, and all the new websites that will soon appear hosted by G. In effect, a Google-free version of the internet.

Reminds me of ... [webmasterworld.com...]

This is what the consumer says about the quality of results.

... or perhaps what the consumer says about the quality of the marketing ;)

HiltonHead




msg:739099
 2:31 pm on Mar 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

When you think the world has turned its back on you take another look - it's not the world

egurr




msg:739100
 3:35 pm on Mar 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'm fairly new to this site, and I've just gotten my business back in the webdev/seo game. We were in it in the late '90s and I sold the company.
I can tell you this. The problem is the pagerank feature. On the surface it seems like a great idea, but it has a huge hole in it.
Suppose there are fifty or one hundred steel rolling or cutting companies. When somone does a search on steel cutting is he going to get the results he wants? No, he's going to be delivered to the site who has hired somone to create links back to his site to increase page rank. The steel cutting company that's been around for ten years and has a static site (as he should) get's knocked down the rankings. There are thousands of businesses who will never had inbound links to their site. Why would they? I think page rank is a great idea for some sites, for most business sites it means nothing.
That's why so many of your searches come up with miserable results. Ten years from now I think the .com names will have to be business, .info for information, etc. etc. Then the sites will have to be manually reviewed. There's simply no way you can code a robot to find real relevance.
Just my two cents.

colin_h




msg:739101
 4:01 pm on Mar 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

I agree and have been quite impressed lately with the Beta version of Mindset that Yahoo have put together - Sales vs Research slider function allows the user to weight their search in favour of their prefered outcome. [mindset.research.yahoo.com...]

Something as intuitive as this, with more search preference criteria would be a great way to filter out certain types of results.

This 69 message thread spans 3 pages: < < 69 ( 1 [2] 3 > >
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