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This 179 message thread spans 6 pages: < < 179 ( 1 2 3 4 5 [6]     
What value are Google if you can't rely on them?
colin_h




msg:717725
 5:27 am on Mar 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

For a long while I have been annoyed by the forum members who constantly say that business owners should not rely on Google to feed them business. My answer to them is what use or value is Google if you can't rely on them for business? We can't keep on treating Google like a favourite pair of shoes that are constantly letting the rain in ... if they don't do the job then what honest value do they have.

I, like many others, used to love what Google stood for ... until last year when everything changed. Don't ask me why they did it ... but last year many small businesses got hit and it seemed that Google didn't care about helping them get back. I for one will be only too pleased to site loss of Google traffic and the futile waste of time trying to get back as my main reason for bad performance last year ... I only hope the tax office understands.

Please Please Please bring back some of the values that used to make Google great.

All the best

Col :-)

 

andrea99




msg:717875
 5:59 am on Mar 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

I can easily answer the question in the negative:

What value does Google destroy if you can't rely on them?

1) They destroy the value of the businesses that rightly or wrongly relied on them.

2) They destroy families and marriages when they destroy businesses.

3) They destroy entrepreneurial spirit in those affected and those observing.

4) They destroy value in the economy when people are uncertain about their incomes.

Perhaps no one on earth is smart enough to grasp all the moving parts that lead to this destruction but if Google doesn't get a handle on it we are all harmed.

dodger




msg:717876
 6:19 am on Mar 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

I can easily answer the question in the negative:
What value does Google destroy if you can't rely on them?

1) They destroy the value of the businesses that rightly or wrongly relied on them.

2) They destroy families and marriages when they destroy businesses.

3) They destroy entrepreneurial spirit in those affected and those observing.

4) They destroy value in the economy when people are uncertain about their incomes.

Perhaps no one on earth is smart enough to grasp all the moving parts that lead to this destruction but if Google doesn't get a handle on it we are all harmed.

Right - I can see where this is all leading ...Google has to charge for inclusion so that those who pay will be given some guarantee of feedback and a fair shake.

Those who dont pay will have no rights.

Still doesn't solve the problem of 20,000 people all trying to get to the first page on a search.

As far as paying is concerned form a line behind me :)

Perhaps this is the conclusion Google knew we would come to in the end.

andrea99




msg:717877
 6:51 am on Mar 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

I can see where this is all leading ...

I disagree, I don't see it going there at all. I'm not going to try to predict the future but I think paying for inclusion seems unlikely in the extreme.

dodger




msg:717878
 6:56 am on Mar 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

<<but I think paying for inclusion seems unlikely in the extreme>>

Why? I would rather pay and have a more stable position and more feedback than how it is now. All those who make their living via Google would agree.

In fact I would pay quite a bit for that security.

andrea99




msg:717879
 7:09 am on Mar 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Yes, a lot of people would like to pay for a secure listing, I would.

But I don't see it happening, I don't think Google will go that route, it is too corrupt for their ostensible ideals.

I'm not feeling prescient enough this evening to venture a guess about what will happen, but I don't think it's that.

Web_speed




msg:717880
 7:13 am on Mar 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Why? I would rather pay and have a more stable position and more feedback than how it is now. All those who make their living via Google would agree.
In fact I would pay quite a bit for that security.

Add me to that club.

Paid inclusions, with better feedback and communication with webmaster is the way into the future. It is a win win for all, this is how things are being done in the real world. The internet should not be any different. Other options are childish and will not necessarily hold in a court of law a few years from now (....regulatory measures will eventually creep in in many countries if this to continue, regardless of if we or Google like it or not. This problem will only get bigger with time).

[edited by: Web_speed at 7:31 am (utc) on Mar. 13, 2006]

colin_h




msg:717881
 7:16 am on Mar 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

I agree with birdstuff's comments and applaud him for putting it in such logical terms.

I do think that the main reason that Google don't list exactly the rules / laws is that they really don't have the technology to catch all the cheats ... and they would look weak if they made a claim that they could not enforce.

Take the simple text packing process of using <DIV> inserts of just a few pixels high & wide and cramming text in it which is either invisible to viewers or seems quite legitimate to spiders. There are thousands of sites using this simple method and they continue to get away with it ... prooving that Google can't program out cheats.

It seems that excercises like updates and infrastructure changes only serve to drive previously honest webmasters into the realm of the black hats, simply to compete. This couldn't be the desired outcome that Google planned.

The recent [Rather pathetic IMO] 3 day ban of bmw.de was Google's way of trying to say that nobody is safe if they're cheating. However, it's pointless making these daft gestures if the top 10 is crammed full of cheats making money from Google's inability to catch them out.

I return the original question "What value are Google if you can't rely on them?"

All the Best

Col :-)

dodger




msg:717882
 7:24 am on Mar 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

I would love paid inclusion and drool over the chance to pay Google for a site audit.

Keeps their serps clean keeps money flowing to them and me.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:717883
 9:35 am on Mar 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Two weeks before my banned site was reincluded a Google engineer named Matt Cutts started a blog and my exchanges with him at that time in his comments changed the entire situation for me and my attitude about Google. I still criticize them but at least there is a place to do so and a real human being to interact with.

One of the world's largest companies uses a blog as it's primary means of communication with its main suppliers and that's acceptable?

The recent [Rather pathetic IMO] 3 day ban of bmw.de was Google's way of trying to say that nobody is safe if they're cheating. However, it's pointless making these daft gestures if the top 10 is crammed full of cheats making money from Google's inability to catch them out.

Absolutely, and they went against their "automatic algo only" mantra by taking BMW out manually. If they would do the same with the spammers this action would have been more believable. They knew that they would generate massive, and largely positive publicity with this single action.

What did removing BMW do to improve the SERPs? Do you think that all the spammers and cloakers cr@pped themselves when they heard that this had happened? Of course they didn't because those who are good at it know that as long as Google relies solely on an algo they will always be able to stay ahead of them.

That was the only reason behind the BMW thing. They could improve the SERPS no end if they started manually removing the smaller offenders but there would be no point in that because there are so many of them and it would reduce Adsense earnings, so no, it looks like we can't rely on them.

Liane




msg:717884
 12:04 pm on Mar 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Absolutely, and they went against their "automatic algo only" mantra by taking BMW out manually.

Google strives to catch out spammers via their algo and improving the process of doing so automatically. Its what they have been working on for years to achieve but have not obtained. However, since the introduction of the spam report, they have always removed sites manually. That's hardly news!

What did removing BMW for 3 days accomplish? Absolutely nothing IMHO. I thought the reinclusion was way too soon. If that had been my site or yours, do you think it would have been reincluded that quickly? Truthfully, I don't think so. That one bothered me a lot because I felt if Google was going to take a stand and make an example of them, they should have treated BMW like any other web site which had been misbehaving and make them go through the whole process (and the length of time it takes to muck through it) just like anyone else. I was disappointed with the handling of that one.

By the way ... why was this thread taken off the "active posts" page? I think the discussion has merit and deserves to be seen! That sort of editorial declassification is not helpful in my opinion.

birdstuff




msg:717885
 12:37 pm on Mar 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

But everybody doesn't know the rules and won't know the rules.

Everybody doesn't know every law either and some people end up in jail as a result. Does that mean we should make all laws secret and arrest people when they break them by mistake? Of course not.

A clear set of established guidelines would be right out in the open. There would be no excuse for somebody "no knowing" what the rules are, just like ignorance of the law is no excuse when a criminal is standing in front of a judge. It will become very obvious, very quickly that if you want to play in Google's sandbox you had better learn the rules, and with them clearly stated out in the open it will be very easy to do so.

The "rules" are unlikely to be as simple as "You'll be banned for on-the-nose anchor text" or "You'll be banned if you have three sets of H1 tags on the same page." But if you have on-the-nose anchor text, three sets of H1 tags, a ridiculously high keyword density, keyword-stuffed alt text, a dozen crosslinked domains, and examples of a few other SEO techniques, and if you've also got 1,000 pages of boilerplate affiliate copy, then statistical probability (based on Google's analysis of known spam) may suggest that your site wasn't designed for users.

A clear set of rules where the penalties for non-compliance are so severe that the vast majority of webmasters wouldn't dare edge too close to the line would eliminate the need for such a complex, ever-changing and obviously unreliable algorithm. Google's PHD's could use their considerable brain power and technical skills creating features and enhancements that truly benefit users instad of trying to play whack-a-mole against a relatively small group of spammers who always end up winning the game in the short run anyway.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:717886
 1:14 pm on Mar 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Google strives to catch out spammers via their algo and improving the process of doing so automatically. Its what they have been working on for years to achieve but have not obtained. However, since the introduction of the spam report, they have always removed sites manually. That's hardly news!

But I have seen several reports in here from people who have reported spam and Google have failed to remove it manually. I don't think they do this as a matter of routine.

They use these spam reports to tune the algo. However algos are incapable of operating at this level. They never have been capable and they never will be. How much better it would be for all of us (apart from spammers) if they did start manually removing spam.

andrea99




msg:717887
 1:16 pm on Mar 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

BeeDeeDubbleU writes:
One of the world's largest companies uses a blog as it's primary means of communication with its main suppliers and that's acceptable?

Well no, not only did you quote me out of context, you then make the same criticism that I made just two lines later in that same post:
I am still upset that the solution had to arrive as a personal blog instead of an official organ of the company but it is working somewhat.

Please read more carefully before you shoot from the hip.

But the larger point I've been making all along is that too few human brains are being applied to the problem which imparts a stupidity to the entire process and angers people in ways that inevitably will return to haunt them.

CygnusX1




msg:717888
 5:22 pm on Mar 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

We alson would like to have a paid inclusion in Google. Maybe then our deeper internal pages would be listed.

europeforvisitors




msg:717889
 5:39 pm on Mar 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

The original question is this thread was: "...what use or value is Google if you can't rely on them for business? We can't keep on treating Google like a favourite pair of shoes that are constantly letting the rain in ... if they don't do the job then what honest value do they have."

So most of the complaints, pontificating, and amateur lawyering in this thread are beside the point. A question was asked, and the answer depends on who you are:

1) To tens (or perhaps hundreds) of millions of users, Google's value is in providing search results.

2) To businesses that receive traffic from Google, Google's value is in supplying traffic.

3) To businesses that don't receive traffic from Google, Google has little or no value.

The implications are clear:

If you fall into groups 1 and 2, you may not be happy with Google all the time, but you probably don't feel a compelling need to break free of Google.

If you fall into group 3, then you need to stop obsessing about Google and find other ways of attracting users to your Web site(s).

That's the bottom line, painful though it may be to accept.

rbacal




msg:717890
 5:43 pm on Mar 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

1) They destroy the value of the businesses that rightly or wrongly relied on them.

2) They destroy families and marriages when they destroy businesses.

3) They destroy entrepreneurial spirit in those affected and those observing.

4) They destroy value in the economy when people are uncertain about their incomes.

Perhaps no one on earth is smart enough to grasp all the moving parts that lead to this destruction but if Google doesn't get a handle on it we are all harmed.

I think what you are saying is fairly accurate. I'm not sure it's completely fair since what you talk about has less to do specifically with what google does, and more to do with the economic system it is embedded in. What you describe is typical of a company of size and dominance that becomes a victim of its own success, and is somewhat trapped by it. ANY company of size and high profile has to face these issues.

One point I haven't seen discussed is the damage that is done to investors (who also have families, pensions, etc), if and when the stock price falls (and it's clear Internet stock prices are insanely volatile and subject to "irrational" market place fluctuation.

The issue of stock price is significant in a discussion about communication, in particular, since the market responds out of proportion to the actual information that might be shared. And it's not just a "corporate" issue, since this affects the individuals and companies, large and small that hold google stock.

It's a rock and hard place situation that happens with companies that are constantly in the news.

andrea99




msg:717891
 6:00 pm on Mar 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

When you invest in stock you are implicitly accepting all the risks that go along with that kind of investment which certainly includes the fluctuating price--caused just as often by speculating buyers and sellers as by real value.

When I listed the harms done by Google's erratic behavior I certainly took into account the economic waters that we all swim in.

It probably isn't possible to totally isolate one behavior from all the other interacting factors but that cannot keep us from trying to assign cause and effect. If it did then all language and communication could be rendered meaningless for that same reason.

rbacal




msg:717892
 6:06 pm on Mar 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

I happen to think that Google, through the law of unintentional consequences, DOES cause both social and economic harm. However, I'm also more concerned about the U.S. economy, where the value of the U.S. dollar with respect to the Canadian dollar has dropped from 1.54 to about 1.13 in about two years. But that's another issue.

To answer my own question about what I would like to see Google do (that might be practical):

1) If they can't get their search results better, they might be better off acknowledging that, and introducing randomization so that the same sites don't show in the same order all the time. As a searcher, I see that, for terms I oft search on, the exact same sites have been sitting at the top for years. (I happen to be one of them on some terms). There's a number of reasons to do this that have to do with fairness, and quality, and above all, USEFULNESS.

2) Adsense is a potentially destructive economic and social force. If there is one single reason to point to as to why the Internet world is generating so much "junk" to be indexed, it's adsense. It makes it lucrative to game the system. There's no single solution to this, but the lack of quality control in terms of sites accepted and retained is a major problem. They need to look at this issue to see if there are any practical solutions. Is better manual review the answer? Would that slow the development of junk sites, spam sites, scrapers, etc that are overwhelming the search system?

3) Adwords itself needs to have much better quality control. I can't figure out the problem here, since they purportedly DO manually review ads. Allowing junk scraper and phony directory sites into the system encourages more of them trying to arbitrage the system. That means, again, more junk sites that need to be handled in the SERPS.

4) Develop a premium search system which is a search/hybrid directory type system with a "webmaster pay for review" AND and guarantee to searchers that they sites included are free of [insert whatever things necessary to exclude the junk sites]. I don't LIKE the prospect, but it may be necessary. Kind of like a "Google 2.0".

5) Communication is pretty wretched. I don't think google will every be able to give the information that webmasters want, for a number of important reasons, but I think they can do a lot better. I'm not sure how, and I'm not sure what information they could offer that wouldn't cause other problems, but I still think they can do better. I do NOT think that better communication would help stem the tide of webmaster dissatisfaction, because ranking is a zero sum game. That is part of the problem -- if you open the door to communicating with individual webmasters, there will ALWAYS be a huge rush to complain, creating significant costs.

6) Re: search results. I'm inclined to think the results would be better if they EXCLUDED blogs (or had an option to exclude them). I'm speaking as a searcher here. Many would probably disagree, and with some good arguments, but for me, Blogs in the main index simply don't fit my needs -- they interfere.

7) I'm not a fan of affiliate marketing. I'm not a fan of finding twenty sites in the serps that are basically non-value added (some are, obviously, but many aren't), for a term. I'd like to see affiliate marketing sites treated differently, even perhaps restricyed to something like Froogle. I have no idea if that's practical, and I know it would be unpopular. Again, I'm speaking as a searcher here.

But finally, I'm sure we here DO understand, that whatever google does -- whatever changes it institutes, some people will "lose" and some will "win", so in a sense, they are caught. The people who don't rank well will always be complaining. Those with "junk sites" will complain, if they can't succeed with them (and of course, one persons junk site may be another's gold).

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:717893
 6:20 pm on Mar 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Please read more carefully before you shoot from the hip.
But the larger point I've been making all along is that too few human brains are being applied to the problem which imparts a stupidity to the entire process and angers people in ways that inevitably will return to haunt them.

Andrea99 it was not my intention to cause offence and I was really only emphasising the point you were making yourself but you did say ...

I still criticize them but at least there is a place to do so and a real human being to interact with.

This sounded a wee bit like you were making excuses for them ;)

I really do think that is it sad that we have to rely on "unofficial" sources like Googleguy and Matt Cutts blog to get any information. Blogs generally just add grist to the rumour mill. It is even more sad that the information that is released is often shrouded by ambiguity and left to people's own interpretation. This is one of the World's leading companies after all. What kind of a way is that to conduct business?

EFV what happens if you fall into all three of your categories? I am sure I am not the only one in this position.

rbacal




msg:717894
 6:21 pm on Mar 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

andrea
When you invest in stock you are implicitly accepting all the risks that go along with that kind of investment which certainly includes the fluctuating price--caused just as often by speculating buyers and sellers as by real value.

And when you create a website that depends on google search results for its economic success, you "should" be aware of exactly the same thing regarding google's behavior. A point that has been made in this discussion.

The understanding of this risk is part of what's involved in being a competent ebusiness person, and I don't believe it is Google's responsibility to prevent the consequences of business incompetence. Putting aside the ethical issue, it's probably not practical either.

It is a bit like the stock market. Is it the responsibility of the stock exchange to protect people from the consequences of over-investing in volatile stock offerings? No. It provides a specific service/tools and after that it's really up to the "user" to use them intelligently, and UNDERSTAND where the risks lie.

Could google, like a stock exchange, make its rules clearer? Probably. Could it do so without sacrificing its algo's and proprietary secrets? Um...they could do better, but it won't be enough to satisfy people here.

Finally, I can't see anything that google could do to protect incompetent businesses from themselves. And if businesses believe they are a) entitled to be on the first page, or b) rely on free marketing that they can't control, or c) don't plan for inevitable changes and fluctuations in their environments, or d) don't have contingencies when their golden goose gets waylaid, and put themselves in harms way at the family or personal financial levels, I can't see that google can protect them.

mvandemar




msg:717895
 6:45 pm on Mar 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

The only way to hold Google at fault for a drop in rankings would be to "prove" that your site is more relevant than those above you. How would you go about doing that? By saying it's better seo'd? You would be trying to prove a matter of opinion, and I don't think that you would be able to get very far.

For every person that is harmed from a drop in serps, someone else is helped just as much. Why is your livelihood more important than theirs?

What if Google went to a more equalizing algorithm, and randomized the top 100 results to shuffle with each query? Would that help you? (reminds me of the scene in Bruce Almighty where he let everyone win the lottery and all each person got was about $1 :) )

If you could prove that your site was more relevant than those above you, then you should have no problems convincing a large quantity of people to link to you with that anchor text. If you REALLY deserve to be on top, then in reality it's not that hard to get there.

Btw, I'm not in any way shape or form talking about people who are consistently beat out by spammers, or those who are deindexed for no reason. That should indeed be addressed. It just doesn't sound like what this thread is about.

-Michael

andrea99




msg:717896
 6:45 pm on Mar 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

The stock market has been around for centuries and has a long and well known history of perfidy and scandal, not really comparable in any way to a relationship with a search engine in a market that has existed for barely a decade.

Indeed it is the lack of history and precedent that is causing much of the consternation over Google's behavior.

When Google creates enemies for itself it will reap the consequenses eventually and legions of sycophantic apologists will not protect it...

My goal is to help Google avoid making enemies--not berating the poor victims for their lack of foresight.

Peb0




msg:717897
 6:51 pm on Mar 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

This is a pretty big thread but I haven't read anyone suggest "Requested Inclusion".

Right now Google works under the assumption that they have a right to spider and index every site, without explicit permission, and somehow the owness is on the site operators to request exclusion.

If they did this not-for-profit, I couldn't have much of an argument.

The truth is that Google's index is built on bandwidth paid by other sites but they do not shoulder this expense themselves.

I'm personally in a funny spot right now. Google is indexing my intire site daily. I still want my content to appear in Google, but there is absolutely no need to index 100% of my site every single day. At this rate they are going to consume too much bandwidth. I know we could increase our hosting plan, but that's entirely my point... Why should I pay more money to add value to Google? I'm ok with Google taking a look (and in fact want them to look) but they act as though because I've let them in, they own the whole house.

I have no means (that I can find) to throttle their access to my site. Either I let them in, or I ban them entirely.

Anyway, I've almost ranted myself off-topic.

With "Requested Inclusion" you could explicitly tell Google (or any SE)... here's the pages I want you to index, here's how often I'm willing to let you do it, AND I'm willing to play by your rules.

At that point, the SE should have reasonably outlined what the rules are (A simple list of don'ts would suffice. Clear black and white choices ie:Cloaking=banned).

Anyone found breaking the rules should simply be penalized so harshly, only those who don't care the consequences would ever bother to taunt them.

I think that every honest webmaster would accept those terms.

Just my opinion.
PebĪ

JuniorOptimizer




msg:717898
 6:52 pm on Mar 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

You don't need Google to be successful on the Internet. It's laughable to think they actually have a "monopoly" when in reality people could leave in droves and go somewhere else. Google is overrated.

ken_b




msg:717899
 6:55 pm on Mar 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

not berating the poor victims for their lack of foresight.

"Poor victims"?

If they are victims of anything it is their own lack of foresight.

andrea99




msg:717900
 6:58 pm on Mar 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

BeeDeeDubbleU we mostly agree. I will make excuses for Google when I think they deserve an excuse.

I am very much pro-Google and my criticisms of them are meant as constructive. But my criticism will be harsh when I think it is deserved and Google does have--if nothing else--a thick skin. I've never heard of anyone being penalized for criticizing them, even Daniel Brandt seems to rank well.

When I was banned I think I got the best result when I got the angriest at them, though these events could be interpreted in various ways.

andrea99




msg:717901
 7:01 pm on Mar 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

If they are victims of anything it is their own lack of foresight.

Certainly there are these kinds of victims but your eagerness to berate an anonymous generalization makes me wonder about your motivation.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:717902
 7:18 pm on Mar 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

I've never heard of anyone being penalized for criticizing them, even Daniel Brandt seems to rank well.

Perhaps not for criticising them but they certainly took the nip when they banned CNet for publishing Eric Schmidt's address ;)

tedster




msg:717903
 7:37 pm on Mar 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Seems like it's time to lock this one up. It's been quite stimulating!

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