| 11:19 pm on Apr 21, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|Nothing personal EVF, but sometimes you have to drop the pom poms down to your side and call it how it is. |
What "pom poms"? I'd be the last person to say that Google's SERPs are perfect. But I'm also objective enough to recognize that some SERPs are adequate (or even pretty good) even if others aren't--and that generalizations like "the index is a mess" are subjective in the same way that "the economy is a mess" or "the Internet is a mess" are subjective.
| 2:01 am on Apr 22, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|subjective in the same way that "the Internet is a mess" are subjective... |
Man, the internet is a mess.
| 2:29 am on Apr 22, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|I will add a snip from the Fiancial Times and simply say that Google knows what it is doing regardess of what webmasters think. |
No one can dispute that they know what they are doing in a business sense but unfortunately SERPs quality and earnings are not related. ;)
Does anyone really believe this, that these guys 'know what they're doing'? Just about everything except their basic search is a flop: Froogle, Desktop search, that Jabber client etc. If these guys have a plan I can't see it. Also they have a business model that is 100% based on advertising revenue. Given that Microsoft are gearing up to take them on (a company not dependant on advertising) this is hardly the basis for long-term growth.
As for SERP quality and earnings not being related, this is demonstrably untrue. Google got where they are by having better SERPs than the very well established search engines that came before them. A great deal of their kudos, and subsequent success, is based upon this. I am fairly sure Yahoo never saw them coming, so the idea that they have some kind of unshakeable hold over the SE market is not the case. The opportunities for other companies to move in are related to, if not dominated by, perception of quality. Exactly as it was for Google at the start. It may take an age for this to bubble up to everyday users, but it would inevitably start with the kind of discussion we are having here, on a specialist forum like this, with technically able people concentrating on the detail.
Although it is difficult to even concieve of anyone moving in on Google's space, nothing lasts forever. And the basis for real change can often be resentment and discontent leading to webmasters looking around for better opportunities to promote their own sites. And that often starts with a mild change in perception, that quality is slipping, and things aren't quite as spick n span as we're told. There's certainly ample evidence to suggest that there is a great deal of tinkering behind the scenes in their 'fully automated search engine'. It happened to Yahoo, so it can happen to anyone.
| 12:30 pm on Apr 22, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|What "pom poms"? I'd be the last person to say that Google's SERPs are perfect. But I'm also objective enough to recognize that some SERPs are adequate (or even pretty good) even if others aren't--and that generalizations like "the index is a mess" are subjective in the same way that "the economy is a mess" or "the Internet is a mess" are subjective. |
The problem is that you sound like a politician - I mean exactly like the boys from Washington. You cannot first dismiss what others are saying as untrue when the facts are right there, and state that Google serps are the best in a long time, then turn around since people don't buy that and state it's by design. You can spin it however you want, the facts bear out differently.
BTW: I am not arguing this site should be ranking here, and this one there. This has nothing to do with quality (at least that's not my perspective), it has to do with a problem they are having resurrecting old dead sites/pages, dropping others out of cache that are alive and well, and showing coming soon and error pages in their serps (ranking them).
When I talk to people whom have been around this game much longer than you or I, and they say/see the same problems, along with posts/threads on this forum and others - it's not imaginary, as you would like to believe. Again, nothing personal, but you have always dismissed what is not affecting your site as not being a problem or is a problem by design. When was it 2005 or 2004 that your site dropped like a rock - was a problem then, wasn't it? I'm trying to be subjective as it has not affected me personally to this point, but that doesn't mean it's not a problem and it won't affect me in the future.
This is not a "supplemental" problem that has existed at least not what we have seen in the past. The pages are not marked supplemental. I believe this ties into other threads about people losing thousands of pages and cache not showing up for pages that have been around "at least" long enough to gain PR.
I was searching this morning for things in my niche, and sure enough I see a "coming soon" page/site ranking #5 out of 282 million results on one term (at least it's not beating me for that term..hehe). After looking further this "coming soon" site has backlinks in Yahoo & DMOZ, but the domain has been registered to the same company since 1995. Archive.org shows pages from 1996 - Jan. 2005, but it looks like they forwarded the domain to another domain sometime in early 2005.
Like I said, it seems Google is putting such an age factor in there they are resurrecting the dead.
| 1:52 pm on Apr 22, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|The problem is that you sound like a politician - I mean exactly like the boys from Washington. You cannot first dismiss what others are saying as untrue when the facts are right there, and state that Google serps are the best in a long time.. |
But I didn't say that. You--not I--are the one who insists on speaking in unsupportable generalities (with comments like "the index is a mess").
| 2:04 pm on Apr 22, 2006 (gmt 0)|
I must have said this three times. I don't thing G SERPs are deteriorating at all.
If anything, they have improved a little bit over the past weeks and months.
Would I be off-limits for suggesting that threads like "G is dying an agonizing screaming
death and stinking up the observable universe like an unwanted cod-fish"
originate from webmasters whose sites have suffered in the SERPs?
Or, am I just imagining things? -Larry
| 2:20 pm on Apr 22, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|Google is obviously less concerned with short-term issues than with laying the groundwork for improved results over the long term. |
It seems to me that it would be smarter if google we're to be a little more concerned about the "now". It will be a lot easier for them to keep traffic by providing quality results now than it will be to win traffic back from people that left google to find what they wanted on another engine. The more times someone has to go to another engine to find what they want now, the less likely they are to visit google in the future.
While I can agree that google is looking to the future, I don't think it's obvious that google is "less concerned with short term issues" and that this is the reason for their inferior results. Google is big and they are spreading into all sorts of things, surely they have the resources to be concerned about the future and the now with the search engine that has brought google to where it is today.
| 2:42 pm on Apr 22, 2006 (gmt 0)|
"She told me that when she finds a site she wants to spend more time on, she usually doesn't bookmark it - she just remembers where she saw it. She was finding that on Google, she would return, sometimes just hours later and the site would be nowhere to be found. This was happening to her pretty much on a constant basis."
A friend of mine told me exactly the same thing. Updating algos and results output is great. But many users like a certain amount of consistency. Not saying you can satisfy those users, but they want it nonetheless.
| 2:49 pm on Apr 22, 2006 (gmt 0)|
Larry - You are not imagining anything, the plain truth that is.
| 3:50 pm on Apr 22, 2006 (gmt 0)|
When it comes to measurable data, 1) Google's first quarter profits soared, and 2) in March 2006 it was Google, Time Warner and Ask who gained in actual search queries while Yahoo and MSN lost. So in the macro-picture, Google is doing just fine and there appears to be no wobble in the view of the general public.
As you can see by mining old threads here, there have always been threads about search results problems. Google results being a mess and so on. I think what is disturbing right now for some webmasters is that the issues we are noticing are relatively new issues -- not the same-old same-old.
In my view, this is a result of Google working on a few new holds for their wrestling match with spam of various kinds, while they also work to innovate. Yes, I also see some old cache dates, odd pages ranking very high and other important pages going MIA for a while. And for some searches I have occasionally gone to other SEs. Nevertheless, I don't think this is a sign that they've lost the signal. Quite the opposite, I see it as a sign that they are still tuning in.
As I mentioned early on in this thread, I also heard from two friends that their Google searches were sometimes a problem recently. One is a professional researcher and the other a college instructor. They are pretty much Google power users and, like us, will notice the current changes in an amplified manner. The average search user still seems happy with the big G.
| 4:36 pm on Apr 22, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|As you can see by mining old threads here, there have always been threads about search results problems. Google results being a mess and so on. I think what is disturbing right now for some webmasters is that the issues we are noticing are relatively new issues -- not the same-old same-old. |
Some Webmasters -- especially webmasters of commercial sites -- are always going to complain because the position of their own site radically affects their perceptions. Which isn't to say that webmasters can't also be more objective and even perceptive.
But I think you're right that what's going on right now is not the same-old same-old. Google used to be great. It almost seemed to be a psychic search engine. Now it's erratic and sometimes downright useless.
To avoid generalities, I challenge those of you who think that google is working just fine or has only minor problems to search for "build your own model T ford" (without quotes) in both Google and Yahoo. This is a randomnly chosen text string -- my own site is about meditation.
There's no spam in the Google results -- but also *no* relevant results in the top ten. Not one. You'll learn how to build your own fake segway, paper rocket, generator, or solar system -- but *nada* about model T fords.
Yahoo on the other hand? It puts relevant site in the #1 spot -- a site that isn't even in Google's top ten.
Anyone want to tell me now that Google's working just fine? Google, stop being broken, wilya?
[edited by: Haecceity at 4:39 pm (utc) on April 22, 2006]
| 5:02 pm on Apr 22, 2006 (gmt 0)|
Nice example, Haecceity.
Shows the relevance both SE's give to word count on a page.
[edited by: wordy at 5:06 pm (utc) on April 22, 2006]
| 5:04 pm on Apr 22, 2006 (gmt 0)|
I think a lot of people are confusing people complaining about rank vs. people complaining about Google crawling the site, but not putting it in the index and even removing pages from the indexing that are being crawled.
From what I've seen, Googlebot use to visit a page every few days, and about 24-48 hours later you would see that page as the cached version.
Now two things are happening to some sites:
1) Pages are being crawled, but not showing up in the index. By not showing up I mean using site:www.domain.com and it not being listed nor will it show up by typing any combination of keywords. It just seems that the page is not there. It may have been removed or it may be new.
2) Pages are being crawled and are still in the index, but if you click on the cached version it will be weeks old even though it has been visited by Googlebot a few times since then.
This has nothing to do with complaining about Rank or Keywords. If this is the new behavior of Google, that is fine, but I would just like to try and grasp why some sites seem to be fine, and others are getting this new treatment.
| 5:08 pm on Apr 22, 2006 (gmt 0)|
That search query [build your own model T Ford] is definitely giving a poor result. It is also a rather challenging search phrase, because "model T Ford" is really the semantic entity involved, and Google is not currently seeing it that way. The individual "words" in the phrase don't cut it, and "Ford" can be a lot more than a brand name.
Interesting to me is that G does a much better job with the more basic [Model T Ford] search query -- apparently the "build your own" section is throwing a spanner in the works. Maybe Orion will help.
| 5:39 pm on Apr 22, 2006 (gmt 0)|
I completely agree with you but the thing thats really rattling my head is how a page can rank and be in the system for months and even gain PR(4) only to now not show in the serps or have any cached info but still hold onto a PR4 this is madness!
| 6:05 pm on Apr 22, 2006 (gmt 0)|
A couple of things are going on -- first, we should be calling current toolbar PR "new PR" or something like that. Big Daddy did not originally scale PR in the historical way (per conversation with Matt Cutts at Boston PubCon). I do expect this to change in the future.\
Second, Google shards their spidered data and flings it all over their data centers for analysis. The final results page is not tapping the same exact place for all the different features we see in the SERPs.
Again, I expect they will pull all these things into a better "focus" over time, because they haven't called it "Big Daddy" for nothing. It's got to be a HUGE mass of data, split up and distributed in all kinds of ways. But for now it sure does look strange to those of us who watch very closely. My sister doesn't care or even notice this new behavior at all.
|King of all Sales|
| 6:25 pm on Apr 22, 2006 (gmt 0)|
If you are supposedly the most advanced search engine in the world, light years ahead of the rest, one reason might be that you can take those "challenging search terms" and deliver superior results.
Looks like the opposite to me.
| 7:16 pm on Apr 22, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|That search query [build your own model T Ford] is definitely giving a poor result. It is also a rather challenging search phrase, because "model T Ford" is really the semantic entity involved, and Google is not currently seeing it that way. The individual "words" in the phrase don't cut it, and "Ford" can be a lot more than a brand name. |
Interesting to me is that G does a much better job with the more basic [Model T Ford] search query -- apparently the "build your own" section is throwing a spanner in the works. Maybe Orion will help.
This is exaclty why I pointed out that a theme of a site or page is no longer having an influence in ranking. The long tail searches are reaveling this deficit. Google a year ago would parse the phrase Model T Ford as the most important part of the search phrase and then look for the other words in the body of the page to best match the query. Now, it just does not matter and is scattering the terms. This will hopefully be corrected over time. I think it is going to require new programming on top of the new platform to bring back alot of what Google is missing right now.
This is not to say that some searches are just fine. Some searches would are not influenced one way or the other by the deficit in advaced algorithmic programming. In some searches, removing the spam and filtering poor quality results is enough to bring the better matching pages to the top.
| 1:33 pm on Apr 23, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|But I didn't say that. You--not I--are the one who insists on speaking in unsupportable generalities (with comments like "the index is a mess"). |
Please read my messages again. I have been as specific as I can be on this forum. I have detailed the problem of caching and Google showing pages of sites/pages that have not been live for more than a year, along with error pages ranking and "coming soon" pages ranking. How much more specific can I be? This is not about my site/your site, this is about the problems I have specifically pointed out. I normally do not even post in these threads, but the problems caught my eye. Others in this thread (and other threads) have pointed out the same as I have with caching issues etcetera, so please do not dismiss the very specific items I have outlined as "unsupportedable generalities".
People can state this doesn't affect them. I can say the earthquakes, hurricanes and other things throughout the USA do not affect me living in Ohio, but it's simply not true.
You may not see an affect right now with Googles problem, but I can assure you it is affecting every site. How? The good positions you, I, or anyone else holds at this time may change dramatically once they straighten this out and include the "lost" pages and rank them accordingly. Flip-side is if you are not ranking now, once they get rid of the problems, you may do very well, so as always, I wouldn't make a lot of changes.
|But for now it sure does look strange to those of us who watch very closely. My sister doesn't care or even notice this new behavior at all. |
I agree. I'm sure 99% of the people don't notice, but as I said above, it doesn't mean the problems don't exist. I must be seeing a lot of what tigger is seeing.
| 2:18 pm on Apr 23, 2006 (gmt 0)|
I think that since Google is the most popular search engine,its getting more attention from black SEOs than any other engine so its not surprising that its full of un relevant content but they keep improving
| 2:59 am on Apr 23, 2006 (gmt 0)|
I just spent the last hour perusing many highly competitive, single word results. Although I've been a major Google fan (and self proclaimed SEO mastermind) for quite some time, I think it's about time to face the facts... the results I see right now are beyond bad. It's no longer a matter of google trying to shut down SEO tactics, it seems clear that Google is now unable to provide even close to legitimate results on major (and minor) search phrases. This comes at a time (suspiciously enough) when Mr. Gates is predicting search engine dominance within a year. It appears Google's Big Daddy is a colossal failure, unable to rank pages, calculate PR, include new sites, include new pages on existing sites and God knows what else. How long will the general public remain loyal with these wretched results, especially with the richest man on earth setting his target on this lucrative market?
The end of an era... Google is dead.
| 10:59 pm on Apr 23, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|You may not see an affect right now with Googles problem, but I can assure you it is affecting every site. |
This raises an interesting issue that is often alluded to, namely what happens if Google becomes even more unpredictable? I find it difficult to fathom at times, but the trend seems to be towards Google becoming more erratic not more stable, despite assertions about Big Daddy.
Will this affect them negatively (users going elsewhere for example), or positively (people relying more on the predictability of AdWords)?
I think it's the latter. Since the general public won't notice a slight dip in quality they are free to scare people who watch a narrow section of the index in great detail. An almost perfect scenario for exploitation. Particularly if you have shareholders to keep happy.
| 11:30 pm on Apr 23, 2006 (gmt 0)|
The company I work for actually compiles a ton of research on search engine relevance. I'm hearing rumors they're going to release some of it but don't know for sure.
The intersting thing is exact match searches. Google will list really close things, but not exact matches. MSN and Yahoo will show on average 3 times the relevant number of searches, but then have two or three way out in left field.
The other thing we do (at my suggestion, because of things I've heard on this board) is look at the date of the content. The people on this board are actually spot on. Yahoos content is usually much older than MSN or Google.
| 11:38 pm on Apr 23, 2006 (gmt 0)|
Its very intesting because i see similar problems on three/four and five string search requests since the BD roll out.
In one example this is the situation i see in the serps on one of the sites i work on.
The site is a PR7 authority widgets site with a section on Blue widgets. It has a dedicated page off that section which is about Yellow green blue widgets - this being very specific with not that many results in Google. The page is called this and links to it are these 4 words and its page titles are the same.
When you search for green blue widgets ie not mention the Yellow the page shows up 1 in the serps. When you search it as Yellow, green, blue, widgets which has less results the page doesnt show. Work that out?.
The Google serps show pages 100% not relevent for this string yet a page 100% relevent isnt showing. Same 4 word string done on Yahoo and the page ranks one!
I dont think Google is broken, i just think in their greedy quest to up adwords revenue they have pushed quality down as far as it will go and some hence, its simply not as effective as it once was, but as far as Google is concerned the quarters profit is up 60%+ so its better than ever!
Thing is despite the massive market share they have, they COULD lose ground very quickly. As shown here Yahoo can come up with better serps, im certainly telling clients to use Yahoo thats for certain - I think Yahoos results are far more relevent since google rolled out BD.
| 1:43 am on Apr 24, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|It appears Google's Big Daddy is a colossal failure... |
And just how many months ago was Big Daddy rollout completed?
I think it's a bit early to be announcing the failure of Big Daddy and death of Google.
| 2:05 am on Apr 24, 2006 (gmt 0)|
Big daddy hasn't even tried to do anything yet. It's just the same flawed crap on new hardware, which produces somewhat different results.
Whenever they actually try something meaningful, that is the time to judge Big Daddy.
| 11:07 am on Apr 24, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|I think it's a bit early to be announcing the failure of Big Daddy and death of Google. |
I agree about the early reports of Google's demise: it's both unlikely and evidently not happening. They are doing just fine.
As for the failure of Big Daddy, what would you suggest is a resonable time scale? Since it took four months to do are you suggesting we wait even longer before we judge it? Given the (admittedly muted) fanfare from Cutts about the magical new properties we could expect from Google's update to its index, don't you feel people are entitled to criticise?
An important element of this analysis being some kind of roadmap/timescale. As noted, it took four months to complete a process I am not even aware of with other search engines.
There was a lot of hope resting on Big Daddy, and they don't seem to have delivered. If we are to take people like Matt Cutts seriously then at the very least there has to a mature process of delivery and feedback to amend perceived faults and shortcomings. None of which exists with Google.
Getting a minor Google employee (that's Cutts btw) to make vague assertions on a blog, then watch them not come to fruition is the act of amateurs with a less than vice-like grip on software development. In fact, it's university student-level project management, and it's not good enough.
Four months is long enough, and the index is enough of a mess to question their abilities. By all means cut them some slack, but don't be surprised when others feel compelled to question why they were strung along for so long on vague promises and pseudo-announcements only to find out in some areas they're not even keeping up with MSN and Yahoo, search engines we often think of as either falling behind or not even in the running.
Anyway, the point of this rant is that if we, as both users and webmasters, allow Google to dictate unreasonable timescales we are guilty of losing perspective. A situation they would gladly foster. We are told Big Daddy is done, so now it's time to judge.
The length of time, January to April, spent tinkering with live data is appalling and, frankly, amateurish. If it were Microsoft there would literally be miles of column inches devoted to their failures as a company.
| 11:37 am on Apr 24, 2006 (gmt 0)|
My site seems to be doing really well. It's not too big, Only a PR5 and has never participated in link swapping, keyword packing or cloaking techniques.
I can see pulses of even better results in my stats. Big keyphrases that look like they're swinging in and out of UK & Com DC's every few minutes or so.
All the best
| 2:48 pm on Apr 24, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|As for the failure of Big Daddy, what would you suggest is a resonable time scale? Since it took four months to do are you suggesting we wait even longer before we judge it? Given the (admittedly muted) fanfare from Cutts about the magical new properties we could expect from Google's update to its index, don't you feel people are entitled to criticise? |
Matt Cutts has stated quite clearly that Big Daddy is a new infrastructure, not an "update to [Google's] index." If anything, deployment of the new infrastructure has probably delayed improvements to the index itself, simply because it would have been foolish to implement Step 2 before completing Step 1.
It's important to remember that Google doesn't have the same sense of urgency about updates that many Webmasters do, because it's obviously building for the long term--not obsessing over the results for specific keyword searches on data center A, B, or C yesterday or this morning or 30 minutes ago. So yes, you can criticize, but you're probably criticizing something that doesn't yet exist--and your frame of reference inevitably will be different from Google's.
| 3:15 pm on Apr 24, 2006 (gmt 0)|
I don't give a toss about the promised Utopia (and that promise goes back much more than 4 months by the way).
What is important now, is what the results look like right now. Because right now that is what users are actually seeing.
| 3:57 pm on Apr 24, 2006 (gmt 0)|
Going all the way back to Alegra, last year, when I was first hit badly. I have to say that I have yet to talk to anyone outside of the SEO community that has even noticed that Google has changed anything - for better or worse.
Maybe we're just all being a little over-sensitive ;-)
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