|Benefits of the SERP changes..|
what are they?
There's been a lot of discussion about this, and I just wanted to throw out some benefits that I've already come across:
1. Save money for Yahoo submission - I'm not paying BizEx anymore, which means I'm saving $300/site that I can use for other promotion tactics.
2. Sites you were never able to get into Yahoo can now get traffic from Yahoo - I have a site that I've been submitting for months and never got listed. Now I'm getting all kinds of traffic to it because it's ranking well in Google!
3. Re-training surfers to use kw phrases to search - due to Google's depth, people will start using more and more phrases to search, which means that there will be more traffic for phrases and less competition for the one-word-wonders. I'm excited about this, it opens up a realm of opportunity for competitive industries.
I have to admit that I'm becoming increasingly happier about this change. I feel there are more opportunities now to do well in Yahoo than there were before.
You're trying hard to look on the bright side of this. :)
I've benefited from recent changes but could do without the "too many eggs in one basket" feeling that comes along with it.
On that note I'll go back to my usual lurking routine.
|1. Save money for Yahoo submission - I'm not paying BizEx anymore, which means I'm saving $300/site that I can use for other promotion tactics. |
I'm actually very happy with the way things stand with Yahoo at this point for exactly that reason.
It's not only cheaper, but Google's alogrithm is far more relevant than Yahoo's previous method of ranking.
For Yahoo! the benefit is a nice bump in revenue from the 65/35 split in their favor for overture ad revenue.
Irrelevance pays the bills.
I am seeing people finding my site with a much wider range of search terms. Before I had great traffic from 2 or 3 high traffic phrases. Now I am seeing OK traffic from about 15-20 phrases. It is still less than I was seeing before but my conversion rates have gone up because people are finding specific pages that match the specific terms.
"2. Sites you were never able to get into Yahoo can now get traffic from Yahoo - I have a site that I've been submitting for months and never got listed. Now I'm getting all kinds of traffic to it because it's ranking well in Google!"
This may seem like a benefit now, since you're ranked well in google, but you have to realize that ALL your eggs have been put in one basket without your consent. What happens with the next google dance less than ten days away? What if you get put in the basement? I have a site that ranked #8 in the Y! directory, #12 in google, #2 in AV, and #9 in Inktomi. After the big shuffle in googles algo last month, for reasons unknown I was buried. But that's OK, right? I didn't put all my resources into google, I diversified. Or so I thought. So NOW, where does that put me? Traffic at roughly 30%.....
Heck, GoogleGuy himself said not to rely so heavily on traffic from one search engine. Now, at least for the moment, you have no choice.
One thing I'm really sick of is the general attitude at many search engines that commercial sites are bad, that snobbish attitude that the internet should be focused solely on making information available and that it's purity is somehow violated by the exchange of money. Well, here's a clue for ya, 99.99% of the worlds population DOES NOT list "academia" as their occupation. We are not a world of researchers. Googles basic algo - pagerank largely based on link popularity - is so slanted against commercial sites (gosh, I can't seem to get any of my competitors to give me a link! Imagine that!)that it begs to be abused, thus making the results less relevant. I really think that the easy solution to this would be to simply have two buttons next to the box where you enter search term - one that says "I want information" and one that says "I want to buy". It's not that hard. It's the difference between using the white pages or the yellow pages.
Adwords/Overture are an option, but the cost can be fairly unpredictable, which is kinda dangerous for a small business. I mean, I know what an ad in a newspaper is gonna cost and can budget accordingly. The aspect of pay-per-click that I really don't like is that in enables a competitor to drive up your cost. I don't do it, but what's to stop a competitor from clicking on your ad 10 times a day, EVERY day. I have competitors, much larger companies, paying as much as $2.00/click on Overture. That's INSANE..........at least the cost of entrance into the Y! directory was fixed. Yeah, it escalated, but at least it was a cost you could count on for a year at a time.
I don't think we've seen the end of changes at Yahoo, though. It seems telling that, when they announced the renewal of the Google deal, they made a specific reference to the fact that this contract is non-exclusive. Maybe they were just referring to keeping their deal with Overture, maybe more........
i love all you "glass is half full" members. i just hope that google doesn't decide to drink it all now.
too much power
|Well, here's a clue for ya, 99.99% of the worlds population DOES NOT list "academia" as their occupation. We are not a world of researchers. |
Virtually every usability study done tells a different story.
In each and every survey the majority of users stated that their number one use of the internet is "searching for information".
Shopping is, and always has been further down that list.
Look at the top searched terms and you'll see that information and (free) entertainment dominate the listings.
Commercially related search terms account for a tiny percentage of the top 25, and even there (hotels, mortgage rates) the vast majority are researching not making purchases online.
Take a look at these figures from the most recent NFO World Group study on internet usage:
Personal communication (36.4 %)
Personal research (19.2 %)
Work-related activities (18.1%)
Playing Games (4.0 %)
Financial transactions (2.9 %)
Purchasing products (2.8 %)
E-Commerce is certainly big business... but it most certainly is not the primary reason people spend their time online, communication and research is.
Well, OK, I was ranting a bit. Thinking about it for a minute, it's obvious that every time I go online I don't buy something. But my basic point is that there often seems to be an attitude that commercial sites have no place on the internet and deserve to be buried under informational sites. The current model of "one search fits all", trying to make search results match a survey of what people most often search for, is wrong. Like I said before, I think the best solution is to have people specify what kind of search they want to perform. In the current model, it's like assuming that since more people eat at McD*'s than at a local chinese restaurant, the chinese restaurant is placed so that to get to it you HAVE to pass through the McD*'s parking lot........people know what they want, give them access to it! Some people here complain about having to sort through commercial sites when looking for information - how different is that from having to sort through informational sites when you're looking to buy something?
There must be a "demand" for consumer/commercial research, otherwise things like adwords wouldn't exist.
|E-Commerce is certainly big business... but it most certainly is not the primary reason people spend their time online, communication and research is. |
But you can also get similar statistical data "off-line".
How much time do people really spend shopping... at a mall, store convenient or otherwise.
Very small when compared to working, hobbies, leisure activities (telephone, television, games) and banking.
hi Brucewayne, I dont think its snobbery against commercial sites at all. Its just that theres a place for everything. Im on record as saying that Google can never be a good commercial search engine, simply becuase page rank and link popularity is not a suitable way of ranking commercial sites. The reality is that if you are selling something on the web you will eventually need to pay for the promotion. Google makes it even easier by having Adwords. You can also place ads on information sites and portals. Or you can use Looksmart, Overture and many many others if you are talking search engines.
So its not snobbery, its just google knowing why people use their service and having a ranking method that favours those sort of sites. There is a place for commercial sites of course on the Web, but it is probably not in the mainstream search engines. People would stop searching if all they found were commercial sites, so its all down to business decisions.
And we have both commercial and information sites so we can see it from both perspectives.
The free web is receding into the background.
|Personal communication (36.4 %) |
Personal research (19.2 %)
Work-related activities (18.1%)
Playing Games (4.0 %)
Financial transactions (2.9 %)
Purchasing products (2.8 %)
Pays for the luxury of people being able to use any/all of the above for free. The internet couldn't survive on only the revenue from expanded mailbox rents. Since e-commerce pays for everyone elses ticket, e-commerce should get the first choice of seats.
Chiyo, could you be underestimating the power of creativity and will power?
The fact is that Google needs relevant information to maintain its succeeds, and there ARE people that use the web to shop. Therefore Google has to provide a way for people to find this information, or else it'd be ignoring the needs of a large number of users.
Yes, they could create a product search like we saw on another thread, but I don't think this would exclude commercial sites from theyir main database, it would probably be another tab like the images, directory, news, etc. This way they could offer a product specific search alongside their main serps focused on information.
Which leaves room for people like me who love the business and want to stay IN the business. I can't afford to pay extensively for Adwords or Overture or else my business model won't survive. And I really really really don't want to become an "Account Manager."
So what am I going to do? Use technology to get creative!
So soon my ecommerce sites will contain tons and tons of information, with a button on every page saying, "Want to Buy?"
I understand your idea that free rides are mostly over but I really do think there's room for people to continue optimizing without having to pay. I get paid to figure out how to do this, and no matter what Google dishes out, I can promise you I'll be right there with another idea to counteract their move. It's just a game of chess.
Also, I truly belive that the key is to work on niche industries that are still off the radar, so you can still perform well without suffering from so many difficulties to rank. This would mean having to offer many products instead of those that pay very highly per sale or big ticket items, thus necessitating diversification.
Don't get me wrong, I DO pay for adwords & overture on a small scale, but wouldn't survive if this is all I did. Only large companies can, especially at the current cost per click for many keywords.
Can they eventually choke us and run us all out of business? Possibly. But I firmly believe that if you have a flexible mind you can always adapt.
Even Eric Schmidt agrees with me: "Adaptability is the key to future success." - [boston.internet.com...] ;)
There is more to 'buying' than e-commerce.
If that's not a contradiction in terms, the process of searching for information and evaluating competing information is well known in 'buyer behaviour' and for many of my clients often leads to a sales lead or a purchase offline.
This is especially the case in B2B markets.
My feeling is that Yahoo should now be thought of primarily as a 'Google search resource' rather than a directory.
My concern has always been that Google can disadvantage SME's and favour the large company who can gather quantity and quality of incoming links.
That deal must have been a hell of a money spinner for Yahoo to seemingly go against its entire positioning to date as primarily a Directory. The only comfort for me is a clients site which was rejected in Biz Express for daring to use a Java/graphic nav is now ranking in Google powered searches.
But, Inktomi needs a good new scalp to redress the balance of power.
<I don't think we've seen the end of changes at Yahoo, though. It seems telling that, when they announced the renewal of the Google deal, they made a specific reference to the fact that this contract is non-exclusive. Maybe they were just referring to keeping their deal with Overture, maybe more........>
I think this is a very pertinent point to this thread in that if you read through some of the what's new at Yahoo! pages there are numerous references to third party search partners but never once is Google mentioned. Before this the Google icon was next to the search results and now Google is not even mentioned. My bet would be that they will use a number of search partners leading to less dominance of Google results in Yahoo! results...
>> I think the best solution is to have people specify what
>> kind of search they want to perform.
Surely thats what people do? If they are searching for "cheap blue widgets" or "buy blue widgets" or "purchase blue widgets" or "I want to buy blue widgets" that will be what they get.
If they search for "information on blue widgets" why should they then have to see a shop that is selling blue widgets?
2-much.. I tend to agree with those that say the line is blur! The great majority of sites have some commercial purpose, tho some are more removed than others. A university for example is partly there to attract students by enhancing recognition and branding, as well as providing publication avenues for researchers and students, and resources. IMF and WorldBank are there becuase they are public services funded bu taxpayers and peopple expect to find them on the Web offering some of the info we pay for. A newspapers is there to promote its paper version and get people so attached they will eventually subscribe to the web version. A personal web page is there, for many reasons maybe - so people can find you, so you get offered jobs etc.
When i talk about commercial sites im talking, for want of a better term, about those that are 100% selling or e-commerce. Their only reason for existance is to sell, like a shop, but they offer nothing else. im really only talking about those virtual advertising hoardings, and the full on affiliate sites.
What im saying is its pretty hard to make the grey line any less greyer, but that by offering useful content or something unqiue and different as well gives google (and more importanly other sites who could consider linking naturally without a "if i show you yours will you show mine mentality.) something to much on. If it cant munch on links, it gets sick. If it sees many sites basically doing the same thing in an area, it cant differentiate.
I think the model may be setting in. do a search for anything on Google and get information on the left, and commercial shops and such on the right.. Everybody still gets what they were looking for...
um yes.. and on the top pastel colored bit too!
|I think the model may be setting in. do a search for anything on Google and get information on the left, and commercial shops and such on the right.. Everybody still gets what they were looking for... |
That's pretty much how it works in the offline world, too. Search a newspaper index for "Elbonia travel," and you'll be pointed to an article in THE NEW YORK TIMES or WASHINGTON POST travel section. And when you're ready to shop for airline fares to Elbonia, you'll skip the newspaper index and look at the travel section's classified ads.
Fact is, all commercial sites need to invest in their businesses, whether they're e-commerce sites that exist to sell or editorial sites that sell (or carry advertising) to exist. I publish an editorially driven travel site, and I don't pay for Overture listings or AdWords--but I do pay for readership in another way: by creating editorial content that requires time and/or money to build.
At the moment I'm working on in-depth coverage of a resort in Italy that will total 30 to 40 pages when I'm done. If I'm lucky, people who are searching on the resort's name (or who read my coverage when they find it in my table of contents) will use my affiliate links to rent cars, book hotel rooms, by rail passes, etc. when they're planning a trip to Europe. Over the next few years, that editorial content may well justify the time I've invested in it--or it may turn out to be a loss leader. Either way, I'm paying for it (by building editorial content that should find exposure in Google) just as surely as the booking-site owner who buys a PPC listing for "Elbonia hotels."
Bottom line: There's no free lunch--or, if there is, it doesn't last for long.
Well said, europe. To extend the analogy a bit, I think sneaky PPC listings that appear to be search results are a lot like ads that masquerade as editorial content. A good publication will make a clear distinction between the two, or lose readers in the long run.
I think I've mentioned before that I wish Google had a "buy" toggle switch for their searches since I find their results to be significantly less relevent when I'm actually trying to buy a product (even if I use the word buy).
I do find myself clicking on their AdWords and sponsored links in those situations (if for no other reason than to give Google a little income boost) but I'm amazed at the searches that some commercial sites think their site is relevent to. I searched for "blue widgets" the other day because I wished to purchase a . . . blue widget. Quite a few of the paid-for links didn't actually sell widgets, never mind blue ones.
Why do they bother paying for the search term? Do they think I'm too dim to know what I want? Yes, I went to their site, but no, I didn't buy anything. Because they didn't sell what I wanted to buy. It was a waste of my time and their money.
Until commercial sites can do a better job of understanding when their site is relevent and when it's not, they can't be trusted to help provide search results.
Who is allowing commercial sites to help provide search results? Any directory/search engine that accepts money. Business XYZ wants to be listed under Blue Widgets even though they don't sell Blue Widgets because people buy Blue Widgets. With enough money, Business XYZ can get a listing for Blue Widgets. And users will learn to ignore those listings.
That's why Yahoo ceased to be useful and Google still is and that's why this switch makes sense. From a non-commercial perspective, it's hard to feel really sorry that a bunch of commercial sites aren't getting as many hits on terms that probably never applied to them in the first place.
I paid to be listed in LookSmart. I paid to be listed in Yahoo. Isn't doing me a heck of a lot of good now, but it was nice while it lasted.
I have no interest in PPC at all. Ergo, I am enjoying a free ride and sell big ticket items. So far, so good. I'm not rich by any stretch of the imagination, but I am getting by.
The key is to provide loads of related information if you want to rank well on Google and stay there. Don't play any games, don't try to cheat, just give your readers what they want ... good, solid, relevant information. That's what Google wants too!
Personally, I am thrilled with the change. Although my site did very well on Yahoo in three keyword categories ... my site was not represented in two categories at all. Unless I agreed to shell out the extra bucks (which I refused to do), chances were pretty slim to be found on Yahoo for those phrases.
All my eggs are most definitely in one basket and no ... I am not happy about that, but when and if my site falls from Google's graces, I will buy my way in with Adwords like the others in my industry.
I give absolutely no credence to usability studies. People are finding my site on Google very well thank you very much ... so Google must be doing something right with their algo.
Everyone keeps claiming the "free ride is over". I agree with 2-much (except for the high ticket item thing). It ain't over til its over. If you feed Google what it wants, you are paying with the information you provide their clientelle just as europeforvisitors correctly noted. But we should all be aware that like LookSmart, Yahoo, Excite etc. ... things can and do change overnight. Have a plan "B" ready to roll if and when it does change. I got mine and thanks to the members here and of course Google, I should be able to afford it! :)
I am currently working on a lot of food for the gristmill (Google) and I have no doubt it will pay off in the end.
Funny you mentioned that article, 2_much.
I thought it was worthy of a post in the Google News forum [webmasterworld.com] especially that last bit about the dominant players always making mistakes.
Same could be said, in many ways, about the whole Yahoo! switch.
A benefit of the SERP changes? As many have said, we get referrals from Yahoo more often, for more granular terms...but there are now those 4 Overture clicks to contend with, which doesn't make me happy, either (like many others).
I've noticed, every change at Yahoo! usually ends up costing the marketer more money to play the game.
I have my market in germany where yahoo is still serving results of the directory. I am not going to be happy the day they'll change it here, because:
- 299 EUR are perfect for me since yahoo brings traffic (especially traffic with high conversionrates).
if you sell something on the internet and let's say you make 30 EUR contribution margin a sale and you have a conversionrate of 5%. that means you only need 200 visitors to reach BEP. So what's the problem about 299 EUR? If you sell something I don't see one. PPC is much more expensive!
- all eggs in one basket >> we will loose the ultimate buffer in case of a drop from google.
"Sites you were never able to get into Yahoo can now get traffic from Yahoo - I have a site that I've been submitting for months and never got listed. Now I'm getting all kinds of traffic to it because it's ranking well in Google!"
"Re-training surfers to use kw phrases to search - due to Google's depth, people will start using more and more phrases to search, which means that there will be more traffic for phrases and less competition for the one-word-wonders. I'm excited about this, it opens up a realm of opportunity for competitive industries."
I have never had a site rejected by Yahoo and do not even claim to be an authority on submitting to Yahoo.
Searches are and will always be lazy. They will continue to type in single words as search terms. I would like to see two and three word phrases ACROSS the internet that get more searches on a regular basis.
Alex every site I've payed for has been listed, but I also volunteer for non-profits and they usually don't have moeny to pay for the listing. That's where I've never gotten lucky.
As to surfers - Yes, people are lazy, but they will soon find that by typing single keywords they'll waste more time, so laziness will manifest in more detailed searches cuz they'll get what they want quicker.
For now I think you're right, but I've seen keyword patterns change dramatically in the 2 years I've been optimizing and know that this will continue to be the trend.
It will be interesting when Y! starts adding other partners or changing the default search page. Those who are concerned about google dominating search may be quite pleased. Seeing that the Webpages (yahoo.google) section does not exist anymore (and previously they referred us about 50% of what google pure did), it may well be that in the end Y! may end up delivering considerably less referrals to high ranked Google sites than before the change.
That may well be a benefit of the Y! SERP changes to those concerned that that had too many eggs in one basket (or no eggs in the one basket that delivered!)
I admit I never have dealt with a non-profit site beiing submited to Yahoo.
People are lazy in almost every aspect of life and always will be. Anything that makes life easier people do and will continue to do so. This affects almost every aspect of life.