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Google Universal Search - news in the middle of the SERPS and more
jakegotmail




msg:3341072
 3:20 pm on May 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

Well it looks like Google is unleashing News in the middle of their search results. When searching for Brown widgets do I really need to see news results? If I wanted to see news on this subject matter I would go to the news section of the major engines or go directly to news sites.

What are your thoughts on this. Do you find the news to even be relevant of the subject matter?

 

europeforvisitors




msg:3342177
 4:29 pm on May 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

Only on news terms yesterday. The implication to me seemed to be we would start seeing images, vids, etc. on non-news terms down-the-road.

I think it depends on the search. I'm seeing a different mixture of results for different keyphrases on the first SERP, such as:

[company name] - Traditional Web results with a Google News item about a major sale in the middle of the page;

[tourist landmark] - Images at the top, followed by traditional Web results;

[dead English king] - Traditional Web results only

This isn't unreasonable from a user's point of view, since Google News items or images obviously aren't as relevant for some searches as for others. On the downside, the inconsistency of the results page's layout may be confusing or offputting to some users.

netmeg




msg:3342181
 4:38 pm on May 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

I tried some searches for terms that should definitely be in the news today.

Where it really looks weird is if I do a search on the name of a fairly well known tv show where they voted someone off last night (I know, no specifics, ork ork).

The first two results are from the official site (not indented though - not sure why they showed up looking as though they were different sites.)

Third result is the Wikipedia entry for this cultural phenomenon.

Fourth result is a news item about who got voted off last night (with a picture - seems oddly placed there, but what the hey)

Fifth result is a Wikipedia entry for the 2006 season of this show (why wouldn't that be indented as a sub result under the first Wiki result?)

And after that, it goes on to the normal types of results that you'd expect.

menial




msg:3342197
 4:50 pm on May 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

If they did "a lot of testing" they should have noticed most users nowadays have 17-19 inch screens (versus 15 inch back in 2000). It would make sense to make 15 or 20 search results by default now, wouldn't it.

europeforvisitors




msg:3342203
 4:57 pm on May 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

If they did "a lot of testing" they should have noticed most users nowadays have 17-19 inch screens (versus 15 inch back in 2000). It would make sense to make 15 or 20 search results by default now, wouldn't it.

Or maybe not, when you consider how many people are using laptops as their primary (or only) computers these days.

skipfactor




msg:3342204
 5:00 pm on May 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

>>[company name] - Traditional Web results with a Google News item about a major sale in the middle of the page;

Right, I should have said how Google defines "news terms". ;)

[us acrobatic flying team] - that's pretty cool and I see the point here:

Most will probably want the main site, then a few infos, then the latest news on the team. Seeing that it commonly used to be up top, the statement is the news isn't quite as important. How they apply this all to images, etc. will be worth watching, as they create a new, perpetual micro dance.

menial




msg:3342217
 5:09 pm on May 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

I've just done a test (as objective as possible). I typed in [Us president name] in Google. The results looked like below:

Web ¦ News ¦ Music ¦ Blogs ¦ Video ¦ Images ¦ Groups [1st row]

News results for [President name] [2nd row]

That's fine. I (as most users) click on the biggest link near the top (News results). Then I realize I don't care about the news. So I change my search query.

Now -- I FEEL CONFUSED (most users would too). Because on the "News Results" I have TWO search buttons next to each other: [Search News] [Search the Web]. MOST users would either click the Enter button or [Search News] and they would EXPECT to go to the default Google Search page. Instead, they continue searching for news...

It's too complex for an average users and it seems Google tries to steal Yahoo [complicated] ideas.

vibgyor79




msg:3342316
 6:32 pm on May 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

Does this article make any sense?

SEM Beware: Google deals blow to search engine marketing
[blogs.zdnet.com...]

europeforvisitors




msg:3342354
 7:27 pm on May 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

Does this article make any sense?

The tone of the piece doesn't suggest a thoughtful analysis--it reads like a rant by someone who feels threatened by the change.

skipfactor




msg:3342356
 7:34 pm on May 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

And leads you nicely into Barry Diller's arms, which some elite searchers might have another look at if this becomes too invasive.

seoArt




msg:3342358
 7:37 pm on May 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

Google wants to be everything to everybody. Pretty soon, what will we need to have websites for?

We will be able to just go to Google!

decaff




msg:3342373
 8:00 pm on May 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'd like "Google Universal Search" better if there were a way for experienced users to opt out, though.

Chances are you could do this from within your Google account (once you login and set up your own preferences for how you would like to see the interface..)

brickwall




msg:3342390
 8:31 pm on May 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

will the combined results from all the verticals appear on the first page only or will it propagate down to every page?

callivert




msg:3342402
 8:51 pm on May 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

It seems that the vision is an instantly created, on-the-fly portal for every search. Nope, you don't need web pages any more. not portals anyway. Portals can be created in a second at google.com. The most efficient symbiotic relationship with Google will now be content specialization.

jimbeetle




msg:3342411
 9:08 pm on May 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

will the combined results from all the verticals appear on the first page only or will it propagate down to every page?

The examples they showed during the searchology webcast yesterday had all vertical results on the first page.

I repeated those searches and didn't see any vertical results on subsequent pages, but since it isn't completely rolled out yet that's not definitive.

outland88




msg:3342432
 9:34 pm on May 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

>will the combined results from all the verticals appear on the first page only or will it propagate down to every page?<

When they were testing in my areas in early 2007 it propagated 5-6 pages deep and could have been deeper. Some pages were books, others were maps, news etc. Mainly they were targeting the major keywords. Even though some results appeared mid page they made them stick out like “sore thumbs” with various techniques. It seemed to kick many sites down 3-8 slots. Personally when I saw so many pages going supplemental I begin to wonder what was moving in.

howiejs




msg:3342528
 12:10 am on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Here is my opinion on this

Google can "trust" news (you have to be approved / screened), they trust google books . . .

They don't trust the average new website . . . .

so they focus on what they can "trust" and put that up top.

SEO / organic just gets more and more fun :)

lexipixel




msg:3342530
 12:22 am on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

If you want the old style Google's "clean simple interface", enter a few words and see the top 10 natural results (with a few paid ads), try:

[search.yahoo.com...]

outrun




msg:3342545
 12:49 am on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

It also marks the first time that YouTube is closely embedded into Google search results.

Im also seeing Metacafe in search results as well.

As in thumbnailed preview of video.

annej




msg:3342635
 3:31 am on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

It will be interesting to see how this looks once it's totally implemented. Right now it seem like it's the more popular searches that have news, images, etc in the results.

venice




msg:3342701
 6:34 am on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Interestingly results for "Democrats" put their .org site in #1 with news content in #4 while results for "Republicans" gets #1 for news and #5 for .org pages. No video... yet. ;-)

steveb




msg:3342707
 6:42 am on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Regardless of anything else, the current news result at #4 for my page I'm looking at is ludicrous... off-topic, with just a mention of the term on the page.

lexipixel




msg:3342745
 8:18 am on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)


If you want the old style Google's "clean simple interface", enter a few words and see the top 10 natural results (with a few paid ads), try:

[search.yahoo.com...]

...yes, for those following tonight's program, you'll realize I am quoting myself...

I threw in that URL and most probably missed my point -- 'specially since I didn't make one.

[google.com...] = Google = everything

[yahoo.com...] = portal

[search.yahoo.com...] = search

My point is, Yahoo has survived for years building it's portal interface wrapped around it's "index / search engine".

Along the way Yahoo left a nice clean URL for search -- without all the Yahooligans and Yahoo Personals, Yahoo Email, News, Video, etc.. of the "portal".

What I call "classic Google", (pre IPO), the clean little search box, a little bit of fun and clean SERPs.

Yadda, yadda - - "do no evil"... "money is evil"... "google is money"... the fact is Google is sitting pretty and can afford to play with their interface.

I think they are just "Google Personals" short of becoming a portal.

Then everyone will be on the lookout for the next clean little search box.

trooper27




msg:3342873
 10:52 am on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

I find the so widely discussed universal search just fine. At least for me it is useful, saves some search time. Just sharing my own opinion. What is so nice about reading so many negative comments is that this might help Google learn from what the users write and get even better.

Miamacs




msg:3342908
 11:37 am on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

I already am using Yahoo! for some searches, especially images. And have always used it for news and buying things.

I go to Google to check on what Wikipedia and answers.com has for me. And perhaps when someone asks me something I don't know... only to realize that nope, unless I know where I could find or have found the info a long way back ( sourceforge, cnet, webmasterworld, [insert IT company name], yahoo, regional guides, niche specific guides, directories ) I won't be able to look it up anytime soon. But it seems I'm not the only one with this problem. I thought it was interesting - to me at least - to see how others perceive Google... the following happened this week.

Spoken with some non-IT, non-techie persons. While in the front of a display, completely off topic, they were suddenly complaining how they didn't find anything on Google anymore. We started talking ( they know what I can do for a site ) and when I explained how TrustRank and anchor text relevance works, their jaws dropped.

"You mean you could write the BEST articles on this, and it would NEVER come up unless you get links from those 'authorities'?"

"Yes. It wouldn't come up for one or two word searches unless you get the proper links from the proper people with the proper link text. But there are a lot (of sites to be linked from) so you don't need to sweat with each and every one. There are very important references though."

[demonstration with a link that made a site #1 for something that's not entirely on the page ( only last word of the phrase is ), and another that made a different site jump 100s of positions for the anchor of a deeplink.]

"See? This was an important link. And this too."

"And then why do they say you shouldn't (buy links, crosslink same ownership sites). How could you get in (into Google) without your own (links) in the first place. Who the hell would link to you, not even I link to anyone ( note: person is a RL/Net community maniac ) and that ( TrustRank, links vs on-page relevance ) determines what comes up? That has nothing to do with what's good or popular, has nothing to do with what I am looking for!"

"Well, no it doesn't. It should in theory, indirectly, but it really doesn't. There may be a lot of new people on the net but the average ( recenlty introduced ) user does NOT link. However, these were their best ideas on how to fight back spam."

"...I kinda get why I don't find anything anymore."

Jafo




msg:3342975
 1:00 pm on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

My only real concern about this is timing.

When you write content on your site, it takes a week or two before Google spiders it. However, if you ping their blog service, it is indexed on blogs.google.com almost instantly.

Now if blogs are included in the universal search, sites with long established content on subjects could get bumped right out of the results if people blog about it. Especially if there is a news bump about the content in question.

Well, I guess only time will tell.

Reno




msg:3342989
 1:21 pm on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

...if you ping their blog service, it is indexed on blogs.google.com almost instantly.

Now if blogs are included in the universal search, sites with long established content on subjects could get bumped right out of the results if people blog about it.

Which of course they will -- to excess. Just as SEO experts and professional webmasters learned to target certain aspects of webpage design to enhance their standing in the SERP's, now the average siteowner will figure out real quick that if they just fill their blogs with certain keyword phrases, they'll increase their chances of a more visible ranking. And then we may see, as you and others have pointed out, established content being pushed aside by superficial content.

If that happens, does Universal Search mean that the future will be "useful information further out; (keyword rich) opinion closer in"?

Let's hope not.

............................

europeforvisitors




msg:3343007
 1:42 pm on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

It seems that the vision is an instantly created, on-the-fly portal for every search. Nope, you don't need web pages any more. not portals anyway. Portals can be created in a second at google.com. The most efficient symbiotic relationship with Google will now be content specialization.

I think that's overstating things a bit, but even if it's 75% true, is that necessarily a bad thing for users?

Let's say that Joe Blow wants information on Nicholas Sarkozy, the new president of France. Why should he be sent to a page on french-portal.com that sends him to a page on french-news-site.com when Google can send him to the news page directly?

One problem with Google (and other search engines) has always been the amount of clutter from directory pages, portal pages, etc. that contain the searcher's keyphrase but little or no additional information. If Google can thin out such clutter, there will be at least two types of winners: users (who'll get to their desired information more quickly) and site owners who supply "added value" in the form of content. To use an analogy, a Wikipedia article with links to third-party sites is a lot more valuable (from a user's point of view) than just a page of links to third-party sites.

The thing we need to remember is that Google Search's mission isn't to serve us: It's to serve users, thereby attracting and retaining an audience for the advertisers who pay the bills. If we want to do well in Google Search, it's our job to supply the kind of content that Google thinks will interest its target audience.

GrendelKhan TSU




msg:3343162
 3:51 pm on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

this kind of thing has been in the wind for a looong time...but you want an even longer-view crystal ball, you should check out this thread: TO ALTERNATIVE SERPS AND BEYOND [webmasterworld.com] to see what the future of "universal" search (or combined search in korea as called in korea).

want a visual? well, hope this is ok to post, but here's an example of combined long SERP on Korean's #1 search engine, Naver for the keyword "loan" (in Korean) Here's a kicker: web search results are listed next to LAST! right before image search results). let that and all its implications sink in.
[search.naver.com...]

Let me say, I used to hate the Korean style combined results SERPs (thought it was overload), but now I really really prefer it. I DO want a cross section of results...cause, I'm a internet whore... and once I scan everything I just click the "more" when/if I want to zero in.

In any case, Google could always (gradually) offer this type of combined search copycat as an OPTION (like as a tab another or the default one). So those that WANT to get a combined search SERP can or vice versa just want to get just web search can do so.

its not wacky.,, aLL search engines use it for default here with good reason... but what do u think? the someday future of google results?

I frankly, wouldn't mind.

[edited by: GrendelKhan_TSU at 3:53 pm (utc) on May 18, 2007]

jakegotmail




msg:3343198
 4:26 pm on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

I can totally understand a format like that for very broad, single word terms like that example where you used "loan". It only makes sense. But for very specific product related terms that people type in, in an attempt to find a place to buy that item, it doesn't make much sense to clutter videos, books, blogs within the mix.

europeforvisitors




msg:3343206
 4:43 pm on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

I can totally understand a format like that for very broad, single word terms like that example where you used "loan". It only makes sense. But for very specific product related terms that people type in, in an attempt to find a place to buy that item, it doesn't make much sense to clutter videos, books, blogs within the mix.

Google seems to be tailoring the SERP's makeup to the nature of the search. For example, I just searched on a couple of product terms (a home-improvement product and a specific notebook), and there were no images or news stories. In the first case, the sponsored links at the top of the page were followed by a Google Checkout link and the usual Web results; in the second case, the sponsored links at the top of the page were followed by a small image of a shopping page with some "product search results" (ex-Froogle) and the usual Web results. The SERP had its usual 10 Web search results.

If this is typical of how Google plans to deal with "commercial" results, the new format is likely to be useful for the consumer, good for retailers who do well in what used to be called Froogle, and good for site owners who do well in conventional search results.

jakegotmail




msg:3343279
 5:59 pm on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Google seems to be tailoring the SERP's makeup to the nature of the search. For example, I just searched on a couple of product terms (a home-improvement product and a specific notebook), and there were no images or news stories. In the first case, the sponsored links at the top of the page were followed by a Google Checkout link and the usual Web results; in the second case, the sponsored links at the top of the page were followed by a small image of a shopping page with some "product search results" (ex-Froogle) and the usual Web results. The SERP had its usual 10 Web search results.

If this is typical of how Google plans to deal with "commercial" results, the new format is likely to be useful for the consumer, good for retailers who do well in what used to be called Froogle, and good for site owners who do well in conventional search results.

I am kind of assuming that its not all rolled out yet my any means.

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