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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:3344595
 1:44 pm on May 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

4 days before Mothers Day, the SERPs for "buy mother's day widgets" and all keyword variations suddenly have a news search result in #4 position.

I don't know what that news result was, so I have no idea whether it was appropriate, but if it didn't belong on the SERP from a user's point of view (not from a seller's point of view) that merely shows that the algorithm isn't perfect. Since when is that a shocker?

As for what AdWords prices are or aren't, whether wanderingmind was down 1,000 visitors on Saturday, and whether Google is a public corporation with shareholders to satisfy and Matt Cutts reports to the director of ad sales yadda yadda yadda, what do any of those things have to do with whether Google Universal Search is good or bad for the user?

The only question of importance, in my opinion, is whether users like universal search. If it becomes clear that they don't, one of two things will happen:

1) Google will abandon the new SERP design, or...

2) Those unhappy users will find other search engines, delighting the members of this forum who own shares in Yahoo or Microsoft.

(BTW, just for the record, maybe you've forgotten that I said I don't especially like Google Universal Search myself. However, I recognize the fact that Google has a right to present its search results in whatever way it likes, just as I have the right to present my content in whatever way I like. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.)

whitenight




msg:3344601
 1:57 pm on May 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

lol are you purposely talking in circles or just being difficult?

Again, here's your quote.

I don't see why diplaying images, news results, Google Product Search results, etc. on a SERP would have any impact on ad revenue

And then reread my response.

And then you say this?!

As for what AdWords prices are or aren't,...
whether Google is a public corporation with shareholders to satisfy..

Umm what point don't you get?!
Who cares about the "users"... As long as Google is profitable to its shareholders, then they will discount any user discontent.

It's pretty obvious from a user standpoint, that Google only cares enough about it's "users" to maintain it's profits.

Why you continually fail to understand that is beyond me.

europeforvisitors




msg:3344617
 2:10 pm on May 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

It's pretty obvious from a user standpoint, that Google only cares enough about it's "users" to maintain it's profits.

Real users (as opposed to people who are worried about slipping a notch in the SERPs) don't care about Google's profits. They care about what they get when they search on "life of whosit" or "population of elbonia" or "purple widgets." (And by the way, user satisfaction is what keeps people coming back to a search engine and ensuring its profitability.)

wanderingmind




msg:3344619
 2:19 pm on May 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

There are two separate questions here, aren't there?

1) How is SERP quality going to be affected from a searcher's point of view.

2) How it is going to affect webmasters, and what it means for our traffic and revenue.

This tat-for-tat is going on mostly only because people ask question 1 and get an answer to question 2, and vice versa.

whitenight




msg:3344625
 2:26 pm on May 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Real users (as opposed to people who are worried about slipping a notch in the SERPs) don't care about Google's profits. They care about what they get when they search on "life of whosit" or "population of elbonia" or "purple widgets." (And by the way, user satisfaction is what keeps people coming back to a search engine and ensuring its profitability.)

This statement of course makes no sense.

Come join me in 'real users land'

A. Again, real users, the ones you seem to know so well, Are not typing in "buy e-commerce product" and subconsciously wanting a news result.
Sellers knows this best of all, my friend. It's their life blood and they spend endless hours testing this.

B. Real users, the ones you seem to know so well, see the news result for a "i want to buy something" search and then click on the result they are looking for ie Adwords.
Again, people who make millions in MFA sites, and every successful retailer knows this well too.
ie "Get them to the most wanted response immediately"
Perhaps your sales on your "informational site" would go up if you learned this principle.

C. Lol, you're stuck in this imaginary world that businesses like Google care about their "users" first. While that makes great motivational speeches at business seminars, real companies know to do just enough to keep the user around while maximizing profits.
It's called lowest common denominator. And in the real world that Google lives in, it's how you do business.

D. Again, what part of "buy mother's day widgets" has anything to do with "news" or "information" or "elbonia population"?!
Every business in the US knows Mother's day is the biggest purely strictly retail holiday
ie. people have cash in hand and are lookning to buy stuff.
Even at a greater percentage than Christmas.
It has been for over 70 years so cut the nonsense.

skipfactor




msg:3344633
 2:39 pm on May 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Has John Q noticed a thing? Except for the blurb on CNN, I doubt it. My mom/pop test got a "huh?" as usual. IMO, it's just adapting to competition; this wasn't exactly a patent getting pushed. ;)

whitenight




msg:3344637
 2:49 pm on May 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Has John Q noticed a thing?

I guess that's the point. Joe Searcher will just subconsciously notice that the result is NOT what they were looking for, which increases the likelihood of clicking an Adwords result. (especially for product related searches)

I can't remember the last time I got a better result looking for "information" in the news results than a normal search.

When I'm looking for "news"..ie 7 days old or less info, I simply click Google News. But even as early as this morning, I found myself clicking adwords when I couldn't find information from the natural results. (Algo at it's finest...)
Just what Google and their shareholders want, eh?

[edited by: whitenight at 2:59 pm (utc) on May 20, 2007]

europeforvisitors




msg:3344647
 2:58 pm on May 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

C. Lol, you're stuck in this imaginary world that businesses like Google care about their "users" first.

No, I understand the difference between tactics and strategy.

Trying to get more people to click on AdWords because they're frustrated with search results might be a useful short-term tactic, but it would be a stupid long-term strategy, because ultimately it would lead to audience attrition and a decline in revenue. Instead, Google has chosen to:

1) Have a strategy of increasing the audience for its SERPS (and its advertising) by attracting and retaining the greatest possible number of users; and...

2) Use enhanced search results (which demonstrate the variety of Google's search offerings) as a tactic to achieve its strategic goals.

As for the actual changes to the SERPs, a small minority of people will always be upset with and vocal in their protests about any kind of change. Magazine and newspaper publishers encounter this every time they tweak their page layouts, reorganize their sections, or replace one columnist with another. A change occurs, a minority of readers threaten to cancel their subscriptions, and within a few days the tempest in a teacup has subsided. I predict that the same thing will happen with this thread.

whitenight




msg:3344662
 3:11 pm on May 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

1) Have a strategy of increasing the audience for its SERPS (and its advertising) by attracting and retaining the greatest possible number of users; and..

Again, do you work for G? Cause there is absolutely no way you could possibly know this!

Ask any business siteowner here about spending money on gaining traffic/customers that do not convert or even worse, have a negative ROI.

Market share/number of eyeballs rarely equals maximum profits. Period.
Stop pretending it does, cause it's not based on anything but your false assumptions.

Trying to get more people to click on AdWords because they're frustrated with search results might be a useful short-term tactic, but it would be a stupid long-term strategy

lol again, are you sitting in on their board meetings?
Last I checked, Eric Schmidt has a salary of $1 for running Goog. Depending on his strategies, he may be long and short on his stock options.
So again, what to you makes "sense" is rarely how businesses set up their goals especially considering the history of internet corporations(or most corporations, in general) and what is considered "long-term" and "short-term" for them and their shareholders.

skipfactor




msg:3344671
 3:32 pm on May 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Users

I predict this will be an overwhelming success. Let's face it; it's the utube generation and for the first time ever (to my knowledge), images are on the left and it's the bling they want.

Not saying I adore it too, but I think it has legs. So from an SEO perspective, I'd be be creating and uploading targeted videos and reevaluating my image names and alt tags instead of getting all worked up about it. Nonetheless, if they don't provide a "classic" Google, someone will; it' far too valuable.

europeforvisitors




msg:3344673
 3:36 pm on May 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Nonetheless, if they don't provide a "classic" Google, someone will; it' far too valuable.

All Google needs to do is provide a "Web" link at the top of the page, along with "Images," "News," etc. That should make everybody happy, right? :-)

whitenight




msg:3344679
 3:40 pm on May 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

lol like i predicted before, don't be surprised if the results look like this in the future. It will definitely keep most "users" happy.

1. Wiki
2. Wiki (indented)
3. Amazon
4. Nytimes article
5. google news
6. ebay listing (if product related) or yahoo directory
7. BBC article
8. fortune 500 company (if product related) or super-niche site with "legitimate" bought links
9. about.com
10. about com (indented) or dmoz listing page

And of course, 9 Adwords listings that specificially-target what the user is really searching for, as the algo can't figure it out.

don't say you weren't warned. I'm already seeing this for one of my lily white "informational" sites. heh, still #1 tho...barely :p

skipfactor




msg:3344687
 3:49 pm on May 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

1. Wiki
2. Wiki (indented)

Me too, as long as lazy webmasters continue to throw up crap pages with a few words and a relevant link to Wiki. No, it's a Google-Wiki conspiracy I tell you! As I said earlier in the thread, perhaps it's also a bit of seo Google-style to combat those complaints?

europeforvisitors




msg:3344737
 4:56 pm on May 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

It seems to me that, if Google's search results are as bad as Whitenight is suggesting, the presence of a Google News result in the middle of the SERP should be the least of his (and users') worries.

steve40




msg:3344748
 5:06 pm on May 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

I personally don't like the new universal serps, I think I would prefer to see them the old way but add something like the testing on
[google.com...]

using the Left-hand search navigation layout to display

the most relevent
News
Video
E Commerce
Local result
etc.

Since Google started the use of 800 X 600 Resolution has become less and widescreen monitors are increasing which would allow this functionality on left hand or right hand side of navigation

This would appear to give the best of all worlds without making the normal serps look fragmented

steve

whitenight




msg:3344766
 5:32 pm on May 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

It seems to me that, if Google's search results are as bad as Whitenight is suggesting, the presence of a Google News result in the middle of the SERP should be the least of his (and users') worries.

<offtopic> As G's competitor's commercial says, "My daddy says your Search engine uses a lame algorithm".
Their traffic is up since that commercial started airing. ;) </offtopic>

europeforvisitors




msg:3344779
 6:09 pm on May 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

As G's competitor's commercial says, "My daddy says your Search engine uses a lame algorithm".
Their traffic is up since that commercial started airing. ;)

Which just goes to show that advertising can sell anything. I just looked up [City1 keyphrase] on that search engine and got two [City2 keyphrase] and one [City3 keyphrase] results on the first page. Fortunately, one of the top [City1 keyphrase] results was mine. :-)

outland88




msg:3344823
 7:51 pm on May 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

>1. Wiki
2. Wiki (indented)
3. Amazon
4. Nytimes article
5. google news
6. ebay listing (if product related) or yahoo directory
7. BBC article
8. fortune 500 company (if product related) or super-niche site with "legitimate" bought links
9. about.com
10. about com (indented) or dmoz listing page <

It’s scary how well Whiteknight is describing what goes on in my sectors especially the Mother’s day example. The product sites disappear at projected times from areas never associated with info sites. The only exception to the above is now they’re shoving Google books and images into the mix with this Univeral search. The second About listing can now appear at #11 or 12. I expect other Google products to emerge because they seem to test in my areas. As one Google executive said “ we have only begin to scratch the surface for income generation from our search”. This is what I’ve always called their trust rank, which is seeding the results to claim search accuracy with the public. It’s a fixed game forcing even more into Adwords.

Correct me if I’m wrong but the above scenario doesn’t seem to appear as much in Travel. Google is now assaulting the long tail with Universal Search in my areas. They wern't doing that while testing.

atlrus




msg:3344890
 10:04 pm on May 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Believe it or not, Internet users still use the net for information rather than buying products. The overwhelming answer to the question "Why do you go online?" is still "News".

So a good call on Google's side to satisfy THEIR USERS.

That some webmasters will loose some free traffic just because Google decided to provide better options for their customers - that's their problem, get over it.

I would much rather have the news links in the middle, than on top.

I have not seen a news result coming when you type "buy blue widgets".

outland88




msg:3344983
 1:12 am on May 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

>I have not seen a news result coming when you type "buy blue widgets".<

I certainly have. But they’ve now withdrawn everything related to Google back out of the results again in my sectors. Rankings restored for many sites. They’re not going to give up on a project they said they spent two years on though.

whitenight




msg:3344998
 1:50 am on May 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Believe it or not, Internet users still use the net for information rather than buying products. The overwhelming answer to the question "Why do you go online?" is still "News"

Believe it or not, that's why MSN and Yahoo are still the most visited sites. People actually know how to find "news" as its always on their personalized MSN/Y! homepages. And certainly they are not blind or stupid, the "News" text is at the top of every Google search page.

They certainly have no problem finding and searching from Google Images, do they?

I have not seen a news result coming when you type "buy blue widgets".

I have better things to do with my time, than to make up specific scenarios of where it has appeared.
Don't talk generalities, when I'm giving specifics.

Again, if anyone can show me metrics of when searchers are looking for "news" on that subject matter, I'd be more than happy to use it. You can't, and you won't.
(We're not talking about searches for "Lindsay Lohan", "Paris Hilton" or "Iraq War" here.)

As I guess G made a quick extra $10,000,000+ in Adwords revenue by only giving 9 out of 10 user-relevant results on just those keyphrases.

So tell your "they only care about users" theory to shareholders, cause I'm not buying it and the shareholders don't particularly want that either.

steveb




msg:3345014
 2:24 am on May 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

"We're not talking about searches for "Lindsay Lohan", "Paris Hilton" or "Iraq War" here."

Maybe you aren't but almost all of the rest of us are. Widget searches account for less than 10% of searches, closer to 5. There is a helluva lot more to the Internet than that.

The important issue is given the nature of search, Google was/is placing at #4 a result that does not outrank #5 (or anything in the top 100 for that matter) in a ranked list of results. Google made a very big deal out of how they would not do this, yars ago anyway. Any business can change the way it does thing, and it shows you should never make "we will never" sort of promises, but the point is Google's main search results page is no longer one with ranked free search results. News is the most banal intrusion, but froogle and adwords likely are in the on-deck cirscl as they test the reaction to this new philosophy.

whitenight




msg:3345024
 2:41 am on May 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Maybe you aren't but almost all of the rest of us are. Widget searches account for less than 10% of searches, closer to 5. There is a helluva lot more to the Internet than that.

Really?! Webmasters here are optimizing for such general search terms?! Good luck with that.

You make my point exactly. If I (and i would suspect others here) are optimizing for terms where searchers are 99.9% of the time looking to buy things, not "news", how in the world are you going to tell me that a "news" result is 1 of the most top 10 relevant pages for that user?!

Do a search for lindsay lohan or paris hilton. There's the news results as #1. as expected. It's great for users and good on G for doing that, but when they start "accidentally" placing news results in "buy mother's day widgets" for only 5 days out of the year where Adwords prices are at their highest, then I smell a rat.

Now, is it smart to do that for shareholders? yes, of course it is.

But absolutely do not tell me even geeky college students doing reports on "The Impact of Buying Mother's Day Widgets in Society and Economics" are searching for that term on those specific days and that it's good for users... It's all about the money.

It's in insult to the users and Google's management to say otherwise.

steveb




msg:3345035
 3:08 am on May 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

"Good luck with that."

Um yeah. There is far more money in the 95% than the 5%.

And suggesting Google should or should not do something because of its impact on a sliver of searches is not a very good idea. Google makes money from being a destination in a wide, broad way.

whitenight




msg:3345045
 3:18 am on May 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

And suggesting Google should or should not do something because of its impact on a sliver of searches is not a very good idea. Google makes money from being a destination in a wide, broad way.

Actually if anyone ever actually read what I actually wrote, I almost never "suggest" Google do or change anything.

I just point out to webmasters that many of their conclusions are not based on anything but wishful often naive thinking.

- Like using the word "ethics" regarding SEO when talking about a company that engages in censorship and illegal use of copywritten material (at least in other countries).

- Like believing MC posts about "bought links" or hidden text or whatever neato spam-busting algo change, when even a basic analyzing of the SERPs say contrary.

- Like thinking a company whose duty is to put profits first and its users second is inexplicably doing the opposite. Or that any successful company doesn't think in the same manner.

jakegotmail




msg:3345373
 1:46 pm on May 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

I am noticing some of the news that is being diplayed is 5-6 days old on key selling terms. I mean you would think somehow they have it worked into their algo to only display current news, and not to keep showing the same old article day after day after day.

europeforvisitors




msg:3345387
 2:03 pm on May 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

I am noticing some of the news that is being diplayed is 5-6 days old on key selling terms. I mean you would think somehow they have it worked into their algo to only display current news, and not to keep showing the same old article day after day after day.

1) Maybe the only available articles from Google News sources are five or six days old.

2) The user may not care if a news item is five or six days old, as long as the information is useful. For example, if I search on "widgetco digital cameras" and I see a five-day-old news item about Widgetco's release of a new DSLR, the news is likely to be valuable to me even if it was published last Wednesday.

jakegotmail




msg:3345396
 2:11 pm on May 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

1) Maybe the only available articles from Google News sources are five or six days old.

Im looking at the feeds right now, last one was 36 minutes ago. Not the case here.

2) The user may not care if a news item is five or six days old, as long as the information is useful. For example, if I search on "widgetco digital cameras" and I see a five-day-old news item about Widgetco's release of a new DSLR, the news is likely to be valuable to me even if it was published last Wednesday.

This article is absolutely, completely, erroneous and not a single visitor will find it to be useful now. This article might have been useful that day, but keeping it there for 6 days?

europeforvisitors




msg:3345411
 2:35 pm on May 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

If that's true, Jake, the problem isn't with displaying Google News items; it's with the algorithm that determines which news items to display. The fact that the algorithm needs refinement doesn't invalidate the concept behind it.

(Mind you, I'm not saying that a SERP for "widgets" or "buy whatsits" should include news results, but that's Google's decision, not mine.)

atlrus




msg:3346912
 9:42 pm on May 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

Believe it or not, that's why MSN and Yahoo are still the most visited sites. People actually know how to find "news" as its always on their personalized MSN/Y! homepages. And certainly they are not blind or stupid, the "News" text is at the top of every Google search page.

Believe it or not, I now get my news from Google. This way I have an array of sources to choose from, and not just the latest AP cut-and-paste on Yahoo. Anyone would prefer to get their news from the NO ADS - NO BANNERS Google News, conviniently organized with extra tools at your disposal. I don't have to wait for intro pages, click-to-skip, Ford ads, etc. And in the search results people are not blind or stupid- it says right on top of the news results "News results for ...".

If you have to be honest, Google news whops every other news portal's a**! Only a guy surfing from an Amsterdam cofeshop would prefer Yahoo News over Google News.

And since I spent enough time, effort and money into my website to rank it #1 for what I needed - I do not feel threatened at all. Only second-hand MFA sites feel the pain. If you were actually making and selling the Mother's Day products, not just re-selling them - you wouldn't have anything to worry about either.

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