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SERPs infested with books.google.com results
Every third result in this SERP is from Google themselves
1script

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3454506 posted 2:13 am on Sep 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

Wow, that happened for the first time since Google's inception back in 98' after I started watching this particular keyword. Not a hot topic but 14 million results nevertheless. One word search. Every page of SERPs has two or three results from books.google.com: #4, #7, #10, #14 and so on. Too bad I can't post a specific keyword. Does anyone else see that?

 

Jane_Doe

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jane_doe us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3454506 posted 3:47 pm on Sep 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

Some people might like the books in the serps. My guess is that is what they are testing out.

[edited by: Jane_Doe at 3:48 pm (utc) on Sep. 23, 2007]

gehrlekrona

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3454506 posted 4:10 pm on Sep 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

The problem I have with the SERPs right now, and I don't say this as a web master or anything else relating to my site, is that I have been used to a certain type of results from Google and right now I find it hard to find things the usual way.
It's going to be tough for Google to convince users that what they get now is the "real thing" and people just have to be "re-trained" to accept the new SERPs.
Like I have said, people I talk to don't like what they see and are looking at other SE's that will give them what they are looking for. Personally I think that books.google.com is a flop and should never have happened, but that's just me, and now *I* get it stuffed down my throat anyway.
Their new Universal Search is not the way to go for Google. Yahoo and their directory structure is way better where you can actually select from within a category where you want your results. That gives people more power over the search results and not like in Google where you are fed results you didn't ask for. GOOGs assumptions that this is what you searched for is in my opinion wrong.
I think what google missed is to clearly "advertise" their books section. They should have had (should have) a dropdown with different selections (Web, books, video....) so when you search you'd get results from within that category. Maybe that was too easy, but I think it would be a lot better.

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 3454506 posted 4:38 pm on Sep 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

Just a few minutes ago, I was looking up a Verdi opera in Google, and I was delighted to find several YouTube clips of performances on the first page of the SERPs. The results weren't what I would have seen a few months ago; they were better, because they let me see and hear bits of the opera in addition to reading about it.

The owners of the pages that got shoved to page 2 probably aren't happy about the addition of video clips to page 1, but searchers--the target audience for Google Search--are likely to be pleased by the change.

FattyB

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3454506 posted 6:19 pm on Sep 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think this is more about Google tring to push their various projects and indeed inject some success into some of them. Seems to me that beyond search they have not been able to obtain the same level of success with anything else. I mean books, checkout, Froogle or whatever the new name, etc. Not one of these would I use in business or personal life.

I daresay they want to get back some of the investment in these by giving them as options in search. Same way they are now a news publisher and give their news more weight.

Nothing wrong with experimenting or trying to launch your side projects off the back of your main product but that main product can be diluted.

If I was searching for some opera and I wanted video I would go to Youtube or I would type blah opera video. I don't need clutter.

Also I think perhaps 'techie' users inform general public via word of mouth and also via media picking up on low level trends.

[edited by: FattyB at 6:23 pm (utc) on Sep. 23, 2007]

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 3454506 posted 6:24 pm on Sep 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

If I was searching for some opera and I wanted video I would go to Youtube or I would type blah opera video. I don't need clutter.

When I searched on that Verdi opera, I didn't have preconceptions about the information format that I wanted--I just wanted to know more about the opera. Google's SERP, with its combination of links to text articles and YouTube videos, gave me what I wanted and saved me from having to (a) think of checking YouTube and (b) conduct a separate YouTube search. As for "clutter," there wasn't any. Everything was laid out clearly and simply on the SERP; as always, I could click on the results that interested me and ignore those that didn't.

I realize that some people find change difficult or painful (especially if they're afraid that it's going to jeopardize their income), but evolution is inevitable, and expecting Google's SERPs to look the same in 2007 as they did five years ago is like wishing that "search" still meant drilling down through Gopher menus.

gehrlekrona

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3454506 posted 6:37 pm on Sep 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

efv,
I don't know what version of Google you used but this is what I get when I search for verdi opera. I don't see any videos? Is it just my Google or does anybody else see videos?

.edu/Verdi/

.net/music/comp.lst/works/verdi/operalist.html

wikipedia.org/wiki/Giuseppe_Verdi

amazon.com/Greatest-Verdi-Opera-Recordings/
More results from www.amazon.com ]

.com/Operas/verdi.html

wwwww.com.xx/opera-1.htm - poster site

britannica.com/eb/article-27844/opera

opera-composers.website.com/article.cfm/otello_verdi_opera

spanish.website.es/FileRoom/documents/Cases/307verdi.html

Robert Charlton

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3454506 posted 9:07 pm on Sep 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

User satisfaction has been built into Google's approach to blending its serps from the beginning. It's almost certain that Google has been using historical data to determine where searches for different media like images, books, video, etc, might be of interest to its users.

Google has also been visibly experimenting over the past several years with different ways of dividing up its serps when disambiguation was required, incorporating verticals or seeded Google Co-Op results when they were of sufficient quality, and now adding books and video to the mix. It's a work in progress, and it will continue to evolve.

obviously they get increased income from ppc used to offset the listings drops

If you've seen the eye-tracking studies, you'll see that Universal Search results may well pull visitors away from top-positioned ads, and perhaps even from the ads on the right. I would not be surprised eventually to see some restructuring of the page to compensate for this. Google has been proceeding slowly and cautiously. Google may occasionally err too far in one direction or the other, but they are most definitely watching their users and adjusting.

IMO, also, the Google display currently appears to be less commercially skewed than the blended search approaches on Yahoo and Ask. Google is apparently trying harder to dig out relevant alternative media that isn't selling anything.

If I were searching for [cheap widgets] and kept getting the works of Raymond Chandler, I might be a little annoyed, but I haven't been seeing that happen.

If I were selling [cheap widgets] and I saw video or image searches take some places on the first page and survive the tests of user satisfaction, I'd try to learn something from that.

With regard to several specific assertions I'm seeing made...

I wish there was a way to exclude books or even exclude certain sites from the search, so I could search for Jung + psycology and not get books and videos and news about the guy.

If I searched for [Jung + psychology], I'd probably want to see some books by and "about the guy." As it is, I didn't see any books.google.com results in the top three pages, hardly an infestation. There is one video result that appears in position 20 or 21, and it was illuminating to see it. It would not have occurred to me to see if any video on Jung existed.

It's possible that personalized search may help you control the media mix your serps, though, if not now, then eventually.

...when I search for verdi opera. I don't see any videos?

A search for [verdi opera] is not the same as a search for a verdi opera as efv suggested. Searching for [verdi opera] is extremely general.

I tried searches for [la traviatta] and for [rigoletto], and eventually had to put the word "verdi" into the search for "rigoletto" to eliminate the pizza parlors... but in both cases I got videos, La Traviata at the bottom of page one and Rigoletto on page three. I was very pleased to see and hear them.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 9:18 pm (utc) on Sep. 23, 2007]

menial

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3454506 posted 3:55 am on Sep 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

Just a few minutes ago, I was looking up a Verdi opera in Google, and I was delighted to find several YouTube clips of performances on the first page of the SERPs.

You can always click on the "Video" link or add "youtube" to search keywords to keep your delight levels high.

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 3454506 posted 6:17 am on Sep 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

You can always click on the "Video" link or add "youtube" to search keywords to keep your delight levels high.

Sure, but with Universal Search, I didn't need to bother:

- I got something useful that I hadn't thought to look for;

- Google educated me in the benefits of its other search tools.

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3454506 posted 6:39 am on Sep 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm with you on that. The POTENTIAL for Universal Search seems very strong, but it's a huge job to get it right. And in the mean time, we'll probably freak out a bit here and there.

The books.google.com phenomenon that started this thread seems to have calmed down - as far as I'm concerned, Google is welcome to play with page 4 on down all they need to.

[edited by: tedster at 1:51 am (utc) on Sep. 25, 2007]

FattyB

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3454506 posted 8:13 am on Sep 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

I didn't have preconceptions about the information format that I wanted--I just wanted to know more about the opera.

I would think a lot of people know already whether they are looking for a photo, text or a video. Especially when the two visual media types are not results based on their content but rather on someone else's description of their content...which seems a basic issue that means their results will almost always be less relevant than text.

I realize that some people find change difficult or painful (especially if they're afraid that it's going to jeopardize their income), but evolution is inevitable

For me personally I run a busy online newspaper that carries news, articles, images, video...so we can only benefit from this. However, sometimes things do not change for the better...evolution can go down dead ends. For instance books have not changed much in hundreds of years.

If they do clutter up their search then I think it will suffer. Especially if it is with results from YouTube, Google Books and Google News.

They should be 'evolving' their results for better relevance rather than adding more media types that have descriptions that tend to be very subjective.

[edited by: FattyB at 8:24 am (utc) on Sep. 24, 2007]

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 3454506 posted 2:35 pm on Sep 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

If they do clutter up their search then I think it will suffer. Especially if it is with results from YouTube, Google Books and Google News.

We're all guessing at this point, and your guess is as good as mine. However, it's reasonable to assume that Google will monitor usage and user feedback and make adjustments if the data indicates that a significant number of searchers are unhappy with the new format.

This whole fracas reminds me of what happens after any newspaper or magazine redesign: There's a flurry of angry complaints for a while, and then most users forget what the old format looked like.

ADDENDUM: I should add that, being of the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" school, I was a bit skeptical of Universal Search when I first heard about it. But I must say that, after using it as an ordinary searcher (and for a term that I have no vested interest in), I've been pleasantly surprised.

walrus

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3454506 posted 3:47 pm on Sep 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hard to spot among all the .cn results.
I thought i read a previous post that this was taken care of but i guess not, .cn is alive and well in the serps too.

gehrlekrona

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3454506 posted 12:34 am on Sep 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

FattyB,

"They should be 'evolving' their results for better relevance rather than adding more media types that have descriptions that tend to be very subjective."

I agree totally! I was actually using Yahoo today and they way they have it setup is a LOT better. They don't foce everything down your throat like Google wants to do. They have different categories you can select from, just as it should be and I think people are more satisfied with having it that way. It gives PEOPLE the power, not the Search Engine. Some might want to "ecudated" by Google, but I am sure I don't. I don't need their second guessing to what I searched for. To me it seems so easy, if I want to view a video, I search for videos, if I want to find a book I search for books.... no need to be educated.
It probably depends on what area you are searching, but in my area you don't see a lot of books, which is good. What I see, and which is bad, really bad, are all the "chinese" spam sites and that hasn't gotten any better. Not sure how much of an infrastructure change it takes to get rid of them, but it seems like a lot......
I also see sites I have never seen before, and I don;t know where they dug them up. Never seen so much garbage in all my life in Google, but then again, some people seems happy with it but I have seen these spam sites in travel related sites, pet relates sites, insurance sites and they all have scraped content from all (mostly) sites within an area. That's probably why they are so hard to get rid of because they have a little bit of everyone, with no real "spam profile"... probably a tough one for Google...

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 3454506 posted 12:52 am on Sep 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

Gehrlekrona, I think the jury is still out on Universal Search, although--having benefited from it--I'm more positive about it now than I was when it was announced. One thing we can be sure of is that Google is in a better position to gauge user opinion and usage data than we are.

If we look at Google's SERPs and market share a year from now, we'll get a readng on whether Universal Search was a good idea or if Google shouldn't have moved anyone's cheese. :-)

ADDENDUM: If you dislike what Google is doing with its SERPs, take a look at this new thread about a competitor's plans for a Rococo approach:

[webmasterworld.com...]

gehrlekrona

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3454506 posted 1:41 am on Sep 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

I guess I am too "old fashioned" since I don't like the way MS is going either :(

What's wrong with an good "old fashioned" search? I know most people here in this forum are advanced users, we can use plusses and minus, allintitle and all that type of thing, but I look at elderly people, people who are almost computer illiterate, they'll be overwhelmed by all this. How about a search result that would result in a tree structure with a top level where you can drill down through different folders.....
Music
¦_ Opera
¦_ Verdi
¦_Video
¦_ Books
¦_DVD
¦_Buy

¦_
¦_ Rap

Then when you click on the tree nodes you get the results.... Not THAT would be an innovation :)

Guess we are going to need computer classes how to search in the future....

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3454506 posted 1:53 am on Sep 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

Since this thread was about a books.google.com "infestation" that has now vanished from the first three SERPs, there's little value in turning it into a Universal Search editorializing thread. So we're now locked.

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