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Google and Transparency in Rankings
TheMadScientist

WebmasterWorld Senior Member themadscientist us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4081961 posted 8:25 am on Feb 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

I know it late at night where I am and I'm 3/4 nuts to start with, but does anyone else think it's possible Google has it backward WRT transparency in rankings?

What I mean is, what if they told webmasters what they look for rather than the overly general guidelines they give which loosely define what people should do and leave most guessing at what 'SEO' is? Wouldn't the web be a better place and their job be easierif they just gave some specifics? IOW Why couldn't they just come out and say: Do BLAH. This is what we expect...

For example why not just say:

Google looks for: (I'm making this up as an example)
1.) Links to the home page containing the word 'Home', 'SiteName' or 'SiteName.Com'. All others will be discounted.

2.) Links to internal pages should only contain one or two words (three at the most) and the words should not be repeated within the links to every page.

Example of 2:
A site about widgets should link the words: red, blue, green
A site about widgets should not link using: red widgets, blue widgets, green widgets

3.) The page a person is viewing should not link to itself and if it does the link is discounted to 0 weight.

4.) The URL of a page should be a logical structure you would use in the filing system on your computer, and should be concise, because the Title and page content should explain what the page is about to a visitor, not the URL. A URL is an organizational mechanism, which is also a brief description:

Example of 4:
/widget/widgeting/widgets is not acceptable.
/widget-widgeting-widgets is not acceptable.
/widget is the acceptable version and the title of the page should contain the version of widget presented.

Three separate pages if there is sufficient content are also acceptable. (Sufficient content is considered NUM words with no more than N% duplicated from any variation of a topic which could in many cases be included on a single page.)

5.) The title of a page should be less 12 words or N Characters, which ever is less. (12 words means if you count the spaces you should only have 11, yes, 'space - space' counts as 3 words.) Titles with misspelled words and words run together or will not be counted.

6.) The H1 should be used and should be a 4 to 6 word heading for the page, which compliments the Title and 'explains' the URL. H1s longer than 10 words will not be counted.

7.) The first paragraph following the H1 should be a brief overview of the product, content, story, topic of the page. No more than 3 sentences.

8.) Only N 'sets' or 'blocks' of ads should be displayed on the page. An ad block is defined as... BLAH HERE...

9.) Doc type does not matter, but BLAH1, BLAH2, BLAH3 have been found to be most cross-browser compliant and are preferred.


Why do I think if they were transparent it might make things better off and what leads me to believe they might have it backward? If they were transparent in what they were looking for IMO people could spend less time reverse engineering and more time building quality into their websites and the web might be a better place.

I've actually had more fun building a site I have noindexed than I have building any other site, because I can just do what I feel like doing and not give a f! about what the search engine algos think. There are no outbound links on it... I haven't even thought about who I would link it to if I did. I don't have any keywords in the links at all. NONE 0 Nada... Except for one or two short phrases the links are all one word telling people what's on the next page if they click.

The site is not only way more fun to work on, it's cooler than most I've built and easier to use, because I don't have to give a single thought to 'how is this going to be interpreted' or 'do I need the keywords in the links today or is this one of the days I should leave them out...' or 'what is the title and how can I include the keywords I want to rank for...' (I don't exactly have any keywords in the title either, because it's descriptive and a person will get it, but IMO a search engine wouldn't rank it very well for what it's actually about, because the phrase I use isn't often used and is short for 3 much longer phrases I would have to include if I was concerned about rankings.)

Anyway, IMO if there was a page giving more detail for people to follow so they could stop guessing and trying to figure out the algo for today with their sites then some of the time spent site building could probably go back to being about content instead of the best finding the 'trick of the week' and how to change your links to make a Google happy.

IMO the lack of transparency brings about more unnecessary changes in sites than anything else and if there was just a single page presented to say, 'Here's how to do these 20 things, anything else will be discounted or will count as a negative, thanks...' IMO Things would be better and easier for everyone.

IDK, like I said it's late and one of those thoughts I'll probably get flamed out for, but IMO transparency could go a long way toward making the web a better place, because if they really want to organize the world's information why not teach those of us without degrees in large-scale micro-organizational methods a little bit about how to do it?

I would think with the number of questions asked here and other places on a daily basis if Google would just present definitive answers to a number of the basic questions rather than making people spend hours asking and answering questions about how they should like their bread crumbs the web might get a bit more organized, be a bit easier to organize and generally be a better place.

So, instead of having Google Search be a big secret machine, it would be cool to see them sit down with the guys from other search engines and come up with a list of 20 standards with definitive examples on site structure and organization including: URLs, linking and what text should be linked and what should not (see above), Heading, Titles, etc. then they can tell us all how we should structure our bread crumbs and home page links and pages and content and there will be more consistency in things across the web and visitors will be happier and webmasters will have less to complain about and the job of figuring out how to use the other 180 variables will be easier, because we'll know what to do with the basics on our pages and can concentrate on other things, like content and graphics and upgrades to the code driving our sites.

I don't understand for a minute why overall page structure and link structure needs to be some huge secret, when it takes away all the complaints and guesses about the basics by just saying: 'Blah' is what we expect and look for, anything else will be discounted or not counted at all...

 

aristotle

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4081961 posted 12:25 pm on Feb 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure that Google has any hard and fast rules about most of the examples you give. I've violated several of them on my sites and never had a penalty on any of them. Also, Google employees have suggested that the Google algorithm tolerates minor violations of the guidelines.

Leosghost

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



 
Msg#: 4081961 posted 12:33 pm on Feb 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

If they explained how they would like you to do your stuff so as to rank in organics ..how would they ever manage to make you feel that you need to buy adwords ?

FUD is vital to G's business model...one could even say that it is their business model .

webboy1

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4081961 posted 1:17 pm on Feb 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Wouldn't being more transparent just encourage more "nonsense sites" in the search results. The current general guidelines at least encourage site owners in part to make the content relevant to the user. Most good pages are a mix of text for search and text for readers.

If Google became fully transparent then there would be no more need to write with the reader in mind. You'd start to write pages 100% geared towards search rankings. To me, that can only lead to poorer content delivery.

hasimsg

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4081961 posted 1:20 pm on Feb 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think the guidance posted by OP are good things to follow for our site internally.

But, IMHO most of us forget (ignore) that outsite factors also have (most) significant attribute to our ranking.

Just like Obama became a president not only because he is capable to become one. It's people outside himself that voted him to become what he is now.

TheMadScientist

WebmasterWorld Senior Member themadscientist us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4081961 posted 7:03 pm on Feb 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

If they explained how they would like you to do your stuff so as to rank in organics .. how would they ever manage to make you feel that you need to buy adwords


Wouldn't being more transparent just encourage more "nonsense sites" in the search results.


I'm not necessarily talking about rankings (or where the site ranks) I'm talking about a clearly spelled out top 20 list you have to hit 18 points of or something to be included.

The could even do a neat little verification script that scores pages if they really wanted and tell people where they see a page as being off.

Telling people how to structure a page and what markup to use would not lead to any more garbage in the results than AdSense already does... It would lead to more consistency and IMO limits creativity in a good way.

EG You would not see nearly as many pages with the following title on the entire web if people knew by using too many words or repeating the word too many times they would just plain not be included in the index:

Home of Widget Spam Widgeting Spammer Widgetor Spamming WidgetWorld Spams Buy Widget Spam Now Widget Widgeting with Widgets for Spam and Spamming.

And it would not be on:
http:// widget-spam-for-widgets.com/widget-spam-worldofwidgets-spamming-spammer.html

IOW: What I'm thinking about would force people to be concise where they need to be concise and leave the descriptive text where it should be, which IMO would add structure and consistency to the entire 'Net.

I'm not saying to guarantee a #1 ranking or anything, but a list of 20 transparent *rules* as a 'quality standard' that clearly spells out the rules, the use of certain items and what they should and should not be IMO would be helpful to everyone.

I saw a video the other day about making your site better for Google and the person making the presentation said they talked to an 'SEO Guru' who said you should always make sure the Title, URL and Heading were exactly the same because you would rank better if they are... This Garbage doesn't help Google do a better job, give the user a better experience, or make the web better but people are guessing at what should be done and if the SEs would just tell people the basics (20 basic points of SEO) to have your site included for sure the really bad advice people are getting and giving would go away.

[edited by: TheMadScientist at 7:29 pm (utc) on Feb 17, 2010]

TheMadScientist

WebmasterWorld Senior Member themadscientist us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4081961 posted 7:26 pm on Feb 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Here's another example of what I'm trying to say:

1.) Doc Type
Here's what's acceptable:

Here's what's not acceptable:

2.) Description
Here's what's acceptable:

Here's what's not acceptable:

3.) Title
Here's what's acceptable:

Here's what's not acceptable:

4.) URL
Here's what's acceptable:

Here's what's not acceptable:

5.) Heading
Here's what's acceptable:

Here's what's not acceptable:

6.) General Links
Here's what's acceptable:

Here's what's not acceptable:

7.) Internal Navigational and Bread Crumb Links
Here's what's acceptable:

Here's what's not acceptable:

8.) Content for a Page to be Considered Unique
Here's what's acceptable:

Here's what's not acceptable:

9.) Advertisements and Ad Blocks
Here's what's acceptable:

Here's what's not acceptable:

10.) Copyright and Necessary Repeated Information
Here's what's acceptable:

Here's what's not acceptable:

11.) Image Sites Driven Sites
Here's what's acceptable:

Here's what's not acceptable:

<CHECK YOUR PAGE NOW>

IMO Even just spelling out the 11 above items for acceptable/not-acceptable would cut down on some of the clutter and make things easier for everyone.

I guess another way of putting it is if Google and the other SEs got together and came up with a set of 'Top 20 SEO Points' (or something) it would be more like a newspaper, magazine or coding submission than the wild wild west and things would be more structured, etc. Think about the types of submissions I mention and what they would be like and how many people would be left stunned their submission was not included or used if there was only vaguely general information posted about what they should do and IMO you'll have a fairly good grasp of webmaster / SE relationship as it is currently.

Newspapers, magazines, open source coding, etc. all have posted rules people have to follow to write for them, why couldn't SEs do the same thing?

[edited by: TheMadScientist at 8:14 pm (utc) on Feb 17, 2010]

londrum

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4081961 posted 7:39 pm on Feb 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

in the future i reckon there will be less and less rules, not more. the perfect way to do it would be this: no rules. you can do whatever you want. as long as people find it useful and keep coming back, that is all that matters. they should start ramping up all this user behaviour measuring stuff.

dertyfern

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4081961 posted 7:47 pm on Feb 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think you have a great point here TheMadScientist. Google touts itself as being the great protector of the online community and emphasizes that webmasters should create sites for users, yet provides no clear guidance on how to do just that. Google then goes on to promote/reward mostly those websites that marginally follow what weak webmaster guidelines it actually has published.

If people/businesses could freely create content and websites without attempting to guess how Google will score it we'd all be better off. Google rewards inefficiency in this end.

If Google became fully transparent then there would be no more need to write with the reader in mind. You'd start to write pages 100% geared towards search rankings.

I believe most pages are currently being written with search engine rankings in mind.

TheMadScientist

WebmasterWorld Senior Member themadscientist us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4081961 posted 7:51 pm on Feb 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

in the future i reckon there will be less and less rules, not more. the perfect way to do it would be this: no rules. you can do whatever you want. as long as people find it useful and keep coming back, that is all that matters.


Well, I hope it doesn't go that way completely, and one of the odd things to me about what I'm suggesting is it's basically already being done, they just aren't telling anyone what the rules are, which leads to guessing, poor sites, poor structure and statement of fiction as fact, because IMO a majority of people don't have any idea what they're actually doing when it comes to SEO or even building a website.

Anywhere else I can think of people want to have their work published has a clear set of rules for publication so people know what's expected, which leads to better quality and consistency. It's why they have and publish exact standards...

I believe most pages are currently being written with search engine rankings in mind.


I agree, and what's unfortunate is most people don't have a clue what Google and others want, so they build worse sites that don't rank as well as they would if they just had a set of clearly defined rules (standards) for publication (inclusion) to follow.

<ADDED>
Think about any other type of publication:

Author: Why didn't my work get included?
Publisher: You didn't follow the rules.

Author: What rule(s) didn't I follow?
Publisher: Oh, sorry, we can't tell you that...
</ADDED>

FranticFish

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4081961 posted 10:50 pm on Feb 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

OK, so what if they did come up with a specific list of what they do and don't expect at a given point in time?

Could you reasonably expect them to honour that from then on?

Of course not. The algo changes, the web changes. It's not realistic in my view to expect them to publish such a tightly specific list of guidelines for people to follow, when these would definitely change.

Look at 'nofollow' for example. They said what it was, they inferred what it could be, they changed what that meant (or did they? hmmm) - LOTS of people were very pissed off.

If they did produce a really specific list of guidelines that they said webmasters could follow and that they would honour, would you believe them? I wouldn't. And if people en masse did that could mean
(a) disaster for any site that followed to the letter but was later found to be on the wrong side of a line that was later redrawn
(b) more PR disaster as disgruntled webmasters vent

kidder

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4081961 posted 5:32 am on Feb 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

The more we follow their rules the easier is is for them control us and steal our content and traffic. Why feed the monster when it needs a bloody good spanking?

TheMadScientist

WebmasterWorld Senior Member themadscientist us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4081961 posted 8:03 am on Feb 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

The rules are already in place...
Most people don't have a clue what they are...

Transparency clears up a bunch of garbage and doesn't do anything not already being done, except make some basic aspects public, and IMO your question about why is self defeating if you do anything on your site to help it rank better, because you're already doing or trying to figure out what you should do to retain your traffic and rankings. If you do any SEO at all you're already doing what I'm saying I would like them to post officially so everyone has an idea where to start rather than having to guess at what SEs want.

TheMadScientist

WebmasterWorld Senior Member themadscientist us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4081961 posted 8:48 am on Feb 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hmmmmm... looks like Bing already did a version of what I suggested. Just noticed it or I wouldn't have bothered to post. You can find the thread and the link to the page where you can download the 28 page, 82 Q & A PDF here: [webmasterworld.com...]

It's not quite as specific as I would like, but maybe the next version a SE does will be more definitive. It does clearly say some things, like use only 1 H1 per page and if you want another heading, use an H2, etc.

Such an silly thought I had... LOL

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