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Google's Current Incarnation - how "cute little G" has changed
Reno




msg:4145761
 5:00 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

< moved from another location >

If this is the first time you were hit hard, then welcome to Google.

Believe me, I've had my ups & downs like everyone else when they've done an algo update. In each case I dealt with the changes and managed to keep on keeping on.

What bugs me about this latest G* incarnation is how blatantly they are pushing aside organics and quality sites in general, to direct their own visitor traffic to the paying ads. There is nothing that I or you or anyone can do to impact a change to their own webpage design, so from the start of MayDay I have joined with Brett and everyone else in saying that is a reason in-and-of-itself for the huge traffic drops we are seeing. Google has gone from being a sort of "partner" to being a sort of "competitor", and it's not a happy change because they're the bull elephant and we're the china in the room.

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

[edited by: tedster at 11:14 pm (utc) on Jun 2, 2010]

 

arizonadude




msg:4145771
 5:18 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

What bugs me about this latest G* incarnation is how blatantly they are pushing aside organics and quality sites in general, to direct their own visitor traffic to the paying ads.


And this surprises you? I've been saying this for a while, but Google is public company and they answer to profit. They could care less what a group of Webmasters think as long as the sheep using their search engine are still clicking. The average searcher does not know the difference between a paid ad and an organic ad, nor do they care. This works in Google's favor.

There are many webmasters who have wore the Google shades for so long, they just can't accept the fact that Google is just another corporation out to make a profit.

Some of the post here just crack me up about how Google would never do that, it's broke, just sit tight..etc...

Wow, reality sucks doesn't it ;)

walrus




msg:4145774
 5:29 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

Amazing that it is public choice that drives it. Of course the masses do not have to search with Google they choose to. As many a web designer started adding Google search boxes, maps etc, we helped to promote G. Google should imagine the impact of thousands of webmasters switching to Bing or ASK search bars, gadgets etc. People would start to believe they are more popular, and most want to use whats popular or trendy. People get bored easy and tire of the same things so it is feasible. Preferably i wish G would just stop squeezing us out with their own content, but doesn't look like thats gonna happen.

Reno




msg:4145783
 5:42 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

And this surprises you?

Well, yes & no. I gave up on the "Don't do evil" public relations mantra a long time ago (about the time they went public), but I guess like an innocent, I wanted to believe that maybe there was a vestige of sincerity in their proclamations.

So I guess there's no Santa Claus either?

;)

londrum




msg:4145785
 5:49 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

As many a web designer started adding Google search boxes, maps etc, we helped to promote G. Google should imagine the impact of thousands of webmasters switching to Bing or ASK search bars, gadgets etc...

i recently removed all the google maps from my site (and there must have been 1000s of them) because of exactly that. i'm fed up with the way google scrapes our content.

the worse thing about adding stuff like google maps to your site is the reliance you place on it. they make it easy to script so you end up doing everything with it, tying it into your site in such a way that it becomes practically impossible to replace it with something else. i started thinking what happens if they start adding adverts to it? you're screwed. you'll either have to put up with the ads or pay out for some kind of ad-free license.

pontifex




msg:4145797
 6:13 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

I would also like to add that these discussions too often turn into "complaint raves" and I am not innocent :)

The task is to reverse engineer the results we see and implement measures to rank higher tomorrow than we do today... Some take measures Google has "blacklisted" in their world and they have ANY right to return on their pages whatever they want in the way and order they want. It is their site.

Now that said: solid SEO means to reverse engineer as good as possible and serve the pages (aka content) and links in a way to rank on #1 for a keyword.

With Google changing their layout and way they deal with their site just made the job harder: less organic space, more complicated deep linking for long tail, etc.

So, the MAYDAY update combined with the Jazz interface changed the flow of traffic on the web significantly, IMHO. And that is fine - it is still their site.

Yet - and now the complaint - it bothers me that this company ignores the power they became and that turning these knobs changes the businesses of thousands worldwide.

In their whole bubble gum world of colorful balls in the office, free food and the love from the stock market they lost touch with the consequences of their actions.

My business changed with Google 2 times in the past 8 years and I try to keep them as low as possible in my traffic mix. Yet with 45% of all traffic coming from them and all of a sudden only 20% because they turned the knobs, it is a business challenge on our side, as well.

If you want to cook it down to just "companies, numbers and money": I think that picture is incomplete!

Or to quote spidey: "with great power comes great responsibility" - see BP!

Means in this discussion: if you are Google and you massively change the SERPs and with that the businesses of thousands without real communication (feedback, announcing that upfront, etc.), you might also just start selling mobile phones and not answering the hotline for customers with troubles :-) - it is bad business practice!

I cope... my traffic slowly recovers... so no people to lay off or jumping from bridges here and my comment is more of a philosophical kind:

The online business world changed in the last 10 years and G became really important. They know it, but they do not understand the moral implications!

2 cents,
P

TheMadScientist




msg:4145817
 6:59 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

Here's a thought on the whole 'the update ruined my rankings and business' theme of thoughts and posts...

If the rankings appear to be (from the data Google collects) better on a whole (maybe not for some specific searches) why should they have to tell people to improve their sites so they can rank again?

Wouldn't (shouldn't) that have been the responsibility of the site owners the whole time and aren't the ones (mainly) benefiting those who did (meaning spending time improving their sites or presenting better, more unique information or something 'better' than others did)?

So, we have a group of people who think Google should announce or tell or inform webmasters it's time to improve your sites in some way to continue to rank because they want to show what they think are better results based on the data they have for their visitors... Yeah, there are some sites that maybe got 'wrongly' replaced, but if the data they have shows the results are better for their visitors, what's that say about the missing sites?

They obviously weren't the best according to the data collected, so who's responsibility should it have been to improve the level of those sites so Google would not feel the need to make a change?

If the sites presented previously really were the best, then the numbers they look at would probably have reflected that and they would have reverted the change as they have with some in the past, but they didn't which means IMO it's the responsibility of the site owners to increase the level of their sites...

I lost traffic on one of mine, but sales are up, page views are up, time on site is up, and I really can't complain, because it's obvious to me people are finding what they are looking for better now than they were before, even though I would love the traffic I had before... My site was not the right site to show for some of the queries it used to get clicks for, because the traffic that dropped is the < 5 seconds, 1 page view traffic.

If your model is rank and let 'em click AdSense, then you might want to rethink your strategy, because the more Google gets the results right and the less people click on the AdSense on your site the more of the advertising budget is available for Google.com, and unfortunately for those who have built their idea of a viable of business around AdSense when the click budget stays on Google.com rather than being used on your site Google makes a higher percentage of that budget, because they don't have to share with you...

Sounds like good business for them to improve the results and replace as many AdSense serving sites with actual 'answers' as they can to me personally, because then the advertising budget can be spent directly on Google.com rather than them trying to help you pay your bills through capitalization on a wrong result in their SERPs.

If they presented the results people were looking for in the SERPs people wouldn't need to click your AdSense link would they? I highly doubt it... Which means the AdSense budget is spent where? Not on you any more seems to be the correct answer to me.

Reno




msg:4145830
 7:14 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

So, the MAYDAY update combined with the Jazz interface changed the flow of traffic on the web significantly, IMHO. And that is fine - it is still their site.

It is their site and their patents and their domain, but again I must shout from the rooftop, they built that site with OUR CONTENT. Does that mean they "owe" us anything? Only a fair shake, since we have never charged them a penny. Can you imagine how much extra income we would all have if Google paid US one cent for every clickthrough?

It is my contention that it's not a fair shake when they use our content as their reason-for-being, then direct visitors to THEIR income source. Obviously some people here don't mind that, but I find it unsettling.

But here's the good news for me -- I leave tomorrow for 3 weeks of camping in the mountains of New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and Idaho, so NO GOOGLE in my life and I have no doubts I'll be a happier person for it.

Adios amigos...

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

Bewenched




msg:4145835
 7:18 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

Personally I dont like the new interface. What they think is simplifying it or making it easier to find things is really making it much harder to find what you are looking for. I think the general public is seeing it as well.

I'm getting more and more traffic from bing the volume is growing almost daily. Just in the last two weeks i've seen a 7% jump in traffic from bing, 3% from yahoo and about a 11% loss from google.

We actually use Google Analytics and Sitemaps and sometimes I wonder if I should just remove that from our site. It's become more and more apparent that the more I try to help them navigate our site and to get better listings, the more we seem to be losing ground.

steerpikegg




msg:4145840
 7:19 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

@TheMadScientist

why should they have to tell people to improve their sites so they can rank again?


Without wishing to start an argument, you always seem to want to defend Google's lack of responsibility for their monopoly status due to it being a 'free' service.

Even services which are perceived as being free need to act responsibily to the people subscribed to the service.

For example, the fire service is essentially 'free', but if they decided that they weren't going to put out fires on your street, I'm sure you would want to know about it before your house burnt down rather than after.

Or perhaps a better example, Google provide a free email service, but I imagine you'd be pretty peeved if one day you went to log on and there was a message saying we've closed gmail and all your messages have been deleted without any prior warning.

Whilst Google is not obliged to do anything, common decency should see that they warn webmasters about such a major update. Okay, so even with a warning, it's not going to fix peoples traffic, but at least it would give webmasters a chance to look at their business model and put contingencies in place rather than having an income one day, and none the next.

As I say, I'm not wanting to start an argument here, but hopefully help you see the problem from another perspective.

TheMadScientist




msg:4145867
 7:53 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

@ steerpikegg

1.) I've learned more from the heated debates I've had here than from any others and I really appreciate differing opinions, but I'll try my best to not 'argue' so to speak.

2.) I'm trying to get people to deal with reality and not point a finger, when to me it's fairly obvious:

A.) Google has undated their SERPs for years on end with no warning.
B.) Whether we like it or not they are not obligated to give warning, and while it may be 'nice' to let the 'white hat webmaster' know if they are unannounced they do not give the spammers and black hatters a formal: Make sure you watch real close so you can continue to game our results notice.
C.) Knowing A above, shouldn't people be prepared for it and form a better business plan before they move forward?

3.) C above continued. It's been said here by quite a few of us, and many, many, many, right after the Florida Update, which was the update right before I started building sites: Do Not Count On Free Traffic for Your Income!

It's not whether I like or dislike Google's position (I really wish Bing had about 25% market share right now) but the reality of it is IMO people are complaining because they have a bad business model and they want a scape-goat or someone to hold their hand when if they do their research and homework, like they should before depending on any revenue stream or starting any type of business, it should be obvious to anyone running a business online if they depend on free Google traffic for their livelihood and their family: Google Updates Without Warning.

Like it, Love it, Hate it, Take it, Leave it, doesn't matter.
Google Updates Without Warning is Reality.
If you run a website as a business be ready for it. Period.

Everyone should know:
1.) Google Updates Without Warning

2.) You Should Not Base Your Livelihood On Free Traffic From Google, Because Google Updates Without Warning & It Might Not Be There Tomorrow.

3.) If you start making enough off a site from free traffic to quit your day job or start living above the means of your day job and you don't do your homework to know Google Updates Without Warning and has for years, then it's your fault for NOT DOING YOUR DUE DILIGENCE before you start a business and realizing Google Updates Without Warning.

My perspective is reality, and yes, it would be nice for them to let people know an update is coming, but it would be better IMO if people did their due diligence before they started or relied on a 'free traffic' business, because they can read through update threads here for years on end and see the same advice: DO NOT RELY ON FREE TRAFFIC as your only source of income... Find other traffic sources and count the free traffic SEs send as a bonus, but unfortunately, people don't listen, don't do their due diligence, put themselves, families and loved ones in a place where a another business they have no control over is in control of their livelihood and that business can disappear without notice, because Google Updates Without Warning.

An analogy for you: It's like looking at 'flash flood area' on a sign in the desert and walking down the bottom of a gully for weeks at a time... Sometimes people make it and might be able to do it for a lifetime, but it only takes one rain cloud you didn't see 3 days ago or 200 miles away to change everything, and the problem isn't the water or the gully... The problem is people ignoring the warnings.

londrum




msg:4145869
 8:07 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

its all very well you saying that MadScientist, but the reality is that a very large chunk of people have no choice in the matter -- we have to rely on google.

if google continues to control the vast majority of search traffic (and theres no sign of that changing any time soon) then we have to build a site which google likes. which means a big chunk of our traffic will likely come from them. and any business is going to hurt if that traffic is suddenly taken away.

search engines are just the equivalent of walk-by traffic on the high street. shops get free traffic when people stroll past their window. to say they shouldn't base their business around it is nuts. of course they should -- it's free!

its the same business model as every TV station too. they makes good content (programmes) just like we do with our websites, and they rely on people watching it to up the cost of their ads. the people watching it is "free traffic". if they stop watching, then their business goes down the pan. and if people stop coming to our sites, then our business goes down the pan too.

the problem for us, is that, unlike TV, someone actually controls which channel gets watched, they control where the free traffic goes. TV programmes are reported all over the place in hundreds of papers and magazines, and no one publisher can turn around and wipe a channel from the listings. (if they did, then people would just stop buying that TV listing magazine. because what the point of a TV listing magazine if it leaves ou half the programmes?) but with websites, they all get reported in the same place -- google. plus a couple of other nobodies. so when google decides to "wipe our programmes from the listings" how do people find us?

the problem isnt with webmasters building their sites around free traffic. that is a perfectly normal thing to do. the problem is with one company having a monopoly on which websites to list.

[edited by: londrum at 8:26 pm (utc) on Jun 2, 2010]

steerpikegg




msg:4145888
 8:19 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

It's like looking at 'flash flood area' on a sign in the desert


But surely with Google, there would be no sign :)

Joking aside though, I appreciate what you say about not basing your livelihood on Google traffic, however if a site IS doing well due to serps, it's very hard not to form plans around this especially when things have been stable for many years.

In the UK, from what I see Google has around a 80-90% monopoly over other search engines. My site ranks very well in Bing and Yahoo, but still sees a pitiful amount of traffic, so no matter what other contingencies are in place, a drop from Google is no trivial matter.

I am not suggesting that Google should inform in detail of the algo changes as such, but just a heads up that 'we are making some very major changes which could affect long tail searches, so be prepared'

I know that Google makes a large amount of minor changes all the time, but I have never seen such a dramatic algo change without any prior info. From what I remember, we were discussing Big Daddy for a long time before it happened, and similarly with Caffeine (not an algo change I know) we knew about it a long time in advance.

TheMadScientist




msg:4145896
 8:24 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

we have to rely on google.

We'll have to agree to disagree...

I think it may be that way for a start-up website, but then people have a choice on how they spend the money they make from free traffic, and whether it goes into their pocket or marketing for a better, more solid, more reliable business model is completely up to them. It's their choice on when and whether they quit their job and rely on a site or if they put the cash they make off the site back into it and build a business out of it, or even just put it away for a rainy day and retire early or something... There are always choices people have and make, and there's no rule that says you have to quit your job and rely on Google.

If most people really can't find a sustainable business model then they are probably not really 'in business', but rather 'living on free street' IMO, because here we all know the 'free traffic street' you are referring to always changes, and that's where due diligence comes in, because if you know ahead of time the 'stroll by traffic street' you're referring to and suggesting building your business on is subject to change, you probably wouldn't build your business there, and if you did you would not solely rely on it, would you?

I don't think so, and the 'foot traffic subject to change', 'strollers may be redirected to another street at any time' signs are prevalent and obvious through many threads and forums, so to say you should build on a street knowing in advance that traffic could be diverted for days, months, weeks, years at a time by reading the signs before you jump in does not sound like a very good business plan to me.

Personally, I think it's probably a bit too easy to make some money from free traffic and many people who do and 'jump ship' then complain because it's unsustainable probably couldn't start a brick and mortar business, because unfortunately that's how a business should be run, with marketing, advertising, ROI calculations, and sustainability, especially when there's no telling when the traffic volume on easy street could change... To build there you actually need a better plan than most brick and mortar businesses, because on Google Street the traffic always changes, and we know it does...

[edited by: TheMadScientist at 8:26 pm (utc) on Jun 2, 2010]

steerpikegg




msg:4145897
 8:25 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hehe I like analogies, and Londrum just made me think of a good one ...

If you had a retail outlet in a good location, with lots of walk by shoppers (walking on the free pavement/sidewalk), you would expect a pretty major notification if the local government decided they were going to stop pedestrian access to that particular road, Google are providing the road, they should inform users of any impending closures.

steerpikegg




msg:4145898
 8:26 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

oops last post kind of moot now - took too long to type :)

TheMadScientist




msg:4145901
 8:31 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

Actually, steerpikegg I think it worked out for a really good point to be made.

you would expect a pretty major notification if the local government decided they were going to stop pedestrian access

This is my last post on this subject...

Your signs are posted all over the place and there are years worth of warnings here... They're called update threads. It's posted. Consider yourself notified. On Google Street Traffic Always Changes. It's common knowledge around here to the point no one should need to point it out, but I will one more time:

Your Traffic on Google Street is Subject to Change

Freedom




msg:4145904
 8:35 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

sarcasm on:
Tomorrow is Thursday, isn't there another "update" scheduled?
sarcasm off:

Seriously tho, it should be no surprise that a webmaster favorite turned corporate behometh is growing more and more desperate for money/earnings. They all do it. They all go through the same predictable growth patterns.

The drive for more and more and more earnings will only continue, until everything on the first page is a paid ad, or website driven by mega dollars regardless of the quality of content.

Something like: the "Wal-Mart-ing" of the web. Wal-Mart is a corporate giant, but that doesn't mean you get the best quality of products there. "Wal-Marts" will take over the front page for various reasons that won't seem fair or righteous to many hardworking webmasters here. But then, all the mom and pop stores that went out of business because of the real Wal-Mart can already tell you that.

I kind of realized years ago this was the natural progression of how organic search traffic would develop, and I am glad my strategy against it seems to be working. I'm still making a living...for now.

steerpikegg




msg:4145915
 8:49 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

At the risk of harping on and on, I would like to close the debate with this ...

Yes, we do know that Google Street is a volatile place, but for me and from what I gather a lot of others with long term, stable (even authority sites) which are strictly by the book, white-hat, following every guideline Google gave us, have weathered the worst that Google has thrown at us (florida, big daddy etc) with no ill effects, this new change (which from my perspective is by far the most major I have ever seen) was completely unannounced and unforeseeable.

My business can and will survive on reduced serps, but when you have had a 'free handout' of traffic/sales, to have it suddenly stop without warning is very disturbing, no matter how well founded and stable your business.

Google managed to make a big thing out of Caffeine (despite the fact that they claim that for most websites there would be little or no difference to most webmasters), but when it comes to something of the magnitude of Mayday there is nothing except for a miserable youtube video from MC weeks after the event.

Google have no legal obligation, but they do definitely have a moral obligation.

Andylew




msg:4145925
 9:07 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

at risk of getting back to topic ;) you all clearly have too much time so have all taken to writing essays! we have just seen a site: search which corresponds to wmt, this is a major shift from a few thousand pages on site: to now over 1mil. this is the first time since late april and mayday.

TheMadScientist




msg:4145935
 9:20 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

you all clearly have too much time so have all taken to writing essays!

LMAO... It's because we don't have any bleeping traffic! LOL

Actually, mine's been steady 20% down from G for going on 2 weeks or so now, and in looking through terms there's been a slight shift / drop in the long-tail, but everything else is behaving as expected, except sales which are up? IDK exactly why there, but I'll take 'em.

freejung




msg:4145956
 10:13 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

If they presented the results people were looking for in the SERPs people wouldn't need to click your AdSense link would they? I highly doubt it... Which means the AdSense budget is spent where? Not on you any more seems to be the correct answer to me.


Hmmm... I see the point you're trying to make with this, but I don't think it applies in all situations. You're assuming that the user is looking for one definitive answer to a straightforward question. In cases like that, yeah, you're right.

But what if they are looking to compare products from many sources? Then having ads for other sources of the same sort of product on your site might make perfect sense, even if you have exactly what they are looking for.

Or maybe they're looking for something in a general category, but they're not sure exactly what it is. Then maybe you're a perfect match for their category, but they want to see other matches from the same category, and clicking Adsense is quicker than going back to Google and searching again.

Maybe I'm just rationalizing, but I don't think Adsense or advertising in general is an inherently unsustainable revenue source. It is, however, obviously beneficial to diversify your traffic sources.

TheMadScientist




msg:4146007
 12:06 am on Jun 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

Cool, since Tedster's moved us back on topic I'll post some more...

I don't think it applies in all situations.

Okay, true enough, mainly because nothing applies to all situations with Google, except they control most of the traffic and what works for some doesn't work for others even in an 'essentially the same' situation...

But what if they are looking to compare products from many sources?

I see what you're saying here, but when I ask myself is the best answer for Google the AdSense serving sites or the product comparison sites I think it's the product comparison sites, both from a Google and End User perspective... Users are looking to compare products from different sources and Google keeps the advertising budget at home, so to 'out-do' and 'rank above' I think in this type of market you really have to compete with some behemoths.

Interesting little note on 'product affiliate sales sites' where it might seem to be a good idea to be an Amazon affiliate... I read their TOS once and they reserve the right to create an 'essentially the same' site as yours if they want. I haven't read them in years, because I didn't sign up and won't, but it's something to look at if you think Amazon is a viable alternative to AdSense and don't want to give someone the right to copy your site if they feel like.

Or maybe they're looking for something in a general category, but they're not sure exactly what it is. Then maybe you're a perfect match for their category, but they want to see other matches from the same category, and clicking Adsense is quicker than going back to Google and searching again.

True enough, but again, is it better for Google to present a site that is more of a 'summary', 'review', 'all-inclusive', 'directory' resource where people can either view summaries on the page or surf sites via banners, advertising, etc. or to send them to the 'single view of topic' site with AdSense or even similar advertising?

advertising in general is an inherently unsustainable revenue source.

* I honestly think the real answer to the result puzzle is: 'a mix is the best answer' and that's part of what has people a bit confused about some of the rankings, so see below this for an expansion of a slightly different take on things, and take what I have to say immediately following WRT style of site with a grain of salt. I really think 'flexible type of sites to show visitors' is part of the model they use, but that's only opinion at this time.

I don't think advertising in general is, but wonder which advertising site is the best answer for Google's visitors? The one that provides information about a single topic or the Amazon site(s) where there is information about a number of topics and products where you can surf and shop and be at the 'end result' you were looking for in a click.

I think one of the reasons people are so befuddled by the changes sometimes is the preaching of 'content is king' and while this may be true in some searches and settings, in others the opposite may be the case, so when people look at the results and say 'these results suck' because they have more content, information and text about a 'set of possibilities' rather than 'less about more' sites it could be they are 'going the wrong way' so to speak...

When you really think about advertising sites, how many are necessary in each industry or 'niche'? Most searches end on the first page, so 10 to 20 seems to be a really good answer and to compete in the top 5, again, it means competing and holding a spot against some behemoth sites that will probably not be replaced because they are expected to be seen by searchers...

When searching for a books or information about a 'major publication', how many people would think there's something wrong with Google in the US if they didn't have a choice to visit Amazon, read a review by the New York Times, buy from Barnes and Noble, or find information on a Wikipedia style site?

4 of the top 10 spot are taken by 'staples' in the results people seem to like and enjoy, so you have to compete with the other 1,000,000 sites with information about the topic for 6 places... That's not too much playing field for quite a few sites and a hiccup* could push you past #20 in the results.

* By hiccup I mean the top 20 out of 1,000,000 possibilities is .002%

The same thing goes for other searches, like office products (Staples, Office Depot, Office Max)... You're playing for 7 out of 10 now...

The list keeps going, yeah there are more specific searches that will result in different results, but the point is in many cases there are 'expected results' and if your site fits the profile of Amazon you have to compete with them and every other site built on the same model for searches.

There's quite a bit of competition, and when I think about results for 'generic terms' and what makes sense, if their result model calls for 3 to 4 expected sites, 2 product comparison sites, 2 informational sites and 2 comprehensive review type sites in the top ten, then if you're the 3rd best informational site you're solidly on page 2 with no traffic...

If the model changes and there was room for 3 product comparison sites but now there's only 2 because the click data has changed what it says people are looking for then you could be the second best comparison site and in position 9, which is probably the worst spot on the page.

Do they use the 'type of site' model I'm referring to for generating the results? I would be surprised if they didn't use something like that or something similar based on the 'footprint' of the sites people visit most... It's fairly easy to do. Some people want information, most want to buy, quite a few want comparisons... Figure out the percentages, put the top sites from each 'style' on the first page and create a bunch of happy searchers who can find what they're looking for...

Staffa




msg:4146105
 6:40 am on Jun 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

The drive for more and more and more earnings will only continue, until everything on the first page is a paid ad, or website driven by mega dollars regardless of the quality of content.

Good, at that point we can all block Google from crawling our sites and sink the bully since it is a common conception that beyond page one listings are useless (though I see visitors come from page 4 and beyond).

willybfriendly




msg:4146115
 7:00 am on Jun 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

I quit complaining. I also quit using G products, including search for the most part. Bing works quite well. No tool bar. Almost lost an account over refusing to use analytics (client did not need that level of granularity). No Chrome, browser or OS.

Time to wean the beast off their free data addiction. It is that data that gives them their power, after all...

ohno




msg:4146126
 7:44 am on Jun 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

@ Freedom, slightly OT but do G usually update on a Thursday?! Just that a noticed an interesting pattern with regard to Thursdays some time ago (about 12 months ago)......

Back OT, I'm getting a bit angered by all this talk about "free" traffic. Where do you think G would be IF there were no websites? If from day 1 of the internet people had to pay to appear just like adverts in Yellow Pages how do you think the Internet would look today? The problem has already been touched on, in the UK G IS the Internet,sure we have had ups & downs since 2002 but this latest update (and the mess of the new homepage with HOW MANY silly search options? I got on just fine for all these years with the old intereface & could find what i wanted in seconds, this is just like the "progression" of the mobile phone that is now so laden with junk it struggles to perform the function it was originally designed to do-TALK!) is so erratic we do not know where to start! (sales above normal one day, dead the next). G has also taken it upon itself to give products in our product listings the incorrect brand! (the corretc brand is in the listing). G Checkout feedback is still in a mess (& feedback is HARD to get-maybe 1 in 10 people leave it).

tessmac




msg:4146127
 7:52 am on Jun 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

Something that always surprises me is that bearing in mind just how many employees G has, that specific algo changes never get leaked.

Super Power governments cant even manage that.

Mark_A




msg:4146162
 9:35 am on Jun 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

If you had a retail outlet in a good location, with lots of walk by shoppers (walking on the free pavement/sidewalk), you would expect a pretty major notification if the local government decided they were going to stop pedestrian access to that particular road, Google are providing the road, they should inform users of any impending closures.


Thing is, google has never shown as much responsibility to webmasters as a council does to shop keepers. Google has as long as I can remember had its monthly algo changes and hang the consequences. Of course that is not to say that there are no consequences, plainly there are. Notice how there are never any algo changes (or the like) for adwords advertisers, money talks.

The problem is that there is only google. What we need is a healthy 2 or 3 or 4 search engines each with a reasonable share so we could balance between them and when we lose with one, gain with another.

tedster




msg:4146300
 2:35 pm on Jun 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

What we need is a healthy 2 or 3 or 4 search engines each with a reasonable share

I agree with that. It is not the responsibility of any search engine, including Google, to let webmasters know which factors might be changing. In fact, that would be suicidal. And Google is not numb to their potentially negative affect on other businesses. They do communicate with webmasters a good bit.

Do they "spin" that communication? Sure, just like any company would. But they still invest a good bit of their resources into webmaster communication and education.

Pandia published a good piece on this Google is not Cute Anyomre [pandia.com], riffing on the Markham Erickson quote [nytimes.com] "Once you're big, you're not cute any more."

[edited by: tedster at 8:23 pm (utc) on Jun 6, 2010]

jimbeetle




msg:4146313
 2:54 pm on Jun 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

What bugs me about this latest G* incarnation is how blatantly they are pushing aside organics and quality sites in general, to direct their own visitor traffic to the paying ads. There is nothing that I or you or anyone can do to impact a change to their own webpage design...

What's the old saying, Those who don't remember history are doomed to repeat it?

If anybody remembers the AltaVista results pages when Google launched in 1999 they know exactly why G was able to bury them (and the others along the way). AV's screen real estate had become very cluttered with ads and links to this and that and whatever; very hard for the average user to discern organic results -- if they even knew what they were.

Then Google comes along with it's clean results pages and "I'm feeling lucky." Simple, easy to use, no distractions. Folks loved it.

Google SERPs are now as cluttered as AltaVista was, what with the ads, the refinements, the universal search stuff, whatever it decides to throw in. Ugh. And the only folks who can force a design change are the users, the same ones who then voted with their feet from AV and the others to G. I've been hearing a bit of push back through some very informal over-the-shoulder research (hopefully I'll find time to put together a post on this), but not yet enough to send people away.

It would be neat if history could repeat itself along about now. Google certainly needs the competition, a nice little upstart coming along with relevant results, simply presented. Probably can't happen now, though.

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