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Google's Quality Problem - I'm bookmarking lots more these days
tedster




msg:4220483
 5:07 pm on Oct 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

In our Google Updates and SERP Changes [webmasterworld.com] thread, scottsonline made this observation: "Day to day I won't find the same results in google and am actually bookmarking things again"

Me too - and rather than take the original thread into a side topic, I thought I'd start a dedicated thread.

This is one of the most troubling sign for me about Google in the present moment. For a long time I noticed that Google was so good I barely needed to use browser bookmarks at all. But now I definitely do, or else I lose track of information that I value. And no, I don't find that Bing is any better for this. I wish it were.

I don't know if it's the result of any one change or if it's a combination effect. But I do know that I feel like a valuable tool has been trashed.

Is anyone else in the same boat?

 

jimbeetle




msg:4220484
 5:19 pm on Oct 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

Yeah, for the time spent finding that gem of information I now just *can't trust Google* to return it in the future. I plan to spend a few hours over the weekend organizing the raft of new bookmarks I recently accumulated as I'm usually too impatient to retitle bookmarks or create new folders and sub-folders on the fly.

Do you think the asterisks are too subtle for Google?

indyank




msg:4220485
 5:23 pm on Oct 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

I am sure many will find themselves in the same boat as yours.

Cause - Trying to introduce too many changes (major and minor) in a short span of time.Somehow, the folks at google seem to more restless these days and are constantly looking to change something or the other.

Effect - Lack of stability in the results.

What you see today may not be there tomorrow and this is what we miss from the old google.

tedster




msg:4220487
 5:26 pm on Oct 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

I wonder if they try to filter out "frustrated user" searches from real growth in search volume.

SuzyUK




msg:4220489
 5:29 pm on Oct 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

yep JimB *I think so*

anyway same here, was switching between Bing and G for a while too, but no difference, G was better for a while but not now.. in fact I'm doing some family history searching right now that I know should be throwing me some results (did before, just testing to see if any new info), but nada, not even original results.. I'm doing a lot more *site:* searches if I can at least remember the site I think something's on.. and also a lot more quoted searches as I try to remember a turn of phrase.. was looking for a old post of mine on WebmasterWorld earlier today.. took a *site:* search to find it instead of just the keywords - 'tis sad

Reno




msg:4220550
 7:10 pm on Oct 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

and am actually bookmarking things again...
me too

From the beginning of my online activities (mid-late 90's) I have put a prominent "Bookmark This Site" link on my primary pages, using a simple javascript. I think that's more important than ever. It certainly does not take the place of good SERPs, but in its own way it may help some webmasters maintain a marginally acceptable traffic level in the face of too-often devastating changes in the Google interface. Think of it as one more tool in the toolbox.

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

ken_b




msg:4220711
 12:15 am on Oct 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm bookmarking like crazy. It's so frustrating to no longer be able to rely on G to bring up the same sites in the serps from one day to the next.

Bookmark This Site" link on my primary pages, using a simple javascript.

Is there a more or less universal JS code that works with most fairly recent browsers?
.

tangor




msg:4220712
 12:19 am on Oct 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

I've always bookmarked if it was something I might want to see again. All too often even the original site would inexplicably change URLs...

But for a period of time G seemed to nail it most of the time. B doesn't do too bad a job... but none of the SEs can keep track of ALL the underlying weird changes that happen too frequently.

scottsonline




msg:4220726
 12:48 am on Oct 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

As I said in the other post in one short year I've gone from thinking "google is unbelievable it's so intuitive" to "what did they do to google.". Yes I'm bookmarking more but what really stinks is a lot of information I'd periodically refer to I can no longer find. This was mostly research papers and things of that nature from the 90s. I saved the webfiles in a few cases but no matter which phrases I use or how I type them I can't find it in google now.

What really troubles me is all the issues. Spam is everywhere. Google seems to care more about chasing down a legitimate business buying a text link on another legitimate site than it does about hideous research results for medical topics from drugs to conditions. No matter what ailment or medication we can count on two things: a few legitimate sites and a ton of spam. In some cases they are still returning results with the "may harm you computer" moniker.

I cannot believe their intent was for us to be forced to bookmark results. If we are bookmarking we aren't searching and they aren't getting revenue. It's a mess right now . Every day something else happens, this week it's the blog indexing disaster. What will it be next week? Will they suddenly tweak something and knock a few thousand commerce sites offline?

Is there anyone here that thinks the results tonight are better than 12 months ago? I think if last year we were at a 9.25 out of 10 today's google is about a 6 with bing and yahoo not far behind. They have really messed up and opened the door.

Mayday and caffeine are to google what windows millennium was to Microsoft. Unlike apple which had the iPod Microsoft is going after google and the momentum will swing. It will reach a point where the whims of popular culture will go against google and take away searchers and 50% or more of their sales are gone. Right now bing had to overcome the status quo, if google keeps messing around that poor will be reached and theyll be in for a street battle.

Google can recover but I see no signs of it yet. The blogging disaster this week only shows to me things are still spinning downward. What they're doing right now is putting lipstick on what is becoming a pig. It's a sad day for me to see what was such an ingenious product deteriorate as it is.

jskrewson




msg:4220739
 1:26 am on Oct 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

was looking for a old post of mine on WebmasterWorld earlier today.. took a *site:* search to find it instead of just the keywords

Ha, this happened to me this week as well. Remembered an old information post that I needed, couldn't find it with the google search: topic webmasterworld, had to come to WebmasterWorld and use the site search.

mrguy




msg:4220740
 1:35 am on Oct 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm surprised you're just now noticing this effect. I've been seeing that happeing for a couple years although not on as big a scale as I've seen lately.

For the old timers, I remember when the dances were monthly and you could count on being able to find a search you did even a week before. Now, it's hit or miss with most of the time it being a miss.

Lapizuli




msg:4220748
 1:47 am on Oct 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

was looking for a old post of mine on WebmasterWorld earlier today.. took a *site:* search to find it instead of just the keywords

Ha, this happened to me this week as well. Remembered an old information post that I needed, couldn't find it with the google search: topic webmasterworld, had to come to WebmasterWorld and use the site search.


Me, three. I used to be able to do a search for

keyword site:webmasterworld

and find the post. Last week I had to use the site's search. It's newish, right? Guess we got it just in time.

jkovar




msg:4220763
 2:41 am on Oct 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google wants the indexes it indexes to change constantly, why should Google's index be any different ?

I don't think this is a problem. I want my search engine to show me new things and I want my operating system/browser to help me organize the new things I find.

scottsonline




msg:4220775
 3:23 am on Oct 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

With all of you reporting a prestigious site as this losing indexed pages and not returning results what chance do most of us have? It's grim. If the information here isn't being deemed relevant that's not a good omen for the rest of us.

What was the point of all this caffeine and mayday stuff if not to improve and increase the ability to store date and return data from sites like this? To return more Viagr' sites? I'm just trying to see the end game.

I continued the test tonight searching for phrases I've used in the past to return data from prominent edu and gov sites especially in 2009. About 40% of the pages are no longer indexed. I can't find them with even the site operator. So strange.

tedster




msg:4220783
 4:14 am on Oct 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

I want to observe the obvious, with regard to any one site's traffic. Google's overall search share is at least stable, probably up a smidge. So if your site has lost traffic, then some other site has gained traffic - probably someone who doesn't post here and very possibly a site that isn't using much intentional SEO at all. The evolving algo combined with easier CMS for the average website owner have taken away a good bit of the "edge" that powerful optimization used to generate.

In this thread, it's Google's perpetual shuffle that I was pointing to. Google's navigational searches are not what they once were for me so I know I need to bookmark specific resources when I find them

Robert Charlton




msg:4220796
 5:05 am on Oct 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

edu and gov sites

I use bookmarks a lot, and I've got to say that even with bookmarks, edu and gov sites simply don't have a clue how to maintain references. When they change urls, more often than not they don't properly redirect them.

Also, some will simply cut navigation or PR flow to lower level pages from the top, so lower level pages become orphaned and often drop out of the index, though the pages might still be there.

And then, of course, stuff gets taken down.

I now just *can't trust Google* to return it in the future

Unfortunately, this is true too. Changing algos are causing easy searches to become not so easy.

I have a friend in academia who drives me crazy sending me pdfs of every article he wants me to see, but all of the above are involved in why he creates his own archive and thinks that I want one too.

scottsonline




msg:4220799
 5:17 am on Oct 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

Robert that's what it is coming to. I am more apt to print to PDF at this point.

Tedster I'd normally agree with your assesment but can't. The reason being for all of these searches it's not a matter of relevant site (mine) being replaced by another. A year ago there would be ten to twenty good results for the most obscure product. Now those same searches may return no relevant pages or only a few. Whatever mating google is doing is broken which explains why we cannot find what we once could using plain phrases because the value of those phrases has changed in google.

A year ago a medical search would return the mayoclinic often. They appear to be ou of the google business as I never see them. When did wikipedia become the defacto source for medical information and amazon the defacto source of a product via resellers.
We should probably discuss proper coding form bookmark buttons as I think we will all need them.

freejung




msg:4220800
 5:26 am on Oct 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

Yeah, I've been noticing this too. Just today I did a site: search for something that I know is there, just not sure what the URL is, using a long quoted phrase -- and I got nothing. I tried it again several different ways, and still couldn't find it, and it's not like it was on some obscure site either, it was on a major site that is normally heavily indexed.

That's not the first time I've had that happen recently, either. I haven't used bookmarks in many years. Time to start again I suppose. That's sad.

On the other hand, it's a near certainty that Google is monitoring far more metrics than we have access to, and whatever the problem is, they are probably aware of it. My guess would be that it has to do with working the kinks out of the new infrastructure. It's likely that the situation will improve within a fairly short time frame. Google can't afford to have this sort of problem continue for long.

tangor




msg:4220803
 6:05 am on Oct 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google can't afford to have this sort of problem continue for long.


There's no hurry... Google is "today" and all the users are "today", too. Only us old Pharts remember the web as it was... don't expect the elementary kids to do that... after all they've been brought up on the Google teat and G is as good as Britannica. (look it up if some don't get that reference!)

The web is changing... especially as far as Google is concerned: G is changing it their way. Bing/Yahoo (Bing first) is still making all effort to show the old web... the one based on word search, not "personalized" or "we know what you are thinking" or "we're not evil even if you are" results.

Back to the OP... if a site of value is FOUND then BOOKMARK it immediately. Google is losing things these days. Bing does a bit better (and I hope they continue). Bookmark it or lose the reference. No search engine can guarantee they can deliver the same results year in year out. That's an unreasonable expectation. Every site I've bookmarked since 1995 AND HAS NOT BEEN SHUT DOWN is still available. URL is URL... if it's there you'll get there, but if you didn't bookmark it and expect G or B or Y to find it... SOL in many cases... indexing changes, sites migrate, etc. etc. etc.

As I said earlier, I bookmark everything I find of value. I don't depend on search engines (use Bing exclusively now) to find it again. That's kinda/sorta the way the web has worked since day one.

This thread is a subset of a much larger and significantly greater problem: web sites and keywords no longer being found, or routed to lesser sites and keywords... which means many who monitor Webmasterworld are seeing disastrous drops in advertising dollars or no incoming trade for their products. With 1 billion webmasters working to make money hunting for the 1 to 10 top spots in the serps---and 99% gaming the system---is there much doubt things once found can't be found again?

Bookmark your faves when you find them.

Should have been doing that all along.

(I go back to paper libraries, cardex, all that "old stuff")

Robert Charlton




msg:4220805
 6:18 am on Oct 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

Just today I did a site: search for something that I know is there, just not sure what the URL is, using a long quoted phrase -- and I got nothing.

This is interesting, because the same thing happened to me both today and yesterday. When I searched for a quoted phrase on a page I knew existed, Google did the following...

a) said that the quoted phrase didn't exist and switched to an unquoted search...

b) and then returned the page with the unquoted phrase highlighted. It matched the quoted search exactly.

<slightly offtopic> I've been seeing variations of this for months now, and I have a strong hunch it's got something to do with a problem Google might be having on its tiered posting lists (covered in one of its patents on its phrase-based indexing scheme).

Google will often return an exact phrase that it say isn't there when you make the search more general... either by unquoting it, as here, or by adding an extra word.

We've been discussing this on the "Exact Long Tail Phrases in the Title are Not Ranking Well" discussion, and, to avoid taking this thread away from the original question, I think I'll post more complete thoughts over there, at...

Exact Long Tail Phrases in the Title are Not Ranking Well
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4193570.htm [webmasterworld.com]

CenSin




msg:4220818
 6:44 am on Oct 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

Yep, lots of bookmarks recently.

I urgently need a browser add-on to do a search in my bookmarks and their descriptions.

scottsonline




msg:4220898
 11:52 am on Oct 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

Robert you can see this effect in "instant" as you type. Often if I'm typing the first three words of a 4 word page I will see the good top result. When I type the fourth word I get spammy titles. Could it be this simple? The reason we can't find stuff as easily is because via the algorithm they don't want us to?

Ot one of the major sites I read still isn't being indexed so add the inability to index blog posts as another feature of google "The homer" which should be the name given to this recent set of updates. In the Simpsons episode a car company that was incredibly successful decided to build an over featured cantankerous auto despite the objections of expert staff and users. It was a car for all the homers. We now have a search engine built on the same principle with plenty of cup holders, comfortable seats and a recognized name but they forgot we do eventually care if the door handles jab us in the eye when we use them and the engine doesn't work.

2010, first we had mayday, now we have "google homer" the search engine that does everything but nothing well. If I were working for bing right now I'd be pretty excited.

backdraft7




msg:4220930
 2:55 pm on Oct 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

www.microlinx.com is a cool drag & drop bookmark manager, but it requires a little messin' around to install the toolbar for FF.

steve40




msg:4220961
 4:00 pm on Oct 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

not sure if I can post this but shows interesting trend lower half of page last 90 days trend Bookmarking Sites category up 9%

Google must be seeing this wonder if they are going to use to tune later

[addthis.com...]

Robert Charlton




msg:4220995
 5:26 pm on Oct 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

When I type the fourth word I get spammy titles. Could it be this simple? The reason we can't find stuff as easily is because via the algorithm they don't want us to?

Yes, this is one aspect of the point I was making... but you could also view this behavior as a flaw in the system. It might also be expected behavior that falls within a margin of error one of Google's patent says they could live with. This is my untutored interpretation of the wording, and I have to revisit it. Still haven't managed to do that and get to the title thread.

Also, I posted a couple of weeks ago on Google's explanations/justifications of query modification. I'd expected more discussion to follow....

Google query modification - the official word
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4212716.htm [webmasterworld.com]

I'd love to see at least a "leave it alone" button in the advanced search options. That might now be a lot harder for Google than it sounds, as the new indexing system in part is intended to save storage space and processing time and to discourage highly unlikely queries.

tedster




msg:4221034
 7:28 pm on Oct 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

Bing/Yahoo (Bing first) is still making all effort to show the old web... the one based on word search, not "personalized" or "we know what you are thinking"

I wish I could find the exact quote that brings to mind. Sometime over the summer Microsoft acknowledged that they have "personalization envy" regarding Google. They want to do it, but they can't right now. So Bing may eventually show the same kinds of strangeness as they get up to speed.

Google will often return an exact phrase that it say isn't there when you make the search more general... either by unquoting it, as here, or by adding an extra word.

Good observation - and it does seem to point to phrase based indexing.

It's possible that the 4th word makes the phrase fall outside statistical relevance - those word strings that get tagged as a semantically significant phrase. This would mean that those URLs aren't as easily retrieved for the longer query.

scottsonline




msg:4221094
 10:12 pm on Oct 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

Whatever data google thinks they understand they are missing the boat. Just because there aren't a lot of clicks doesn't mean it isn't relevant. The difference is now getting so extreme instead of typing: campbells chicken noodle soup we now must type soup. Ten months ago I'd have found ten good pages on that item, now I may find a city named Campbell that has a place serving noodle soup, a guy name campbells that wrote a page on chickens and five foreign sites trying to sell me generic super terrific knockoffs of said soup. Ironically the adsense ads will all be grocery related.

There are product searches I'm doing right now where none of the top ten results are even products. Literally zero. I know for a fact there are dozens of high ranking sites that have his exact item on their sites but they aren't being returned. Bing lists products. Phrase matching gone bad.

Google Homer, bringing you bad results faster than ever, 50% faster than other leading brands.

Robert Charlton




msg:4221105
 10:32 pm on Oct 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

instead of typing: campbells chicken noodle soup we now must type soup

scottsonline - ;) Very funny... but in this case not a good example.

The serp for [campbells chicken noodle soup] is probably a poster child for what Google has done right (at least for most users)... but you may not feel that way if you have a supermarket site that sells on the web.

I know your niche has some infrequent searches and that may be skewing your feeling for Google overall, but for campbells soup, Google would have a hard time missing.

tristanperry




msg:4221122
 11:21 pm on Oct 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

I definitely agree with the sentiment of this thread.

Google definitely does seem to have a quality problem and it has been at least a couple of years since Google's SERPs seemed really good and intuitive.

It's a shame. And it's also a shame since I don't see this getting any better.

scottsonline




msg:4221174
 4:09 am on Oct 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

Robert I picked a product at random to illustrate the point - one that I figured had no real relevance in terms of keyword importance and was safe.

Where I think google has gone wrong is that collectively those 5 or 10 unique searches we all made each month that only they found - that's why we all use google. They're not seemingly understanding that their core engine is not significantly better than bing and in actuality is more vulnerable to spam. Up until 12 months ago it was google and everyone else, like comparing a Ferrari to a pinto. The pinto is now a Honda and the Ferrari a Toyota. If we all just signed on to the interwebs tonight a clear winner may be tough to pick.

That's astounding given how dominate they were before all these changes.

This 36 message thread spans 2 pages: 36 ( [1] 2 > >
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