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|Google credibility after the Panda Update|
| 8:53 pm on Apr 15, 2011 (gmt 0)|
Does anyone else think that Google is harming its own credibility with such large, sudden changes in its results?
Google is not just a search engine: in the internet market it is an authority which basically reviews websites and tells you which ones are the best.
If we compared Google's behaviour with similar authorities in other sectors, the judgement would be harsh.
A couple of examples:
- How could a financial ratings authority (like Moody's or S&P) justify the fact that companies they rated "the best" for years are now rated "junk" if those companies haven't changed at all?
- Would you trust, as a user, a reviews website that tells you that a product is the best in its market and the day after it's not even in the top 500?
- As an advertiser would you trust an intermediary that makes you spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in ads space on several "top" websites and the day after tells you those website are worth nothing?
The harshness of the demotion of many of the sites that have been hit is also nonsensical to me. For most queries there aren't hundreds of on topic, specific pages to show.
That's why Google shows less and less related results the more you go on with results pages.
So you search for "Green Widgets" and on page 5 of the serps you see pages titled "Widgets for pakistani astronauts" (ok, i'm exaggerating here).
Even if you dislike content farms a lot, you can't tell me that their on topic articles are less interesting for the user than those totally unrelated or minimally related pages. I would understand a minus 5/10/20 drop for websites hit by Panda, but minus 300? 500?
I believe in Google's goodwill on its quest for quality and I appreciate its independence in the choiches they make but no ones likes total unpredictability.
Google should be very careful on this matter: losing consistency in the eyes of users, publishers, advertisers and, why not, investors, is a dangerous path and many might prefer to put their efforts/energy/money/resources elsewhere.
| 9:27 pm on Apr 15, 2011 (gmt 0)|
I don't think most people care or notice to be honest, unless they were affected. And for every site that was Pandalized, there is another site which gained all their traffic and is really happy about it.
| 9:31 pm on Apr 15, 2011 (gmt 0)|
It's a thought, but I think it comes from a webmaster-centric point of view. Stil the general public has had Google on too high a pedestal for far too long. Many people do not even know what a search engine does, or that there are any alternatives to Google.
So if "losing credibility" means "a more realistic assessment" then I hope that comes to pass. Both Google and the general public will be better off for the additional reality check.
| 9:35 pm on Apr 15, 2011 (gmt 0)|
This shows the stupidity of "content is king" and "follow the Google guidelines" that suckers believed for years. Google is a threat to the average person making a living online (or searching, considering their disregard for privacy)
We should systematically work for their demise. Not only have they crushed many businesses built with the proverbial sweat, blood and tears but they refuse to take any changes in consideration.
|It's a thought, but I think it comes from a webmaster-centric point of view. |
Hmmmm...how many people know someone that makes a living online or that works online one way or another? It's not 1997 anymore Tedster, the internet is part of the Western World's life now. But the tide has turned, Google no longer has the benefit of the doubt: privacy nightmares, book court case, street view etc etc.
| 9:50 pm on Apr 15, 2011 (gmt 0)|
I still see, almost every day, that even major online businesses are missing the plot badly when it comes to a realistic understanding of Google. However, as you say, the tide already turned months ago. And the press has been getting into the "go after Google" game more and more, so eventually that does permeate the pubic mind.
The quality of Google results was already being questioned before Panda. The question for me is this: will Panda accelerate the pace of demoting Google in the public mind?
| 10:07 pm on Apr 15, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|The quality of Google results was already being questioned before Panda. The question for me is this: will Panda accelerate the pace of demoting Google in the public mind? |
I think from the point of view of Joe Public, the results have improved post panda.
An example: for one lucrative keyword phrase I watch, ehow used to have the top three positions, they now sit at #5, and there are actually eight different websites featured in the top ten. For the same phrase, Bing has eHow in there twice (at #1 and #10).
Also, I was checked a product keyword, and G actually shows retailers selling the thing (unlike before X-mas when MFAs dominated). This is a relief for users. Bing still shows the MFAs though.
I think G's results were bad before Panda, and this has improved them drastically.
| 10:12 pm on Apr 15, 2011 (gmt 0)|
AlyssaS, I am glad you are ranking well.
| 10:23 pm on Apr 15, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|AlyssaS, I am glad you are ranking well. |
I've had one site that moved to page 4 and am still trying to work out why, but my other sites have moved up (and if I knew why, I'd be able to rescue my dinged site!)
Being dinged by G is part of a rite of passage. You are not a proper webmaster till you've experienced a serious blooding, but then come out on the other side of it. It happens to us all.
My impression from Panda is that some major sites have been dinged, but thousands and thousands of small sites have risen, but individually they don't generate noise, so haven't hit the headlines. It was the Mayday algo last year that hurt small folk. This one has been kinder to the little guy.
| 10:31 pm on Apr 15, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|It was the Mayday algo last year that hurt small folk. This one has been kinder to the little guy. |
:) I have a small site and did fine on Mayday, looks like you ('small folk') got hurt [webmasterworld.com...]
Even on Panda all but my main site are doing better, until Panda moves to their niche I guess.
| 10:39 pm on Apr 15, 2011 (gmt 0)|
walkman, I had to smile at the thread you linked to. Trust me, us small folk got hurt too then.
Would you believe, it took me till September to work out what the issue was - so four months of grief. But I did learn tons from the experience - I keep logs for all my sites, noting down every single change I make, no matter how trivial, with times and dates, so that it's easier to go back and pinpoint elements. I also have a test site that I use to trial changes before putting them through my main sites. I guess I was lazy before I got dinged, and now am not, and am better for it.
| 12:00 am on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)|
The Internet has empowered me. I started as a hobbyist and then realised I could monetise my efforts online and become financially independent, and I've spent years slowly growing it. It's been a slow growth, but I see it as being a 'hardwood' quality, sustainable growth. I've always survived algo changes, until now, and it's the first time I've seen a dip in traffic, only a slight one, but a dip, and it's worrying, heartbreaking, disturbing...
We're in the UK at the moment because we want our daughter to learn English in a British school (I'm British by birth). However, we want to go home. My online income will facilitate that. We will have to be 'independently wealthy' and when my website/s are mature enough, that will be the case (touch wood)...
|I believe in Google's goodwill on its quest for quality and I appreciate its independence in the choiches they make but no ones likes total unpredictability. |
Google should be very careful on this matter
Google is a great search engine, but no matter how great it may be, it can never be good enough to give everyone a fair crack at the whip. There is just too much data, too many websites, and only one 'page 1'. Google's can't help that, but it's success is bad for the freedoms that the Internet brought to me and mine. I am totally reliant on that stream of traffic from Google. You can tell me to reduce my reliability on Google, but it's not going to happen, unless I suddenly find myself with loads of cash for conventional advertising. The only hope is serious competition to Google...
If Google were truly sensitive to the lives they inadvertently ruin, control, toy with every time they tweak, they would break up the company, create spin off search engines, niche engines with different algo sets and themes... and actively promote them, for the good of the everyone... but of course, that's not, going, to happen. They're a monopoly with shareholders pretending to be 'quality'.
|I don't think most people care or notice to be honest, unless they were affected |
This is the problem. No one outside the webmaster community even cares. They just Google it. It's a transitive verb. Heck, it even knows when I walk to the kitchen, because I've got some kind of Google GPS app tracking me on my Sony Ericsson Xperia.
| 12:25 am on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)|
Credibility? LOL, I don't trust Illuminati Billionaires, they only want more and more and more money.
This is their whole life, making money. No God, no people, just money. The only task in their whole life will be making money. Their philosophy is money and their God is Dollar.
| 12:29 am on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|If Google were truly sensitive to the lives they inadvertently ruin, control, toy with every time they tweak, they would break up the company, create spin off search engines, niche engines with different algo sets and themes... and actively promote them, for the good of the everyone... but of course, that's not, going, to happen. |
They already have loads of different algos operating, tailored to the niche they are serving.
Look - it's always scary when this stuff happens, especially if it's the first time it has happened to you - but it's the nature of the beast. Bing tweaks constantly too, but while their market share is low people don't pay attention - but I promise you that if they had a 50% share (with G holding the other 50%), and then made an algo change that tanked a lot of sites, people would be howling and bashing them too.
Also remember that some tweaks benefit webmasters - I bet you didn't protest any of the previous tweaks that benefited you. :-)
The answer is not to hope and pray for external events like "more competition" to occur, but to systematically analyse what has happened and adapt, because this stuff will continue to happen on a regular basis, no matter who the dominant search engine is.
It's a bit like the invention of the internal combustion engine. The buggy manufacturers responded by protesting to everyone they could and lobbying to get legislation passed "for the good of everyone" - for a brief period there was even a law in the UK saying that if you drove a car, a man had to walk in front of it with a flag.
The whole thing was a mad waste of time and energy that buried the buggy companies.
What they should have done was to say, here's a new technology, the first thing I'm going to do Monday morning is work out how to adapt my factory to make cars instead of buggies. But they didn't, they spent Monday morning wailing about their lot and trying to legislate to stop progress.
| 12:35 am on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|They already have loads of different algos operating, tailored to the niche they are serving. |
Yes, but it's still Google.
|The answer is not to hope and pray for external events like "more competition" to occur, but to systematically analyse what has happened and adapt, because this stuff will continue to happen on a regular basis, no matter who the dominant search engine is. |
Of course I understand the 'evolve or die' argument... but this isn't evolving, it's PANDA'ing. That's bad, for my website and for my users, because I spend more time figuring out Google than I do developing in my vertical.
Staying on topic... do you mean credibility with the public, the media, or webmasters?... They lost their credibility with me with their experiment to stop passing referrer data.
| 12:45 am on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)|
Google can only get away with all this because, as tedster implied, so many do not understand. It's all magic to them. And the people in government have been amongst the most clueless. It's like the early years of the industrial revolution, where certain powerful individuals (like John D and Andrew C) were able to monopolize their sectors and destroy anyone in their paths. It took years for the public and it's so-called servants to figure it out, and even then, they could not match the power of the mega-corps. That's still true. Want proof? 3 letter word: O-I-L. Google has well positioned itself with its government contacts and deep relationship with the intelligence community, so I do not expect any significant oversight or change in public opinion for a long time, if ever.
| 1:04 am on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)|
Reno - suppose a government did legislate to reverse Panda - do you suppose that those who have GAINED from Panda will take that lying down? They'll be saying Hey! I deserve this traffic, why should I give it up to that Reno guy, why can't he just do what I'm doing which is to provide proper value like I do. (Cause everytime someone rises in the SERPs they think it's down to their wonderful work, and everytime they drop it's that awful G that's the problem).
See the problem?
I think lots of people are assuming that everyone got hurt, when it's clearly not the case. People are also assuming that it's the little guy who got hurt, when most of the victims of Panda were large content farmers.
The whole thing is like a game, where there is a winner for every loser, and you can't easily classify the winners and losers into the old stereotypes of "big guy v little guy" or "corporations v individuals" and other such memes.
People need to start thinking about risk management and diversifying the types of sites they run - by which I mean, different niches, different linking profiles, different templates and layouts, different revenue streams, lots of different experiments. That way, you play against yourself - one site goes down, but another goes up and you end up neutral or even ahead.
| 1:08 am on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)|
I like tedsters take on this. He is a realist. General people don't understand it and they really don't have the time or want to care.
What they did lose is the trust of many, many webmasters. The openess of Google is what made them strong for years. Everyone; even the blackhatters had a keen awe of them. We didn't even think of another SE as having any cred.
But now they left alot of us in the dark and continue to. They obviously see social as a big threat. Now what do web masters do, we become more social to pad ourselves from their from future updates. People that could care less about Twitter and Facebook are now incorporating it in their site as much as possible. We're dropping the Google search bars from our sites and replacing them with likes and tweet this icons.
The new CEO has a lot to bear with this one, as he should. I definitely consider Panda to be their biggest blunder ever. They really need to become more open to win webmasters back. Otherwise this us versus them mentality will just get worse. They honestly need us just as much as we need them. If they don't realize that, they will fail.
| 1:28 am on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|People need to start thinking about risk management and diversifying the types of sites they run - by which I mean, different niches, different linking profiles, different templates and layouts, different revenue streams, lots of different experiments. |
So Maa and Paa, who've run a store selling Maa and Paa's apple widgets, who recently expanded into selling online, should suddenly diversify into microchips, or selling Thai language books, or specialist medical imaging equipment?
I barely have the time to run my main site, as I'm still a part time webmaster. I sure don't want to use my limited online time diagnosing Google... and most businesses want to continue in their field, or don't have the time or resources to diversify beyond their specialties.
I wonder if we'll see garbage trucks by Google in the future, or Google airlines? Uggghhhh. Can you imagine the uniform? T-shirt and flip flops.
| 1:41 am on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|So Maa and Paa, who've run a store selling Maa and Paa's apple widgets, who recently expanded into selling online, should suddenly diversify into microchips, or selling Thai language books, or specialist medical imaging equipment? |
Yeah, why not? OK a leap from apple wigets to medical imaging equipment is a bit much, but say selling apple products like ipods on one site, music on another, and so on.
Did you know that Nokia started off as a pulp mill and used to make paper? Then electricity got invented and they diversified into that. Then they produced telephone cables. When electronics became big in the 60's they got into that. Then cellphones got big in the 90's and they got into that. And so on.
And they are still standing after all this time.
| 1:48 am on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)|
I'm already doing that I guess. I have skeleton sites set up that are related to my main site and niche, but diversify into related fields... I just don't have the time to develop them. I hadn't however considered diversifying the templates, as they are all based on the design I developed myself (or variants of it) and have been very happy with...
But even then, you have worries about potential common ownership issues.
| 1:57 am on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)|
I would experiment with templates if I were you. I've experienced small ranking gains simply because I've switched to a cleaner better coded template. I guess the cleaner it is, the easier it is for the bot to digest.
| 2:01 am on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)|
Mine's pretty much as lightweight as it can get. Any less and it'll only work in Lynx. I'm looking though old WW threads though, for info on this.
| 2:52 am on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|suppose a government did legislate to reverse Panda |
I most definitely did not suggest that government should "reverse" Panda. I am suggesting that Google is so big, so powerful and has so much impact on people's lives and the economy-at-large that it is not unreasonable for there to be considerable more public oversight (that's the exact word I used).
Where should that oversight fall? I admit I don't know ~ I'll leave it to those with more experience in the tech sector to define that conversation. TheMadScientist, Leosghost, tedster, Brett and many others here could no doubt bring way more insight to that than me.
I do believe this ~ breaking up Google is one option that should be on the table, with an iron curtain between the spun off divisions, so people's privacy would have more protection.
The online/virtual world is a new animal and thus what worked for regulating/overseeing nuts & bolts industries in the past will probably not apply here. But some sort of transparency and enhanced level of communications (by Google et al, to webmasters) may be one route. Panda came out of the blue and destroyed lives. It could do that because Google's overwhelming dominance is dangerous. There may be Googophants that disagree, but that's how a significant percentage of professional webmasters & siteowners see it. If the numbers of the disenchanted continue to grow, the fate that befalls Google may be far more extreme then any interim measure they could introduce on their own, to soften the blows from these extreme updates.
| 4:07 am on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)|
@ Reno, yp.
Imagine someone trying to build the next Youtube, or the best local search engine, or shopping comparison.
Will they show on Google? UNLIKELY, google will slap them with a penalty for some reason no one really knows since the 'guidelines' make zero sense. One day you're fine, the next you aren't. So they are frozen out of 70%-95% of searches in US /EU. Imagine that!
Of course that penalty doesn't effect youtube and Google services that flood the first page. Most startups just need one thing to go wrong and you never hear from them again. Google has shown its ugly teeth and they are not good for innovation. Until recently they wouldn't even confirm if you had a penalty or not, imagine that. Everything is capricious, arbitrary but it can ruin lives and entire companies.
| 5:29 am on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)|
Those calling for the government to regulate Google should be careful what they wish for. A government-regulated Google would likely become the most inefficient search engine on the net.
Some here may have heard of the Mustang Ranch, a brothel in Nevada, where prostitution is legal. It became famous worldwide when it opened in the 1970's, but years later ran into tax problems. The IRS seized it in 1991, and has been running it ever since. It's the only brothel owned by the government. And every year it runs in the red.
How a brothel can lose money selling sex is beyond me, but I sure don't want those same people touching the internet.
Panda is such a major change that I'm certain it's going to take months and months before the dust settles. If there's any sense that the public is going to Bing or Yahoo, I'm sure that Google will adjust. If they don't, Bing will eat their lunch.
| 3:09 pm on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)|
dick, I hope you are right. I'm not sure that Google will adjust and see no evidence for that optimism. If anything, I would guess that their current trajectory ~ towards ever greater profits & control ~ will dominate their decision making.
Your concerns about the gov are well stated and not to be ignored. Still, a breakup of the empire might be in the cards as one way to handle a situation that gets increasingly dangerous and thus unstable for millions of small businesses. If nothing happens (which is likely), those of us still standing will no doubt have this conversation many more times.
| 4:15 pm on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|would guess that their current trajectory ~ towards ever greater profits & control ~ will dominate their decision making. |
Every business is--or should be--on a trajectory for greater profits. Isn't yours?
There's only profit where the company is satisfying customer needs. When the company ceases to do that (think GM, Chrysler and Ford in the 1970's), then there's problems.
Companies adapt, or they join the ranks of buggy makers.
| 6:46 pm on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|Every business is--or should be--on a trajectory for greater profits. Isn't yours? |
Touché ~ but with this caveat: My business (and I would imagine the enterprises of many others here) does not impact hardly anyone other than myself & my family. Google for better or worse impacts many millions, and thus they have a moral responsibility (something they say they used to care about) to consider the impact of their decisions on the multitudes. This latest decision to drop Panda on siteowners like a neutron bomb has done tremendous damage to people's incomes, and like it or not, that damage is laid at their doorstep. Others may disagree with that, but IMO when lives are hurt to this extent virtually overnight, something is out of whack and some measures ~ by government or the private sector ~ may be necessary to minimize such future calamities.
| 7:26 pm on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)|
Great posts by Alyssa S above. And we've been there with Bing...everyone went all anti-Microsoft and now we're going full circle.
Bottom line is algos will change, evolve and we will all be affected positively and negatively in time to come. Anyone who relies on a thid party to provide traffic (or anything for that matter) has a risk they need to assess and spread to minimise impact.
And if you can't, then you have to recognise you have a dangerous and flawed business model.
Any grounded business will have done risk assessment, created a list of "what if's" and plans ahead. "What if Google drops me?" should be at the top of that list IMO.
| 7:31 pm on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|as tedster implied, so many do not understand. It's all magic to them |
This why I have a big problem with their use of Chrome's block feature to "confirm" their results. No one that I know has ever heard of the block feature. Those who know about it are webmasters, techies who use Chrome (most people still use IE), or people who were probably TOLD to use the block feature in some Google experiment with an unrealistically small sample size. If the results came from webmaster/techie blocks, then the data are clearly skewed.
I know about "block" but I don't waste my time dealing with it when I am searching. Most people won't. Everyone is in a hurry these days and they just want results. They will hit the back button and modify their query before they deal with "blocking" or they will simply copy their query over to Bing like I do. People don't have time for silliness (unless they are logged into a social network designed for silliness). Anyone blocking is probably doing so either A) spitefully or B) because they were instructed to do so.
Get over yourselves Google, no one knows or cares about "Block" lol
That is all.
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