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Another layout change for Google's search results
leeds1

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4362857 posted 9:16 am on Sep 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google changed the layout of their SERPS this week to add an additional 1-2cm white gap between the search box and the results with the word "search" on the left and "about 10,000,000 results (0.15 seconds)" above the results

This additional gap has pushed down all organic results so would essentially reduce the number of referrals for people (it certainly has for some of my sites)

[edited by: tedster at 7:25 pm (utc) on Sep 16, 2011]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]

 

Sgt_Kickaxe

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time



 
Msg#: 4362857 posted 2:30 pm on Sep 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

It's time for a new company to come out with "pure" results who is willing to leave their ads and products in the sidebar. I'd hit it in an instant.

What irks me greatly is that the content they use to draw eyeballs isn't even theirs nor did they ask for permission so to try to hijack more and more eyeballs is a sincere slap in the face.

I've witnessed a series of minor changes that had me shaking my head for some time now but the latest changes have me actually saying enough is enough. How low will Google go?

smithaa02

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4362857 posted 2:40 pm on Sep 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

LOL walkman...that's pretty bad. I'm used to the 'Map' being my sworn enemy but could see how those other bonus google elements like news really create problems as well.

Thing that really bugs me is websites getting to double/triple dip in the listings... I find it hilarious that Cutts made a big point about how google 2011 was so much better than google 2000 primarily because it got rid of double dipping page...then they make a huge comeback this year.

[mattcutts.com...]

To Sgt_Kickaxe...I don't see another startup company competing with google for the simple matter that the patent office as been giving out search engine patents so willy-nilly to both bing and google that I don't know if there are any decent algorithms left not owned by either of these corporations that would allow for a competition search engine. To create an analogy, I suspect the situation is so bad that if search engines were cars, I don't think a startup could create a roadworthy car because of all these patents (or at least without paying google/bing a pretty dime).

greenleaves

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4362857 posted 3:03 pm on Sep 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

Well I personally know of a way that could really hurt google. There is really only one way of doing it.

Creating a 'adwords' clicking program and distributing it. It would search and click on google adwords results in the background when users use their computers. We could get affiliates to distribute it by paying per install.

This would destroy the value in google's adwords offering; companies would stop advertising in droves.

Panthro



 
Msg#: 4362857 posted 3:31 pm on Sep 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

Idk, aesthetically I prefer the new changes. I think it makes the page look cleaner and less cluttered.

And maybe the average user prefers ads over the organic results. Maybe they feel they can trust those results more than our "spammy" organic results. At least the ads have Google's stamp of approval, a trusted authority.

I sometimes wonder if Google will eventually charge all sites to be included in it's index. How many of you would pay to have a shot in the world's highest quality and farthest-reaching search index as opposed to being left out?

pontifex

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4362857 posted 3:41 pm on Sep 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google is simply a MFA site.


this is really funny.

in fact, i do think the big empty space telling just how many results are there - like

23,200,000 results (0.2 seconds)

- is absolutely useless for the user! The user does not care! So, having that pushing everything down is not helping users at all from my point of view...

MrSavage

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



 
Msg#: 4362857 posted 3:41 pm on Sep 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

Panthro with respect, in a lawless society sure what you say makes perfect sense from a corporate perspective. Don't lose sight of what MS dealt with in their OS that was all over the world. Think about their influence, copies sold vs daily Google users. And the remember the trouble MS had when they tried crippling the competition or adding too many of their own products/features in that OS. Don't kid yourself. Google has the potential for being MS x 1000. Their reach and influence on the worlds population is far far greater than what a piddly OS was. The story isn't finished by far.

In terms of new layout changes, it's a matter of pushing the limit to when somebody above says hey, hang on here. There is somebody looking over us and that's the government. At least where I live that's the case.

People here are more observant that Joe Average using Google. These changes are indicating some shifts and that is away from organic traffic. That's the crux of the issue at hand.

Panthro



 
Msg#: 4362857 posted 3:52 pm on Sep 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

@ Mr. Savage: I understand that. I agree with many of you, but am also trying to look at it from the perspective of the corporation as well as the "average user". Any comment on my question? I'm interested to read people's opinions on that.

Dave_Hybrid

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4362857 posted 3:53 pm on Sep 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

If you can't switch to Bing because you feel Google is more relevant do it simply because it isn't Google.

[edited by: Dave_Hybrid at 4:00 pm (utc) on Sep 16, 2011]

walkman



 
Msg#: 4362857 posted 3:55 pm on Sep 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

Idk, aesthetically I prefer the new changes. I think it makes the page look cleaner and less cluttered.

Real estate is precious there. I think everyone will agree that it has nothing to do with looks but with the head /eye position of the average user and ads. Make no mistake, this has been tested to death and it "enhances the user experience." They are called heat maps [bing.com...]

And maybe the average user prefers ads over the organic results. Maybe they feel they can trust those results more than our "spammy" organic results. At least the ads have Google's stamp of approval, a trusted authority.

I agree and I feel that this is the search team's goal for e-commerce searches, or where the money is. Job well done too.


I sometimes wonder if Google will eventually charge all sites to be included in it's index. How many of you would pay to have a shot in the world's highest quality and farthest-reaching search index as opposed to being left out?

Pay to play? Google is doing it indirectly and people are noticing it. Then, they are legal issues. Not to mention trust. Google would lose market share even faster if people knew what's really going on, let alone making it officially pay-to-play

[edited by: walkman at 3:58 pm (utc) on Sep 16, 2011]

tedster

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



 
Msg#: 4362857 posted 3:58 pm on Sep 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm with Panthro - I like the change aesthetically.

What many here haven't noticed is that every vertical search offering (in the dark gray top toolbar) now has the same, unified look and feel on its results page. Even more, the additional search options on the left are more clearly obvious, and I'll bet they are getting more use, too.

Now that also means that Google users are being pushed away from the first set of purely organic web search, and toward the many options that Google has worked to create - and not all of those are directly ad related or even income related.

People here are more observant that Joe Average using Google.

True to a degree, but many of our members also look at the SERPs through just one lens - that of an affiliate marketer in many cases.

Our members who are not affiliate marketers often see things differently, and they have insights that are worth listening to - when their voices are not drowned out, that is.

Panthro



 
Msg#: 4362857 posted 4:12 pm on Sep 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

What many here haven't noticed is that every vertical search offering (in the dark gray top toolbar) now has the same, unified look and feel on its results page. Even more, the additional search options on the left are more clearly obvious, and I'll bet they are getting more use, too.


Good observation. The big orange "Search" in the top right definitely attracts your attention and if does not, the Results area with the page load time will connect you to it. From there, it becomes a little more obvious to the average user that "Search" is one entity, but that Images, Maps, News, Videos, Shopping, and More are other available tools for finding what you're looking for.

If it were me, I would probably try and make that connection even more obvious.

MrSavage

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



 
Msg#: 4362857 posted 4:40 pm on Sep 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

In terms of what's better or not better? I think it needs to be asked because it's relevant to this discussion.

Let's say YouTube was owned by MS. Would video be taking up real estate on page 1? Let's also consider the fact that there is a link on that same page that says "videos". So if the searcher actually wanted videos, they can read and click a link correct? That's a double dip of sorts imo. Again, if that was a MS property (YouTube) would Google be showing video links? Afterall it's presumptuous to assume a search I type in like "green widgets" can be ironically interpreted as "green widgets videos". Again, the tell tale is whether a MS owned YouTube would be granted that same "priority".

I think what I'm saying is that webmasters notice the small changes. People wouldn't notice them to the extent we do. Therefore our complaints for the most part, as just noise. They are virtually meaningless on the bottom line and on searcher satisfaction. The obvious goal, as it should be for Google, is to see where that tipping point really is.

And I certainly hope that we all agree that all the current conversations about Google, it's algo, and their philosophy are all about organic traffic. All these layout designs, additions etc are all about organic traffic. It's all about the free traffic out there. It's the great debate but it's not exactly open here.

There is 2 mind sets. One is that you aren't entitled and Google isn't obligated to provide anyone enough organic traffic to earn a living off ads and affiliate programs. The other mindset is that Google does have to provide non biased search results and an algo that isn't geared to their own ever expanding enterprises. That's it. You are one or the other. Not both. It's either a right or it's just something that "was" and in the real world "should never exist". Free traffic that is. Or shall I say enough free traffic that somebody could actually earn decent income at it.

graeme_p

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4362857 posted 4:54 pm on Sep 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

I wonder if people are becoming ad blind about the SERPS and scrolling past? I do it automatically.

Also, three ads is a maximum. Most of my searches show no ads.

I do not believe Google will ever charge for inclusion. They know it would destroy the value of the SERPS: there is too much good content by people who do not make money from it, and who will never pay.

netmeg

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4362857 posted 5:00 pm on Sep 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

It's time for a new company to come out with "pure" results who is willing to leave their ads and products in the sidebar. I'd hit it in an instant.

There is one, or at least one that purports to be "pure" - Blekko.

All 250+ sites under my control are either blocked from it or banned from it.

smithaa02

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4362857 posted 5:01 pm on Sep 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

Yeah, I don't think google will charge for inclusion but will continue to expand their non-organic results and doohickeys to the point where so little above-fold real estate will be available for websites that they will have to pay-to-play and we have a situation where google does in an around about way becomes apaid search engine of sorts. Real estate on the google home is zero-sum and that huge google staff is going to continue to churn out projects but they can only really feature these on the SERP's so the problem will get worse.

Google actually might be able to get away with this whereas earlier search engines could not because of their monopoly (primarily supported by absurdly broad patents IMO that cripple competition).

walkman



 
Msg#: 4362857 posted 5:08 pm on Sep 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

All 250+ sites under my control are either blocked from it or banned from it.
Blekko is unforgiving on fishy sites. But they have a very tiny %. Just checked my money sites and luckily they are in...for now.

Also, three ads is a maximum. Most of my searches show no ads.
Google tested this, they found the same. Most show no ads, that's why the introduced "Instant," the suggestions are more likely to be suggestions with ads....to improve your "user experience"
londrum

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4362857 posted 5:10 pm on Sep 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

i just did a little test to see whether bing's layout really is that different to google's. I searched for "new york hotels" on both, and counted up the number of ads and links to googles/bings own products. it was done at 1024 resolution, and i only counted stuff above the fold. bing actually comes out worse on a lot of the things.

number of ads visible
google = 4 (+7 sitelinks in the ads)
bing = 9

number of sites visible in the serps
google = 0 (+3 more visible in local listings)
bing = 1 (+2 more visible in local listings)

links to their own products visible in the serps/local listings
google = 9
bing = 4

total area visible for the serps
google = 4.4 square inches (all of which is taken up by local listings)
bing = 5.6 square inches (of which 3.4 square inches is taken up by local listings)

total area visible for the ads
google = 6.2 square inches (an extra 4.2 square inches of ad space is given over to their local listings map)
bing = 6.9 square inches

onepointone

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4362857 posted 5:25 pm on Sep 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

I can definetly see google & other SE's going pay to play. For commercial terms, of course. The 'organic' listings might start on page three, whatever. They've already moved strongly in that direction.

Joe average just want's to find what he's looking for. Ad or not, he doesn't care that much.

Searches like "mating habits of the African water buffalo"? Well that will stay ""organic"".

Panthro



 
Msg#: 4362857 posted 5:39 pm on Sep 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

Cool Londrum, thanks for the comparison.

Searches like "mating habits of the African water buffalo"? Well that will stay ""organic"".

lol.

Would a paid search index help control spam and ensure quality results? Or couldn't it at least be marketed that way?

tristanperry



 
Msg#: 4362857 posted 6:16 pm on Sep 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

I just done a full analysis of Google's SERPs vs Bing's SERPs and how much ad space they occupy.

Here are the screenshots:

[imageshack.us...]
[imageshack.us...]
[imageshack.us...]

All-in-all, on a 1280x1024 screen resolution, and searching for [credit -site:google.com] (which hides the Google comparison bar), there are 1,066,250 used pixels in the overall Google layout (meaning not including the whitespace to the right, or the menu bar, etc). 268,800 of those pixels are taken by organic SERPs. 336,750px are taken by paid-for adverts.

This amounts to 25.2098% of the interface being taken up by organic SERPs, whilst paid-for ads take up 31.582% of the interface.

On a 1920x1080 screen resolution, and this time showing the comparison tool in Google's SERPs, the results are even worse: 21.79459% for organic SERPs, versus 38.4165% for paid-for ads.

How does this compare to Bing? Well, on a 1920x1080 screen resi, 1,036,950 pixels are used up in the overall interface

369,000px are used up by organic SERPs, versus 252,952px for paid-for ads.

This comes out to 35.5851% for organic SERPs and 24.3938% for paid-for ads.


Yes, I was bored ;-) (Plus I started doing this quickly, then realised I may as well flesh it out into a more full article which I'll post up on one of my sites soon)

[edited by: tedster at 7:32 pm (utc) on Sep 16, 2011]
[edit reason] Added screenshots [/edit]

walkman



 
Msg#: 4362857 posted 6:25 pm on Sep 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

tristanperry thanks. It needs to be repeated and kept in mind that market share is key! If Bing bans you in UK an they only have a 5% market share, you might not even notice it.
But Google could very well drive you out of business if all of the sudden they declare jihad on certain types of sites, like travel ones for example, or credit card comparison, or offer sites, or video sites for being thin...or whatever they decide to go after that day (it's quite predictable, really). That's why they are very different rules that apply to monopolies and other businesses.

viggen

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4362857 posted 6:30 pm on Sep 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

a few more tweaks and Matt Cutts can look for another job, i mean who cares about page two web spam... unless Matt starts to ban Google properties... ;-)

tristanperry



 
Msg#: 4362857 posted 6:36 pm on Sep 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

@MrFewkes: [about 4 Adwords in the top spot] Yep, the 'comparison' tool is somewhat new I think (<12 months?). It doesn't show up in too many queries, but it does seem to be coming more common.

[edited by: tedster at 7:10 pm (utc) on Sep 16, 2011]

walkman



 
Msg#: 4362857 posted 6:46 pm on Sep 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

And yep, the 'comparison' tool is somewhat new I think (<12 months?)

Relatively new and it comes on top of everything with as many as six site links, without needing to bid of course. Google was brilliant about it too, first they penalized all such sites then made an offer to buy a penalized site.
Reminds me of one of the richest Romans back in the day, he was the fire chief and would let the buildings burn and burn until the owner agreed to sell it. The more it burned the lower the price of course. Once the deal was reached the firemen would shut the fire down. Google un-penalized them too, two weeks after. Maybe the 'spam team' decided that there was enough punishment for them, er Google.

Ethics play no part of course because it's all math.

edit:
[en.wikipedia.org...]
The first Roman fire brigade of which we have any substantial history was created by Marcus Licinius Crassus. Marcus Licinius Crassus was born into a wealthy Roman family around the year 115 BC, and acquired an enormous fortune through (in the words of Plutarch) "fire and rapine." One of his most lucrative schemes took advantage of the fact that Rome had no fire department. Crassus filled this void by creating his own brigade—500 men strong—which rushed to burning buildings at the first cry of alarm. Upon arriving at the scene, however, the fire fighters did nothing while their employer bargained over the price of their services with the distressed property owner. If Crassus could not negotiate a satisfactory price, his men simply let the structure burn to the ground, after which he offered to purchase it for a fraction of its value.

[edited by: walkman at 6:55 pm (utc) on Sep 16, 2011]

netmeg

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4362857 posted 6:55 pm on Sep 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

Blekko is unforgiving on fishy sites. But they have a very tiny %. Just checked my money sites and luckily they are in...for now.


Heh, they aren't banned for being fishy, they're banned because Blekko bans sites that use NOARCHIVE. And I'm not taking it off.

walkman



 
Msg#: 4362857 posted 7:37 pm on Sep 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

< Moderator note: walkman posted a very interesting link and commentary. Since that post was not directly about the new layout change, it is now available, in the Google Business forum: >

Quotes From Google Execs That Could Haunt The Company [webmasterworld.com]

[edited by: tedster at 8:35 pm (utc) on Sep 16, 2011]

Habtom

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4362857 posted 10:14 pm on Sep 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google has always been slowly turning too commercial -- the boiling frog thing.

Does the average person even care if the search results are a 1,000,000 or just 1,000?

CainIV

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4362857 posted 3:55 am on Sep 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

Because the webmasters community is all talks and no walks.


It has little to do with the webmaster community. If every webmaster on the planet switched to another search engine this would account for 0.00005% of the overall search volume G gets.

CainIV

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4362857 posted 4:02 am on Sep 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

Now that also means that Google users are being pushed away from the first set of purely organic web search, and toward the many options that Google has worked to create - and not all of those are directly ad related or even income related.


In theory a nice idea but unlikely. In fact most conversion specialists might say that because of the nature of the contextual ads Google servers, colors of the ad text, and other markers, its unlikely more people would click on the left 'expansion items'

In fact it would be great to see statistics on who does those.

I know personally I would rather click <topic of relevance> ads on the right side than

images
blogs
more kafuffel

lucy24

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4362857 posted 7:34 am on Sep 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

Does the average person even care if the search results are a 1,000,000 or just 1,000?

Wouldn't do any good if they did care. You can only see the first 1000. 990 if you're viewing 30/page. Someone decided that "1,900,000,000 results" sounds more impressive than "over 1000 results" and gambled that not many people would call their bluff.

Rasputin

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4362857 posted 8:11 am on Sep 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

Perhaps if they could explain in more detail it would be more informative...something like

'About 5000000 results, but we thought you would rather see a page of adverts, some pictures, a few google places pages, a map and a selection of unrelated products. Please see below the fold to find the start of the real search results.'

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