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So Long Google And Thanks For All The Fish
travelin cat




msg:4377387
 12:04 am on Oct 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Two months ago I sold my main business. It was a website that depended 100% on free Google traffic. We had owned the site since 1995 and after I visited a conference and found out what Google wanted to see to rank well, it started making money in 2001.

Over the years we tried everything we could to generate additional traffic outside of the organic traffic from Google. In our sector the ROI was just not there and we were literally throwing money away. So we just sat and happily watched the money come in. And boy did it come in. Google LOVED us.

We knew that the income was essentially a gift and tried hard to not ramp up our monthly spending, but these things happen. You always seem to want more as you make more without thinking of what would happen if the money stopped coming in. That's just human nature.

So we kept chugging along and bought our dream home in the Wine Country. Our bills increased as we advanced our lifestyle and things were groovy. Yet I always felt strange about our income stream. I always felt as if I was not in control. Of course I was not in control, Google was and I allowed it.

I allowed the free income to continue. Who wouldn't? Google had us by the you-know-whats and I allowed it. But I had many sleepless nights fretting about our rankings, and I began to check our keywords way too often, almost to the point of an obsession. It was affecting my mental and physical health but I really had no other choice but to try and find other sources of income while maintaining the money-maker site.

So 2010 was our best year to date. We had incredible rankings for top keywords as we had for many years, but for some reason, we were exceptionally successful that year. We had not become totally complacent, we had developed other websites, but none of them made close to the money we were making.

Then came Panda. The time I had feared for over 10 years had finally arrived and Google no longer loved us, they liked us, but the heavy petting of the past was over between us. Our income dived by 45% which was tough to swallow. My wife and I talked it over and we decided to sell the business/website. We were fortunate enough to find the perfect buyer and we were free of our Google lust shortly thereafter.

Now I can sit back and read the reports of Google being evil and Panda being some sort of horrible conflagration beset upon the unknowing public and shake my head.

Panda should be a lesson for EVERYBODY that depends on traffic from search engines. If you depend upon free traffic, you should know that it WILL go away at some time. It may take 10 years, it may take a month or a minute, but it will go away, at least a portion of it will and there is nothing you can do about it. Sure you can try whatever remedy you read about here and other places, and they may work, but you are still getting free traffic that can go away at any time. Do you really think that 10 years from now you will still be getting free traffic?

I watch people complaining that they have families to feed and a mortgage to pay so how could this happen to me? Well, ya know what? You have nobody to blame but yourself. It was FREE money and it ended. You allowed it to begin and to end just as I did.

I apologize if this seems harsh, but sometimes a smack in the face is more helpful then a sympathetic pat on the back.

Our next business will not depend on any search engines to be successful. It'll be our hard work that either makes or breaks the business, not some damn algorithm. So goodbye Google and like Douglas Adams, said - So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish, or in this case, money.

 

wheel




msg:4378114
 9:06 pm on Oct 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

We do and our combined strength should be put to use IN FAVOR OF ANOTHER ENGINE to split the traffic.

You first :).

I'm on the gravy train until I'm kicked off. I'd like it to be different, but realistically, it ain't going to be - because nobody will go first.

Maybe someday I'll robots.txt block Google. But not right now.

Robert Charlton




msg:4378134
 9:58 pm on Oct 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

our combined strength

Let's get real. Using the number of AdSense sites as a very rough indicator of say, who "we" might be... and I realize that there are lots of other commercial web enterprises that don't run AdSense... rough estimates of a year ago put the number of AdSense sites at c1.5 million.

Also, rough estimates of a year ago put the number of sites on the web as something like 150-million to 200-million. So, we're talking about maybe 1% of sites perhaps in a pre-"we" ballpark... ie, before we consider Panda.

Panda hit maybe 10-20% of sites on the web. It's very likely that more of these sites affected by Panda were AdSense or commercial sites than non-commercial.

I think we can say that the number of AdSense sites affected by Panda was likely larger than 1% of 1% of the sites on the web, and probably less than 100% of 1% of the sites on the web. This again is a rough order-of-magnitude kind of guesstimate... and it doesn't include other algo factors, ad display effects, etc... and it is a jump in logic. Not all Pandalized sites were AdSense, I'm sure. I'm just trying to get a very rough numbers.

Also, let's keep in mind that for every site that went down, another site went up. I'm not saying I like all of the results I see when I search, but I am saying that "we" is likely to be an extremely small percentage of the webmasters on the web.

PS: I should add to the above that several of my favorite sites on the web are entirely AdSense and affiliate driven, and they continue to rank at the top of the serps.

netmeg




msg:4378149
 10:50 pm on Oct 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

The bottom line, as I see it, is that it doesn't matter if you think Google owes you traffic or not. Google will do what Google will do, and there's not one damn thing any of us can do about it. There is no coalition of webmasters and SEOs; if anything, this item (and others like it) prove definitively that for any twenty people discussing it, you have at least 15 different viewpoints. There is no webmaster uprising - at least not in the foreseeable future - because, as has been mentioned before, for every one that loses position, another one rises. If there exists any entity that can have an effect on Google, it's not us.

So Google will do what Google will do, and you can't control it, but you can control what you do. You can diversify into more than one niche. You can build other traffic sources. But at the very bottom of it, if we're really being honest with ourselves, if we can't find a way to live (and make a living) in the current Google world, then we have to ask ourselves if we shouldn't be doing something else.

I still do offline business. And I'm moving into various mobile-related areas. While still keeping my sites, and even expanding them. Because if I get hit in any one area, I still have to pay the bills. So far as I know, nobody ever got rich off of bitching about Google. Regardless of how much they might deserve it.

whatson




msg:4378173
 12:11 am on Oct 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

Well actually its more like for every 100 that lose positions a few rise.

We are doing all we can, in analysis, and identifying how to recover, or give google what they want. But we do need our own equivalent of some sort of union or FCC.

koan




msg:4378174
 12:12 am on Oct 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

I still do offline business.


I remember reading a saying here that if you want to make a living purely online, before you lose that day job, be sure to reach about double the earnings you need to maintain your current lifestyle, because one day, you'll probably lose 50% for no apparent reason. With Panda in 2011, I think that saying has been proven its worth. Also, if you're successful, instead of cranking up that lifestyle dramatically, or increase your business expenses too rapidly, you should be saving for a rainy fund.

diberry




msg:4378176
 12:38 am on Oct 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

The idea of us all blocking Google bots one day has a romantic appeal, but I suspect it would actually please Google. Fewer sites to crawl and rank = shrinking expenditures = more profit, and no loss because end users probably wouldn't notice the difference. And even if they did, it wouldn't necessarily cause them to stop using Google.

Leosghost's idea of linking freely and ignoring all Google's silly rules (as in, rules that don't benefit visitors or sites) has a lot of merit. IMHO, it won't solve anything, at least not quickly. But a lot of Google's rules really do (whether they intend this or not) force you to give up pursuing alternative traffic sources, increasing your dependence on Google traffic. The more you play by their rules, the more dependent you become.

AFAIC, no one in this thread has posted a "solution." I don't think there is one, unless by some miracle the govt steps in and splits Adsense from Search or something. Because despite our combined power, at its most generous estimate, we don't really have a way to use that power to bring Google to the bargaining table. At this point, only the govt does. MSN is moving aggressively to take back what their anti-trust suit practically gifted Google last decade, but even they are enlisting the DoJ's help to do it. No one else can make a company that big do anything it doesn't want to.

minnapple




msg:4378178
 12:58 am on Oct 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

I am following travelin cat's direction, looking for the next phase of my career. I moved into the internet gig 12 years ago after 16 years in another industry.

Nothing lasts forever, change is the only thing you can rely on.

Reno




msg:4378179
 12:58 am on Oct 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

we don't really have a way to use that power to bring Google to the bargaining table. At this point, only the govt does.

The benefits going to intelligence sources that are derived from a cozy relationship with Google cannot be overstated. Google is doing for the gov what they simply could not do for themselves ~ the people would not allow it. But having deeply personal profiles assembled by Google into a digital database is ok, because 1] hardly anyone knows about it; 2] those who know about it have no influence; 3] many of the rest don't care one way or the other; and 4] everybody knows Google does no evil.

So don't look for any serious intervention anytime soon ~ there is too much at stake and too much to lose if the status quo were to change. On the iritation scale, from the government POV, the unhappiness generated by Panda is about the same as a flea on the back of a bull elephant, which is to say, less than zero.

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

docbird




msg:4378182
 1:08 am on Oct 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

Fighting talk here interesting

Time for a search engine by webmasters (for webmasters?...)?
- or what other ways to do battle with the Borg?

I notice link to Blekko info at top of the page here.
So there's a wannabe Borg buster. Complete with jargon like "slashtags" and "content farms", so clearly not for regular users.

ak_web




msg:4378183
 1:10 am on Oct 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

This is one of the funniest thread I ever read on WW ))

The guy lost the battle. Other sites (competitors, incl. google.com) won - simply because they are still in business.
And now the guy pretends he is smart because he understands the traffic nature and the business reality ))

No way man. You lost. You're the looser.

"I apologize if this seems harsh, but sometimes a smack in the face is more helpful then a sympathetic pat on the back."

[edited by: ak_web at 1:44 am (utc) on Oct 23, 2011]

incrediBILL




msg:4378184
 1:19 am on Oct 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

Because despite our combined power, at its most generous estimate, we don't really have a way to use that power to bring Google to the bargaining table. At this point, only the govt does.



Sure you do.

But it would take major sites like news sites, facebook, twitter, groupon, etc. to agree to join to make a difference. Heck, just getting facebook and twitter to play along for a few days would be enough to get Google's attention. Add a few major news sites, Yelp, etc. and it would easily hit the evening news and gain national attention.

Let's call this mythical protest "Occupy Google" - simply cut them off from crawling a few major sources for a few days, redirect inbound links from Google to Bing to show surfers alternate places to surf, maybe even slap "NOINDEX" on a few million pages for fun and start reducing their index. Sit back and hope it goes viral and lots of small to medium sized sites join the fun. The net result would be everyone using Bing in the interim because of the redirects and maybe Bing ends up growing it's share of search in the process.

It would be a hoot.

Convincing site owners to give up their Google traffic, even for a day, and I would think it would take a week or more to make Google pay attention, now THAT's the problem.

People have to be willing to bite the bullet and make a short term sacrifice in order to make any long term changes of this magnitude and if Google doesn't take the hint, they would have to be willing to do it again and again until the message gets driven home.

We are the web, Google is NOT the web, and we deserve more control over how our data is being used.

Example, I should be able to disable screen shots without disabling snippets, Bing does it right, Google refuses.

It's OUR screen shots, our copyright, and tying them to snippets is completely ASSinine.

Not to mention displaying full copyrighted CACHE pages is opt-out, not opt-in, but I digress...

[edited by: incrediBILL at 1:21 am (utc) on Oct 23, 2011]

diberry




msg:4378185
 1:20 am on Oct 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

@Reno, the govt doesn't care about Panda and there's no reason they should. What they should look into is not so much the algo but how Google's using it in an anti-competitive way that harms consumers. That's what anti-trust is all about.

But whether they will or not... I don't believe Google is quite as cozy with the govt as you do. There's already been an anti-trust hearing and now the IRS is auditing them. These are signals of something. It's very likely Google will mollify the govt without anything improving for us, and that'll be that - it usually is. I'm just saying the govt is our ONLY chance of real change because - and this is important - MSN is the only competitor poised to take back a big chunk of the market, and they can't, because they got slapped by the govt all those years ago and can't use every tool available to win.

That's why it's essential that Google get a similar slap. Think of it as a -50 from the DoJ. ;)

I'm not saying it will happen. But change IS the only constant. Somehow or another, Google won't always have this much power, because power always comes and goes.

But we'll always be at somebody's mercy, if not Google's, and that just part of how it works.

feeder




msg:4378186
 1:20 am on Oct 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

Like travelin cat and minnapple, I think it's been fun for the past ten years, but there are more lucrative fields to sow elsewhere.

If Google doesn't eviscerate your content now, it's surely only a matter of time.

mojomike




msg:4378188
 1:36 am on Oct 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

I rarely post, I am always reading. I found this thread amazingly amusing. It's rather simple, the lack of true business sense, how could anyone think on depending on the free traffic provided by google. Maybe I am lucky, I have a few top ranked sites, panda did nothing to me.

But what I did is what all good business managers do. I looked to make sure that my traffic flow was well balanced. Yes I bought print ad's in the industry's that I have web sites. I've bought ad's on portals, I bought radio time, and I even bought cable ad's. It was part of the business. Heck I think my biggest expense is print ad's ( they work ).

While it's fine that I got top ranking, I don't depend on it. Based on Jan. to Sep. I don't think that Google, Bing or any other engine represents more than a total of 40% of my traffic. So if I lost them ( Bing, Google, Yahoo ) I still have a consistent 60% left over.

The goal is to be well rounded, never depend on one traffic lane as a source of your income ( in fact, take a moment and learn from the auto industry and try to copy them.) Yes it does cost, but be assured, the results over time will make life profitable and less stressful.

Also, Google is a business, they provide a service, it's a good service. So what if they run the game, there are multiple players, it changes with time, Ford at one time owned the game and he lost it.

Also, they have the right to run it as they see fit, at the end of the day, it's the consumer whom will choose and dictate where they surf for answers. funny thing to note, Bing is a search engine that feels better when surfing, so maybe the trend is already changing.

travelin cat




msg:4378190
 1:44 am on Oct 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

ak_web, you come in to this thread with only 22 posts in seven years to insult me? I'm honored.

mojomike




msg:4378191
 1:46 am on Oct 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

It would be a hoot.

Convincing site owners to give up their Google traffic, even for a day, and I would think it would take a week or more to make Google pay attention, now THAT's the problem.


No it would not, the index would adjust itself and deliver the results.

if you took all the print news media and the CNN's and had them taken off google, they ( google )would not give a crap.

All the blog's would report the news, and at the same time, google would end up penalizing those boycotting sites ( don't forget that 1 of the algo's signal is up time and the ability to venture into the web site. if that breaks on purpose the engine might lower your ranking, which at the end of the day is another revenue source ) LOL, didn't webmaster world do this every now and then, I bet the result's changed and recovery took some time ( I understand that it also got some positive industry results )

at the end I would love to see people do this, I'll enjoy the traffic.

still love ya increibill

ak_web




msg:4378193
 1:48 am on Oct 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

travelin cat, "I apologize if this seems harsh, but sometimes a smack in the face is more helpful then a sympathetic pat on the back."

feeder




msg:4378202
 2:29 am on Oct 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

Paul Carr wrote a good article. Many publishers are starting to turn their back on the web, because providing free content does not pay.

Now Can We All Agree That The “High Quality Web Content” Experiment Has Failed?

"As any wildly profitable app developer will tell you, the web is a great marketing tool, but it’s on dedicated portable devices that the real money, and attention spans, are found. A smart publisher looking to launch a new magazine today — focusing on business, technology, or just about anything else — would be wise to develop it specifically for e-readers rather than wasting more money chasing the dumb eyeballs of the web"

tedster




msg:4378203
 2:33 am on Oct 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

The part of travelin_cat's story I really appreciate is the fact that he KNEW there was a flaw in his business model, and that eventually the house of cards could/would collapse. That's a whole different disposition than assuming all is well... until it isn't.

indyank




msg:4378206
 2:58 am on Oct 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

Also, let's keep in mind that for every site that went down, another site went up


You are right bit it doesn't have to be a 1:1 ratio. It could even be that for every 10 sites that went down, one site gained. Sites like wikipedia, amazon and cnet were model sites for Panda (the guideline doc. uses them as examples) and those kind of sites might have gained at the expense of 100s of sites.

But whether Google needs to be regulated, is it realist to expect them t be regulated and if yes, who will do it is a big question by itself.

Incredibill says that if popular sites like facebook, twitter and the likes combine together, they could succeed to an extent in making Google to pause and think. But Google is making popular sites or brands as examples. So these popular brands might not choose to group together unless they have something else in mind.

Someone else here suggests that we webmasters combine together to have our say with google. A few others say that U.S. or Europe or the respective countries should support its people by regulating Google.

There is another interesting example which i felt like quoting here - It looks like sites in Pakistan are having an issue with adsense eCPM and a google employee from Pakistan has replied back to them on FB saying that he will look into it and do whatever is possible from his side by reporting it internally. It is an interesting thread where people even suggest politics as a cause of it.

But all these expectations of regulating Google might or might not be realistic and we wouldn't even know the timeframe, if it were to happen. The best choice as some people here pointed out is to do what you can do from your end and not to promote or credit the likes of Google for everything as it isn't going to help you but them.

Google has a clever business model where they are supposed to be giving away "free tools". Bit it isn't the case as there isn't anything free. It is "free" only when something is given to you without any expectation of benefit from their end. People need to think twice whenever something is offered to them as "free". Be it "free tools" or "free software". These kind of providers are very clever people (you might even call them evil if extreme cleverness is what evil is supposed to be) as they mask their benefit from the receiver and double benefit through popularity.

wheel




msg:4378207
 3:10 am on Oct 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

The only thing that can make Google pause now would be something that would impact it's income. Webmasters banding together to block Google for a day, everyone at Google goes to work 9-5 just like any other day.

lawman




msg:4378209
 3:21 am on Oct 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

As a lawyer and not a pure internet marketer, I probably don't qualify to comment. However, although I realize free money from organic results, I rely on several other avenues to attract clients - referrals (more free money), radio, and yellow pages. I spent several thousand dollars to find out the TV thing didn't work for my niche.

I will say that for certain keyphrases I don't dominate the serps like I used to but for others I still do. Internet traffic is very important, but I wouldn't go under if it disappeared.

ak_web, you come in to this thread with only 22 posts in seven years to insult me?


Is being called a "looser" an insult? ;)

iamlost




msg:4378210
 3:23 am on Oct 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

I enjoyed the OP; thanks, travelin cat.

Given the mindset of many in this thread I have to wonder how many actually have run a B&M business or truly think of their website as a business? How many can in three sentences or less articulate their business model, similarly their revenue model? Within 10-seconds of being asked.

I know from reading here and elsewhere that many consider the following as a good long term business plan: 80%+ traffic via Google Search, 80%+ revenue via Google AdSense, 80%+ metrics via Google Analytics (other 15-20% via Google Webmaster Tools, Google Trends, Google Insights for Search, etc.). Frankly folks, that says that not only are you in a one company town you are working for the company.

Which is not necessarily a bad thing. Many many webdevs have got rich off the Google Machine. But the sense of shock or abridged entitlement that permeates posts both in this thread and over the years in many others would be amusing if it were not for the underlying anguish.

I grew up in the Canadian north, one company towns are not a new concept, nor is the shock of residents when the employer, i.e. mine, mill, shuts down. In almost every instance it should not have been a surprise, often a mine would open with the understanding that it had a life of 20, 30, 50 years; yet when the one or two year notice of closure would come the response would be nearly identical to posts in this thread.

I am an older fellow who has been involved in several B&M businesses as employee, manager, or owner. Perhaps that has helped since I moved online. Regardless, I listened to many WebmasterWorld members who advised diversification of traffic and revenue (which reinforced my own notion but added a web slant), to incrediBILL who advised and provided (between the lines) the basics for whitelisting and bot bouncing that minimised scraped duplicate content, etc. and ad infinitum. There is wisdom in this place for those who are willing to partake. Thank you one and all.

The Internet is more than the World Wide Web, the Web is more than Search, Search is more than Google... indeed a cogent case can be made that Google is a (major) minority of search; just because you and those you know get 70-80-90-100% of your optimised for Google traffic from Google does not mean that everyone else does or even that most do.

Yes, Google is an easy (relatively) traffic default; yes, AdSense is an easy revenue default; yes, Google supplied metrics are an easy analysis default... BUT... why in heavens name would one base a (long term) business on the exact same defaults as everyone else?

travelin cat did so; travelin cat long recognised the potential pitfall; travelin cat worried unto obsession; travelin cat tripped into a relatively small pit and decided to get out; travelin cat was fortunate to apparently get out well. And, it must also be said, that travelin cat apparently did very well over the years courtesy of Google.

To those that stay in the game please remember the statistics:
* for every page that Google returns for a query there are several hundred others that are almost as good and thousands to millions of others that Google could promote out of quasi-supplemental index if it decided. There are few 'givens' for small-medium enterprises in search results and a hades lot of competition ready to replace each. You need to earn each result placement anew every query.

* given the size of the Google data set every algo change is going to adversely affect a significant absolute number (if fractional percentage) of sites undeserving the hit. And similarly miss a significant absolute number (if fractional percentage) of targeted sites deserving of being hit.

I get 20-25% of my traffic via Google and 20% of my income via AdSense. I truly appreciate Google. However, I also do not partake of all that they offer nor base my entire business future on them. It would be sooo easy to do so, just not wise.

Note: less you think that my Google traffic is low because Google doesn't love me, not so. My sites have seen a steady increase in Google traffic for a decade. However I have also grown non-Google traffic for much of that period such that Google has been less and less in percentage while still increasing in absolute numbers. And no, it has not and is not easy.

I build my business. And groan when things go wrong, often things out of my control. Such is life. And life goes on.

Reno




msg:4378219
 5:14 am on Oct 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

I don't believe Google is quite as cozy with the govt as you do.

I'm getting a little off topic here, for which I apologize, but just to make the point:

I totally agree that ONLY the gov has the power to reign in the 1000 pound gorilla that has become Google. And yes, I'm sure we've all read about various federal agencies looking into Google business activities.

The problem is that the intelligence agencies work outside of much of the official government supervision. For example, the pentagon / intelligence agencies "black budget" is in the multiple tens of billions, and they don't have to report one penny of it to the public.

So other governmental agencies can bluster all they want, it will make no real difference on what happens behind closed doors. If anything, it helps Google because it makes it appear that they are being "chastised" and thus the issue is settled, when in fact, the relationship only deepens.
Consumer Watchdog published a report, "Lost in the Cloud: Google and the US Government" [PDF], that highlights Google's relationship with NSA and claims the search giant has also 'inappropriately benefited' from close and secretive relationships with other government agencies.
Read the... Full Article [networkworld.com]

From the referenced pdf above... PDF [insidegoogle.com]
"...as a repository and a funnel for vast reservoirs of private data on Americans, Google also has clear social and legal responsibilities for protecting the private data of its users from unwarranted intrusion by government agencies. How well Google manages this obvious and profound conflict is largely a mystery: the company's relationship with US intelligence and law enforcement agencies in key areas — including government surveillance and cybersecurity — remains shrouded in official secrecy and beyond review by citizens and watchdog groups, most members of Congress, and other policymakers..."


Conclusion: Google and the spooks are in bed, and the love affair will not be ending anytime soon.

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

econman




msg:4378310
 2:10 pm on Oct 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm beginning to understand that many people are confused by the use of my term "free money".


I suppose you could use the same terminology in the opposite direction: Google get's to crawl, store, analyze, summarize and "use" the content of millions of websites for "free" (they don't pay for the content, merely for the infrastructure and software used to acquire this free content).

I don't think people are confused so much as troubled by this terminology, since it implies that we should all be grateful for whatever traffic crumbs the Google God is kind enough to throw us from time to time.

I suspect one reason why this sort of terminology and reasoning bothers some webmasters (and the term "gift traffic" has the same problem) is that it implies that we should all be very grateful to Google giving us this wonderful free gift of traffic, without which our websites could not exist, or at least not survive economically.

But the truth is more complex, and the "gift" analogy isn't a good one. We are participating in a symbiotic economic relationship with Google -- one in which we can't exist without them, and they can't exist without us (collectively).

The key to understanding what's so frustrating and risky about this symbiotic relationship is that Google has enormous market power, and we don't have any.

To repeat: the core problem is not that it's a symbiotic relationship, it's that the relationship is so lopsided -- all of the market power resides with Google, because there are millions of websites on the internet, and yet there are just a handful of entry points.

In any given niche there are typically tens or hundreds of competing websites, no one of which has a large share of the market.

On the other side of the symbiotic relationship, there are very small number of participants (Google, MSN/Yahoo, and perhaps Facebook depending on your niche) that effectively determine which websites thrive and which ones die. Of course, this is generalizing, and the specifics depend on your niche; in some cases bookmarking and repeat visitors are a huge factor, which changes the balance of power significantly.

Economics tells us that this sort of extreme disparity and concentration of market power is not a good thing for society, and certainly not for the businesses that are powerless to do anything about it.

Depending on your business plan, and the niche/market in which you are operating, Google may the pinch point through which 80-90% of all the traffic flows. (Yahoo, Bing, Facebook, bookmarking, etc. account for he remaining 10-20%).

If you are in that situation, and especially if "buying traffic" through Adwords or the like isn't a viable economic possibility (e.g. you aren't selling anything, or the amount you can charge for advertising is less than you would need to pay for the traffic), the situation can be rather frustrating, but there isn't much we can do about it, except try to hang in there in hopes of being one of the survivors.

wheel




msg:4378311
 2:17 pm on Oct 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

Webmasters see it as a symbiotic relationship. Google sees it as a parasitic relationship. And they're the host, not the fleas.

diberry




msg:4378321
 2:59 pm on Oct 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

@Reno, I see where you're coming from, and you're right about the coziness on that level. I was thinking more of just search/Adsense, which I think the govt *could* slap without compromising Google's other govt activities... and why is Google into those activities, if not for profit? But the bottom line is: there's nothing WE can do.

Except what I've done over the past year:

--Replaced Gmail with another web-based provider that doesn't have a search engine (and has a privacy policy protecting me from them)
--Replaced Analytics with a paid stats program
--Replaced Feedburner with FeedBlitz for email lists (which actually asks people why they're unsubbing, which helps me tailor my news lists to build them, which is protection if G ever dumps me)
--Never used Adsense much, but removed it from the few little undeveloped sites that still had it
--Unverified all my sites in WMT, am not sure what else I can do to remove that info.
--I still use Google Affiliate Manager because I can't really replace this one item one of their stores sells. The minute they stop carrying it, I'm so out of there.
--Use other search engines for my own browsing, except to check certain keywords at times, which I do through a browser I use for nothing else + a proxy.
--Clear my cookies immediately as soon as I log out of any of my Google accounts that I still use for Aff Mgr, AdSense (only because you must have an AdSense acct to use Aff Mgr, and YouTube). Meaning, I'm only ever logged in briefly, and the cookies are there for maybe a couple of minutes.

I'm sure G will hold on forever to its records of what sites I own, but they'll have no way of knowing if I've sold some or all of them. From now on, they'll get nothing except through their bot. Or close to it - I've done all I know to do.

That is one practical thing we can do.

incrediBILL




msg:4378325
 3:36 pm on Oct 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm sure G will hold on forever to its records of what sites I own, but they'll have no way of knowing if I've sold some or all of them


Google is also a domain registrar, they know you sold them too.

MrSavage




msg:4378332
 4:06 pm on Oct 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

What's going to happen is MS is going to do an exclusive with a big brand who doesn't require Google. At that point Bing can say, exclusively on Bing. Money will make people do anything. I'm sure a few newspaper type sites might be willing participants in that. I don't see why websites will be any different and in fact you see Facebook using Bing. The next level of that is simply having a brand site blocking Google bot and deindexing completely. I see that day coming.

whatson




msg:4378340
 4:34 pm on Oct 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

I am surprised MS hasn't done more to take advantage of this situation. Why not a big headline in MSNBC "Google Broken"?

diberry




msg:4378341
 4:34 pm on Oct 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google is also a domain registrar, they know you sold them too.


Just curious: they're not my registrar, and I use privacy guard to keep my name/info out of whois. You're saying they still know who owns every domain? How? And if that's the case, then we didn't need to use their services for them to connect our sites, and all that stuff about spreading sites around different C-classes was a total waste of time.

What's going to happen is MS is going to do an exclusive with a big brand who doesn't require Google. At that point Bing can say, exclusively on Bing. Money will make people do anything. I'm sure a few newspaper type sites might be willing participants in that. I don't see why websites will be any different and in fact you see Facebook using Bing. The next level of that is simply having a brand site blocking Google bot and deindexing completely. I see that day coming.


That sounds very plausible. Someday, somehow, Google's competitors are going to shift things around. The only obstacle is that, having been slapped with anti-trust, MSN has to play nice, but Google can still play dirty. But they're definitely moving aggressively against Google right now - and Apple, in the pad/phone market that didn't exist when MSN was found guilty of predatory practices.

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