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|Implications of Google 1 on your organic rankings|
A very strange thing happened to me 2 days ago. I have a Pandalized site which has been crunched over the past 8 months.
Imagine my joy to check the keyword phrase and find my site back. Wow, a Panda recovery? Hang on, not so fast. I am smart enough to wait.
Next day, check stats. What? About the same level of traffic. No Panda recovery. How can this be? I see my site back in the SERPS with all the phrases that it once ranked for.
Today I can clearly confirm there is NO panda recovery. However, I for one just figured out the situation and this is the key moving forward.
The reason my site showed up is because I +1'd it. Yes, I sign out of my Google account and I see what all of you see. That's not my site because it's on page 100 or whatever. In other words, the search ranking of my site has changed or been customized to my +1 choice.
Ramifications? There is a big situation if you can think it through. It says to me that organic traffic has no consistency and your site has no "actual" ranking. It's all based on your Google profile and your +1 choices.
So, if a person chose to +1 related sites on the same subject as mine, it puts me even further behind. The reason? Google says okay, you +1 that site, so you like it, so that site will show up higher in your version of Google rankings.
Some of this may have been covered but certainly not clearly laid out as in an example I've just described here. You need to think about this. If you are a small site, guess what? CNET as an example has probably about 10,000 more +1's than you do and those people will see CNET and not your site.
This is a reality check. It's not negative but it's a huge eye opener for me. Yes I'm getting tired of this madness. Yes the organic search traffic is getting put through the grinder and then some. You ranking really means squat now imo.
Also I would like to point out that you need to clear your cookies and internet history in your browser to see where you really rank.
I think what I'm saying is that your ranking is a moving target. More than ever and clearly evidenced by my example. The ONLY reason I see my site is because I +1'd and because I'm on page 1, somebody just left page one. For each person out there doing a +1 on a site that's not yours? It would appear, unless there is something I'm missing (entirely possible), I'm suggesting that "actual" or "true" organic rank is nothing but a joke. At least it may quickly becoming a joke. It would appear to me that SEO in Google is taking an interesting turn.
I will also point out that Google appears to be a moving target lately. That may be an understatement.
Another take on this might be that checking "your rankings" is becoming a farce. As the +1 embeds itself over the coming months or years, I'm talking game changer. Now of course I'm jumping to conclusions slightly, but consider what happened to my search. Yes we agree Google results are becoming more "personalized", however my example points this out with a sledge hammer. My site is Pandalized!
+1 is another failure from google just like google buzz. It never really gained any real traction but they will stick with it for a little while more so they dont have to admit they put out another crappy product. They tried to tap into the social media world with this but they are not facebook and they never will be facebook. Google seems to have a huge identity crisis with what they are...the worlds biggest search engine. They can never compete with twitter and facebook. There google plus is the same idea as facebook except with an admitted bonus of the circles.
Facebook became popular because it was BETTER and completely DIFFERENT than myspace. It was not an improved copy of myspace.
I do wonder if a "clicking this +1 button will alter your search results" type of disclaimer would be appropriate. Wouldn't happen, but at the same time does anyone, non power user say, realize that their clicking of +1 of a site or sites in a given niche is going to affect their future search results? I'll be totally honest, this is something completely new to me.
I should also add that I have since tested on other IP's, browser, etc, just to confirm that simply logging into my Google account triggers my pandalized site to show up on page 1 where it used to be. Additionaly, my web history is paused and always has been.
Straight up, I'm in a bit of disbelief over this. I would like to think the search manipulation will be dialed down, but who knows. I mean imagine my excitement to think that I was back in business, right where I left of pre panda. I mean it was strange. On some of my keyword phrases, my site was like stuck on the bottom of page 1. It was like a cooked result. It was a lot of queries, stuck in that same position. So I guess we could say, that +1 will cook your Google results? Seems that way to me.
Personalization for signed in users has been around for a long time now...+1 is just one more tool used towards it.
I wonder how many are putting the +1 button on their sites.
* What're the points for having it or not having it as compared to twitter & Facebook-like?
* Would it make a difference to the site's ranking?
* Could Google punish a site for not having this nasty and slow loading +1 button? Any evidences?
I may be forward thinking a bit too much, but this +1 is giving me a creepy feeling. Does nobody here click +1's? Has anyone looked at how doing this impacts the SERPS in their browser? It's like herpes? You carry that baggage forward when using Google search? Ah, you can always sign out but which casual user ever does that?
It's quite possible that this is well beyond any personalization. Yeah yeah more personalized results has been around with Google. Yeah they might be using that more and more. However, the big game changer might just be that +1 button that you click.
My gut feeling is that the +1 is helping take the SEO out of Google. If people don't "get it" now, it might sink in soon enough. It appears to me that a +1 click means that you will see less unknown sites and more of that +1 site in your search inquiries that are relevant to that site.
It's odd in a way. You need to get seen to get people to click that +1, yet you can't get those people to click the +1 because they can't find your site in the SERPS.
Google wants a people run search result engine? It's almost here in my mind. SEO that? Good luck.
Excellent post MrSavage.
This is just one more step in google's push to make organic an unworkable solution. If you want to play, you have to pay.
Yes, it has been around for some time, but the intensity of the anti-organic push has intensified with recent development such as +1.
I think there is an even more alarming aspect to this trend. It's one thing to destroy tons of businesses and individual webmasters. It's a whole new level of evil to systematically destroy anonymity and privacy of users.
Now with more and more people logged into google, more and more people completely lose any privacy they had before. They are no longer a shared IP address, they are specific individuals and each and every query is being tracked and saved for eternity. What they will do with this data, is unknown.
I think the best chance of combating this is education. Make sure people understand that when they are logged into any google service that they are being tracked and that google never deletes data.
These days even a top ranking will not guarantee targeted traffic. Your top ranking will only be for a subset of the total users and even then it will be buried under places,news,videos,etc....
Panda was minor when compared to all the other changes we are seeing. You can beat panda. You can still get a #1 ranking. But, now even that is of limited value.
It's ok though. The arrogance and evil will eventually go too far. There has never been a better opportunity for another search engine to gain traction. Competition is good for everyone, the monopoly is only good for google.
>>you need to clear your cookies and internet history
sorry this is a bit OT, but, cookies i understand, however 'internet history' why would i need to clear that, are you sure about this, can you explain why please?
topr8 The Web history in your Google account.
I keep Web History paused.
Personalized results have been showing for a long time - at least a year, maybe two. This is nothing new. Even if you log out you can't entirely escape it.
(And of course, a site as big as, say, CNET, would get more +1 clicks, which are votes in favor, and of course, that would eventually reflect in the rankings for the people who have plussed it. Why would you think differently?)
There are very few absolute rankings anymore (as a factor of all possibilities) - and for what it's worth, that's true in Bing too.
I think with respect people are missing the point here. This goes well beyond personalization. I would suspect that most people here have no clue what role clicking a +1 plays on what they see in future Google results. That's the point here. From what I see, it essentially means my certain search results are now cooked.
I don't put this in personalization category. Based on what happened to me, this is about putting specific sites in almost set places in results that I see. This is far more substantial. In a sense to me, it's like a virus. So if what I'm saying is true about how sites you've +1'd get cooked in the future results you get back from Google. When does that change? When do those site get removed if ever? You have to log out and that's it?
People miss the point that when that +1 site enters page 1 where it otherwise wouldn't be, you've just eliminated somebody's ranking.
It says to me there is soon to be no absolute as mentioned by netmeg. People checking their rankings or wondering geez, why am I at #2 or #3 but not seeing great traffic? You have your answer. Clearly. Lots of people post saying they have top position but the traffic isn't reflective.
I think this is far more troubling if people give it a bit more thought. Cooked search results are not working in our favor, unless of course you get a good chance of getting those +1's or if you've actually put the +1 on your site.
I'm open to hearing theories as to why my Pandalized site shows up in my results, yet is nowhere to be found on a clean search. This is a clean test in my opinion. The only factor that I see is that I had previously +1'd my site. That's it.
isn't it kind-of similar to backlinks, though? when the SERPs were heavily weighted in favour of backlinks the little sites had no hope of overtaking the big boys with their six billion backlinks (especially when they spent thousands of pounds buying extra links too)
at least with the +1 button the playing field is more level. in theory, good little sites should be able to get +1 clicks a lot easier than backlinks -- because the only people who can drop backlinks are other website owners, and these days they always want something in return. there are no such problems in getting +1s. it should be a lot easier. (but you do have to plaster your site in +1 buttons, of course, to increase your chances.)
With respect people are not missing the point ..it is merely that you have just noticed something that many of us have been aware of for a long time ..including the +1 effect..Not everyone is wondering why they rank as they do .and +1 does not explain all of it..
Nor does everyone use such simplistic methods of determining their ranking either from different IPs or from those who are signed in or out of Google properties..
It is personalisation, whether or not you personally put it in that category is entirely dependent upon your ( apparently ) very narrow and simplistic definition of personalisation ..
As to why it happens ..the reasons have been given many many times here ..maybe you have merely missed the threads, or not put together the pieces given in them to make the picture that explains this ?
|I would suspect that most people here have no clue |
As Netmeg says this "info" is nothing new to many of us ..bears, popes and woods comes to mind..
And as always, the more sites one has under ones control,the wider their "niche" spread, and the more machines and distinct IPs one has available to use when researching the what and why and how of serps ..
The more one reads here and elsewhere , the wider one reads, and the less one posts..the more one understands and the less one is taken unawares and the less one is "surprised".
On a small scale, an easy way to observe what happens is to visit more than one cyber-cafe regularly and check some keywords ( nor necessarily your own )..or when you visit friends, ask to use their machines for 5 minutes, or phone and ask them to search for you and to send you screen caps ( logged in and out etc , +1'd or not )..maybe offer something in return..
Serps are like the Zen "glass of water", how it tastes depends on who you are, where you are, and how thirsty or interested in water etc you are at the time..
I guess facts or testing is far more accurate than speculation. I'm not hearing a lot of factual observations about personalization. Generalizations. If people choose not to have a +1 on their site, then obviously there isn't a belief in what I'm saying. Is that ignorance? Not sure.
MrSavage, Are you using google reader? Haven't you seen the "Buzz" before?
What you see was the primary objective of +1 even when it was introduced, and it wasn't like the Facebook "Like" where you get to share and discuss it on a social platform.
@indyank, so +1 will cause your Google search results to be more like your collection of bookmarks? It seems like digging a hole, the more you use it, the deeper hole. The less light you see from the outside.
I think there are 2 camps. One thinks that +1 isn't important to include on their site. The other thinks that +1 clicks will embed their site in that persons future Google searches. I guess there is the 3rd camp which knows nothing about +1 and how that might influence or embed itself in a persons browser.
|One thinks that +1 isn't important to include on their site |
Because not many click on +1 as they do on "like". So they found it to be not worth its "weight" on a page.
|The other thinks that +1 clicks will embed their site in that persons future Google searches. |
There is nothing to think...it was the definition of +1 and whoever knows about +1, should have known it. What else do you think was +1 introduced for?
|I guess there is the 3rd camp which knows nothing about +1 and how that might influence or embed itself in a persons browser. |
With respect, I think you are just out of this camp.
There is yet another camp i.e. users who are not webmasters, and they still wonder on what is in it for them or why should they click +1...as they don't feel the joy of sharing like they do on FB...
[edited by: indyank at 5:54 pm (utc) on Nov 6, 2011]
And there is a 4th group who think that the more you let yourself be dictated to by Google and their +1 etc ..the louder Google's voice will be..
As brinked said further up, +1 is not doing very well ( despite Larry's efforts to push it )..and if webmasters don't go putting it all over their pages in the hope of rising in the personalised results of those foolish enough to join the Google +1 data snoop..then +1 will die a natural death..
Although Larry may always decide to make it compulsory for adsense publishers etc ..and then trumpet the "take up" surge in the wider media as evidence that it was popular ..
But apart from using such coercion..+1 has about as much traction as a raindrop on a vertical highly polished window..
Don't use it..don't place the buttons, tell everyone you know not to use it..and in a year from now..you'll wonder why you worried about it.. it will be like a memory of a wave ..something that was hyped to be so big, so powerful ..but was really only a ripple..and then was gone ..
edit ..I agree with indyank ..you want to worry about social affecting your traffic? ..worry about facebook..
This is by no means to be taken as an endorsement of facebook;-)
There is really only room for one Social network site.
the whole idea of them is to be able to find your friends.
People don't want to go looking on 3 or 4 sites fro friends.
Google should just stick to search (and Maps and earth!)
@leosghost, I hear what you are saying. Do I hope that this whole +1 thing goes away? Sure, especially if it's going to act like a virus in a persons search results.
I just read a bit of the Google +1 faq and yep, it's about as clear as mud. To me it appears to act like somewhat of a virus. It speads to your search results and your friends. As they said, if you trust it enough to +1 it, then your friends would benefit by knowing about it also.
But the real kicker is whether anyone should or could afford to NOT include it on their pages. I didn't just start working on websites this year. In other words I wouldn't be posting about this if it wasn't alarming. If you could put the +1 on your site, and then suddenly get put into a higher ranking because of it, you're telling me it's wise to boycott it? People are professionals because they make money and if this is a way of clearly gaining an advantage, how could one be so stubborn?
In my opinion, the Google +1 vs Facebook Like is like comparing nuclear weapons vs. machine guns. I'm merely pointing out an observation of how a click of +1 has changed my Google search results. Perhaps people aren't reading the OP clearly enough, I have no idea. Maybe a lot of people know everything already. No idea. Not trying to sound condescending, but it certainly appears that there is a collective shoulder shrug at what I've observed. That's fine, but that response doesn't change how I feel about it. My site was cooked, yes, was cooked into my search results.
Are some people in here confused between google+ and +1?
It certainly seems so given the OP.
Or am I confused?
Why not just use a separate browser to look at rankings? I use Google Chrome in Incognito mode when I want to do a simple search of my sites rankings. I use Firefox for everything else. If you don't want to see skewed results use another browser to look at rankings.
That is not going to change your IP..
I don't mind trying to make my original point more clear.
The concern is the diminishing (seemingly) ranking of websites in Google. I certainly don't feel the same way now as I did say even a month ago. I ask myself, what is the point of wasting time checking this site and that site's ranking when it appears that a persons history of clicking +1's will alter their page 1 results?
In the near future the posts about "my page is on page 1" or "my site that ranks #3", etc will all be very misleading. That thread about Google SERP changes in a given month are losing more and more credibility. If Google chooses to skew search results to such a level of customization/personalization, then we can't speak in general terms anymore about our rankings or positions.
At this point when I'm reading somebody talking about where their site ranks, I'm certainly a heck of a lot more skeptical. As netmeg clearly said, the "absolute" ranking is dying off. We're #1? Really? Not when I'm signed into my Google account says I. You're actually #12 sorry. That as an example.
Aside from getting +1 clicks, a lot of people could be getting shut out without even realizing it. No algo at work there.
Just think, clicking the +1 on my site has taken it out of Panda hell. That's powerful stuff. Consider the fact that a neutral search (not logged into my Google account) wouldn't find my site unless you dug deep deep into the search results. For all intents and purposes my site doesn't exist in Google. This isn't any ol website. This is a Pandalized site I'm talking about. The +1 click appears very very powerful. I would welcome any counter examples or similar stories if people can be bothered to test for themselves.
I just wanted to add that it's almost irrelevant if you log out of your Google account, change your IP, clear cookies, etc. The point is that your potential customers are not logging out of their accounts and most likely most of them don't pause their history. The obvious trend is toward more and more people participating in clicking +1's. It means the pool of people using unbiased, uncooked results is getting smaller and smaller. The greater the Google+ integration, I foresee less and less benefits from a clean, unbiased search result position. There simply will be fewer and fewer people getting a "clean" view of Google search results.
Said in a more simple way, there is quickly becoming millions and millions versions of page 1 search results for each and every search phrase.
I think you are overestimating the amount of people using +1, but I see what you are saying. Even without +1 Google remembers your search habits.
|The obvious trend is toward more and more people participating in clicking +1's. |
=unproven extrapolation from only using your own experience ..
+1 is not "catching on with average surfers" the trend is the opposite, and no I'm not going to cite sources, although there are very many that have noted that +1 and Google + ( separate but linked things) are not catching on at all :), finding sources is what search engines are for..sign out before searching though :)..
thus, your assertion
|there is quickly becoming millions and millions versions of page 1 search results for each and every search phrase. |
=unproven extrapolation from only using your own experience ..
And to reiterate my point from above ..only if more and more people put +1 buttons on will it have any chance of "gaining traction"..and at the moment it isn't gaining any traction..so don't put the +1 on your site(s) ..and don't click them anywhere else ..:)
and stay away from google +..and tell everyone else to do the same ;-)
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