| 5:31 am on Dec 1, 2011 (gmt 0)|
It is dated. Every day I get a bunch of results and I say to myself "are you freaking kidding me? All the resources and I cant get relevant results for this search?"
It seems like google cares more about people trying to game their algo rather than offer exact matches when they are needed.
I was looking for a dermatologist that was open on sundays so I searched for my zip code and this is what I got: [i.imgur.com...]
How in the heck does google determine tacobell, a hair salon and clothing stores to be what I need? I am getting sick of all the search engines.
| 5:40 am on Dec 1, 2011 (gmt 0)|
The only thing dated is webmaster conception of the algo. It has been changing a lot, including recognizing that citations come in social sharing scenarios, that citations hidden in JS and other technologies are being digged out and many other changes created just to the citation part of the algo. Then there's the part about content, what parts of content are more valuable. The list goes on and on.
| 6:11 am on Dec 1, 2011 (gmt 0)|
@martinibuster... well said. I might lean toward Bing these days, but Google is not dead... and old sites do not necessarily outrank new sites purely on link history.
Webmastering is an art/passion that can make money, and there's impatiently chasing money sans passion. Put the passion into the product---things can happen. Forget Google's armor, make that website a better spear! But is google "dated"? I think not...
| 6:34 am on Dec 1, 2011 (gmt 0)|
That's the way I see it, too. What is dated is the surviving idea webmaster idea that keywords + links = rankings.
| 6:51 am on Dec 1, 2011 (gmt 0)|
It may be that Google is not "dead" and it may be that webmastering is more complicated than it used to be, but the example that brinked provided says much. We are shown 6 results on a very specific query, the top 3 in the Ads position more or less match; the 3 free are not even remotely close. Anyone clicking the top 3 Ads is making a payment to Google; anyone clicking the bottom 3 garbage results pay nothing. Jeez, I wonder who benefits from that? It's a no brainer.
| 8:41 am on Dec 1, 2011 (gmt 0)|
I agree brinked, those results say much, though less about motivation, and much about the algo. I will explain.
The OP's example is a good demonstration of how this isn't the same old algo. What's throwing off the query is the phrase "sunday hours" in conjunction with dematologist. I am guessing there is not a satisfactory answer for the query when the word "dermatologist" is in it. So Google is throwing out the word dermatologist.
In cases where a logical answer is missing Google tends to remove part of a query in order to guess at user intent. If X doesn't exist in an X, Y, Z query, Google is then guessing results for Y and Z will satisfy, since a query with X doesn't have a satisfactory answer. A better answer would be to tell you there are no dermatologists open on Sunday. But there may be no website to scrape to give that answer.
|Q: Is there a dermatologist open on Sunday in Jupiter, Fl? |
The above is the ideal answer. But Google isn't capable of replying no. So it's trying harder to answer the question since it can't simply say no. It probably doesn't help Google answer your question that the number one ranked site for "dermatologist jupiter fl" doesn't even post business hours on their website (indeed, many of the Jupiter, FL dermatologist sites might not even post hours on their sites- which might be an opening someone may want to plug. :)).
In the absence of logical results for your query, Google is removing the "dermatologist" part of your query. Unfortunately, that word is not a descriptive word, like an adjective, it's essential to the query. What Google is doing is blending in results for Sunday Hours 33458 [google.com], and hoping those will make sense for you, since the original query does not have a satisfactory answer. Sunday Hours 33458 is a query that Taco Bell ranks high for, which is why you are seeing it there.
That's not an example of the algo being dated but an example of the algo thinking outside of the links and content paradigm and second guessing user intent to provide an alternate set of results that perhaps under different circumstances gives what Google feels is better results.
I see this in image search when I search for specific colors and patterns in a specific fishing lure brand and model. The top results are usually what I'm looking for but they are sometimes mixed in with partial matches, the right lure but wrong pattern or wrong color. Or the wrong lure but right pattern and color. That's the algo second guessing what I am looking for. Sometimes works, sometimes doesn't.
In the OP's example, Google is second-guessing user intent, thinking outside of the links and content bun. Unfortunately this results in Taco Bell showing up for a dermatologist query. It's funny but also a good example for tearing down the algo to illustrate what it is doing.
| 12:51 pm on Dec 1, 2011 (gmt 0)|
IMO is google that doesn't follow a common sense pattern in this particular case. You see the visitor typically enters the search criteria with a priority of words in mind. Therefore the sequence of words entered should be a factor for the results right after filtering general words for the first pass.
So in this example the "sunday hours" comes after dermatologist. If you enter just dermatologist the results are way more relevant. And you would expect google to give more weight to the dermatologist keyword - first and not common word - than the plain hours (that's where the failure comes from what I see in this case).
Now I don't think the algorithm is by any means dated. But changes they did - maybe in the past couple of years? - have completely ruined simple searches. To see what I mean repeat the exact same search using double quotes around the dermatologist word.
|33458 "dermatologist" sunday hours |
Which is very consistent with what I experience for lots of other searches. I have to enclose the main keywords in double quotes for the spider to pickup a priority. I would expect the auto words arrangement that happens without quotes to take place if there is a spelling error. But if the keywords are valid it should operate the same way as it did few years ago.
| 1:16 pm on Dec 1, 2011 (gmt 0)|
What I find most interesting in that example is that the algorithm for ads looks like it's spot on for the search, but not for the non-paying results. Hmm.
| 1:24 pm on Dec 1, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|What I find most interesting in that example is that the algorithm for ads looks like it's spot on for the search, but not for the non-paying results. Hmm. |
I've noticed there also seems to be a correlation between ranking in organic results and how much a business spends on Adwords. Just an observation, and opinion. I could rant based on personal experience, but I'll stop while ahead.
| 1:24 pm on Dec 1, 2011 (gmt 0)|
In a nutshell. Why is it that Google don't apply their 'AI guesswork' and 'defining user intent' crud to the AdWords results? I wonder why, I wonder why...
| 1:29 pm on Dec 1, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|it's spot on for the search |
Yes I can see lots of conspiracy theories coming up about it, although there are different data centers for the adwords much smaller I would think.
What I find more interesting though are the discussions going on for setting up the right keywords and right phrases and structuring pages and content while the spider brings up irrelevant results for many traditional types of search.
Still I am not sure if there are search plugins for browsers to take advantage of this and utilize some aspects of the google advanced search, that would be quite popular at this time.
| 2:29 pm on Dec 1, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|In a nutshell. Why is it that Google don't apply their 'AI guesswork' and 'defining user intent' crud to the AdWords results? I wonder why, I wonder why... |
If I was Google, I would do opposite. Use Google Adwords as source of data for machine learning algo, which will be used for organich search.
Every website is "earning" virtual money through backlinks, good usage metrics, low bounce rate, unique content etc. Each website have some set of pages and keywords, which they want to "advertise" in organic search and it's AI doing it for them. You can control priorities by your internal link structure, tell Google which pages and keywords are more important for you.
Panda-like site wide demotion is caused by reduction of this virtual budget for some reason. People have partially recovered from Panda thanks to deindexing many pages. It's like removing useless campaigns from AdWords, not spending your budget on them.
This may also be explanation to traffic shaping phenomenon.
| 3:45 pm on Dec 1, 2011 (gmt 0)|
I could understand Google dropping some terms when people type in full sentence questions like
"how many dermatologists are open on sunday in my zip code 33458?"
But dropping words when the query is only four words long? It doesn't make any sense to me. I was trying to see if anybody had made a treadmill desk with my brand of treadmill. I was searching for "<brand> treadmill desk". Google was dropping "desk" and just showing me results for "<brand> treadmill". How is that helpful?
| 4:25 pm on Dec 1, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|But dropping words when the query is only four words long? It doesn't make any sense to me. |
Did no one read my post? The reason it dropped the word is because there was no satisfactory answer with the word dermatologist in it. I wrote several paragraphs and used several examples to show how that works.
Scroll up, read my post again. The answer is there. Reading conspiracy theories into it is burying your head in the sand. Bury your head in the sand and you won't understand what is going on.
You can experience a hurricane in Florida and bury you head in the sand by saying God is punishing Florida. Or you can seek to rise above stone age level reasoning and seek a real answer. I explained in detail the answer for why Google returned those results, I even linked to an example to showed why Taco Bell is ranking. Do I need to restate it?
[edited by: martinibuster at 4:58 pm (utc) on Dec 1, 2011]
| 4:49 pm on Dec 1, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|there was no satisfactory answer with the word dermatologist in it. |
Come again? then why there is with this query?
|33458 "dermatologist" sunday hours |
which is identical apart of the double quotes surrounding the critical keyword and tells the spider "I want the results to contain this exact word".
Ok, what google should do to help the average joe who performs simple searches is to display what really searched for. In other words a short description, the same way when you misspell a word, it brings up the search criteria used and gives an option to search again for the exact "incorrect" keywords. Because what is doing right now - by default - is neither efficient nor accurate.
As of the conspiracies outcome it was expected, although some may understand the sponsors section vs the normal results, they may still think that is exactly the same mix of code/storage that's responsible for it because of the results they see.
| 5:05 pm on Dec 1, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|Come again? then why there is with this query? |
Because, as I stated before in the post I asked you to read again, there is no satisfactory answer for the query, even with quotes, so it is removing the word dermatologist because Google is incapable of telling you that there are NO dermatologists open on Sunday. So it's throwing it out in order to give an answer.
You might as well Google 33458 "goo-goo foo-foo" sunday hours [google.com]. It doesn't have a satisfactory result, so Google removes the part that does not have an answer. Click on the link, review the similarities between the two results. The answer is right there and I have restated it for you.
[edited by: martinibuster at 5:08 pm (utc) on Dec 1, 2011]
| 5:08 pm on Dec 1, 2011 (gmt 0)|
Well Google hires very bright people, apparently... :)
|How in the heck does google determine tacobell, a hair salon and clothing stores to be what I need? I am getting sick of all the search engines. |
| 5:10 pm on Dec 1, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|If Google mixes up search results more then their users will see more variety. Variety is the spice of life. |
Variety isn't the spice of everyone's life, and it's probably not part of the business model.
| 5:13 pm on Dec 1, 2011 (gmt 0)|
When searching for a dermatologist that opens on Sunday, which would you you'd rather have as second choice:
A, a dermatologist open Monday to Saturday, or
B, a hairdresser, clothes shop or restaurant open Sunday.
I think it's far more likely to be A. And so do Google, otherwise the AdWords would show B too.
| 5:19 pm on Dec 1, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|otherwise the AdWords would show B too. |
No. The answer would be yes IF there were advertisers advertising on the phrase without the word dermatologist in it. No one is advertising on B.
Two different systems. Two different inputs. Two different results.
[edited by: martinibuster at 5:21 pm (utc) on Dec 1, 2011]
| 5:20 pm on Dec 1, 2011 (gmt 0)|
Unless there is a difference of results because of location, when I put the quotes with the OP's original query I get lists of dermatologists in the area, phone numbers, addresses etc.
In particular the 5th result on the list I see here, contains all the keywords the OP entered. (as a side note the 4th entry, is this thread g picked it up real quick).
Finally if I type in your example:
33458 "goo-goo foo-foo" sunday hours
No results found for 33458 "goo-goo foo-foo" sunday hours.
followed by an explanation the query was modified showing results without the quotes which is helpful in this case.
| 5:41 pm on Dec 1, 2011 (gmt 0)|
enigma1, I was getting different results. The results just changed and now this thread is ranking in position four. LOL
I agree that Google should not throw out the word dermatologist, and I even state that in my post above. It should not be happening. But for the reasons stated above, there are no satisfactory answer for the query so Google is removing the word.
Forcing Google to keep the word (by using quotation marks) forces the results, but they're not helpful either. The first result is a directory and it doesn't show hours. The second result is a dermatologist in a different city (Jacksonville) and it too does not state business hours, and so on. This is why, in my opinion, Google is stripping away the word Dermatologist, because as in googoo-foofoo, there is no satisfactory result by including it.
It's dumb, I agree, but that is what is going on.
[edited by: martinibuster at 5:48 pm (utc) on Dec 1, 2011]
| 5:46 pm on Dec 1, 2011 (gmt 0)|
Whats missing here is that Google places USED to show several ways to narrow the results. All those tools to narrow the results seem to be gone now, at least I can't find them using several queries.
- Show Places Open now? (I assume based on hours entered by owner)
- Show places that take credit cards?
- Show places within 5/10/25 miles of your location?
All those options are gone...
IMO, while this seems like the OP is registering a valid complaint about the worn-out-aged-old-school Google algo, its actually justifying the need for more indexing options in the places or maps listings.
| 5:55 pm on Dec 1, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|here is no satisfactory answer for the query |
Nature abhors a vacuum. Obviously, there is, and will always be, plenty of room for people to supply content that is more specific or even slight on-target for a query. There's no end to mining the long tail.
| 6:03 pm on Dec 1, 2011 (gmt 0)|
The dermatologist search is interesting to do with Google's new Verbatim Search [webmasterworld.com] The list of "Sunday: Closed" snippets is more obvious and the Taco Bell red herrings are no longer in the mix.
| 6:22 pm on Dec 1, 2011 (gmt 0)|
This has been a very useful exercise that allows everyone to see firsthand how Google search is currently functioning, and I thank the mods for allowing it to go forward.
We see that putting the prime word in the first spot is still bringing back 3 irrelevant results at the top (NOTE: I am not taking into account this thread's position in those SERPs):
dermatologist sunday hours 33458
We also see that when quotation marks are put on "dermatologist", the results are pretty darn good:
"dermatologist" sunday hours 33458
So we see that Google's algo is capable of doing the job, but unfortunately at this juncture, it's just not working nearly as well as it should, and is yet more proof that they don't "know what we want even before we know what we want".
Unless of course, the OP really wanted a burrito...
(Hey, can't fool Google!)
| 7:03 pm on Dec 1, 2011 (gmt 0)|
Hey guys. I did not intend to hijack this thread. The example I used is one of many on a daily basis that frustrates me. It does not frustrate me because I cant find what I am looking for, I am a proficient searcher and always find what I am looking for online. If it exists, I will usually find it.
The verbatim option as suggested by tedster does cause a much better match in results, but how many every day searchers even know that?
My problem was google removing the main keyword which was "dermatologist".
This frustrated me because I knew of several dermatologists in my area that were open on sunday and they are easy to find using bing or googles verbatim search.
5 years ago there was more spam to sift through in the results, but things were still faster to find. Today, there is less spam but it is also harder to find what you are looking for. I know this because as time has gone by, my searching skills have steadied or even improved but the results have been less accurate.
| 7:15 pm on Dec 1, 2011 (gmt 0)|
Re: the tacobell and salon search results.
I've been experiencing the same thing over the past couple of months but even now for the past few days, many very important keywords are being dropped from my query but I know that pages exist that describe all keywords I'm looking for. Verbatim actually displays deplorable results sometimes so that is kind of hit-and-miss. For years, they have been providing me with great search results but I'm also seeing some really weird, unrelated things at the very top.
Most of my searches recently have been very technical. I remember always getting results from experts-exchange and I thought they were pretty horrible pages, but one thing those results did give me was ideas on how to better refine my queries. Now I can't find anything programming-related unless I specify site:example.com (a great programming resource). Google has become so dumbed-down it is embarassing.
But to the main point of this thread: I don't think it's necessarily old web sites vs. new web sites. True, it was easier to get links without asking for them back in the golden years, but we've moved on. I strongly believe that link rot is a real factor in rankings; Don't forget that a 'honeymoon' period also exists for new sites which old sites don't benefit from.
If anyone took the time to read some of the great posts in the link development forum, you might actually get a few ideas on how to build up some good backlinks if you deserve them. Most of these techniques require some real work, but the possibility is still there to build yourself some valuable links to pages with great content.
| 7:21 pm on Dec 1, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|This frustrated me because I knew of several dermatologists in my area that were open on sunday and they are easy to find using bing or googles verbatim search. |
Next time, try the Yellow Pages ;-)
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