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Big brands do not have the upper hand - Matt Cutts
Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4554058 posted 8:41 pm on Mar 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

Big brands cannot do whatever they want. They look at value add, etc. Faster, better, better UI, content, etc.

It is weird, Google does take action on big sites and big sites often do not like to talk about it. So it happens a lot. [seroundtable.com...]

Live blog interview with Matt Cutts.

How are members seeing those quality signals playing out in the SERP's compared to "smaller" brands.

 

TheOptimizationIdiot



 
Msg#: 4554058 posted 1:33 am on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

Do we have any evidence or citations (not from Google) to back up either set of hypotheses?

The biggest thing I have as evidence is the SERPs and results from sites I've worked on.

I know if I was trying to generate more revenue from ads through organic SERP manipulation, as soon as a site indicated it could pay for even one ad I would drop them from the organics, because even that single ad would drive the price up on others, and by showing sites that had not shown indications they could pay for advertising in the organic SERPs, I might a send the non-paying site(s) enough traffic to be able to pay for ads in the future, which would drive advertising prices up higher.

But, I don't see the preceding, because I know and have worked on sites that both pay and have not ever paid for advertising with Google, and their ranking fluctuate based on other factors, so I cannot see the correlation between ad payment and organic SERP placement.

It's an "easy escape" to blame Google and their greed when a site doesn't rank as well as we'd like, but I don't see it in reality. Especially since like I said, if they were really trying to manipulate advertising revenue from organic SERPs, in my opinion, they should be doing the exact opposite of what they are, since once a site indicates it can afford an ad, in a bidding system like they have, that drives all ad prices up, which increases revenue, so giving a site that's indicated it can afford to pay a "freebie" doesn't make much sense to me.

Ersebet



 
Msg#: 4554058 posted 1:42 am on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

If Google wanted to make money by manipulating search, they'd push the brands down and force them to buy Adwords
But big brand almost always buy adwords, small biz no buy most times. Google says no more traffic to small site, buy adwords and price upcrease for everyone.

Google no manipulate of site 2 site basis (you buy ad today, organic traffic up tomorrow) but broad term. Broadly brand buy adwords, small business no or very little. Google put brands on top 10 and small biz need to buy ads. To get brand traffic you buy ads and become brand. Only sure that Google make more money every 3 months and many site complain.

TheOptimizationIdiot



 
Msg#: 4554058 posted 1:45 am on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google says no more traffic to small site, buy adwords and price upcrease for everyone.

Small sites can't afford to pay for ads, that's why they don't pay for ads. You don't try to take money from those who can't afford to pay you, because you won't ever make anything.

You give those who can't afford to pay "freebies" so maybe they can afford to pay you in the future.

(you buy ad today, organic traffic up tomorrow)

When a site indicates they can pay for an ad and you really want to make more money from organic SERPs by driving sites to advertise, why would you send the sites that indicate they can afford to pay more/any free traffic? It makes no sense to me.

Which makes more sense?
"Hey, you indicated you can afford to pay for advertising so I'm going to send you more free traffic..."

"Hey, you indicated you can afford to pay for advertising so I'm not going to send you any free traffic..."

* What makes sense to me personally is: not sending any free traffic to those who have indicated they can afford to pay for traffic. Sending free traffic in hopes they will drive ads prices up because of their new higher levels of free traffic seems a bit futile. It would seem to me, once a site has indicated they can afford to pay, free traffic would make it so they would need to advertise less than they could likely afford to if they absolutely had to pay to be seen. (I guess I can't see how a site with deep pockets (big brand) would increase ad spending nearly as much if they were number 1 or 2 organically as they would if they were number 15. And, if they had to outbid other big brands to even be in the ads on page 1? Hmmm... seems like that would be maximization of revenue generation to me; much more than giving them free rankings.)

And not thinking: somehow those who have not indicated they can afford to pay for advertising --and very well may not be able to afford advertising-- will suddenly, miraculously start to find themselves with extra liquidity now that they have less free traffic and begin paying you, thereby driving the price of advertising up in the process.

[I know, I know, I'm an idiot and illogical. See my user name for details.]

Analogy:
Would you ask the panhandler who lives in a cardboard box for $1000 to build a new site, or the guy driving the Mercedes? Which one can actually give you the $1000? You don't go to the panhandler who needs a handout to survive and hope they drive the price of something up, you go to the ones who show and indicate they can afford it.

Most of the logic about showing brands in the top 10 as some scheme to drive advertising revenue up seems totally backward to me.

Ersebet



 
Msg#: 4554058 posted 3:05 am on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

When a site indicates they can pay for an ad and you really want to make more money from organic SERPs by driving sites to advertise, why would you send the sites that indicate they can afford to pay more/any free traffic? It makes no sense to me.

Because every1 push to advertise to get more traffic organic. Small business generate trillion of dollar, small business but has money.

Most of the logic about showing brands in the top 10 as some scheme to drive advertising revenue up seems totally backward to me.

But theory useless. Theory be tested in serp and google can know what serp more profitable, very fast and change to maksimize profit.

TheOptimizationIdiot



 
Msg#: 4554058 posted 3:13 am on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

Because every1 push to advertise to get more traffic organic.

I know of more than one site that hasn't "pushed to advertise" to increase organic rankings, they hire people like me instead, and organic rankings have increased. Not everyone turns to advertising or spends more on advertising when they don't rank as well as they used to. Sometimes they hire people who know more than they do.

Like I said previously, I've worked with sites that don't advertise at all, and their rankings/traffic have increased (recently), which makes your theory of having to advertise to increase ranking false. I have one site that ranks above a major national brand and other "major brands" in the niche it's in that's never spent a dime on advertising.

If advertising and ranking were really related, there's no way it would rank where it does (#1 for over 5 years), because there has never been a single dime spent on advertising it, but the brands in the niche spend a ton.

I would be out of work if I couldn't increase rankings without increasing spending on advertising. I'm not out of work by any stretch of the imagination. But it's not easy either.

I know it's simple to "blame Google" and I've wanted to myself, but then when I come to my senses and realize there's still 10 sites in the top 10 most of the time, I figure out what I need to do to rank better and it's not "spend more money on advertising", really, it's not. I have not once thought or given "buy more advertising from Google" as advice, because thinking it will increase organic SERPs is BS, but I have repeatedly increased rankings on sites without any AdWords spending.

I'm sorry you're obviously having difficulty. Things aren't as easy as they used to be at all and they're really over the head of many people, because you really have to understand the algo and where things are right now to rank organically without "spamming" these days. It's very difficult to do naturally and organically (meaning without churning and burning sites or 301 redirecting from one to another or using the other "tricks" to manipulate rankings for a short period of time.)

But theory useless. Theory be tested in serp and google can know what serp more profitable, very fast and change to maksimize profit.

Please cite a source.

I'd love to be able to review your source for the theory being tested and Google adjusting the SERPs solely in an effort to make more money. Thanks!

[edited by: TheOptimizationIdiot at 3:32 am (utc) on Apr 14, 2013]

Ersebet



 
Msg#: 4554058 posted 3:30 am on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

You have lot time, do not read carefully what say and use many logical fallacies. I have job and family.

But theory useless. Theory be tested in serp and google can know what serp more profitable, very fast and change to maksimize profit.


Please cite a source.

I'd love to be able to review your reference for the theory being tested and Google adjusting the SERPs in an effort to make more money. Thanks!

I cannot cite source for what Google can do by test serps. Easy done: serp one this many ad click, serp 2 this many ad click, serps 3 this many ad click.

I would be out of work if I couldn't increase ranking without increasing spending on advertising, but I'm not out of work by any stretch of the imagination. But it's not easy either.

Even if all true (maybe false or u advertise ur service) is anecdotal evidence [yourlogicalfallacyis.com...] . And you use [en.wikipedia.org...] . No one said that every1 on top 10 has to buy adwords. I say before "Google no manipulate of site 2 site basis (you buy ad today, organic traffic up tomorrow) but broad term." No argue more, useless and irritating. This truth, not insult.

TheOptimizationIdiot



 
Msg#: 4554058 posted 3:37 am on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

You have lot time, do not read carefully what say and use many logical fallacies.

I have to read carefully what you say, usually 3 or 4 times, because your English is very poor.

Even if all true (maybe false or u advertise ur service) is anecdotal evidence

Nope, don't take or need clients. Work for the ones who know me and myself. No services to advertise or promote or anything along those lines.

No argue more, useless.

For sure.

You're convinced you're right instead of looking at things rationally and logically.

As far as logic and I go, my logic professor wrote the textbook for a number of major universities and colleges and I had his 6th highest score in 30+ years of teaching at the collegiate/university level, so I'm fairly sure, unless somehow you're in the upper 99.99 percent of logic scores which I'm about positive you're not because it usually means we'd be in some type of agreement, you're the one who's being illogical, not me... I might not be a statistician, but I've got logic fairly well handled ;)

I'd give you some other aptitude test scores from when I applied for jobs, but this isn't really the place for it. I'm sorry you think differently than I do. I wish you the best in life and search rankings.

[edited by: TheOptimizationIdiot at 3:49 am (utc) on Apr 14, 2013]

Str82u



 
Msg#: 4554058 posted 3:39 am on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm just jumping into this conversation (again) but I've "felt" that as little as a year ago I could pay for Adwords for a info site one week and see an organic increase the next; I was literally running ads only every other week and to good effect (I say). When we stopped ads for a month we slipped back to pre-advertising traffic levels (did that about 3/4 times). It's been a year without any ads but we're doubling last years numbers with that site so there have been no plans made to continue that "experiment", just to keep working.

Nothing about that whole experience got us beyond a certain traffic level; it wasn't a continuous growth, just a temporary inflation. Also, I can't honestly say it wouldn't have gone further than that by spending more but think that there's a fine line that makes AdWords ads viable backlinks to some degree.

Ersebet



 
Msg#: 4554058 posted 3:49 am on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

Str82u, google say that what user do at site matter but when buy google ads get top traffic and user statistik like bounce r and time on site is good. When user stat very good, google send you good visitor that no leave right away. Nice circle, for normal site start with adwords.

How google make more money like 25% on adwords each 3 months?

(My teacher no write book and even if did I no say here.)

TheOptimizationIdiot



 
Msg#: 4554058 posted 3:53 am on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

google say that what user do at site matter

Where? I haven't seen that...

The only thing close is in a video and that's advice to make your site compelling enough to have visitors bookmark it and return to it. That's all. Please, show me in their support or a webmastercentral video where they give anything specific about bounce rate, time on site, page views or anything else like that having an impact on rankings. I really haven't seen it and I would like to if it exists.

bounce r and time on site is good.

What you say here says your information is not goodand you don't understand what rankings are based on. (I don't blame you). I'm sorry so many "so called SEOs" present bad information, but they do.

Bounce rate is too noisy for Google to use in isolation. Click-thru, click back/research, click again is possible (and likely).

Time on site is something they don't know for every page on every site, so it doesn't scale to the web as a whole, which means it's not something those who know how they do things would see them even trying to use.

What matters more than either of the preceding is when the search ends.

If a user spends 10 seconds on your site and they don't search for the same query or a related query again, then it was a good result. Even if you didn't pay for advertising.

If a user spends 30 seconds on your site and they don't search for the same query or a related query again, then it was a good result. Even if you didn't pay for advertising.

If a user spends 120 seconds on your site and they don't search for the same query or a related query again, then it was a good result. Even if you didn't pay for advertising.

I had one page with over a 90% bounce rate for months on end. It was always in the top 3, not because of the advertising, but because people found what they were looking for and stopped searching after they landed on the page.

It's the same way the site I talked about being at number 1 for over 5 years stays there. It's not advertising or "big brand" or anything like that, it's all about making the search end.

It's too bad you don't understand the way rankings are determined better and won't let me explain anything to you.

Again, best of luck and best wishes.

[edited by: TheOptimizationIdiot at 4:05 am (utc) on Apr 14, 2013]

Str82u



 
Msg#: 4554058 posted 4:04 am on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Ersebet - if you're simply saying that a site owner could use AdSense to improve their engagement stats like bounce rate and pageviews to improve the site's organic rank, I can accept that; traffic stats are traffic stats whether you pay for them or not.

@TOI - I get what you mean but believe G uses bounce and time on site to some degree, not just when the search ends; to agree though, time on site doesn't really count if your site tells the user what to do and they leave your site immediately to do what they were told (ends the search). No argument TOI, just playing devils's advocate; we have one of those 90% bounce rate sites too and it IS the top two and three listings depending on the query... it ends searches.

EDIT: removed a word.

TheOptimizationIdiot



 
Msg#: 4554058 posted 4:08 am on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

Sure Google are also including some smaller sites into the commercial searches too, but the brands are getting more and more coverage...

I can't disagree, but I do have to wonder how much of that is based on their visitor behavior?

It's an interesting question I think. I've seen sites with pages that obviously "end the search" do very well, but other pages that "aren't quite it" tank, so it really makes me wonder how much is them "coding something in" and how much is "positive user signals" when it comes to brands ranking well.

(I'm sure if you've been doing this long and paying attention to queries you've seen the ones where you go, "Huh? WTF landed them on that page?" knowing there's no way they found what they wanted. Also, I've been known to do the "distracted fun time" for queries that could reinforce rankings based on behavior, like when I land on weather.com for some reason and get distracted by the "coolest bridges from around the world" and don't go back to searching for 10 mins. I'm almost certain that could send a "false good result" signal to an algo.)

...we have one of those 90% bounce rate sites too and it IS the top two and three listings depending on the query... it ends searches.

I think that's Very Important now and will become Very Very Important in the future. (I might have said it before, but I think user behavior is or will become the new links.)

Let me add a bit:
When people were talking about bounce rate being important, I kept looking at my stats and thinking "Huh? My bounce rate was 95.6% last month and I'm #2 behind the site with the EMD I wrote the information for, and you're trying to tell me if it was lower, somehow I'd outrank my own information on an EMD? I don't buy it..."

To me a low bounce rate (like so many say is important) hasn't ever been anywhere near as impactful as the search ending. In fact, I try for a high bounce rate, because as long as people don't need to search again (it should be obvious from the query) it means Google did their job and I did mine, so our ideas of "the right answer meshed together" and the searcher found what they were looking for in one click... How is that a bad result for either of us?

[edited by: TheOptimizationIdiot at 4:27 am (utc) on Apr 14, 2013]

Str82u



 
Msg#: 4554058 posted 4:26 am on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

and how much is "positive user signals" when it comes to brands ranking well
That's a tough one, I buy from Amazon but find I have to do extra research about most products because not one brand/mega site satisfies all the questions I have, they aren't complete or accurate enough, but most have some grossly bloated coded functions that can be construed as improving the user experience. Problem is that Big A gets the credit for the product search because after that I'm searching the components in other tabs to be sure Big A really has what I want (all the while the first tab/search might give G the impression that Big A and I are enjoying a coffee or something).
TheOptimizationIdiot



 
Msg#: 4554058 posted 4:33 am on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

I added to my previous post, but as far as this one goes...

Problem is that Big A gets the credit for the product search because after that I'm searching the components in other tabs to be sure Big A really has what I want (all the while the first tab/search might give G the impression that Big A and I are enjoying a coffee or something).

Exactly, and that's very difficult to "determine" algorithmically.

You click on A and don't return for the same query (or possibly even another transactional query), but do return for pieces searching around and clicking on different results looking for information, so where did the search really end?

For one (transactional), it was "the big A" and then you're back for specifics (informational), but your secondary searches could (likely imo) be informational, not transactional, so your transactional search and lack of further searching/clicking ends with "the big A", but your informational search might end on different (basically random) sites each time, which means (I would think) for a transactional query "the big A" is a favorite, but for informational there's another "favored site" determined by your specific/related (but informational not transactional) queries.

(I might not be understanding or explaining exactly, but please look at the point and how I'm thinking it could/would to be looked at algorithmically, the best I can tell anyway.)

Str82u



 
Msg#: 4554058 posted 5:03 am on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

@TOI - I had edited the post before posting it, YES, in the tablet purchase example the other tabs mentioned are the "informational" searches (highlight processor name, right click search - highlight OS, right click search).

I find that people in front of me physically don't behave that way but to confirm another thing for you, the Big A "suggestions" of what other people bought will get the same treatment and again, Big A probably got the transactional query because I'm already there... why not click into them again?

When we say "transactional", the SERP for original terms contain prices, ratings and other data. Oddly enough searching for the components like processor and OS are less pitchy and more informy (fewer prices vs. more statistics to be exact).

And in conclusion... lol ... Big A ended that search reinforcing their position on the SERP. The other searches ended as well, both rewarding and reinforcing the manufacture's positions for those terms.

PS - Still haven't bought that tablet....

TheOptimizationIdiot



 
Msg#: 4554058 posted 5:26 am on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

When we say "transactional", the SERP for original terms contain prices, ratings and other data. Oddly enough searching for the components like processor and OS are less pitchy and more informy (fewer prices vs. more statistics to be exact).

That is definitely interesting.

I've noticed fairly large differences between using and not using "in" when doing business related searches. It's like in some cases they resort to "phrase matching" where in others the use "phrase + location" for matching.

Big A ended that search reinforcing their position on the SERP. The other searches ended as well, both rewarding and reinforcing the manufacture's positions for those terms.

I personally think this has much more to do with the results we're seeing than most give credit for. I've seen a few sites from people here one way or another and thought, "wow, you think that's what I want to find instead of the brand that replaced you as a searcher? Sorry, but you're totally mistaken..."

It's really surprising how many sites are really not what I want to find as a searcher yet people rant and rave about how great they are and how Google is wrong to rank anything else above them. (IMO it's actually a bit sad they can't see it that way and realize they need to make a change, because I wish people here the best, much like the local businesses where I usually purchase "everyday products" from rather than going to major chains. But, unless they realize they need to make a change and "present the right image" as well as the right information, then there's no way I can think of to help them.)

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4554058 posted 7:02 am on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

How's brand preference playing out between geo locations. Is it sufficiently localized as a preference and are non brand players seeing opportunities here by combining perhaps a more granular approach across niche, language and location.

TheOptimizationIdiot



 
Msg#: 4554058 posted 7:14 am on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

Is it sufficiently localized as a preference and are non brand players seeing opportunities here by combining perhaps a more granular approach across niche, language and location.

I actually posted a few days ago in the update thread I got a few clicks for a Very Generic, Highly Competitive (think $60 a click to be at the top of AdWords) two word phrase I thought there was no way the site would rank for already. When I looked closer I found the clicks went to "phrase + specific location" pages from the generic phrase query when the site had a page that ranked very well for "phrase + location" as a query, and it must have been outranking some of the "big players" based on user location when it showed for the generic phrase queries from a specific location.

So, yes, I've seen enough through granularity and localization to rank over some big websites for major keyphrases when there's a specific location page that's highly ranked for a generic query from the specific location.

[edited by: TheOptimizationIdiot at 7:46 am (utc) on Apr 14, 2013]

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4554058 posted 7:43 am on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

But how are organic brand listings playing into this?

Just a reminder of commentary from Google over recent years :

Amit Singhal Dec 2010 in reference to Google suggest: "We didn't want to introduce any bias into the mathematical modeling--our modeling is predicting, given a letter, what's the probability of completion," Singhal told Fast Company. "Most people typing A are seeing Amazon, but that probability is predicting that most people typing A are going to complete to Amazon. If you type T, most people typing T will go to Target. That's the probability model. If you add R to it ("Tr"), most people are looking for a translation system. It's actually just pure mathematical modeling."

"I've said this many times: My subjective opinion, though always true, is just my subjective opinion," Singhal says. "We try not to insert it into any of our search processes--we just stick with our mathematical models" [fastcompany.com...]

Subjective opinions express subjective beliefs about the truth of propositions with degrees of uncertainty [en.wikipedia.org...]

I think we have to take these comments in terms of the direct relationship between the algo and the search query. I don't think Google representations are explicit on indirect bias, like the number of times the brand is entered by users to underpin that brand bias, with paid listings in the marketing mix.

And, it's not just rankings that influence - surely Google suggest is an extremely strong bias connected to brand as is noted above.

What if Amazon like queries are less relevant in a localized market.

So what's happening at a localized level, say with the US and across international regions. I wonder how experiences compare.

[edited by: Whitey at 8:47 am (utc) on Apr 14, 2013]

TheOptimizationIdiot



 
Msg#: 4554058 posted 7:51 am on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

From what I've seen "brands" are not outranking highly targeted location based pages/sites. I checked and had some other people check, because I'm not from the location the site is ranking for wrt the generic phrase, and we saw location specific results in the results above major brands, not all from the site in question, but location did seem to "trump" brands.

I just checked and I'm seeing location specific results at numbers 2, 3, 7 with wikipedia (yeah, cool, it's not even a wikipedia type query) at 1, so as far as organic clicks go, most are likely to go to 2 and below. (No one I know of would click on wikipedia for the query.) The other results are the "major players" (brands), but there's definitely location specific results above them for the generic query I'm talking about based on what I'm seeing.

Str82u



 
Msg#: 4554058 posted 1:39 pm on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

@TOI, I know what you're saying about localized searches using "in".

@Whitey - the tablet example offered no local stores results/ads outside of the Mega stores in town which also were at the top of the SERP with Big A.

diberry

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4554058 posted 2:43 pm on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

This right here is one of the best pages I've ever seen on WebmasterWorld. TOI's comments on measuring "when the search ends" fill all the gaps in the "Panda is all about Exit Rate" theory. It's not exit rate per se, but whether you come back and search for the same thing again... the two metric would correlate a good bit, but while "exit rate" could be very misleading for sites that satisfy queries like "who won last night's game" in two seconds, the "when the search ends" metric wouldn't be.

I believe brand bias may actually be hurting Google, but not in a way they're going to feel for some time, and maybe not in a way that wasn't inevitable at some point anyway. Anecdotal support based on people I know in a major city who are just average surfers using the internet to shop, socialize, and be entertained:

--They Yelp to find local stuff to do, places to go. They don't think of a search engine as the right job for that task.
--They go directly to websites to shop instead of going through search.
--They hear about entertainment sites through Facebook or word of mouth, and bookmark them without ever going through Google.
--They use Google to research topics.

And the reason they give me for not using Google primarily? "All Google wants to do is sell you stuff." While Google is not directly making money by feeding you transactional sites for queries that may or may not be transactional, that is their perception.

I say this was inevitable because search used to be the best tool we had for everything, but now it's not. Yelp is a much more robust way to find local stuff of interest. Now that people understand how shopping through websites works, there's no need to look "Dillards" up in Google if you know it exists already. (Though some may unintentionally route through Google to get to Dillards, by typing it into the bar without the ".com", thus inflating Google's sense of its - and Dillards' - importance in search.)

I wish there was a way to cook up some quantified data on this. Instead of looking at stats from Google or Facebook or Yelp, just take a large sample pool of people and give them access to the whole net and a task list like, "Find a great new restaurant to go to with friends and book a table" and "Find a new humor site to enjoy anytime you need a short break from work" and "Shop for a new [whatever]" and see what they do.

ColourOfSpring



 
Msg#: 4554058 posted 5:51 pm on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google updates 500+ times a year. Sometimes they make more money after an update, sometimes they make less after an update. They do not make more every time they update.


It's not like Google debate over every single algo update in regards to bottom line profits margins. I don't think anyone is suggesting that here. However, Google - with responsibilities to shareholders, and a company that profits heavily from advertising - will most definitely debate the direction their algo updates are moving them in vis-a-vis bottom line profit margins. There's no way top management would have absolutely no say over this direction. NO WAY. They won't sit in on the minutest of updates, but they want to know which way things are going, and there's no way they'd allow the algo to move in a direction that impacted negatively on profit margins. That's just bad business.

TheOptimizationIdiot



 
Msg#: 4554058 posted 5:56 pm on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

...and there's no way they'd allow the algo to move in a direction that impacted negatively on profit margins. That's just bad business.

Exactly, and keeping visitors happy by providing the results they're looking for (whether we think there's something "better" they could show or not) is a much healthier long-term, profitable business plan with sustainability than sacrificing organic results to try and make a buck now. They know that. They've stated it a number of times. Their plan is very "long-term" oriented.

Their business is based on providing answers (SERPs) and as long as they continue to provide answers (SERPs) searchers (not necessarily us) are happy with they will still have plenty of people to click their ads without manipulating the organics or making the organics "bad" to force extra clicks on ads from people.

Their organic results keeping people happy and coming back is where long-term sustainability and profitability from the ads they serve comes from. Without the results, they become, let's see, Alta Vista, Overture, Ask, Yahoo! etc. (None of them could sustain search traffic and profitability through advertising revenue by showing ads in the results, because their results sucked, so people stopped using them even though they had relevant advertising on the results pages.)

The suggestion they need to (or would) manipulate the organic results to keep people happy and coming back to them by forcing them to click the ads is very short-term thinking and not a path I can imagine they would go down, which, as I said previously, is apparent (to me at least) in the results, because if they really wanted to manipulate the organics to make more money, Mom & Pop and those whom had not indicated they could/would pay for advertising is what they would show in the organics, not the "big brands" and/or others who have indicated they have a budget to advertise with.

ADDED: Yahoo! is about as great an example as I can think of to illustrate horrible results but great advertising being a losing long-term plan. They had a gigantic user based that was right there on their site. (#1 or #2 most visited site for quite a while). They also had both terrible organic results and relevant advertising covered. They didn't "quit" and ask Bing to provide their organics because they were highly profitable and growing/sustaining market share or making money like crazy from the ads when their results sucked. They asked Bing to do it cause even with relevant ads they couldn't make money without the organics being at least competitive.

ColourOfSpring



 
Msg#: 4554058 posted 8:58 pm on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

Exactly, and keeping visitors happy by providing the results they're looking for (whether we think there's something "better" they could show or not) is a much healthier long-term, profitable business plan with sustainability than sacrificing organic results to try and make a buck now. They know that. They've stated it a number of times. Their plan is very "long-term" oriented.


I suspect the truth lies between their official public-announced policy that you wholeheartedly and earnestly believe and the various conspiracy theories out there. As I mentioned earlier, I am very sure it's in Google's interest to split-test between what they would deem accurate result sets, and varying degrees of accuracy - even if merely to see how searchers react. Do they resort to ads? Do they go for a 2nd search? How does the keyphrase change from the 1st search? There's much to be learnt from those kinds of tests.

My second point was as the internet grows, Google's filters need to make ever more brutal decisions, with many more false positives caught in their nets. When I see host crowding results over at least 2 pages, I feel almost like Google have thrown up an "under construction" sign for that keyword - it's Google saying "we don't know really know how to give the best results for this keyword just yet, but we certainly trust this domain name".

Many visitors will accept "good enough" results because searching on Google is such an engrained part of their way of browsing online. Peppering big brand names in the SERPs will no doubt help create that "quality feel" in the SERPs.

The suggestion they need to (or would) manipulate the organic results to keep people happy and coming back to them by forcing them to click the ads is very short-term thinking and not a path I can imagine they would go down, which, as I said previously, is apparent (to me at least) in the results, because if they really wanted to manipulate the organics to make more money, Mom & Pop and those whom had not indicated they could/would pay for advertising is what they would show in the organics, not the "big brands" and/or others who have indicated they have a budget to advertise with.


It's not like Adwords is utterly valueless to the searcher - they're not simply there for Google to make money, so you can bet Google are testing - and have thoroughly tested - searcher behaviour between organic and ads, based on varying degrees of accuracy in organic. It might be in the searcher's interest to actually focus more on ads for certain commercial searches for example. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to be only focusing on organic as bringing value to the searcher. I'm very sure Google would want to shape visitor behaviour if it benefits the visitor. And if it benefits Google also, well hey they might call that a "win win".

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4554058 posted 10:43 pm on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to be only focusing on organic as bringing value to the searcher. I'm very sure Google would want to shape visitor behaviour if it benefits the visitor.

There are huge search verticals where Google may see no value at all in supporting organic searches instead steering users onto Adwords and Google assets. (There was a day when Ads would be visually separate on the page, now they merge ). Google maps is one very powerful asset for example for geo related searches. Brands typically dominate here, with Ad spend.

The trend has been that Google will eliminate organics from assets, where there is no user advantage and a commercial disadvantage to Google.

In the same manner, I wouldn't be surprised if in some e-commerce verticals we don't see the elimination of organics from the first page in favour of brands in advertising and assets. Provided they all contribute to Google's bottom line more directly. Google's not in this game to give what they perceive as a free run.

I mean why show A=Amazon [ per previous post on Google suggest ] in the organics when A can pay and the user is happy?

My speculation is that Google is positioning brands in current organics as a strategic step to forcing them, as big spenders to pay more further down the track on paid searches.

Small/medium sites where brands dominate are just not heavily enough into this game to be considered as anything more than backfill by Google.

But something big is in play with Brands, and IMO the intensity of strategic focus is firmly on them, with collateral damage likely through the upcoming major Penguin update as Google cements this direction into a final basic platform, to enact the next stage.

Matt Cutts was gracious enough to signal the areas where he believed the internet provided opportunity against brands in the OT , and has kinda signalled that competing in mature areas was gone unless a business has mega resources.

IMO for SEO's to be effective in the new realm, of small/medium business' and their sites, up against brands, they are going to have to be much better marketers, and rely less on "tricks" - such as cookie cutter content and links. The extent of consultation is going to matter much more about effective technical enablement/management, UI/service on the back of effective campaigning. And that's a good thing, because done well, it helps build brand from areas of opportunity left untouched by the big brands.

But :
@Cain1V - I see this a lot, in fact now, where big brands simply replace SERPs that really should be awarding more original and innovative companies driving great customer experience (and they are there - often simply listed below the "giants")

Food for thought.

[edited by: Whitey at 11:51 pm (utc) on Apr 14, 2013]

oliondor

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4554058 posted 10:47 pm on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

This guy should be in politics, he is the biggest online liar !

Ersebet



 
Msg#: 4554058 posted 1:12 am on Apr 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

There are huge search verticals where Google may see no value at all in supporting organic searches instead steering users onto Adwords and Google assets. (There was a day when Ads would be visually separate on the page, now they merge ). Google maps is one very powerful asset for example for geo related searches. Brands typically dominate here, with Ad spend.

I see too that. Maybe guru like tedster tell us if Google honest results or change to make more Adword money. Why advertiser and larger brand only on page one? Because dominate adspend like Whitey say? Google integrity gone sine Google make all play2pay products. No tell users, but hide fact [scroogled.com...]

This guy should be in politics, he is the biggest online liar !
World big but he very good liar, even among goodest liars. I no trust Matt Cutt, no trust Google no more.
TheOptimizationIdiot



 
Msg#: 4554058 posted 1:49 am on Apr 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

I suspect the truth lies between their official public-announced policy that you wholeheartedly and earnestly believe and the various conspiracy theories out there.

The publicly stated policy just makes more sense than the conspiracy theories.

1.) Every single search engine that's had poor organics but relevant ads is pretty much forgotten as a search engine. Even the ones that had PFI. (IOW: I have serious doubts they would follow the Yahoo! model.)

2.) It seems to me if they were going to do something along the lines of what's being suggested, the easiest way over playing some sneaky "do it while you're denying it game", would be to simply say:

We've noticed a direct correlation between the quality of sites and AdWords spending so today we've incorporated the presence of an active AdWords campaign as a "quality signal" in the main algo. This means while you have an active AdWords campaign running your organic quality score will be given a "boost" which may help you in the organic results as well.

It would be simple to drive people to advertise without any games or gimmicks or tricks or sneaky manipulation of organics or anything else. All they would have to do is announce there's a boost in organic quality score indicated by AdWords spending and they would drive people to advertise.

In fact they would likely drive more people to advertise that way than by trying to drive people to advertise with organics result manipulation "but don't tell anyone advertising will help" ever would.

BTW: I do realize my ideas are no where near as much fun as a conspiracy theory ;) lol And, if they were really just going with visitor behavior indicators and things along those line more than they did in the past, well, then the reality would likely be many sites are not nearly as important to Google's visitors as their owners seem to think they should be and that could definitely be a tough pill to swallow, so way easier for it to be a conspiracy.

ColourOfSpring



 
Msg#: 4554058 posted 8:13 am on Apr 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

The publicly stated policy just makes more sense than the conspiracy theories.


I am interested in objective truth itself rather than simply taking at face value the carefully-worded public announcements of huge corporations. It's simple due diligence, and I encourage everyone to scrutinise their words rather than just accept them. When a big corporation speaks, its words tend to refract, rather than reflect, the truth. And perhaps you find it mere coincidence, but their version of the truth - even if it subtly deviates just a little bit from objective truth - always seems to put them in a good light. However, I can only know if they are telling the exact truth or not by measuring their words with evidence. The evidence suggests that Google - in the last 12 months or so - have been much more brutal with their filtering as we have all seen, while relying on big brands as a crutch for many commercial searches where crowd hosting takes over not just the 1st pages, but multiple pages. These are a couple of examples, but there are more changes that have been well discussed here. I don't believe Google would make such strident decisions if it would hurt their bottom line. I also don't believe that such changes have benefited the searcher, but inertia is on the side of Google (just as inertia is currently on the side of Facebook when it comes to social networks) - Google don't make such strident decisions without extensive and exhaustive bucket-testing such big changes and monitoring searcher behaviour. If searcher behaviour is "sticky" after a change i.e. they stay on Google, apparently like the new results via bounce rate measurements, then such changes can be made with confidence it won't hurt Google's bottom line.

Again, why do you focus only on organic when considering the searcher? The searcher just wants a page of results. That page consists of Adwords and organic results. If Adwords gives them the best result for a particular search, why do you consider that a bad result? As I mentioned before, Google may be encouraging more Adword clicks, but the searcher is still happy. Google Shopping is moving to paid only in the UK on 30th June (has moved in the US already), so you think Google Shopping will be bad for searchers because it's paid only? Google would disagree with you. Paid results can still be good for the searcher, but they're far from being the best they could be. If Bing and Yahoo! are still far behind from delivering what you can do on a "good" level, why do you need to dial up your organic results to a "great" level when "good" makes you more money? You hold back because holding back gives you a greater profit. You hold steady on a certain accuracy level that keeps searchers and analysts satisfied that Google is still the best (and they wouldn't be wrong), and Google profit better than if you dialled organic up to "best" and organic steals too many clicks from Adwords.

The dilemma for Google is to deliver better organic results than the competition (to be the best in class), and at the same time not outshine the Adwords results (your cash cow).

We've noticed a direct correlation between the quality of sites and AdWords spending so today we've incorporated the presence of an active AdWords campaign as a "quality signal" in the main algo. This means while you have an active AdWords campaign running your organic quality score will be given a "boost" which may help you in the organic results as well.

All they would have to do is announce there's a boost in organic quality score indicated by AdWords spending and they would drive people to advertise.


TOI, seriously - if Google came out with such a ham-fisted statement, they'd be toast in 5 minutes. That's one way for Google to ruin their reputation beyond repair. It would say outright: you can't trust the organics any longer - they're pay to play. The press would be all over that. Google Shopping got bad enough press but at least Google WERE straight-up about it - they said it would be pay to play. If Google attempted that ploy to get Adwords useage increased, by "hinting" that you will rank better in the organics if you did use Adwords - well....let me just put it blandly: it would be very very very bad press for Google.

TheOptimizationIdiot



 
Msg#: 4554058 posted 1:26 pm on Apr 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

Again, why do you focus only on organic when considering the searcher?

I didn't say that.

The AdWords portion of Google is a separate group/team/whatever. So is the design team. We're talking about the organic results in this discussion, none of the others.

What I've said repeatedly is you focus on the searcher with the organics, because that's what keeps them coming back to click on your Ads, which is long-term sustainable. Once again, every single SE that has not done that or not been able to provide what the visitors are looking for in the organics is basically forgotten as a SE.

The searcher just wants a page of results.

if Google came out with such a ham-fisted statement, they'd be toast in 5 minutes. That's one way for Google to ruin their reputation beyond repair. It would say outright: you can't trust the organics any longer - they're pay to play.

If you want to make a point you really shouldn't contradict yourself.

If all the searcher wants is a page of results, then that's what they're getting whether those results are pay-to-play or not.

And, once again, Yahoo! provided "just a page of results", which included Ads and we can see where it got them. (Yahoo!'s Ads were generally better than the organics too, but that didn't really help them much, did it?)

If Adwords gives them the best result for a particular search, why do you consider that a bad result?

Yahoo!, AltaVista, Ask, etc.

The press would be all over that. Google Shopping got bad enough press but at least Google WERE straight-up about it - they said it would be pay to play.

So did everyone quit using it?

I don't remember Google ever really taking "what is the press going to say?" into account when it comes to decision making. Think, Books, Buzz, Street View WiFi Recording, etc.

Google Shopping is moving to paid only in the UK on 30th June (has moved in the US already), so you think Google Shopping will be bad for searchers because it's paid only?

I didn't say that. We're not talking about Google Shopping.

What we are talking about is Google's organic results, which happens to be what made Google the number 1 search engine on the planet. (Meaning it wasn't their ability to serve targeted ads that got them where they are. Many search engines have been able to serve targeted ads.)

Not one search engine I can think of has ever grown, or even held on to, a large market-share of search traffic by serving ads that are better than their organic results. There are a number I can think of that have served ads that are better than their organic results and failed (meaning lost both money and market share).

[edited by: TheOptimizationIdiot at 2:11 pm (utc) on Apr 15, 2013]

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