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




msg:4554060
 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.

 

Whitey




msg:4565789
 10:55 pm on Apr 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

They look at value add, etc. Faster, better, better UI, content, etc.


There are 100's, if not 1000,s of viewers coming to these forums and nobody has categorically claimed that they have applied the above on their sites and outranked a brand consistently across a majority of terms. Either we have a lack of participation, it hasn't happened and/or Google set the bar too high.

Not one of the "so called" 200+ ranking signals, which get's applied after relevance would seem to favour small/medium sites over the "brand signals".

I've heard commentary that typically small/medium sites have used aggressive SEO tactics and tricks over too many years, have not faced up to the required changes brought about by Penguin/Panda, and have not had the resources to compete following the downward shift in traffic. And that's why small/medium sites are where they are. In Google's defence, is that last statement a fair reflection of the situation?

Ersebet




msg:4565910
 7:20 am on Apr 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

They look at value add, etc. Faster, better, better UI, content, etc.
They say above but only sure thing Google look is money in Google pocket or ad click. We complain webmaster because of Panda, Penguin and Google happy because make most money from last year.

If google ethikal they post disclaimer on ads and shopping but make similar to content. Why people expect google honestly this time?

ColourOfSpring




msg:4565926
 8:53 am on Apr 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

COS does that constantly diberry, which makes it pointless and frustrating to point things out the them or even bother to post much, if anything, in threads they're involved in.


TOI, I'd appreciate it if you could address me directly instead of indirectly - particularly when criticising me. I did engage all of your points. You took a single exception here:-

I didn't ever say search experience. I said organic results.


Organic is but one component of the search experience. For commercial searches the top ad box gets twice as many clicks as the organics below it (ref [searchengineland.com ]). This makes sense. If the stats didn't reflect such an overwhelming popularity for the adbox, Google would stop putting ads there. They don't want to frustrate their userbase. There is a bigger picture outside of organic listings that keep searchers on Google. With the adbox answering 2 out of every 3 commercial queries, the reliance on organic listings isn't as great as perhaps you thought it was (strictly commercial searches of course). Users are presented with a SERP which is a mix of areas, including organic which is hidden mostly (or completely) out of view on most commercial searches. Maybe you are extrapolating how you use Google onto Google's entire userbase - but for the average user, they're not like us webmasters - they get what they get - a SERP. They don't automatically scroll down to organic and ignore the near-indistinguishable ads, especially with Instant automatically switched on - they see the results changing just below their keyword box and click. In fact, if everyone did automatically scroll below the fold, Instant would be useless. Even with Instant turned off, it would be a frustrating experience to always have to scroll to find results. Any site whose content you're truly after is always below (or near-below) the fold isn't following best practices (as Google themselves point out to webmasters). Obviously users don't behave this way - they click on the adbox twice as often as they click on organic results.

COS, you're not engaging with what I actually said. Which was, I don't think they are manipulating the algo *to put brands up top*.


diberry, I thought I did answer that here:-

Nobody can say for certain either way that Google are or aren't balancing things in their favour when it comes to the algorithm, but for certain they are the only ones shaping and influencing and manipulating it [it = algorithm] (for whatever reasons). Certainly the end orangic results can't tell you one way or the other. It's all in the eye of the beholder.


Or in other words, your guess is as good as mine. I'm sorry I didn't address your point directly. However, I just look at what Google do in other areas (particularly design/layout) and hazard a guess that they have too much self-interest not to weight the algo towards favourable results for them. Again (and I'm flogging this horse somewhat by now) - so long as it's not to the detriment of the searcher.

[edited by: ColourOfSpring at 9:56 am (utc) on Apr 18, 2013]

viral




msg:4565938
 9:51 am on Apr 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

The thing that frustrates me is that many big brands (and by brands I mean big tech blogs etc did questionable stuff at the start to help build their exposure on the web (brand).

Many of those tactics are now considered un-healthy by Google so new sites can't use them. Yet the sites that did them when they were "legal" are now using their brand and exposure to offset those old badly built links.

What I am saying is if you want to start a new tech blog or whatever now the slope is much much steeper than it was.

So Google is artificially making the pastures green for the big established sites that used to participate in these questionable activities while the new sites have to try and grow in a veritable desert!

diberry




msg:4566028
 2:58 pm on Apr 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

There are 100's, if not 1000,s of viewers coming to these forums and nobody has categorically claimed that they have applied the above on their sites and outranked a brand consistently across a majority of terms. Either we have a lack of participation, it hasn't happened and/or Google set the bar too high.


I think this is an extremely good point that deserves more consideration, and maybe its own thread. I have owned the serps for a few isolated terms, beating all the brands for years. But it's just a few terms, and far from the most lucrative ones in my niche.

I believe netmeg has claimed to have or work with niche sites that do succeed in outranking the brands on all the best terms in that particular niche. If I'm remembering that correctly, that's the biggest David and Goliath success story I can recall from around here.

I think, however, that it's getting much harder to achieve this now. You may create a new site that visitors love, but fewer people are willing to hand out links and buying links is scary. Or you may rank wonderfully on social media, but right now that doesn't help so much on Google. So even if user response is so good that you really *should* be outranking brands, it's a lot harder to send the algo those signals than it used to be, back when it was all about links.

Which is why I'm still wondering about the possibility that buying Adwords for a phrase you really *should* be ranking for might "teach" the algo to rank you better for it... or worse, depending how visitors respond after clicking over. I still think this might explain why some people are doing better after using Adwords and others feel they're doing worse.

COS, what I meant was that you went off on a tangent about manipulating the algo in general, and I felt like I had to back up and say, "But I never said they don't manipulate it. I just don't think in this particular case it would serve their interests to do so."

netmeg




msg:4566043
 3:47 pm on Apr 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

I believe netmeg has claimed to have or work with niche sites that do succeed in outranking the brands on all the best terms in that particular niche.


Not all, but many. Mostly up against Amazon and big office supply stores. And the site has been up since 1996; I don't think it would happen if we were launching today.

Bluejeans




msg:4566046
 4:16 pm on Apr 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

Well that's what I see, netmeg. I'm in a very competitive vertical that I watch carefully and every single Mom & Pop site I've monitored has gotten hit with one or another of Google's small animals in the last two years. None have completely recovered. The only ones who have escaped damage have been up since the 1990s. The newer sites that can make it in this vertical are niches within niches. As diberry said, many of us used SEO tactics that were completely OK up until a few years ago. If I were starting in this business today,I wouldn't.

netmeg




msg:4566048
 4:22 pm on Apr 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

If I were starting a new niche today, I wouldn't go up against a huge brand that already has established trust and authority (with Google and outside of Google), nope. Not unless I was pretty darn sure I could blow them away with a better business plan (note I didn't say a better site - I said a better business plan) Why beat my head against the wall? There's still lots of other opportunities.

diberry




msg:4566072
 5:43 pm on Apr 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

So the consensus seems to be that while in the past some have managed to build niche sites that beat the brands, using yesterday's tactics, it would be much harder and not worth attempting now with today's tactics.

This is where I'm stuck. I never "built" links because Google said it was a no-no. But I did acquire a lot of natural links because people liked my content and linked. But now the natural links just don't happen like they used to, for several reasons, including a general fear of linking and a tendency (in some niches at least) to "link" you via social media rather than a traditional web page. But one of the biggest reasons is that it used to be easier to rank high alongside the brands so that people could actually find you and link to you. Like, you might start out #3 if you produced a really good page for a query. Now it's more like page 3, with brands taking up all the slots ahead of you. It's a vicious cycle: you can't attract natural links because you don't have enough natural links to be visible in the SERPs.

I have no idea how to improve my rankings nowadays. I've tried to push my sites in social media, and they get a good response, but not enough to sway my Google rankings. What are we actually *allowed* to do without penalty that will get us past the problem of starting out so far behind the brands? That's what I'd like to know. And I don't care about why the brands are ranking so well or whether Google's being unfair to us. I just want to know: what steps can I take to improve my situation?

Ersebet




msg:4566082
 6:10 pm on Apr 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

And I don't care about why the brands are ranking so well or whether Google's being unfair to us. I just want to know: what steps can I take to improve my situation?
Everibody like to know that but now almost no one know. Google control everything and now brand rank high, normal site very low.

You do no know why they rank so no more to say. This is situation, we cannot change, Google does.

Bluejeans




msg:4566083
 6:11 pm on Apr 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

I know for a fact that newspapers in my vertical will only link to an official, government site. They will also link to the company that sponsored the reporter's ability to get the story, in the interests of "disclosure". Neither applies to me.

I can only get links by working hard for them. That is, I reach out to the source and find out what content they're interested in and then write it so they can link to it. This boosts the content and seems to give a little boost to the authority of the site. It keeps me from disappearing.

I can't compete with big brands for big keywords but I can compete on long tails. Big brands have big payrolls to meet. I don't.

Ersebet




msg:4566123
 9:14 pm on Apr 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google Inc's core Internet business grew net revenue 23 percent in the first quarter

[reuters.com...]


Money goe to Google, 23% more then last year and last year maybe 30% more. We complain but no Google because they make much more. Google no send visit to us but to adword link and brand. This truth, math no lie.

Whitey




msg:4566138
 9:51 pm on Apr 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

Everything's an equation. Something's moved and its not going back.

Some thoughts ....

I don't think the brand advantage is safe from the Google squeeze either. We often see things like when a new strategy is introduced sales are removed from the original product, but ultimately it leads to an expanded market. But for the moment that's academic and things are moving at a furious pace. So where does Google see growth and how does it effect small/medium organic listings?

Why are mega brands confident to pay billions to acquire big brands recently that offer meta search in the face of Google? Downstream this effects small/medium business'.

Why isn't the promotion of brands in the organic search not creating a cannibalization of ad revenue.

Are there simply 23% or so less organic slots overall in the layouts. What's happening?

Any perspective on this?

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4566173
 12:13 am on Apr 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

Any perspective on this?

If we look at the AOL click data leak, I think it's simple math.

Most people can't tell the difference between the ads and the organics because of the design Google uses. So, by adding another ad or two to the top of the page and drawing people's attention to the ads on the right for localized business searches with the floating map, they generate more clicks.

As the ads become more targeted and "refined" by advertisers, those ads generate more clicks. They don't need to "manipulate the order the organic results are displayed in based on advertising revenue" to get more clicks on the ads, all they have to do is add another AdWords ad to the top of the results, because when most of the users can't tell what's paid and what's not (or don't care) then the number of ads displayed becomes a huge factor since we know for at least one result set 54.5% of queries result in clicks.

From there:
42.1% go to the number 1 result.
11.9% go to the number 2 result.
8.5% go to the number 3 result.
Source: [internetmarketingninjas.com...]

All they have to do to increase revenue without manipulating the order of the organic results based on advertising revenue since most visitors don't care if it's an ad or organic as long as they find the answer on the page is put more ads on the top of the page, and based on positional click-thru rate, they will increase revenue.

They could easily have increased their revenue by the % they did simply by moving some of the ads from the right side of the results to the top so they display 3 or 4 ads at the top for queries they used to only display 1 or 2 ads above the organics and drawing more attention to the ads on the right with the floating map shown for some queries. They really don't need to "change the order of" or "dumb down" the organics to make more money, because their design "blends" ads into organics very well, most users don't care which it is, and, based on the data leaked by AOL, users are more inclined to click what's at the top of the page than lower down.

Whitey




msg:4566174
 12:41 am on Apr 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

@TOI - Any thoughts to share on cannibalization and how that's playing out for brands and Google?

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4566175
 12:55 am on Apr 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

Honestly? I think if people think it's tough to get traffic out of Google with organic rankings now all they have to do is wait a while and they'll get a taste of how tough things are going get.

IMO the canibalization now is nothing compared to what we're going to see moving forward, but that still doesn't mean they need to "manipulate the order the organic results are displayed in based on how much an entity spends on AdWords", because all they really have to do is keep trimming down the number of organics on the page as they pick up more relevant advertisers to display above the organics.

It's really simple for them to make more money and get more ad clicks and clicks on their properties based on design, prominence, and number of organics on the page. They don't need to manipulate the order the organics are shown in (1 thru N) in any way, all they have to do is change the design and show more ads and more of their properties with more prominence to take a bigger % of clicks away from the organic results.

Whitey




msg:4566179
 1:09 am on Apr 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

@TOI - Sure, I get what you're saying. But if you were a brand, and you were getting free organics, wouldn't you be tempted to reduce your ad spend?

How do you see this working for Google? Sorry to push, but you have a lot of good inputs to stimulate some further thoughts and responses around here.

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4566183
 1:43 am on Apr 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

Sorry to push, but you have a lot of good inputs to stimulate some further thoughts and responses around here.

Thanks, I appreciate it.

I've been trying to "avoid the heated discussions", so it limits me occasionally. I do really appreciate the compliment though and I'll do my best to answer your question.

But if you were a brand, and you were getting free organics, wouldn't you be tempted to reduce your ad spend?

Not necessarily. It would really depend on testing results for me.

Here's why: I've read reports where ad spending increases organic rankings and clicks, and I've read reports where it causes clicks and organic rankings to drop, which tells me there's likely some impact from advertising based on titles and what's shown.

Working with the same "theory" as diberry, where user behavior influences rankings, I can see things "playing out" differently in different situations.

If you spend on AdWords and some people see your title/domain they might:

1.) Click on the ad and have a good experience, then want more information, see your result again, be "reassured", click on it and end the search.

2.) See it as an ad and move past it, but, when they get lower on the page there's already a familiarity with your name, so they might click the organic when it would have "just been another result" previously, and since I think user behavior is a signal, then the "positive behavior" in the organics could push the site higher organically. (Not many people do this, but I'm one who does and for some reason, I'm way more inclined to click on the second result from a site than the first. I know I'm odd and a bit off, but really if a site has two results on the page, I usually click the second one.)

3.) See the title in the ad, not think it was "right on" (maybe it's a synonym or not compelling to them) move past it to some others, find your title that's different in the organics (maybe it's an exact match or more compelling in some way) and click on it.

4.) See the title in the ad, not be convinced or compelled by it, see the same title in the organics and "just move on" to a different one.

5.) See your site in the ads, think "that's what I want", click on it, find some popup laden landing page, have a bad experience, click back, see your organic listing for a different page and not even bother to click, because the experience on the ad page wasn't pleasant.

Those are just some examples of how ads and clicks on those ads could impact organic behavior and organic rankings based on visitor behavior. Based on my experience, behavior is a factor in organic rankings, so I don't think it's as simple as "advertise more = better rankings = more visitors" and I don't think it's as simple as "limit spending due to organic rankings being high", because if testing showed ad spending increases organic clicks due to familiarity with a site / compelling title seen in an ad by N>1 to 1 when only in the organic results, then I would be likely be inclined to spend more on advertising.

I think diberry has a good point on behavior and I know I'm saying something a bit different, but I'm definitely thinking along the same lines and what the actual spend would be for me, would definitely depend on testing, because I think it can be either a positive or negative depending on the visitor responses to not only the ad, but the organic result on the same page as the ad is displayed.

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4566195
 1:57 am on Apr 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

Why no follow algo path that make google money, like help advertiser on serp.

Because there's a great deal more "plausible deniability" wrt design and people not taking the time to read the little "ads" text or noticing the box around them / bgcolor that's slightly different than the organics than there is from purposely manipulating the order organic results are displayed in based on advertising dollars spent by an entity.

It's not unethical, imo, to mark ads as ads and have people not really pay attention to that distinction because it's subtle, yet marked as such and apparent to those who take the time to look.

It's not like they don't have the ads marked, they just tested user behavior and the marking they use, which is subtle but apparent to those who look, may "blend in" to many. It's not their fault people don't pay attention to what they say or the display of the ads, any more than it is the fault of a service provider when someone agrees to a set of terms without reading them.

If someone made a purchase from your site and then asked for a refund that was not allowed in the terms would you give it to them if your terms were clearly linked to those who looked or would it be their fault for not paying attention to the terms prior to taking an action (making a purchase)? I highly doubt you would give someone a refund if they asked for one based on something you clearly stated was not refundable in your terms of service.

How Google marks their ads is analogous to how sites link their terms of service. They're both (Google's ads and website's terms of service) clearly marked to people who look. Most people don't look at either. It's not Google's fault any more than it is the fault of that of a site owner who sells a product where visitors make a purchase without reading the terms when they are clearly linked.

IMO it's not any more unethical for Google to mark their ads as ads and have people not pay attention to that distinction than it is for a site to link their privacy policy and terms of service in fine print in the footer rather than showing both completely on every single page and forcing an agreement before the site can be viewed.

I'm sorry you're angry over your rankings, but it's really the job of a site owner to make a site rank where they want it to, not the job of Google to show our sites exactly where we would like or think they should be shown all day every day.

Google's job is to show what they think is best for their visitors overall so their visitors return. If, algorithmically, that does not include your site where you think it should be included, then you need to change your site, not get mad at them because they don't change the algorithm to position your site where you want it in the results.

[edited by: TheOptimizationIdiot at 2:39 am (utc) on Apr 19, 2013]

Whitey




msg:4566199
 2:05 am on Apr 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

If no ethics, why no manipulate too?

@Ersebet - sure, I get your point that Google organises what appears on the landing page and it's their responsibility as to what they show and where, often with indirect preference being implicated in both organic and paid slots. But if you would be in Google's shoes, how would you be organising it? And how do you think it should be organised, ethically and commercially?

ColourOfSpring




msg:4566279
 9:37 am on Apr 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

All they have to do to increase revenue without manipulating the order of the organic results based on advertising revenue since most visitors don't care if it's an ad or organic as long as they find the answer on the page is put more ads on the top of the page, and based on positional click-thru rate, they will increase revenue.


TOI, Google manipulate the order of the rankings via their endless refining of how the algo works. How they instruct the algorithm is not something you (or I) are privy too. So we can't say for certain either way how Google weigh (or don't weigh) the algorithm in their favour, even if just subtly or slightly just to keep them on a direction they want to move in. We can hazard a guess based on their other actions though.

ColourOfSpring




msg:4566302
 11:14 am on Apr 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

If no ethics, why no manipulate too?


Ersebet, it's Google's lack of ethics when it comes to anything that gets in the way of their profits - especially toward content providers (e.g. Google Image and iStockPhoto deal that cuts out photographer royalties) that makes me doubt Google are as objective as they could be with their algo "inputs". There's a lot more unethical moves Google have involved themselves in. The illegal drug ads in US SERPs (found guilty and fined $500M from memory), grabbing WiFi data throughout the UK, even on a lesser scale the do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do advertorial advice from Google - seobook.com often does a very good job of highlighting / exposing these unethical moves, of which there is quite a long list. Judge a company by their actions, not their public announcements.

Martin Ice Web




msg:4566307
 11:26 am on Apr 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

For all those poeple who are thinking this Panda/penguin/ brand pushing has nothing to do with revenues should read this:

[webmasterworld.com ]

Or did poeple suddenly change their mind and do not want to the organic results? Why should there be a growth when the years before panda/penguin haved been on the nearly same level?

ColourOfSpring




msg:4566321
 12:20 pm on Apr 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

Or did poeple suddenly change their mind and do not want to the organic results? Why should there be a growth when the years before panda/penguin haved been on the nearly same level?


Martin, for me there's no way that organic quality does not impact Adwords clicks in some way. It has to - they are both "competing" for the user's click. Google only have to shade the algo a few degrees (or seconds) one way or another for the desired result. It's not like they need to be clumsy with it - it's just a case of making the algo "on message" for the direction Google want to move in. I'm sure Google have a long-term play with the algo and don't just react to every little thing they see.

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4566397
 3:27 pm on Apr 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

Pichette: It's really about the new reality of all the multi-screens. The reality is it's not about mobile or tablets or desktop, it's this unified life you have. The question is, are you giving me the best answer all the time, and that's why enhanced campaigns is a great signal at that. You're saying, hey, let's find the right ad at the right time and the right answer at the right time. Rather than ask about each small piece, the question is, are we growing the pie of your day with Google and in the long-term are we creating the best answers for advertisers and users. This trend really presents to us an enormous opportunity.

[blogs.wsj.com...]

netmeg




msg:4566403
 3:34 pm on Apr 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

But if you were a brand, and you were getting free organics, wouldn't you be tempted to reduce your ad spend?


FWIW NONE of the brands I work with or compete against appear to have reduced their ad spend, even with stellar organics. I don't either, in fact I increased it and jumped on the paid Product Ads like a duck on a June bug. Total domination of the page.

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4566404
 3:37 pm on Apr 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

Linked Above
"Take Gmail -- when we released that we were a search company. It was a leap for us to put out an email product, let alone one that gave users hundreds of times as much storage as anyone else.

It's why we're investing in what appear to be speculative projects today, such as self-driving cars. We found that with ambitious goals and a committed team, you can make progress pretty quickly. There's not much competition, because no one else is crazy enough to try."

They're not quite like everyone else at Google and thinking they would "do what normal businesses do" or "what everyone else does" seems to keep people from understanding their philosophies and how they actually do things, imo.

Their 80% time on core business is another example. No one else does that, because "it's not profitable enough [right now]", but not many companies continue to increase revenue like Google does either.

I wonder who's wrong about how profitable the 80% time on core business is in the long-run, Google or everyone else who doesn't do things that way?

randle




msg:4566421
 5:15 pm on Apr 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

But if you were a brand, and you were getting free organics, wouldn't you be tempted to reduce your ad spend?

No, definitely not for lots of reasons learned over the years at the school of hard knocks.

The paid space;

  • Converts higher than the organic (a lot higher for us and we do both)
  • Allows for quicker changes
  • Fosters a more pure testing environment
  • Gives the ability to lead your visitor right by the nose to where you want them to go.
  • Frees you (a little bit) from endless sleepless nights wondering if a 10 year investment is suddenly going to go "poof".
  • Removes the high risk of making bold changes as you can quickly revert to what worked
  • ect, ect, ect,

    You have to work both sides of the street, and this whole issue about brands, (which is a great discussion on so many levels) involves so much more than just pure ranking.

    Web sites created by companies that have an established Brand are ranking higher - (and its not because some Googler sits there checking them off for higher rankings) - understanding why sites of this "ilk" are moving up is important for everyone.

    More importantly, "Brands" convert better, in our experience dramatically higher.

  • diberry




    msg:4566435
     6:08 pm on Apr 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

    Web sites created by companies that have an established Brand are ranking higher - (and its not because some Googler sits there checking them off for higher rankings) - understanding why sites of this "ilk" are moving up is important for everyone.


    I've been thinking about this. Part of how brands become brands - not just online, but since time began - is by spending money on advertising.

    If the algo is now programmed to look for "trust/brand" signals, it may well take into account what you spend on online advertising. If it's following javascript now, it could follow all sorts of banner ads, whether they are Adwords or not. And as long as it doesn't weigh your Adwords spending more heavily than any spending you do with Bing's ads or Federated Media or whatever, I can't see it would be a conflict of interest for them to weigh that in the algo.

    If I'm right about any of this (big if!), then yeah, spending on Adwords would boost your "trust" signals with Google - not because you're giving them money, but because "advertising budget" is something the algo tracks. So there might be a correlation between Adwords spending and higher organic rankings (and as others are pointing out, this wouldn't reduce the Adwords spending because SERIOUS brands want to dominate the whole page, just being #1 isn't enough for them). Caveat: I still say that if your Adwords ads get poor results like non-converting visitors, they could work against you if the algo is tracking signals that people didn't like your page for the query you bought.

    Before anybody grumbles, I can't afford much of an ad spend and also do not like the idea that Google may have an algo factor that essentially rewards people for spending more. But our feelings don't matter. What matters is figuring out how best to compete. For example, if I'm right, I might be smarter to invest in some modest ad buys rather than, say, a faster server.

    (Not to mention there can be "free" ways to advertise: put flyers up at a college campus, church, Walmart, etc., with your URL or even tell people "Just Google us!" with your "domain name" for branding purposes. Network more and hand out more business cards with your domain. Take out a Craigslist ad with your URL, if it makes sense and isn't just spamming them. There's always a way.)

    ColourOfSpring




    msg:4566476
     9:21 pm on Apr 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

    You might be right diberry - maybe it's about the "spend signals". I have a site that got heavily demoted by Google last year. Probably it got penalised (though not officially, Google say it's not penalised). It gets quite a bit of traffic outside of Google - about 300 uniques per day (type in traffic, direct referals). Not bad considering it's all but invisible to any Google search outside of brand search and it's a small niche. The only traffic Google brings is brand name traffic (about 50 or so visits per day) - I reckon this is quite healthy, but Google didn't seem to care for more than a year now. Maybe a brand signal is all about volume of brand searches (i.e. thousands or tens of thousands per day) no matter the niche? If so what hope do small businesses have?

    Whitey




    msg:4566505
     1:02 am on Apr 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

    No, definitely not for lots of reasons learned over the years

    NONE of the brands I work with or compete against appear to have reduced their ad spend, even with stellar organics. I don't either

    @Randle / Netmeg - are the verticals you're associated with, perhaps fundamentally different and does that play into this. e.g. niche, local. I mean could you anticipate that other verticals may not work the same way due to issues around margin, scale and of course intense competition.

    Maybe a brand signal is all about volume of brand searches (i.e. thousands or tens of thousands per day) no matter the niche? If so what hope do small businesses have?

    To scale brand you need to spend money smartly with good expertise behind it. How you fund campaigns and resource the skills in support is another issue. Somehow Google has to measure brand signals relative to others to give you the edge, so knowing what your competitors are doing is perhaps an indication of what you should be taking note of.

    Amit Singhal simply says that probability is a driver for Google Suggest, so it's reasonable to assume that in promoting relevance the probability surrounding the brand is somehow baked into the normal search algo. In paid search, perhaps that also plays into the quality score with Google again recognising brand. Who knows.

    As the 2012 SEC filing says, from Google's standpoint, they simply focus on serving relevant content.

    Strategically, Google cannot have one player dominating otherwise it would loose it's grip. So there must be other churn factors involved, which makes me wonder if this promotion of organic brands will last.

    One possibility is that the massive changes brought about by Panda/Penguin and promoting brands into the organics is part of an interim plan to encourage a more balanced and competitive playing field amongst quality driven sites. If the critical mass of smaller sites improves in terms of quality it could be a good thing all round for those that survive.

    The problem with a lot of SEO advisory is that it has been hijacked over the years by the need to compete with black hat and low quality cookie cutter techniques and neglected the visitor. Do business well in areas of neglect, then enable it for SEO. That's the challenge that folks should probably be focusing on, rather than if Google makes more money than them. Playing Robin Hood [ rob the rich to feed the poor ] is a waste of time strategy. And that I suppose feeds into brand strategies and perhaps working with them, at times, to your advantage.

    So in another set of senses, brands do have the upper hand - they perform better and they have the resources to reinvent themselves better. But they can rarely move quickly or be good on personalised levels.

    Having said that, how long is it going to be before Google rewards sites for climbing out of the small/medium bucket with tidy ups and UI's with equal content quality, to compete with Brands - it has to be supported in some way by Google. Have we been deceived or is there a flaw in the current algorithm?

    This whole Panda / Penguin / Brand / Geo-Local / Personal way of re ordering things, with Brand the highest of the ranking signal factors, I think, is one of the biggest turning points of recent times.

    This 317 message thread spans 11 pages: < < 317 ( 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 [9] 10 11 > >
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