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Why Big Brands are Squeezing out the Little Guy on Google
JesterMagic




msg:4577730
 1:48 pm on May 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

I run a 10 year old information site and I never did much link building. My site gets mentioned on the odd news site and blog post but most of my link backs came from users who would link to my content in comments and forum posts on other sites.

My site did get hit by Penguin back in April of 2012 and lost 20% of its traffic. To date though it is closer to 50%.

Over the last few years many webmasters trying to fix Panda and Penguin problems have decided to treat all outbound links from user posts as the same and add a nofollow to the link (it is automatic in most CMSs now anyways). While I understand why they do this (you get to the point where you will try anything) and I have been very tempted to follow suit, I have not. I instead review the link and approve them as they are posted.

Looking at most websites now, outbound links that are not directly in an article or blog post usually has the nofollow attribute. Most users do not have a website so for them to express their opinion on anything they either post comments, forum posts, or use social media.

Google has said they do not use many Social Media cues to rank a site. Most forum posts and comments if they contain links have a nofollow attribute. Because of this, it means Google really doesn’t listen to users opinions anymore by seeing what they link to. They only listen to news sites and website owners (through what they post about)

I realize that comment and forum link spam was out of control but by Google pushing nofollow, webmasters have gone with the “it’s better to be safe than sorry” approach.

To me the nofollow attribute has been a failure. Google needs to tackle this from a different approach and they need to start tracking social networking cues better since now days that is where users are heading when they have an opinion on something.

While big brands links are not counted anymore either in comment and forum posts they obviously are mentioned much more on news sites and in blog posts. Google has said they do not favor big brands. That may be technically true but with the nofollow attribute and webmasters running scared it is happening anyways.

 

ColourOfSpring




msg:4577794
 8:18 pm on May 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

To me the nofollow attribute has been a failure. Google needs to tackle this from a different approach and they need to start tracking social networking cues better since now days that is where users are heading when they have an opinion on something.


It's a failure following a failure - the former failure being to rely on links to measure a website's trustworthiness / relevance. Google have been following the wrong track for years by relying on links so much. Nofollow has become an absurdity. Punishing sites because they have certain links pointing to them (outside of their control) is an absurdity. Permanently punishing quality sites that people want to find is an absurdity. Limiting search down to a handful of brand-names on most commercial searches is an absurdity. We have to deal with these absurdities and many people try to rationalise them, but they ARE absurdities. There's no other word to describe events that are SO counterintuitive and make little sense.

Google could have really mastered search if they looked beyond links - if they'd really focused a lot more on search than all the side projects over the years. Yes, they're the "best" search engine when you consider their non-commercial searches and indexing power, but they're so so so so so far away from being a great search engine - which they were destined to become if you judged them in the mid 2000s. They're like a great newspaper that bizarrely sells out to advertorials and saturated ad-space rather than capitalises on their strengths. I guess the boardroom and shareholders don't want a great search engine, they want a great money-making machine.

tedster




msg:4577799
 8:34 pm on May 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

they're so so so so so far away from being a great search engine - which they were destined to become if you judged them in the mid 2000s

There's a contradiction here. Google's algorithm was almost exclusively based on links from the very beginning. By the mid 2000s, they had begun adding in other factors... because links were being gamed so well.

I am only speaking about my own case here, but I'll bet it's part of the situation for others. I sometimes hate what Google is doing with a passion. But I'm also ticked off that it's much harder to get Google Search traffic these days, and that the algorithm is so impenetrable. For so long, it was just a fountain of free traffic.

Yes, I wish that the little guy wasn't being squeezed so hard. But the "why" isn't so mysterious to me - Google runs on what they see in the numbers, not by philosophy or altruism. The average search user is not sophisticated. They like seeing these big brands dominate the SERPs.

[edited by: tedster at 2:38 am (utc) on May 26, 2013]

aristotle




msg:4577808
 9:05 pm on May 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

For years Google has been testing various adjustments and manipulations to the algorithm looking for ways to boost the rankings of big brands (and other big well-known organizations). In the end, they found that the only way to get big brands and organizations to the top is to significantly reduce the relative weights of certain previously-important ranking factors, especially relevance, usefulness, and intrinsic quality. They had to make a choice in this regard, and they chose big brands and big organizations.

Whitey




msg:4577867
 4:44 am on May 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

One thing that is impossible to refute is the widespread passion of dissatisfaction amongst small/medium and even some large business' about their ability to compete in search on their terms.

With that intense momentum building, it's only a matter of time before someone dreams up an alternative distribution platform, or media forum for business' that causes them to place their offerings in an alternative forum to Google search, to meet that need. All it needs is an incentive and a solution to cause things to shift.

As Tedster said elsewhere, [webmasterworld.com...] it might even be Google itself.

ColourOfSpring




msg:4577899
 8:33 am on May 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

For years Google has been testing various adjustments and manipulations to the algorithm looking for ways to boost the rankings of big brands (and other big well-known organizations). In the end, they found that the only way to get big brands and organizations to the top is to significantly reduce the relative weights of certain previously-important ranking factors, especially relevance, usefulness, and intrinsic quality. They had to make a choice in this regard, and they chose big brands and big organizations.


I'm honestly starting to believe that Google are simply white-listing a large pool of brands - say 10,000 or so - which is giving them immunity to the updates they make, so they naturally rise up. Even if it's not white-listing, its effects are the same as if it was white listing. Essentially the gap between the big brands and the small to medium businesses is utterly unbridgeable. Thousands of niches are now dead to the small to medium business. No way would you want to start up a new site in those niches when you have zero access to 90% of your market. A white hat zealot would tell them to concentrate on the other 10% and forget that Google exists, but seriously - it's simply easier to find another niche that Google hasn't killed and make some money there until Google do decide to kill it. Not ideal, but practical. I have a lot of clients who are doing well in Google because their niches are beyond the reach of big brands - spare parts for obscure products, collectable items, bespoke items etc. However, how long before Amazon and eBay eat up those niches?

they're so so so so so far away from being a great search engine - which they were destined to become if you judged them in the mid 2000s


There's a contradiction here. Google's algorithm was almost exclusively based on links from the very beginning. By the mid 2000s, they had begun adding in other factors... because links were being gamed so well.


tedster, my point being that they were still relatively early in their history. They could have concentrated all of their efforts into search instead of all the side projects they would eventually kill off. In my estimation, it shows that Google just need to be better than the rest (and they're happy with that), not truly great. 15 years into search, and their reliance on links is still fundamental - to the ridiculous point of rudely asking webmasters to waste their time trying to remove links that they didn't even build (and then not reward them for their efforts). If I were Google, I'd be thinking that it's better if we encourage them (the webmasters) to spend their time building great content and improving their services and products. It does show where Google's priorities lie - they have no trouble asking us to waste our time, therefore do they really care if we build great content? No.

With that intense momentum building, it's only a matter of time before someone dreams up an alternative distribution platform, or media forum for business' that causes them to place their offerings in an alternative forum to Google search, to meet that need. All it needs is an incentive and a solution to cause things to shift.


whitey, there are around 4.8 million small to medium size businesses in the UK emplying 23.9 million people, and account for 99.9% of the private sector ( ref: [fsb.org.uk...] ). In many many cases, customers get a better service / product from a small to medium size business. They have less overheads, are often quicker to respond, experts in their field etc. Many jobs and services simply REQUIRE that a business be small/medium size because it's less effective / not practical if you scale up. In any case, there's an awful lot of supply out there that people want to find.

tedster




msg:4577929
 1:17 pm on May 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

They could have concentrated all of their efforts into search instead of all the side projects they would eventually kill off.

But the side projects are like separate companies, and they each have their own dedicated staff. They are not a drain on the Search staff at all. Many of those projects, such as Android, are significant money money makers.

JesterMagic




msg:4577935
 1:42 pm on May 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

It is a balancing act.

Side projects drain resources (ie money) since they do need capital to start with before they can generate there own (if successful). These are resources that could be put into search.

Of course not putting money into side projects and research will eventually cost a company especially those tied to technology where things change really fast. Facebook has taken traffic away from Google and they reacted to late with Google Plus for them to ever catch up IMO.

tedster




msg:4577936
 1:44 pm on May 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

they reacted to late with Google Plus for them to ever catch up IMO.

My opinion, too. The CEO's folly!

atlrus




msg:4577938
 2:35 pm on May 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

15 years into search, and their reliance on links is still fundamental


This is what it's all about - links. Big brands are pushing down small businesses because big brands = big money = lots of links.

I simply cannot subscribe to any other theory of ranking, since my observations show only links to be the main ranking factor.

I monitor results and competitors vigorously and after every update I see new websites always entering first page. Websites which were not in the top 100 before, in other words - there is no way google could have collected any kind of behavioral data on those websites - click rates, bounce rates, time spent on site - all those are non-factors, since the website itself did not get any traffic from Google, in order to collect this data. I'm not saying that google doesn't collect it, it's just not used the way most people think. I believe anyone who focuses on those factors are simply wasting their time.

Whitey




msg:4578014
 10:51 pm on May 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

@ColourOfSpring there are around 4.8 million small to medium size businesses in the UK emplying 23.9 million people, and account for 99.9% of the private sector ( ref: [fsb.org.uk...] ). In many many cases, customers get a better service / product from a small to medium size business. They have less overheads, are often quicker to respond, experts in their field etc. Many jobs and services simply REQUIRE that a business be small/medium size because it's less effective / not practical if you scale up. In any case, there's an awful lot of supply out there that people want to find.

The business market is limitless. The user chases the offer. Technology is open slather [dictionary.reference.com...]
they reacted to late with Google Plus for them to ever catch up IMO.


My opinion, too. The CEO's folly!

Organisations bigger than China run into legacy problems and relative inertia to change on core innovation. Technology moves fast - just ask any device manufacturer in the last 10 years. No wonder many of the Google non search project/co's struggle [ but, some do well, very well, let's not forget ].

Let's not forget stories like IBM that got caught by Bill Gates in their self belief and blindness in the late 80's.

15 years into search, and Google's reliance on links is still fundamental

@altrus This is what it's all about - links. Big brands are pushing down small businesses because big brands = big money = lots of links.

I simply cannot subscribe to any other theory of ranking, since my observations show only links to be the main ranking factor.

Look, let's face it, this is reliance on old technology. Links are bulldust, nobody does this in 2013 as a solid measurement of popularity. They are gamed, the masses don't participate, they are not an across the spectrum measurement of true popularity. It takes too much effort. The truth goes something like this:
-There is an offer and an exceptional experience
-People observe
-People talk
-Votes count

Every person on the digital planet now carries a smart phone. The moment they see an opportunity or an experience they can refer that. And they do. Putting hyperlinks onto a web page as a referral is with the dinosaurs - it's ancient.

When you get real people voting, and you can capture that influence on technology, you can get real popularity. And business' want access to real people and will fight hard to win attention.

Small/medium business is too big to be excluded and mixed in with general SERP's. Someone will discover the path to meet this need and the market will respond in spades when it happens.

Maps are not secured with Google. Street View is not secure [ anyone can video a local experience and upload it from their phone]. Google does not own maps, Governments own the base data. Reviews are not safe, any business can ask their clients to upload their thoughts via an App.

Arranging brands into a SERP listing as we currently see, is like a grand retreat of failure in respect of link technology - it put's the backs up of small/medium business who will individually work on ways to , or with another idea find a way in.

Google has a lot of power, and has been tremendously successful, but ultimately old technology concepts and the fact that so many folks feel aggrieved and excluded is the key to alternatives. And yet again, who knows, it might be Google.

Chasing after someone else's unique concept after they are established well, is a waste of energy.

Don't forget, innovation and creativity is limitless. Just like the musician said to have written the last great tune and another great one is created. Some great step will happen at some future point.

atlrus




msg:4578038
 1:15 am on May 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

Look, let's face it, this is reliance on old technology. Links are bulldust, nobody does this in 2013 as a solid measurement of popularity. They are gamed, the masses don't participate, they are not an across the spectrum measurement of true popularity. It takes too much effort. The truth goes something like this:
-There is an offer and an exceptional experience
-People observe
-People talk
-Votes count

Every person on the digital planet now carries a smart phone. The moment they see an opportunity or an experience they can refer that. And they do. Putting hyperlinks onto a web page as a referral is with the dinosaurs - it's ancient.

When you get real people voting, and you can capture that influence on technology, you can get real popularity. And business' want access to real people and will fight hard to win attention.


I'm sorry, but this all sounds like a pipe dream.

And for all your talk about people "voting" with smart phones - maybe you should compare that with the popularity of WordPress, tumblr, etc. People still churn websites by the millions and they continue to link out to websites they like or find useful.

To much effort in linking out?!? You should think of the name of an athlete, any athlete, and then search to see how many people blog about that person DAILY. Then look around their blogs and see how many of them link out.

If you honestly believe linking is dead just because it's old - you couldn't be more wrong.

Whitey




msg:4578054
 2:36 am on May 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

If you honestly believe linking is dead just because it's old - you couldn't be more wrong.

There's more people not writing blogs than do. Blogs do not = brand. People do. People = ultimate influence, on all sides of the equation.

Folk's that ratchet themselves into position to cause influence via blogs [even though some do a great job - and I love reading them] do not cover the globe, down to the local store and business en-masse.

Links work, because Google let's them work. But that's how the technology they use works, and to some degree they are pulling out of it. Look at any branded site, and it's deep pages are not supported by links. It doesn't need to work to any extent either.

There's no way in the World I have the skills to deliver a solution, or a dream concept, but there are some who will. The reason it's a pipe dream, is because someone at some stage will find a way to deliver small/medium business more effectively. It will not be because of "Whitey" or anyone else's limited thinking that this will occur, but I acknowledge that this is not important in the bigger picture.

Matt Cutts recently conveyed that links will continue to form a significant part of search into the future. That's a highly gifted engineer talking. But it's not the millions of business' that want a better solution for their digital media visibility and for the vast majority of business' fighting for no.2 position in a big city is a 2nd rate solution. All options are open.

What I am saying is that there are going to be other ways to influence in the digital space beyond the current paradigm of search engineering - because business needs it, and users will want it, if it's better.

Links is gamed, badly managed and flawed, even though it is central to existing search engines. Brands and links are part of the problem [ not allowing small/medium business to surface ] , not the solution. Business itself will decide that, if given the opportunity to go around the gatekeeper.

ColourOfSpring




msg:4578111
 8:05 am on May 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

Small/medium business is too big to be excluded and mixed in with general SERP's. Someone will discover the path to meet this need and the market will respond in spades when it happens.


Bing / Yahoo! pretty much deliver these results right now - it's just a question of - will more people move over to these search engines? At the moment I've seen an uptick in Bing referals, but it's something like .... it used to be 1 in 30 referals, now it's 1 in 25. Still, an uptick. Right now, there has never been a more stark difference in SERPs between Google and all of the other search engines. If you want access to SMEs and a variety of results, go to Bing. If you want a facsimile of your high street with Amazon and eBay mixed in, go to Google.

whitey, I agree that links are "old technology" - and now they're even worse in a way because links now hurt your site - the kind of hurt that's irrepairable, whether you built them or not. This is the absurdity we have to deal with.

To be hopeful, nothing stays the same. 99.9% of the private sector in the UK are sole traders or small to medium size businesses. In other words, 99.9% of the private sector in the UK are not big brands. 23.9 million people in the UK are employed as sole traders or working for a small to medium size business. There are - according to [ons.gov.uk...] - 29.1 million people working in the UK. So the SME employment market in the UK represents 82% of the overall market. Squeeze a large section of them out of the biggest online market (Google), and something has to give. Searchers get annoyed and/or a lot of businesses either go bust or they scale down their operations (redundancies, less spending) leading to a deep recession that will affect the "winners" in Google SERPs anyway. It's certainly a unique situation where there's so much focus on one single place (Google) and Google are milking it for all its worth. It's just a question of : how long will this situation last?

Whitey




msg:4578121
 8:22 am on May 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

Bing / Yahoo! pretty much deliver these results right now

Well that may suit a lot of webmasters, but Bing and Yahoo isn't a strong alternative to Google. To do that someone has to come up with something radical and compelling. It will happen some day.

[edited by: Whitey at 9:01 am (utc) on May 27, 2013]

Bluejeans




msg:4578123
 8:53 am on May 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

The average search user is not sophisticated. They like seeing these big brands dominate the SERPs.


@Tedster I don't think that's true. Out of the four "civilians" I complained to this week about big brands, three of them volunteered the same site, TripAdvisor, asking why they dominated all travel searches.

Besides, before Panda, was anybody complaining that they couldn't find big brands in Google searches? In fact, was anyone complaining at all about the SERPs?

An interesting take on Google's goals appeared in this week's New Yorker in an article about cybercrime. "Web spam, which clogged up search-engine results. . .have been all but eliminated by Google's anti-spam alogrithms". The article goes on to quote Cutts, "We like to say the spammers have the numbers, we have the math".

Remember, this article is about cybercrime, not better search results. The impression was that Google is waging an increasingly intense war with criminals planting malware and launching phishing expeditions through manipulating the SERPs.

I think the point of the algo changes is to keep the SERPs clean at all costs and if that means driving small webmasters out of business, so be it.

jigneshgohel




msg:4578146
 10:19 am on May 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

Completely agree with your opinion,

Recently i have shared my views on Google's organic research on ["three keyword search"] and in my surprise, there were 4-5 results where non-relevant. One was some forum, 1 was tublr, 1-2 where non quality website !

While i am looking for service provider, i should get service provider's website not forum discussion or social media profiles.

[edited by: tedster at 1:04 pm (utc) on May 27, 2013]
[edit reason] no specific keywords, please [/edit]

ColourOfSpring




msg:4578174
 11:18 am on May 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

Well that may suit a lot of webmasters, but Bing and Yahoo isn't a strong alternative to Google. To do that someone has to come up with something radical and compelling. It will happen some day.


I hope so, but I don't see a new competitor doing it - too much cost and effort to come up with an alternative to Google / Bing / Yahoo - all that "mindshare" and habits that need to be broken. I hope you are right though.

Maybe it will be a death by a thousand cuts to Google - people will slowly drift away from Google to other platforms. Why do I need Google to keep telling me to go to Amazon? I'll just start from there (another loss for independents, but Google lose too). Google will still be around of course, but perhaps their absolute volume of searches will drop by 20-30% and they will truly be seen as A N Other traffic driver, not THE traffic driver.

diberry




msg:4578221
 2:58 pm on May 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Tedster I don't think that's true. Out of the four "civilians" I complained to this week about big brands, three of them volunteered the same site, TripAdvisor, asking why they dominated all travel searches.


I've heard a lot of similar complaints. Granted, it's not a study, but I don't think the conclusion that "people like to see the big brands" is quite warranted.

I still think it's government that's more comfortable with big companies dominating the SERPs, because those companies are already up for public scrutiny and aware that if they upload malware or rip customers off or sell pirated goods, they're going to get in trouble. Indie websites are always a bit of an unknown, and the responsibility of "vouching" for them - which seems to be how Congress interprets the rankings - may just not be one Google's willing to keep shouldering.

Bluejeans




msg:4578262
 4:57 pm on May 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

@diberry As matters now stand, it's not the government telling Google how to order their search results. That may change, but so far, that's not what's happening.

Look at it this way: if the bad guys penetrate a mega-corporation and steal customers' passwords, that's a bad thing but it's not really Google's problem. If a user clicks on a search result and gets to a page that infects them with drive-by malware, that's very much Google's problem as it affects the integrity of their ranking system. And who is more likely to get their site hacked in that particular way? TripAdvisor? Amazon? Don't think so. That would be the smaller webmaster whose defenses (such as they are) are easily overwhelmed by hackers.

Panda and Penguin were expensive to develop and run. I believe it was to protect against increasingly sophisticated security issues, not to fix relevancy in search results or please users that were already pretty pleased with what they were getting.

helenp




msg:4578312
 7:30 pm on May 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

The average search user is not sophisticated. They like seeing these big brands dominate the SERPs.

Could be true for some but not for all,
in my niche as we are located in Spain, there are so many big brands for our keywords, that the 3 first pages are 90% big nacional or international sites.
We recovered a bit with this update as many of "similar" results for same big brand reduced to one or two.
And I keep seeing the spanish searching using english language, or other searching for us using our company name, "small brand"

ColourOfSpring




msg:4578318
 7:53 pm on May 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

Look at it this way: if the bad guys penetrate a mega-corporation and steal customers' passwords, that's a bad thing but it's not really Google's problem. If a user clicks on a search result and gets to a page that infects them with drive-by malware, that's very much Google's problem as it affects the integrity of their ranking system. And who is more likely to get their site hacked in that particular way? TripAdvisor? Amazon? Don't think so. That would be the smaller webmaster whose defenses (such as they are) are easily overwhelmed by hackers.


But it's fairly trivial for Google to identify malware (IMHO), and they do it all the time, and check for it all the time. Your supposition is that malware creators are dictating Google's decision making and essentially holding Google to ransom. I just don't see that being the case. If it WAS the case, then the tail is wagging the dog here. In my opinion, Google deal with malware by simply labelling it as such and then putting up an interstitial page between the SERP and the page warning the user. I guess your point is that there's tons of malware out there that Google can't identify.

diberry




msg:4578385
 11:55 pm on May 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

When you're a de facto monopoly, you are always monitoring government attitudes to estimate what behavior might trigger a lawsuit. The government does not need to tell them what to do; it only needs to indicate what it's thinking is in the best interest of consumers.

Various consumers had written their Congressional representatives to complain about getting ripped off by companies that came up #1 in Google, and Congress' take on that was pretty much, "Yeah, Google, why did you let Bob's Small & Local Tree Grooming Service in Topeka rip this poor lady off?" If I were Google, I'd be pretty concerned about getting "regulated" by people who don't even grasp what it is an algorithm does - or why it can't tell from website code that Bob is a ripoff artist. They have various options for how to deal with that possibility, but I can totally see brand dominance as a response to it. "But Congress, we made sure Bob and people like him wouldn't be at the top anymore."

ColourOfSpring




msg:4578504
 8:46 am on May 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

When you're a de facto monopoly, you are always monitoring government attitudes to estimate what behavior might trigger a lawsuit. The government does not need to tell them what to do; it only needs to indicate what it's thinking is in the best interest of consumers.

Various consumers had written their Congressional representatives to complain about getting ripped off by companies that came up #1 in Google, and Congress' take on that was pretty much, "Yeah, Google, why did you let Bob's Small & Local Tree Grooming Service in Topeka rip this poor lady off?" If I were Google, I'd be pretty concerned about getting "regulated" by people who don't even grasp what it is an algorithm does - or why it can't tell from website code that Bob is a ripoff artist. They have various options for how to deal with that possibility, but I can totally see brand dominance as a response to it. "But Congress, we made sure Bob and people like him wouldn't be at the top anymore."


If true, then surely they'd shut out independents/small businesses from even taking out Adwords ads with them? If someone clicks on a link from Google and gets a virus or gets ripped off from a small company, then it makes no difference if they clicked an organic link or an ad link. I get 2 calls a week from Google Ireland trying to twist my arm to get my clients to move to their pay-per-click shopping platform. They seem really keen to get small businesses listed there....!

Bluejeans




msg:4578550
 11:57 am on May 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

I wish the New Yorker article I was referring to wasn't behiMy nd a pay wall. What was interesting to me is that Matt Cutts is part of Google's security team which would indicate a connection between web spam in search results and security issues (apparently an obsession for Sergey Brin).

I'm assuming that big-brand dominance is not an accident but actually the point of Panda/Penguin. I don't believe it gives a better user experience and I don't believe it's a conspiracy to get small business owners to buy into AdWords. My point is that big brands are better for Google. Not only are they less likely to host malware but their sites are probably not going to be hacked by spammers placing thousands of junk links that screw up the search results (as happened to me).

And, Google won't face the embarrassment of ranking a crooked business highly. Remember that guy a few years ago that was selling crappy designer sunglasses out of Brooklyn but who was killing it in the SERPs because so many dissatisfied customers were linking to his website? Thanks, fella. Google sure fixed him and fixed the rest of us as well.

ColourOfSpring




msg:4578589
 1:10 pm on May 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm assuming that big-brand dominance is not an accident but actually the point of Panda/Penguin. I don't believe it gives a better user experience and I don't believe it's a conspiracy to get small business owners to buy into AdWords. My point is that big brands are better for Google. Not only are they less likely to host malware but their sites are probably not going to be hacked by spammers placing thousands of junk links that screw up the search results (as happened to me).

And, Google won't face the embarrassment of ranking a crooked business highly. Remember that guy a few years ago that was selling crappy designer sunglasses out of Brooklyn but who was killing it in the SERPs because so many dissatisfied customers were linking to his website? Thanks, fella. Google sure fixed him and fixed the rest of us as well.


So Google will be banning small businesses from using Adwords soon, right?

Bluejeans




msg:4578592
 1:23 pm on May 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

I would imagine that there are several billion fewer pages to monitor for AdWords.

DXL




msg:4578593
 1:23 pm on May 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

And, Google won't face the embarrassment of ranking a crooked business highly.


Does that even matter to John Q. Public, though? In 12 years, I've never heard a client, an associate, a family member nor friend complain about Google ranking a business well despite that business offering them a bad experience.

Although some algorithm change problems are incidental, ultimately I think Google is simply leaning on smaller businesses to spend more money on Adwords.

Bluejeans




msg:4578595
 1:27 pm on May 28, 2013 (gmt 0)


Does that even matter to John Q. Public, though? In 12 years, I've never heard a client, an associate, a family member nor friend complain about Google ranking a business well despite that business offering them a bad experience.


Nor I, but that one (designer eyeglasses guy) made the front page of the NYTimes. Bad for the brand.

And as for leaning on small businesses to go PPC, wouldn't it be more remunerative to eliminate all brands from the SERPs and make them go PPC? I mean, who has the money here?

ColourOfSpring




msg:4578606
 2:07 pm on May 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

I would imagine that there are several billion fewer pages to monitor for AdWords.


I am pretty sure Google run malware checks on every page they spider.

But if you are right, then Google may err on the side of caution and don't show small business sites in prominent organic positions, but will show them in the ads. Seems self-defeating and would also make Google look like hypocrites for essentially being OK with sites that may be categorised as "risky" simply because the site owner is paying for traffic. Also bear in mind that the ads are clicked on TWICE as much as organic.

Having said that, I can imagine Google ranking blogs with very-out-dated Wordpress versions lower simply because they're vulnerable.

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