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This 38 message thread spans 2 pages: 38 ( [1] 2 > >     
What statements/advice from Google do you think are false?
goodroi




msg:4608663
 11:39 am on Sep 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google has given webmasters alot of feedback and guidance. Since Google is not a charity I expect that some (if not most) of this information is more for their benefit than webmasters. I have personally made some good money from information I learned from Google. I have also encountered many new webmasters who have lost money because they forgot common sense and blindly followed some of this information. Veteran webmasters are better at understanding that this information often needs to be interpreted and adjusted for each unique situation. Just because Google says something it does not mean it is 100% correct for every situation or that it is the wisest idea for your personal situation.


What Google guidance/feedback/statement/advice do you think is wrong and that webmasters should ignore? Why? Please explain yourself.


Mods Note: Many people think Google sucks, they are a monopoly, Google kills businesses, their algo is broken, they always lie, and that they are just bad people. I think that covers the more popular Google complaints so now we can keep this thread on-topic with productive posts and skip the generic complaining.

 

superclown2




msg:4608700
 1:57 pm on Sep 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

If Google tells us not to do something then it obviously works. Keep on doing it, just make sure you don't get caught. If you are caught don't complain.

EditorialGuy




msg:4608712
 2:40 pm on Sep 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

I think Google's statements are well-intentioned, and I doubt if any public statements by people like Matt Cutts or John Mueller are "false."

Still, as the saying goes, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions," and turning theory into reality (e.g., rewarding good content or penalizing spammers without causing collateral damage) can be harder than it might seem.

Convergence




msg:4608713
 2:42 pm on Sep 10, 2013 (gmt 0)


Mods Note: Generic complaining will get snipped. 3 word responses will get snipped.

If you want to discuss false or inaccurate statements made by Google you need to provide details and explain yourself.







.

[edited by: goodroi at 3:14 pm (utc) on Sep 10, 2013]

taberstruths




msg:4608719
 3:02 pm on Sep 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

"We want to level the playing field"

Recently Matt C asked for webmaster feedback on small quality sites. [webmasterworld.com...]

I saw that and tweeted Matt about it. @mattcutts This is much needed for the majority of _________ bloggers. Most have been decimated over the last 2 years and they are not BH.

I removed the niche to stay within guidelines. The result? The tweet was promptly deleted from his stream. If anything, Google would be worried that the non BH and non SEO'd websites were hurt by their actions not trying to cover it up.

goodroi




msg:4608722
 3:23 pm on Sep 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

@EditorialGuy Matt & John have made mistakes in the past. We can debate if it these are intentional or accidental.

One specific case was when Matt said links from press releases don't count and Daniel Tan then showed it wasn't 100% accurate with his "leasreepressmm" test. In that case I think Matt was well intentioned and trying to help educate newbies who IMHO greatly overvalue press release links. But it was not 100% accurate even though I personally do think the key message he was saying is correct.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:4608727
 3:33 pm on Sep 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

I think Google's statements are well-intentioned, and I doubt if any public statements by people like Matt Cutts or John Mueller are "false."
I think it would be na´ve to think that Google tells us any more than they think we need to know and I also think that they feed us bad information for their own ends.

After the brouhaha that followed the announcement of the disavow tool we now get this from Eric Kuan.

"The disavow backlinks tool should be used with caution since it can potentially harm your site's performance. However, if you see a considerable number of spammy, artificial, or low-quality links point to your site, and you're confident that the links are causing issues for your site, you can use the disavow tool to disavow those links. In most cases, Google can assess which links to trust without additional guidance, so most normal or typical sites will not need to use this tool."

CaptainSalad2




msg:4608730
 3:47 pm on Sep 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Didn't Matt Cutts/Google say "Big brands do not have the upper hand"

my argument would be look at the SERPS, the bigger national brands crushing the independent sites local and national, relevance has been replaced with brand/site power over on page content.

Anyone disagree?

mcskoufis




msg:4608738
 4:32 pm on Sep 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

my argument would be look at the SERPS, the bigger national brands crushing the independent sites local and national, relevance has been replaced with brand/site power over on page content.

Anyone disagree?


I do disagree CaptainSalad2! As I am working for major brands, I've had difficult time to rank for competitive keyword terms. Even with blogs and low quality sites appearing above the brand site in the SERPs.

One way to explain the domination of major brands in many (not all) search results is their immense linking power. Have given this example in another thread. Think of the links Apple gets each time there is a new product out or something else happens and is all over the news. How many linkless citations?

The reliance on links on behalf of Google that gives them top rankings makes sense to me... Ebay, Amazon and the like have tons of links to them. Natural organic links that is, not intentional link building. Whether that is an acceptable ranking signal is another story.

####

Regarding the initial GoodROI post, there is lately loads of hype from Google in the authorship and rich snippets front. Even though this is clearly helpful advice and really matters to many webmasters, it diverts attention from what makes a site rank high.

And I think this is intentional, so webmasters focus there instead of getting to understand what link building means to Google's algorithms (and other critical on-page and on-other-page practices).

Google would never provide clear insight on what really makes you rank in the top search results. If authorship was so good, you would see sites dominating all top spots. This ain't happening IMHO and it ain't gonna happen (see loads of abuse already).

It does help though, but think it is not the critical ranking factor. Google will never help webmasters this way cause this help will fuel abuse (I.e.: everyone will do it).

So "let them focus more on authorship and much less in what they should be focusing" is Google's strategy IMHO. And totally understand that.

EditorialGuy




msg:4608739
 4:43 pm on Sep 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

my argument would be look at the SERPS, the bigger national brands crushing the independent sites local and national, relevance has been replaced with brand/site power over on page content.


Do big *brands* really have the upper hand? Or do big sites that match certain profiles in terms of content, inbound links, user behavior, etc. have the upper hand?

Matt Cutts might have been more accurate if he'd expanded on his statement by saying: "Big brands don't have the upper hand just by being big brands, but the factors that go into making them big brands may help their search rankings."

mcskoufis




msg:4608743
 4:53 pm on Sep 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Do big *brands* really have the upper hand? Or do big sites that match certain profiles in terms of content, inbound links, user behavior, etc. have the upper hand?


Mentioned only linking power in my previous post, EditorialGuy put it well together! (Excuse my English)

muzza64




msg:4608755
 5:52 pm on Sep 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

The brand issue perfectly demonstrates the problem. Every bit of advice, guidance, whatever can be taken many ways.

They could be saying it's not brands that have the upper hand but big sites, or they could be saying brands and big sites have no upper hand because a small site could simply do a better job on a niche topic, get loads of publicity and high quality links as a result, etc. etc. and beat the brands in that area.....or they could be saying there's no specific 'brand' factor built into the algo that identifies and boosts brands.

We just don't know what they really mean and they can't give away every detail of the algo or how they operate commercially so eventually, no matter how much we question them directly, we will hit a point where they just can't say any more.

It's like asking your wife if she's been unfaithful. Unless she's got nothing to lose she's going to say no, but she may say 'not really' and then what do you do? That could mean yes, depending on her definition of unfaithful.

I've struggled to come up with anything I'd say to ignore but I also can't think of a single bit of advice I've tried from Google that has helped. That could be down to my understanding of what they meant, or the way I executed it, or my site could be so screwed that nothing will help.

randle




msg:4608757
 6:01 pm on Sep 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

If you file a re-inclusion request asking if you have been penalized, and in the response they give to you, they make the statement, "you have not been given a manual penalty" a whole bunch of times - you have in fact been penalized.

Granted, it was algorithmically, but most people filing a request of that type, especially the uninitiated, didn't ask that - they asked if they had been penalized - and the response, "you have not been given a manual penalty" although technically accurate, isn't really a very truthful answer.

It is what it is - just tell the person and then they can understand the severity of the change and go from there.

rish3




msg:4608831
 10:47 pm on Sep 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

I find it funnier when it's the "do as I say, not as I do" approach.

Google runs a campaign, and a website, called "Get Your Business Online".

78% of the anchor text is just that. Feels super natural :)

bluntforce




msg:4608833
 10:49 pm on Sep 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

I don't believe Google intentionally issues false statements, but there is much misinterpretation of statements that are made either in a specific context or purposefully made oblique. The use of "can" "may" "might" raises possibilities of negative reactions, but there aren't "do this and your site is toast" statements.

I've repeatedly seen statements about things that "violates our quality guidelines". Are they laws? Or just guidelines? Telling someone their site doesn't follow quality guidelines sounds quite a bit different to me than saying they are a violator.

One of those quality issues is the flow of Page Rank. Sometimes you don't want Page Rank to flow to your site, so you either delicately use the scalpel or the machete that is the disavow tool. You'll also want to "no follow" links on your site, just don't "no follow" the wrong ones.

Getting back to quality, the following techniques are to be avoided as past of their specific techniques:
1. Automatically generated content
2. Doorway pages
3. Scraped content
Seriously? Virtually every site with regional content is database driven generating doorway pages with regional URLs. Mashing sites are scraping and throwing all kinds of pages up.

I generally don't believe anything Google says or publishes unless those statements can be verified. FUD is dispelled by testing, I always have my own running and pay attention to others like goodroipow.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:4608944
 10:10 am on Sep 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

As I see it the information they provide on keywords in their SEO guide is wrong. If I do a search here in the UK for the word "computer" then Dell is listed in the top five. The word computer does not appear anywhere on their homepage. How can a page be listed for a keyword that does not appear on that page unless there is a bias towards big brands?

(Added: I do appreciate the effect of inbound links in this case but surely the word should appear on the page too?)

deadsea




msg:4608989
 2:05 pm on Sep 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

There is always the case of 301 redirects and the amount of pagerank they pass. That is an instance where Matt Cutts stated that he previously gave out wrong information, but it was time to correct the record. Here is the admission video: [youtube.com...]

In this case he appears have have used simplification in his previous statement that made it untrue. He had said that using redirects will cause some pagerank to evaporate, just like using links. He later said that this is technically untrue and that he meant that that there is no way to use redirects instead of pagerank to prevent the evaporation of link juice. He now says the redirect itself doesn't cause any pagerank evaporation. (This is all paraphrased, and the issue could still use a lot more clarification from Google.)

I believe that Google and its representatives use omission, simplification, and white lies fairly frequently.

phranque




msg:4609016
 3:20 pm on Sep 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

"this should only be a small concern for most site owners"


He now says the redirect itself doesn't cause any pagerank evaporation.

actually he said that the loss of PR using a redirect was equivalent to a link.

JD_Toims




msg:4609038
 4:24 pm on Sep 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

He now says the redirect itself doesn't cause any pagerank evaporation.

Are you sure you linked the correct video?
In the one linked [published Feb. 2013] he says:

Of course the implementation can change over time, but this has been roughly the same for quite a while. The amount of PageRank that dissipates through a 301 is almost exactly -- is currently identical to -- the amount of PageRank that dissipates through a link, so they are utterly the same.

[Begins @ 1:30]

jimbeetle




msg:4609044
 5:28 pm on Sep 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

In this case he appears have have used simplification in his previous statement that made it untrue. He had said that using redirects will cause some pagerank to evaporate, just like using links. He later said that this is technically untrue and that he meant that that there is no way to use redirects instead of pagerank to prevent the evaporation of link juice. He now says the redirect itself doesn't cause any pagerank evaporation. (This is all paraphrased, and the issue could still use a lot more clarification from Google.)

Yeah, that's the danger with paraphrasing something. I recommend that folks view the video themselves to hear *exactly* what Matt said.

trinorthlighting




msg:4609123
 10:50 pm on Sep 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

Matt Cutts said Google said "Big brands do not have the upper hand"

Seems like all we see is big brands such as Amazon dominate multiple keywords.

EditorialGuy




msg:4609126
 11:00 pm on Sep 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

Trinorthlighting: As I pointed out above, big brands may not have the upper hand per se; they may simply benefit from characteristics that "big brand" Web sites tend to have, such as inbound links, massive numbers of pages, heavy original text content on pages (in Amazon's case, thanks to user reviews), how they rate in user testing, and so on. To borrow a popular phrase, "correlation isn't causation."

mcskoufis




msg:4609129
 11:11 pm on Sep 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

How can a page be listed for a keyword that does not appear on that page unless there is a bias towards big brands?


BeeDeeDubbleU this is a good one and shows how much reliance Google has on anchor text. Even though I can't be bothered to do link analysis on Dell at the moment, I am pretty sure they have plenty of links with "computers" as anchor text...

As in "Desktop Computers"... ;)

JD_Toims




msg:4609143
 12:12 am on Sep 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

If I do a search here in the UK for the word "computer" then Dell is listed in the top five. The word computer does not appear anywhere on their homepage.

That could easily be something "knowledge graph related", where Dell is associated with Dell Computer. Computer(s) would likely be included in many links to the Dell site and also in many mentions of Dell in the text surrounding external links.

Interesting note about the results I got: I also have 7 local results, plus 3 news and 3 in-depth articles -- I personally don't see how any "non-webmaster" would see the result-set I'm see for the query as "bad" in any way. It's got everything most people I know would want to see/find and counting the news, local and in-depth articles there are 21 results on the page *but* there's only 1 add at the top.

austtr




msg:4609170
 4:42 am on Sep 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

What statements/advice from Google do you think are false?


Change "false" to "unrealistic" and IMO you get much closer to the things that are causing frustration/anger for many.

The oft repeated Google mantra that a successful site is all about quality content is a platitude that does not stand up to scrutiny in today's world. It may help to have good content but it only becomes good when an audience gets to see it. The reality is that an algo cannot read and it has no idea if your content is the world's best or the world's worst. It relies on other indicators to assess quality. If your idea of quality content is all you are relying on, then you have been/are being badly mislead.

The algo now generates SERP's so slanted to big brands in the big money commercial niches that even the most well researched and professionally written site won't get a look in unless they have the same spending power as the multi-nationals... and the chances of that happening are nil. For MC and JM to say that the small guys can be competitive if they concentrate on better content is... well, lets just say that its not their finest hour.

The concept that a good site can be determined by freely given quality links to it is remote from reality. Google turned links into the currency of the internet and successful/quality sites do not share them. If Google is determining search results based on freely given quality links then they are measuring a very small fraction of reality.

JD_Toims




msg:4609174
 4:56 am on Sep 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

Change "false" to "unrealistic" and IMO you get much closer to the things that are causing frustration/anger for many.

I think that's a great point and likely very true, because there are some things "deep pockets" can do "mom-n-pop" can't -- To me, from there the question as to whether Google as a search engine and business should adjust things for "mom-n-pop's rankings" due to "budget [and other] constraints" small businesses and sites may have as compared to "big brands" becomes something along the lines of Google's user behavior and what results their behavior indicates are favored, but that's probably a discussion for a different thread, so I'll leave it there.

atlrus




msg:4609268
 1:44 pm on Sep 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

As I pointed out above, big brands may not have the upper hand per se; they may simply benefit from characteristics that "big brand" Web sites tend to have, such as inbound links, massive numbers of pages, heavy original text content on pages (in Amazon's case, thanks to user reviews), how they rate in user testing, and so on. To borrow a popular phrase, "correlation isn't causation."


However, big brands like Amazon, yelp, ebay, etc. have had those "characteristics" for a long time, yet it's been only recently that they overwhelmed the search results. Which means that Google did something to tip the scales that way. It's not correlation-causation, but action-reaction.

As far as Google statements - I usually don't care too much about what Cutts says. For a long time Google appears to be trying to distract people from major issues by focusing on miniscule ones. One example is the disavow tool. Instead of focusing on why websites get punished for links out of their control, they introduce a distracting and time-wasting placebo "tool".

EditorialGuy




msg:4609282
 2:44 pm on Sep 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

big brands like Amazon, yelp, ebay, etc. have had those "characteristics" for a long time, yet it's been only recently that they overwhelmed the search results.


I'm not so sure. A few years ago, owners of e-commerce sites were constantly complaining that eBay overwhelmed the top search results.

Also, let's not forget that many (most?) searches on the Webs involve information, not e-commerce. In my sector, Wikipedia and other megasites that used to be at the top of the SERPs are now halfway down the first page in many cases. Often, they've been knocked down by EMD sites that shouldn't even be in the top 100 search results, or by other large sites like About.com. (I even saw a top result for one competitive keyword that was an index page of New York Times articles from the 1980s.) This suggests to me that Google has been trying to soften any apparent "brand bias," but that the fix has introduced problems of its own.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:4609303
 3:32 pm on Sep 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

However, big brands like Amazon, yelp, ebay, etc. have had those "characteristics" for a long time, yet it's been only recently that they overwhelmed the search results. Which means that Google did something to tip the scales that way. It's not correlation-causation, but action-reaction.
Right on the money!

Instead of focusing on why websites get punished for links out of their control, they introduce a distracting and time-wasting placebo "tool".
But don't placebos work for SOME people? ;)
diberry




msg:4609313
 3:58 pm on Sep 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

I don't think Google's lawyers would advise them to mislead webmasters, many of whom could be viewed as their competitors. That's an anti-trust lawsuit waiting to happen.

What we know for sure is:

- They are intentionally vague to avoid giving spammers and black hatters the secret sauce.

- Anything anyone says can be misinterpreted

And I would argue there's an increasingly big divide between what Google SAYS an algo change will do and what actually happens - not because they're lying, but because they are increasingly unable to predict how an algo change is actually going to affect the SERPs. And if I'm right, that means Google isn't even capable of telling us "the truth" because it's a mystery to them too.

So I listen to directives, but not predictions or stated intentions. That is, when Matt Cutts said the best way to code/structure my site is X, and X doesn't conflict with what's best for users, I believe he's speaking in good faith and I do what he says. But when Google personnel tell us what the next algo update's gonna accomplish, I assume they may be overly optimistic and take it with a grain of salt.

I do agree with those who feel they're seeing evidence of Google trying to "correct mistakes" like brand bias.

This 38 message thread spans 2 pages: 38 ( [1] 2 > >
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