homepage Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 54.242.140.11
register, free tools, login, search, pro membership, help, library, announcements, recent posts, open posts,
Become a Pro Member

Home / Forums Index / Google / Google SEO News and Discussion
Forum Library, Charter, Moderators: Robert Charlton & aakk9999 & brotherhood of lan & goodroi

Google SEO News and Discussion Forum

This 44 message thread spans 2 pages: 44 ( [1] 2 > >     
How smaller Web sites will benefit from Google penalties
EditorialGuy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4656007 posted 3:09 pm on Mar 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

We all know that SEO and site owners hate Google penalties, especially penalties that affect them. But I'd maintain that anti-spam penalties are needed to allow better treatment of small Web sites and small businesses in Google's search results.

Here's my reasoning:

If Google's SERPs tend to favor big sites and businesses, users aren't likely to complain. Sure, a user might not find the lowest price or quickest shipping time at Amazon, and she might find it a nuisance to locate up-to-date travel information about Widgetville in a three-year-old TripAdvisor forum thread, but the user is more likely to be satisfied (or at least not dissatisfied) than if she'd landed on a spammy page with little or no intrinsic value.

Now let's fast forward from today's "big brand bias" to a future where (as Matt Cutts has suggested) small sites and small businesses will be treated more favorably in the SERPs. To make that change worthwhile, Google needs to ensure that the "small sites and small business" that move up in the SERPs are acceptable to users. Otherwise, user satisfaction will drop, and how would Google benefit from that?

By being more aggressive in purging Google's search results of sites that rank through questionable techniques, Google's anti-spam team are helping to level the playing field for legitimate sites and businesses in two ways:

1) They're removing or at least reducing the advantage that the "bad guys" have over the "good guys," and...

2) They're making it less risky for Google's search algorithm to look kindly upon small Web sites and small businesses.

But wait, there's more:

If a future Panda update does lead to better rankings for small Web sites and small businesses that comply with Google's guidelines, there will be a greater incentive for SEOs and marketers to eschew risky behavior. In the long run, this will benefit Google, "good guy" site owners and SEOs, and searchers.

 

Crush

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4656007 posted 4:40 pm on Mar 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

It is not a level playing field because many many big sites use questionable tactics too but they do not get the manual penalty message.

Also big sites have mega authority, so they just need a few directory links and bam, thank you. The current algo is very difficult for the small guy.

EditorialGuy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4656007 posted 4:49 pm on Mar 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

It is not a level playing field because many many big sites use questionable tactics too but they do not get the manual penalty message.


Depends. Expedia's SEO team must be wondering where their invulnerability went. Still, as I said, users aren't likely to complain if they find successful big-name sites on the first page of Google's search results. Why? Because the sites are demonstrably useful. The user who lands on Forbes.com or BMW.com (both of which were penalized by Google for a while) isn't going to say, "This site sucks" as he would if he landed on Joes-SEO-driven-thin-affiliate-site.com.

The current algo is very difficult for the small guy.


I was referring to the future, post-"softer and gentler" Panda" algorithm.

To make that update feasible, Google needs to keep junk from rising to the top.

Rasputin

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4656007 posted 5:20 pm on Mar 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

You are starting with the premise that webmasters complain about 'anti-spam penalties', but I imagine that almost nobody reasonable actually objects to these as long as:

1) the penalties are applied fairly and equally to all sites, regardless of size and brand
2) there is sufficient transparency about the causes of the penalties to enable the webmaster to take appropriate action

In my experience small business owners hit by panda/penguin/above-the-fold are typically not able to identify the 'problem', which certainly isn't always to do with spam.

EditorialGuy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4656007 posted 6:03 pm on Mar 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

You are starting with the premise that webmasters complain about 'anti-spam penalties', but I imagine that almost nobody reasonable actually objects to these as long as..."


There are plenty of site owners and SEOs who think Google shouldn't issue penalties. (The usual argument is that Google should just disregard unnatural links, etc. instead of penalizing them.)

turbocharged



 
Msg#: 4656007 posted 3:47 am on Mar 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

If Google's SERPs tend to favor big sites and businesses, users aren't likely to complain.

You failed to acknowledge Google's other users. Those who participate in the Adwords advertising program are also users and are responsible for a large part of Google's profits. Big brand bias, at least in a handful of cases I know of, has prompted some small business owners to stop advertising on Google entirely. The more these types of users feel they are being corralled and driven into Adwords, the more likely it is that Google will see less participation in their paid advertising program. This will have some sort of impact on Google's CPC in the long-term, which is a price they will pay for policies that have left many small business owners feeling alienated in organics.

I would also with what you said Crush. There is no level playing field with Google but instead a profit funnel designed to capture as much money as possible. This is capitalism, but Google has stepped well beyond that by purchasing, investing and/or partnering with many of the websites that they are presently giving favor to in their search engine. Hundreds of websites, outside of Google owned properties, benefit from having Google as an investor. The better these companies perform in Google search, the higher Google's profits will be. This ensures Google a good return on their investment while alienating others competing in the same industries.

In my experience small business owners hit by panda/penguin/above-the-fold are typically not able to identify the 'problem', which certainly isn't always to do with spam.

You made a great point Rasputin. Many small businesses want web designers to place what they write, word for word, on their webpages. While these clients know their businesses well, most lack copywriting skills and a thorough understanding of how what they wrote may trigger an algorithmic demotion. Google would argue that panda, for example, is not a penalty because it is algorithmically applied. However, it is hard for anyone to argue that a demotion is not a penalty because a loss in ranks is definitely a negative.

Penalties are definitely needed at a time when an algorithm has no other way to promote quality content. Any signal used to interpret ranks, outside of content, is and will continue to be exploited. By eradicating the SERPS of small websites in their entirety, for many queries, Google has addressed the problem. But in this process, they have also created another problem; small business owners who feel Google is trying to shake them down by forcing them into Adwords.

JD_Toims

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4656007 posted 4:19 am on Mar 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

You are starting with the premise that webmasters complain about 'anti-spam penalties', but I imagine that almost nobody reasonable actually objects to these as long as:

1) the penalties are applied fairly and equally to all sites, regardless of size and brand
2) there is sufficient transparency about the causes of the penalties to enable the webmaster to take appropriate action

Exactly! -- In the absence of that [it's really not possible for them to do it, unless they have a short "set expiration time" across the board for all sites, since there are "brand" sites searchers *expect* to see in the results] then stopping the penalty garbage and disregarding the "schemes" is the most fair solution, because otherwise the "little guy" [even if they're the best "little guy answer"] gets a totally unfair deal.

I've also read the argument here where there are those who think Google should be able to decide to base rankings on trust if they want, and that could correlate to "lower trust" based on participating in "schemes" [or whatever], and it's their prerogative to do things that way if they want, but again, they cannot apply that "lowered trust" fairly and evenly across all sites [unless there's a short "set expiration time" across the board for all sites participating in a "scheme"] due to searchers having "expected" brands in the results for queries, which means it benefits Google to "let it go" for brands, even if those brands participate(d) in the same "schemes" as "the little guy" did.

The most fair solution is to either have a short set expiration time for any penalty related to "scheme" participation which applies to all sites or just disregard the participation of all sites in any "schemes", rather than to "untrust" or "demote" the "little guys" who do it but let the "big brands" slide -- Slide meaning: giving the 'big brands' direct advice with actionable information to regain/ensure rankings within a much shorter period of time than the "little guy" who might not ever be able to regain their position for doing exactly the same thing, exactly the same way, a "big brand" did.

Bottom Line: The "little guys" don't benefit from penalties when there's a totally unlevel playing field.

Crush

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4656007 posted 10:11 am on Mar 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

Basically google has taken the 80/20 rule. 80% of it's income probably comes from big corps. The little guys are a PITA for them. Squash the 20% and they will go away or play somewhere else. Even better if they are forced into 100% PPC.

We have just got a manual penalty for unnatural links, a couple of our competitors that we speak have recently too. I think basically the fear stuff is working to scare the majority away from SEO, it is too hit and miss now anyway as a reliable income stream.

Ironically we stopped link building 5 or 6 months back so are being punished for past sins that could go back as far as 2003.

On the bright side we are google proof with hundreds of agents sending us leads. PPC in travel has become so expensive anyway that we will not be going down that route anyway.

I guess we will be back in the SERPS sooner or later, our site is too good to be thrown away for ever. It is a pain but one that we will live through because of diversification.

Awarn



 
Msg#: 4656007 posted 1:23 pm on Mar 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

@EG
I do not understand how if you are actively involved in SEO you can be so pro Google and not see the bias that Google is applying in the rankings.

Businesses do not expand or contract fast. This theory that a penalty that removes 50% of your traffic will not greatly affect a business is totally flawed. It doesn't matter if a business loses 50% or gains 50%, it is the sudden change that is the killer. Places like Ebay and Amazon really have little control over the quality as most is just outsourced.

I have lived through both sides of what happens. Sure usually you can get inventory but it takes time to train personnel, get warehousing, get capital etc. Even the most simple things can take time if you are growing fast. Then when the almighty Google cuts your legs out what happens to that warehouse, staff etc that was built up? That overhead just doesn't disappear overnight. Some of us have been dealing with this for a couple years and lost huge sums of money. Heck many are still looking for a clue as to what might even be the problem.

I know my niche well, I sit here watching my competitor expand while I see the spam on their site. Just a matter of time and they will experience the same issue. It will devastate them. What is achieved by all this though? Nothing

Meanwhile I watch all the Ukranian search engines hit my site. I see all the blog comment spammers. I get the people playing the mail fraud games of saying they didn't get the package but miraculously they get the replacement and then the original gets delivered a day later. I see the people using stolen credit card numbers. The scams go on and on.

Google can make the web better but they are focused on the minor violators while letting the major violators continue on. Kind of like a 3 year sentence for speeding and a 20.00 fine for murder. What is going to hurt you more - a site buying a link to promote or for added exposure or a site that is stealing names, addresses credit card data or some other scam. Those costs are being passed on as overhead to the consumer. That is you paying for those crimes. For that matter Google is raising the costs of every business large and small because they are not addressing the true criminals with their wonderful information engine.

I also believe that there are less comments here because many of us are tired of the PRO Google comments and we want answers and not the Google propaganda.

EditorialGuy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4656007 posted 3:03 pm on Mar 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

I do not understand how if you are actively involved in SEO you can be so pro Google and not see the bias that Google is applying in the rankings.


Enough with the "pro Google" nonsense. Google is a search engine. It isn't a religion, a country, a political party, or a football team. I've never seen anyone wearing a jersey with "Page" or "Brin" on the back, and as far as I know, Matt Cutts doesn't baptize babies or officiate at weddings (although he might sacrifice shady SEOs on the altar of search quality from time to time).

As for the "bias that Google is applying in the rankings," this thread is specifically about Google's stated desire to make its rankings friendlier to "small Web sites and small businesses." It's about what Google intends to do tomorrow, not about today or yesterday or the day before.

My premise is quite simple:

Before making its algorithm friendlier to small Web sites and small businesses, Google needs to winnow the pool of candidates. Searchers won't mind if Google penalizes site owners who violate its Webmaster Guidelines, but they will mind if sites that are generally viewed as being at least acceptable (Wikipedia, Amazon, Tripadvisor, CNet, etc.) are replaced by smaller sites that aren't as good or better.

To put it more succinctly, Google can't afford to let a "softer, gentler Panda" become known as the "S*#t Rising to the Top update." And while that may be news for site owners and SEOs who try to circumvent Google's guidelines, it should be good news for those who don't.

turbocharged



 
Msg#: 4656007 posted 3:18 pm on Mar 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

Google is a search engine.

Your statement is incorrect. Google is a publicly traded company that operates the most dominant search engine, online video website and many other products and services as can be viewed by others at [en.wikipedia.org...] Additionally, Google also has a financial interest in hundreds of companies as can be viewed at [gv.com...] Some of Google's partnerships can be viewed at [internetassociation.org...]

One can't ignore Google's financial involvement beyond search when considering whether bias in the search results exists. If nothing else, Google's broad investments give them a clear motive to help those companies they financially back succeed within Google's search product. This is a clear conflict of interest, and therefore no reasonable person would assume that the current search results are built using an evenly applied algorithm.

EditorialGuy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4656007 posted 3:56 pm on Mar 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

Your statement is incorrect.


Not in this context. This forum is about Google Search, and we're talking about Google the search engine, not Google the company that makes telephone operating systems, electronic eyewear, and self-driving cars.

no reasonable person would assume that the current search results are built using an evenly applied algorithm.


Again (in bold this time):

this thread is specifically about Google's stated desire to make its rankings friendlier to "small Web sites and small businesses." It's about what Google intends to do tomorrow, not about today or yesterday or the day before.

BillyS

WebmasterWorld Senior Member billys us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4656007 posted 4:02 pm on Mar 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

Google's broad investments give them a clear motive to help those companies they financially back succeed within Google's search product.

No... Google needs their search engine to be the best possible product. Why in the world would they fix their search engine when it's much easier to build authority in these companies?

Conspiracy theories exist when individuals fail to understand or accept what is logical. I also suspect that when people suggest Google is a cheater it's because those people cheat.

johnhh

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4656007 posted 4:39 pm on Mar 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

Why in the world would they fix their search engine when it's much easier to build authority in these companies?
and the easiest way to build brand authority is .. Google's search engine,given the % of market penetration.

As the topic of this thread, I am sorry but I cannot see any smaller sites benefiting at all. Back a few years ago quite a few smaller sites were growing fairly fast, but as they were out of Google's influence they floundered, just look at daniweb v stackoverflow, which is an interesting case.

EditorialGuy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4656007 posted 5:28 pm on Mar 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

As [for] the topic of this thread, I am sorry but I cannot see any smaller sites benefiting at all.


I can, if Google is able to achieve its objective of making Panda friendlier to "small Web sites and small businesses."

Why? Simple math:

Let's say that 50 small Web sites are competing for inclusion in top organic results in a search on "[keyphrase or question]."

Twenty of those sites are penalized for unnatural links or other violations of the Google Webmaster guidelines.

That leaves only 30 small Web sites in competition for inclusion in the top organic results.

For Google, searchers, and the "good guy" site owners, it's a win-win-win:

1) Google has improved the diversity of its SERPs without sacrificing quality;

2) Searchers have a wider range of quality choices in their search results;

3) Owners of non-spammy Web sites have a better chance of ranking in the top organic results.

Sounds pretty good to me. Now, let's see if Google really can make its algorithm friendlier to small Web sites and small businesses without making its search results worse than they are.

Awarn



 
Msg#: 4656007 posted 5:50 pm on Mar 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

Said like a true Google employee

Crush

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4656007 posted 6:33 pm on Mar 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

The "good guy" will just look at mega corps #1 SERP with 3 backlinks and cry whilst his site has 58 backlinks is still on page 3.

That is not how it will be, that is how it is now.

EditorialGuy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4656007 posted 6:47 pm on Mar 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

The "good guy" will just look at mega corps #1 SERP with 3 backlinks and cry whilst his site has 58 backlinks is still on page 3.


There's more to ranking than counting backlinks.


That is not how it will be, that is how it is now.


"How it is now" isn't the topic of this thread.

aristotle

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4656007 posted 7:02 pm on Mar 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

You have to wonder about the motive for starting a thread like this. it's certainly hard to see how it can be of any practical value to anybody in improving their website.

You also have to wonder how someone can have time to keep making so many long posts. Unless maybe it's their full-time job.

Splugged



 
Msg#: 4656007 posted 7:34 pm on Mar 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

Google algo is able to measure "user satisfaction"?

Uhm... maybe...

But, right now, my wife is "googling" for "my personal widgets". It' s a quarter of an hour. I'm just laughing thinking of "users satisfaction"...

How can I improve her "user satisfaction"?
I have to explain her Google algo (how it works, Panda, Penguin...) or I have to suggest her other mysterious search engines?

"Bing? What 's Bing? A sound?" I can imagine...

EditorialGuy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4656007 posted 7:40 pm on Mar 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

You have to wonder about the motive for starting a thread like this. it's certainly hard to see how it can be of any practical value to anybody in improving their website.


Maybe you'd prefer "Google is an evil monopoly that hates everyone except Amazon and Wikipedia"? We see plenty of those boilerplate rants here. They don't help anyone, but they're a great excuse for failure.

You also have to wonder how someone can have time to keep making so many long posts.


Writing comes easily if you're an editorial guy who knows how to multitask. :-)

In the past six months or so, Google's Matt Cutts has:

1) Invited people (including site owners) to submit the URLs of smaller Web sites that ought to be doing better in the SERPs.

2) Stated that a "Googler" is working on ways to help "small Web sites and small businesses" do better in Google's search results.

You can see those announcements as opportunities, or as excuses to complain about how badly you think Google has treated you in the past.

If you choose "opportunities," then you need to ask yourself:

"Does my site provide enough intrinsic value to users that an engineer who's picking 'seed sites' for an algorithm experiment will want it to rank well in the search results? And if not, what can I do to change that?"

If, on the other hand, the best you can come up with is "How can I keep out of Google's penalty box?" you're likely to be on the wrong track.

lucy24

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4656007 posted 8:47 pm on Mar 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

I imagine that almost nobody reasonable actually objects to these as long as:

1) the penalties are applied fairly and equally to all sites, regardless of size and brand
2) there is sufficient transparency about the causes of the penalties to enable the webmaster to take appropriate action

Can't remember when I last saw someone posting along the lines of "They penalized me, but it was a fair cop: I was doing something wrong and I got caught." Rules are for the bad guys. They obviously don't apply to anything I consider appropriate.

ColourOfSpring



 
Msg#: 4656007 posted 9:05 pm on Mar 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

For Google, searchers, and the "good guy" site owners, it's a win-win-win:

1) Google has improved the diversity of its SERPs without sacrificing quality;

2) Searchers have a wider range of quality choices in their search results;

3) Owners of non-spammy Web sites have a better chance of ranking in the top organic results.


....because if you are a "spammer", your product or service is inferior? And if you are not a "spammer", your product or service is superior. Of course, "spammer" is Google's current definition of the word, which is like trying to chart the location of the debris of MH370.

Ah yes, win-win-win then.

That is a really really tired argument without much basis in reality whatsoever. To muddy the waters further, the biggest brands are the biggest spammers but their multi-million pound/dollar marketing budgets ensure they get the correct authority signals that protect them. They cover all bases.

I am actually sick and tired of this conversation. I've built sites for small businesses since the mid-90s. The majority are enthusiasts and experts in their field. Google are a by-our-lady (classic phrase that describes a more modern phrase, I'm English) advertising company dictating their terms. Fair enough. But there's plenty of life outside of Google's search engine and in the last 2 years, there's been a concerted move away from Google because they are nothing but a disruption for serious businesses who absolutely need stability to make plans going forward. In other words, small businesses can't afford to rely upon Google. That's bad news for Google.

[edited by: ColourOfSpring at 10:12 pm (utc) on Mar 22, 2014]

RedBar

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4656007 posted 10:07 pm on Mar 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

In other words, small businesses can't afford to rely upon Google.


Not just small businesses, all types of businesses cannot afford to rely upon Google, quite simply many businesses have not trusted Google for a long, long time.

aristotle

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4656007 posted 10:30 pm on Mar 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

EditorialGuy wrote:
Maybe you'd prefer "Google is an evil monopoly that hates everyone except Amazon and Wikipedia"?

I don't recall seeing a thread with that title, but since you thought of it, maybe you start it yourself. It would have more basis in reality than this current thread does.

EditorialGuy wrote:
Writing comes easily if you're an editorial guy who knows how to multitask

Maybe that's why most of your posts are so unconvincing, because you write them so fast and easily without taking time to put any thought into them.

aakk9999

WebmasterWorld Administrator 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4656007 posted 11:12 pm on Mar 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

Mods note:

Please keep the discussion professional with no insults or we will be locking this thread up.

EditorialGuy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4656007 posted 11:22 pm on Mar 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

....because if you are a "spammer", your product or service is inferior? And if you are not a "spammer", your product or service is superior.


Quite possibly. I wouldn't be surprised. But it doesn't matter, because users probably aren't going to wonder where your site went if somebody else outranks you. How often does a searcher say, "What happened to that site I've never heard of?"

JD_Toims

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4656007 posted 11:51 pm on Mar 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

How often does a searcher say, "What happened to that site I've never heard of?"

What I hear fairly often [which is essentially the same] is: There's a site I found yesterday [or the other day] when I searched for [widgeting] and it had exactly what I wanted to know but it's not there today now that I'm ready to [whatever], how do I find it again?

Awarn



 
Msg#: 4656007 posted 11:57 pm on Mar 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

Editorial Guy:

I have a very unique niche market. I actually do get customers calling or emailing saying - you know I searched for hours and I finally found you. You know you were the only place that actually had the item? What they are referring to is there are sites that list the item but they aren't actually in stock. In fact the sites haven't had many items in stock for a long time. Another comment I get is we bought from you because your site looked more professional. So users do notice. We never had comments like this before. We also have another site where the owner sells items but can only be contacted by email. Their domain name and ours are almost identical. That confuses us when people call and complain about an order and start bitching at us. Real fun trying calm then down then try telling them they are wrong. So no matter what you believe that good user experience just is not happening.

johnhh

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4656007 posted 12:41 am on Mar 23, 2014 (gmt 0)

You also have to wonder how someone can have time to keep making so many long posts

i also have this problem

But I trust the mods have this under control
-- date of membership and number of posts ratio

This 44 message thread spans 2 pages: 44 ( [1] 2 > >
Global Options:
 top home search open messages active posts  
 

Home / Forums Index / Google / Google SEO News and Discussion
rss feed

All trademarks and copyrights held by respective owners. Member comments are owned by the poster.
Home ¦ Free Tools ¦ Terms of Service ¦ Privacy Policy ¦ Report Problem ¦ About ¦ Library ¦ Newsletter
WebmasterWorld is a Developer Shed Community owned by Jim Boykin.
© Webmaster World 1996-2014 all rights reserved