tedster - 4:57 pm on Jun 8, 2010 (gmt 0)
Ppl were saying the same thing back in 2003.
Yes - and every year in between, too, although the Florida Update was a strong example of a major change.
For me the take-away is that the often predicted "fall of Google" did not happen in the seven years since. To put it mildly! Google has thrived.
If results are as awful as they seem to us, Google will notice that dissatisfaction and take steps to change it. They have a lot of QA metrics and they do use them. Already we are seeing reports in this thread that some shifts are causing improvements.
I ran into a search on a technical issue yesterday where Google was just not cutting it. Given all the discussion, I said to myself "OK you've got an example - see how Bing does." But sadly in this case both Bing and Yahoo results were also terrible.
We do need to face the fact that the search results are going to cater to the masses first and foremost. However, if the results can't also serve serious research by professionals, that will be a problem. Overriding quote marks and plus signs IS a problem, IMO - but my family doesn't notice it.
The new emphasis does seem to be on brands for some types of searches - and yet there are others where big brands are losing. One international brand name I work with lost 15% of their non-branded long tail traffic in May. So there's a miss, if the point was to feed more brand choices. That traffic seems to have gone to informational and academic sites, rather than to any competing commercial brand. And stepping away from my own focus, I can see that those search results also do the job.
So we're working with a complex logic, not a black and white kind of thing. And the gradual return of traffic for some sites also seems to point to some kind of automated feedback system in the algo, in my view.
So again I wonder, what factors make up a brand in Google's eyes? The number of searches on just the business name itself? Unlinked mentions? Offline media mentions? Navigational searches? Whois ownership?