I just got done reading ALL of Parts 1 - 3 of the Florida Update thread! (all 688 pages and 2,301 comments!) As well as part of another thread that actually made some strides determining what Florida was doing. There is still more reading to do, but I need to give my brain cells a rest!
While some of the details are more relevant to the other thread, I will respond to some of the points made above.
@tedster: Florida caused an upswelling of almost historic proportions - even national media attention - not just some annual event.
Nor is what Google has done over the last 7 years relevant to the validity of the Florida approach, as under intense pressure from users, SEOs, and even the media, it was reversed in early 2004.
"Google will notice that dissatisfaction and take steps to change it."
You mean like they did in 2003?
"We do need to face the fact that the search results are going to cater to the masses first and foremost."
But those are the ppl that are hurt the most by junk SERPs - the users!
"Overriding quote marks and plus signs IS a problem, IMO - but my family doesn't notice it."
Expecting the general public to have to apply advanced search features, just to be able to find what they are looking for, is a guaranteed FAIL. Microsoft's advert. dept. would have a field day with that!
But the idea that this radical change in approach is easily fixable (the current SERPs seem to indicate otherwise), or that Google does not like things just the way they are (like what they appear to claim in their video and in 2003), is IMHO simply wishful thinking.
But from what I was reading about Florida, my main concern is that this overly broad, less relevant, SEO-penalizing SERPs that may result from this basic approach, while I am sure will due wonders for AdWords sales, may prove useless for either SEOs or their business clients, let alone the poor user trying to actually find something specific in the organic search results!
"We're up to almost 15% bing traffic today on very heavy traffic. Yahoo is up as well."
scottsonline: Given how far behind Yahoo & Bing are (compared to the normal Google) in terms of search quality, the fact that users are STILL turning away from Google to use them instead is telling!
Same thing happened with our sites in 2003, but I don't think this soon...could the current SERPs actually be worse than Florida was?