Leosghost - 12:16 pm on May 28, 2013 (gmt 0) [edited by: tedster at 1:36 pm (utc) on May 28, 2013]
It's like Google's trying to decide who to include rather than who to exclude.
Been saying since waaaayback that G were "pre-sorting" and that it would continue ever more "aggressively"..so the signs they are doing so..comes as no surprise..
They have no choice..it is the only way that they can cope..the sheer numbers out paced even their estimates of what they could sift and return SERPs for instantly in response to any query..
The number of queries exploded ( even G did not see the effect that being able to search from mobile phones would have upon their sytems ) prior to the ubiquitous use of mobile phones and other mobile devices, searches were made only by those who were in a particular place in front of a particular machine, searching took "effort"..and chairs, desks, keyboards, monitors, towers or laptops, cables etc etc ..
Now ..anyone with a mobile device can search ..and they can be anywhere when they do so..it is no longer a specific "hardware"( all of the above items, including desks, and chairs and cables..are hardware ) and "environment dependent" task..
The infrastructure of search engines, their underlying systems and operating systems ( G just changed theirs..again..the old one could not keep up..it "wobbled" under the data load and required speed of "I want the answer now" load ) even their own "hardware" data centres etc ) could not keep up..
Now, with anyone being able to ask at any time from anywhere about anything ( scenario.."bar room discussion" about any subject..previously one person maybe with a laptop ( if there was such a person in the corner of the bar, with the space on a table for a laptop ) could "look up" the answer..now the entire bar reaches for their phones and searches )..people used to watch TV and wonder "where have I seen that actress before"..Now they have a phone or a tablet and they look it up..while still watching TV..no getting up and going to the computer..or thinking "I'll look it up later" and forgetting..
So ..if you want to be a fast search engine ( and if you aren't fast..you die )..you have to "pre-sort"..so as to be searching a "subset" and not the entire database..<= which is itself in permanent "flux" as new pages come on line <= millions every day..and their relationships change as fast as clouds change shape in the sky on a summers day..( "look dad! a dragon is chasing that rabbit".."Where son?" .."Oh, now it's a dog and a sailboat..you missed it dad..it changed while you were looking the other way".. )..and it is going to get faster..
One way ( IMO certainly not the only way ) that they "pre-sort" is to use ( and "boost" ) sites which "pre-sort" for them..pinterest is a good example of this ( made G's image sorting job much easier..now they know where the cute kittens and lace are likely to be ) ..especially if their search history and personalisation data for you knows that you are likely to be female and spend time and money on fashion sites, and looking up bios of soap stars..they ain't gonna send you to 4chan..:)
Amazon..also is "pre-sorted" ..they, or the merchants on there, probably sell just about everything..and when it is "out of stock", that is just 3 words on a p)age with photos , descriptions,specifications, review comments and similar product links..and Amazon has "flow"..<= easy to use and compare and checkout..<= for "average surfers"..
Wikipedia ?..pages on just about everything, and constantly under review by it's own internal editors and outside editors, and world and their dog..( forget about if you think it is accurate or not ..G doesn't really care..because the "wiki system" does some "pre-sorting" for G, so G doesn't have to worry about "the load"..and the answers will be right more often than they are wrong..at least right enough for any one who didn't know the answers and thus had to ask the question )..same applies to ehow..if you have to ask the question..chances are that the ehow answer , re-spun from 3 or 4 real sources , will be more than you knew..so satisfied "average surfer"..
Remember..we ( and anyone who actually has website ) are not the "average surfer"..
Larry was worried about losing eyeballs ( and all their surfing data ) behind the walled garden of facebook..thought he could invent G+ and get them to move..it would also have helped him in his "pre-sorting"..you'd have been "pre sorting" yourselves into "sets" ( I have used set theory many times to demonstrate things on WebmasterWorld..look it up..and think about it )..but "group inertia" has defeated him..( he needs to study a little deeper how to "entice"/"influence" non geek people to do things °..but that would require empathy..not merely smiles for the camera..
As to consensus here..?..
Consensus is not needed, in order to be able to see what is happening, what will be happening, and to be reactive..
G have been saying for along long long time now that they preferred a "responsive site"..
Well of course they would prefer it..! "responsive" means they only have to crawl, index, categorise, filter and cache each page once.."responsive" lowers the load on G's systems..
Their problem has been that with the number of sites running adsense ( G's way to make the average webmaster an evangelist ) and until very recently..no easy to understand, acceptable , G approved ( won't get you "insta banned" ) "responsive" way to serve adsense was available to webmasters/publishers..
So many did not make "responsive sites"..many made two or more versions of the same pages and sites..and G had to deal with that load..had to because mobile phone and tablet use was exploding..but desktop and laptop use are not dead ( and are unlikely to die )..But G tested "responsive adsense" in a few non English speaking areas..and apparently it did not get abused..nor did it result in so many fumble fingered clicks on ads that advertisers screamed..
So now everyone can use "responsive sites"..and G would like you to do so as soon as possible..because it lightens their load..
( you did take advantage of the last couple of years of them saying that they liked "responsive sites"..and their promotion of them in SERPs to learn how to make "responsive sites"..didn't you.. )
As to the detail of what to do in ( apart from "go responsive"..if you can ..and if it is actually possible with your "content" ) various niches and verticals..the details of how to be included in the "set"(s)" that G show, after various "pre-sortings*" have been run and prior to searchers seeing a SERP..these will vary with each niche and vertical..
IMO .. specific discussion, especially in public fora or venues, in the hope of finding a recipe of fixes that will work for all sites, is inadvisable..
Also, bear in mind that to a degree, yes, G will be trying to increase spend on adwords..they merely need to make it so hard for the average webmaster to understand what gets one a good position , that the average webmaster will pay G to be on page one..
But that could be regarded as a sort of Darwinism as applied to website pages as species, and search as an environment ..
At any one time both the effects of such search Darwinism.."pre-sorting" and nevertheless their being still overwhelmed by "data volume" and "flux" in "page relationships" in certain areas, may be visible at once..which would explain many ongoing anomalies..and many new ones, others yet to be seen..
[edited by: tedster at 1:36 pm (utc) on May 28, 2013]