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That bus which GoogleGuy was talking about in the earlier -SJ update thread, when urging webmasters not to worry about each bump on route.... it could well be starting to stray from the road... and in full view of the searching public.
Is the Plex loosing its grip? Consider the following:
a) This thread: [webmasterworld.com...] Sorry.... a few may gloss over or apply positive spin... but this is a real mess. That cannot be hidden any more, as the scale is wide and actually seems to be growing as the forum posts become more rational. Yes, in some sectors the searching public WILL notice.
b) The geolocation fiasco. Wrong decision, no warning at all to the searching public, and certainly alienation of some. Another real mess.
c) Unfair penalties. Anyone getting a human response on these? I bought a new domain in January. Worked for ages on it, and... PR0. Why? Someone had previously owned it in Sept 2001 and got a penalty. Emails explaining and begging for common sense over a month ago ignored. I'm not the only one.
And yes there are other bits and pieces demonstrating this trend.
The impression from all this is not good. Individually these sorts of issues do cause damage and potentially any one could backfire into substantial adverse publicity, loss of customer/searcher support, etc.
Collectively, the story is getting bigger than the sum of its parts.
I make no bones about being a Google fan, so for me, the above is of great concern. More than any reason because I have seen it before, as have others. This sort of... well it looks like sloppiness or lack of correct focus... was evident when Alta Vista started it's rapid decline.
Maybe over confidence is the cause, or lack of hierarchical control, or just bad judgment. Who knows. But here's a point: when a search engine has fallen previously the first group to have drifted away have been webmasters. That's why I have asked on a different thread: "What the hell is going on".
C'mon Google.... sort it. This is shakey ground and I'm beginning to wonder what is next. It's doing no-one any favors, least of all Google.
Amen! I believe that's what this completely shaken-up index is all about. Take the sites that have plenty of free traffic down so they will jump on Adwords.
Hopefully I'm wrong about this but I don't see how else so many quality sites can be drivin into oblivion when, by Google's standards, they were tops for so long.
The site I care about most will be brought to it's knees if/when this new index sticks. What can you do? Join Adwords? Makes me wonder what the ulterior motive is here.
Set it up under a different site and viola, there it is and it's up at the top for those keywords....
They're gonna push adwords hard apparently.
That is exactly what happened at Altavista.
When useful, meaningful sites stopped showing up first in the SERPs people who needed real information stopped using it.
And my bottom line reaction to reading this forum is two-fold.
1) Why is google putting this self-described incomplete index out to the public in the first place? Just to see if the public doesn't notice? It's one thing to beta test amongst those that are in a forum such as this, but public dispersal seems stupid, whether the public notices or not. The general public doesn't know a spammed site from any other.
2) Google via "googleguy" seem to have a head buried in the sand approach to the legitimate complaints, most referring to the above public showing of an index that still has “weeks” to be completed. Just saying “sj looks great to us” or “sj is a better index than before” doesn’t make it so to all of those in this forum. If you want to say “sj will be better” or “sj doesn’t look pretty yet, but it will when…” that would be better. Any thing else is insulting to those honest web designers or SEOs, who just want to know what the playing field looks like. No athlete would play blindfolded, wo why should we be left in the dark.
Overall, the tone I get from google is that of “we’re number one now, so we can be arrogant”. I guess it’s true that “power corrupts”.
Google’s algo was nearly perfect if you look back at say early to mid-2002. The results were great and almost spam-free. The problem was that at this time people started to buy Page Rank and anchortext links, and spam started appearing everywhere.
Now you are trying to improve a basically perfect algo simply because it is so easy to manipulate, and more and more people are doing it. In the process of trying to “clean up” the index you are bringing down many relevant web sites and people get upset. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater may be the only solution left when every webmaster in the world knows how to get to the top of Google, but I don't think we are there yet, (although we are inching closer every day). If you remove the green bar from the toolbar tomorrow, and give less relevance to the anchortext in incoming links than to on-page factors for a couple of months to get everyone a bit confused :), I think you could basically keep this algo forever.
I understand the public relations disaster that you probably fear if you were to remove the page rank bar. But if you replaced it with some other cool feature, and motivated the move by saying that you have improved your algo so much that PR is no longer the best way of displaying the relevance of a site, no one would question it.
In regards to sending spam reports on the –sj results. I don’t think that spam is the main problem on -sj, but rather that many good web sites have seen dramatic drops that are not explainable by algo changes alone, and has to be due to some sort of new penalty. For me it is no big deal since only one of my sites has been dropped. I would just prefer that you keep doing the really clever stuff without flaunting it, instead of trying to clean up the mess when everyone has learnt how to get to the top of Google.
Different. Not so easy for folks to listen, to much unfounded fear. Problems that relate to a few being transfered to many.. who may have no cause to worry at all.
A general tone of negative coming into being which is just my feeling in general...
I disagree with this thought since there can only be 5 listings in the top 5 and 10 listings in the top 10. Obviously, if I figure out a way to get listed ahead of you, then you need to figure out how to make your site more relevent that phrase than ME or you haven't figured out how to get to the top.
For every webmaster that KNOWS HOW to get to the top, then ALL the others for that keyword apparently DON'T know how.
Patience is the underlying theme to everything GG has said and, in reality, to every job funtion of a web designer.
* and to clarify my "top of the listings" - it was top of adwords...but this wasn't a company I had planned on spending adwords on but Google's offer of $100 was too good to pass up. Now...just a little traffic will encourage me to spend more when the $100 is gone....DOH....their mailing worked!