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Google's Wobbles

Or Maybe: The Rise and Fall of Search Engines



6:46 am on May 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

The problems reported are actually becoming far more rational and trends are emerging.

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.


7:01 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

The "Google owes us nothing" argument is getting very tired.


7:11 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

is it me, or is there nothing more annoying than a poster scolding others to go back to "working on your sites" ... what a presumptuous statement


7:23 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

'Google owes us', or 'we owe google' is totally irrelevent.
If google offers results that degrade in quality, the market will make sure they no longer have a monopoly like grip on the SE market. More choices, less room to bitch, etc.


7:24 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Because we put all of our eggs into the Google basket. Many of you will say, but Google accounts for 85% of searches. Well tough, ever heard of advertising offline too?

Even more tiring than reading all these posts about this "update", is comments like this.

Let's talk reality here. Reality is that if you want a profitably online business, you have to be in google. Period. People that argue against that fact generally don't know what they are talking about.

As far as offline advertising, not nearly as effective for online business. Works great if you are brick and mortar. I don't know how many people are going to find a website in the yellow pages.


7:36 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member bigdave is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member


Don't dismiss offline too easily. Yes, you are screwed if you are not in google. No mistake about that.

But you should see the sort of results that you can get by giving our useful freebies to your customers with your URL on it. Not just some cheapo garbage, but something nice. Spend some money on the graphics and you can get people to wear your tshirts around town. Coffe mugs sit on the desk where people can look at them, or even make it into the sared mug collection in the coffee room.

Sports bottles, gym bags, and yoga mats make it to the gym.

All these things, along with PPC and newsletters can keep your repeat business high long enough to get you passed some rough spots.

They won't work for everyone. They do work well for some though, and more site owners should consider the possibilities.


8:20 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

One thing google has overlooked. Of course Yahoo will go Inkomi, boom 25% gone atleast, then google will hold 55% Ms on search engines AT BEST.

The thing google has overlooked is Webmaster are users

Lets say 1/10 of the webmasters get mad and say google is irelivent, lets say Yahoo, is extremely relevant, now they just lost another 3,000,000 visitors. Now the public finds google irelivant, and another 3,000,000 say good bye, these numbers add up.

Yahoo WILL launch a huge campaign for their new search results. In less then 2 months google may go from 80% MS, to 30%.

For google to do what they are doing at this point in time, is unwise.


8:30 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


Your message #157 point very well taken.

As we speak I am taking out time to optimize my pages for Inktomi and getting ready for the Yahoo take over.

These are the things that we as webmasters need to be concern with and prepare for. There is nothing we can basically do with Dominic now. IMHO all webmasters should focus some of their time on getting ready when Yahoo's breaks off from Google.

Now is the time to capture good SERPs on other SE's that are competing with Google. Doing so will most likely pay off for you now and in the coming months. Don't wait until the Inktomi Index rolls out and your caught with your shorts down.



8:41 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rfgdxm1 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

>is it me, or is there nothing more annoying than a poster scolding others to go back to "working on your sites" ... what a presumptuous statement

More than annoying, it is just stupid. This site has a huge number of forums in "The Webmaster World" section if how to work on their sites is the concern. This is the *Google* forum. 'Round here, the topic is Google, and nothing else.


8:42 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Exactly, very good point! klickman

Currently I rank good in Inkomi, better in google, but still, Optimize for inkomi is very wise at this point.

Yahoo, will emerge the new King of relivance IMHO. Get onboard, or go broke.


8:43 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I look at it like this. Lets imagine that to spice up our boring, sad lonely lives we pretend that we are pop stars. We make a really good song, release it, it goes to number 1 in the charts, we lap it up for how ever many weeks, and then slowly it begins to fall out of the charts.

We get up off our lazy, drunk, drugged up back sides and produce another excellent song that goes way back up the charts again. Eventually you just get used to having to do a serious amount of work every so often to keep the good times rolling.

Thats how I look at it now. It challenging, just budget better so that the bad times don't bankrupt you.

*** I know this has nothing to do with the thread whatsoever, but I'm really happy with my new found approach to SEO ***


9:17 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

To all of those who disagreed with my post about GOOGLE...in the GOOGLE forum...Clearly you are relying on Google too much. By bringing up offline advertising all I am suggesting is an alternative to Google. I know that Google is the behemoth right now, which makes it all that much more important to TRY and diversify...as hard as that may be. I didn't mean to offend anyone, just to offer my opinions on Google and the webmaster, which I did. I know that if I drop from #1 to oblivion in Google rankings I won't be sent to the poor house. Any good business would do whatever they could to avoid this, bricks and mortor OR online. Another 2 cents from me. Wow, this forum is getting rich ;)


9:31 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'm sure your reasons are well founded, but the vast majority are internet businesses pure and simple.

On the lesser scale the small type stuff, a hobbiest for example may make a 100 bucks a month through amazon and the like, if he loses google results, end of story no big deal he will have a day job.

But imagine a bigger operation working with top industries and top dollar commisions, lose google, same.. end of story, but may have dire consequences.

They can't pick up sticks and set up store on the high street.

Saying that, most know the risks of internet business and if they don't it will be more painful once reality strikes.


9:35 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

me too.

i run spare time internet business.

but i earned my acura mdx and a house in china from spare time income.

i have a daytime job but who knows when it will be gone consideing the economy and office politics....


9:35 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Steve...I guess that is what I was trying to say. I know of many online business that rely almost 100% on Google. I know that they own 85% market share of SE in terms of traffic and searches. Even if you could that down to 50%...somehow...you'd be minimizing the risk substantially! So, if/when Google loses its market share it won't be as big a shock and you'll be able to recover faster...


9:52 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Mmm, it's very difficult to say to someone, "hey sorry about the results in google" but how's about another 15k because I think ink/yahoo are going to be big next month....running out of door with bullet-proof vest on -;

The market share is nothing to do with me, people use google, I would much prefer they spread out a bit. But they will not until there is a serious bunch of competitors, and who can blame them


10:11 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

The way I see it, a simple solution would be to tweak alogos for different partners, yahoo, aol etc etc.
And alternate on a monthly/weekly/daily/ basis, similar to the "old dance"

The result difference would not be that dramatic, maybe a shuffle of the top 3/4/ or whatever pages.

A seo's nightmare maybe...........

But users would not notice, webmaster's may be fairly happy, ie at least a good result in one

Just a thought..that's all


10:37 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

How about making each datacentre a different Google with a different algorithm and different brand? :)

That would certainly solve the eggs-in-one-basket problem and would make Google worth more money too through spreading of risk.

Well, back to reality :)


10:52 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I just read the new category charter, looks like almost everyone is violating it. I personally like to know that there are other that have the same problem I have.

For my terms, google shows really old 404's, completely blank pages and links to google directory categories that don't exist in google's own directory. I hope this is not considered whining.

I can't even imagine how frustrating it must be for Joe Searcher to find anything. Am I allowed to ask the "professionals" here at WW how in the world a new update can show completely blank pages as top search results? I was searching for some things for my own personal use and I found two different searches showing results for a domain that didn't exist anymore, one that expired a few months ago.

I keep checking to see if results will ever be straightened out, but Joe Searcher does not, he simply goes elsewhere. It makes me wonder how google partners feel. Does Y! know they are serving up search results showing blank pages, broken links, expired domains and 404's as top results for popular terms?

I get sick of these people who say "everyone says that sites above them are spam" - I am searching for things not related to my industry and I see what anyone would have to agree is spam, blatant redirects, duplicate sites, hidden text, pages of keyword lists, etc.

Am I less professional if I report what I see, if I share my findings with other professionals. I understand WW is under a lot of stress, just like everyone else is over this mess called Dominic. There is no way G can justify showing blank pages as top results, no way they can justify showing sites that haven't existed in months (check the whois, this isn't whining)

Even google is getting screwed with this index, try searching for "search engine" - google has been #1 and is now #3 behind altavista and excite.... lol


11:01 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

There are a lot of strange things happening but all in all rank is steady for us.

Our main site and some secondary sites have been up for about 6 years. We have somehow recently gotten a grey bar but for our main and secondary terms we have remained within 3 places of where we have been for the past year or so.

Our backlinks went from 169 to 7. All of our links from other countries (other than the US) are gone too. I am a little worried about the grey bar but we are still #5-8 for most of our pages.

I think that basically Google is starting to get too big for its britches. Branching out from their core strength. News, froogle etc might be distracting them. Stick to what you do best until you are perfect at it and THEN move on to something else.

I am seeing the same sites come up that I always see for our SERPS. There are a few that don't belong and never have but they have remained forever. Google's SERPS seem to still be fairly accurate but still the fact remains, links and page rank do not necessarilly indicate the "best" pages. I think the "weight" of a DMOZ link used to mean something but we all see how corrupt that system has become. The Yahoo link used to mean something too. All in all I think that human editors are best but the net has gotten WAY to big for them to be relevant. Inbound links have to be rethough and reengineered.

On the plus side I have seen G grab some pages within a day or 2 so they get plusses for being current if not accurate.

The biggest negative is still spam. G can't seem to stop it. It seems that it would be so easy to filter SERPS where 10 pages are exactly the same content with just a differnt title or photo or something.

Getting frustrated here I hate to see G go the way of AV and the rest......hello FAST can you help?!?! You know, TEOMA was starting to look good for a while....Nothing like a little competition to kick you in the pants and get you focused....Get focused Google PLEASE!


11:11 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rfgdxm1 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

>I think the "weight" of a DMOZ link used to mean something but we all see how corrupt that system has become.

GG has stated himself that ODP links are treated just the same as any other link on a page. It is a myth that ODP links are considered super important. If your ODP cat is PR5, then a link on some teenagers PR5 home page with the same number of links on it should be just as good. Likely better, because you can get that teenager to link to you with precisely the keyword laden anchor text you want. ODP policy is to use the site name for the anchor text, which tends to suck if you happen to be using a brand as the site name.


11:24 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

I mentioned in an earlier thread, can't remember where now, anyhow I have an old site/domain expired Jan this year.
It has turned up again, back page 1/2 for at least 30 search terms to my knowledge alone.

It used to receive between 1 and 2 hundred hits a day, so just from me there will be some disgruntled searchers.

If google email me they will get an automated response ;-


11:29 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

LOL...I love that one, my3cents. Altavista on position 1 for "search engine". But it's kind of reflecting the situation, isn't it? Though I wouldn't have chosen Excite as number 2. Let's print it, frame it and send it to Google...:-)


11:32 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member bigdave is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Even google is getting screwed with this index, try searching for "search engine" - google has been #1 and is now #3 behind altavista and excite.... lol

It looks like they are getting ready to roll out the new "alphabetical order" algo.


11:35 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

AV may employ SEO's -:)))


11:37 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Not just small companies affected by google last update I just looked at Hewlett Packard and HP.com are on pr0.


11:50 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

rfgdxm1- That is why I said ""weight" of a DMOZ link USED TO mean something" I realize that is in the past mainly because of the sheer amount of pages on the net these days.

My point was that, as far as giving relative SERPS, human editing like on DMOZ and Yahoo was/is superior to the link and PR weights that google uses It is also better at eliminating SPAM.

You can't fool a human into adding 100 sites with the same content into a database. Machines and algos can't (apparently) filter SPAM and repetitive pages as well as a human.

Sorry if I wasn't clear in my earlier post.


11:51 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I am looking to purchase something, let's call it a dark blue widget, anyway, result #11 looks pretty interesting considering there are several major corporations fighting for this multi-million dollar phrase.

this must be some new kind of seo, the #11 result has some great code, check it out:


<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=windows-1252">
<meta http-equiv="Content-Language" content="en-us">
<title>Home Page</title>
<meta name="GENERATOR" content="Microsoft FrontPage 4.0">
<meta name="ProgId" content="FrontPage.Editor.Document">



I seem to be finding a bunch of blank pages today, maybe google is trying to get me to leave my computer and go out to WalMart.... lol


11:55 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I could understand "testing," I wonder if Y! and AOL are as understanding. I really can't believe G is showing these results on their partners websites. It's one thing for them to destroy themselves, but now they are making Y! and AOL useless too. This is unreal, unbelievable and I cannot accept any justification for these results, as Joe Searcher I am fed up, 3 days of results like this...


11:56 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Ok official, AV is PR7
AV is Number#1

Google is PR10
google is Number#3

Google are penalised for tooooo many anchor text links.


12:02 am on May 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

If google isn't broke can you explain this: dir.google.com
= pr0. This is just one example. Mod's sorry for putting in a url but it is google - should you want to delete it please do and I'll sticky you other urls i've found.
This 187 message thread spans 7 pages: 187

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