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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.
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.
True enough, but the ODP listings get you found and spidered by every SE going so it reduces Google's importance somewhat. The only reason that I'm in Ink, Teoma, Fast etc is because of dmoz... I never submitted to them.
I think the claim that Google is at any serious competitive
disadvantage in the consumer search arena as a consequence of the current index/algorithm is unfounded. In my opinion, this claim is simply the outcome of many in this forum taking their anger out on Google, and, as a consequence, losing perspective on the nature of this situation.
For the typical Google user, I doubt the current index/algorithm is anything that appears extremely poor in terms of the quality of the results it renders. Therefore, realistically, Google needs to make no chages to their index/algo in order to appease the public (this is largely a fantasy, and one that I like sometimes to indulge in myself).
This said, what ought to be of serious concern to Google is how they treat Webmasters. What has been done in this latest Google release certainly has hit home for a lot of Webmasters, myself included. And this is creating a lot of ill-will between Webmasters and Google, the most serious possible outcome of which could be damage to their AdWords program, which after all is used by a good number of the very same Webmasters that do SEO. If Webmasters, after repeated battering, give up on Google, Google's viability as an advertising venue could well be threatened, to a good extent.
Google definitely has gone downhill. However, I agree that at this point there isn't much worry about a mass defection to other search engines. But Google will need to be at a competitive advantage when Yahoo switches to Ink. Unless Google has better results when that happens, don't expect many to switch away from Yahoo.