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From my own experiences AS A USER, I would give Google a rating of 8/10.
So AS USERS, how do other people rate Google? Forget dance issues, page-rank, etc. can you as a user find the information you want?
It really depends on what you are searching but right now I don't think I'd give G any higher marks than ATW or Looksmart. For a number of searches I routinely do, I get nearly identical serps on page 1 on all three.
It really isn't just the number of pages you have in your index. Others have proven that. It's partly how good your first page of serps is and thereafter what matters is your ability to serve up the arcane sites/pages well. IMHO G is falling down on this more and more of late.
In this day and age of grade inflation I cannot see anything less than 10/10 being appropriate.
Only my opinion
It really isn't just the number of pages you have in your index.
As for the size of the index, for almost all users, ATW, Teoma and Ink have a large enough index to be satisfactory. For a SE, it is far more important to get the most relevant sites on page 1. Typically people are looking for the most authoratative sites on a topic. Not the most minor and obscure. These big sites, because they have so many inbound links, are spidered by any SE worth mentioning.
As a still fairly novice webmaster for an NFP org, I don't consider google to be broken. Indeed, I'm far happier with Goggle this month than I was back in April when our main page, and only the main page, took a holiday from the index.
Ohw ell, freshbot fixed that for the most part anyway, so pretty much same old, same old from my lil' corner of the prairie.
However, there is quite a difference between being not-broken and being a well oiled machine. I believe Google is currently being given oil change . . . and a tune up.
I strongly disagree with this statement! While I am an amateur webmaster, aside from my business web site, (which generates leads, not ecommerce type sales) I am 'Joe Surfer' as well, since 75% of my 'surfing' is not related to my business or web site. I believe the people here surf the net and utilze SEs for non-business use as much and probably more than the public as a whole.
I would have given Google 10/10 a month ago, but now I have to go several pages deep. What irritates me isn't my own site placement but the cr@p served up as results. While looking for 'widgets in anytown', #3 is a forum thread where one of the signatures has 'widgets in anytown' as the anchor text.
I am seeing completely irrelevant results more and more frequently. As a user I dont care if the site is spam laden as long as it has what I am looking for. In this context, Google is fustrating to me as the surfer. After 20 years in various businesses, I know one thing for sure - a frustrated customer will not stay a customer for long.
I consider these folks the "real-life users".
Virtually no one has noticed any sort of change or difference in Google. They type in search terms and click around until they find what they are looking for. Just like they did last month and the month before that.
They also don't concern themselves with Google toolbars, Pagerank, backlinks, caches, anchor text, www2, -sj and everything else that the majority of WebmasterWorld members observe.
I think however it was an excellent wake-up call round here that webmasters should NOT rely solely on Google for their traffic.
Yep, that's it! In germany they call this housewife test. Ask you ma or your pa - unless they are not web pro's you'll get real world answers.
if Google decided to randomly delete half of the pages in the index and also use 6 month old backlinks in their algorithm then I believe the typical user would NOT notice much of a difference
nicely said gmoney, but one change.
"Realistically speaking the typical user would NOT notice ANYTHING"
I use my neighbours, they are low level users, know nothing about search engines or computers. They search and I watch. I don't help them search because it would remove any value for me. They dont care and wouldn't notice.
The people at work, cpu power users, never heard of the toolbar, do hardcore/frequent searches. They dont care and wouldn't notice.
My family, mid to high level users, they all spend a lot of time searching. They dont care and wouldn't notice.
get my drift?
I am not complaining about site placement or spam like many. I am complaining because when I search for a toy for my child, the #4 result is an earthlink page about an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf. How objective do I need to be?
I have written about it here some time ago but no one followed:
Does anyone has a clue on the source of the problems with right-to-left content in the Google indices?
[edited by: Marcia at 10:39 pm (utc) on June 1, 2003]
[edit reason] No URLs per TOS, please. [/edit]
How badly broken is Google?
:) :) :) Well, I gotta admit, you had me going for a minute. ;)
Do you still beat your wife? Do you still get drunk every night? :)
Some webmasters may be displeased with the present results Google returns, but every recent search I've done returns useful results. If users are getting useful results, it ain't broke!
Oh Please! Not down that ally again.... we'll all use the other engine that monopolizes 80% of searches then!
>> How badly broken is Google?<<
We will learn whether it is at all, or by how much, as soon as they bring all the data up to date.
Yes, there's stuff missing alright, and there are sites ranked that haven't existed for yonks, but these things may well be set right with the next proper update.
We are supposed to see some update in the next couple of weeks, but assuming we ever see a full crawl again (hmmm), that may well be 6-7 weeks.
The sooner the better really, as some people outside the webmaster communities are indeed starting to notice (only a few though to be fair). The problem for Google may be more that the webmaster influence in this industry (search) extends well beyond its numbers. Perception is important, and the perception of Google's quality isn't what it was at present.
However... the new updated data may (or may not) address most issues. I personally expect it to on past performance, and Google deserves the benefit of the doubt, but we'll just have to wait and see.
I've tried Allthweb and, these days, find it to be producing about the same quality results as google. Sometimes a little better.
Very frustrating. I guess this will make me appreciate google more when it gets back to normal - assuming that it will.