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Google giveth and Google taketh away

Google and distribution of web income

     
3:58 am on Jun 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I have grown increasingly disapointed with google and its perpetual change of its algorithms to paste over the fact that an indexing scheme based on links is badly flawed.

Everytime google changes something it alters the distribution of income on the web. we are all to blame for allowing google to gain near monopoly power.

At first google was insanely great, now its insanely irritating.

I am going to start using ATW and teoma and encourage everyone I know to explore non-google options. If this becomes a trend the web won't be so dependent on google for the distribution of web dollars.

This might encourage google to look at its business ecology. Quite simply it doesnt have one. It doesnt help business' on the web and isn't interested in sharing income. It doesn't publish any rules and changes them on whim. This lack of business ecology is going to seriously hamper its momentum going forward imho.

Are you reading this google? we want some stability and certainty! and to the point we want cooperation.

4:01 am on June 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Unless you operate AOL and Yahoo!, I doubt Google is too worried.
4:04 am on June 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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At the end of the day google referal traffic is just a bi-product of their business. To serve web searchers.

Google arent in the business of distriputing web $$$ they are nere to enable searchers to find information and make $$$ for themselfes.

Mack.

4:10 am on June 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>>To serve web searchers

Yes. But isn't the relationship between site owners and the search engines symbiotic rather than parasitic?

4:19 am on June 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I think there has to be a relationship. After all we provide the raw materials for any algo to function.

But I think anyone who feels Google owes then would be wrong.

People are always asking "why dont google make their rules public" or make it easier to rank well on" This just isnt going to happen and if it did everyone would be at it and we would be back where we started.

I think we must accept that google is google and they will always put searchers before website owners. I dont think they feel web traffic distribution is priority. Other than through adwords.

Mack.

4:52 am on June 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>>But I think anyone who feels Google owes then would be wrong.

I agree with that. Sometimes I just get the feeling that the people at Google view Google as an "artiste" and forget about the people that make the canvas and brushes. SEOs are of course seen as counterfeiters. :)

Some of the people I've talked to recently that are "normal" surfers, i.e., they don't own a website, they don't hang out at WebmasterWorld 40 hours a week and have never heard of Brin or Page have picked up on the inconsistency of the SERPs. So while some hardcore SEOs and webmasters might be exclaiming that Google is broken, the laymen are noticing subtle changes, like index pages for some sites vanishing. They aren't in an uproar, they aren't blaming Google for ruining their livelihood, but they are aware of changes. One of the profs mentioned that one of his favorite sites disappeared from Google. (he doesn't use bookmarks from the Uni PC).

Google doesn't owe that professor anything either, but if the professor finds his site listed at ATW guess where he goes to search?

5:08 am on June 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Bigoted is a Merit .i believe Google will do better.
5:26 am on June 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Digitalghost, you have a great point. I too am frustrated with the constant changes Google goes through, it's big money for all of us webmasters. However, for the daily searcher, it can be frustrating to not get what they are looking for, especially when their favorite site was listed and the next day gone.

I fear a long term move away from Google for searchers if the constant adjustments don't slow down.

GOOGLE, WE'RE CONCERNED----------Not just for us webmasters battling it out, but for the long term stability of Google.

Google reminds me of my wife. Can't live with her and can't live without her.

Are we all married to a fickle Google?

5:28 am on June 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I am extremely frustrated with Google as well however I feel you're criticizing Google for all the wrong reasons.

Everytime google changes something it alters the distribution of income on the web.

Google's intention is to provide the most relevant results for each query. The distribution of income on the web is irrelevant to Google. As it should be.

Google doesn't guarantee static results. Google *should* change things, as long as the changes are improvements.

Google is currently "screwed up" and people should be complaining about that.

But you can't complain just because they happen to change their algorithm every now and than. A good site should hold strong regardless of any standard algorithm changes(As long as they're fair and logical changes).

6:00 am on June 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Google is currently "screwed up" and people should be complaining about that.

But you can't complain just because they happen to change their algorithm every now and than. A good site should hold strong regardless of any standard algorithm changes(As long as they're fair and logical changes).

Perhaps the complaints would have died down by now if this 'change' didn't take so long.

6:33 am on June 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Why are there so many sooks?

Seems to me that any business model based on free traffic from a source that makes money from everyone BUT you is destined for failure.

And what is all this crying about link counting / PageRank?

No search engine has EVER survived being at the top. That has always been a recipe for the "algo-crackers" to come in, work out what spam works and bomb away. Google is the exception.

Google has kept its eye firmly on the ball and, despite the odd hiccup, is doing pretty damned good. 3,000,0000,000 is a LOT of pages to index. Try counting to 3,000 sometime, then realise they go 1 MILLION times further, and the scale of the problem becomes apparent.

Google bashing is lame, sooking is worse, and offering no constructive alternatives is just downright pathetic. Why is PageRank flawed? Why does comunism fail? Why do woman like Pr@#s?

There are plenty of "it'll never work, there are so many problems" people in the world, but very few "this is HOW we will make it work" people. Google, thankfully, is in the soultion game, not the pointing out obvious flaws game.

7:03 am on June 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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"I fear a long term move away from Google "

Why? Are you a shareholder?

If people use ATW or MSN or Ask Jeeves instead of Google, just make sure your site is well ranked in those SE's also.

There was a time "Before Google" and I guess people were still able to find information on the web. One day there may be a time "After Google" (though it seems unlikely), and so we should prepare by getting our sites in as many places as possible, and buy some blankets, canned food, bottled water, torches, batteries, toilet paper etc...

8:40 am on June 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Mack
I think there has to be a relationship. After all we provide the raw materials for any algo to function.

Having the relationship is a free choice and can be canceled at any moment with an entry in robots.txt.

If the people (and I'm not saying you are one of them, Mack) who are fed up with Google simply put their faith in the web where their mouth is and banned Googlebot, then we'd start to see a real and interesting change in the web.

After all, if the Google SERPS are as bad as everyone says they are, why even think about being a part of them?

And remember to add a proud "This site not findable by Google" icon on every page -- the cachet alone from that may get the first few people world-wide publicity and the resultant stampede of traffic.

We're kinda like in a pre-revolutionary situation here -- everyone sitting round complaining that the tea is too expensive and not as good as it used to be anyway.

:) :)

3:14 pm on June 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Sometimes I just get the feeling that the people at Google view Google as an "artiste" and forget about the people that make the canvas and brushes. SEOs are of course seen as counterfeiters.

I view it as web site designers are the authors, and a good seo is the editor. Many web sites need editing to "clarify" the intended meaning of a web site in the language that Google understands. Most web site designers & marketing heads don't speak that language.

Amazingly, the SVP's of Search for the various search engines will argue that a web site doesn't need "clarification." But my response is that a web site needs "clarification" in the same way a piano needs tuning, or a book needs editing.

3:21 pm on June 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Hmmm, I seem to recall making the "ban Googlebot" suggestion a little while ago.

Still seems plausible to me. :) If it ever happened on a large scale Google would cease to exist as a search engine.

Peter

3:34 pm on June 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Yes, if those spammers start banning Googlebot, its index will shrink by more than 90%.
3:36 pm on June 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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brilliant, all we need now is to find a way nobody is cheating...:-))
3:36 pm on June 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Hi deus777! It seems like your main objections are changes to Google's algorithms and using links as a partial measure of quality. I would say that PageRank is a pretty good way to measure the reputation of a page, but we're always looking for additional signals that can be used to improve quality.

As far as changing algorithms, I think we'll always choose what we think will work best for the user. If that means that a new algorithm or system will give better results in the end, then we'll probably look pretty hard at switching to that better algorithm. We don't just switch for the fun of it :), but if we honestly believe it will make things better long-term, then that's a strong incentive to test or deploy a new algorithm.

Best wishes,
GoogleGuy

3:40 pm on June 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I am upset not just as a site developer but as a web searcher as well. The results are not the quality i expect when searching. I have started using ATW for searches now as well.

Google may not be concerned with the loss of webmasters concerned with google but I am sure they are with users having to query other engines for results.

3:44 pm on June 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>>more than 90%

IITian, are you suggesting that Google is 90% spam? :) Hard to believe that the "best" engine on the planet is weighed down with the weight of all those spammers. Surely it will sink soon.

I think Google is suffering from the generalized Peter Principle.

in evolution systems tend to develop up to the limit of their adaptive competence.
3:50 pm on June 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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and then they fall apart and die
3:52 pm on June 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Why is Google so good?

Because we help him to be good.
Because we guess his rules of relevancy, we try harder to be relevant and to offer good content, to build high PR.

Finally, the GG results are better.
We make money - Google make money
It calls SYMBIOSIS.

Changing the rules often - this kill the simbiosis!

3:54 pm on June 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Youve been watching Star Trek too much...!
3:58 pm on June 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I view it as web site designers are the authors, and a good seo is the editor. Many web sites need editing to "clarify" the intended meaning of a web site in the language that Google understands.

I was an editor at PLAYBOY, and I don't recall any mention of cloaking, crosslinking, keyword stuffing, or other popular SEO techniques in my job description.

Hmmm....Maybe we should have had 20 different editions of PLAYBOY with fake covers like "CAR & DRIVER," "SPORTS ILLUSTRATED," "GQ," or "SMITHSONIAN" to lure unsuspecting readers. If cloaking works with search engines, why not for magazines? :-)

4:03 pm on June 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Europe, only dolts cloak to deceive.

In your capacity as an editor were you tasked with crafting descriptive titles, using headers for logical subdivisions of text, maintaining the theme of the copy, keeping the copy consistent and adding "continued on page 108"? ;)

4:09 pm on June 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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europeforvisitors, I have known newspaper editors spending much effort on very deceiving exciting titles to boring articles, not to mention the pictures :-))
4:11 pm on June 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I would agree with ulounge...the quality of the SERPs is much worse now...I get ridiculous amounts of 404s/spam/completely unrelateds in my searches at this time.

I'm expecting that all the filters, etc. are not yet in place...if they are and this is the new algo Google, in my opinion, has much to worry about.

Best searches that I've found now are ask/teoma and alltheweb, with alltheweb being a bit more comprehensive, but ask returning more relevant results.

Peter

P.S. amazed -- Playboy has pictures?

4:18 pm on June 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I also agree that Google does not "owe" any of us the guarantee of distributed income. As GG says the algorithms will change if change is perceived as moving ahead and improving. We still have to await the final results of these new changes. There is still a way to go. Only then can we judge whether this particular change is for the better.

I remember the morning some years ago when we discovered that our site had completely disappeared out of Altavista. We were totally uninformed in those days as to what was required to be search engine friendly and as I now look back we really didn't have a clue. In 1995 you didn't need a clue. Put some content together and you were listed. Altavista had us in the top 10 for years and we built our business on that. Altavista had changed the way they looked at websites and unfortunately we got left in the dust. Today with WW and a lot of information on what your site needs to be successful you have a "good chance" of ranking well on multiple keywords by following some simple rules. Much better than pre-Google! If the things you do to your site do not get you the free rankings (& business) that you want then there is always PPC and AdWords. There is no reason to be here complaining about "distibuted income" in the middle of a major change. Stop being cheap and do what many of us do and spend a little money to support your business.

Rant over.

4:31 pm on June 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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GoogleGuy said
I would say that PageRank is a pretty good way to measure the reputation of a page

Originally, that may have been true. But in recent years, PageRank has become a measure of the time, effort, skill and money invested in publicising a website.

If you were to take a snapshot of the web, say, 5 years ago, and compare it with a snapshot today, I am certain that the link density would be far higher today simply because of the efforts by webmasters to improve PageRank. Let us say that link density has doubled (probably an underestimate) that does not mean that site relevance has doubled or, indeed site reputation.

Kaled.

PS
The Symbiosis metaphor is spot on. However, whereas in nature symbiotic relationships are usually binary, here we have a tertiary relationship between the users, webmasters and Google.

4:41 pm on June 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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google right now is worse...maybe if they explained why its for the best that the public are given a poorer quality product than before the recent changes then a lot of frustration may be alleviated from some webmasters. Googleguy is still talking about improving things long term, and pulling in more data and backlinks over a period of weeks, but its never been explained why this had to be done in public. And its not been made clear how far from the finnished product the current serps are.
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