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Markoff.... (was a sidebar to the "Google Introduces Search Program for Hard Drives" story)
I agree, it can be easy to nitpick, (like when it took forever for a PR update, and some spam) but they are way ahead of all the others. The presentation of the title, snippet, cache date and overall quality is so much better.
I do believe the others are all at least a year behind in pure search. In fairness to them, i.e. Yahoo and MSN, search is not their core business; as such the results are about what they should be given its place in their overall interests. For example the MSN beta search that is up is just like Google was a year ago. Dominated by sites with the key words in the url. Personally I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with that, but it just demonstrates that’s where Google was a year ago.
Google can't sit still even for a minute, as the game will intensify, and the others will close in on them. But today, they are at the top of the search hill.
Alexa shows Google 3rd behind MSN and Yahoo today, for example. I know there's no shortage of data out there to support anybody's position on who's number one, but that's my point. "Dominate" hints that others are far behind. It's my contention that Google's lead is slim, at best.
Sad but true, MS is a giant of a company with the means to win, Google *used to be* the best search engine in the world - but can't actually get anything right now, and Yahoo will probably remain the most popular portal. Nothing really will change except for the fact that Google will no longer dominate the search market or in fact any market including free email or shopping.
Actually Google should be flattered by all this attention - good or bad. Look at the Yahoo and Microsoft forums here:
Google News - 335,000 posts
Yahoo Search - 46,300 posts
Microsoft - 3,400 posts
Even people find these forums more interesting...
Adsense - 47,400 posts
Adwords - 28,000 posts
Even this one beats Microsoft
GMail - 7,200 posts
I have to admit that Webmasters do find Microsoft more interesting than Froogle at 2,600 posts. If everyone predicts gloom and doom for Google, then why isn't everyone flocking to those forums?
The numbers speak for themselves, there is DEEP interest in Google, because they are the LEADER. If they stay focused, they will be at the top for quite some time.
Google *used to be* the best search engine in the world - but can't actually get anything right now
Based on other threads in this forum, I'd guess that 90% of the complaints about Google at Webmaster World are from Webmasters or SEOs whose pages are no longer doing well in the Google SERPs.
Google's search results may contain more spam than they did in the early days, but that's because there are so many boilerplate affiliate sites, directories of dubious quality, "made for AdSense" scraper sites, etc. vying for attention in the index. I'm constantly surprised by the fact that the SERPs aren't worse and may actually be better than they were in the pre-Florida days. Hotel searches are a good example: If a hotel has a Web site, the odds are pretty good that I can find it without wading through 30 or 40 boilerplate booking pages first. That's a definite improvement over the SERPs of a few months ago.
Based on other threads in this forum, I'd guess that 90% of the complaints about Google at Webmaster World are from Webmasters or SEOs whose pages are no longer doing well in the Google SERPs.Not true. These days the majority of the complaints are from webmasters whose sites have never done well in google simply because Google is full. My old websites are doing gangbusters with Google, Y, and MSN. My new websites are doing equally poorly on all 3. Actually they are doing better on Y because Y can't handle the 301's for the one siite that moved to a new domain so the old site still ranks well after 4+ months. Google had no problem removing the old domain from their bloated index. After all that made room for someone else's pages.
Wrong, unless your acutually looking and searching for the hotel, in which case why not enter the url in the address bar?
True, if you enter the exact hotel name and city good chance the hotel will come up first. But then what's the point of a search engine?
You may as well use a directory.
I have personally saved a lot of money "wading thru boiler plate sites" because I don't know which/hotel/flight I want to go with, so I search, I thought that was the point of search engines?
And nope I ain't involved with the travel industry.
but yes I do agree in some respects it is getting harder to wade thru -;
If someone uses the above terms they want a list of hotels in the area, not 3 or 4 big brands that happen to have a hotel in that town / city thrown in at the top. Is that a true representation of the search term? No it is not. A big brand hotel site with a high PR and an SEO’d title tag should not rank top for those terms. If searching for that particular hotel in that town, that’s a different matter.
I have some clients in the travel industry and for them the Internet has already affected their businesses. People have the notion in their heads that going direct to the hotel is cheaper because agents / reservation services add hefty booking fees – that’s wrong. In fact what agents do is identify and package together good deals, sell in bulk and keep prices down, saving punters time and money when booking hotels and holidays. I’ve seen big brand hotel room night prices double in the last year as a direct effect of their sites gaining strength. Great news for them, bad news for us – us as customers not SEO’s.
So where do we go from here? What we’re going to see is a battle of the big brand hotels unfold in the SERPS before our very eyes. Could be interesting.
*Hope I didn't go too far off topic
Google made a BIG mistake when they started to manipulate results, sorry “tweak” their algorithm so that hotel brands appear at the top of the results when using search terms such as “mytown hotels” or “hotels in mytown”.
Maybe that's happening in mytown (yourtown?), but it isn't happening for the cities that I monitor. In general, when I search on "hotels in (city name)," I get a list of booking sites.
What's more important--and more useful to the user--is that a search on "Hotel Whatsit" is now more likely to deliver Hotel Whatsit's own Web site in the Google top 10, which is a big improvement over having it lost in a sea of affiliate results.
it isn't happening for the cities that I monitor
It will do, what's becoming a trend is for big hotel brands with PR7 upward pages to simply SEO and keyword stuff the title tag and watch that hotel rank extremely well for a generic "mytown hotels" search term.
Its happening more in cities where the brands / companies have properties, but happening none the less.
by contract the hotels cannot charge less
I wouldn't bet on that, GDS providers, and Pegasus etc, are fast finding that the large chains are doing away with their service as a direct result of their own sites gaining strength and the facility for travel agents to book through their sites using an IATA number, etc. In fact lots of airlines as well now have totally done away with agents / middlemen, and commission payouts full stop.
In any case the boilerplate sites normally offer better pricing than the hotel itself (by contract the hotels cannot charge less), so this is not an issue in practice.
In practice, it's very much an issue, because the person who's searching for the Hotel Whatsis Web site wants to find that Web site. It's like anything else: If I type in "Widgetco WC-1 Digital Camera," it doesn't necessarily mean that I'm shopping for price--more likely, I'm searching for information on the Widgetco WC-1 Digital Camera. (At least, that should be Google's assumption; if you disagree with that, see Google's corporate mission statement.)
Any reason to assume the hotel website gives better info than a 3rd party website?
No. But it's really not a relevant factor.
Imagine if your phone company's Directory Assistance was like a spam-happy Google:
Caller: I'd like the telephone number of the Hilton hotel in Paris, please.
411: For cheapest accomodation in Paris call this number ... or this ... or this .... Looking for the explicit DVD of Paris Hilton having sex? Call these 23 numbers. For tourist information on Paris call any of these numbers. For lowest, lowest airfares to Paris, here are some more phone numbers.....Think Paris sucks? Call this number .... For Bob Hilton's blog of a trip to Paris in 2002, call this number....Thank you for calling. Have a nice day. click.
Any reason to assume the hotel website gives better info than a 3rd party website? In my experience hotels do not make very good websites.
Victor said it better than I can. :-)
Remember, Google's job isn't to decide which site gives better-quality information. Google can't judge quality; it can only judge relevance. And it's hard to argue convincingly that abcd-discount-booking-site.com's Hotel Whatsit page is more relevant to a search for "Hotel Whatsit" than the Hotel Whatsit's own Web site.