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If things don't get more stable, I'm moving on to other things.
Example: Domain I've owned for 1 year plus. Decided to develop it, but it had been in google search results previously. Developed the thing. Put adsense search on it. Guess what? Not getting spidered, and this is breaking the adsense search. No in google. Why? Who knows? And I'm starting not to care.
MSN is talking up a lot of slack and compensating for traffic loss when google twitches (which seems to be at least 2-4 times a year, sometimes for the good, sometimes not, but when I take 30-50% traffic drops across a number of sites on different servers, and different content, seemingly randomly, what IS the point?
And google search results (speaking as a searcher here, for high quality factual information, articles, research, is simply terrible for me.
Am I the only one that is looking at google, and it's influence, and realizing that website owners are now moving away from business strategies, and more into gambling (which is what depending on google is starting to be).
Is there a damping effect on site development here?
PS. I've dealt with the chaos of the Internet for almost a decade, and I've been in it for the long haul through the booms and busts. I'm trying to figure out why I should write for Internet sites (mine) when I could be doing other things.
I have 1 site that was hit hard by Allegra, to the tune of about the same dollar amount as my monthly house payment. Truth is that I knew I was getting a free ride on that one site, and it was great while it lasted. It is a quality site, and it will remain profitable even as I send traffic to it via AdWords, but not nearly as profitable as it had been.
My point is that if your web site is a real business, it can't totally rely on free traffic. It must have a plan to be profitable regardless of the way that the wind is blowing. Anything else is just a hobby site....
Isn't the decision - about Google's quality/consistency/ability to deliver - something the average Joe has to decide? Instead of us webmasters?
Absolutely Macro, most posters are trying to influence Google to their way of thinking whereas Google has to try to be seen as independent.
George Bernard Shaw said:
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
Very wise words and very applicable to SEO.
Do you remember the AltaVista days...submit your url and it was in there a week later. Webmasters had a degree of control and stability. The webmasters told their clients and the clients told their friends and pretty soon AltaVista became the top search engine. Along comes Google and scores over relevancy and speed coupled with a quick indexing time.
The point that rbacal makes is a good one. Clients are becoming less inclined to pay for web development or SEO when there is no real return on investment. Sure take out Adwords, but if you're in a compeitive market, the costs are too high for an internet startup and unfortunately, clients tend to view the internet as this great place of 'free advertising and resources'.
I too am looking for other business types now and have shelved plans for any new sites for me or clients regardless of how content rich or innovative they may be.
By all means toughen the rules but this utter randomness that we are experiencing is no good to anybody.
WebFusion, the point you are missing is that I am comparing the present contemporary Google manipulation of SERPS to how it was before they did this (or to how other engines play the game).
You call it a "manipulation", I call it a defense of their core product. Good or bad, there can be little doubt (to a reasonable person) that google is wise enough to know that relevance is what got it to the party, and trying to maintain that relevance is the only thing that will keep the google love-fest going (and make no mistake, despite the whining done by webmsters at various discussion boards, the public still loves google). Do I think their serps are as good as they were a couple of years ago? Of course not...but I think they're doing the best they can to deal with the deluge of spammers throwing garbage at them. It's a war, and innocents always get hurt in a war (our site was no where to be found for almost a year). I'm of the opinion that they're doing the best they can to keep out the bad and let in the good. Those that get caught in the crossfire simply need to keep doing what they're doing (as long as it's white hat, of course) and eventually, I'm confident it will get sorted out.
I think it's interesting the feeling "entitelment" expressed by so many here. I built a great site, so I'm ENTITLED to rank high in google, etc.
Face it....there is ALOT of unreasonable expectaions that many have who've launched a "business" (and I use that term loosely for most) online. How many other "businesses" think their entitled to what essentially amounts to free advertising? Should ads in the yellow pages be free? Should tv and radio spots be free? Where does your quest for free exposure for your business end?
You have a patronizing tone which suggests that you believe anyone with a different opinion to you is new to this game. I am (we are) not - have been in it professionally for 5 years. Get over yourself.
Wow..5 years doing this professionally, and you think a possible cure for what is essentially a short-sighted marketing strategy would be to "regulate" a free search engine. Brilliant.
Google IS NOT a monopoly, which is a firm in an industry selling a product for which there are no compeitors.
Google has plent of competition....the fact that they've failed to execute as well as google is their own fault.
In business, it's EXECUTION that wins the day, not how great your product is. Look at Dell...there's not a single product they sell that could be called revolutionary, yet they pretty much stomp on every other cometitor in their sector. Why? Because they execute a better marketing strategy. The same case can be made in the microsoft/apple saga....apple clearly has/had a superior product, yet micorsoft out-marketed/executed them and we all know the results of that one ;-)
People who are serious about their business need to stop being victims, plain and simple. If any single entity outside your control can disrupt your business so severely that it puts you into financial ruin, you need to shed reliance on that entity, end of story.
No amount of whining or complaining about it will alter the fact that an inherent and severe weakness has been exposed in the marketing strategy of multitudes of websites. Google cannot be held responsible for the fact that these webmasters have a weak business plan.
In short, if you want to blame someone if you've seen your income drop so drastically this week - go look in the mirror.
If things don't get more stable, I'm moving on to other things.
My own site's rankings have been extremely stable for the major keyphrases that I track (some of which are quite competitive). But then, my pages are "organic" with no SEO other than the use of descriptive page titles, headlines, etc. as suggested by Google's Webmaster guidelines.
I wonder how much "instability" is the result of SEO that goes beyond those Webmaster guidelines? I'm not even talking about "black hat" techniques--I'm simply talking about optimizing for specific factors. Let's say that you make a concerted effort to get inbound links with on-the-nose anchor text and you try to achieve a certain keyword density based on a study of highly ranked pages. Google turns down the knob for "inbound links with on-the-nose anchor text" and "keyword density," and all of a sudden your top-10 page disappears into the woodwork. Is this Google's fault?
From Google's point of view, it may even make sense to turn the various knobs a bit in every update for the specific reason of discouraging SEO based on reverse engineering. And why not? Google's philosophy is clear: Webmasters should focus on their content and provide digestible "spider food" for Googlebot, and then just let the search engine do its job. Webmasters and SEOs aren't required to buy into that philosophy, but if they don't, they have no business complaining when their SEO efforts (whether "white hat," "grey hat," or "black hat") have unintended consequences.
What I think is ( somehow ) G must get its share of healthy and inteligent competition from MSN, Yahoo etc. I dont think that its just the Inteligence of G, but the lack to innovative ideas from the rest.
One of my sites which ranks #3 on MSN and #5 on Yahoo for the same keyword, ranks #19 on Google. Still the traffic from G is atleast 10 times more than Y and M together.
May we all look for healthy competition in future . I dont think we have a choice in the present times.
That's not to say that this kind of SEO is wrong or necessarily spamming, but it's akin to trying to eek a few more horsepower out of an engine; occasionally you'll break it and have to fix it. But, when it's not broken, you're running at full power, getting the maximum benefit out of that old motor, so you can hardly complain.
This is all discussion... average joe will decide in the next few months as the search engine market spans out.
I just don't really see what Google has to offer average Joe that MSN or Yahoo doesn't. The SERPS are pretty similar and fast, and both MSN and Yahoo! have many more methods of attracting visitors than Google does.
But that's my opinion. I use Google on a daily basis to find relevent results but almost every single day I think the frequency of me simply "trying" another search engine gets more and more.
I can't say I've found a difinitively better solution in Yahoo or MSN yet...
But what is relevent is I am LOOKING for one.
For Google to pull an AV would require two things, and it will take longer than jst a couple of months.
First Google would have to screw up bad. Not from a webmaster's viewpoint, but from the user's viewpoint. AV produced bad results and got a reputation for selling positions in the results. Double whammy.
Second, there will need to be a significantly better replacement. Not something that is just as good, it needs to be significantly better. Google was waiting when AV screwed up.
As long as people get usable results most of the time (not perfect, or even very good, just usable) then they will stick with what they know. It takes something dramatic to cause a fast switch, and there ain't nothing dramatic that I see on the horizon.
AV produced bad results and got a reputation for selling positions in the results
Google produces poor results now, the user just doesnt know it because they are bombarded with google PR and google affiliates touting the results as superior (when they are not, but affiliates are paid by google so of course they are biased - obviously).
Google also skews results to paid content - again obviously - the highest bidder shows up in the top ad spot. This top ad spot percolates throughout the web, resulting in adjusted natural listings. Just as the google founders predicted back in 1999, advertizing is corrupting the results and the user does not know that this is so.
So time will tell whether this will cause any changes in the search engine world.
That isn't Google PR, that is my personal experience.
Additional personal experience tells me that the other engines just don't crawl deep enough. There are important documents that are in Google that are not even in the indexes of MSN or Yahoo.
Of course it could be better, and on some searches the results are poor, but I would rate the results of most of my searches to be between good and excellent. Even those rare times that i am shopping instead of doing research, I almost always find usable results.
I guess I just don't do the sorts of searches that most SEOs do.
In general I see great results. In general Joe Public sees great results. There is no switch away from Google since the results, in general, are relevant.
In those crazy pharma/insurance/travel related businesses a huge amount needs to be sorted out and I feel sure they will be eventually.
Just give it time, it's not an easy job for even the Google algo guys to do.
Google also skews results to paid content - again obviously - the highest bidder shows up in the top ad spot. This top ad spot percolates throughout the web, resulting in adjusted natural listings.
I'd be interested in learning how these "adjusted natural listings" occur. (Evidence, please--no conspiracy hypotheses.)
(I assume the original comment did not mean manually adjusting the serps.)
Actually, today I got a natural link from a PR9 .org which has sent traffic equalling about 50% of what Google sends on average! :)
But case and point for both sides of the arguement I guess - without Google, they probably wouldn't have found my site. But with their link, I am less reliant on Google for traffic. Catch 22?
For some reason, I have trouble equating that with AV's pay for placement scheme.
Making billions by doing something that anyone/company in their right mind would do is hardly silly.
Make that "any company blinded by their greed from doing what is in their long term interests" and you might be getting closer.
Google got where they are by understanding what all those other search engines "in their right mind" didn't understand.
Yes, but its the best and biggest - and why should that source be turned off for some (new) sites and not others?
Because Google does not owe you any of *their* traffic from *their* website. It is their website and they may link to whoever they wish in whatever order they wish. Just as you are allowed to do with your websites.
Nice...I note the past tense!
Don't try to read too much into that. Most of them stiil don't understand that. The past tense was in relation to the time that google gained its dominance, nothing more.
True, but they don't owe any of the non-sandboxed sites traffic either - but they forward it to them, don't they?
Why yes, it certainly does appear that they do that. Just as your site forwards traffic to sites that you link to, even though there might be other sites that are more deserving of your traffic.
There is no equity and when there is no equity there are poor results and eventual mistrust.
Agree, there is no equity, only the opinion of google's algo.
I have no idea how you get from "no equity" to "poor results". In the vast majority of searches, google returns results that are somewhere between good and excellent. Even in searches where I think I should rank well, but don't.