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In the mean time, I have a question for you. What can we can do to be more responsive to webmasters? Would it be helpful if Google could index new filetypes like Word or Excel? Or do you want better ways to complain about bad search results? Other ideas? Just post your suggestions here.
P.S. Hey Brett, my nick is related to my domain--hope that's okay. I figured most people would want to know when Google's around. :)
Welcome to WmW, thanks for posting, and thanks for establishing a connection with this community.
I'm sure people will have a ton of suggestions for you, so I'll stay away from that.
The one thing most of us have been wishing for, you've done, which is to establish an open line of communication. This way we know what's okay by google, and what to avoid.
I'm sure you'll find this to be a mutually beneficial interaction.
Thanks again, and welcome!
I guess one of the more appropriate ones to start off with is a question of your participation and procedure... if we just start asking you questions on this thread, things are going to get pretty confused. There's certainly no shortage of questions around... just start reading. So, what's the best way to ask a question, flag you, and keep our threads coherent?
Will you be a regular participant?
I'll chime in with suggestions when I can. For example, some people have suggested that joining AdWords helps your Google ranking. I can honestly say that buying ads has no impact on how Google ranks your site.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="no" ?>
A bit of history on this...I emailed Google last January because my listings were always showing the <?xml?> line in the Google results. Within two weeks the Google engineers had changed it so that no longer happened. However, it seems to be coded so that it cuts the <?xml?> at the reporting level, rather than generating the description correctly (by ignoring the <?xml?>) at the engine level. I'd really like to get my two lines ransom note back.
What I particularly like about Google's paid advertising are the honesty and that everyone's given a fair chance. The paid ads are clearly defined so there's no deception, and the cost is set up so that even the smallest home-based entrepreneur can have the opportunity to participate.
I believe that a couple of the other search venues are tipped so far in favor of large corporations that they're placing themselves at potential risk in case consumer activists ever take serious interest. I hope that Google continues to provide opportunity for all levels of business to participate. It shows a lot of social awareness and integrity.
The search engines that are no longer including free submits, and are allegedly giving the paid submits preferential treatment in rankings are not only being dishonest, but the quality of search results is compromised. That's why the way AdWords is done, clearly defined, is so refreshing. It's the integrity of the presentation.
It's great that you've opened a line of communication. Thanks for stopping by, we'll be looking forward to your input.
My knowledge of your search engine is far below that of many of the people that post here, so please forgive what may be a pretty naive question:
I understand that Google places a high emphasis on incoming links and the quality of those links.
So I am wondering, if I have a site which contains IMHO some very useful content, but I am myself a small, SME and therefore cannot rely on getting incoming links from other sites which maybe adjudged as providing quality incoming links (as defined by the popularity of the site).
Obviously, I don't only want my site to be listed, but to have pages returned when someone conducts a search which is genuinely related to my information.
By the way, I will fiercely resist participating in any 'artificial, link farm' sites as this is against not only my ethics as a business but do not want to be (rightly) penalised by search resources such as Google.
As you can probably tell, my tongue is in my cheek in asking this question, but in a nutshell...
How would a site such as this get listed by Google?
On SERPs, I endorse what Littleman and others say. Keep it free and keep the advertising clearly labelled and pitched at everyones pockets. That formula should help keep you, deservedly, at the top of the tree (IMHO).
I guess recently a lot of people have questions around what has become known as 'the Google penalty'. Essentially, many sites have found themselves buried or banned based on criteria which no-one seems to fully understand. Punishing a site for an offence is fine, but when the perpetrator doesn't know what the offence is? Many of these 'offences' relate to complex or accidental interlinking, rather than overt or stupid attempts to subvert the Google index.
This probably amounts to a question of whether Google could more clearly identify what is allowed and what is not allowed in terms of SEO. This I think would help everyone.
I do accept by the way that there is a difficult boundary here - between being open and protecting the integrity of the database, which is critical, but it I think it is probably worth looking at again.
Thanks again for the opportunity to communicate.
What a nice surprise....I just would like to give you a tip (with humility of course)........
Listen what these people around here have to say and you will do very well......ignore them and you will became another arrogant search engine gone through the river....
Thanks google....Brilliant Search engine!
1.how about showing results for English/English and US/English at the same time?
Example; "search engine optimalization" should also show sites featuring "search engine optimalisation"
2. Is it true that a higher page rank means more frequent and deep spidering?
3. Google generally does its reindex every month.
How long after this reindex (last one i beleive was approx 2 october) is it safe to still publish a new subpage (linked from the index page) and still be listed and found for the next index?
thanks for your tips
PS. Welcome to Webmaster World! I thought only Fast were the nice guys around here, obviously I'm wrong!
Nice to see the Big Boys taking an interest in what the SEO world looks like from way down here :)
I would like to add my voice to the growing chorus of "When is Flash indexing going to happen?". I know for a stone-cold fact that there is software capable of extracting links and images from Flash and external .js files out there. This sort of functionality would go at least part way to solving many problems with site indexing.
Any likelihood of seeing something similar from Google?
It's great to have a rep from the best search engine :).
There's one issue that I know a lot of us have been talking about lately and that is the sudden drop in pagerank of a number of sites, as well as seeing the rankings drop down several hundred spots for sites that previously did very well.
Was there a big algo change, or are sites being penalized when it appears that there are too many links being traded between sites of similar content?
Thanks for joining us here at wmw!
My questions in order of priority:
1. Some clarity about penalties would be a great help. Many of us (including me) do not wish to trick the SE's but want to know how to provide quality in the best way.
2. Spidering: How often, how deep, for who?
e.g. I added 5 new pages to a site 2 months ago with very specific key words and Google.com says nothing is listed for those keywords - but other pages on the site are listed (all pages on the site are linked from the menu in index.html).
3. Flash: Any solution?
4. Frames: I gave up using Frames after becomming a regular WMW visitor. It would be great if frames could be used without affecting Page Rank.
Welcome to Webmaster World. You can see we're all very pleased and excited to have you a board. I'll save my questions for another time, just wanted you to know how happy we all are that you've opened dialog with us.
I would also like to welcome vita, jose, and SmallTime. Thank you for posting. I figure this is going to be a busy thread with many first time posts so please feel welcomed. We're all equally pleased to have you on board.
Can you confirm if your current algo implements ranking based on IP affiliation and if so in what form. For instance, is it true that there is a penalty for related, cross-linked sites hosted on same IP or even same class-c ?
I am asking this because I have a few cases where I have a number of related sites hosted on one IP, which are linked. Yet I am unable to get these sites listed.
Are you aware if the 'Hilltop' [cs.toronto.edu] ranking algo is used in any way ?
Sorry for all the difficult questions btw. Many of us here are keen to learn how to get content listed without appearing to be spamming the index. :)
>Would it be helpful if Google could index new filetypes like Word or Excel?
I understand why one would want to index these file types, simply because there is a lot of information 'out there' in these documents. However, I have concerns Word and Excel filetypes being indexed because currently, these are the only MS docs which use SmartTags.
If Google starts to index MS documents, it will give Microsoft yet another way to dominate the web; there is not a doubt in my mind if MS has a way to make SmartTags accepted, they will push them down everyone's throats not only with .doc and .xls files, but also in web pages. If Google indexed word and excel documents, this would help the process along.
I am dreading the day when a site will be penalized in MSN for using the meta tag which tells MSN not to use SmartTags on the page: yet another 'pay to play' scheme.
Google actually gives me hope that 2 'regular joes' can make a search engine with relevant results that doesn't rely on who has the biggest pocketbooks AND can survive the 'dot com' bubble burst.
I'd be very sad to see Google sell out their SERPs.
If you need to make some extra bucks, may I suggest the 'Sergey Brin dressed as a fireman' calendar...
i've a load of questions but they can wait ... in answer to your comments
>>>>>>What can we can do to be more responsive to webmasters?
as most serious webmasters gravitate to sites such as this ( - probably only this one, hehe brett)
i think dropping some general but helpful pointers (like dispelling the adwords myth like you did above) here would be a good way to reach a wide and informed audience.
furthermore addressing "general" issues brought up here would be a very positive response.
>>>>>>Would it be helpful if Google could index new filetypes like Word or Excel?
i think possibly as an advanced function searching for such file types as an option could help sophisticated surfers, but i think the basic search should be kept for conventional web pages,
even for flash i think the onus should be on the webmaster to create suitable and appropriate doorway pages (with content not spam) to attract people to their site
>>>>>>Or do you want better ways to complain about bad search results?
no, i don't like the culture of complaining about your competition (eg bad search results are those that don't feature ME at the top) it can lead down a very abusive road, notwithstanding the abuse possible... i can easily set up some very dubious sites and direct them/link them at my competition in an attempt to get his/her legitimate site penalised
i work on the basis that you are doing your best to create the best results possible (as this is in your interests too)
as a search tool ... keep it simple (the front end is starting to get more complicated i hope this isn't the start of a trend downhill)
as for SEO ... keep it fair and honest and keep letting people know (like for link pop currently) what the 'rules' are.
Or do you want better ways to complain about bad search results?
Yes - Definitely. Publish clear guidelines as to what is acceptable and give us a channel to report 'cheating'.
We all want a 'relevant' search engine, but if cheats aren't removed then I have a duty to my clients to cheat on their behalf.
(Those out there who don't like the term 'cheat' can replace it with the phrase 'optimise outsde the guidelines' - its only words, the action is still the same!)
>>Would it be helpful if Google could index new filetypes like Word or Excel?<<
It would only be helpful to your searchers who are running Windows. Please stay away from proprietary file types, there are a lot of MAC guys out there who would derive no benefit from those types of SERPS.
I would also like to issue you a warm welcome to WMW and congratulate you on the succes of your mighty fine SE.
>What can we can do to be more responsive to webmasters?
Being here is probably the biggest aspect. Obviously you can't and shouldn't answer all questions. Especially anything about rankings and how the whole system works. I can't see you answering specifics about sites, algos, or listings in any way that go to internal policies or procedures. Because of that, we can understand and appreciate the risk you are taking being here. Once you are on top, the challenge isn't necessarily to say or do something brilliant - it's to keep from doing something stupid.
>Would it be helpful if Google could index new filetypes like Word or Excel?
I can see both sides. From Google's side, it might be if there is enough data out there to justify it. I really think it would have to be your call based on the information you guys have accumulated about the formats.
However, I think search engines have a responsibility to adhere to accepted webstandards. Alternate formats fall outside of what is accepted for standards. Large SE's are in a unique position to affect and cause rapid changes in the web. I think we have already seen some of that with PDF's. There seems to be far less new PDF's coming online right now because of Google's index support. They can't "hide" terms of service or nonpublic data in them anymore. If there is growth in Word or Excell files, I would be inclined to think some of that are people moving to those alternate formats away from PDF's.
Before I'd like to see more alternate formats, I'd like to see some consideration given to enhancing the current index. I think size is again becoming a factor. I could see the index doubling right now without question. The whole issue of "the invisible web" is still on the table.
Page size itself is also becoming a steep limitation with Google. Recently while searching through some text heavy research documents, Google was not as useful as it should have been since so many research documents are larger than the 100k Google barrier.
With that in mind, I feel Google should stop caching pages that it "cuts off" at 100k. Users don't realize the page has been cut off. It misrepresents the quality of the page and the site. So before any more document types are supported, I'd like to see the current system expanded.
>Or do you want better ways to complain about bad search results?
Legitimate ones are rare with Google, that the current feedback/email system seems to work good. I don't think you guys want to go talking about problems too much - that stuff tends take shape and breed a life of it's own. Let them find you. From what I've seen here and in other boards, you'd field 99 emails about problems for one legitimate one. The majority of the general public (and a surprising number of webmasters) have large misconceptions of what would be considered a problem to Google. In all the discussions, I could count on 1 hand the number of legitimate search result complaints I've seen ('course we don't do the adult sector where keyword stuffing is almost a lifestyle choice).
>Just post your suggestions here.
- faster spider/index cycle. The updated news cycles are great, but a touch faster than once a month for everything else would be welcome. The way I would do it would be to send out the spider in a "directory" spidering only looking for fresh links on index pages. I can't see a full crawl every week, but auto picking up the new stuff on index pages would go a long ways.
- increasing the length page supported.
- longer search phrases. Sometimes drilling down on that search result requires more than 10keywords. I've run into it quite a bit lately. To that end, I would love a good old Infoseek like "search within these results". (I know, I know what that is asking)
- a search switch to kick on "meta descriptions" being display along with the current excerpt. Once you get into longer search phrases, the utility of the excerpt system falls flat (5-10 terms).
- a #anchor addition to the "cached" links that displays the cached page at the top of the users portion and not the Google banner.
- a "plain display" preferences cookie that would block all the css and font style aspects of the results pages and simply let my browser have it.
- if there isn't a description for a page, then don't list it. Or explain why it isn't listed.
- the ability to search on filetypes. (eg: *.rss)
- full indexing of xml files. I assume it is in the works and it is tall order.
- esoteric: the ability to prefilter search results based on (for lack of a better term) 'page rank' . I'd like to set a level that says something to the effect, "don't return results from sites with more than 1000 links to it". Generally, those are heavy corporate sites that happen to be in search results simply because they are a mega site. I think this is a problem with the current results position methodology and hinders getting good search results.
- a goto like keyword tool that reports search numbers. Take the same one in adwords and expand on it and put open access to it. Look at all the talk and play that the Goto util gets. There is a big opportunity here that I think you guys realize a bit with the Zeitgeist [google.com] feature.
>Hey Brett, my nick is related to my domain--hope that's okay.
hehe. As long as it isn't "google by committee" and it's one guy/one login. I'm surprised you didn't use your name really. It's a great way to do some resume like "name" branding and self promotion (you'd be surprised at the lurkers list - I always am).
btw: for those that asked, it really is Google.