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Possible Shift in Google-Webmasters Communication Policy!

Have Googlers stopped announcing updates and posting weather reports?

   
7:00 am on Jul 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Hi Folks,

I have noticed in recent months a remarkable shift in the way Google employees communicate with the webmasters communities.

For one reason or the other the Googlers have stopped posting weather reports about the new infrastructure. No more posts explaining critical changes on the serps. No more talking about specific DCs as they use to do. No more chat when it comes to Google serps and possible changes which are so clear and obvious to even novice webmasters. The only thing we have been hearing is the famous "Data Refresh".

Of course, one of the reasons for the shift in Google's communication policy mightbe the continuous trouble the Googles are into since the deploy of BigDaddy.. "if you have no good news..keep quite".

If its true that the Googlers have decided not to talk to us anymore about the serps, DCs and possible filters, algo changes and announcing possible updates. Do those same Googlers deserve to be invited anymore to the webmasters conferences and meetings, for example?

What will be the consequences of Google shift in Google-Webmasters communication policy?

Many thanks in advance for your contributions to the thread.

2:52 pm on Jul 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I just think all of the search engine reps are now communicating more through offical channels rather than posting in webmaster forums.
3:42 pm on Jul 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I see more communication in terms of other services Google providing. For example Google Sitemap is of good help. So are Matt's postings on its blog. At times Matt has invited suggestions and even replies to personal comments, which we should appreciate.

Yes Google has started talking less to webmasters, but I don't exactly remember them talking too much before either (except GG at times)
It seems Google is now more into educating webmasters on how to get site listed in Google and all. In fact the webmaster section of Google is totally different and elaborative then it used to be before.

4:01 pm on Jul 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jomaxx is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



I still don't see that there's been any substantive change at all. Matt's blog was very helpful and very specific up to a couple of months ago. Then he went on vacation for 6 weeks. Since he's been back I haven't seen any substantive changes in the SERPs whatsoever -- not even the normal rotating datacenters -- hence not much to say.

And what about those emails to webmasters, giving them a heads-up about penalties and filters they were at risk of triggering? That was a welcome change to their communication policy that started after the IPO, IIRC.

4:26 pm on Jul 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



"2. Complaining and whining webmasters. Take a look at the forums, matt’s blog, and other forums. I see a lot of people who whine and complain about Google yet their own sites are not in order. I saw that even Brett made a post last week about it.

May be if webmaster world moderators would start cracking down on these "Google sucks" and "Google is spam" type of posts, may be googleguy and Adam would post more. I am more than sure that they read and hear enough complaints during the day and really do not want to come to webmaster world and read more.

After all, reading all of these posts about how google sucks and spam is king is not what us old timers come here for, right? "

1. Webmasters wouldn't complain as much if there was actual communication instead of their usual encrypted PR responses. Google deals with problem more like a political party now than a company. Ignore the problem and eventually the commotion will die down until the next problem. Repeat cycle. They understand webmasters complaining will never make serious news or effect their bottom line therefore they do not care.

2. Having 5 billion pages indexed by obvious spammers doesnt help the situation and/or reputation.

The bottom line is that yes there is a lot of complaining and there are many webmasters that don't have their sites in order but the problem is that these webmasters who might have minor errors are getting seriously penalized while obvious spammers get away with murder, dramatically effect the SERPS and penalize those who are trying to follow the guidelines. When you penalize the good guy while the bad guy gets away with murder you are going to have one pissed off population. You have a better chance at ranking high in the SERPS with black techniques than having a completely white hat site with some very minor mistakes.

On top of that your appointed liaison to the webmaster community is completely silent and Matt Cutts goes on 6 weeks vacation coincidently when the **** hits the fan.

Google is so big and en grained in the minds and dictionary of the general public that they really could care less about the webmaster community. Whatever we say or do won't effect their bottom line anymore and they know that.

6:43 pm on Jul 27, 2006 (gmt 0)



Google is so big and en grained in the minds and dictionary of the general public that they really could care less about the webmaster community. Whatever we say or do won't effect their bottom line anymore and they know that.

I don't think that's quite true. They send engineers to search conferences, for example.

But even if you're right, is lack of communication with the "Webmaster community" necessarily a bad thing? Google's guidelines basically say "Create a site for users, and we'll do the rest." From a user's point of view, why should Google give a leg up to sites whose owners or employeees hang out on forums like Webmaster World and SEW and attend search conferences?

7:13 pm on Jul 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I think I would prefer less communication than Google representatives saying anything at all just to make it appear there is a dialogue. When this happens some us feel as if we're being talked down to in a condescending manner. Even the the fact that Google send representatives to conferences isn't important in itself. It's not evidence of Google trying to please webmasters. It's all about PR and giving Google a presence at these conferences. At least that's how I'm seeing it. I can't blame Google for this and they are certainly no different in this regard than other search engine companies. I do think that Google has realized that not everyone is fooled and it can't be helpful to their cause when it's pointed out publicly.

Let me put it this way: If someone from Google says it's raining outside I go to a window and look for myself.

7:17 pm on Jul 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



And how does that really help us? It would be more embarrassing if they didn't send people.

"Create a site for users, and we'll do the rest."

What a guide. How specific. I can't imagine why on earth people would ask questions with such a thorough guide on how to create a website.

Lack of communication isn't bad if people actually got answers. Google is the one who said they wanted to "communicate" with webmasters. The problem is their communication is completely vague, doesnt answers the questions people are asking (or they get deleted from MC's blog) or they get ignored. Nobody is saying we should get a leg up at all. People just want them to follow through with what they said they wanted to do. In the meantime, people don't know what to do, change their sites, become afraid to change their sites, speculate, whine, and create threads asking "Can a site be too clean?" and become extremely frustrated. Stringing people along is a sure way to piss people off.

In the last 4 months what answers have we received about the supplemental issue? June 27th? Pages being deindexed? Major drop in SERPS 4-5 pages deep for sites that been around for years?

None. All speculation or "bad data push". Their hand picked liaison to the webmaster community really explains it well.

If Webmasterworld was selling stock I know I would buy it.

7:50 pm on Jul 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member googleguy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



reseller, I think that there is a lot of good things we've been doing for communication with webmasters lately.

Sitemaps has really been beefed up to tell more errors, let people test robots.txt, and let people find out about penalties for many sites. We're still writing to many sites when they are removed from Google's index as well.

At the same time, google.com/support has been going through a revamp to refresh the information there and give more answers

Matt Cutts has blogged about the googlebot crawl cache plus the indexing timeline. He also did a post confirming that the server params from a Google error page were real, and talked about the real story of what happened to the Catawba school and how student information got crawled if the section of the site was password protected. If you monitor his comments, you've also seen his comment about 72.14.207.104 and how it has more accurate estimates for site: queries.

You asked "Do those same Googlers deserve to be invited anymore to the webmasters conferences and meetings, for example?" I think it benefits everyone when webmasters can ask questions and Googlers can get feedback and respond to it. And folks have been listening and responding too. Vanessa Fox just wrote about the META NOODP tag, which gives webmasters more control over their snippets. I think she's also been digging into a topic to write a post about accented characters for non-English sites too. The Sitemaps team gets fired up when they talk to outside webmasters, and they prioritize based on the requests that they hear. And other groups are trying to give more information to site owners and advertisers (for example, this week Google started showing counts of invalid clicks that Google pre-filtered and didn't charge you for).

I'd like us to do more on communication, and I'm glad that we hired Adam Lasnik to help with getting feedback--he's been able to reply to a lot more emails than we would otherwise. Don't misunderstand me: I'm not claiming that we're perfect by a long shot. I'm not even claiming we're where I'd like to be. Sometimes there's quiet periods where there's less to talk about; I'm expecting that as new infrastructure at 72.14.207.104 rolls out, I'll be answering questions about it, but that will be closer to the end of the summer.

Let me turn it around: how could we do better? It sounds like you'd like to hear a lot more about specific data centers, for example.

7:53 pm on Jul 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Tell us more about the data refreshes as I have been affected negatively and positively by each and every one since Jagger :)

Also, looking at that IP i am not looking as good as I am now, but I can live with it if thats what its gonna be :). Might not be where I am now, but it is better than dropping out of the index. Again, not a complaint, as I can see that when that rolls out, i will need to work, but it will not be a losing battle if what i see is accurate.

Also, I notice that for the first time i see a popup on the right hand side asking me to make Google my default search engine in IE7. This a sign of things to come in the engine battle?

[edited by: 300m at 8:01 pm (utc) on July 27, 2006]

7:59 pm on Jul 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



"In the last 4 months what answers have we received about the supplemental issue? June 27th? Pages being deindexed? Major drop in SERPS 4-5 pages deep for sites that been around for years?"

It seems the threads that dominate most of the forums still don't get answered.

This 205 message thread spans 21 pages: 205