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Today's Webmaster & Their Relationship with Google

Understanding Where We Are & Where We are Going


The Shower Scene

7:55 pm on May 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I'm convinced that today's webmaster is under the Google mindshare spell. Most don't even realize it.

  • Google's Guidelines do not define Ethical SEO
    Many webmasters equate Google's guidelines with "ethical seo." Google's guidelines represent rules that are convenient for Google. Ethics has nothing to do with it. Internet ethics define how you interact with other webmasters and websites, whether you choose to link to a partner with a real link or not, sabotage, and other questions of right and wrong that sometimes are so subjective they can have a thousand right answers. Google's Guidelines are not part of the ethical equation. It's time webmasters corrected their lazy habit of referring to ethics and Google's Guidelines as if they were one and the same.

  • Google has gone beyond user mindshare
    In many ways Google has acquired webmaster mindshare. How else to explain a post by a member who details his aggressive site promotion efforts then asks if it's ethical? Google literally has webmasters brainwashed into thinking that their guidelines defines ethics. When a webmaster as a matter of course refers to violating Google's guidelines as pertaining to ethics, what else can you do but call it what it is: a brainwash.

  • The Google Webmaster Spell
    Today's webmasters have become so under the Google spell that all their energy is focused on Google. The mindshare takeover is so complete they even think the Google Directory is an entity in itself.


    I have my one site listed in google directory and the link information is wrong there. Could anyone tell me how we can contact the editors and change my link information for my website link in google directory....

  • Google Defines Webmaster Dialogue and Thinking
    Today's webmaster so intellectually lazy they actually believe that the best information is going to come from a heavily moderated Google Groups forum. Today's webmaster confuses helpful information with what is essentially Kool-Aid that is being posted on Matt Cutts blog.

    Do you actually believe the dialogue on a Google Group or a Matt Cutts blog is moderated for anything other than to make webmasters conform to Google's corporate will? On WebmasterWorld, and other forums like DP, SEW, TW, and many others, we are free to discuss every aspect of search marketing. On Matt Cutts blog and the official Google forums you are not. Google controls the dialogue and the outcomes of the discussions. Google and Matt Cutts are not concerned with helping you rank better. They are concerned about the integrity of their algorithm, and making webmasters unpaid partners in protecting Google's algorithm through snitch networks and data mining enterprises like Webmaster Central.

  • Thank you for smoking, have some more kool aid.
    Todays webmaster is so compliant, complacent, and utterly sheep-like they are willingly surrendering highly personal data to Google without understanding how it ultimately benefits Google far more than it benefits them. The toolbar was pretty invasive, but webmaster central is a shameless data grab. Old ladies resist when someone snatches their purse. Todays webmaster lacks the will to resist and the intellect to understand what Google is doing to them. Do you understand the irony of a search for "Webmaster Central [google.com]" leading to several web pages that benefits Google instead of websites that benefit webmasters?

  • Google is taking over and moderating the webmaster discussion
    Google endeavours to control the discussion of Google by limiting it to their own network of blogs and discussion forums. How else to explain the absence of AdSense advisor, GoogleGuy, Adam Lasnik, and AdWords Advisor? ASA didn't even bother to announce the last AdSense weekend update. GoogleGuy is absent on Webmaster Forums except to defend Google at TW or promoting their snitch programs.

    When was the last time GoogleGuy or the other representatives did something on the webmaster forums to help or answer questions? Where have they gone? I will tell you where they are. They are hijacking our dialogue and moderating it on the official Matt Cutts blog and their other Kool-Aid forums. I believe it's a conscious effort to control what you think and gain webmaster mindshare for the benefit of Google.

    Google is the Internet
    Am I the only one who feels it's extraordinary how Google is becoming the arbiter of web ethics, coding practices, and the webmaster dialogue? Do webmasters really want an Internet that is defined and dicated according to what is good for Google?

[edited by: The_Shower_Scene at 8:11 pm (utc) on May 8, 2007]


2:52 am on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Todays Webmaster & Their Relationship with Google

What a timely thread. I got a call today from Google - the first ever in six years. They want to optimize my neglected AdWords campaign. Great! What's good for me is good for them, and vice-versa. We are all in it together for years to come.


2:53 am on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Funny, everyone used to complain when google did not communicate. Remember that? So they actually read that and responded. Now webmasters are going to accuse google of brainwashing? I do not get it.


2:57 am on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

>>So they actually read that and responded.

And not the typical thread they would respond to. Nice one Adam. :)


3:28 am on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Well re bookmarks.. Sadly the internet economy is a huge pyramid scheme build on free work (and in case of WP they even pay for the pleasure). If you have 210000 coming in over bookmarks it's not enough for a normal income for two people in some sectors, althouh better than nothing and maybe in ten years the internet has grown up enough that offline business percentage matches online business percentage.

Still the search engine team are not necessarily all of Google. I don't know how WP and scanning in books doesn't lead to more content inflation. How does the Youtube aquisition fit in? How do you compete with people that just again and again use commercial music while you painstakingly search for affordable legal solutions. Not a chance in hell.

That's the whole call centre point, the guy you talk to might be totally nice and reasonable, but someone somewhere makes funny decisions that don't neccessarily fit into the niceness of employee a or b.

I had IR people as friends, doesn't mean I have to agree with inheritance tax or the person who came up with the idea.


3:34 am on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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

I really appreciate the points you made, Adam. One thing at least some people seemed to have missed is that the opening poster was being critical of WEBMASTERS -- and the foolish abandonment of their own intelligence.

Google offers what it does, and it is a lot. As many have said in this thread, there definitely is great appreciation and awe for what Google has accomplished to date.

But some of the panic that follows when there's a bug in GWT or the TBPR reports is troubling. Adam recently helped to calm some of that, but the sad thing for me is that it took a Google rep for the advice to be believed -- as if the obvious continued traffic and rankings somehow weren't believable on their own.

Google and googlers should not be worshipped -- that's an unfair role to thrust on them.

Our businesses may not be at the same scale that Google is, but as webmasters we still need to stand tall as our own person who is running our own business. I think those who can find that more mature posture within themselves will also find that Google can be more valuable to such a responsible person.


3:40 am on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Hey Adam c'mon sometimes you gotta admit things are a little wonky coming out of the plex.

For example you make a big hoopla about finally giving everybody what they want backlink data in webmaster central. Then a few minutes later We get the word from on high that just because a backlink is shown in webmaster central doesn't mean Google is counting it. We're supposed to be happy about getting data that has some remote possibility of maybe being accurate?

You expect everyone on the web to give you accurate link data by flagging paid advertising with nofollow or some other google approved method, but you don't give us the same courtesy in return. Seems rather one sided don't you think?


3:42 am on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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

>>>>we've felt that weighing in on specific penalties just isn't likely to be helpful overall

What a bunch of vague, worthless nonsense. You don't think answering people's questions would be helpful? I guess not.

You know you've lost that grass-roots loving-you feelin' when you start believing that not responding to questions is a good corporate policy. How does that make any kind of sense? Talk about hubris.

(tedster's correct, that orginally we were bashing webmasters...but I've already done my share of that theme around here already)


3:56 am on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

This is why I don't use G Analytics. They already know 80% of everything about me... I gotta keep something to the imagination... =)


4:13 am on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I cannot help but being worried.

I have some years on this and no matter what I do, my traffic comes from G. Adsense works for me. I have no second option. I have tried but other SE bring little results. I feel uncomfortable knowing all the eggs are on one basket. I respect the guidelines and common sense of an ethic webmaster, still I find myself worried about being penalized, banned or just out of my current rank.

paranoid? I don't really agree with G being the internet, but this is not getting pretty... instead this is getting kinda ugly.

Is kinda like the "scene previous to chaos" (sorry for being paranoid)


4:17 am on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

The fact that we have (and are currently hiring and ramping up many more) people around the world to build and maintain and document and extend these tools and work with Webmasters in other ways... it's either an affirmation of how we see Webmasters as important partners or it's an expensive and grand conspiracy and coverup. Surely, shower_scene, there'd be more efficient ways for us to gather information :P

Isn't the general message that distrust is growing? Maybe there is important feedback here.

Let's assume webmaster central is a positive intention. On the other hand you can't give away to much information. That information vaccum will lead to speculation.

Somehow the problem is that communication needs equal empirical background, which doesn't exist. Google employees know more than we do.

Wouldn't that mean that communication is doomed even with good intentions on both sides?

I can only see this going into a wrong direction with Google employees that try being increasingly alienated and reverse.

If I would have told my supervisor in my PhD that I just collected data to not use it, he would have freaked. Data gets collected to be used.

The problem is unsolvable in my opinion. You (as a company!) know everyting about us, we are just guessing. That's a recipe for disaster and frustration on both sides.


4:21 am on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I feel uncomfortable knowing all the eggs are on one basket. I respect the guidelines and common sense of an ethic webmaster, still I find myself worried about being penalized, banned or just out of my current rank.

Feeling the same, but I guess it's just good business sense. Diversity is the key to survival. Specialists are always vulnerable to environmental changes. Don't be a Panda be a rat or c*ckroach... ;)


4:25 am on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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

Google's Guidelines do define Ethical SEO
Google's do guidelines define Ethical SEO, to some extent. I say this because ethics vary depending upon the situation. Not obtaining an unfair or unwarranted advantage over others, and making false representations are clearly unethical, and if you read Google's guidelines with that in mind, they are clearly ethical guidelines. That is, breaching them could, if you aren't caught, result in such an unfair advantage - a good example being buying links. Cloaking with different content? Keyword stuffing? All examples of false representations and clearly unethical.

Google is the Internet
The size and influence of Google is a mixed blessing. It's nice to have someone big enough that they drive some form of standardisation. To put it another way, instead of having 20% of sites following MSN's guidelines, 20% following Yahoo's, 20% following Ask's, 20% following Lycos's, and 20% following Googles, most people follow Google and most other search engines have moved broadly in line with this and accept those sites. What would you prefer? To have to juggle many sets of rules, or to concentrate on one and be confident that the other engines can't be too much different...?


4:38 am on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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

Actually, no. When a for profit company defines rules that are implemented for no other reason than it's own financial benefit those rules aren't ethics. Those aren't some sort of good-fairy keys to webmaster heaven. They're Google's attempt to make money. Simple as that.

Google's scraping my content to make money. I allow it because I make money in return. They don't ask my permission to scrape content, I don't ask for permission to manipulate my own site so they decide my site ranks well.

People loose site of the fact that Google is a for profit company, with profit as it's primary goal. Unless you want to believe that they've really in business for some more ultruistic purpose. In which case, please pass the hookah.


4:52 am on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Google is not a search engine, just a toll booth to the web. I'm really surprised at how many webmasters, reporters, stock analysts still rave and fawn on every word from the koolaid bartenders.

From the function that acts likes a sandbox but isn't a sandbox to the link buying/bullying tactics its pretty clear what they are up to.

Pay up sucker!


5:00 am on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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

Moderator's note: From here on posts that are merely rants about Google will be edited or deleted without notice or explanation. There's not enough time in a moderator's day to handle it.

If anyone has not understood the reason why I don't want to see this thread turn into a mere collection of anti-Google ranting, then please read the opening post and read it over and over until the topic of this thread is clear.

Let's focus the lens, not blur it.


5:03 am on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

With respect, Adam, even with all the points raised here (including yours), they are just particular symptoms of an universe of effects.

Any large dominating entity existing within any ecosphere will necessarily impose a displacement upon the populace... however well-mannered and meaning.

You (as in Google) might not wish to deprive anyone of using the toilet, but if you're in the way, we somehow have to agree, when you won't be.... that's if you're even aware of being "in-the-way".

And that's the point (mine, anyway); this is larger than us, as webmasters, and you, as a Google department - Googles dominatiion is pervasive and its mere presence in this form has fostered an almost 'Robinson Crusoe and Man-Friday' relationship.

Through us, as webmasters, you get to our visitors (and all they reveal). We have to accept the blame for this and should, perhaps, even consider acting more responsibly in the interests of our visitors/members/subscribers etal, when we wantonly promote and/or use Google's properties and services on our sites.

Equally, a lot of us have found that we are now receiving the bulk of our visitors from Google - But it is traffic increasingly directed by Google built atop data originating from our sites, dating back to the first ever crawl, no doubt.

By feeding us this traffic, and changing (over time) the way it is directed, Google has changed everything from webmaster behaviour, to CMS source code... Why, "SEO-Friendly Design" is almost a website Standard in itself now, based on Google's "ethic"!

The Google machine, gives us the traffic which we, in turn, allow to be "sniffed", "sensed", classified", monetised, analysed, archived and whatever else goes on. On some sites, it'd be safe to say that Google never actually even lets go of its traffic.

... all the while, gathering more data upon which more services and products can be developed, which, assisted by the willing change-of-behaviours-to-comply from us, further solidifies control of the traffic.

... control over how the internet is woven.

... control over our websites and the users that frequent them.

But pointing fingers won't help, nor solve it - The issue is arguably so big now, it's difficult for either party to see the trees.

[edited by: TheWhippinpost at 5:06 am (utc) on May 9, 2007]


5:14 am on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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

Todays Webmaster & Their Relationship with Google.

Does today's Webmaster remember when Google first launched? Do you remember all the buzz in the Webmaster Community? "Hey, check out the new search engine Google." Google this, Google that. It was viral from the day they launched and continues to be that way.

We (the Webmasters) were the hands that fed Google. We (the Webmasters) built Google. We (the Webmasters) made Google what it is today. And now we find ourselves in reverse roles, Google are now the hands that feed us Webmasters. Our creation has turned on us. Its like a science fiction movie. ;)

We were so hungry for a new search engine back then and Google was it. They had it all and then some. We (the Webmasters) fueled their brand, their growth and their market share today.

So, who is next on the list? Its time for some new buzz. Hehehe, is that even possible? Me thinks we are well beyond the point of anyone coming close to competing in Google's Internet.

The other thing we need to come to grips with is that Google is no longer just search. If you were to map what they've been up to these past 24 months on an hourly basis, you'd be quite surprised. Ever watch a system defrag? That's what it is like watching Google. They are slowly but surely taking bits and pieces from here and there, assembling them, and creating the Gorg. You will be assimilated.


5:18 am on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Indeed Tedster's "paradox" is alive and well for all of us to manage.

The conflict is:

Google Ethics : rules or standards prescribing the conduct of the webmaster "profession" to publish content in accordance with Google's intent.

and herein the "intent" of both parties:

Webmasters : the position of the mind that directs their actions towards the specific objective of "ranking"

Google : the position of their mind that directs their actions towards the specific object of "quality results" and presumably supporting their advertising business model, whilst protecting their "secret soup" for competitive advantage.

I see little ethics on both sides and the management is more about what works.

Simply "ethics" are man made methods of survival in the jungle. You decide [ if you can figure it out ] how you live, prosper or perish. My personal view is that it is better to respect each other's position and work from there.

Even the lion knows that.

[edited by: Whitey at 5:20 am (utc) on May 9, 2007]


5:25 am on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

>>The only folks we've ever moderated (I personally have moderated four out of the many thousands of members in the last year, and only temporarily) were engaging in personal attacks.

Untrue Adam. I had half a thread I started edited and removed on the Google forum. Particularly annoying was that someone made a great post I wanted to share with someone else.

I asked why it was edited and nobody posted a reply.


5:30 am on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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

You will be assimilated.

Heh, no problem for me as long as I can be assimilated and still keep cashing my Adsense checks. :)

Sadly, we rarely see "I just got the +42 boost!" from happy Webmasters because for some odd reason, they're just less likely to be posting on this scenario.

Here you go Adam... I'm really happy with my Google rankings. The latest algos have worked out really well for my sites.

And thanks for posting despite the often heavy criticism of Google here at WebmasterWorld.


6:28 am on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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

"What is under scrutiny here is webmasters tendency to equate Google's guidelines with Ethics."

Did you bring your Kleenex when you made your strawman?

Webmasters need to stop stating a nonsensical position then arguing against it. It just makes webmasters look like unrealistic crybabies.

The only thing in worse shape than Google (and the other engines) is the self esteem of the webmaster-as-victim cryathon crowd.


6:40 am on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Thank you, Jane Doe for bringing this discussion back to the real world.

Sure, Google has changed from what it once was. Is that really a surprise? So they take advantage of their strengths to maximize their environment; so what? Most of us here try to do the same thing, every day, on a much smaller scale. Some of us succeed, and some don't.

Recognizing reality is not being whimpy.


6:50 am on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Google needs to be more honest and by that I mean they should tell the whole truth about a lot more issues and not leave webmasters to guess quite so much. Whilst I appreciate there are certain areas that they cannot realistically delve into there are many other areas where this obsession with secrecy simply has no discernable purpose.


7:21 am on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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

We don't comment publicly on specific penalties.

I don't expect you to comment on penalties. But in the Google Guy days he would notice if people who had done nothing wrong were having a problem. He would gather information. He let us know that Google was working on it.


7:57 am on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

IMO google just forgot about the simply "build with user in mind" principle.

Does really surfers cares about cannonical url, inbound and outbound links, size and age of site, location of host sever, if the site is listed or not in dmoz or yahoo directory, h1, mod rewrite and htaccess...and many other similar critera?

I do not think so.

I have a deja vu feeling: I live in an ex communist country and I studied years ago the planned economy.
Is amazing to see how thousand of scientifics` have builded sophisticated theories, sciences and strategies, methods and principles. Everything great and wonderful , but everything based on some fake and utopian principles. The results are notorious.


8:14 am on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Well in, Adam, and respect for responding.

But if you start from the (frankly very erroneous) perspective that the interests of Google and Webmasters are completely at odds... that the conversations we DO have are grounded in ulterior motives... then there's really not much hope in further conversation, is there?

I can see your point here, but I think you are overstating the argument of the original poster. Google is not "the internet" and webmasters and Google co-exist with various degrees of unease (displayed in this thread).

You scrape our content to provide your company with profits and further opportunities. In return, we potentially receive additional traffic and business from your search engine.

So rather than webmasters and Google linking arms and marching joyously into the future down the yellow brick road, the situation is rather more like your relationship with Yahoo or MSN.

There are certain interests that you share. You may even co-operate on initiatives which benefit you both. But you keep a wary and necessarily sceptical eye on what they are doing at all times.

Funny, everyone used to complain when google did not communicate.

Actually no, trinorthlighting. One of the side-effects of Matt, Adam and others has been to create a class of webmasters who are happy simply to hang on the teat of Google by following their guidelines and relying on Google traffic and/or revenue. And I am sure that even they would agree that this is not necessarily a healthy development for the webmasters' own interests.

If you look back in the archives here you will find that the general atmosphere was far more questioning and sceptical than it currently is.

"If you know your history [webmasterworld.com]..."


10:20 am on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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

before we made our websites for the users, now we MUST make it for the search engines if you want to be placed on google(the internet) and dont want your pages to get supplemental, filtered.


10:27 am on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

We're in this brainwashed zombie state because Google is relying on, and being deliberately obtuse about, an algorithm.

This kind of insanity will only end when google or it's future replacement move away from using secret algorithms for ranking and instead give the USER the chance to directly influence ranking.

That way we would all start designing sites for the USER and not to game an algorithm.

Apologies if I'm repeating what I've written on other threads. But it's bloody true!


10:46 am on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Great post.

Recently I made a comment on a forum that is critical towards Google. Out of accident my full real name and site URL appeared next to the forum post. Yikes!

When I saw what happened, I asked the webmaster to pull the post. I did not want to see my search rankings gone IF Google finds out I am a critic and IF they do not like such behaviour. I did not want to see my Adsense revenue gone (pure white hat BTW). At first I thought I over-reacted. But now that I think of it and read the OP's opinion, I think Google is Orwell's Big Brother on steroids.

Given the power they have, given the fact that only very very few people apparently know how this thing actually works, given the fact that they seem to be able to get away with lousy business practices more often (especially when it comes to Adsense, and copyrights) - given all this, I think the OP is right. We have been devoting too much time to Google, be it interpreting their guidelines, changing our sites, or adding whatever bizarre code they might think of today.

For some time now, I am (trying to) get Google out of my head. I am using MSN search and Yahoo! more frequently now, and this feels very very good. :-)

P.S.: I agree with Tedster that there is basically nothing wrong with Google per se. They're just a company. It's rather something that happens (or has happened) in our minds. I think it get's scary if you start to think "Uhhh - I can't say this or that, because Google might take away my rankings."

P.P.S.: I do not know whether Google might actually act like this, but the thought alone is scary.


12:11 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Heh, no problem for me as long as I can be assimilated and still keep cashing my Adsense checks. :)

Just being a Google Outpost can't be a good thing long term. I'd rather take a hit in income to have a solid basis. Google does the same, branches out.

This 190 message thread spans 7 pages: 190

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