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Google No Longer Objective - links to its own "books" at the top

     
2:40 pm on Sep 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Google is now showing the results for it's own products in the top search listings?

I thought Google was up front and did not favor one site over another. I thought that their search results where determined by a mysterious formula that objectively ranked web pages.

Now I see that Google is using the searches to advertise their books in a very nonobjective manner.

I spend thousands of dollars per year on Adwords advertising I and others have worked very hard to be listed in the top searches for relevant keywords in the regular search. Now I see it is all for naught. If this trend continues I will cancel my Adwords account.

I hope that this will become very public very fast and I am certain that I will not be the only one with this opinion. I also hope I will not be the only one that tells them what I think of this.

Victor Tella

[edited by: tedster at 3:30 pm (utc) on Sep. 8, 2007]

3:39 pm on Sept 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Which books is that?
5:08 pm on Sept 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Which books is that?

[webmasterworld.com...]

6:46 pm on Sept 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Now I see that Google is using the searches to advertise their books in a very nonobjective manner.

It's worse than that. When I do a Google Search on "widgets", I get a page with "Web Images News Maps Gmail more;" right across the top of the page, ahead of the organic search results. I'm shocked!

On the brighter side, the organic results for that "widgets" search list Yahoo in the #1 position, so except having the shameless greed to to display its own navigation menu at the top of the page, Google does seem to be maintaining its objectivity.

7:11 pm on Sept 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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There are in fact two different phenomena here. One is described in the thread that herb linked to above. That phenomenon shows the single linked word "books" in the blue bar. The second, more attention grabbing play involves putting three Google Books links in the "One Box" position at the top of the main SERP, including the book covers.
7:15 pm on Sept 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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EFV

That's good news that you get those links... Here is why...

For the past several weeks, for my KW, I kept seeing ALL those catagories in my results.

Last night, I posted that the Universal Search should be horizontal rather than vertical:

[webmasterworld.com...]

I not stupid enough to think that G read my post and did this... but by making those catagories it frees up space (in theory) to ensure that:

commercial results rank well - AMONG COMMERCIAL SITES
book results rank well - AMONG BOOK RESULTS
blogs rank well - AMONG BLOG RESULTS

Now just 1 universal dump of everything.

Thank you for your confirmation!

8:30 pm on Sept 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Using < one particular query >, Amazon is in the pale brown sponsored position at the top of the SERPs, with Yahoo and eBay off to the right in AdWords (when I ran the test a second time, Amazon moved over to the top of AW). No Google on the page. So as Quadrille asked, which book(s) are they favoring?

..................................

[edited by: tedster at 8:36 pm (utc) on Sep. 8, 2007]

8:57 pm on Sept 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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There currently seems to be two problems occuring at once...

Google seems to be testing the integration of their new BOOKS finding option.

Their BOOKS find are similar to finding products, but users look for various titles of books - like a library. These are not their own books but their technology in providing a search and pages from many books.

It currenly seems that they have been unable to integrate both into their regular search results and probably should not - but are providing either links to their book search and or photos of various covers of books that might have something to do with your search term at the very top of the results pages.

Additionally, they are also trying to integrate BLOGS, NEWS, VIDEOS and PICTURES....

When they stuff everything into one data set.... it seems as though you get garbage...

When they split everything out into their own SECTIONS via links to those sections above the search box... the SEPRS seems clean - though this has not been universally verified by many members here.

ARC

9:47 pm on Sept 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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"shameless greed to to display its own navigation menu at the top of the page" and everything else mentioned in this thread........I have a site that has enjoyed GG's kindness in finding us most relevant for a load of terms.

Lately, the top of Google Search Results for some searches involving our site have become so "top heavy" with diversions (as mentioned) that it feels like the screen is going to roll out of my monitor! #1 & 2 & 3 are the only organics above the crease?

10:42 pm on Sept 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Notice same issue with google base at the top of the popular keyword searches in the same way as the books.

Shame they feel the need to increase reveune further by increasing exposure to own products but i guess when you control "search" and dont have any real competitors you can do what you like :(

we can only see if they decide to maintain it

10:47 pm on Sept 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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victor

Have you seen a reduction in traffic to your site following this introduction?

11:52 pm on Sept 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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From the perspective of an end-user that is a heavy researcher, having integrated results is wonderful.

When I use google I'm trying to find the answer to something. I don't care if that answer is in a book, on a blog, in a regular website, etc. - I just want the answer.

2:26 am on Sept 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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>>Google is now showing the results for it's own products in the top search listings?

Which products of Google's are they showing in the top search results?

>>Now I see that Google is using the searches to advertise their books in a very nonobjective manner.

Which books are being sold by them? What kind?

>>I spend thousands of dollars per year on Adwords advertising I and others have worked very hard to be listed in the top searches for relevant keywords in the regular search.

Adwords has nothing whatsoever to do with organic search results.

>>I hope that this will become very public very fast

It's been very public for a long time - very, very public.

[googleblog.blogspot.com...]

[googleblog.blogspot.com...]

2:39 am on Sept 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I am shocked as well. As a Government-run public service, Google should stop trying to make money, and get back to providing good search results.
Where are my taxes going? I want answers.
12:31 am on Sept 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I can't reproduce this "single word 'books' in the blue bar" that is being described. The best I get is below the "Web" blue bar and above the first organic result, which is "Book results for <my topic> books", which is followed by three book results.

I agree with Marcia - this is old news and I like the way some results show a map or news in that position.

12:50 am on Sept 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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12:51 am on Sept 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I had trouble finding this "books link in the blue bar" too. I'm going to make an exception to our policy of no specific searches in order to demonstrate that this new thing actually does exist. One search that produces the books link is "neckties".

I kind of like this implementation, compared to the big fat "one box" style integration with book covers and all.

1:08 am on Sept 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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>One search that produces the books link is...

Not for me, I see a link for "definition" in the blue area, not books. But I'm signed in on my Google account, might that make a difference?

Added:

Ted, as long as you made an exception, searching for necktie party I get two links in the blue bar, one for necktie and one for party - both definitions and not the two word phrase. If I search for "necktie party" in quotes I get the same thing - definition links for the two separate words.

If I search for book necktie party I get definitions in the blue bar - one for each of the three words separately: book, necktie and party. If I search for book "necktie party" (three word search, two of the words in quotes), I get the book search links appearing at the top of the search results.

[edited by: Marcia at 1:16 am (utc) on Sep. 10, 2007]

1:35 am on Sept 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Just to be clear - the "books" link shows on the left hand side of the blue bar, not on the right side of the same bar where definition links show up. Also, the search term I used is the plural "neckties" - for some reason, the singular term doesn't trigger the books link.

Still, we all know Google results varies by user - so it doesn't surprise me if this is not a universally seen or stable phenomenon.

In terms of definition links splitting 2-word phrases into two links, that's what I see all the time. In fact, I'm quite frustrated that Google doesn't show single definition links for phrases that mean something significantly different than just the sum of their parts.

2:00 am on Sept 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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>>the left hand side of the blue bar

With IE, signed in, I'm not seeing it for singular or plural on the left.
With FF, not signed in (but with GTB), I'm seeing products and images on the left for the singular, and books on the left for the plural.

Quite frankly, whichever way I've seen it (or anything else in the blue bar), there's no way it's any kind of an interference with either organic results or paid adverts. I think the answer to the concern, if paying for Adwords is an issue, is to get a site ranking for the organic search.

2:22 am on Sept 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I hadn't even noticed anything in the blue bar (come to think of it, I don't believe I've ever paid any attention to the blue bar), though I did see "Definition," which was mentioned by Marcia, when I made a point of looking closely.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to check the National Weather Service forecasts for storms in teacups. :-)

2:28 am on Sept 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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EFV

There are some KW searches which produces links in the blue bar for VIDEO, PATENTS, PRODUCTS... it varies...

It "seems" that for 1 KW searches which also produces an alternate link for BOOKS that those DC's are screwed up.

I guess we are just trying to confirm this pattern - If you can call it a pattern - to see what is going on.

ARC

2:44 am on Sept 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Hey Guys:

The following searches produce different alternate catagories which are hyperlinked at the top of the search results in the blue bar on the far right hand side. A searcher can opt to click on that link and see the other search results.

Flowers > Produces an alternate link for > IMAGES
Pottery > Produces an alternate link for > IMAGES
Shoes > Produces an alternate link for > VIDEO
Televison > Produces alternate links for > PATENTS, IMAGES
Barcelets > Produces alternate links for > PRODUCTS , IMAGES
Gift > Produces an alternate link for > IMAGES
Cufflinks > Produces an alternate link for > PRODUCTS
Socks > Produces an alternate link for > GROUPS, IMAGES, VIDEO
Desk > Produces an alternate link for > PRODUCTS, IMAGES
Makeup > Produces an alternate link for > IMAGES
Notebooks > Produces an alternate link for > PRODUCTS
Computer > Produces alternate links for > PATENTS, BOOKS, IMAGES, PRODUCTS

From the examples above, there seem to be no other single key word other than NECKTIES which "tedster" indicated above that produce an alternate link for BOOKS and that one single KW is the only one I have found that looks like Google has integrated books into their regular search results and now the results are totally messed up.

Naturally different DC's will or could produce different results and so if you report your findings - knowing the DC could be helpful for all of us.

Is it possible that G just screwed up this one KW or is this a rolling problem that will infect all other single KW searches eventually?

ARC

3:08 am on Sept 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Im seeing it all over the place in Health sections, Tedster.

Im looking at a gorgeous one right now. Google has 12 book results among the top 20 on a major keyword. They removed the blue area showing 3 of their books. That can come and go with a refresh. I guess they thought that might be a itty bit of overkill. Google has learned not to have everybody raising cane at them at once. They roll anything out piece meal. To big an engine to do otherwise.

I differ in my thinking though. I don't believe Universal Search can be incorporated in many areas and never will. Hypothetically areas like Fishing, Lingerie, Travel, etc. may go untouched.

3:24 am on Sept 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Thanks to Arctrust for that research. Let's not post any more keywords now. I think those we already have can illustrate the phenomenon clearly to anyone who's interested - until it changes again, at least ;)
4:41 am on Sept 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Yes I have seen a reduction in my visitors. which cioncerns me greatly as I make my living making whips and 80% of my sales are done on the web.

While it's true google is not actually selling these books you will notice that they do link to google checkout book listings as well as Amazon and others.Oddly enough a couple of months ago I opened a google checkout account as a test. Low and behold the next day my listing jumped from #5 to #1. When I didn't complete my account set up by giving them my bank info it slowly dropped bank to it's average ranking of #5. This took about two weeks. I have sen this happen with other sited in my category as well.

If you do a search for < one of my keywords > you get a bunch of book listings that really have no relevance at all. Now if this is a temporary thing while they try to get their act together with searches for all types of information then I am OK with that. However I do feel that they should categorize them in a similar way that they do images now.

Another thing ... Haven't we been told by google that to get in the top ten for a relevant key word we need to have a strong page rank and this is calculated by among other things with relative high quality links to your web page. Obviously that is no longer true.

Question Did google recently make some sort of deal with Amazon?

[edited by: tedster at 4:48 am (utc) on Sep. 10, 2007]

4:56 am on Sept 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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vt, I hate to tell you this, but when people are shopping for ready-made *stuff* of any kind, they aren't interested in books unless they're setting out interested in buying books in the first place.

If you're averaging #5 ranking, get another couple of quality inbound links and try adding a little semantic diversity around the site.

7:03 am on Sept 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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This is laughable. Insane. Destructive. Silly. Moronic. Maybe...not relevant for searchers? If this sticks, it will be, without any doubt, the dumbest thing Google has ever done, bar none.
1:37 pm on Sept 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Are we talking about the bar with the basic links such as images, web, books etc. that's also at the top?

I mean enter a keyword and the blue bar shows some selected quick links to other verticals within Google?

...

If so... I don't get it.
I mean I don't get what the problem is.

1:47 pm on Sept 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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When the blue bar seems only to have the link for BOOKS the results are junk.

This seems to be one element in identifying the conditions that might exist when the results are bad or when you find that your site is either absent, has risen or has dropped.

This 35 message thread spans 2 pages: 35
 

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