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[edited by: tedster at 5:22 pm (utc) on Jul 1, 2010]
The 5-8% of filtered terms... are highly targeted searches by informed consumers that didn't need the magic intervention of Google trying to divine what it was they really wanted.
They have their place so long as they are from legitimate value sites and do not provide a disproportionate benefit. IMO, which is worse:
A webmaster that spends a few hundred a month advertising on targeted, relevant sites that point back to a legitimate, by the book WMGL site.
A company that runs 10-20 sites against the WMGL confuscating their identity at times but stuffing the serps with "custom widget a" on one site, "branded widget a" on another, "printed special widget a" on a third etc etc for 20k products just so they may rank for exact matches on one of the 20 sites. BUT they don't buy ad space.
Should they be rewarded like they were by Mayday and are STILL being rewarded now? Which one is more intellectually honest, the person buying ads when ads have driven businesses since "business" was born or the people cheating their way to the top? Think about it from a user experience. Someone that will spend hundreds advertisting is probably pointing back to a good ecommerce site. Someone that is pointing back to 20 websites is probably running 1 good site and 19 junk sites just trying to scam traffic. Which end result would be better for the SERP clicker Google? The company that cares enough to advertise or the one that is just creating cookie cutter sites to generate keyword traffic? Right now Google is favoring the latter, not the former.
If Google wants to streamline and cleanup the serps, they can blow up 25% of all ecommerce results within their index right now but ELIMINATING duplicate sites/sites from the same company under different keywords, and cleaning up Google Merchant Center/Googlebase so policies are actually followed. In our industry we are forced (we had our feeds removed) to list the bulk price. IE, 300 pieces at 1.00 we must list 300 as the price. Yet months later some really big firms still get to list the 1 dollar price? How is that a good user experience? A single human editor at Google could clean up several entire industries a day by pulling the plug on feeds until they are cleaned up. Yet the opt not to do that.
[edited by: tedster at 3:39 am (utc) on Jul 6, 2010]