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Google's Quality Problem - I'm bookmarking lots more these days

5:07 pm on Oct 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

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In our Google Updates and SERP Changes [webmasterworld.com] thread, scottsonline made this observation: "Day to day I won't find the same results in google and am actually bookmarking things again"

Me too - and rather than take the original thread into a side topic, I thought I'd start a dedicated thread.

This is one of the most troubling sign for me about Google in the present moment. For a long time I noticed that Google was so good I barely needed to use browser bookmarks at all. But now I definitely do, or else I lose track of information that I value. And no, I don't find that Bing is any better for this. I wish it were.

I don't know if it's the result of any one change or if it's a combination effect. But I do know that I feel like a valuable tool has been trashed.

Is anyone else in the same boat?
12:00 pm on Oct 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I have been relying on bookmarks again for a while, also use site command a lot to get good results - search is definitely harder.
12:25 pm on Oct 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I asked my wife about this issue, as she is closer to an "average searcher" than I in the sense that she doesn't use search engines primarily for SEO-related purposes, and she does a lot more shopping than I do.

She says that overall her experience of Google has improved a lot recently. Though she admits that sometimes research-type queries are harder to satisfy, overall she loves the new Google for two reasons: brand awareness, and localization.

She says that before, she would type "(industry) (city)" and get a lot of big sites about (industry) that have one thin page about (city). Now she mostly gets businesses in the area in (industry), which is what she was looking for. And when she searches for (brand) or (approximate brand) she gets the business she wanted, not a page that happens to contain similar terms.

My wife is very smart, and she always used to be able to find what she wanted eventually by refining queries, but now in most cases she doesn't have to and that makes her search use much faster.

I think maybe Google is deliberately sacrificing utility for people like us, in order to increase utility for people like my wife. For one thing, she's about 10X more likely to spend money than I am.
6:10 am on Oct 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Firstly, I have been bookmarking pages a lot more lately. Secondly, could this mean that Google might be leaning on bookmarks for some sort of signal?

Maybe unrelated -- but this topic brought to mind a statement from a while ago:

"...we expect that advertising funded search engines will be inherently biased towards the advertisers and away from the needs of the consumers."

- source: "The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine"
10:32 pm on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I've just had to write an email to our executive to explain that what one person sees in their results isn't very likely to be replicated in someone elses:
  • Whether you’re using google.com vs google.com.au vs google.com.au with pages from Australia etc,
  • Whether you are logged in (using a Google account) or not,
  • Whether you have Web History enabled or not,
  • Where your ISP location is,
  • What browser you’re using (we’ve seen Chrome return different results) and mobile device etc,
  • What Google datacenter your query is served by.

I should have added:
  • What day you search on...
10:35 pm on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

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#rimshot -- Welcome to the forums, seriocomic. Yes, that is the heart of the matter.
10:49 pm on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

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seriocomic - aptly named! LOL! I know a lot of webmasters will appreciate your concise explanation for the boss, you're right on target, especially that last point.
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