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prediction: Florida-like Update Before End of Year



1:36 pm on Sep 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

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

Larry Page has been at the helm coming up on six months. According to various reports, LP has put alot of faith back in the algo nerds. I look for a Florida like update on the organic side before the end of the year.


11:28 am on Sep 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

If you have repeatable empirical evidence that Google is "manipulating" (whatever that means, it would be nice to have a definition) search results to increase adwords revenue, that would be interesting.
Other than what awall19 said, SERPS change so how do I know why? It's all secret, not even impartial parties are allowed to inspect it AFAIK. But I have empirical evidence and anyone with a braincell knows that a lot of what G is saying is BS.

First G already admits of manually inspecting and consequently changing top keywords. Even Matt Cutts admitted that there's a lot of hand tweaking now vs the old days. Oh but they are checked by raters using "science" that Amit Singhal is fond of saying. Really? You can get them to vote either way, any pollster knows [en.wikipedia.org...] . And that's even if the criteria was $$ blind, which it isn't sinces what we have seen mentions or hint at brands quite a few times.

The result seems to be that for many top commerce terms the top results also have adwords ads at the same time, so Google doesn't lose and it takes care of it's 'ecosystem'. One hand washes the other.

What's better for "Insurance" ? A site that gives you a choice of 4-5-10 quotes or a list of major insurance companies (with billions to spend a year and just so happened to be G advertisers?) Does anyone believe that that term was left to chance? But the algo did. Yeah, sure, after it was tweaked to do exactly what Google wanted it to do it.

I'll ask these questions:
Does anyone believe that an algo that hurts Google earnings would stay ? Yes, different SERP results can make the ads look better or worse. When was the last quarter Google lost or made less money? Or is an algo that makes more money always the most relevant one :)?

Or Google leaves that to chance too? We will learn a lot about Google once private documents are going to be examined. For some it will be worse than when they found out that Santa Claus didn't exist. Google's corporate 'ethics' are do it, and hope not to get caught. They attempted to steal the copyright from book owners (they can let us know if they disagree was their answer. HUH?) and then knowingly chose to steal from Java and take their chances, IF they got sued later. We know about the drug ad deal thing, where they even risked jail for very little money, relatively speaking. This shows unlimited and contempt for anything and anyone but their profits.

Hell, maybe they change your site's title on the fly to make it suck so people click on ads. It's not like 'they wouldn't do such a thing,' or that they can't, and ads are part of search. Who cares if a user got what he/she wanted by clicking on an ad vs an organic listing? No one but Google's shareholders and the loser site-owner.


12:47 pm on Sep 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

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And that's even if the criteria was $$ blind, which it isn't sinces what we have seen mentions or hint at brands quite a few times.

early Google rater documents mentioned some syndicated shopping search explicitly not being spam (in spite of duplication & lack of value add) because it was on trusted hosts. Of course, after Google launched their product search, their view of that vertical & business model may have changed a bit.


6:34 pm on Sep 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

About quality and not quantity.

i'll buy that for sure, and you know they must have confidence in the amount of feedback they will experience. But I recently got an e-mail for a school thing my son is in, there were 43 emails cc'd on it, and of those there was one gmail account; mine.

Robert Charlton

8:31 pm on Sep 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

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

A note on one particular observation above....

My emphasis added....
People still give Google a pass even *after* 3rd parties saw them put monetary values in the search results next to the listings, not once, but twice

IMO, there's a big unmentioned inconsistency between the above two articles and where the numbers are appearing... as well as what the numbers suggest.

Search Engine Roundtable (c April, 2008) describes these numbers as related to AdWords: "Google AdWords Displays Ad Scores: Pscore, mCPC & thresh"

Ditto with the German forum article Barry links to, as well as with the WebmasterWorld discussion he cites....

Strange variables underneath ad on SERP (Pscore, mCPC and thresh)
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google_adwords/3637419.htm [webmasterworld.com]

The WebmasterWorld AdWords Forum discussion also links to a SearchEngineLand article by Barry, also discussing this as about AdWords ranking factors...

Google Showing Ranking Scores On AdWords?

In all of these, all roughly April, 2008, the discussion is about AdWords, where monetary values are to be expected. A possible display glitch is suggested, and IMO there's nothing to suggest that a dollar value was being assigned to organic position.

This latter assertion is the thrust of the valleywag.com article... which I should add is being redirected to gawker.com ("Today's gossip is tomorrow's news"), where the article now resides (in its "Don't Be Evil" section). Objective reporting? I don't know, but I have my thoughts. I do know I'm ultimately seeing only one anonymous source for the story, with a somewhat iffy image.

Google assigns dollar value to search results

Google's ads are paid for; its search results, supposedly, are untainted by commercial concerns. But French blog Zorgloob landed itself a screenshot that calls Google's purity into question. It shows what Google search results look like to a member of Google's AdWords sales team. The picture raises more questions than it answers. For example, why are there dollar signs among so-called "natural" search results? And why does Google note whether a website in its search results belongs to an advertiser? Here's the image."

You'll have to follow the valleywag -> gawker -> Zorgloob links to get the screen capture, which shows dollar values and verticals in organic serps. It's an image that got a lot of buzz at the time. I haven't seen other examples.

I have zero perspective on the credibility of Zorgloob. TomHTML, an editor and the author of the Zorgloob screen capture article, is described on Zorgloob (in translation here) as: "Tom is always looking for the scoop and will not hesitate to say what he thinks of Google (for good or evil)." The article is being touted as an exclusive. TomHTML was at least objective enough to have added the following disclaimer to the image capture (article dated Oct 30, 2007)....

Pour information, sachez que sur la capture ci-dessus les données ont été modifiées par nos soins, ce qui signifie que les informations des lignes ne sont pas en rapport avec les résultats au dessus.

For information, please note that the above capture the data has been modified by us, which means that the information lines are not related to the results above.


8:50 pm on Sep 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

@Robert Charlton
There's a link on Blogoscoped that has a purported denial by Matt Cutts. Essentially it said it exists but not for search quality. [blogoscoped.com...]

Obviously I would not expect them to admit to it, even if it was 100% true. But the idea that even search doesn't know /keep in the back of their head the value of certain keywords is ridiculous.

Every 15 year wanting to make an MFA site knows.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 9:01 pm (utc) on Sep 13, 2011]
[edit reason] added live link [/edit]

Robert Charlton

9:38 pm on Sep 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

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

Matt posts in the blogoscoped thread that he had never seen the tool. The original blogoscoped post appended a statement from Google that I'll quote in part...

The screenshot shows a tool that is not used by the search quality team in any way. It is a tool used by members of our AdWords sales team to help prioritize new customer acquisition. We are strongly committed to maintaining the integrity of our organic search results.

I think it would be a handy tool for a SEO to have. I can also understand why Matt had never seen it.

Every 15 year wanting to make an MFA site knows.

Yes, I agree, and I look at the ads as one factor among many when I analyze keywords for SEO. Rand's original Keyword Difficulty tool used PPC competition and pricing as one of its factors (I don't know about more recent versions of the tool, but I'm sure it's still in there).

That said, Matt is not a 15 year old wanting to make an MFA site. Many good arguments have been made in this forum about the reasons that Google keeps its advertising and search teams separate, and I'm not going to repeat them.

I will say that I don't think that factoring AdWords pricing into organic rankings would be beneficial to Google's user satisfaction, and for that reason alone it's likely that Google doesn't look at advertiser cost when ranking sites.

Looking at AdWords pricing when countering spam may be one line of approach, but it's so likely that other metrics are even more useful to the spam team that I don't think they need to cross the line to look.


11:15 pm on Sep 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

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

Obviously I would not expect them to admit to it, even if it was 100% true.

But if it is 100% true, I would expect silence - not flat-out denial.


4:38 pm on Sep 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

About quality and not quantity. You've heard of Klout.com right? Google has to have something similar internally. You know the Author thing G released and how they surface reliable content for that? Yep - klout'like internal ratings.

Why didn't they renew Twitter deal then Brett? Getting the data right out of Twitter sure helps them do that better, no? They are already frozen out of Facebook.

Unless they care way more about G+ and are willing to let rank suffer as a result.

But if it is 100% true, I would expect silence - not flat-out denial.

"Q. Mr Page, do you rig results to make more money?

A. No comment."

Yeah, that's the answer people want to hear :)

But anyway, it's a trust thing. Some trust them, I don't trust them now because of what they have been doing lately. They don't trust me or you either btw when it comes to our sites.

While they were growing organically I actually didn't think they'd go to this extreme.


5:13 pm on Sep 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

While they were growing organically I actually didn't think they'd go to this extreme.

they probably realized in a hurry that it is 2011 and the next decade had started -

"It is time for us to tell the world why we chose Don't be evil as our slogan, when we started out. It is time to tell them that we had a long term vision when we started and we knew that this slogan will be helpful in the next decade".

These are definitely interesting times for them and for us. Let us see whether this prediction proves to be right this christmas...


5:16 pm on Sep 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

So as far as a Florida like update before the end of the year, my prediction is for constant smaller and non publicized updates.

Logically they can do more damage, and put more people out of jobs if they just constantly update, maybe every one or two months. The idea is to never allow any group of sites/companies to remain in the top for more than a month of so, then you smack em with the penalty hammer and bury their sites. Shuffle and repeat. This way everyone is hurt even the big companies. In my opinion this is most efficient way to cause the most damage and put the most people out of work and thus my prediction for the coming months and years.

From what I've seen this year, it's clear that goo has made a firm business decision to eradicate a large percentage of free organic traffic on lucrative keywords. They don't appear to care if search quality is lost in the process. It's all about increasing revenues and using their monopoly to bully the world. Show companies that the only thing that "works" is to fund the adwords account.

I think before the end of the year, even the big companies which now appear to be in favor, will also get hammered. Of course, a few of the very top adword spenders will miraculously slip by unscathed as they usually do.


6:56 pm on Sep 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I think shazam you've hit the nail on the head. The key is to raise the bar so high in the areas of high organic traffic and lucrative keywords that the mom and pop shop or smaller niche website with one writer are shut out. But it's noble right? Google wants the "premium" and "amazing" show horses at the most popular events. Those high value searches need those big sites now. Not for monetary gains, but just because Google doesn't want those crummy MFA or affiliate earning webmasters to make a killing off of organic traffic. I say this with the power of observation and not some random thought. I see what's being said. I feel that any site I have or plan to have will not compete with Wikipedia. When I start making money, I know I can start the stop watch. That's how I feel about the current algo.

Bring on the update. Am I the only one feeling that there isn't a change that could make things worse?

I think people are not looking at reality. The reality is that Page now runs Google. Sure each team has their own "ideals", but ultimately it's the big boss who is the visionary and the one giving direction to the corporation. It's the timing of Panda and the timing of the apparent algo shift that's interesting here. I believe it's not just Panda and it's not just algo tweaks. I believe it's a change in philosophy. That's why it's scary. It's more than just a tweak here or there. It's a much more serious threat to organic traffic than a lot of people want to realize.


7:30 pm on Sep 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Then try testing EVERYTHING on G+. Including posts, comments, video, photos, and especially efix data

I haven't tested everything yet, but limited testing seems to fit what you're saying. I do wonder if "who" links to what matters. In other words, if you and I are in each other's circles, and you post something about one of my sites, or vice-versa, is there any difference than if you and i are not linked via G+. I already agree that the poster's "author" authority matters, but the connection between the one posting and that being pointed to...that's what I haven't tested yet. You?


9:04 pm on Sep 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

...I dont think there will be a major algo update. I would however imagine that they will add more stuff between ads and the first organic result.

If you look at the changes that Google made over the years, you will notice that Google Property above the fold increased and new stuff gets added faster and faster. Lets face it, in a few years Nr.1 on organic Google means being on page 2...


9:45 pm on Sep 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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

because Google doesn't want those crummy MFA or affiliate earning webmasters to make a killing off of organic traffic

That change is already well underway - so it won't be the big one Brett's talking about.

I've been checking with some friends who operate what I consider top-quality affiliate sites (even many sites per owner) and they have NOT felt a big impact. And many of them also use Adsense - so whatever Google is currently doing it's not some kind of universal attack. It's more like they raised the bar that defines what "crummy" is.

If there is a Florida-like update in the next three months or ao, I would expect it to affect many kinds of businesses, not just affiliates. The affiliate business model is far from the only one out there.


11:24 pm on Sep 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Tedster I would never suggest it's across the board. I think what you may be missing here is that they only raise the bar on what "crummy" is at the tipping point. There is still tons of trash and it would appear they don't care about that. Not a lot of searches and the means there isn't a lot of money in those areas. Google pushed the squash button (not an instant effect) if you find yourself in a subject that "sort of" falls under the scope of the a giant 5 star prestigious website. All the people pointing out the exceptions are failing to realize that most likely those subject garner no real interest. Interest in only based on search volume and the amount of money in those areas. If your contacts run well established sites, okay they could withstand the tipping point. If they are in areas where giants lurk then they are not safe imo. Anyone who is not well established or is trying a new site etc needs to be really clear on the futility or potential futility of their best efforts. Of course people can have a site that can withstand a raised bar even in those premium keywords/subjects. That most likely has taken a long time with a lot of effort and I would suggest those situations don't help 95% of the people wanting to learn about how this works and what to do with Google right now.

I'm still not clear on what Florida like is. I'm assuming that means baffling, massive, destructive, etc. Correct? What I'm thinking is along the lines of this:

Adsense sites, people running affiliate ads = exploiters and less quality.

Algo change = less exploiters = cleaner more fantastic organic search results = a cleansing of the internet as it were = decision making time for a lot of webmasters

Of course I say this within reason.


1:03 am on Sep 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

It's futile. What we say and what we think doesn't matter. There's has been a philosophy shift at Google, focusing on money and expanding into virtually every market just by using their search power. They closed many free products, translation after being made popular will now have a paid option and Google is getting into lead generation as well this quarter.Little by little they will start to push out even those feeling safe today, it never fails. What's important for them now is monetizing the traffic to Google the get and making people stay longer in Google properties. They hate the fact that FB is sticky, so expect everything geared towards that and towards making site-owners use and promote Google plus.

This new philosophy coincided with Larry Page, and what the CEO wants he gets. Whatever site you had, employees, dreams, goals, bills....doesn't matter, even if Panda is flawed to death. Looks like Panda sites are toast anyway, those that came back came back when Google said they tweaked the algo, 5 months later. For everyone that came back and changed something, you can find one that changed nothing and still came back. There is now a sense of "who cares," in search; sites have bee divided in "good" and "bad" ones and that's where it ends. You have a "bad" site becuase Google said so all of the sudden. They even have the nerve of saying that, as if repeating it makes it true. No need to explain anything to us, unless you can raise hell on HackerNews or Twitter.

Any next update will not make a good difference for us until Google hurts. IMO we will have a bad 2 years or so, until there is more honest competition in search, or until the government forces them to separate search from the rest, or submit to independent observers. Google losing traffic and credibility is great news for the web in general and regular webmasters in particular, but it takes time.

The days of do a good site and traffic will come are gone, at least for now. Likewise, the days when you believe a word from them....do a search for site:cc.co and see if Google let any back after telling them to submit re-inclusion requests. Tens of thousands of them were very white hat sites.


3:01 am on Sep 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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the recent doorway pages notices inside Google Webmaster Tools has many e-commerce sites scrambling... now is this going to be followed with a push for their product pages?


3:07 am on Sep 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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

Opinion ain't fact. It's opinion.


4:33 am on Sep 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Page is in a precarious position. As the co-founder he garnered enormous respect (and wealth), but another guy (Schmidt) built the company into the megalith it is today. Then Eric walked away with Google at the very top, richer than anyone could have ever predicted, a true power in every sense of the word.

Exit Schmidt, re-enter Larry Page. If LP loses money at this point, he'll see himself disparaged by financial commentators in every form of media, and the stock value will drop. They'll credit him for starting the company, but will say he didn't have what it takes to run it now that it's one of the world's most profitable corporations. His ego/self respect/historical position cannot let that happen, so he is inevitably going to pursue profits by any means necessary.

That is why I keep saying over & over that the Google of old is gone forever and it ain't coming back. We had all better get used to this search company pursuing a philosophy that will guarantee strong profits with every new quarter. At long as that happens, the people that really matter to the CEO (the major stockholders) will be happy, whether the SERPs quality is up, down or remains the same.

Larry Page has no intention of joining Jerry Yang, and unfortunately, he apparently does not have the charisma or vision to join Steve Jobs, so what we see is what we get, and we'd better get used to it. It ain't pretty now, and it won't get any prettier in a week, a month, or a year. The Google we knew and loved is gone... RIP.



4:46 am on Sep 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

I believe it's a change in philosophy.

Yes it is.
It a global hair cut with some exception granted for brands. (The cowered don’t want to deal with the big guys in town. After all, size is power. )
They give us a good lesson. So how often do you have a haircut? It is a haircut time man.

There was a thread of people telling about old sites returned their rankings after years.. They have just escaped this haircut.
What a mess in the algorithm.
I wrote that these sites return from hell to claim their victim's soul.

But hey, no mater how many times you escape, you are going to get caught in the net sooner or later.

Google keeps telling us lately - Go and find quality searches somewhere else, we are not a voluntary org.


4:57 am on Sep 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Since we're discussing this aspect of philosophy now running the Google algo, I need to say this because it's key.

Schmidt always said trust is what Google is built on. Without trust they are nothing. He said. It came from his lips. His lips are no longer running the corporation. Is trust really that key ingredient or has is dipped to say, #2 priority?

Trust I would agree with Schmidt is what Google was built upon. I don't think secretly he has changed from that belief. However, all I'm reading, with the odd exception, is that people are certainly less trusting now with Google than ever before. I've been watching this closely. It's the aspect of Google that's slipping. The trust. If you listen on these forums, it's clear.

I'm the person that once you've lost my trust, I'm pretty much never trusting again. Do I trust my rankings today with Google? Not a chance. Do I think my sites are good? Value added definitely.

My mindset is changing by the week. It's a mindset that says, okay, now what?


6:30 pm on Sep 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I've long read negative stuff about Google from webmasters and others. Honestly, i pretty much ignored it, i quite liked Google. But things definitely are changing, people are standing up, people have had enough. It take a lot for me to throw in the towl but that's what I'm doing. Moving to Bing, dropping all Google products, adsense, +1, analytics, the lot. We broke up today, for ever.


6:58 pm on Sep 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

I already switched to Bing. If you look what they did to Yelp and you see their recent zagat acquisition you will see the future. They have entered the content game and will be biasing their results to their properties. They have already pushed down Yelp in order to show their cr*ppy reviews. "it's all about quality" :)


7:25 pm on Sep 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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

We broke up today, for ever.

Let's not be too hasty, I still want their traffic :).


10:41 am on Oct 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

Conspiracy theories don't die becuase it's obvious to reasonable people that manipulation is happening, so it's not a conspiracy theory. Search for a popular e-commerce item and see.

Google doesn't care about "Javascript minifier" or "Steve Jobs got a liver transplant" type searches, they'd be broke if it was up to them. The money is in manipulating commerce searches, something they have mastered.

The idea that the average user will be upset enough to leave to Bing if Macy's shows up #1 for "wedding rings" vs another store that is not a Google advertiser is a joke. Most will click on the ads /products that make 90% of the page anyway. Others can easily scroll. Rankings would change normally anyway, why not make some money while at it?

Why hasn't anyone come clean? Mmmm...maybe because it's not done in "manipulate organic search to earn another $0.875 billion this quarter" memos but indirectly like "what if we favor brands to sort the web? Wow! Great results. You're a Google Fellow now. Brilliant!". Those penalized will have to spend a fortune to get back up and the current brands even more to maintain their rankings, like buying ads even if you are #1 almost as insurance.

Even then that is a poor defense, no Googler came out that they were breaking the law on pharma ads, or that they were openly stealing code from Oracle and taking chances of being sued instad of paying for it, or that Android is being used to force phone makers to carry Google products, etc. Only legal discovery got them out, not the supposedly superior ethics of Google employees. God knows what they are hiding. The google myth is being exposed and no one buys the crap Google said in 1999 or 2007, people are looking at results and at what they do.

They have been exposed more than once as liars, arrogant thieves and plain greedy b@stards, all while playing the underdog card and bombarding us with propaganda. That's the truth.

I just thought this post was worth repeating. It is Pure gold!...

When will the rest of the world wake up to these "cute" busterd... now thats the real question.


1:14 pm on Oct 2, 2011 (gmt 0)


If only the WSJ on NYT writers read the webmasterworld forum. Our voice might be heard. Oh wait they do!

Time to start calling G out boys!


5:17 pm on Oct 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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

We're no longer discussing the idea of Brett's prediction, so this thread is locked.
This 117 message thread spans 4 pages: 117

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