Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 54.82.93.116

Forum Moderators: Robert Charlton & goodroi

Message Too Old, No Replies

Where has it all gone wrong? Are big brands over-represented on the SERPs?

     
8:34 pm on Feb 6, 2015 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:Feb 6, 2015
posts:1
votes: 0


What is wrong with Google?

A personal search, brings up just the same big brand names or the same reviews companies. I just want to be able to buy a product from a small company at a great price, like you used to be able to and they give good service.

I don't want a big brand that don't care after they have sold you it, at a sky high price. Also I don't want a million words to read about the product, I know what I want.

The same rubbish written in a slightly different way over and over again, in the top million pages.

This is not a search engine, it is so difficult to find something nowadays.

Yet Bing, nice and easy does it, type it in and a huge amount of sites, guess what? They are exactly what I want! Yipppppeeeeeeeee. 2 mins and that's it, ordered done and dusted, next day received it.

Why is Google making it so difficult to find anything?

Crazy Crazy World!
11:24 pm on Feb 6, 2015 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

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

joined:Jan 30, 2002
posts:4957
votes: 36


Welcome to the forums. If you haven't already, I recommend reading our forum charter [webmasterworld.com].

I've edited the thread title by adding in a more descriptive element.

From what I gather, you prefer to search with Bing, because Google isn't showing you the kind of results you believe to be better.

Are you actively promoting a site in Google? This specific subforum is for owners looking to market with Google in mind. If the topic drifts away from that then it may be moved to another subforum.

Again, welcome to WebmsaterWorld!
11:50 pm on Feb 6, 2015 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member editorialguy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 28, 2013
posts:3351
votes: 703


This may seem obvious, but if more of the people who prefer Bing actually used Bing, maybe Google wouldn't have such a dominant share of the search market.
4:48 am on Feb 7, 2015 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

5+ Year Member

joined:Jan 12, 2012
posts:397
votes: 0


No, they aren't over represented. We've reached the point where few people are interested in visiting a site they haven't already visited before.
2:15 pm on Feb 7, 2015 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Dec 23, 2004
posts:574
votes: 2


"...maybe Google wouldn't have such a dominant share of the search market."

They've been blinded by the light. Google is for dumbed down results, just what most people are looking for. Society itself is dumbed down in my opinion. Big brands have people hooked line and sinker. It's unfortunate in this fast paced world most don't want to spend those extra two minutes.

Agreed, it's not a search engine anymore. It's always going to be about the money. Could be big brand dominance has to do with recognizing them even more. Branding on Google. After all, aren't those the guys that spend the big bucks with adwords?
4:57 pm on Feb 7, 2015 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member editorialguy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 28, 2013
posts:3351
votes: 703


Re "big brand dominance:" It really depends on the query. Not all searches are commercial, and for informational searches, independent niche sites can do quite well.

For the searches that I watch, there's less "big brand dominance" than there was a couple of years ago, and several of the long-established brands that used to dominate the SERPs aren't even on page 1 these days.
10:22 pm on Feb 8, 2015 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

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

joined:Aug 26, 2004
posts:3178
votes: 22


I imagine that the smaller the business the smaller the budget so unless they can pay someone (and most small businesses are going to find it pressing to pay $15 an hour so forget about what most developers make) to competently build an e-commerce site that search engines are going to be hard pressed to find and people searching on search engines as well.

John
3:02 pm on Feb 9, 2015 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Apr 16, 2003
posts: 107
votes: 0


For commercial keywords Google is no longer a search engine. It is a brand directory in much the same was as the telephone yellow pages used to be. This makes sense if you are of the belief that it is now all about mobile. People do not search using mobile devices - they look stuff up the same as they used to do with the yellow pages. Big brands first. So, that is what Google shows.
4:15 pm on Feb 9, 2015 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:May 24, 2012
posts:648
votes: 2


for informational searches, independent niche sites can do quite well


I would say, perhaps...for now. The vast majority of Google's revenues still come from search. The pressure to maintain YoY increases in the double-digits is forcing them to take an increasingly larger portion of potential value of searches. The shift from desktop to mobile, where per-visitor value is lower, adds even more pressure.

So, they've done things to grab larger and larger pieces of that pie. Giving more of the prime spots on SERP results to paid ads, for example. Tweaking the organic SERPS in a way that encourages fewer organic clicks. Don't believe me? Read their quarterly reports and do the math. It's 100% clear that percentage of paid clicks growth is outpacing overall traffic growth. That means, by association, that "percentage of organic clicks" is going down.

Of course, they grab the lowest hanging fruit first. Commercial queries are the most valuable, so that's what they've attacked first, leaving many "informational sites" unharmed.

There's no letup in that pressure, however, so I wouldn't count of that free pass forever. They are coming after informational sites as well. Take a look at what happened with the "information graph". Wikipedia had it's first EVER drop in YoY traffic shortly following Google's decision to roll out the "information graph".

Enjoy the free pass while it lasts.
5:57 pm on Feb 9, 2015 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member editorialguy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 28, 2013
posts:3351
votes: 703


There's no letup in that pressure, however, so I wouldn't count of that free pass forever. They are coming after informational sites as well. Take a look at what happened with the "information graph". Wikipedia had it's first EVER drop in YoY traffic shortly following Google's decision to roll out the "information graph".


I don't think they're "coming after" anything. Search is evolving, and in any case, Google's mission statement has never been about "10 blue links": It's been about organizing the world's information and making it universally accessible and useful.

We may have lost some potential traffic to Google's "answer boxes" (it's hard to tell, since our Google organic traffic has been on an upswing at the same time Google's SERPs have offered more answer boxes), but we can live with that, because we cater to readers who want more information than they'll find in "answer boxes"--and who are more likely to generate meaningful revenue.
5:59 pm on Feb 9, 2015 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:May 24, 2012
posts:648
votes: 2


I don't think they're "coming after" anything.

You don't think they are aggressively changing the way search works to maintain historical YoY revenue increases?
7:41 pm on Feb 9, 2015 (gmt 0)

Administrator from US 

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

joined:June 21, 2004
posts:3426
votes: 315


Google uses an algorithm that relies heavily on backlinks. Big brands tend to have more backlinks. Guess what tends to show up in the search results?

This is not about how you might feeling about Google. Or if you like the results or not. This isn't about a secret plot by Google. This is about Google running a search business that is trying to keep their users happy and returning so they can keep making money on their ad displays.

If you spend the time to research the quality signals that Google wants AND are creative enough to generate those quality signals with limited resources/budget you can still outrank big brands. I am speaking from experience. My websites for years have been generally outranking publicly traded companies in different industries.

What is my secret? I figure out what users want and I give it to them. Instead of having 5 conference meetings to discuss banner ad colors, I decide on my own and move faster than any bloated corporate structure can. They might have more people and bigger budgets but I am more agile. I leave my ego out of business decisions. I regularly do usability tests to find out how to improve. If my competition comes up with a new idea before me, I take their idea and enhance it so my site keeps being seen as the most comprehensive resource to solve anything the user wants. I don't rest otherwise the competition would catch up and pass me.

I worry less about the little details that Google wants and worry more about keeping users happy. By focusing on users my content keeps growing and people naturally link to me. Even if Google changes its fickle mind - I don't care too much. Those natural links and other traffic streams that I have developed makes my Google traffic nice but not necessary to keep by business profitable.
8:23 pm on Feb 9, 2015 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:May 24, 2012
posts:648
votes: 2


This isn't about a secret plot by Google.

I would agree, if you're solely talking about preference of big brands.

Many of you find the Google bashing silly and contrived. I get that.

Others of us find the notion that Google would NOT bend the SERPS, artificially, for financial gain just as silly. With the advent of personalization, it would be easy to do without being obvious.

If they have the expertise to rank the "most likely to be clicked" results to the top of the organic SERPS, they certainly have the ability to do the opposite. It wouldn't be illegal to do so, as far as I can tell. I don't see anything other than ethics that would keep them from using their technology to drive profits. There is certainly real pressure on the revenue side, for the first time...in a long time, for Google.
10:26 pm on Feb 9, 2015 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

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

joined:Apr 5, 2006
posts:3448
votes: 55


If I am searching for a big brand I would hope that the brand topped the SERPS. What does annoy me is the dominance of review and directory sites when trying to find the site of a particular pub, restaurant or hotel.
1:21 am on Feb 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:Jan 23, 2015
posts:2
votes: 0


Hi gooodioi, yes, i can't agree more.User satisfaction is so important.
What is my secret? I figure out what users want and I give it to them. Instead of having 5 conference meetings to discuss banner ad colors, I decide on my own and move faster than any bloated corporate structure can. They might have more people and bigger budgets but I am more agile. I leave my ego out of business decisions. I regularly do usability tests to find out how to improve. If my competition comes up with a new idea before me, I take their idea and enhance it so my site keeps being seen as the most comprehensive resource to solve anything the user wants. I don't rest otherwise the competition would catch up and pass me.
1:47 am on Feb 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member editorialguy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 28, 2013
posts:3351
votes: 703


Others of us find the notion that Google would NOT bend the SERPS, artificially, for financial gain just as silly.


Google doesn't need to "bend the SERPs," and sites whose content and popularity cause them to rank well in Google don't need to fill a tip jar on Larry Page's desk.

Back on topic: As Goodroi and I have both pointed out, big brands do not dominate all the SERPs. Some SERPs? Maybe. And probably with good reason. (See Goodroi'd explanation.) But for the searches that I follow, big brands aze considerably less dominant today than they were a couple of years ago. Rish3 wrote:

Wikipedia had it's first EVER drop in YoY traffic shortly following Google's decision to roll out the "information graph".


On the other hand, our year-over-year traffic has gone up by a substantial amount in the same period. So has our Google organic traffic. Why? All anyone can do is speculate, but I'd point out that Matt Cutts spoke several times last year about plans to give a boost to sites or authors with authority for specific topics (something that niche "subject expert" sites have, but crowdsourced generalist sites like Wikipedia don't). According to a Search Engine Land story* from last April, Matt Cutts said:

"We are doing a doing a better job of detecting when someone is sort of an authority in a specific space. It could be medical, it could be travel, whatever. And trying to makes sure that those rank a little more highly, if you are some sort of authority or a site that according to the algorithms we think might be a little bit more appropriate for users."


Here's some more food for thought, if you're one of those people who think the "Knowledge Graph" is killing off Web publishers:

The most basic reasons for linking editorially to a third-party site are:

- To cite a source, and...

- To tell readers where they can find more information on the topic at hand.

In other words, if I write an article about baked goods and make a passing reference to beignets, I might link from the word "beignets" to a comprehensive source of information on that topic. That's how hypertext linking is supposed to work.

In the case of Google Search, when a SERP has an answer box that gives you a few basic facts, it makes sense for the accompanying "10 blue links" to favor sites that provide more information on the topic. So, as Google makes increased use of the Knowledge Graph, common sense would suggest that Google will also give increased weight to results with substance.

* Source:

[searchengineland.com...]
2:11 am on Feb 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:May 24, 2012
posts:648
votes: 2


Google doesn't need to "bend the SERPs,"


Is it really so far fetched to assume that a for profit company would use their expertise to optimize the revenue of their #1 money maker?

There's a fairly direct comparison to airlines. They tweak schedules, fares, and availability for maximum profit. Including presenting different flight/fare search results to different viewers, when it is to their advantage.
2:36 am on Feb 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:May 24, 2012
posts:648
votes: 2


Here's some more food for thought, if you're one of those people who think the "Knowledge Graph" is killing off Web publishers


A counterpoint...what has happened to Wikipedia traffic. Here's the North America traffic graph since 2008. [i.imgur.com...]
2:44 am on Feb 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

Full Member

joined:Dec 11, 2013
posts:243
votes: 47


80% of web users are perfectly fine with "a few basic facts" to answer their query. That's the beauty of the web :)
2:52 am on Feb 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member editorialguy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 28, 2013
posts:3351
votes: 703


80% of web users are perfectly fine with "a few basic facts" to answer their query.


Sure, but it's the other 20 percent who offer the greatest revenue opportunity, at least for a topic like ours.
10:58 am on Feb 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member from BG 

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 11, 2014
posts:546
votes: 173


In the end it is all about the customer journey. Google wants to show relevant and trusted results to as many users as possible. And since both relevant and trusted are subjective, they show the most "publicly accepted" sources (think Wikipedia or large brands). Why? Because a fraction of these users will say to themselves - "Damn, I have no chance to compete with the top 3 results unless I use Google Ads" - and so they do. Win-win-win. Top brands are top, your website is still on first page on a reasonably good position and Google makes profit.

And I will play the Devil's advocate by saying that your couple of hundred dollars to be on top of Google ads is nothing compared to the millions these large brands spend in order to dominate Google and other verticals. So I do not understand why people complain.
11:30 am on Feb 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 2, 2014
posts:652
votes: 313


This is not a search engine, it is so difficult to find something nowadays.

You are correct that Google is no longer a search engine. They own or have a financial interest in many companies that appear to be given preference in search. You ask where it all went wrong and what happened is no different then in any industry - Google's dominance and greed got the best of them. Most of the big brands are paying Adwords customers and the only way for Google to lure small businesses into that trap is to exclude them from organic search.
12:02 pm on Feb 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

Administrator from US 

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

joined:June 21, 2004
posts:3426
votes: 315


only way for Google to lure small businesses into that trap is to exclude them from organic search

Can you please provide some proof or research to support that statement?

I fully recognize that Google is a for profit business. I expect Google to try to make as much profit as possible. They probably have also made some algo changes that had the side benefit of boosting adwords profits. However, I do not think Google would risk alienating their users with unsatisfying search results. Google is smart and understands they need to keep the users happy with satisfying search results to make even bigger profits over the long term.

Let's try to keep this discussion as productive and professional as possible and not have our love or hate for Google cloud our observations :)
1:00 pm on Feb 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

Junior Member from IT 

5+ Year Member

joined:Oct 29, 2013
posts: 143
votes: 0


A very simple observation here: if I -- as a small business owner -- can see no benefit in Google rankings because the big biz's will always outrank me no matter my honest efforts, I will have no choice but to build my traffic source elsewhere.

Unless the 'elsewhere' happens to be AdWords or AdSense, I can't see how that would benefit Google in the long run.

There would only be a benefit if Google wanted to turn into an elitist search engine (is that what they're trying to do at G?).
1:20 pm on Feb 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member from BG 

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 11, 2014
posts:546
votes: 173


I fail to understand the notion of the unhappy small business owner. If the small business does not provide anything unique to the table then I(and Google and Bing and Yahoo for that matter) see no reason to give him a shot at the first page SERP results. And please don't go the "If I was on first page I would not be a small business anymore." statement - we all know that this is not how it works.

To put it with a few twitter worthy words : You will stay a small business and be treated like a small business, until you stop thinking like a small business.

And Google understands the above statement more than many of us give them credit for.
4:44 pm on Feb 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

Junior Member from IT 

5+ Year Member

joined:Oct 29, 2013
posts: 143
votes: 0


What I'm trying to say here, Nutterum, is that a small business can exist and thrive outside of search engines if they have other resources.

While you can rank nicely even without backlinks (as we were saying in another thread here at WebmasterWorld), it takes more and longer effort to make it to the first positions.

Also, sometimes a user can like a business that Google or Bing doesn't like, and viceversa.

There's always bias, as in everything human, and Google and Bing are run by human beings.

To say it in other words, Google doesn't have the last word on the merit of a small business "in general". They only have the last word about that specific small business in the index and according to their quality criteria.
5:14 pm on Feb 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Apr 16, 2003
posts: 107
votes: 0


What does "brand" mean to Google when referring to commercial keywords? It means a real live business that Google has some confidence is actually known in the community it serves and that people arrive at the site in ways other than Google keyword searches.

People search for real live known brands by name more than by keyword and in addition would type the website address directly. Google needs to see proof that links and SEO are not the primary way people arrive at a commercial site.

Google also knows exactly where searchers are located. A local business should have local people doing local brand name searches and direct entry. Links from other local sites would help. Links from well out of the market area or off topic probably account for next to nothing now for commercial sites.

Such brands will be the ones Google has confidence ranking high in the serps for keyword searches.
6:40 pm on Feb 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member

joined:July 26, 2006
posts:351
votes: 31


Its all about Econonomy of Scales: If there are large businesses in your industry, you have no chance as a small business ecommerce site getting decent postioning in top 10 of SERPS if they are also SEO optimized. And if you are in the top 10, its just a matter of time you are out. PERIOD. End of discussion.
6:45 pm on Feb 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

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

joined:Mar 30, 2005
posts:13005
votes: 220


That's not really true; my clients outrank Amazon in some cases.

What it all goes back to (because it's what it ALWAYS goes back to) is having a great (and fluid) business proposition. Without that, it's like a house without a foundation. First strong wind blows it all away.
8:25 pm on Feb 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 16, 2009
posts:1082
votes: 79


What is my secret? I figure out what users want and I give it to them. Instead of having 5 conference meetings to discuss banner ad colors, I decide on my own and move faster than any bloated corporate structure can. They might have more people and bigger budgets but I am more agile.

So true. I work on both sides of the fence: some agency work for big brands (with a simple blog update going through several people to the legal department); some direct work for SMEs who react, respond, write their own content, and get involved in how their website does.

Little guys CAN still compete in the niches I'm involved in - if they're proactive. Some clients are up there with household names. Pick your battles.
This 151 message thread spans 6 pages: 151
 

Join The Conversation

Moderators and Top Contributors

Hot Threads This Week

Featured Threads

Free SEO Tools

Hire Expert Members