Thank you Google

Dear Google: yes, I know you are pissing off lots of businesses that today aren’t listed as high. CNN Money covers their plight.

I wanted to say “thank you.”

Why? In nearly every search I tried today results are better than they used to be.

Not many people look out for the users in today’s world when so many big businesses are pushing the other way.

I’ve been running lots of searches for things like “San Francisco hotels downtown” and overall your results today are less spammy, have more “real” hotels and fewer intermediaries, and have better results than they used to. Plus, they have fewer ads and fewer of these intermediaries than your biggest competitor, Bing.

Yes, I’m watching Techmeme and seeing the businesses that are hurting. Quora has a very good list of such.

But I just wanted to say “thank you” for trying to do something about the resultsets that are growing less and less useful because more and more sites were getting low-quality content into the result sets.

By the way, these changes don’t help bloggers but I don’t care. I’m a user of Google first and the results have definitely improved lately. I just searched for “Motorola Xoom iPad” and see that my blog is nowhere to be found, but the reprint on Business Insider is on the first page. Definitely Google is much more biased to big brands now than it was eight years ago (eight years ago bloggers were able to be seen much higher than brands).

Comments

  1. Robert, here’s (to me) the big question – will this help bloggers like me in the long run? For those of us who believe we are putting out great content, I also believe that most of my site traffic comes from referrals – others who suggest me as a resource. However, there’s no denying Google has impact on that. Will this help me in the long run, or will content farms simply find ways around this?

    Great little post.

    1. With every update, there is spammer updates. Seems Google has found a small way to affect the black hole effect of websites :)! yay Google!.

      As for helping you in the long run, well this really depends on what your blog is all about. If you have no specifc focus of information, then you may consider finding a focus so that you are in the long run. I hope the recent changes stay, they should help anyone with a focus. I believe, as time goes by and Google continues to improve we will see a major adjustment to websites with little “focus”. Focus being a main topic of consideration.

      Example: A blogger who blogs about “love” and all content is based on that term will do well in search, where a blogger who blogs about everything including “love” may be lower in results.

      The reason brands do well, is they are a “brand”: A brand is a name, sign, symbol, slogan or anything that is used to identify and distinguish a specific product, service, or business. A business all about business should talk about business. Make sense? (Business.com *BAD*, lol, I don’t like that site either… just one big directory of ads)

      Example: Ezinearticles.com – although they have a massive amount of information, they have NO specific focus other than “articles”. I have been one to hate the website to be honest, and if I find them in search I get slightly upset since the article can be written by joe blow and dominates the google results even if the article actually sucks. Although good for article writers at times and good for business looking to gain business, it is not good results to many queries so the end user is affected. – take a look at http://www.quora.com/SEO/Which-websites-dropped-the-most-in-the-latest-Google-algorithm-change and http://www.seobook.com/google-kills-ehows-competitors for an understanding behind how you should focus your web presence. These articles and the list on quora which may or may not be incorrect shows some sites of interest which if the information is correct, I am much happier today than I was yesterday. Those websites, which contain “low” content value (50% of the time) should be removed all together. <– just my opinion though :)

      1. James, thank you for the insightful reply. My blog gets more focused as I move toward a specific niche, and I do see the value in the right keywords.

        I will continue to subscribe the notion that referral does more for me than Google, but I can never rule out the SEO value. I have had a number of hits from it.

        I’ll check out those articles as well.

  2. Damn this is the third post I am commenting of yours in a day, you are wrong wrong wrong, you don’t put keywords in your postssssss.

    Your site shows up for the “Motorola Xoom iPad review” in position 3 and why does BI show up is because they have an internal ranking higher than your site, try this search http://goo.gl/XAxQQ

    If you want me to explain keywords to you, Motorola Xoom appears at the tail end of your title + you have Scobleizer is there in your title thus diluting it further…

    I won’t explain much more than this ;)

      1. Don’t care to much about SEO? what industry are you in where SEO doesn’t matter? With proper SEO, not many industries I know of that wouldn’t benefit from organic traffic.

          1. SEO is not tricks, except if you hire the wrong self proclaimed seo expert. SEO is the process of optimizing your content to work for users and understandable to search engines.

            A big problem in my industry is the stigma bad seo guys have given it. SEO is not trickery or marketing, SEO is ensuring a website is correctly understood by search engines and users find what they are looking for.

          2. Content, if done in a website with proper “development (SEO)” with complimentary design to interest a user, and the content is written and useful, it should be receiving the users it deserves! Proper SEO does that

      2. Scoobleizer, you are one lucky guy. You find improvements in “nearly every search today” when Google only changed results for 12% of the queries. Or is it a case of “self fulfilling prophecy” ??

    1. :) Small details, but definetely on the right motion of information without giving to much detail of the procedures of SEO, lol.

  3. My blog shows no change in hits but then I try to have original content or if quoting someone, keep the quotes to a minimum and add my own thoughts.

    Google absolutely did the right thing.

  4. I’m actually glad this happened. As a student, most data found on Google used to be in the form of blogs. But after today, more reputable sites will be front in line.

    Either that, or this is another slap in the face for anyone wanting net neutrality…

  5. “how to get pregnant fast” google’s search results does not have ehow, but bing’s does(3rd one I guess). Ha ha, time for bing to improve

  6. @Matunos — not in my search results. It’s fourth or fifth after three wikipedia articles.

    Robert, the way this helps you as a blogger is that it’s helping you with your online life. We Google so often, to get better results means literally days or weeks of saved time for many of us who search for everything everyday to get through the day.

  7. So far I haven’t seen any change in my traffic patterns, but I get very little traffic from search. I don’t do any SEO at all, but I’m planning on it eventually.

  8. There are two things wrong with this post.

    First, you take anecdotal evidence as proof of fact. Why doing a few searches makes people think they’re an expert at search is maddening.

    Second, the results got better for upper-class, highly-educated technophiles but was the everyman better served?

    The fact is that this was not a content level algorithm change but a domain level algorithm change. Google didn’t suddenly get better at determining the actual quality of content.

    They changed the weighting of current signals and (maybe) added other signals to meet a subjective level of quality based on the domain mix seen in search results. The result is that a lot of good content got demoted along with the bad.

    For every Mahalo there is a Digital Inspiration.

  9. thank you Robert. As a blogger I say this is a good thing. The only people this hurts are those chasing page views and revenue from Google. Real bloggers have no advertising imho.

  10. Google still has a massive issue:

    Type in “business management software” without the quotes. (this is just an example, it works for just about any search term)

    You’ll notice that the second last link on the first page is to businessmanagementsoftware.com. (on the us google site)

    Click on the link. You’ll see that the total content of the page is “Thank you”.

    Thus you have a page that has no content, no SEO at all and it ranks in the first page.

    This is happening with almost all searches. He who has the URL of that search wins. Even if the relative part of the URL has keywords it’s getting so inordinately prioritized in google’s search terms that it’s almost comical what will get ranked regardless of page content.

    Great for those of us that have figured it out, but brutal if you’re trying to break into content and dont’ have those URLs.

    As an example, if I do a search for business management software, I expect companies that are the creators of business management software to come up first in the search results. Not resellers, not companies that are aggregating. I also don’t expect to see reviews because I didn’t ask for reviews.

    Again I’m simply using an example, but it happens all of the time.

    of the top results, only 4 of the first page are actually software companies, the rest are aggregation and other BS and most of them are the result of URL and page title spamming that is causing this.

    Google’s index is far from clean, and even useful. Doing a search for anything related to our businesses that our prospective customers would search on results in about 80-90% spam in every case. (Even Captera, which might have some justification for being there in some context, is linked on the first page to a page that is simply a list of links to other sites with one line of content! (in essence providing the list that Google should be providing directly!)

    Google needs to put FAR more work into understanding the true content, what the company is selling and what it’s doing. They’re using tricks that SEO companies exploit instead of true understanding. Thus they’ve changed their engine for now, but these and other companies will figure out the tricks required and will be back at the top again. This is what they do.

    Only when Google is actually looking at the real content contextually will this change. I’m pretty sure they’re capable of it, but let’s not delude ourselves that Google is doing much of a better job here… it’s marginally better, for now, until the next hack is figured out. Nothing more.

  11. YES, the url matters a great deal. If you buy the domain pageoneongoogle.com and build a few basic backlinks, you have a good shot at getting page one for “page one on google”. But not guaranteed, I have tried many times! LOL If you google “the presidential primary” the #7 listing in US is thepresidentialprimary.com I know, since it is my domain. And it is a completely empty wordpress blog! Yet, another site of mine, ronpaulforpresident.com was on page one, and HAS content. It JUST got back on page one a few days ago, it was on page 14! The only thing that got it back was building (mostly .edu and .gov) backlinks.

    Backlinks always seem to matter the most, which I hate. Buy scrapebox or some other blackhat tool and you can gain MILLIONS of backlinks. Your content doesn’t matter much without backlinks! I can take a brand new domain, and have it rank, often on page one in google, sometimes in a few hours. But it wont STAY there. Once it goes through the honeymoon period, and has no backlinks to support its position, it drops down the ladder fast.

    The content on the pages should matter first, not based on the rest of the websites content. Bloggers or any other website owners will always want the organic traffic. Duh, it’s free! But it never seemed right to me that the weight of backlinks should mean so much. Content should far out-weigh backlinks. Domain name, by rights, should not matter. But you play by the rules you are given.

    1. Exactly my point. URLs shouldn’t have anything to do with it. It’s the same as Keyword stuffing in the day. Google doesn’t use those anymore for exactly the same reason.

      What should be used and only be used is the real content from a real understanding. If you want to then take that and look at what people are concerned with in the news related to those keywords, great, but only on topical issues. If I’m talking “Business Management Software” these results have no reason to have anything other than business management software companies on the listings. And there hsould only be a few pages of those. Everything else is irrelevent content. (and the same is true of most searches.

      My point is that google needs to get rid of URL priorities entirely because it’s just keyword stuffing all over again.

  12. A huge difficulty in my diligence is the shame bad seo guys have given it. SEO is not deception or advertising, SEO is ensuring a website is properly implicit by search engines and users find what they are looking for.

    1. There’s nothing wrong with SEO. There is something wrong with gaming the system. If you follow google’s SEO guide, your’e golden, when you start expoiting bad design in google, well so be it. Google’s problem not yours.

      My point is that while google indexes a ton of content, it’s index isn’t very good, and if you can identify the hacks that they have to fake it, then you can exploit it. That’s why they don’t tell you how it works. But the problem is still the same: Make the engine smarter, don’t change the hacks google!

  13. Agreed John! Back in the late 90s I had a website that made me multiple six figures. ONE website. Selling real products (car electronics). Now I have over 250 domains, all tolled which make nowhere near the income that one site made. And my URL had nothing to do with car stereo or alarms. No keyword stuffing, natural SEO just from writing. And while the site naturally got backlinks from people recommending it in forums and such, I never built a single backlink for it, other than a listing on Yahoo directory, which was free back then. Now I am forced more or less, to trying to exploit Google as you put it, and using domain names I dont WANT to use! I have a site at http://ipad2sales.com which ranks very well right now, but I KNOW Apple is going to end up sending me a cease and desist on it eventually. I am hoping to do a permanent 301 on it through google to maintain my standings to another url before that happens, but that was the only way to get the initial rankings for such a competitive keyword (especially TODAY in particular!). The truth is I do not want to do things this way, but I want to feed my family, and since I got hurt, this is the only way I know how.