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Google Is Planning To Penalize Overly Optimized Sites 299

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-keywords-for-you dept.
tekgoblin writes "This is an interesting move by Google but not completely off the rocker for them. Last year they blocked search results from the co.cc domain because they believed they polluted the search results. Google plans to penalize overly optimized sites because they want to level the playing field for other websites who do not concentrate on such efforts. From the article: 'Google Engineer Matt Cutts explains the following: “We are trying to make GoogleBot smarter, make our relevance better, and we are also looking for those who abuse it, like too many keywords on a page, or exchange way too many links or go well beyond what you normally expect.” The search engine at Google is about to go through a major overhaul and de-prioritizing sites with heavy SEO is just a small part in the big picture to bring better search results. The changes to the search engine will be coming in the next few months.'"
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Google Is Planning To Penalize Overly Optimized Sites

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  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by heypete (60671) <pete@heypete.com> on Sunday March 18, 2012 @04:29PM (#39397673) Homepage

    Too many site owners are worried about SEO strategies rather than producing good content.

    • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

      by davester666 (731373) on Sunday March 18, 2012 @04:33PM (#39397695) Journal

      How about somebody mentioning to Google that we also don't want Google+ crap spamming our results...

      We shouldn't have to hit page 2 before we start getting useful results.

      • Re:Good (Score:5, Informative)

        by slimjim8094 (941042) <[slashdot3] [at] [justconnected.net]> on Sunday March 18, 2012 @04:43PM (#39397743)

        See the globe next to the person icon, the one that says "Hide personal results"?

        • Re:Good (Score:5, Informative)

          by Ihmhi (1206036) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> on Sunday March 18, 2012 @10:05PM (#39399635)

          And on top of that, when you're signed in they have that whole useful "never see links from this site again". If you type in $BAND $SONG lyrics, you're bound to get sites that use shitty flash apps, annoying ads, etc. They are erased from my personal search results, and now I only see relevant ones.

          • Re:Good (Score:4, Interesting)

            by TheLink (130905) on Sunday March 18, 2012 @11:21PM (#39399991) Journal
            At one point of time the stupid thing was often on the same Google search page there was the option to hide some sites (which I found valid from search results), but not the link spam sites!

            BTW the block sites stuff doesn't appear to work well for me any more. I did this: go to google trends, pick two unrelated trending keywords/phrases, search for them. Click on spam site, click back, block the spam site. Repeat. Go to manage blocked sites, no sites show up- this is even when I'm signed in to Google.

            FWIW Google could use a similar method to automatically block such spam sites (there would need to be some checks but some of these sites are so obviously spam that even a simple program should be able to figure it out.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        How about somebody mentioning to Google that we also don't want Google+ crap spamming our results...

        I mentioned it to them in the "why are you doing this?" box when I deleted my Google+ account.

        • Re:Good (Score:4, Insightful)

          by houstonbofh (602064) on Sunday March 18, 2012 @05:26PM (#39398053)

          I mentioned it to them in the "why are you doing this?" box when I deleted my Google+ account.

          You mean "Disabled your account." You don't actually believe they deleted a damn thing, do you?

          • And how in the hell can you function without a Google account? Seriously.

            • Oh, never mind....G+, my flub.

            • Re:Good (Score:4, Insightful)

              by tqk (413719) <s.keeling@mail.com> on Sunday March 18, 2012 @07:48PM (#39398861)

              And how in the hell can you function without a Google account?

              Is that a serious question, or do I get a "whoosh"? I'm missing the point, I think.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by hairyfeet (841228)

              I only use my Gmail for a spamdump and don't use it for anything else, so what EXACTLY am I missing here? In what way, shape, or form is a Google account supposed to "help" me in any way? I have ABP so frankly i don't care how accurate their ads are as i never see the damned things, don't use social crap (only use FB to log into sites i don't give a crap about) so no need got Google+, sow hat exactly is great and wonderful about a Google account? if I closed mine tomorrow i could just have a Hotmail spamdum

          • Re:Good (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Trax3001BBS (2368736) on Sunday March 18, 2012 @06:09PM (#39398299) Homepage Journal
            You folks logged in when you use Google? I never log in and I never get Google + results. Testing this just now
            I searched for "how to sing" not one Google + result and I went in 6 pages.

            I'm also not a Google + member (none of the social sites) but that shouldn't matter.

            I log in to my Youtube account anytime I need to do anything, then log out. I have one video that's seeing 50000 views a week
            and the info on people (those who have logged in or never log out) is quite interesting; allowing one to specialize their spam

            BTW: The video mentioned is on a different account, 5 seconds long, and nobody likes it, but it's doing rather well :}}.
            Not one item of spam, not even a link to my other site have I placed (outside of the description).
            -Citation: youtube search for "How to get a Mob Spawner" by badactorEP, I've left the basic statistics open.
            • by mug funky (910186)

              maybe my mojo is superior, maybe not, but i have g+ and am logged in when i search, and still i don't get g+ spam. i do get heavy amounts of SEO shit though, so i applaud their move to make their engine harder to game.

              their strategy is probably that nobody gets a free lunch. if you want priority listing, you have to pay them. SEO will get you nowhere.

            • You folks logged in when you use Google?

              I use two browsers

              One (let's say FF) I logged in my Google Account (gmail or something)

              And on the other browser (let's say Chrome) which I've made sure that I've logged off from all my Google accounts - I use Google search on it

              I do not know if my strategy works or not

              I do not know if Google logs me in via my IP or not

            • by tqk (413719)

              You folks logged in when you use Google?

              I don't use Google.

              I log in to my Youtube account ...

              I've never logged into youtube. Why do you have to do that? To upload?

              I have one video that's seeing 50000 views a week ...

              Kudos.

              I'll just go and play in the corner over there ... Don't mind me.

            • Re:Good (Score:5, Interesting)

              by hobarrera (2008506) on Sunday March 18, 2012 @11:11PM (#39399947) Homepage

              I dont' *have* a google account, yet, every once in a while, I get "personal results", and pictures of people I know who have google accounts. That's scary!

          • You mean "Disabled your account." You don't actually believe they deleted a damn thing, do you?

            In this instance, we're talking about Google+ results polluting one's Google search results. I really couldn't care less whether or not they deleted my Google+ circles or whatever - I'm not getting stupid Google+ stuff interjected into my search results, which was my intended goal.

            My Google account is still active.

        • You could have always disabled personal results. It's not rocket science.
      • Hmm.. if you have too many people in your circles recommending too much crap, you should consider a reorganization of your contacts.

      • by PopeRatzo (965947)

        How about somebody mentioning to Google that we also don't want Google+ crap spamming our results...

        We shouldn't have to hit page 2 before we start getting useful results.

        I've seen this complaint here before, but still haven't seen any "Google+ crap" in my search results.

        What are we doing differently that is causing you to get all this "Google+ crap spamming" your search results and I don't get any? Maybe there is some setting you've missed or something else you've changed?

      • by Surt (22457)

        Bleah, I'm lucky if I can find what I'm looking for before page 5 on Google these days. I remember when it was almost always in the first 3 results.

    • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

      by green1 (322787) on Sunday March 18, 2012 @04:40PM (#39397727)

      It used to be that good content was what search engines were looking for. And by producing good (and well organized) content you automatically ended up at the top of the search rankings.
      Unfortunately search bots don't actually know what "good content" is, so all they can do is try to work with the bits that they can figure out, and that led to SEO which really ONLY exists to game those algorithms.
      This is a good move on google's part. I think one of the big failings of all search engines recently is that they have mostly been accepting SEO rather than fighting it. This leads to lots of garbage sites with good SEO grabbing all the top spots, and makes it very difficult to find really good sites. The smarter they can make GoogleBot the better, I long for a day when the only way to do SEO has the side effect of having to make useful information for human visitors too...

      • by Yetihehe (971185)

        The smarter they can make GoogleBot the better, I long for a day when the only way to do SEO has the side effect of having to make useful information for human visitors too...

        If they can pull it off... http://xkcd.com/810/ [xkcd.com]

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Or have more than one popular search engine, each with a ranking algorithm that is different from the other, different enough that optimizing a site for one search engine would cause that site to get demoted in other search engines. Well I can dream can't I?

          • by Surt (22457)

            How about one search engine with multiple algorithms, giving you the first N hits based on different ranking algorithms.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by nbauman (624611)

        It's like judging teachers by their students' results on standardized tests.

      • It would be nearly impossible to pull off (or at least be really expensive) but for the time being I think really the only way you could defeat the SEO abusers is to have the results manually inspected by humans. But in order to do it in a timely fashion you'd needs tons of people and pay them well so they actually care about their job.
      • Re:Good (Score:4, Insightful)

        by lee1 (219161) <lee@lee-phillips.oTEArg minus caffeine> on Sunday March 18, 2012 @08:40PM (#39399169) Homepage
        I suspect Google doesn't actually want all the spam sites to vanish from their results, because they profit from them: these sites are designed to entice you to click on ads, which leads to revenue for Google. I feel that the ease with which crude spam pages can still rise to the top [lee-phillips.org] of the search results is some evidence for this. The old (pre-IPO) Google would of course know that this is not a good long-term stragegy. Today's Google? It wouldn't surprise me.
    • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

      by buchner.johannes (1139593) on Sunday March 18, 2012 @04:42PM (#39397739) Homepage Journal

      Too many site owners are worried about SEO strategies rather than producing good content.

      Surely the reaction to this will be producing good content, and not employing more SEO gurus to circumvent the new weights by dodgy techniques.

      • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

        by green1 (322787) on Sunday March 18, 2012 @04:49PM (#39397789)

        If I had mod points this would be +1 Funny...
        SEO is the business of circumventing the proper weighting of search results by "dodgy techniques", it always has been, and always will be.
        SEO didn't exist until people realized that bots had specific things they were looking for, and people started putting only those things in instead of writing good content that happened to include those things (what the bot writers originally assumed would be found)
        I hope this is the start of a new war by google against the SEO business, one where humans benefit by being able to find sites that are actually relevant.

        • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

          by buchner.johannes (1139593) on Sunday March 18, 2012 @05:01PM (#39397877) Homepage Journal

          I hope this is the start of a new war by google against the SEO business, one where humans benefit by being able to find sites that are actually relevant.

          The core of the problem is really that people don't want to hear that their site/content is not relevant on a search term, because for them it is relevant. So they will search for ways of "correcting" this picture, and demand creates supply.

        • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anthony Mouse (1927662) on Sunday March 18, 2012 @05:23PM (#39398029)

          I hope this is the start of a new war by google against the SEO business, one where humans benefit by being able to find sites that are actually relevant.

          I can propose a tactic that might work pretty well: Whenever Google figures out the latest spamming method the SEO people are using, make a list of all the sites that currently do that (ideally in the way that only or primarily the SEO people are doing it), and then give all those sites a long-term decrease in ranking, even if they stop doing that thing. Make it two years before you can get your site back into the higher rankings.

          Soon enough everybody will realize that "get SEO" is a synonym for "get your site removed from the first page of results for the next two years" and then finding methods of fooling the Googlebot in the short-term won't matter anymore because no one will be willing to attempt it if they can get slapped with a long-term penalty.

          • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Armakuni (1091299) on Sunday March 18, 2012 @06:01PM (#39398239) Homepage
            The first thing I will do then is buy a number of spammy links to be sent to my competitor's otherwise entirely white-hat site that currently ranks in 1st, thus making sure his excellent site never troubles me again. Meanwhile, he's too honest to do the same to my site, so I benefit. This is called negative SEO and is not new. It's the reason Google haven't done what you suggest.
            • Without link-backs, it's only you who would get penalized, since what you're doing falls under the "dodgy SEO" criteria.
            • I'm not sure how effective that would be against what I'm describing.

              The idea is that you give the SEO bastards some time to come up with their latest successful strategy for increasing the rank of a site, then you make a list of the sites that have done that, then you blacklist all of them in one shot for a long period of time. The second it comes out that people who use that tactic get blacklisted, the sites are all already blacklisted. It's a one shot deal, so you can't figure out which tactic they're go

          • by Kaenneth (82978)

            You seem to think the small business owners that this would hurt would know about it.

            • The ones paying any attention would know about it. And the result of that would be that most of the SEO companies would go out of business and the remainder would be selling pure, unadulterated, more-harm-than-good snake oil.

              It's also worth pointing out that as long as the targets are only the ones who actually used SEO in the first place, they're only getting what they deserve. Screw anybody who thinks polluting everyone else's search results is a good idea.

        • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

          by datavirtue (1104259) on Sunday March 18, 2012 @05:56PM (#39398203)

          Not really, now that people have been gaming the system those with good content now have to practice SEO to stay afloat/visible.

      • Surely the reaction to this will be producing good content, and not employing more SEO gurus to circumvent the new weights by dodgy techniques.

        Or, in other words, when the best SEO practice ceases to be the best SEO practice, another one will logically spring to the top. "Punishing best-SEO sites" seems to be a logical contradiction.

        • Not a contradiction, just an arms race. If Google remaps the current scoring algorithm so that the best scores are in the middle of the range and high scores are considered garbage, then as long as the field of SEO has to constantly reinvent itself to keep up with Google's mood, you can bet that the vast majority of link farming sites won't be able to keep up. As a result of this, some may even give up, and certainly unmaintained sites with currently-good SEO will become useless. Eventually, of course, Goog
          • Gould was always very keen to make people understand that evolution does not necessarily involve greater intelligence, strength or complexity as part of "fitness". Google is doing a kind of environmental step change will will result in rapid forced evolution among system gamers. It will be interesting to see which way it turns out: ever more complex strategies trying to game the system, or a reduction to simple but crude techniques.
          • Or they could just ignore all metatags and links to outside content, and ... you know ... evaluate the content based on its' own merits.

            Add to that a negative-only modifier for keyword stuffing, bad descriptions, and too many links to crap.

            So, with pagerank out the door, no more link farming, and no more meta-tag foolishness, content becomes king again, all those doorway pages disappear, and everyone but the seo scumbags is happier.

            • How exactly do you evaluate the merits of a webpage's contents? Are you proposing that Google performs exhaustive semantic parsing on every page in their index? Their natural language processing stuff is good, but not that good. The elements that SEO exploits came about solely because analysing pages is ridiculously hard. PageRank was Google's original silver bullet to this problem.
      • Re:Good (Score:5, Interesting)

        by rtb61 (674572) on Sunday March 18, 2012 @05:15PM (#39397959) Homepage

        The best way to do this is a catch 22. In order to gain better search results you have to give up search privacy. Using Google 'manage blocked sites' you can start killing off those SEO sites that crud up you search results one by one, catch is you must be logged in.

        Google can of course compile those blocked sites, sites that users have decided to permanently toss in the search waste bin and start putting those sites further and further down the results list (associated with broad users types).

        Google can even publicly shame offending sites by publishing lists of the most blocked web sites, really sticking it to the SEOs who get carried away with crapping up search results.

        To get really good search results, search companies just need to provide the core, the starting point and then allow logged in registered users (no privacy, suggestion here use 2 search engines, one for private and one for public searches) as a distributed effort to rate good and bad results, for general rankings and specific user type rankings

        • Sorry, that's just blacklists all over again for web spam instead of email spam. It won't work in the long run, and I'd rather not give Google a blank check on privacy out of desperation for "relevant" hits.
          • by rtb61 (674572)

            I know, it's a real catch 22. The block let's you block up 500 crap SEO web sites and the more that participate the more SEO web sites that die. I already use http://cs.nyu.edu/trackmenot/ [nyu.edu], obscure usage (it makes many more searches than I do) and I use more than one search engine (search engine specific to data type) but when you are in a hurry and want the best results to come up on the first page. Not wanting to fuck around for 10 minutes (sometimes far longer) wading through crap you're not interested

      • by Shavano (2541114)

        For the too many keywords issue, male the not only use the first N (maybe 20?) keywords. It would be a trivial change.

    • Or any content at all. I hope Google will at some point figure out a way to promote sites with original content over ones that just repeat content of others. There are still way too many link farms, forum "aggregators" and faux search results pages ("Top results for how do I insert a server farm into a link farmer's rectum") on the first page of many types of Google queries.
    • by RajivSLK (398494)

      This is great.. I have been running a web application company for the past 14 years. Now days we are drowned out of the search results for certain terms by jackass SEO optimized competitors. The competitors at the top of search results are simply there because that have done things like exchange links with a completely unrelated site. They have a list of 12 or so links in their footer and each of the 12 other sites do the same. None of the sites have anything to with each other. It is surprising that w

      • by Tablizer (95088)

        Now days we are drowned out of the search results for certain terms by jackass SEO optimized competitors.

        It may be cheaper to buy Google's keyword ads than pay for link fudging efforts to compete. The keyword ads appear on the right side of their usual search results and marked as ads. You "buy" a keyword and a frequency amount (higher frequency = more costs). I used to use this service, and it was relatively effective. (Lately they've moved them to the middle in tan sometimes if a low number of matches.)

    • by toriver (11308)

      Yes; to people doing searches, SEO is more often an euphemism for Search Result Pollution.

    • I agree and in my mind Google's results have been pretty rubbish for certain things mainly because content farms have SEO down to a fine art.
    • I know of a small family plant nursery business/garden centre who wanted to redo their website. They mostly sold flowers, trees, landscaping plants, etc and also ran vegetable classes.

      Anyway, the developer they hired insisted that Google gave higher priority to the words "fruits" and "hedging", and proceeded to throw up a website containing essentially nothing but content about fruits and hedges. Trouble was, they didn't do a lot of hedging and I don't think they did fruits at all. When questioned on this,

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Sunday March 18, 2012 @04:31PM (#39397689)

    Last year they blocked search results from the co.cc domain because they believed they polluted the search results

    So now Google is officially a co.cc blocker.

  • content not ads (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chrismcb (983081) on Sunday March 18, 2012 @04:35PM (#39397711) Homepage
    People want to find the best content, not the best ads. But they shouldn't be penalizing people who have "good seo" such as decent keyword lists. Rather they should be penalizing people with poor content.
    • by dmomo (256005)

      Good SEO often comes at the expense of good content. I don't think this latest development is absolutest. In the end, they want to improve their search results. This is just one piece in that.. among countless other factors.

    • If you have good content, SEO shouldn't be necessary. People have found that you can enhance your ranking by inserting fake or misleading content in the form of keywords, links, and activity which does not increase the actual value of the page. This causes the accuracy of the Google search bot to go down - though it increases the hits on optimized pages. The net result is poorer searching, and good searching keeps eyeballs in front of advertising, which pays the bills to provide better searching.

      I'm surpri

    • by green1 (322787)

      The problem is that there is no way for googlebot to know what "good content" is. SEO isn't some magic thing that makes bad content appear as good to a search engine, instead it's a way of gaming the mechanism that the bots use to try to determine genuinely good content (which is what the bot really is trying to find, it's just not smart enough to know the difference). The only solution is a smarter google-bot, and this is something that I think google really needs to work on, (and this seems to be the firs

    • There is a problem with this concept, the bad content means people actually click on ads to escape it.., the worse the page is the better click through rate. Google benefits too.., but in this case some junk-web-farmer dark lord probably went over the edge with extreme SEOing so Google decided they might even do something about it.
  • by chr1st1anSoldier (2598085) on Sunday March 18, 2012 @04:36PM (#39397715)
    HAHAHAHAHA! I love this! The company I work for makes every employee write blog articles and in turns makes our sales team write eight comments a month on those blog artles for the sole purpose of increasing their google standing in search results. You have no idea how much this makes me smile.
    • by Shavano (2541114)

      That may be illegal under prohibitions against shilling.

  • by Molt (116343) on Sunday March 18, 2012 @04:41PM (#39397731)
    All this is doing is changing the rules on which sites will be rated more highly, this changes what needs to be done to a site to gain artificially high ranking- maybe making it more difficult- but it'll still be done. I can imagine the SEO service sellers being delighted about this, new customers will still be buying their services to gain ranks and since old approaches will now be penalised they can start to sell again to those who'd bought their services before the change.
    • by Bogtha (906264) on Sunday March 18, 2012 @05:02PM (#39397881)

      I can imagine the SEO service sellers being delighted about this, new customers will still be buying their services to gain ranks and since old approaches will now be penalised they can start to sell again to those who'd bought their services before the change.

      Companies that provide SEO tend to work for a monthly retainer, not as one-off payments. I doubt many of them will like this because it eliminates one of the things that differentiates their service from simply "build a good site and add good content". The people who don't "over-optimise" make more money by simply doing a good job of building websites, and they have no need to define themselves as SEO companies.

    • That's one way to look at it. However, if Google changes its algorithm rapidly enough, then they can price most of the bottom feeders out of that market. For instance, how much am I willing to pay to be able to game the system for a week when all I'm optimizing is a parked domain, aggregator, or other crap site? If I have to spend full price every week, the value isn't there.

      To me that's the major benefit, that it will increase cost the most for those who truly are gaming the system (eg, domain parkers)

      • Indeed. Got a friend who was into the SEO business (did everything in my power to convince him to drop it), and if I am remembering correctly, they reverse engineer Google's ranking algorithm from their patents. If this is true, and were I Google, I'd keep my new implementation off the books, or at least have the USPTO seal it.

  • The SEO scumbags have been polluting search sites everywhere.

    When I can search for 4 different unrelated terms and have the same site show up in each, you know that SEO is only a scumbags game.

    • by Bogtha (906264) on Sunday March 18, 2012 @05:13PM (#39397955)

      When I can search for 4 different unrelated terms and have the same site show up in each, you know that SEO is only a scumbags game.

      I know. There's this one scumbag SEO company that comes up for an absolute load of unrelated terms, it's that obvious, I don't know why Google haven't blacklisted them yet. The SEO company even has a silly name, Wiki something I think.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Because we know, deep down, you are really seeking a larger penis. Its the basis of all human endeavor.
  • semantic web (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 18, 2012 @04:44PM (#39397759)

    as the web becomes less semantic-based, html/css is slowly eroding in value as a searchable medium. for websites worth visiting, the default html structure that the googlebot loads is little more than a placeholder for dynamic content, with css styles used to declare javascript event listeners for a given element. clicking on said element loads the dynamic content.

    people are finding things in different ways now: one example is via word-of-mouth (viral, etc) via social networks. who honestly thinks that fine tuning their website's keywords will help them obtain more visitors? does anyone actually believe this will help their website gain popularity? especially given the billions of webpages already in various search engines' databases? in this day and age?

    as a web marketer, you are better off promoting a website through as many social networks as possible. dont waste time fine-tuning keywords; nobody cares anymore.

    its about people helping people find information, not some algorithm helping you.

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  • As someone who provides SEO, among other things - shameless plug alert: www.uvmanagement.com [uvmanagement.com] - I see this as being a welcome change.

    It is frustrating trying to provide what I deem "honest" SEO - focusing on marketing the content, rather than creating content which is marketable, for example - when so many other providers out there use all the tricks in the book to increase page rankings without actually having content worthy of where they end up. I very well could engage in such tactics, but I'm a nerd befo

  • by Xtifr (1323) on Sunday March 18, 2012 @05:15PM (#39397963) Homepage

    It doesn't sound to me like they're trying to penalize anyone; it sounds to me like they're trying to improve their search results. The people who spend so much time and effort trying to artificially boost their rankings may feel like they're being penalized, but that doesn't mean they are. You might as well say that a thief forced to return the goods he stole is being penalized for the value of those goods. While "stealing rankings" may not be a crime, per se, Google is doing little more here than trying to return rankings to their proper owners.

    • While "stealing rankings" may not be a crime, per se, Google is doing little more here than trying to return rankings to their proper owners.

      Excellent. We should call SEO what it is, stealing rankings.

    • by sjwest (948274)

      A big problem in my humble opinion is how google categorize things by the mba's in google's ad sales - motorbikes in x, is that only one customer for x location for google? The rare baseball/sports cards example seems also to assume that people are trying to search for specific cards for shopping sites. We are not retail, and our thing is not specific to one location.

      Another is that term 'something' has a quality end and an junk end. We get envelopes with codes from google that go straight to the recycle

  • by nprz (1210658) on Sunday March 18, 2012 @05:16PM (#39397969)

    A lot of the SEO sites have very low actual value in them. They are avoided by any humans with 10% of a brain.
    This dilutes Google's actual value as a search engine.
    If they change how sites are rated to raise usable content-rich sites, then people are more likely to view the site and maybe actually click on an ad and maybe buy something.

  • SEO is bullshit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by evanism (600676) on Sunday March 18, 2012 @05:49PM (#39398171) Journal

    I have always hated SEO with a deep passion.

    I despise the SEO marketing idiots who glamorise themselves with "arcane knowledge". They end up using basic tools that any illiterate monkey could. Knowledge that could be written out on a 2 pages, in a big font.

    They act like Chiropractors, alternative medicine quacks and ponzi fraudsters. Wizard of Oz stuff, "Ignore the man behind the curtain". They all get caught out, simply because what they espouse is rubbish.

    The sooner Google allows the entire internet population to have a "This Is SEO Bullshit" button, the better.

  • ...SEO optimization guide [google.com] on my websites. Will I now be penalized for doing so?

    • Probably not but people who buy and sell links on other sites to boost ratings, repeat key words more than what is necessary and other such tactics will probably take a hit or so I hope.
  • Assess the content quality I say. Favor well written articles over boring long stretching articles by bean counters. Sure roseindia has many Java related articles but ill written ones. Every opportunity I had with that site ended in frustration and I always found hugely better written material elsewhere.

    Doing that is rather tricky at best as natural language is difficult to interpret by non-humans. Finding out if an article is well written is even tougher. Finding indirect hints -e.g. style, vocabulary,
  • by s7uar7 (746699) on Sunday March 18, 2012 @07:03PM (#39398615) Homepage
    How many SEO experts does it take to change a light bulb, lightbulb, light,bulb, lamp, lighting, light switch, lightswitch, switch, energy?
  • by Animats (122034) on Sunday March 18, 2012 @07:19PM (#39398715) Homepage

    This may be about moving ads to Google properties. With AdSense ads, Google has to share revenue. With ads on Google's own pages, they don't. Google is putting more ads on their own search result pages now, and adding their "social" (i.e. brand related) results at the right. Look up "cars" and you now get "People and Pages on Google+ related to cars", which are Ford, Nissan (with logos) and "cars.com".

    Google has been trying to drive traffic to their own properties for a while, and the pressure is increasing. Top results for popular searches are increasingly Google's own content, or something they scraped from somewhere else. (You can stop Google from scraping your site. The price is total disappearance from Google searches. News Corp. did that for some of their newspapers. Few others dare.) "Videos" as a search option has been replaced by "YouTube". And, of course, there's "Google+"

    Anything Matt Cutts says about "cracking down on SEO" has to be viewed with skepticism. He's Google's promoter to the SEO community. He speaks at the big SEO conferences. His position is "SEO is not spam. [zdnet.com]

    • by Tacvek (948259)

      It is important to understand though that what Google means by SEO is things like having an XML Sitemap, ensuring each page has a unique title that reflects the content of the page, providing alt text, using descriptive anchor text (i.e. not "click here"), and providing friendly urls. Those things are easy, and most of them also inherently improve the quality of the site for humans too.

      What all too many people understand by SEO is things like getting more pages to link to your site, making sure every imagin

  • by crossmr (957846) on Sunday March 18, 2012 @07:20PM (#39398719) Journal

    About two months ago I was searching for something, and I remember being annoyed enough with the results that google was posting to go try searching on Bing *shudder*

    The problem was, despite using quotes, google was not searching the exact term I had entered. It was two months ago so I don't remember the exact term, but the problem was of the nature where it was modifying the end of the word. In that case it was making a significant enough change that I wasn't remotely finding what I wanted, despite the quotes.

    I think in the near future google is going to start to find out they're not immortal. They've really been going downhill..

    Another big annoyance is a removal of the timeline from the news archive searches. I used to find that extremely useful. You could easily search for a term, then narrow down the date visually by clicking the year, then the month.
    Now you've just got raw results that you can only sort ascending or descending, but you've got no idea where clumps of stories may occur or anything like that.

    • I think you're right in that Google's results are going downhill. The problem is, in my mind, no one else is improving. I'd consider Bing if the results were better. Duck Duck Go is pretty good but still comes nearer Bing than Google and more importantly, searching for non-US content can be a pain even when specifically using identifiers like UK in the query.

      I very much appreciate the whole idea of non-personalised results, the lack of bubbling, etc but in the case of DDG it's only really convenient if y
    • by SEWilco (27983)

      About two months ago I was searching for something, and I remember being annoyed enough with the results that google was posting to go try searching on Bing *shudder*

      The problem was, despite using quotes, google was not searching the exact term I had entered. It was two months ago so I don't remember the exact term, but the problem was of the nature where it was modifying the end of the word. In that case it was making a significant enough change that I wasn't remotely finding what I wanted, despite the quotes.

      ...

      A few months ago, Google decided to ignore quotation marks. Ick. The tool you want is Verbatim Search, but to reach it you have to do a search, click on "More search tools", then click on "Verbatim".

  • by afabbro (33948) on Sunday March 18, 2012 @07:49PM (#39398875) Homepage
    Seriously, why not link the source [cnet.com] instead of some spammy blog?

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