Companies Getting Frustrated With The Power Of Search

from the but-they-can't-find-me! dept

Being highly ranked in search results is a crucial metric for many businesses. While quite often this can evoke the idea of shady companies built on little more than some search-engine optimization, it creates some hefty issues for more legitimate companies as well. Decisions such as name changes or shifts from .net to .com domains are being influenced by how they'll effect search results, with many companies frustrated with the feeling of being held ransom by their Google rank or other factors. This frustration grows when search companies aren't particularly helpful to businesses making legitimate changes, preferring to let their algorithms, which often ignore certain kinds of behavior because they signal fraud or other funny business, handle everything. While it's certainly well within the rights of a company like Google to tinker with its algorithm, it and other search engines' vast amount of influence over sites' traffic and business could make many people feel they have some responsibility to make things a little easier for the legitimate companies that aren't looking to scam the system. Of course, that's a very fine line: when does optimizing a site to make it easier for search engines to crawl it crossover into the realm of manipulation? And if a business is built around monetizing traffic from search, does that make it less legitimate than a company in some other, more generally accepted line of work?


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  1.  
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    felix (profile), Mar 13th, 2007 @ 6:50pm

    more transparency

    I've been blogging a little bit about this recently. I think there's a bunch of meme's running around that relate, frustration with the black boxness of the search engines, frustration at the power of google, now a little hooplah around the questionable, but hopeful search engines from wikia and wikiseek.

    In the end if google believes that it needs to keep it's algorithms secret for competitive reasons or as a security measure against seo hackers, which are legitimate, I think.. I don't know how much things can change. Maybe if one or more legitimate competitors in the search space arise, there'd be at little more diversification of SEO risk.

    I talk a little about it here Google algorithms, security by obscurity?.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Morgan, Mar 13th, 2007 @ 6:53pm

    Can't do it short term

    Companies really need to take the long view on this or they'll go nuts. Or alternatively, play the game.

    But if you need to make changes, or there's a name change, you do the best you can and try to be what a searcher would be looking for. There wil be ups and downs, but if you don't watch the results daily, you can relax and ride an upward trend.

    If you concentrate on being a resource a searcher would want, then as search engines improve, so will (in general) your rankings.

    It's not easy to ignore precipitous changes, but they aren't really your results in the first place, so you shouldn't be dependent on them.

     

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  3.  
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    Nathania Johnson, Mar 13th, 2007 @ 7:12pm

    Search Engine Optimization (SEO) really needs to be seen as part of the marketing effort as a whole.

    Companies pay to be on prime time spots in television, for ad space in publications, and for prime retail space in stores. They strive for "earned media" with public relations.

    All of this is translated to the web. SEO is organic search, and there are paid search options as well.

    The search engines can create any algorithm they want. They are a business like any other. They set it up to make a profit. If other people come in and capitalize on it - they can only do so b/c that's what people want. Ultimately, people have to buy what's being sold on the internet for all of this to work.

    If you engage in a business that is so heavily dependent on another company (in this case a search engine) - then name or extension changes and changing algorithms are part of the risk.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2007 @ 7:30pm

    SEs return millions of hits in less than a second but after page three, they're rarely seen.
    Combine that with the difficulty of maintaining a high ranking, and you have a major problem.
    Businesses must have much broader marketing to thrive.

     

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  5.  
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    Erv, Mar 13th, 2007 @ 7:40pm

    times change

    Companies who want to be "BIG" in the search world will hire good people who will continually work at the numbers game.

     

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  6.  
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    Mark, Mar 13th, 2007 @ 8:01pm

    With Money..

    Anything is possible. Anyone can purchase sponsored links for certain keyword searches. The more money you're willing to invest, the more exposure your link/message will see.

    Nothing to see here, move along...

     

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  7.  
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    The Extreme Centrist, Mar 13th, 2007 @ 9:02pm

    Let the market sort it out

    Tough topic.

    The best Google can do is keep their algorithms secret; there is no way they can vet every search term, much less be equitable about it.

    Big companies should spend the money to optimize and advertise. It's not that hard to optimize, and I know what Marketing spends their money on. A few Google ads certainly won't hurt them.

    I don't want to see corporate ad sites listed when I'm looking for information. I'm not that sympathetic to them anyway.

    Maybe Google could make some more $$$ by offering a business search area that only allows vetted (paying) businesses to participate, perhaps by the phrase.

    Bottom line, public awareness and government non- interference will allow all these sorts of problems to work themselves out.

     

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  8.  
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    Search Engines WEB, Mar 13th, 2007 @ 9:06pm

    Google is FREE, Yahoo is FREE

    Whether they feel that they are being held ransom is not the point. Google is providing a FREE SERVCICE and a FREE SOURCE of INCOME - you make a choice to optimize to get higher!!!!!!

    Yahoo and MSN and ASK are also FREE.

    Webmasters have the option of BUYING ads if they do not like being dependant on Organic listings.

    They can also buy Directory listings.

    The article in question does not point out that companies change their domains by choice -no one if forcing them to.

     

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  9.  
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    Search EnginesWEB, Mar 13th, 2007 @ 9:07pm

    Google is FREE, Yahoo is FREE

    ____________________________________
    Whether they feel that they are being held ransom is not the point. Google is providing a FREE SERVCICE and a FREE SOURCE of INCOME - you make a choice to optimize to get higher!!!!!!

    Yahoo and MSN and ASK are also FREE.

    Webmasters have the option of BUYING ads if they do not like being dependant on Organic listings.

    They can also buy Directory listings.

    The article in question does not point out that companies change their domains by choice -no one if forcing them to.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    |333173|3|_||3, Mar 14th, 2007 @ 6:26am

    name change

    if a company put up a tag at the start of each page saying where it was to be moved to, and Google transferred the results and rank to the new page for a certain number of days (only a few) after a date on the page, and over that time reduced the score until it fell to the new page's own score, that would provide time for otehr people to update thier links and maintain the ranking of the page.

    A more advanced version of the algorithm could detect when a page has been flagged as moved, record this, and only allow you to use the page moved feature twice in 18 months, or some otehr limited number of times, to prevent link farmers using it.

     

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  11.  
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    Adam Lasnik, Mar 16th, 2007 @ 2:28pm

    The concerns are legitimate and we're taking them

    Hey there,

    I work on Google's Search Quality team, and so of course I (and probably tons of others) have been following all the conversations on this topic.

    Lots of good points have been made on all sides. Having one-on-one conversations with Webmasters on all issues is, pretty obviously, not scalable. But on the flip side, Webmasters understandably often have legitimate and compelling concerns that warrant information, attention, and solutions.

    The bottom line is that Webmasters should check out our Webmaster Central at http://www.google.com/webmasters. Extensive help docs in 18 languages, a blog just about Webmaster issues (and we just started a German version today, more languages to come) which includes comments, and an active forum.

    Of equal interest, we've been pretty rapidly introducing new tools as part of our commitment to Webmasters, including:
    - an interactive robots.txt checker
    - crawl diagnostics
    - detailed backlinks and anchor text info
    - PageRank details
    and a lot more.

    Our team that is dedicated to Webmaster concerns is growing, and it's international in scope.

    I'm proud that we're becoming more transparent. We'll still keep some things close to our chest to stave off blatant manipulation of search results or other user-unfriendly behavior and so on. But we'll be continuing to share more and more info with Webmasters and other Google users over time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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