Google Search Quality Declines

8 replies
Google results really have declined. Even though I've produced so called "affiliate sites" that are jammed with content designed to sell something, I've recently noticed that some searches where I genuinely need information are greeted with adsense farms and unoriginal articles that were probably cranked out by a spinner.

Anyway, has anyone else noticed this? Do you feel responsible for the deluge of content that provides almost zero value to your readers? I never really saw the impact of internet "marketing" until now.

Anil Dash ( just wrote a post about it (his stuff is great-way ahead of the curve with most of his opinions):

Noticing a pattern here?
Paul Kedrosky, Dishwashers, and How Google Eats Its Own Tail:
Google has become a snake that too readily consumes its own keyword tail. Identify some words that show up in profitable searches -- from appliances, to mesothelioma suits, to kayak lessons -- churn out content cheaply and regularly, and you're done. On the web, no-one knows you're a content-grinder.
The result, however, is awful. Pages and pages of Google results that are just, for practical purposes, advertisements in the loose guise of articles, original or re-purposed. It hearkens back to the dark days of 1999, before Google arrived, when search had become largely useless, with results completely overwhelmed by spam and info-clutter.
Alan Patrick, On the increasing uselessness of Google:
The lead up to the Christmas and New Year holidays required researching a number of consumer goods to buy, which of course meant using Google to search for them and ratings reviews thereof. But this year it really hit home just how badly Google's systems have been spammed, as typically anything on Page 1 of the search results was some form of SEO spam - most typically a site that doesn't actually sell you anything, just points to other sites (often doing the same thing) while slipping you some Ads (no doubt sold as "relevant").
Google is like a monoculture, and thus parasites have a major impact once they have adapted to it - especially if Google has "lost the war". If search was more heterogenous, spamsites would find it more costly to scam every site. That is a very interesting argument against the level of Google market dominance.
And finally, Jeff Atwood, Trouble in the House of Google:
Throughout my investigation I had nagging doubts that we were seeing serious cracks in the algorithmic search foundations of the house that Google built. But I was afraid to write an article about it for fear I'd be claimed an incompetent kook. I wasn't comfortable sharing that opinion widely, because we might be doing something obviously wrong. Which we tend to do frequently and often. Gravity can't be wrong. We're just clumsy ... right?
I can't help noticing that we're not the only site to have serious problems with Google search results in the last few months. In fact, the drum beat of deteriorating Google search quality has been practically deafening of late.
From there, Jeff links to several more examples, including the ones I mentioned above. As Alan alludes to in his post, the threat here is that Google has become a monoculture, a threat I've written about many times.
Now, is all this anecdotal evidence reliable? Perhaps not. What is worth noting now is that, half a decade after so many people began unquestioningly modifying their sites to serve Google's needs better, there may start to be enough critical mass for the pendulum to swing back to earlier days, when Google modified its workings to suit the web's existing behaviors.
#declines #google #quality #search
  • Profile picture of the author yourreviewer
    But what's the alternative? Yahoo? Bing? No Thanks. Google is still the king and will be for a LONG time. There may be loopholes and glitches, but they are constantly evolving.
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    • Profile picture of the author Bill Farnham
      I've also noticed a decline is quality for some of the searches I've done.

      I guess at some point this was bound to happen. So I do find myself using Bing a lot more to cross-referrence my searches.

      One of the problems with G's algo is their reliance on backlinks as a way to judge quality. It may be good for those who create those massive blocks of backlinks because they know they get unfounded rankings just by doing it, but for the searchers it is a huge disservice.

      I doubt much will change with their algo as it may have sufficient momentum to not allow it to make any sharp turns due to the 'Law of Unintended Consequences' so what it is may be what it is. An ever downhill spiraling conglomeration of useless results.

      I still use G for a spell checker. It seems to work OK for that application...

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      • Profile picture of the author Sparhawke
        Originally Posted by Bill Farnham View Post

        I still use G for a spell checker. It seems to work OK for that application...

        I got from from ASDA for £ much did Google pay for theirs? lol
        “Thinking is easy, Acting is difficult
        And to put one's thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world ~ Goethe”
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    • Profile picture of the author leclaims
      Originally Posted by yourreviewer View Post

      Google is still the king and will be for a LONG time.
      Are internet marketers responsible for the monopoly?
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  • leclaims,

    You may be onto something there.
    We have helped feed the beast.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tim Franklin
    You know I have noticed that spelling for keywords has changed over the last 30 days, you used to get all kinds of miss spelling of keywords, which by the way was great for getting some great traffic, (because lets face it a lot of folks out there just cannot spell very well) no harm no foul, but I have noticed that the quality of search results have changed over the last few weeks.
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  • Profile picture of the author WealthWithin
    I agree.

    Especially when I search for something local I have to filter through pages of SEO junk to find the real local businesses. And if I'm looking for genuine bargains, reviews, deals - I need to get Matt Cutts help.

    I started making some money with AdSense by creating low-quality crap sites. Few months into it, I felt guilty of doing that. Now I've moved to publishing more informative and content-rich stuff on decently designed sites. Interestingly enough, I think the new sites give a better user experience because I see a higher number of pages per visit, much higher time on sites and very low bounce rates.
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  • Profile picture of the author Lloyd Buchinski
    Well, first the net is just about useless if you do want more than superficial information. I know someone who mentioned that it came around quickly, and things that do that tend to leave quickly too. Probably unthinkable to most of the people here, so I'll just leave it at that.

    Second, when you try to do a serious search and need something, you can report the sites that are just MFA. Just click on the 'ads by google' at the bottom of the adsense blocks, and toward the bottom of the resulting page you have a place to express your opinion on why the original page is cheating.

    I had to do that recently. 2 days later I checked back, and all the adsense wasn't showing on the page. It seems that Google agreed with me and maybe a few other people.

    That at least does a bit of good and helps clean up the mess.

    Do something spectacular; be fulfilled. Then you can be your own hero. Prem Rawat

    The KimW WSO

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