GOOGLE admits staff will 'pick and choose search results'

54 replies
I didn't see this anywhere else on the forum, so I thought I'd post it.

"Google this week admitted that its staff will pick and choose what appears in its search results. It's a historic statement - and nobody has yet grasped its significance."

Here's the link to the whole article:
Google cranks up the Consensus Engine ? The Register

Barry
#admits #choose #google #pick #results #search #staff
  • Profile picture of the author Eric Lorence
    They have alluded to this in the past, this is just a confirmation.

    Not very "Democratic" though...
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    • Profile picture of the author Floyd Fisher
      Originally Posted by Eric Lorence View Post

      They have alluded to this in the past, this is just a confirmation.

      Not very "Democratic" though...
      Why should that bother you? Do you think it's your god given right to appear on the first page of any keyword you want?
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  • the title was a bit sensational, the quote from google, from teh article

    Mayer also talked about Google's use of user data created by actions on Wiki search to improve search results on Google in general. For now that data is not being used to change overall search results, she said. But in the future it's likely Google will use the data to at least make obvious changes. An example is if "thousands of people" were to knock a search result off a search page, they'd be likely to make a change.
    besides they already hand review, delete or penalize many blogs, just check out the spam reporting in webmaster central
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    • Profile picture of the author Barry Davis
      Originally Posted by digitalproductreporter View Post

      the title was a bit sensational, the quote from google, from teh article
      I never thought that using a direct quote could be considered sensationalizing, but okay....

      Barry
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      • Originally Posted by Barry Davis View Post

        I never thought that using a direct quote could be considered sensationalizing, but okay....

        Barry
        I meant the original title was sensational, i do realize yours was the exact quote
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  • Profile picture of the author talfighel
    That is pretty amazing to know. This is very historic.

    Tal
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  • Profile picture of the author Ron Douglas
    Having worked on Wall St, I believe that whenever there is an opportunity for fraud, there probably will be. I wouldn't be surprised by some under the table money being paid for top search results, if there isn't already.
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    • Profile picture of the author Angela V. Edwards
      Originally Posted by Ron Douglas View Post

      Having worked on Wall St, I believe that whenever there is an opportunity for fraud, there probably will be. I wouldn't be surprised by some under the table money being paid for top search results, if there isn't already.
      I can see where this might be possible, but why wouldn't the site owner simply do PPC then? It's probably because organic searches are SO much more valuable and trusted.
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      • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
        Know what? I could care less. You couldn't find any of my sites in the SEs if
        you brought out a pack of blood hounds.

        Google can do what it likes as far as I'm concerned. I never counted on
        them for high rankings of my sites and I'm not going to start now.
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        • Profile picture of the author Simon_Sezs
          Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

          Know what? I could care less. You couldn't find any of my sites in the SEs if
          you brought out a pack of blood hounds.

          Google can do what it likes as far as I'm concerned. I never counted on
          them for high rankings of my sites and I'm not going to start now.
          Steven, you should care. If you make six figures like you claim, you could easily double your income with search engine marketing and actually work less. Search Engines are the ultimate leverage.
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          • Profile picture of the author havplenty
            Originally Posted by Simon_Sezs View Post

            Steven, you should care. If you make six figures like you claim, you could easily double your income with search engine marketing and actually work less. Search Engines are the ultimate leverage.
            Steven is right. The aim should be to build a following, not rely on a nebulous beast like seo for your traffic. Imagine if you built a business on organic search results in google and the next day, google dropped you from it's listing. You'd go bust.

            I repeat build a following - keep them loyal with good content. There are 1000s of sites who make millions not through search engine traffic but through brand loyalty and mind share.

            There is certainly a case to be made for search engine presence, but don't ever build a business on that - it could cost you.
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  • Profile picture of the author JustVisiting
    So Google will become a directory and no longer a search engine.
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  • Profile picture of the author Barry Davis
    Looking at this from a marketing angle, I guess all the "Google Experts" now can begin writing courses on how to best chum up to the Google employees who do the picking and choosing!
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  • Profile picture of the author candoit2
    If google will remove listings based on numbers of searchers who have removed a listing from their search, then it won't be long before this is abused by outsourcing people to mass remove a competitors site and cause them to be penalized in the overall results.(Or manipulate by getting people to vote for your site to fake popularity among searchers).
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    • Profile picture of the author Art Turner
      Originally Posted by AaronJones View Post

      If google will remove listings based on numbers of searchers who have removed a listing from their search, then it won't be long before this is abused by outsourcing people to mass remove a competitors site and cause them to be penalized in the overall results.(Or manipulate by getting people to vote for your site to fake popularity among searchers).
      Aaron, I think you have just predicted the future...if it's not already happening.

      There's another interesting quote farther down in the article that struck me as resembling strategies advocated here from time to time:

      "chasing hits through Google by rehashing and rewriting stories that people are already interested in"

      I think the OP is right, social proof is replacing SEO. Either learn to schmooze or create a new impartial search engine.

      Art
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    • Profile picture of the author Lance K
      Originally Posted by AaronJones View Post

      If google will remove listings based on numbers of searchers who have removed a listing from their search, then it won't be long before this is abused by outsourcing people to mass remove a competitors site and cause them to be penalized in the overall results.(Or manipulate by getting people to vote for your site to fake popularity among searchers).
      I'm GUESSING that removed listings will be put into a moderation que so to speak. And humans will review to make sure it's legit. If not automatically, then at the request of the delisted site. Heck, Big G may even see this as an extra profit center and charge the delisted sites $20 or $50 or something for a review to have a CHANCE at getting their listing back.
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  • Profile picture of the author Allen Graves
    I like it. Weeds out the "playahs"

    AL
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    • Profile picture of the author Eric Lorence
      Originally Posted by Allen Graves View Post

      I like it. Weeds out the "playahs"

      AL
      Have to imagine people will feel different if it's their sites being "weeded".

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      • Profile picture of the author Allen Graves
        Originally Posted by Eric Lorence View Post

        Have to imagine people will feel different if it's their sites being "weeded".

        Good point.

        But those who have been totally white hat and have respectable websites that give the end user a pleasant experience have absolutely nothing to worry about.

        Personally, I'm glad the day has come...if indeed they follow through with it. I'm tired of seeing crappy, spammy, full-of-BS websites ranking higher than mine (which offer killer, original and compelling content) just because they figured out how to trick Google into ranking them highly.

        AL
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  • Profile picture of the author WinsonYeung
    That's amazing, in that case, i have to make sure all my website meet their rules, I dont want to get a google ban
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  • Profile picture of the author Simon_Sezs
    It has been headed in this direction for awhile. My prediction is that google will be able to use its wealth of data and benchmark sites according to niche.

    Where do they get this information? From googleanalytics and now from their soon to be popular browser that they are pushing.

    Things like link building will eventually be devalued more so it would be harder for most marketers to game.

    I imagine that things added to their algorithm (if it isn't added already) will be bounce rates, avg. time on site, wiki-popularity (for those using it).

    Personally, I think that this will be good news for the players that have loads and loads of content but not so good for those marketers that throw up these mini-niche 5 page sites and are ranking very well for them right now.

    It is coming. Time to hire some writers and bulk up your existing sites with worthwhile information.
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    • Profile picture of the author sylviad
      Originally Posted by Simon_Sezs View Post

      ...I imagine that things added to their algorithm (if it isn't added already) will be bounce rates, avg. time on site, wiki-popularity (for those using it)...
      Imagine what this would do to new sites - new marketers who are getting their feet wet and just struggling along at the beginning of their careers. If the algorithms weed out sites with short visit times, that would hardly be fair, now would it?
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  • Profile picture of the author Allen Graves
    I wonder what kind of effect this would have on first and second-tier general article directories.
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  • Profile picture of the author Fabian Tan
    There's no such thing as "impartial" in this world - grasp that.

    Fabian
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Deegan
    I'd guess Google has been hand editing very high traffic terms to ensure certain sites show up in the top results for awhile now. It's understandable why they would want to make manual edits to try and ensure quality, but it's a big risk on their part. They are smart guys so I'll wait to see and hear more about the actual implementaion of the idea before passing judgment.
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    • Profile picture of the author affenpinscher
      I too would like to see Google weed out spammy or pure MFA sites, but as another poster mentioned, competitors may use it to spike a legitimate site.

      Also, given how polarized our country is, ideologues may complain about a site that doesn't support its philosophy. This is not just political sites but issue oriented sites such as energy sources, dog training, child rearing, fashion, etc. may be targeted.

      I think Ron is correct that money will flow over and under the table for rankings.

      More than anything, this seems an opportunity for a Google competitor. MSN may rise again.
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  • Profile picture of the author Andy1750
    Very difficult to predict what the outcome of this is going to be - there's no way that Google employees can review every website in every niche for every keyword and assign a ranking to each. There are however a lot of junk sites out there so maybe this is just what's needed, to route our the true entrepreneurs who add value to the net from those that are succesful just because they know how to manipulate the system. As a webuser, it's harder and harder to find decent content as it's so diluted by rubbish. As on online marketer I guess the lesson is to focus on generating truly high quality sites with great, original content.

    I think that something like this is necessary in the long term as the web continues to grow. However, as eluded to previously the fact that human review is so subjective is definitely of concern - these decisions could make or break many successful online businesses.
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    • Profile picture of the author Art Turner
      Originally Posted by Andy1750 View Post

      there's no way that Google employees can review every website in every niche for every keyword and assign a ranking to each.
      That may be true. But there IS a way to code end users "promote" and "remove" button activity into the algorithms. They might give "promoted" websites more weight, or if a website is "removed" by X number of end users, then they might drop it entirely. This would be welcomed in a perfect world, but in our world it's subject to manipulation by competitors.

      Art
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  • Profile picture of the author captivereef
    just a strong armed attempt to push more people into PPC and increase Adwords revenue. I doubt Google cares as much about the end uses as they do about their revenue.
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    • Profile picture of the author myob
      It is obvious they have always favored their advertisers. Count on that, and act accordingly.
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    • Profile picture of the author Simon_Sezs
      Originally Posted by captivereef View Post

      just a strong armed attempt to push more people into PPC and increase Adwords revenue. I doubt Google cares as much about the end uses as they do about their revenue.
      Their end users dictate their income. If the searcher doesn't find the most relevant thing for what they are querying, then they may take their business elsewhere. If they do that, google advertisers will suffer.

      Searcher satisfaction is primarily the reason why other search engines haven't been able to compete with Google.
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    • Profile picture of the author Angela V. Edwards
      Originally Posted by captivereef View Post

      just a strong armed attempt to push more people into PPC and increase Adwords revenue. I doubt Google cares as much about the end uses as they do about their revenue.
      I agree. For one thing, I don't think any one person at Google knows the entire story. And like someone pointed out, with so many thousands (maybe millions) of niches, how can any group of people patrol that? They are still going to have to use an algorithm. They can't do that huge of a job with just human editors. I suspect this is a ploy to get more people into PPC.
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      • Profile picture of the author Simon_Sezs
        Originally Posted by Angela V. Edwards View Post

        I agree. For one thing, I don't think any one person at Google knows the entire story. And like someone pointed out, with so many thousands (maybe millions) of niches, how can any group of people patrol that? They are still going to have to use an algorithm. They can't do that huge of a job with just human editors. I suspect this is a ploy to get more people into PPC.
        I know you are talking about human editors but if they were to add other criteria to the algorithym...bounce rate, average time on site, ect, and weigh this accordingly, wouldn't that actually be the searcher deciding for google what is important and isn't?

        After all, someone not staying on a site for longer than 30 seconds certainly would indicate that there is something seriously lacking in terms of relevant content for whatever keyword is queried.

        Just my thoughts though.
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        • Profile picture of the author Angela V. Edwards
          Originally Posted by Simon_Sezs View Post

          I know you are talking about human editors but if they were to add other criteria to the algorithym...bounce rate, average time on site, ect, and weigh this accordingly, wouldn't that actually be the searcher deciding for google what is important and isn't?

          After all, someone not staying on a site for longer than 30 seconds certainly would indicate that there is something seriously lacking in terms of relevant content for whatever keyword is queried.

          Just my thoughts though.
          That may be, but what good is a site where people are staying less than 30 seconds, anyway? What value does it have? I suspect you can't even sell anything in that amount of time. So if these types of sites go away, that's totally fine, I'm thinking.

          I suspect that the super High Quality sites (the ones I call Super-Authority sites...from MAJOR companies) won't be going anywhere anytime soon. They've been at the top for years and they will very likely stay there.
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          • Profile picture of the author Simon_Sezs
            Originally Posted by Angela V. Edwards View Post

            That may be, but what good is a site where people are staying less than 30 seconds, anyway? What value does it have? I suspect you can't even sell anything in that amount of time. So if these types of sites go away, that's totally fine, I'm thinking.

            I suspect that the super High Quality sites (the ones I call Super-Authority sites...from MAJOR companies) won't be going anywhere anytime soon. They've been at the top for years and they will very likely stay there.
            My point wasn't whether a site that bounces in less than 30 seconds is worth it or not. My point was that google has this information and could use it to determine most relevant sites within a niche based on user data, making it possible NOT to have to have a country sized employee staff to police all the niches.

            Instead, theoretically, the searcher would be "voting" by either bouncing or not bouncing, sticking to the site longer, ect. So, if the searcher is looking for "article marketing" and finds a site sitting in the top 5 but just sticks around for a second (b/c it is a sales ad or isn't what the user is looking for), then potentially, that site could be penalized as not relevant enough if enough searchers perform the same action and will subsequently get moved down the list or perhaps off the page based on the benchmarking data of similar sites within the niche.

            And they could do this on a niche by niche basis (they already have benchmarking data for various niches).

            Of course, most things wouldn't change. Link building would still be important. On page SEO would still be important.

            Bad thing? I think not. I absolutely love the idea of a semantic web for my white hat authority sites. It simply means that some of my competition will get reduced based on these types of criteria.

            Like it or not, it is coming. Whether it comes to fruition this year or next, it is coming.
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            • Profile picture of the author Anna Johnson
              According to my sources, bounce rate is already part of the algorithm. Some other interesting developments have recently become apparent too e.g. who the site links TO (not just where it gets links FROM).

              As far as using "human intervention" Google has always used this at the "edges". For the most part it will continue to rely on its algorithm (it's WAY too costly to have lots of human editors).

              In any case, I agree with Big Mike. Strive to create a site with great content that satisfies the people searching on the relevant keywords, and whether or not Google quietly or blatantly uses human editors shouldn't really matter.

              And, of course, don't rely on traffic from Google!

              Originally Posted by Simon_Sezs View Post

              My point wasn't whether a site that bounces in less than 30 seconds is worth it or not. My point was that google has this information and could use it to determine most relevant sites within a niche based on user data, making it possible NOT to have to have a country sized employee staff to police all the niches.

              Instead, theoretically, the searcher would be "voting" by either bouncing or not bouncing, sticking to the site longer, ect. So, if the searcher is looking for "article marketing" and finds a site sitting in the top 5 but just sticks around for a second (b/c it is a sales ad or isn't what the user is looking for), then potentially, that site could be penalized as not relevant enough if enough searchers perform the same action and will subsequently get moved down the list or perhaps off the page based on the benchmarking data of similar sites within the niche.

              And they could do this on a niche by niche basis (they already have benchmarking data for various niches).

              Of course, most things wouldn't change. Link building would still be important. On page SEO would still be important.

              Bad thing? I think not. I absolutely love the idea of a semantic web for my white hat authority sites. It simply means that some of my competition will get reduced based on these types of criteria.

              Like it or not, it is coming. Whether it comes to fruition this year or next, it is coming.
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              • Profile picture of the author Simon_Sezs
                Originally Posted by havplenty View Post

                Steven is right. The aim should be to build a following, not rely on a nebulous beast like seo for your traffic. Imagine if you built a business on organic search results in google and the next day, google dropped you from it's listing. You'd go bust.

                I repeat build a following - keep them loyal with good content. There are 1000s of sites who make millions not through search engine traffic but through brand loyalty and mind share.

                There is certainly a case to be made for search engine presence, but don't ever build a business on that - it could cost you.
                That is pie in the sky thinking man. First of all, where are these people going to find you?

                Secondly, you seem to think that search engine traffic as a one and done thing. What's to say you can't grab organic traffic and then funnel them into a list?

                To say that search engine traffic is not the way to go has never had the pleasure of getting a 5-10 uniques/minute average. If you have, you would never say that SE traffic is not a way to build a business.

                Originally Posted by Louis Raven View Post

                Steven, how do you think people find your articles at EZA? By searching the article title keywords on Google alas.

                Now, we all know big-G wouldn't drop a site like EZA but it just goes to show, if you think about it, they (Google) control a lot more than meets the eye.

                Louis
                Exactly. Google may not be the end all but most marketers at one point or another have to deal with them. Why? Because there is nothing more targeted than someone querying a problem through a search engine like google.

                Social traffic can't do that for you (most social traffic wants to be entertained).

                PPC can do that for you but at a price.
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          • Profile picture of the author innocent07
            Banned
            Can sombody please summerize the google article...

            Can sombody summerize what that article is saying and how google is planning to change website positions in its rankings for the 'keyword' they are ranked for + when wil this change take place.

            Reading the article and threads in this post made this topic a bit confusing lol, so can sombody summerize what that google article is saying - simplified, and what it will mean for our ranked websites?
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      • Profile picture of the author LauriS
        Originally Posted by Angela V. Edwards View Post

        I agree. For one thing, I don't think any one person at Google knows the entire story. And like someone pointed out, with so many thousands (maybe millions) of niches, how can any group of people patrol that? They are still going to have to use an algorithm. They can't do that huge of a job with just human editors. I suspect this is a ploy to get more people into PPC.
        I agree with you, Angela.

        But I must also point out that since I have studied IM a bit, I do NOT trust what comes up on the first page of google anymore, and dig a bit deeper. Maybe that is jaded, but now that I know what people do, and how they get their information, it makes me feel as if what I am reading is simply a ploy to get me to buy something or what not. At least when I click on an advertiser (I did not know these were advertisers for the longest time), I at least KNOW they are trying to sell me something.... Again, I probably sound jaded....

        But I also agree that they can NOT get to all of the niches, etc... there are just not enough people to police all of that...

        Interesting post...
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  • Profile picture of the author myralove
    I saw a chart somewhere that if you add up all the other places where people do searches such as video sites, social bookmarking sites, social networks, yahoo answers, wikis, amazon, ebay, and the other major search engines, Google is in a fight for its life. Why because they represent more than 70% (could be more, but I can't remember) of all daily searches.

    So from a survival strategy it sounds as if they will focus on strong arming natural search and driving more business to Adwords...

    From my perspective as a full-time marketer, I have been focusing on ranking high in all of the other places, in addition to Google. And it has paid off. I recently had a Christmas affiliate site with hundreds of pages of content (PLR mostly) de listed because Google thought it was too thin. I immediately panicked because I had not been looking at my analytics. However, I was pleasantly surprised when my sales did not dip. Why? Because my traffic was evenly spread between the "referral sites" (videos, social networks, social bookmarks, yahoo answers, other blogs, etc.), Google, Yahoo, MSN, AOL, Ask, and others. So my loss of Google had minimum impact on my traffic and sales.

    I encourage all of my fellow marketers not to get "stuck" on Google. Sure, I should have put more original content on this particular site and I would still have my Google listings....but I am glad that I made sure to market across other networks.

    Just my two cents
    Myra
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  • Profile picture of the author Clyde Dennis
    Wow, I could not agree more with Myra.

    As they are the 800 pound gorilla in the room it's hard not to but putting all or even most of your eggs in Google's basket has never sit well with me. Besides they're way, way to fickle.

    Also, all the focus I hear and read about concerning Google makes me think at times that everybody may as well be working for them.
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Deegan
    I disagree with the folks that say Google will put dollars in front of the user experience.

    Why?

    Google is successful because they focus on the user experience and as long as they keep that in mind they should do well. If you get the traffic and the eyeballs and provide a quality experience the money will flow naturally, no need to force its hand.

    Also Google is well aware of how traffic is distributed online and I am sure they will secure their positioning with acquisitions, mergers and partnerships as time goes on to secure their dominance. They ain't stupid.

    Regarding human evaluation of sites, I'm sure they can figure out a way to implement the idea while minimizing the risk of fraud and manipulation.

    For example a simple idea which I know has flaws but also has some merit would be the following.

    Use a large pool of reviewers who have no contact or idea of one another that evaluate each website for a set of criteria and standards. Then take all the data from the manual site reviews and process them through a special algorithm, which will analyze the reviews and calculate some type of weighted average. They can filter the data multiple times through multiple algorithms to produce a final calculation for site rankings if needed.
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  • Profile picture of the author Charles Harper
    This doesn't change the fact that if you have good content, people will sill find you.

    CT
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  • Profile picture of the author havplenty
    Well this confirms what Seth Godin has been warning marketers about for years. It's fools gold to build your internet business around organic search.

    Build a brand and a following. I like the way mike filsaime did it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Louis Raven
    They will fall hard if they allow results to be arranged in a way that can be truly biased by people.

    I don't know the system they'll be using to determine a "quality" site. I can't wait to see what this will do to Page Rank 10 sites.

    Anyhoo I'll still be on top because I'll just latch to the pages that the Google employees do like :p

    Louis
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  • Profile picture of the author Louis Raven
    Google can do what it likes as far as I'm concerned. I never counted on
    them for high rankings of my sites and I'm not going to start now.
    Steven, how do you think people find your articles at EZA? By searching the article title keywords on Google alas.

    Now, we all know big-G wouldn't drop a site like EZA but it just goes to show, if you think about it, they (Google) control a lot more than meets the eye.

    Louis

    P.S. I found one of your articles today via Google search "PayDotCom commissions like Clickbank"

    Blimming good article if I do say so.
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    • Profile picture of the author Angela V. Edwards
      Another very good reason to do a backlink campaign to your artices and not just your website.

      Originally Posted by Louis Raven View Post

      Steven, how do you think people find your articles at EZA? By searching the article title keywords on Google alas.

      Now, we all know big-G wouldn't drop a site like EZA but it just goes to show, if you think about it, they (Google) control a lot more than meets the eye.

      Louis

      P.S. I found one of your articles today via Google search "PayDotCom commissions like Clickbank"

      Blimming good article if I do say so.
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  • Profile picture of the author David
    Interesting thread... raises some questions for me and displays how much more I need to learn:

    What is meant by 'bouncing'?

    I've seen that in my Google Analytics and didn't know for sure what it meant.

    I used to run safelists from a dedicated server 5 years ago, so I'm familiar with an email bounce rate.

    What is a website bounce?

    Please pardon my ignorance... I've learned a lot and see that there is much more to learn (and there is no better place on God's Green Earth to learn marketing than this Forum)
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    David Bruce Jr of Frederick Web Promotions
    Lawyer Local SEO - |

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    • Profile picture of the author Simon_Sezs
      Originally Posted by David View Post



      What is a website bounce?

      Please pardon my ignorance... I've learned a lot and see that there is much more to learn (and there is no better place on God's Green Earth to learn marketing than this Forum)
      A bounce basically is when someone arrives at your page, views the page and doesn't perform an action...like click to another page or click through to a link on your page.
      Signature
      "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." Ben Franklin
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Brian
    I just hope that no under the table staff will make the first page listings run like PPC.
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  • Profile picture of the author One Inch Punch
    I REALLY want to see someone step up and challenge G. They're sphere of influence is too strong and in my opinion they abuse it.
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    • Profile picture of the author JustVisiting
      Originally Posted by One Inch Punch View Post

      I REALLY want to see someone step up and challenge G. They're sphere of influence is too strong and in my opinion they abuse it.
      Too right. Google are the middlemen. We produce the products, be it website or whatever, and Google is the intermediary to our customers. Whoever heard of the middleman monopolizing and controlling the market?
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      "...If at first you don't succeed; call it Version 1.0"
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