Author Topic: I Felt a Disturbance in the Google  (Read 301 times)

Brad

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I Felt a Disturbance in the Google
« on: December 19, 2018, 12:46:42 AM »
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The difference between Google and Bing in this case is consistent with something Iíve noticed lately, which is that Google seems to be forgetting a lot of old stuff.

https://blogs.harvard.edu/doc/2018/12/16/google-vs-bing/

rcjordan

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Re: I Felt a Disturbance in the Google
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2018, 12:59:10 AM »
I vote for deprecated http.

I hadn't run across Doc Searls in years, btw.

Brad

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Re: I Felt a Disturbance in the Google
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2018, 11:01:45 AM »
There is a lot of websites out there that have not gone to https.  Mostly non-commercial sites so Google won't miss them.  One of Google's advantages has always been the depth of their index, it will be interesting to see if the fumble the ball and throw that away.

ergophobe

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Re: I Felt a Disturbance in the Google
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2018, 06:04:45 PM »
It's funny, but on the rare days I put my historian cap back on and go looking for info on Google, I've noticed something similar. I couldn't express it as clearly as Doc does, but it's something about a reduced richness of older and obscure stuff.

I had been operating on the assumption that those sites had gone away, and since Google was always king in terms of depth of the index, it did not occur to me to try Bing. Every head-to-head blind test I've done for the type of searching I do for research, Google has won over 90% of the searches. The only thing I've ever liked about Bing was the image search.

But maybe it's time to try Bing again.

Brad

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Re: I Felt a Disturbance in the Google
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2018, 08:22:39 PM »
>But maybe it's time to try Bing again.

I switch around on search engines all the time, but then my browser makes it easy to change the deafault.  I use DDG which is basically a Bing retread for results and my thoughts have been they have continued to get better.

I forget where I read this, might have been here at the Core: Bing did a test relabelling Bing results as Google and Google results as Bing, usual half/half split.  The majority of testers said "Google" results were best even if they were really relabeled Bing.  Brand loyalty.

Anyway when Doc noticed Google serps slipping it made me sit up and pay attention.

I'm wondering if this is just a phase for Google or if this is the future.  Since I have been actively cataloging indie web websites I've been amazed at how many have not bothered to move to https.  Some are sleepy old relics but others are very active sites.

ergophobe

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Re: I Felt a Disturbance in the Google
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2018, 09:43:29 PM »
I forget where I read this, might have been here at the Core: Bing did a test relabelling Bing results as Google and Google results as Bing, usual half/half split.  The majority of testers said "Google" results were best even if they were really relabeled Bing.  Brand loyalty.

Yes, and every time Bing announces that, I do a few days of blind surfing where the search engine isn't revealed until you click on it. And every time, Google crushes Bing for me.

That said, I would also say this the wrong test. The result that I like upon seeing the results is not necessarily the result that I would like after clicking through. Ultimate, the first test is just testing whether or not people have optimized their titles for my search bias. The second test would determine whether or not the information actually seems better.

Brad

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Re: I Felt a Disturbance in the Google
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2018, 10:34:06 PM »
>crushes

I'm sure your searches are more sophisticated and detailed than mine.  There are times when I have to resort to StartPage to get that Google depth.  However,  DDG (Bing) is good enough for the vast majority of my daily searches and minus the spying equals Win. at least for me.

IF this is about http: and IF this is permanent then my conclusions are:

1. Google is not about quality or maintaining a quality index, it's about popularity and profits. I realize this has always been true but it's good to pierce the blue smoke and mirrors of Google PR horsepucky.
2. Google is trying to warp the web for their own purposes - again.  And like a bunch of rubes we fall for it every time.
3. I'm just guessing but I'll bet http: sites carry less Adsense ads than https: sites.  Win for Google if the http sites get lost or buried.

Brad

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Re: I Felt a Disturbance in the Google
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2018, 11:48:47 PM »

ergophobe

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Re: I Felt a Disturbance in the Google
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2018, 01:13:25 AM »
I'm sure your searches are more sophisticated and detailed than mine.

Doubtful, but they are often on really, really obscure topics.

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1. Google is not about quality or maintaining a quality index, it's about popularity and profits.

Even some guy on WMW who knows little about SEO and doesn't really follow this stuff that closely said, some months back

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That is, while Google has no algorithm to directly measure originality or quality, they can directly measure user engagement and increasingly, that seems to matter. In the case above, that can be a problem and actually reduce the originality and quality of the pages returned for searches like that one, for reasons I'll get to in a second.
https://www.webmasterworld.com/content_management/4920552.htm

Where are we.... outside... no further comment

Brad

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Re: I Felt a Disturbance in the Google
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2018, 11:18:01 AM »
I'm a pretty simplistic searcher: start broad and then narrow.

>quality

I was really just paraphrasing something Bob Massa observed about Google nearly 20 years ago.  Still true, the profit part more than ever.

>WMW

That's an interesting thread, ergo.  I was recently searching for something like "how to use a vacuum cleaner" or "vacuum cleaning tips"  some variant of that.  DDG (Bing) all the sites looked slick, many were so loaded with crap sneaking up from the bottom and in from the sides you could hardly read them, all were basically rehashing the same points some almost word for word.  I went to StartingPoint (Google) same thing, many of the same sites.  I understand there is only so much you can say about vacuum cleaning but that little search niche felt pretty made for Adsense spammy and it's all duplicate content.  Funny thing was one site was from a real company, Bosch I think, it had the same tips as all the rest. 

That whole home appliance sector - large and small - is pretty spammed out.  If you ever want to find spun content made for Adsense blogs just research hot water heaters.  :o

>engagement

Yes.  I think engagement helps ranking even if the links are nofollow.  Google picks up on that.  aaron alluded to that in re. directories and wikis getting no love because there is no engagement.  That's one reason I combined a blog and a directory together. It's why I'm starting to encourage directory users to post comments about listings.

martinibuster

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Re: I Felt a Disturbance in the Google
« Reply #10 on: December 25, 2018, 07:21:51 PM »
Definitely not about deprecation of http sites. I maintain one high ranking http informational site to keep an eye on the  https ranking factor and so far it's not affecting the rankings at all that the site is on http. No difference.

Doc Searles misunderstands how Google works. While at least he admits he doesn't know why Google is ranking the results he sees:

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Maybe itís because the company is deprecating http in deference to https. Maybe thereís some other reason. I donít know.

For whatever reason, that doesn't stop him from offering his uninformed speculation. 

In this case, it may be that the search phrase is long tail. The register article is in position six.

Position six is traditionally where news sites are dropped in the SERPs when there is little search history data OR if news media sites are a less popular result.

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I can give lots of other examples, but I think Iíve made my  point:  Google isnít a monopoly as long as there is a worthy competitor. And in several important ways, Bing is that.

I'm not a Google fanboy, but Bing has fallen behind. I like Bing results for certain phrases. Bing fails on obscure longtail phrases. 

A good example is plug hooks. Plugs are a regional phrase for saltwater fishing lures that resemble fish, generally made of wood but sometimes in reference to plastic ones. Thus, Plug Hooks are hooks for fishing lures.

Google wins.
Bing fails.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2018, 09:04:06 PM by martinibuster »

aaron

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Re: I Felt a Disturbance in the Google
« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2018, 07:05:28 AM »
Google heavily hyped the importance of switching from HTTP to HTTPS, so that is probably a reason many people believe it to be a cause for why some older content slid down the rankings. It is far easier to believe that message than it is to read dozens or hundreds of patents, actively track ranking shifts across many keywords over time, etc. to try to learn what signals might be used in the algos.

Compared to Bing, Google puts more weight on user location & recent user behavior.

The current news cycle is full of news articles that not only inform, but also offer a jumping off point to search for more related information. Google sees a spike in searches as a news story develops (along with related fresh published pages in their news index) & they trigger query deserves freshness.

Everything that is old sort of slowly decays unless it is highly influential & repeatedly cited (say like the PageRank paper).

Many / most of the older news articles lack the repeated usage & over time words also get redefined by cultural changes or even company rebranding efforts. Overture becomes Yahoo Search Marketing becomes Microsoft AdCenter becomes Bing Ads.  Google AdWords becomes Google Ads.

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Bing fails on obscure longtail phrases.
They have a smaller index (less content to rank, fewer links to use in ranking) & much less user data (to further refine & model the algos), so it makes sense they would be far worse at some of those sorts of search queries.

Google's RankBrain stuff drives users down well worn paths, pushing related results users liked on more frequently searched terms where they have better feedback. Bing does have some of the keyword substitution styled stuff, but they are still far more literal than Google in terms of keyword matching what the user searches for. Google sometimes goes so far as dropping the most rare / least common word  from the search query to try to bring people back to the more common related searches. If that dropped word is a match of the brand name of a particular publication, then of course finding that article would be much harder. Typically when Google removes a term they mention so & give a link to include it.

Where the RankBrain styled stuff gets *really* tough to deal with is not only older information, but rather information about an entity but not from that specific entity. Sometimes that stuff can get quite hard to find unless you do some advanced boolean searches.

The other area that sort of sucks is how many smaller ecommerce sites got torched by Panda & for the most part never recovered. This means if someone running a niche store has that 13 4E New Balance cross trainer shoe in last year's model in stock they are almost forced to sell on Amazon, eBay or Walmart in order to appear in the organic results. Of course there are also Google shopping ads, but sometimes stores will show up there and then not have a particular size or model in stock or such.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2018, 07:12:00 AM by aaron »