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Anybody Else Confused About Google?

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Lately I have noticed a pattern emerging from Google. Let's play a game shall we?


Pretend for a moment that you are a consumer, not a web site owner.

Go to Google and type in "Kodak camera"


Wouldn't you think that Kodak's own home page should be sitting at the top of the list? Well it isn't. How is it that Google can find three other sites that it thinks is more 'relevant' or 'higher ranking' than Kodak's site? Notice that Kodak gets the 3rd spot in that result list, unless you count the PAID sponsor link at the top (which I never look at anyway).


Ok, let's try again. Type in "belkin router" (not that I would want one, but maybe I need some support for the one that I have). Result? Belkin's page is listed dead last on the first page! Now if you type in "belkin routers" (plural) it gets even worse with Belkin being eliminated from the first page altogether finally to appear as #2 on the THIRD page. However, if you only type in Belkin, you get their home page immediately on top.


Now, am I missing something? Seems like until recently, the results were much more appropriate to the search I was actually looking for. How do bizrate, homenethelp and news.com outrank Belkin for "Belkin router"?


Don't get me wrong, I love google, but this is wearing me out.


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I can think of a few possibilities.


The first is the scariest and that is that Google's algorithm stinks. Considering how peaple try to scam them all the time and that they are possibly focusing on stopping them more than promoting the best it wouldn't be beyond the realm of possibility. The good news is that this is the most unlikely because Google has a lot of really smart folks there and their mission-goal is to provide the users with the most relevant search results.


Another is that in their quest for relevancy they are being thrown off track. For instance, they are using themes from what I understand. I read a real interesting article I wish I could find about this. It was saying that Sears is the #1 seller of lawn mowers in the US. If you search Google for "lawn mower", Sears was on like page 5. The problem was that Sears has so many other things, from tools to TVs, that their lawn mower rank was diluted by the other things on their site. If you just search for "Belkin" you will find their site #1 so perhaps the diversity of Belkin's products is hurting it's ranking in some way.


Also, when I did the search for Belkin routers I saw that the top site was a news article about the recent problems Belkin has had. This is also the top return from their news tab. Perhaps Google ranks news articles a little higher because they think people looking for a term will be searching for news more than just a static site.


I don't know that any of these are the cause of what you are seeing but I've read about them and they make sense to me.

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Thanks for those perspectives. The dilution theory seems quite plausable, as does the 'current events' thought. I've just found that recently, as I'm searching for product details (usually some kind of tech and looking for the user's manual or specs data...usually found on the manufacturer's site) that my searches have been yielding awful results. I was wondering if it was something I had wrong in my head about how to search.


Case in point: I was looking for documentation on a specific Belkin router. Of course I would want those docs from the manufacturer. When I searched for Belkin and the actual model number from the router, the Belkin listing wasn't until page 9 or so. Frustrating that I had to sift through 9 pages of "Buy it here" and "Read what I think of it" listings just to get to Belkin's product page.


See, I thought that the more specific your search string was, the more narrowed and relevant the results. Seems my thinking has been reversed?


Do this: type "olympus d-560 specs" (Page 7 finally)

Then type "olympus" (Page 1, second listing then manuevering through the site to find what I want).


See the difference? Just wierd and backward in my mind.

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I see what you are saying and am also disappointed by my recent searches. In this particular example, though, it's no wonder. Look at the source to that page. There are no meta keywords or descriptions, the title is "D-560 Zoom" (without Olympus!), the first printable (and thus "real line" in Google's eyes) is at line 325 in the source (ouch!) and while it looks great it's a search engine nightmare. Even worse, "D-560" only appears once in the source!


Unfortunately Google is fine, it's Olympus that stinks! :P I love their cameras and have one, but they need to hire Scott or something!


I went back to the Belkin router example. On that page that does show up I found:

no meta keywords or description

"router" is only there 3 times and it's listed as routers, router's, and Router

again, there's a lot of fluff to make it pretty and the real content is low in the sources.


I think maybe these big companies have gotten so egotistical that they assume you'll come to their site so they can concentrate on making it pretty and wowing you with their designs instead of generating information for us.

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Perfect points.


I guess the end-goal is sell cameras though and if you have 7 pages worth of sales locations before you get to their site, then you're bound to be able to purchase it easily.


Que sera.

Guess I'll just learn to search differently to accomodate the facts.

Jim, thanks for all the research!

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I am not sure about the dilution theory unless we are talking about individual pages with multiple items on them. Here is why I say this, many of the items I sell will come up on the first two pages, if not the first for the individual items I sell. I have over 900 items. I know it isnt alot of items but still. Now I have only one item per page and each page is optomized for that product, or trying to be optimized.


I think the issue is that these companies arent optomizing their pages like they should be doing.


This was before Google started making changes. I think I have only 100 pages indexed now, trying to figure what happened.

Edited by TCH-Rob
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The "dillution" comes into play when Google and others try to rank based on themes and a site like Sears has tools, furniture, clothing and lawn mowers. Yes, the individual page stands on its own, but remember how little the links from the other pages will add to it. I don't know how much they are using themes now, but when it first started we saw a lot of this kind of "you gotta be kidding me" ranking issues.


Ultimately you are right, it's about optimization or the lack thereof... but it's only a large part of the big picture I suspect.

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Mitch, in a perfect world, the search engine would know exactly what I was after and deliver it to me. Thus the developmet of AskJeeves. But you see how well that worked! :)


I'd love to be able to say "What type of removable media does the Olympus D-560 use?" and it should return a single link to the Olympus D-560 user guide or spec sheet as well as the "answer": "Good morning Lianna. You will need xD Picture Cards for that camera. You can buy them from: <link>, <link>" etc.


Now THAT's a perfect world. :lol:

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Good discussion!


Relevancy (in terms of a search result): close logical relationship (and importance to) the searchers request.


Here lies the crux… logic. How does one logically identify a relationship between a keyword phrase and a huge reservoir of text?


This is the question of all search engines.


From the ‘data’ point of view it is obviously difficult. Not everyone uses the same vocabulary, nor do writers use the same format. It is a very inconsistent, multi-language database that gets bigger every single second of every single day… quite a task.


Then throw in those manipulating SEO types which try to utilize every line of an algorithm to their advantage (i.e. enter the ‘filter’). Continuous manipulation, continuous filters.


From the searchers point of view, again a difficult task. Not everyone uses the same vocabulary, nor does everyone possess the same ‘logic’ (e.g. different search phrases for different folks… same desired ‘relevancy’).


Chosen Approach:


1. Great big powerful computers.

2. Sophisticated algorithms that associate and rank text to actual content.

3. Sophisticated algorithms that associate and rank content to brief descriptive words (i.e. the search phrase).

4. Sophisticated algorithms that associate ‘importance’ of a given document (e.g. Science Citation Index, PageRank, etc.)

5. Creation of huge databases (thank goodness for 1.)

6. More sophisticated query options.




…in a perfect world, the search engine would know exactly what I was after and deliver it to me.

You walk into a library, you head straight for the reference desk, and you smile and look into the eyes of the librarian (who has a vast knowledge of the ‘content’ and ask… “I am looking for information on ‘Kodak camera’. She accesses her vast knowledge and instantly thinks of several resources (an excellent George Eastman autobiography, a historical perspective of Kodak, minutes from last year’s shareholders meeting, a products catalog, this quarter’s financial report, that brand new controversial biography of George Eastman, etc.).


What happens next is critical… the librarian peers back into your wanting eyes and asks for more specifics on what you are actually 'looking for’. After this follow-up he or she briskly walks to the desired reference. I have often thought that the briskness in the ultimate retrieval is indication of the internal joy they have of ‘solving another challenge’. You know, the "I've got it!".


What they heck does this have to do with Google?


Well actually, a lot. Google does not have eyes of the librarian but it certainly has the briskness! What we have to do is prompt the critical step of ‘more specifics’. Therefore, if we are interested in product information for a Kodak DX6490 from Kodak, we should search for ‘dx6490 site:kodak.com’ This gives us a search for ‘dx6490’ restricted to the domain kodak.com. The advanced search feature on Google is pretty darn powerful; I think that most people tend not to use it however.


[Now we may not want to restrict are search to just Kodak. I think that we would all agree that generally the best reference material for a product does not come from the manufacturer, software is a perfect example.]



As you alluded to Jim, most corporations are very inept at presenting relevant information in a usable fashion via the Internet. Very few large marketing departments and firms ‘get it’. They are using the same strategies and techniques that they have always used and these are inappropriate, or rather ineffective, in this new digital arena.


Sears is a perfect example. The ‘size’ of it would contribute very well to search engine rankings, no dilution. Proper site structure would feed all internal pages resulting in a lot of top rankings which in themselves would feed upon each other propping individual page rankings even higher. I have always said the more content the better. Obviously the better the presentation and organization of that content the better for the ‘viewer’ and the search engines.


One thing that did remain true... content is still king!


Therefore, as you’all have already stated, we have two considerations to the problem of ‘relevancy’. One, the data is not structured or presented in a matter that is most useful (to both the viewer and the indexing search engines). Two, actual search quires could be more refined.


On the second point, I have a few suggestions. First and foremost, setup your Google preferences if you have not already done so. This is accomplished by clicking on the ‘preferences’ link within Google. I search ‘English’ text only, I display 50 results not the standard 10 and if I click on a link from the ranking results, it opens to a new window (leaving my ranking results page loaded). As far as advanced search quires go, here are some of my favorites:


allintext: keyword phrase found within the body text of page

allintitle: keyword phrase found within the page title

related: lists pages that are ‘similar’ to a given page

site: as demonstrated above


And I can not leave out my favorite SEO searches:


site:www.somesite.com –querty - this gives the number of pages indexed.

link:http://www.somesite.com - this gives the number of backlinks which actually contribute significant PageRank

+www.somesite.com.+com - this gives me the number of total backlinks

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So, I've learned -

1. use the site: thingy in the search box if you know the domain of the site. (That's a huge thing I didn't know before now.)


2. A wonderful business opportunity could exist for human search engines. (I mean, the specifics and delving is obviously a good match with the human brain and thinking pattern and quite difficult to logically program....seems like a money maker to me.)


3. That old saying that there are two sides to every story? Hogwash. Usually there are 3 or 4 and to take each into consideration BEFORE you get irritated is what made Steven Covey rich! "Seek first to understand, then to be understood."


4. Rock Sign

Edited by TCH-Lianna
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Thanks for the info and tools, Scott!


I used

site:www.somesite.com –querty - this gives the number of pages indexed.

and found that TotalChoiceHosting.com has 11.100 pages listed. Man, that's a lotta pages!

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