Google Undergoing Fundamental Search Changes?

Apr 5, 2007 • 9:49 am | comments (5) by twitter | Filed Under Google Search Engine
 

A number of WebmasterWorld members acknowledge that Google is experiencing "fundamental changes" with its search algorithm. A member mentions his own observation:

One big one for me is that no matter how common the search term -- it could generate billions of results -- you always seem to bang into an "omitted results" link before your reach #1,000. In fact, i just checked out a search on the word "the" which google says generates 5,300,000,000 results. And even on this monster, #928 is the "omitted results" link. Hmmmm....

Now 5,300,000,000 also seems like a low number to me - unless it does not include any Supplemental Results. So my current assumption is that by fattening up the Supplemental Index, Google has pared down the main index to somewhere in the vicinity of 5-6 billion urls.

Others expound on this idea and feel that Google's supplemental index is getting larger:

From what I have seen from a large sampling of sites, the supplemental index is growing at a significant rate.

A user notices that his "relevant" result has disappeared from the SERPs:

About six months, I did a search for something quite esoteric .. the air flow in a traditional dome structure popular in the middle east. First page .. found an excellent hobbyist site explaining this thing with loads more info on architectural elements, the history, the why's and the wherefore's.

This past weekend I did the same search. The little site with excellent architectural information is nowhere to be found .. not even page 20 of the results. (I had the reference so could go directly there, and it is still there and updated...)

Instead, what I was presented with, was architects advertising, airflow companies advertising, air conditioning companies advertising, car air conditioning companies ... etc, etc, etc.

Yes, something is happening, but whatever is happening, it is not good for me from a user perspective. Webmaster stuff? We leave that up to the gods, the little people, the fairies, the sprites and all of those good luck charms .. (So, far I've been lucky!)

A member finally grinds it down to simplicity:

Google is still returning relevant results, but they aren't good results.

Do you agree with these findings? Do you have anything to add? Join the discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Comments:

Michael Martinez

04/05/2007 03:45 pm

Some comments and observations in that discussion which agree with what I have been sharing for the past few months. I could have done without the wacky "Google is dropping non-Adsense informational sites" conspiracy theory. That's just nonsense.

Mike

04/06/2007 11:16 am

Something's happening that's for sure. The index page of http://www.hraconsulting-ltd.co.uk was for four years in the top 3 for search on "project management course" on Google UK. Since January 2007 it comes nowhere. I've even tried putting an Adsense ad on the page - makes no difference.

Rob Abdul

04/06/2007 12:16 pm

Mike, adding adsense will not help your SERP's my friend. The site that ranks number 1 for the terms "project management course" has double the number of back-links your site has. You are using a Google Sitemap which is excellent. You should update your robot.txt file to ban mail collectors. I bet you get plenty of spam. Just a Quick Analysis: 1. I think your site might not be changing enough. 2. I think it's hard to navigate your site. Give it a clean look. (My opinion). 3. Add Google Analytics to you site, so you can see your bounce rates 4. Add a blog or more interactive features, like a forum, Google video etc that can keep you visitor amused. Google knows when uses spend time on a particular URL via the analytics. Hope this helps.

Andrew Kelsall, Sqwink Design

04/06/2007 04:10 pm

Quote: "Add a blog or more interactive features, like a forum, Google video etc that can keep you visitor amused. Google knows when uses spend time on a particular URL via the analytics." Yeah, I totally agree with you here. Since adding a blog on my site, the blog pages are my highest ranking pages - even though my pagerank is nothing, via Google Analytics I can see its going up to 1 soon.

No Name

04/06/2007 10:12 pm

That happened even years ago with some searchterms and i know some popular german phrases which only deliver about 60 results (what is not realistic).

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