Webmasters Revolt Over Google's AJAX Search Results Tests

Feb 4, 2009 • 8:24 am | comments (4) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine

Two days ago, we reported that Google is testing switching to AJAX to display their search results. But the tension over this discussion was not all that bad, that was until GetClicky.com wrote:

Just know this: a major update that Google is testing has completely broken the ability for any external analytics service like Clicky to determine the search query used by a visitor arriving at your web site. Why would they do such a thing? Who knows. They aren't talking.

Now, Techmeme is buzzing with the story and Google scrambled to release a statement that reads:

We're continually testing new interfaces and features to enhance the user experience. We are currently experimenting with a javascript enhanced result page because we believe that it may ultimately provide a faster experience for our users. At this time only a small percentage of users will see this experiment. It is not our intention to disrupt referrer tracking, and we are continuing to iterate on this project. For more information on the experiments that we run on Google search, please see http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2006/04/this-is-test-this-is-only-test.html.

There is a lot of commotion on this story and this Google test at WebmasterWorld and Google Web Search Help forums.

Brett Tabke, founder of WebmasterWorld said:

I honestly don't think G is shortsighted enough to do something like that system wide. Websites would have little incentive to look to Google for traffic or optimize for Google. The focus would no longer be on Google for optimization. We wouldn't know what or how to optimize for keywords - optimization would be shots in the dark. Our only options would be to look for other big sources of traffic.

On the other hand, we have to respect a websites - even Google's - opportunity to innovate. I think we have to see what G is doing with the Ajax before passing final judgment on it and it's intentions. I doubt that it is Googles will to break log analyzers and keyword trackers with this test. I think that is a by-product of whatever Ajax implementation google is currently testing.

The discussion around this topic is pretty intense and high strung now. It will be interesting to see how Google moves forward with this test over time.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld and Google Web Search Help.

Previous story: Google Search February 2009 Webmaster Report Update


No Name

02/04/2009 03:19 pm

While it is just a limited test, Search Wiki was also just a limited test not to long ago. Think about it, to get the program to the point where they could live test it shows a considerable piece of resources was used to develop the idea. I say there is REAL opportunity, if Google was HONEST about your rankings via webmaster tools. If Google would tell you your rankings, then there wouldn't be a need for 3rd party reporting, and Goggle could do what it wanted with the results Ajax, Java, who cares...


02/04/2009 04:32 pm

Re: Brett Tabke`s comments Like Google really cares that people won`t be able to optimize for Google results, that is exactly their goal, to put this out of a human reach and control all the serps as they like it, without manipulation (ie. SEO)

brett tabke

02/04/2009 06:17 pm

Yes, Google definitely cares that websites continue to focus on Google. Googles promotion and marketing efforts are significantly enhanced by webmasters and websites. If CNN has no clue what it is doing to generate referrals, their are alot of options open to them, and many of them are not SE friendly. For example, Flash. If not for SEO, flash would have taken over milllions upon billions of more pages. However, webmasters were aware of the problems with SEO on those page. In part, because people knew that pages with flash on them, did not generate search engine referrals. Search engines have benefited profoundly because of optimization education efforts. Search engines would be much less relevant without the impact that optimization has had. All eyes on Google. Without referral strings, eyes no longer will focus on Google. That trend has already started: http://www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=98964 "I have begun to use Twitter and other-third party Twitter tools in place of traditional search for a number of things. " That sort of trend is bound to continue. There are many people now talking of social media being a replacement for search engines. If webmasters start to see trackable traffic from social media sites, their eyes will no longer be upon Google for traffic or for monetization.


07/21/2009 07:33 am

i've also witness this change and it broke some javascripts that i worked with. I did however found a solution for it - bit.ly/BunTi hope it will also help you. Amir

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