Webmasters Revolt Over Google's AJAX Search Results Tests

Feb 4, 2009 - 8:24 am 4 by
Filed Under Google

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.


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