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Google Tweaks Algorithm; EHow Traffic Plummets

CmdrTaco posted about 3 years ago | from the small-mercies dept.

Google 286

jfruhlinger writes "For some time there's been rumbling that Google's search results have been gummed up by low-quality pages from 'content farms,' written at low or no cost specifically to score high on common Google queries. Now it looks like the latest update to Google's search algorithm is having an effect, cutting into traffic to eHow (and cutting down the stock price of eHow's owner, Demand Media, in the process)."

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286 comments

and nothing (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35866880)

of value was lost!

Re:and nothing (-1, Offtopic)

webmistressrachel (903577) | about 3 years ago | (#35866944)

Damn you! I was only coming here to say that! I think we should ban AC. He's always reading my mind and getting there first! x

(ps those of you who don't know what I'm up to here should know that I don't really want AC gone - trolling phenomena is the reason I read and participate on /.

No AC, no really cheeky trolls. Just everybody talking like this; explaining their crap jokes just in case an overzealous moderator or a really thick troll comes along and responds in kind...

Re:and nothing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35866966)

that's what SHE said.

Re:and nothing (-1, Offtopic)

webmistressrachel (903577) | about 3 years ago | (#35867130)

That was surprisingly civil, AC.

I even like the disparaging "get back to the kitchen" trolls, and the Uber-Degree qualifications trolls, hey, recently I've even played nicely with the HOSTS troll!

Long live Anonymous Coward and /. white hat troll culture. May the Gods bring back trolltalk and throw the MX records at my DNS servers. Rachel

Re:and nothing (-1, Offtopic)

webmistressrachel (903577) | about 3 years ago | (#35867236)

I'm so surpised that 4 mod points have already been spent down-modding this and it's grandparent. I'm replying to the discussion in hand, therefore you are pretty much abusing the Offtopic mod. The topic is whatever counter argument or addendum I submit to the parent, and if the parent's on-topic then so am I! Damn you mods!

The irony is, you guys mod me up for some of my worst trolling, but here you are modding me down for praising others!

Re:and nothing (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35867566)

At first people paid attention to you because they're desperate geeks (who, despite their claims of being meritocratic, will instantly treat something with tits better). Then they realised you were transgender and they felt conned, their frustration and impotence manifesting itself in selection of (-1, Offtopic).

Humans are a predictable sort.

Re:and nothing (4, Interesting)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 3 years ago | (#35867128)

Demand Media tend to buy up a lot of pre-existing sites as well - Airliners.net, a fantastic aviation enthusiasts site, was bought by Demand Media in 2007 and rapidly went down hill resulting in a lot of members leaving :( Something of value is definitely lost once Demand Media get involved.

Re:and nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35867142)

eWhat are they smoking? eWhere did they think they'd get away with this? eWhy did they think it was a sustainable business model to milk off the Googles? eWho's the idiot responsible!?

Wouldn't it be a lot simpler (5, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | about 3 years ago | (#35866882)

Wouldn't it be a lot simpler to just block all robot traffic to expertsexchange, ehow, and the like? Or even more trivial, allow users individual profiles to block specific user selectable domains?

Already done. (5, Informative)

kcbnac (854015) | about 3 years ago | (#35866906)

Re:Already done. (3, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | about 3 years ago | (#35867200)

Interesting.. I did not realize that feature was available, because it is not shown to me in my results. There is no "block" option next to the "cached" and "similar" as seen in the blog posts etc. I do see in my search options that I can manually block up to 500 domains from search results. Nothing weird here, just a normal google account and a normal firefox with no unusual addons/extensions.

Maybe that option only appears for certain "special" domain names, or "special" searches?

Re:Already done. (5, Informative)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | about 3 years ago | (#35867320)

You have to be logged into a google service, click on a link in the search results, go back, then just that link will have the "Block" button. It took me a few tries before it worked for me.

Even better, you can go right to http://www.google.com/reviews/t [google.com] to set things up in bulk. Then, when you search, at the bottom of the page should be a link like "Some items were blocked, click to see"

Re:Already done. (1)

vlm (69642) | about 3 years ago | (#35867402)

You have to be logged into a google service, click on a link in the search results, go back, then just that link will have the "Block" button. It took me a few tries before it worked for me.

You that bit at the start of the HHGTTG? About the plans available for review in a vault in the basement on a planet circling another star or something like that? Yeah thats what I'm thinking. At least its not in Klingon.

Re:Already done. (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | about 3 years ago | (#35867420)

Maybe that option only appears for certain "special" domain names, or "special" searches?

You have to be logged in to use the feature and you must have visited the site at least once through a search, the option to block the offending site comes if it shows up again through a different search. There's also the option to block URLs manually under search settings, which is what I recommend.

Re:Already done. (1)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | about 3 years ago | (#35867640)

if you're logged into your google account, go into search settings, roll to the bottom of the page and there'll be a "Blocked Sites" section where you can add sites manually.

Re:Already done. (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 3 years ago | (#35867308)

Well that is a downright stupid implementation. Why should i have to go to a site I know I hate in order to get it blocked?

Re:Already done. (3, Informative)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | about 3 years ago | (#35867350)

You can go right to http://www.google.com/reviews/t [google.com] to set things up in bulk. You do have to be logged into a google service first, and for the blocking to work.

Re:Already done. (1)

NevarMore (248971) | about 3 years ago | (#35867386)

Is there some way to do a rules based block? Like anything that clones StackOverflow content should just be hidden or link me directly to SO?

Re:Already done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35867464)

It doesn't seem to work for me. Blocked domains still show up in the search results. Weird. Any ideas how to fix it?

Re:Already done. (1)

Tuan121 (1715852) | about 3 years ago | (#35867454)

1) You don't, see below
2) You might not know every site you wanted blocked off the top of your head, trial and error for a while is the best way to go then

Re:Wouldn't it be a lot simpler (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35866914)

Google is starting to enable user-blocking of specific domains. It's only available for some users and domains at the moment. It's not clear what the criteria are for being able to, but it's coming.

Re:Wouldn't it be a lot simpler (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35866968)

Good riddance, I fucking hate it when I do a search for tech stuff and the top results are all the same answer, scraped from StackOverflow or some other reputable site. I didn't realise Experts Exchange was farmed or scraped though, where do they get their content from?

Re:Wouldn't it be a lot simpler (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35867058)

Expert Sexchange doesn't scrape their content. They actually have users contribute it. They still have poor answers hiding behind all the bullshit you have to scroll, through.

Re:Wouldn't it be a lot simpler (0)

mysidia (191772) | about 3 years ago | (#35867570)

They still have poor answers hiding behind all the bullshit you have to scroll, through.

Poor answers sometimes... Good answers sometimes.

Just like other technical forums. But other technical forums aren't so aggressively trying to monetize their members' postings

like many programmers (5, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 3 years ago | (#35867136)

i've gotten experts exchange results in google searches forever, and i loathe them

however, not once, in years, have i seen "experts exchange" written in such a way in your post that it makes me think "expert sex change"

so thanks. thanks a lot. for making a bane of my existence somehow even worse. because now i will never look at "experts exchange" in google results again without seeing "expert sex change"

Re:like many programmers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35867266)

...however, not once, in years, have i seen "experts exchange" written in such a way in your post that it makes me think "expert sex change..."

Really? When they first opened for business the domain name was expertsexchange.com. Now they use experts-exchange.com so it is less obvious. But when they first came out it was a pretty good fail. Many people noticed right away that it could be read as either expertsexchange or expertsexchange.

Re:like many programmers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35867302)

I'm guessing that if you lived in Australia you'd be fine leaving your kids at the nursery in Mole Station, and that you currently fulfil all of your stationery needs at Pen Island?

I could go on, but you can search for those two references and find the rest...

Re:like many programmers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35867318)

the site used to be www.expertsexchange.com at some point they changed to www.experts-exchange.com

Re:like many programmers (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | about 3 years ago | (#35867504)

however, not once, in years, have i seen "experts exchange" written in such a way in your post that it makes me think "expert sex change"

Fun fact: it used to be expertsexchange.com, they changed it to experts-exchange.com because of that little issue.

Re:like many programmers (1, Informative)

mysidia (191772) | about 3 years ago | (#35867610)

however, not once, in years, have i seen "experts exchange" written in such a way in your post that it makes me think "expert sex change"

It's obviously a cold cruel jab based on an old gaffe that was their original doman name; Initially the URL of the site was expertsexchange.com, but because of the potential for confusion, the domain name was subsequently changed to experts-exchange.com. Experts-Exchange went bankrupt in 2001 after venture capitalists moved the company to San Mateo, CA, and was brought back largely through the efforts of unpaid volunteers. [wikipedia.org]

The period following the bankruptcy recovery was marked by a rapid growth and expansion of the knowledge base and saw technical advances. Experts-Exchange was chosen as a runner-up for Best web resource for developers award by VSJ on 2006

Re:Wouldn't it be a lot simpler (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35867152)

But then... Google would be endlessly chasing after the next expertsexchange, ehow, etc. They need a formula that places all of those sites in their place at the bottom of the search results.

Re:Wouldn't it be a lot simpler (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35867188)

I disagree. Who wants a sex change from a rank amateur? If I want a sex change, it damn well better be done by an expert.

Re:Wouldn't it be a lot simpler (2)

rgviza (1303161) | about 3 years ago | (#35867486)

they buy up domains, prop up content farms on them, and all links on the content farms go back to eHow. So it's not as simple as blocking robot traffic to the offending domains (ehow and the like), you need to also crawl the content farms (easy because the SEO people register the pages to be crawled and google is already crawling/ranking them). Pages on some random domain that only have links to eHow, which are not on eHow.com, are probably farm content. Ditto for other farm content pointing to other domains.

The trick is for the robots to be sophisticated enough to ignore hidden (to user's browsers) content on the pages, look at the visible links and make a decision as to whether or not the content is legitimate based on where the visible links go.

Of course the SEO people will be on top of this and figure out a way around the algorithms. They always do...

Re:Wouldn't it be a lot simpler (1)

xtracto (837672) | about 3 years ago | (#35867638)

I do not understand why people hate experts-exchange. A lot of times I have found solutions to real problems in the answers of this site. On the other site, eHow really dones not provide any value.

Well duh the stock fell (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | about 3 years ago | (#35866886)

If your company's business plan focuses exclusively (or even primarily) on gaming Google search results, then anyone dumb enough to invest in you *deserves* to be screwed.

Re:Well duh the stock fell (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 years ago | (#35866960)

Unfortunately, while link farmers deserve to spend eternity licking fiberglass from satan's lava yacht(clinging to the outside, naturally), I suspect that investing in them is actually fairly rational.

Investing in any one is likely a bad idea; but the genre as a whole seems to be able to stay at least a bit ahead of the search guys, and likely makes a profit during that time. As long as regurgitating their mass of serf and/or script generated sludge in slightly different formats is cheap enough, they are unfortunately likely to be a decent investment on average.

Re:Well duh the stock fell (1)

vlm (69642) | about 3 years ago | (#35867232)

regurgitating their mass of serf and/or script generated sludge

And people wonder why I got rid of my facebook account. Oh wait you were talking about link farmers, sorry. And no, all of my "friends" were not link farmers, they just wrote that poorly.

Re:Well duh the stock fell (1)

MikePikeFL (303907) | about 3 years ago | (#35867264)

Investing in any one is likely a bad idea; but the genre as a whole seems to be able to stay at least a bit ahead of the search guys, and likely makes a profit during that time. As long as regurgitating their mass of serf and/or script generated sludge in slightly different formats is cheap enough, they are unfortunately likely to be a decent investment on average.

Say! That gives me an idea! What if we bundle all these link farmer investments together, the good with the bad, and sell those off to unsuspecting investors! Do you think we could make a ton of money that way and screw a bunch of unsuspecting people? Would that work? Could we get away with that?

Re:Well duh the stock fell (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 years ago | (#35867314)

Well, my original vision was more in line with link-farming as being an activity analogous to mining: every site you exploit ends up a polluted wasteland; but some percentage of them yield enough valuable minerals that you turn a profit.

However... your idea intrigues me.

Re:Well duh the stock fell (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 years ago | (#35867388)

yes, but it's to the point now that when you do a search, the first 10 pages of results are nothing but these sorts of BS sites. And the sites are getting better and better at mirroring themselves under multiple names. I applaud googles efforts.

Good riddance... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35866902)

...to bad rubbish!

Unfair to eHow and comparable businesses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35866904)

I wonder how many lawsuits we'll now get by companies like eHow/Demand Media for Google ruining their income. Personally I'm pretty tired of all these crappy and ad-laden content farm sites I end up on whenever I google for technical stuff, and I think Google should have the freedom to tune their search algorithms to give a higher quality service for its users. If a company makes themselfes dependant on another company's search algorithms and then get screwed over by it, then that's their own damn fault.

Re:Unfair to eHow and comparable businesses? (1)

kcbnac (854015) | about 3 years ago | (#35866942)

Said suits have been tried, and failed miserably. Google's algorithm is a trade secret, and are not required to prop up others business models. They won't try, Google's won enough cases like this, even if they did they'd get their butts handed to them on a platter in court.

Good riddance, Big Resource (2)

bhunachchicken (834243) | about 3 years ago | (#35866920)

I don't know about anyone else, but I was beginning to get very pissed off with looking up things on Google and constantly being linked to Big Resource, which was just a huge page of nothing.

Gettin' even bigger? Get as big as you like, you'll soon not see any visits from me...

Thank you Google! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35866922)

I'm quite sick of eHow showing up in search results, giving me useless information for anything. ExpertExchange I get value from as a techie, but eHow is useless. Now, if they can only make it so my competitors don't show up I'd be even happier.

Re:Thank you Google! (1)

sirinek (41507) | about 3 years ago | (#35867082)

Could be worse... Ehow does have some reasonably good content.... while Yahoo Answers is filled with entirely useless results, many of which are completely incorrect "answers" to the question being posed!

Hit me badly too (3, Interesting)

zakkie (170306) | about 3 years ago | (#35866948)

I run a website that is entirely my own work, is the result of years of research and involves many hours a day of new research. I am able to provide the data I collate for free to everyone because AdSense income covered hosting costs and allowed me to pay rent and buy food. I was not making vast sums of money, but I could do what I love and provide a useful resource to thousands of others. Now, scraper sites get ranked above me and even sites that cite me as the source rank higher than I do for many keywords. It's unfortunate, but for me this means less time doing actual original research and more time having to go out and market myself.

As a one man organisation, it's going to be really tough to keep going. I think Google have made a massive error here - by saying they can gauge the quality of a website (and its usefulness) algorithmically is arrogant and short-sighted. I hope they figure this out quickly. I really do hate having to sell stuff, even my own work!

Re:Hit me badly too (5, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 years ago | (#35866986)

I think Google have made a massive error here - by saying they can gauge the quality of a website (and its usefulness) algorithmically is arrogant and short-sighted. I hope they figure this out quickly. I really do hate having to sell stuff, even my own work!

You have it entirely backwards. Google has made the only intelligent decision here, by saying that they cannot possibly gauge the quality of all websites manually, and sticking to their guns about doing it programatically. That way, suing them over your position in the rankings is much more difficult because they can prove a lack of favoritism.

Re:Hit me badly too (1)

zakkie (170306) | about 3 years ago | (#35867096)

Well yes, but Google should not be judging a site's quality as such, they should be indexing the web. There is significant overlap in those concepts, sure, but currently their algorithm for indexing is broken - demonstrably so - and they are trying to do too much too soon. Wiping out the small independent publishers who provide mountains of good information is surely not what they intended to do.

Re:Hit me badly too (4, Insightful)

blue_adept (40915) | about 3 years ago | (#35867178)

Wiping out small independent publishers who "collate" mountains of information that they don't own the copyright for may well be what google intends to do. Let's be clear here. Are you an author? Do you create content? Or do you amalgamate other people's work, with or without their permission and/or using "fair use" provisions of copyright law? You don't really say, but I'm guessing from the tone of your post that you don't in fact create content. So, if your site is useful, provide the link, so we can have a better informed discussion about the merits of your site wrt the recent change in google's algorithm.

Re:Hit me badly too (1)

zakkie (170306) | about 3 years ago | (#35867216)

If you can't figure out how to find the link, I'm not sure your opinion on my site will be worth much, mate. But thanks for the kind offer.

Re:Hit me badly too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35867526)

just because he didn't check your profile for a website doesn't make his comment any less valid - google is a search engine and it is their decision to do whatever the fuck they want that they feel makes searches more accurate. That has nothing to do with you, or who you are, or anything of the fucking sort, so you need to stop crying wolf.

If that means they do it programmatically or editorially, it's accurate either way because it's their search engine. If it becomes less accurate people will simply stop using it.

Re:Hit me badly too (1)

avm (660) | about 3 years ago | (#35867636)

Nice site. Bookmarked for future reference so I don't have to deal with the content farms and their pop under flash nonsense.

Re:Hit me badly too (1)

Artifex (18308) | about 3 years ago | (#35867262)

Well yes, but Google should not be judging a site's quality as such, they should be indexing the web. There is significant overlap in those concepts, sure, but currently their algorithm for indexing is broken - demonstrably so - and they are trying to do too much too soon.

I'm confused; are you in the index or not? If you're in the index, then your complaint is really about the ranking you're being assigned. But you just said you don't want them to judge quality (though earlier you argued that your quality is what differentiates you from your competition). How else should they be judging your content?

Re:Hit me badly too (2)

zakkie (170306) | about 3 years ago | (#35867508)

Well yes, but Google should not be judging a site's quality as such, they should be indexing the web. There is significant overlap in those concepts, sure, but currently their algorithm for indexing is broken - demonstrably so - and they are trying to do too much too soon.

I'm confused; are you in the index or not? If you're in the index, then your complaint is really about the ranking you're being assigned. But you just said you don't want them to judge quality (though earlier you argued that your quality is what differentiates you from your competition). How else should they be judging your content?

I am in the index, and Google is going a really shitty job of figuring out quality on whatever these new algorithms consider to be signs of quality. My site is older (they can verify that easily enough) than the scraper sites, has more links to it (the basis of the original page ranking system) and is also quite clearly being duplicated by these sites. Had Google stuck to just indexing the web as they did, the natural order of things would have been more favourable to me. Which IMHO is what it should be in this particular case.

Define "intelligent" (1)

toycoder (2046918) | about 3 years ago | (#35867556)

You have it entirely backwards. Google has made the only intelligent decision here, by saying that they cannot possibly gauge the quality of all websites manually, and sticking to their guns about doing it programatically. That way, suing them over your position in the rankings is much more difficult because they can prove a lack of favoritism.

Google is making a smart move from a legal CYA perspective. But their bread and butter is ultimately the usefulness of their results, not the objectivity of their algorithm.

Re:Hit me badly too (1)

exploder (196936) | about 3 years ago | (#35867010)

Are you a (one man) content farm? You're pretty vague about what kind of data you provide.

Re:Hit me badly too (1)

moonbender (547943) | about 3 years ago | (#35867140)

He's got a link to his site in his /. profile so you can judge for yourself. The site looks fine to me, genuinely useful to people who're interested in that sort of thing.

Re:Hit me badly too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35867328)

It's an odd freaking post. On one hand he says content farms were ranking higher than him. This fix will allow people to remove those content farms, and now he complains that his hits will go down?

So he was relying on the content farms to link to him and he mad that they get higher pagerank, but happy that they do? :boggle:

Re:Hit me badly too (1)

zakkie (170306) | about 3 years ago | (#35867410)

It's an odd freaking post. On one hand he says content farms were ranking higher than him. This fix will allow people to remove those content farms, and now he complains that his hits will go down?

So he was relying on the content farms to link to him and he mad that they get higher pagerank, but happy that they do? :boggle:

Perhaps I wasn't clear. After the update, my site is lost in a sea of results to content-scrapers who had taken from my site without linking back or citing me as the source, many of which ranked higher than I did.

Re:Hit me badly too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35867150)

Are you a (one man) content farm? You're pretty vague about what kind of data you provide.

He said his site contains "entirely my own work, is the result of years of research and involves many hours a day of new research". That is, by definition, not a content farm.

Re:Hit me badly too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35867158)

Are you a (one man) content farm? You're pretty vague about what kind of data you provide.

As it turns out, the World Wide Web (WWW) has these things called "hyperlinks." If you click the GP's name it "hyperlinks" to his profile [slashdot.org] , which helpfully "hyperlinks" to his website [carfolio.com] . Neat, huh?

Re:Hit me badly too (1)

bmo (77928) | about 3 years ago | (#35867090)

So what's your site?

If it's useful, I'd like to see it.

I like useful things. I'm sure the rest of Slashdot likes useful things too. So post it here. We'll go visit.

What have you got to lose?

--
BMO

Re:Hit me badly too (2)

vlm (69642) | about 3 years ago | (#35867354)

So what's your site? ... What have you got to lose?

Zakkie links to http://www.carfolio.com/ [carfolio.com] on his /. profile page. I'm personally completely uninterested in the topic, but it looks like a real site as opposed to a content farm.

He's probably worried about losing his anonymity, knowing that /. is the most likely place on the net to have us all check his whois and reverse DNS records just for fun, etc.

Re:Hit me badly too (1)

zakkie (170306) | about 3 years ago | (#35867384)

So what's your site? ... What have you got to lose?

Zakkie links to http://www.carfolio.com/ [carfolio.com] on his /. profile page. I'm personally completely uninterested in the topic, but it looks like a real site as opposed to a content farm.

He's probably worried about losing his anonymity, knowing that /. is the most likely place on the net to have us all check his whois and reverse DNS records just for fun, etc.

I was commenting on the story, because it impacted me quite directly. Those who wanted to see my site could easily have done what you did :)

Re:Hit me badly too (1)

pz (113803) | about 3 years ago | (#35867148)

I really do hate having to sell stuff, even my own work!

By relying on AdSense for income, you are selling your own work. Thinking otherwise is allowing yourself a convenient illusion.

Re:Hit me badly too (1)

dave420 (699308) | about 3 years ago | (#35867214)

But not selling it for cash, just page impressions.

I've got more time than money. (1)

toycoder (2046918) | about 3 years ago | (#35867500)

This guy has a legit complaint. I'm not a car guy, but I do have several non-tech related interests and it is damned hard to find comprehensive specs, even on manufacturers sites. As for selling ads vs. selling the content directly, get off your high horse.

Re:Hit me badly too (1)

zakkie (170306) | about 3 years ago | (#35867296)

By relying on AdSense for income, you are selling your own work. Thinking otherwise is allowing yourself a convenient illusion.

Yes, but I don't have to stop researching my data, making my site work better, adding features, etc. Eventually I could look to hire people to sell for me, but I'm certainly not in the position to be able to do that yet.

Re:Hit me badly too (1)

gnapster (1401889) | about 3 years ago | (#35867484)

What he means is spending time on marketing, instead of actually being productive. It wasn't that hard; don't be dense.

Re:Hit me badly too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35867210)

What is your website? I would be interested in knowing what kind of content you provide and how this change has caused your site to lose traffic.

Re:Hit me badly too (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 3 years ago | (#35867468)

I think Google have made a massive error here - by saying they can gauge the quality of a website (and its usefulness) algorithmically is arrogant and short-sighted.

WTF? Google has always 'algorithmically gauged the quality and usefulness' of a website. That's what they do. That's what they've always done, and that's what search engines are for.

When they first came out, they were the best search engine because they explicitly pruned out the cruft and the link farms that had polluted all of the other search engines and made them useless. When I found Google, Yahoo and every other search engine got pretty much dropped, because Google actually returned content.

Google has become a multi-billion dollar concern by showing the 'arrogance' of thinking they can get rid of the shit and highlight the useful stuff.

If you truly have original research, and people actually cite you, then hopefully Google's new changes will actually help you and hinder the link farms and scrapers.

But, thinking it "arrogant and short-sighted" for Google to continue to do what they've always done is, well, arrogant and short-sighted. Google has been doing exactly this for over a decade, and continuously trying to make it better. To say that now they shouldn't be doing it because it might lower your page hits is hypocritical.

Personally, I'm all in favor of anything which gets rid of some of the useless damned meta-link sites that don't have anything of value, but exist purely to drive traffic from Google. I don't think such sites should be rewarded. In fact, I think they should be dropped from the search results altogether, which is hopefully what Google is doing here ... dropping eHow is a good start.

Re:Hit me badly too (1)

dhammond (953711) | about 3 years ago | (#35867592)

Small correction. When Google first came out, there were no link farms because Google was the first search engine to rank results based on the quantity and quality of links going to sites. That was their great innovation.

Expert Sex Change (2, Funny)

HelioWalton (1821492) | about 3 years ago | (#35866952)

They definitely need to tweak it further to get rid of or decrease the number of results from expert sex change.

Re:Expert Sex Change (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35867176)

Just because ur post-op doesn't mean other people don't want the information.

Learn How to Post on Slashdot - eHow (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35866956)

1. Using your web browser, go to Slashdot [slashdot.org] .

2. Click on an article that you think is interesting.

3. Click on the "Post a Comment" button.

4. Type your comment subject in the subject field. Recommended subjects are outdated 1990's Internet memes.

5. Type your comment in the comment field. Recommended comments are outdated 1990's Internet memes with a sprinkling of [your favorite operating system] is better than [the operating system you hate most].

6. Profit!

Make it sew! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35867252)

Yeah, then monkeys fly out of my butt. System 7 is better than Windows 95!

Captcha: uproar. Outdated 1990s internet game sites!

*sigh* (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35866958)

And yet I still get LOTS of content farm results... fuck them, they are so goddamed annoying [NOT Google, the content farm sites that pass themselves off as relevant in the search results, but when you reach them have absolutely NOTHING relevant to your search]

Google Cycle 4 (1)

dimethylxanthine (946092) | about 3 years ago | (#35867024)

"Dark spots in giant's search results mark the beginning of the new iteration its search algorithm for the fourth (or fifth?) time since Google's inception - an activity many scientists and internauts feared was dangerously delayed. Owners of previously unknown internet real-estates can expect higher yields of their greens, but protection and limiting exposure to the screen are still advised".

If they are like the others (1)

Shivetya (243324) | about 3 years ago | (#35867100)

they will adapt their pages and quickly smother google searches. I know the news pages are like this, the day after the first change many sites dropped off of the right side bar only to return within weeks. A great example on the unfiltered news site is Huffington Post, NY Times, and LA Times. All three fell off, the first more than the other two, but now fill the sides up again.

Google can keep tweaking all they want but more people are paid to ensure rankings and page hits than Google has to ensure fairness and correctness of results

Re:If they are like the others (1)

jmac_the_man (1612215) | about 3 years ago | (#35867602)

I know the news pages are like this, the day after the first change many sites dropped off of the right side bar only to return within weeks.

The right side bar in google is paid advertisements. That's different from google's organic search results.

Also, the Huffington Post is not an "unfiltered news site." They're a commentary site. Their writers provide opinion and not objective fact. Now there's nothing wrong with that, so long as you're honest about it. (They are.) A real newspaper can have an editorial page; the Huffington Post is just a bunch of little editorial pages.

I would be surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35867110)

If that site had any pages, other than the fake ones with no content, that is.

From eHow2DoIt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35867134)

How to decrease traffic to your website after using all the SEOs at your diposal:

1. First get a Search Engine Optimizer (SEO) to have your website come up all the time.

2. Abuse the fucking hell out of it. Have free lance writers write lamo "how to" articles and pay them shit. Get "articles" on every goddamn topic - accuracy is irrelevant. Getting people to your website is the point.

3. Keep the SEO people cracking and eventually your site will come up as the first choice no matter what people are goolging for.4. Eventually, people get sick and tired of your lamo articles cluttering up their searches and many times confusing them as to what to do, the power that be at Google will curtail your SEO efforts. In the meantime, your stock will take a hit.

Re:From eHow2DoIt (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 3 years ago | (#35867606)

Ha! I've found "instructional" sites that are akin to Steve Martin's explanation of how to get a million dollars and never pay taxes.

1. Get a million dollars.
2. Don't pay taxes.

Is eHow really that bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35867138)

Maybe I'm the only one, but I actually really enjoy those eHow pages.
They come up almost any time I do a search on some random task. When it's something that I don't know much about, and don't really care about that deeply, their articles are almost always just what I need. If I keep searching through mounds of support sites and forum posts, I might get an extra tiny tip or two, but for just the basics in under 3 minutes they actually did a pretty good job.

Good EHow sucks anyway (3, Insightful)

JohnRoss1968 (574825) | about 3 years ago | (#35867228)

You can get better advise from the crazy drunk down at the park.

Re:Good EHow sucks anyway (1)

JohnRoss1968 (574825) | about 3 years ago | (#35867298)

I saw a recipe there once for Jambalaya....One of the ingredients was Jambalaya Mix.
If I had the Mix I would just follow the instructions. Claiming something is a recipe and then saying you'll still need to go buy a premade mix is a cheap ass shortcut. Crappy reporting from a crappy site. If the whole thing crashed and burned it would make me happy

Re:Good EHow sucks anyway (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | about 3 years ago | (#35867398)

I could be wrong about eHow, but there are sites like it that have AI generated articles. (Just not very good AI). Basically they wrote a paraphrase engine, then scoured the Internet for data.

Alternately, they are paying people in low wage countries to write paraphrased articles, then auto spell and grammar checking them.

Was getting useless (2)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 3 years ago | (#35867568)

I do some fairly technically oriented searches at work, and sometimes the first three pages of hits would be [1] sites that sell (or make you register for) copies of otherwise freely available documentation and [2] pages that are just random titles and snippets of other works without links.

Or there's some paragraph on a message board or in an article that has all the key words, but is useless, and all I get is 50 copies of the same article or posting. Some message board sites seem to be just copies of other sites with different CSS skins.

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