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Google search results quality decreasing???

Hi All,

Earlier whenever I 'googled' for any query, I used to blindly open first 2/3 links.
But these days it's not the same. Results are just not upto the mark!

See this query:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=dynamic+HTML+best+scripts+download+free

The first result it returned was not at all what I was looking for! :(

What's your experience??
JD

JD
Monday, May 26, 2003

I hate it when I'm searching for a product's homepage and I find all sorts of sites selling it, or commenting on it, but the company's program is pages and pages down.

www.marktaw.com
Monday, May 26, 2003

Btw, it returned me http://builder.com.com/ as first result.

JD

JD
Monday, May 26, 2003

I haven't noticed any dropoff in quality.  Those are some fairly common words on the internet for Google to search for and try to logically assemble into phrases.  If you try putting the phrases in quotes the results are better: "dynamic HTML" + "best scripts" + free + downloads, then the first link is much better --

http://simplythebest.net/info/dhtminfo.html

Also, you could try http://www.kartoo.com .  It gives a slick visual display of related links for general subjects.

Nick
Monday, May 26, 2003

May be this query was not that good. But I am still not sure how builder.com.com made it to the first!!!!

Anyways, this is what I have been feeling for quite some days now. May be I am too dumb to write a good query or there is something else..

I wanted to know what others feel about it.

JD

JD
Monday, May 26, 2003

Good queries are an art.

The more obscure what you're looking up the harder it is to find. I've completely given up on finding certain things because I couldn't find a good query that would narrow down all the words on the web and spit out what I want.

I think it will be decades before that kind of thing becomes possible, so for now, even though machines are replacing humans for mechanical chores, there are some tasks that still require a person.

Then again, they have a computer now that will recognize any song from a small sound clip. This is probably similar to the Echelon technology that listens in on phone conversations and automatically flags some discussions for review.

www.marktaw.com
Monday, May 26, 2003

builder.com probably made was first because it contains dhtml scripts that you can download for free. That, and it's run by CNET which is a high traffic site.  So what don't you get?

Nick
Monday, May 26, 2003

I thought traffic had less to do with Google than links.

Why are more people linking to builder.com lately, or what site has Google discovered that has 7,000 links to Builder.com?

www.MarkTAW.com
Monday, May 26, 2003

I wasn't happy with result because the resultant page didn't had ANYTHING which I can use directly.

If you go to builder.com, you will find that there is not a single direct link from where I can download script.

I have to again go through the site and find whether there are any good DHTML scripts around.

JD

JD
Monday, May 26, 2003

Well you didn't ask for DHTML you asked for best HTML dynamic, quite what best means I don't know.

Off the top of my head I might try DHTML+script+collection or DHTML+script+sample

Simon Lucy
Monday, May 26, 2003

It is obvious to me that the Google results degraded suddenly about 1-2 weeks ago.

:-(

I think they changed the ranking algorithm, or something, and now it's sh**sh.

:-( :-( :-(

DJ K
Monday, May 26, 2003

The search keywords are just silly.
Hey, man, are you searching for first time in your life?
Do you believe that 'best' can be a good word for searching?
Do you think that 'HTML' on its own is a good word?
Do you think that 'download' is necessary?

I just tried
"free scripts" "dynamic HTML"
and believe me it gives pretty good results.

Boris Yankov
Monday, May 26, 2003

As most will know Google updates its index each month. The period when this happens is called the Google dance. The latest Google update has been described by most web masters as a major degradation. Google itself have confirmed that the search quality has gone down due to new algorithms, but are stating that it should lead to better results in a few weeks as spam filters and refinements are applied.

There were thousands of posts about it on the Google News forum:
http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum3/

Jan Derk
Monday, May 26, 2003

Yeah.. I get the same dejavu feeling. Can anyone recall when this degradation started to happen to Altavista? It was little weaknesses like this that got me interested in google in the first place.

Li-fan Chen
Monday, May 26, 2003

I guess I accepted that my this particular query isn't that good.

But in general, I have got this feeling about Google and I wanted others opinion about it! :)

JD

JD
Monday, May 26, 2003

My feeling is that using Google has become a more precise activity, not because Google has gotten any worse, but because there has been a LOT more data infused into the system (especially by bloggers).

Phrase searching is pretty much a must for accurate results, where that used to not be true.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Monday, May 26, 2003

[[ The search keywords are just silly ]]

Boris, those words you didn't like are called "stop words" and should be normally ignored by search engines.

Evgeny Goldin
Monday, May 26, 2003

One would assume that by giving google _more_ words to search with you are going to improve the results of what you want.. but i am finding that fewer words is better when you are searching for statistically _common_ things.

try this:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=DHTML+scripts

Heston Holtmann
Monday, May 26, 2003

definitely altavista revisited.  searching on google used to not be an 'art'.  you just typed in some terms and it was as if magic was performed and google gave you what you wanted.  altavista was like that too at first, then it slowly started the decline.  then the altavista apologists started in with the 'you don't know how to search' schtick.

victim, jr.
Monday, May 26, 2003

The thing I have noticed recently that is quite annoying is the  the context sensitive text ads.

Usually I find the ads useful and unobtrusive, but recently there has been a lot of "Search for item such and such" on ebay or pricegrabber.com.  What I often look for would not even be on those sites. 

Putting up something so generic as search on ebay or whatever site is distracting and will cause me to just start ignoring the ads instead of looking to see if there is anyting useful. 

Next thing you know google will start using popups and banner ads.

DB
Monday, May 26, 2003

So many people use google BECAUSE they don't have popups and banner ads that I think they're smart enough not to do that.

I read an article about Google changing their search algorithms... For example they'll only count one link per site rather than one link per page, so if every page on your site has a link to something, they only count one link now.

www.MarkTAW.com
Monday, May 26, 2003

Evgeny,
These words may be used very widely but an advanced search engine just can't ignore them. Google is ignoring only words like 'the', 'a' etc. I could be searching for a product called 'Best Script' and by ignoring the word 'best' you may guess what will happen.

Boris Yankov
Monday, May 26, 2003

Maybe I just didn't know what I was doing, but I thought that AltaVista sucked right from the beginning.  As I recall, AltaVista defaulted to using "OR" between search terms, which I thought was extremely silly.

J. D. Trollinger
Monday, May 26, 2003

i loved altavista, i used the +force include and -exclude all the time to build my searches.... but for the casual user it may not have been as good.

i was a slow adopter on google, but i've been using it ever since i switched.

www.MarkTAW.com
Monday, May 26, 2003

Altavista using OR made sense when they started because there were fewer web sites.  The idea was to find as much as possible.  The web explodes, their signal to noise ratio gets worse, and suddenly OR by default seems stupid.

Google is a victim of its own success.  It's the top dog, so now people are gaming the system.  They figured out how to get ranked on Google, so they engineer their sites and cooperate across sites to increase their position on Google.

Now Google is trying to experiment with algorithms to detect "cheating" and still give relevant results.

Richard Ponton
Tuesday, May 27, 2003

I've never gotten excited about any of the search engines.  If you want good search results you have always needed to provide good search criteria.  Garbage in - garbage out, right?

So why did Builder.com come up first?  Since this thread hasn't died yet I thought I'd do a little more digging.

First, if you follow the "web scripting" link in the left sidebar, it leads to a whole page of scripts - DHTML, javascript, etc.  OK, that's legit.

Second, if Google's results are based on the number of links to a page, then Google itself provides the answer to this. In Google's advanced search, you can search on sites that link to a URL. Builder.com yields 56,000 pages linking to it - far more than any of the other search results.  That's legit too.

Or is it? Maybe not ...

Every CNET Network (includes CNET, ZDNet, TechRepublic, GameSpot, et al.) web page has a link to builder.com in it's boilerplate footer.  Browsing through the first 5 pages of the advanced search results (above), all the links were from other CNET Network pages.

So, it seems that large sites can guarantee that they always come up high in Google's rankings my including links to their own pages in a boilerplate footer.

I don't know if Google has always done this, but it seems flawed to me.

Nick
Tuesday, May 27, 2003

"I don't know if Google has always done this, but it seems flawed to me."

yes, and they're working to correct this - see my post a just a couple of posts higher in this thread.

I kind of like Vivisimo http://vivisimo.com/ as a sort of meta search engine.

http://vivisimo.com/search?query=dynamic+HTML+best+scripts+download+free&v%3Asources=AltaVista%2CMSN%2CNetscape%2CLycos%2CLooksmart%2CFindWhat&x=54&y=18

Who actually puts "best" and "free" in their search terms? I think only cheezeballs put the words "best" and "free" on their sites (to drive traffic from cheezeballs who search for those terms). Invariably anyone who uses the word 'best' to describe their own site has a site I don't want to see.

www.MarkTAW.com
Tuesday, May 27, 2003

PageRank is Dead

http://jeremy.zawodny.com/blog/archives/000751.html

Interesting article.

www.MarkTAW.com
Tuesday, May 27, 2003

That zawody article is interesting. I didn't know that there was an effort to filter out the impact of blogs.

I tried "Joel" on Google and surprisingly joelonsoftware came out #1.  I would've thought Billy Joel would have beat him out.  That's pretty damn impressive if you think about it.  How many people can enter only their first name into a Google search and come up #1?

[I'll bet he's glad his parents didn't name him Dick.] :-)

Nick
Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Well... Billy Joel's been out of the music game for a while. And Joel Spolsky writes stuff on the web, so it stands to reason that there will be more web links to his writings than to a pop musician whose quit making pop music.

I've read a couple of articles recently about technologies that will allow Google to perform it's pageranking in half the time... What the end result is, is that they will now be able to perform much more complex spiders of the web & allow you to run more complex queries. Some say to the point of returning personalized results.... Perhaps even localized based on your IP address.

Search: Spears

Based on your search history, geographic location, and demographic information you filled in, we think you're searching for "Frozen Broccoli Spears Recipes" and not "Britney Spears Pop Sensation."

www.MarkTAW.com
Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Well, I'm the #12 "Brad", but I think my name is more popular that Joel's. :)

I'm definitely the #1 "Brad Wilson", and have been for a long while. I'm ahead of the guy who owns bradwilson.com. Hell, my abandoned domain that now advertises junk is in second place, presumably because there are a lot of people out there with links to my old site.

Google has stated that they are NOT taking blogs out of the index. They will very likely make tweaks to the algorithms, though, to de-emphasize the obvious over-importance of blogs in their indexing system.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Its definately the word 'Best' that is spoiling the search.  Builder.com comes out top because they have used the word 'best.'

Removing the word best gives much better results.

Ged Byrne
Tuesday, May 27, 2003

I noticed the same thing about a week or two ago.  I'm definitely having to wade through more crap on my google searches.

One-Armed Bandit
Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Yup, I've noticed this as well.  The most annoying part to me is searching for a product or company by name and ending up with pages of places selling it, rather than the official site.

SomeBody
Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Yes google is going downhill.  Same query, one year later, expected I'd be able to find the same useful sites, crap instead.  I've met at least a dozen cases of this.

John Aitken
Thursday, May 29, 2003

> Yes google is going downhill.  Same query, one year later,
> expected I'd be able to find the same useful sites, crap
> instead.  I've met at least a dozen cases of this.

Sounds like an expansion of Sturgeon's Law. Do you think there was just more useful stuff on the Internet before? And of course the number of links to useless crap must be expanding, the question is, is it expanding faster than the links to useful crap?

www.MarkTAW.com
Thursday, May 29, 2003

Crash course on using Google.

You can use quotes
>"bic pen"
You can use '+' so word must included in listing
>"bic pen" +blue +manual
You can use '-' to exclude entries containing that word
>"bic pen" +manual -buy -ebay

Using these you will get much better queries

Kent Design4Effect
Friday, May 30, 2003

Hence the whole "art" discussion.

www.MarkTAW.com
Friday, May 30, 2003

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