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    When Google got it wrong


    ----- Original Message -----
    From: <help[at]google[dot]com>
    To: <alex[at]xqst[dot]com>
    Sent: Thursday, February 09, 2006 2:26 AM
    Subject: Re: [#44721731] Google's search result for our site is poor, even questionable

    Thank you for your note. We apologize for our delayed response. Sites' positions in our search results are determined automatically based on a number of factors, which are explained in more detail at http://www.google.com/technology/index.html. We don't manually assign keywords to sites, nor do we manipulate the ranking of any site in our search results.

    In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by increasing the number of high-quality sites that link to their pages. For more information about improving your site's visibility in the Google search results, we recommend reviewing our Webmaster Guidelines at http://www.google.com/webmasters/guidelines.html. They outline core concepts for maintaining a "Google-friendly" website.

    Thank you for taking the time to write to us and for your interest in Google.

    Regards,
    The Google Team


    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "alex" <alex[at]xqst[dot]com>
    To: <help[at]google[dot]com>
    Sent: Friday, February 10, 2006 7:10 PM
    Subject: Re: [#44721731] Google's search result for our site is poor, even questionable

    Dear Google Team,

    Thanks for your e-mail. This is the first acknowledgement we've received after having written to you three times in three weeks. Your response is late, yet you haven't even attempted to answer the questions we asked.

    We asked specific questions that relate to our name and domain. What you've sent us is general information from the Google website, which we were already aware of. We hear only corporate-speak from your answer, which is unlike the tone on the Google website.

    In fact, the website's information for webmasters spoke to us so well that it was one of our motivations for writing to you. We thought, if Google says they do it without human intervention, and they do it with checks and balances here and there, which to us is fine and fair enough, why then are they treating us in this "personal" manner?

    Xqst is the name of our service. It also occurs in our domain name, xqst.com. Now, search for xqst on Google. Then do the same on MSNSearch and Yahoo. In each case, examine the first 100 search results. I did so a moment ago.

    Google found 8 results containing information about our website, MSNSearch found 9 and Yahoo 17. Furthermore, our link, http://www.xqst.com, is the 5th result in the Yahoo search, and the very first result in MSNSearch. With Google, we stopped after examining the first 200 results. Our link wasn't among the first 200. Google claims to lead in search-technology; the comparison speaks for itself.

    The second point we raised was about our domain name, xqst.com. We have just searched for "xqst.com" on Google, on Yahoo and on MSNSearch. Yahoo found 17 results and MSNSearch found 24. All 41 links point to our website. Google found just one, the same one it's been returning for the past five months. Worse still, the information is badly outdated. It shows our former ISP as the owner of our domain.

    We've written several times to Google to delete it or to update it, to no avail. The fact that snip.com and www.snip.com share the same domain, and http://snip.com always returned an HTTP 400 ('Bad hostname') error didn't seem to suggest anything to the purportedly savvy folks at Google. For almost two weeks now, we've made a permanent redirect. Any request to http://snip.com is translated into an equivalent request to http://www.snip.com. First thing we did after that was to submit the URL http://snip.com/ at the Google website. Since then, the Googlebot and several other Google IPs have visited and have undergone the redirection, which means they should be aware of it. However, when I checked a minute ago, Google still returns the outdated information. When one enters "google.com" into the Google search engine it returns the link http://www.google.com. Why can't you realize that that might just be what someone else wants for his website?

    Your answer focusses on ranking, whereas we are concerned about reliability and accuracy of information. You cannot show 8 websites containing incidental links to a resource called xqst, yet not show the website itself that provides that resource, and whose URL happens to contain the search term. But that is what Google is doing. Apparently, the Google algorithm confuses ranking with accuracy of information. If information is distinct and accurate, it should appear high up in the search results, even if the "the number of high-quality sites" that link to it is small. If people are looking for me, tell them where I am. Don't tell them first about twenty popular, "high-quality" and "Google-friendly" people who might have an idea where to find me.

    There may indeed be no human intervention involved in the Google oddities that we've reported. Then, the only remaining explanation is that we've chanced upon a loophole of the Google search algorithm. Robot is not synonymous with accuracy or faultlessness as your answer seems to suggest. A faulty algorithm will produce unreliable results. We believe it is the case here. In our opinion, the Google search algorithm needs fixing.

    Regards,


    Alex,
    on behalf of the <snip> team
    Last edited by brandall; Feb 13th, 2006 at 11:11 PM. Reason: removed adult url
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    You're new here arent you?

    I'm impressed that you got an almost personal response... but its accurate. You're never going to get google to rank you merely on the fact that you deserve it. No, you actually just have to do what they say and get links.
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    wow


    I'm sure Google would bend over backwards to help a site selling what you sell
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    bwn
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    I am sorrry but the content of your site is most likely the reason you are banned. Sorry but Google is doing us a favor here.
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    probably not banned


    just slightly dampened -
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    Awww come on fellas... Spaggie / bwn - what his site sells is LEGAL and no different from millions of other sites on the internet.
    There's no reason for Google to do anything to "downgrade" the sites serps performance (other than the "standard PR cap" given to all adult sites).

    Alex,
    Google lists 38 urls for the domain, but only carries information for the home page... the simple fact is that the site has insufficient incoming links to make it "important" enough (in Googles eyes) to do anything more with.

    Whilst your argument about how your site being the source for so many "mentions" elsewhere should make it top ranked for it's name seems logical, the fact is that google algorithms don't work that way... and if you think about it, it would be a real mess if they did, since the guy who owns sex.com would get top rankings for the word (being as it's mentioned on a few million sites) etc etc.

    If you want to rank higher in Googles serps for general adult keywords, you will have to get considerably more incoming links... for the term "xqst" a handful of links should do it.
    ClickyB
    "The quality of the visitor is more important than the volume..." (Egol 22nd Feb 2008)
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    Talking


    There is no sense getting mad at an algorithm. No good will come of it.

    God had a go at this on Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy and look what happened to him...

    Comments on this post

    • brandall agrees : Laughed my a** off at the Hitchickers Guide reference. That's worth some rep in my book.
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    Originally Posted by Enigma121
    There is no sense getting mad at an algorithm. No good will come of it.
    Wise is this one :-)

    Any thread beginning with "google got it wrong" is bound to go nowhere of value. Almost by definition, Google can't get it wrong - at least not as far as SEO goes. Let's review:

    SEO = Search Engine Optimizing
    Search Engine Optimizing = optimizing web pages so that they rank well in search engines

    Thus, we know that a page is well optimized when...?

    That's right - when it ranks well in search engines.

    So, lets review. Does your OPINION that a page is well optimized indicate that IS well optimized? NO. Does MY opinion that a page is well optimized indicate that is well optimized? NO. Does some group consensus that a page is well optimized indicate that is well optimized? NO. Ranking well in search engines (e.g., Google) DOES indicate that a page is well optimized. That is not my opinion. That is the definition of SEO.

    So, anyone starting from the premise the Google got it wrong, is either not talking about SEO, or barking up the wrong tree.

    Bottom line, in the world of Google SERPs, Google is God. Google decides what is #1 and what is #1000. Like it. Your opinion, my opinion and the consensus opinion of everyone here has little if any relevance. The good SEO knows that and stops complaining about what Google does and instead tries to understand it and adjust to it in a way that is beneficial to him/her.

    "Live never to be ashamed of what is written about you. Even if what is written is not true" -- Richard Bach

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    Originally Posted by brandall
    Any thread beginning with "google got it wrong" is bound to go nowhere of value. Almost by definition, Google can't get it wrong - at least not as far as SEO goes.
    First Law for all algorithms: An inaccurate algorithm will sooner or later produce inaccurate results, whether it is called Google or not. There is no God behind the machine, just simple arithmetic, one-two-three, some common-sense, but also some academic pretension.

    Google's originators, ex-Ph.D. students, admit they relied on the analogy that the most relevant academic papers are those referred to by the most experts in the particular field. Hence, my point

    Your answer focusses on ranking, whereas we are concerned about reliability and accuracy of information. You cannot show 8 websites containing incidental links to a resource called xqst, yet not show the website itself that provides that resource, and whose URL happens to contain the search term. But that is what Google is doing. Apparently, the Google algorithm confuses ranking with accuracy of information. If information is distinct and accurate, it should appear high up in the search results, even if the "the number of high-quality sites" that link to it is small. If people are looking for me, tell them where I am. Don't tell them first about twenty popular, "high-quality" and "Google-friendly" people who might have an idea where to find me.
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    Originally Posted by Spaggie
    I'm sure Google would bend over backwards to help a site selling what you sell
    Google accepts money to include sponsored links to the most hardcore pornography material you can imagine.
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    Update


    We're currently at number one for the search term xqst. Naturally, we're happy with whatever it is that Google did to make it happen. As they have not said anything on the subject, we cannot speculate. However, on our side, we tightened the content of our meta tags and of our web pages, "just in case", to remove any excuses that Google may have.

    Strangely enough, Google continues to repeat the domain error. For months now, we effected a permanent domain-redirect from xqst.com to www.xqst.com. That means, our servers interprete any xqst.com request from a browser or robot as an equivalent www.xqst.com request. In fact, that is what happens when you enter google.com in your browser. Their server interpretes it as www.google.com. But Google continues to store and present our own domain information wrongly. Its search-result for xqst.com is not only wrong, it will soon be six-months old, believe it or not. Yep. Even after several complaints. I cannot imagine that the so-called Google innovators are aware of gaffes like this.

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