Does The Release Of A Secret Google Document Help Or Hurt?
I saw a copy of the so-called secret pdf guideline report for Google’s contractors to use when ranking or rating our websites. I was a bit surprised by some of it, and not surprised at all by the rest. The pdf went into details on what Google looks for when considering if a site is useful or spam. I also saw where in the report it talks a bit about ads and how they look at sites with different ad blocks above the fold and whether or not they add or detract to the site overall.
Well Google employees, I have a few comments on this, you asked us to place these ads above the fold for years. I would get messages in my inbox and read them. It would say in so many words, “You are missing out on earnings, please consider adding a large rectangle ad block above the fold”.
Google released a heatmap of where visitors click to help us as well. I have used this information to help with ad placement over the years. I am not alone there, a lot of folks take the Adsense team literally and do what they ask. Why would this ever hurt us anyway? Google said to do it, they should know that better than anybody and we can earn more from our blog.
Does The Right Hand Know What The Left Hand Is Doing?
Does the adsense team collaborate with other teams? I would like to know, if they rate us lower for ads above the fold when the adsense team asked us to do exactly that, then I call nuts on that. I have done well with this program, don’t get me wrong, I just hope they can clarify a bit better those who make Google a lot of money and pay their bills. Don’t you wish they had some kind of guarantee with their various services? I know they cannot do this, but with certain publishers who make them a ton of money, maybe some kind of agreement that they won’t drop you like a bad date?
There is no real way a search provider can offer this kind of agreement with it’s associates, maybe the preferred publishers get some kind of agreement, but not regular folks who happen to do a bit better than the general website owners.
We as bloggers and in many cases affiliate marketers wonder where this all leaves them. Does Google really hate us? Not really, they just are looking at how many ads are on the page and whether or not your review article is on target or not. They don’t want copied articles, we know that already. They don’t seem to mind as much the ads being there and I would hope not. A few people are saying that they may score the affiliate site a bit differently, and that’s just opinion I suppose. Some folks have said that affiliate marketers are just another unwanted step in the sales process.
But from what I could glean from the pdf is that in the case of the website that gets a manual review, the pdf is the baseline quality score for the manual review person to follow. We all know that the Panda updates were designed to rank sites that copy or scrape all their content a lot lower. I know for fact that some of these sites get through the filters from the algorithm, I have seen some of the very poor quality sites rank for terms that I use a few times a month while looking for a piece of software or other type of program or information.
Does the website provide the searcher what they are looking for and is it dead on target? If not, then the site could at some point come under a manual review if they rank highly for a certain term and be scored by a real person. If the site is owned by a large corporation or brand name, they seem to get some slack of sorts for what is termed as vital when dealing with their brand. There is a few large companies that don’t get any slack, and that is Yahoo and others.
My Take On Site Scoring With Ads Above The Fold
Google asked us to place those ads there a long time ago. I earned good money from this method that they themselves had us do. They also profited greatly from this very same method. After all, if they do not have us to place content for their ads, they don’t make a dime. Money that gets spent on their free lunch program they give to employees, the sleeping pods they use, the salary of each employee, and the list goes on. I know they don’t really care if they ban somebody for doing things they do themselves or have done. I also take issue with site scoring with ads above the fold taken into consideration as to site quality. I have a real hard time with the hypocrisy of the whole mess, or at least the appearance of it.
I will not change the way I write, or place my ads on my site. I also will stand my ground when it comes to writing what I feel on subjects of greater interest even though they may be a bit controversial. How do you feel when you are told how to think or how to act in your daily life? Probably not very well.
Should Google Let This PDF Out To The Webmasters?
I wonder about this question and I am not the only one who has brought up the subject. A lot of webmasters mention that if Google really wants site owners to do better and get rid of web spam, they should make what they want truly public. I have not and will not place a link for this secret pdf, there are a lot of places where you can get it. Google has been actively asking webmasters to remove the pdf and have been policing for sites that do have it.
I wonder how the web would be, and the quality of sites would be if this information was public and maybe released like a regular publication to adsense publishers and other webmasters who deal with Google in particular? It would be a good start, and then maybe open up the syndication of the document to others over time.
If they did this, they may change the style of the publication that shows actual site links and the comments for each. Yahoo was a bit miffed at the results, and if you ever get to read it, you will see why. Some of the sites are chosen in what seems a targeted fashion if the site in question ranks well for a particular search term. Not to say that all upper ranking sites will get a manual review, but it makes you more visible. This is just common sense.
I do hope things will get a bit more transparent with what Google expects of us and what we get from their spokespersons. I don’t really like to follow what these individuals have to say, it seems they are supposed to misdirect us on purpose in some cases. The algorithm will always be a secret and we understand that, but with the release of this pdf document and what we as webmasters can learn about it is the most important bit of actionable information that has been released in years.
*GOOGLE ® is a trademark of Google Inc.
Excellent analysis, Jim. I am wondering more and more whether has or is just about to Jump the Shark. Their new “keyword secrecy” and lack of willingness to share data with those who would only make them more money AND improve the landscape of searches as a whole (that’s where we come in) seems to go against their supposed first rule: “do no harm”.
Man, don’t get me started on the Google Soapbox! What a freaking rat race they got going on there. I’m pretty sure they got Monkeys calling the shots over there. It wouldn’t surprise me if Zuckerberg was over there running the show the way things are going.
Tell you what, that Commission Commando course your promoting, there is the best alternative to Google, go with SOCIAL MEDIA! It’s not going away. Keep up the good work!
You tell ’em Jim, glad to see someone start bucking the system. You have millions of people online who agree with you. Google is as bad about communicating with it’s “soldiers” (those who bring in the ad bucks) as the CIA, FBI and Homeland Security are about communicating with each other. And we all know where that got us!
I agree with Chad….keep up the good work!