What Google Says vs. What Google Does

To begin, I'm a massive fan of Google. I still very clearly remember the first time I used it, and was surprised and delighted at the quality of the results I got -- and never went back to Dogpile again.

It's also important to point out that I'm focusing purely on results for Google in the UK, although I have seen examples that suggest what I'm seeing is true for other regions as well.

As can happen, however, with relationships that last a long time and involve such a strong level of commitment, I feel like things have gone increasingly stale in recent times. And I'm not the only one.

The big problem with Google is that they keep promising they'll improve and show better results. But they aren't really delivering, at least not in some cases.

Some specific promises in particular have frustrated me. For example, the seemingly continual promises to downweight exact match domains, so they stop appearing at the top of search results over brands that have actually spent the time building a proper company and product offering and have invested in their website to make it a better user experience.

Matt Cutts has had a few things to say on this subject in recent times. His explanation on use the of exact match domains reassured a lot of brands and presumably worried a lot of low-quality affiliate sites at the time.

The problem is, since that particular video came out, more exact match domains appear to be ranking higher than before. A couple of highlights are below -- make sure to note the increasingly intrusive PPC ads!

google-cheap-car-insurance.png

google-public-liability-insurance.png

google-car-insurance-for-women.png

google-credit-card-comparison.png

We've heard a lot about poor user experiences and how Google is looking into fixing them. But to then see the complete opposite actually happening in the same timeframe is a little bit frustrating.

A lot of people, both agency-side and client-side, read what Google representatives say, and pore over the information contained in interviews. So for the search industry as a whole, and SEO in particular, it's actually quite important that there isn't a gap between what they say and what happens.

Ultimately, a lot of great work from companies, agencies, and also from Google themselves can be undermined.

It would be better if there was just an official process for putting out information about algorithm developments rather than any drip-feeding of information that, in fairness, is often really useful, but can also lead to problems like the examples above.

I know I'm not the only one with an opinion on this, so it would be good to hear what others have to say in the comments.

About the author

Gareth Owen, Head of Natural Search, Steak, began his career in SEO at ChoiceQuote Insurance based in Liverpool in 2004. Responsible for the full marketing function for insurance products in motorcycle, taxi, van and haulage, he oversaw sizeable increases in ROI from online marketing spend.

He then moved to The Search Works where, as European Account Director, he worked on a range of large client brands, pioneered studies into the measurable effects of TV advertising on search volumes, and generated over £1 million in revenue through integrated search offerings in 2009. While in this role he also successfully created an integrated PPC/SEO/Affiliate offering for the parent company.

As well as being responsible for the SEO offering at Steak, Gareth also sits on IAB and IPA Search Councils and has spoken at IAB, IMRG and Econsultancy conferences.