Brian Gilbert - Enlightenment

Recent Google Updates Equal Bad User Experience?
Posted By: Brian Gilbert on October 6, 2012

With the portfolio I help manage (, we've got a couple of business related domains that were ranked fairly well in Google until recent Panda updates. Prior to the most recent update, if you Googled the particular keyword we were competing for, we were ranked #3 behind a .gov site that took the top 2 spots. Now, post Panda 3.x, if you Google the same term, 9 of the 10 sites on the first page are .gov sites and our .com has been moved to page 3. I understand that .gov sites have better weight. But let's be real, .gov sites don't really provide users with what they're looking for, nor does it provide this information in a quick and easy way to understand. Have you tried to navigate a .gov site lately? I have to say they've gotten a lot better than just a few years ago, but .com sites hitting on the same keyword are far more intuitive than a .gov site.

Commercial site owners/operators/developers understand that you only have a few seconds to capture the visitors attention and then to funnel them to what they're looking for as quickly as possible in hopes of getting a conversion (whatever that conversion may be). Hence big orange buttons that say Sign Up Now or Buy Now, etc.

Other industry experts that I've spoken with are experiencing similar results. They're not competing against .gov sites, but of the sites ranked, their sites are very intuitive compared to their competition. However, when they get shuffled to a lower spot in the SERPs, the sites that take their place are terribly difficult to navigate and are convoluted with ads vs. giving the user what they truly want.

I think if Google had their way, the entire internet would only consist of Wikipedia, and .gov sites. BTW, have you ever noticed that any service google provides like email, maps, docs, videos, etc. all rank #1 for their term....with the exception of the word search.

So, I'm curious to know if the Google user experience will decline causing Google to re-rank once again. I personally think some of the Panda updates they've done have improved search results, but as a whole, it's hurt a lot of legitimate sites.

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