Feedback: Communication/Goodwill in 2006?

Google tries pretty hard to communicate with webmasters and site owners. We’ve got a blog, we speak at conferences, and employees answer questions on forums. But what else could Google do to improve communication this year?

On a broader level, I’d like Google to be acting as an advocate for its users. What new things could we offer (maybe completely aside from search) to help users? For example, after Hurricane Katrina, lots of people worked hard to provide updated imagery in Google Maps and Google Earth, and to let people search Hurricane Katrina-related documents. We also added a Creative Commons search (note: Yahoo did this first), so that people could search the web for Creative Commons-tagged docs. What more could we do in 2006? Is there anything that Google could do just to build goodwill with Google users? Maybe to help them get less email spam, or to bolster their privacy?

I think increased communication and more goodwill are often two sides of the same coin, so I’ll lump these into one thread. What would you like to see Google do in these areas?

57 Responses to Feedback: Communication/Goodwill in 2006? (Leave a comment)

  1. Hi Matt,

    I’d like more informations on what you consider spam activity.


  2. Everyone I know needs reliable protection against viruses, spyware and other malware.

  3. Hi Matt

    It might be good to see a tool that enabled people to find out instantly whether a penalty or filter had been applied to a url, or a site.This could be made available to Google account holders and limited to a small number of urls per day.

    When I used to do SEO for clients, I’d often spend a lot of time checking through both offsite and onsite factors that could have contributed to negative ranking factor a, b or c.

    Specifics might be too big a can of worms but if there was a way of saying we advise you to look at x, y, or z then this could be useful.
    In short, some kind of instantaneous means of getting feedback in a private way would help both individual site owners, and legitimate consultants alike.

    Ive no idea how many ‘is my site penalized’ emails you guys get, but I’d guess that its a lot.

    Why waste time and energy sending canned, and subsequent ‘yes mr so and so, your site is currently being filtered’ emails out to site owners, when the very same could be achieved within a click?

    I could do with a new interesting project, so if you need such a tool and interface developed…;)

  4. Oops just realised i might have posted the above to the wrong thread, sorry.

  5. I would like to see Google reps. I would definitely pay an annual webmaster/professional fee to have a knowledgable rep who would answer my questions via email (or whatever) in a timely fashion. I hate getting automated messages from the existing communication methods — especially when I feel I have a real problem or issue.

  6. Well the less email spam reminded me: I want to be able to add keywords to the GMAIL spam thinger. I keep getting spam about certain topics, and I only get that keyword in spam. It would be nice to be able to enter “drugs” into the filter and then have it block all the related spammer ways of saying drugs. Even if it was just a “Check here if you are not a doctor and don’t buy drugs online.” so then you know I shouldn’t get anything about it.

  7. If you want to protect your users, help them by helping those webmasters like myself who really aren’t webmasters at all. I have no clue how to do what you are doing in your “Leave a Comment” section.

    If I could protect my website from e:mail harvesters I would love to. My e:mail address is being used by hundreds of spammers on a daily basis. I get hundreds of notices every day because of it and I even get spam from my own address!

    If Google could offer this code or a form to webmasters, it would help the whole world and in an indirect yet substantial way, you’d be helping all Google users.

    Maybe you could even put a security notice such as “Protected by Google” logo on the page! I’d gladly advertise for Google free of charge … they’ve been doing that for me for several years! 🙂

  8. Matt, thank you for doing this.

    I’d appreciate seeing an ever-growing Google FAQ for webmasters:

    First, I surmise that volume is the primary reason that Google doers not respond to individual inquiries. I am also assuming that Google does not want to give away proprietary knowledge, which necessitates not disclosing to people exactly what they should do. (If Google did do this, then the Web would become even more heavily preferential to websites supported by deep pockets.) So this suggestion is not about leaving the vault of proprietary knowledge wide open.

    What I do presume is that Google receives a lot of similar questions, ones that can be answered without compromising proprietary security. These questions could be grouped and standardized, then answered and placed into a public FAQ.

    Off the top of my head I foresee two types of questions: standardized best practices being the first and hair splitters being the second.

    Standardized best practices would include basic information, some of which is already on Google’s website and additional information of the type included in Brett Tabke’s ’26 steps to 15k a Day’ (

    Hair splitters would include more detailed guidelines for People who want to make their best effort without crossing the line. For example, Google leaders have stated that they expect people will use software to make administrating their links more manageable and they stated that this makes sense. On the other side of the automation spectrum, we know Google penalizes sites that incorporate indiscriminate, automated link trading. But what about automated link programs that incorporates technology to ensure that traded links are relevant? This is a grey area where many webmasters might appreciate guidance.

    Staying with the automation example, for many reasons, it makes zero sense for Google to publish a list of good companies and naughty companies or to name names. What Google can do to help webmasters is to publish inside an FAQ a list of acceptable characteristics and unacceptable characteristics to assist webmasters to make better choices.

    Such a Google FAQ could be both manageable for Google to create on an ongoing basis and informative for webmasters. In my own profession I constantly seek best practices and freely share these with colleagues, either through mentorship or formal training. As Google is the premier index of searchable data on and about the Internet, sharing, and promoting best practices makes for good Internet citizenship.

    Thomas Schmitz
    Seattle, WA

  9. When you do an algorithm update, do what you are doing with “Big Daddy”…put it out for preview and feedback before allowing it go live.

    A higher % payout on AdSense would be nice too:.)

  10. Although reading your blog is a very helpful thing, but I think alot of webmasters are not aware to it and missing a lot of information you’ve already posted.
    How about creating a newletter everyone can register and choosing what subjects are they intrested in and by so making your blog information more accessiable to others and close gaps of information between webmasters.

  11. How about opening up and centralizing communication between Google and webmasters?

    Is there a division at Google dedicated to “Webmaster Relations” or something similar? In the end, organic, independent and user-focused as it may be (which is why we love it), Google is basically a conduit between site owners and users. As such, shouldn’t it work closely with both sides? A dedicated group could set up “Google Information for Webmasters” ( as a centralized place to announce upcoming changes (these could be vague and generalized if necessary, to preserve the secrecy of the algorithm), allow webmasters to check their own site(s) for bans or penalties (after first verifying through sitemaps or some other method), exchange feedback, and generally keep things a little more sane and hunky-dory. And centralized — it just doesn’t make sense that frantic webmasters are jumping from blog to blog looking for Googleguy/Matt Cutts/anyone who seems to know something, doing exhaustive tests, and wearing themselves out cursing Google to the heavens when their sites take a dive. The current systems of communication seem so scattered and archaic.

    Much could be done to repair the perception that Google pits itself against site owners/webmasters, who are, after all, half the equation on the web. Open things up a bit, and watch webmasters fall in line!

    I made a similar post under the “Webmaster Services in 2006,” but now it seems more appropriate here. Thanks Matt, for taking all this feedback!!! If there is a webmaster relations division and you’re not in charge of it, something’s wrong!

  12. Google should open SEO schools in most developed countries 🙂

  13. We need a german version of Matt Cutts, be it blogging, participating in forums etc…

  14. Create something called Google Coach. This would be a paid service that webmasters could use to have their questions about their sites answered. Taking this a step further I know on another one of your post people were asking for something to detect penalties. This would be the perfect resource for this. It would be a way to keep Google from financially eating up its resources and offer some services that webmasters are crying for. I could probably go on and write a book on this subject but I will just leave it at this and let you figure the rest out.

  15. Communications/Goodwill 1: Weather reports about upcoming updates.

    You did it once when you posted that people using auto-redirects might get rained on in the not too distant future, but it’s not the norm.

    Such advanced notice would serve both Google and website owners. Website owners will have the opportunity to clean things up in time for the update, which must be what Google wants. Also, you’d probably get clean-ups that the update wouldn’t have found, so you’d only benefit.

    It might even be an advantage that you’d get feedback before an update, which could point out things that might have been overlooked. E.g. it appears that part of Jagger dealt with css-hidden spam text, but managed to throw out plenty of genuine css navigation systems because they also hide (until the mouse is over them), and in so doing the update badly affect sites that used such navigations. Advanced feedback might have helped to avoid that. I’m not saying that it would have helped in that particular case, but there may be times when some advanced feedback will help. Either way, getting people to clean up must be what you want.

    Communications/Goodwill 2: Penalties.

    From reading plenty of posts, it seems that many sites and pages suffer in the serps, but the owners genuinely don’t know if they were penalised or if it was due to an algo change, and they have no real way of finding out. I’m also convinced that, in many/most cases, Google is happy enough to re-include the sites when they have been cleaned up. My suggestion is to come up with a method whereby people can find out if a site or page has a penalty. That would generate a lot of goodwill.

    I know that it can’t really be done by hand, due to the sheer volume of status requests that you would receive, but I don’t see anything wrong with a command: search that will tell anyone if a site or page has a penalty. Penalised pages must be flagged is some way, so a command: search would be easy enough to do, and specific details aren’t essential – just the knowledge that it’s a penalty or not would suit most people. At least they’d know to look in depth for it – and they might even clean things out that you don’t like, but weren’t even aware of. Everyone’s a winner 🙂

    I don’t see anything wrong with a public search like that. I don’t see any reason to keep the fact of a penalty secret from all but the penalised site’s owner.

  16. Stay focused on search. As a wise man once told me about investing, “stick with what you know.” It would be a shame to see you guys do what Yahoo! did, “back in the day.” I think building and maintaining the most usable and valueable search engine on the web is the best thing you guys can do. Addressing webmaster/search issues (like you finally have) with 302 redirects in a more timely manner would be great.

    Happy new year.

  17. I’d like to see some Google presentations at some of the more vendor focussed conferences, if it possible to arrange that. I’m thinking of TechEd, Lotusphere, etc. Feel free to call me an idiot if you already do this, and I missed it 🙂

  18. 1. More – lots more – site reviews like you (Matt) did in Vegas. For many that session was the highlight of the conference and it’s a great way to “teach” through example.

    2. Help all the gang at Google make the greatest force for social change in history. Bring the brainpower to complex problems of Global education and health. Right now I’d jump away from Adsense if Yahoo starts paying me better, but with you could gain my loyalty…forever.

  19. I would like to see Google start it’s own SEO forum so newbies/Webmasters can get facts about what is within Google’s guidelines. As things are, there are lots of well know forums out there which condone spammy tactics.

  20. Yahoo and MSN have been in the news for the wrong reasons recently, because they willingly rolled over on Chinese bloggers who got on the wrong side of the Communist Party of China.

    I’m not aware of any similar situation involving G, and I’d hope they’d have the guts to say no when some commie b*****d wants them to silence free speech.

    It took the U.S. and NATO 45 years to get rid of commies from Europe. I hope G doesn’t sell out the legacy of its citizens who protected Europe from 1945 to 1990.

    Remember, by taking down Chinese postings from servers, it means that Chinese communist laws are being extended to the rest of the world.

  21. I’d like to see Google enter Iraq and end the war.

  22. It would be great to meet Google people everywhere, like Google conferences all over the world….

    London, Paris, Berlin, etc…

    Not only in the States, we don’t have that much here in Europe 🙁

  23. Google Heavy Lifting for Non-Profits

    There is a big opportunity for Google to assist non-profit organisations. Giving money is one thing but providing cost price or free services is where Google could really make an impact.

    I’m a Social Worker and run a non-profit service for homeless people in Australia:

    What would it take to give non-profits:
    * Free domain registration
    * Free website hosting
    * Free telephone calls
    * Free internet access

    The leadership at Google is obviously interested in making a difference, I’d encourage you to become more aggressive about enabling the ‘third sector’ or non-profit sector.

    Few companies are in a position to effect real social change, non-profits are, so my call is to enable the entire sector.

    To achieve this – focus on how Google can help with heavy lifting – what stuff do you already do that can decrease expenses for the non-profit sector or increase income for the non-profit sector.

    There is a unique opportunity for Google given the capacity you have to effect social change by enabling non-profits.

    Giving cash is boring, staff volunteering is boring, but hey the amount of money the Gates Foundation is injecting into the sector is shaming Google’s foray into support so far.

    Are you serious about your involvement and offering for the non-profit sector or tokenistic?

    So far seems tokenistic and unimaginative – come on there is real potential for Google to achieve so much, please be real and make it happen in 2006.

  24. What´s the reason that Google is the most popular search engine in the world? The answer is of course: Simple user interface and having (practically) the whole internet indexed.

    If you move away from these 2 factors, the users will become less interested in Google. How well is the google personalized page doing? How many people are actually using it? I tried it once and I got that feeling of looking at yahoo or msn homepages,… Google should not want to go in that direction.

    Free email like Gmail, Yahoo or hotmail are like banks; To most people all banks are the same thing. Hardly anybody changes from one bank to another but they stick with what ever their parents had as well. I see the same thing in free email.

    Improving Gmail is great, but only necessary to keep up with the competition. I have tried to get many people to start using gmail but hardly anybody wants to change from yahoo or hotmail. I guess people just like to stick with what they know. However Gmail’s success ofcourse is in the user interface which is so simple that Yahoo and MSN should be ashamed of having let the world use such difficult systems for so long.

    Note: The 1Gig space (and now 2.5+Gig) is not the reason of success of Gmail, it is the user interface that made Gmail big.

    So in my opinion it´s all about the user interface. Google communicates through the user interface. Most likely its most important communication channel.

  25. Google should answer this question in their privacy policy:
    Approximately how long “What have you been doing” logs from search and gmail are kept on the Google?

    Also make sure that everyone who use Google Analytics have appropriate privacy policy. It seems that webmasters ignores this requirement.
    Also rename those _utm cookies to google_analytics cookies.

  26. I’m not going to be happy till I can “nudge” all Google employees at once on MSN Messenger and bomb them with weird smileys that do comical dirty stuff.

  27. I would love for Google to rethink/redesign their sandbox strategy. I have several sites sitting in the sandbox for ~1yr now all doing purely ethical SEO and providing useful content with no ads. getting backlinks these days is hard as all the webmasters are busy concentrating on their own rankings and are stingy when it comes to outgoing links.

    I’d love to see shorter sandbox periods or have a way of telling G that I am the owner of those other sites which you love and send tons of traffic too; hence, why keep my new sites in the sandbox that long?

  28. “Increased communication and more goodwill”. Blah.

    Sounds like you think people can have goodwill towards a rich company. If Google dies tommorow, do you really think people would really care? They might miss the search engine. Sounds like you might be overlooking why people like Google in the first place.

    I hate to say this but you wanted frank thought out responses.

    If you think people like Google because it’s a rich silicon valley company with its developers running around telling people about how great it is, you are wrong.

    People like Google because it gives good results for searches and doesn’t have pay for placements adds, that trick them. They also like the interface isn’t a mess.

    You want “Increased communication and more goodwill”? Then seek to simplify the main page further and increase the power of the search engine. Use my right click method to increase users navigation and search power, and then increase the simplicity of the interface and decrease the clutter.

    Lastly don’t use the link below the Google search button for your own purposes. Use it for humanitarian uses only and only have it show up 50% of the time.

  29. How about detecting malware/spyware/parasites on a users machine?

  30. I’d actually like to see less misinformation from Google. I think it’s silly when we are told things that are obviously untrue and so easy to prove as false.

    Things like “big sites that spam get removed the same as anyone else.” That would be bad business! We know why you let them get away with it… there are some sites people need to be able to find. And that’s ok.

    But saying they get treated the same as everyone else is an invitation for all webmasters to copy their dubious “seo” techniques. It’s kind of mean, even. Cause will get back in the index, and won’t for doing the exact same thing.

    I’d rather Google say nothing at all than make up lies. I believe they ought to either buck up and tell the truth, or just say “no comment.” At least that’s honest.

  31. Better communications on how to best serve users yet avoid penalties, when the two have the potential to collide.

    To illustrate what I am talking about:
    I have tried to get some answer from Google for a very high profile Internet client of mine on a very specific issue, having to do with making their mobile version of their site accessible to spiders while avoiding duplicate content issues.
    End June I sent an email to No response, so I sent a reminder beginning August. Two weeks later I got the response “For assistance, please submit your message through the online contact form at We apologize for any
    inconvenience.”. (which is what I wanted to avoid, knowing that in that direction I might not get any response). WIth no other recourse, I went ahead and submitted my message to No response to this very day…

  32. The great thing about this blog post, Matt, is that you’re taking a real interest in what people have to say and trying openly to get their feedback. It speaks to the kind of person you are and the pride you take in your work that you’re open to feedback, suggestions, ideas, and thoughts and have no problem with an open, public discussion of such, even when those thoughts and opinions might differ from yours or be anti-Google in nature. That’s very cool and takes a lot of guts.

    The problem is that you’re the one taking interest in this. Google itself, on the other hand, doesn’t really seem to do so all that much.

    There’s nowhere to post a direct response on the Google blog, never mind an open discussion.
    The link to the Google group where feedback is solicited is buried in a pretty obscure location that all but the savviest web surfers wouldn’t find, and even then, no one from Google seems to be responding (granted a lot of the questions are rather inane and time-wasters at best, but some are legit).
    There’s no private form to post feedback or at least start a one-on-one email dialogue. I can understand why no phone number (every idiot would be calling going “why’s my site banned?”) but at least email would be acceptable.

    Personally, I think you’re getting better at the communication thing, but most of that is your own efforts, and that’s not fair to you as a person. You’re trying to work on the engine and make it better. You shouldn’t have to do PR as well, unless you’re getting two paycheques for it (and if you’re not, tell your bosses to give you a raise because your blog fans said so.)

  33. I’m thinking. What makes me like or dislike a company? I’m a free minds / free market guy, so all those anti-big business arguments or attempts at social engineering are outside my critical purview for a company. If they are charitable thats admirable, but my view of the world says the best thing a company can do is create great products/services value and honor their agreements. So the degree to which I am aware of any companies great products and services and the degree to which they honor or exceed their agreements, is largely the degree of their goodwill.

    For most users google is a search engine. The implied agreement is simple. Enter a keyword and Google will show you relevant results. Google did this very well from the start and this was once my reason for telling friends about the great new alternative to yahoo!

    Even with all the areas of google development I believe this should remain Google’s goal and marketing thrust for goodwill. The internet can seem daunting and complex. If there is somewhere to go for simple clean results that will be perceived as the best public service by me.

  34. Hello Matt

    What disapointed us the most here is the poor communication from Google in regards of the switch from Urchin to Google Analytics.

    We believe that Google could have been more proactive communicating what is going on to the community, especially to the users of the paying service (before Google made it free).

    We received the notice of the switch the day it happened. Then the service got very slow. Then we couldn’t add any more profiles (we had plans to launch new versions of our websites using new profiles), then we end up getting “under maintenance” messages when we try to login for a couple of hours.

    During all that time, we received only one email, and that’s the email Google sent the day of the switch.

    This could have gone a lot better for us if we’d have been informed. So that is my recommendation for 2006: be proactive communicating changes that will impact your community of users, especially the ones using Google to do business!


  35. Krishna Kishore

    Hi Matt,

    Is there any reading tool from Google for the users who are blind but very enthusiastic to surf the super highway to get information, entertainment, news, sports etc.. I think it will be a great help for them if Google provides one.

    I always believe Google is dedicated to users.

    Thank You

  36. Okay, my 2 cents.

    Very bold, I know.

    Organic listings look basically the same to your average joe searcher. Most have no idea about how a page gets listed on page one for a phrase they type in. Why not explain in great detail exactly how those pages come up for their search?

    You could have a link beside the others with the text as this:

    Why is this page here?

    Then actually give the “name” of the SEM/SEO who is helping that particular website. Oh yes, that would involve some sort of meta tag in the head tag that gives the name, but why not? If it’s an in-house type person, that’s fine; Name that person.

    I just think if you want complete disclosure for “your” searchers/visitors to Google; why not show them absolute complete disclosure? 🙂

    Yes, I know; My post is very controversial with many different parts to figure out before implementation, but Google wants to be different from all the rest, right?

    Not to mention the fact that a blackhat SEO would never put their name in a client’s website head tags. LOL

  37. I’d like to know more about what G thinks of my site. Of course I’d like to know what I’m doing wrong when I’m low in the SERPs, it’s just as important to know what I’m doing right when I’m high in the SERPs.

    After all, a quick look at my site and I could be doing plenty wrong without knowing about it, yet still rank highly … and so come to the wrong conclusions about that.

    Also, here’s a HERETIC idea: helping sites to rely less on SERPs for traffic … of course, maybe that’s too much in the realm of common-sense … then again, with the vast diversity of webmaster experience out there, perhaps we shouldn’t take for granted the obvious bits …

  38. Recently, Google launced the “Google Librarian Center”, and while its a good idea in theory, its thus far been proven to be a pathetic attempt at communicating and networking with people in the library field. As a library professional myself, I was somewhat excited about it. I thought, well, if they’re only releasing a newsletter 4 times a year, it has to be filled with some decent content. I was wrong. The first newsletter was a waste of time. Your contribution was good and interesting, but for about 80-90% of librarians, they couldn’t care less about the finer details of indexing, crawling, page rank, etc. If this article you contributed were included in the newsletter in ADDITION to other relevant information for librarians, then I think we would have had a pretty good newsletter. I am hoping that the next one turns out a million times better, but I’m not holding my breathe. So my suggestion to Google is to step it up a notch with this Google Librarian Center. I told a lot of my colleauges about it before the release of the first newsletter, and they were genuinely thrilled at the prospect of the idea. However, when the newsletter was released, many were very disappointed. If whoever is in charge of it is overextended and this is just some other extra annoyance to them, then go out and hire someone who can devote all their attention to it. Librarians are a powerful force in the world, and its always good to be their friend. It seems like you guys are a bit out of touch with what librarians want to know…and tiny newsletter 4 times a year is a embarrasingly small effort.

  39. “I would like to see Google reps. I would definitely pay an annual webmaster/professional fee to have a knowledgable rep who would answer my questions via email (or whatever) in a timely fashion. I hate getting automated messages from the existing communication methods — especially when I feel I have a real problem or issue. ”

    I agree with this user. Our site has been providing a popular FREE web authoring tool for the last 5 years and late May 2004 we discovered that Google has penalized our web site. To this day I don’t understand why we are being penalized for offering the community free services/tools. Perhaps they want us to spend money on Adwords or perhaps there were a few too many people linking to us.

    Tickets sent to Google do not even get answered. 🙁

  40. Errrmmm… maybe answer mail?

    I’ve send a mail through and it never got answered.
    Not even a standard answer..

    I’m really dissapointed now..

    So much for the communication part I figured, being a starting SEO specialist..

  41. This may not be the place for this comment. But I could not help but read the other suggestions and think folks got to realize that many of these suggestions can never happen. For instance, many want help or detailed guidelines on how to get there site to rank better (in one way or another). This just can’t work.

    For instance, let’s say Google were to actually tell everyone to use ‘X method’ (insert your favorite SEO technique) to get higher rankings. Once everyone does this, the ‘X method’ will no longer be a viable method – it will have been negated by everyone using it. The ‘X method’ will then be of no use to anyone – including Google. Without a doubt Google has some good secrets on how rank pages the way they do. What would we webmasters give to know what they are? But if we all knew these secrets, they would not longer be of any use. Once just one secret Google ranking method is out in the open, Google looses that method as a viable tool – since it know doubt will be abused – or at least widely used. You better bet I’d use it. One other commenter mentioned ‘I don’t want Google to give away the store BUT….’ then goes on to ask Google to communicate how to get higher rankings. That would be giving away the store!

    Added to this, the rankings are always in flux. Google is all the time trying different ranking methods in different categories/sectors. If they were to tell us anything today, it would be ‘old news’ tomorrow. Google can not be responsible to tell us how to SEO on their SE and not have their results suffer. Come on guys, stop asking. You look desperate (and a little unreasonable). It’s like asking Nun to take her clothes off – it just isn’t going to happen.

  42. Hi Matt,

    One point that has aways puzzled me about Google is the fact it is using without a doubt terabytes of information, yet it still keeps pages which do not exist on a users website for a year+ in its data servers, these pages must effect peoples rankings, is there an easy way to leave the pages you want in google but delete the rest, or can you not do it automaticly from your end, and save loads of storage at the same time.

    Thanks in Advance from Alan

  43. I would like to see faster response to DMCA complaints. There is a lot of copyrighted material included in Google’s search index. Granted, the Google legal team is doing its best to respond to a great number of DMCA complaints (which has probably increased 100 folds due to blogspot), but I think webmasters who have their content stolen would like resolution ASAP.

  44. What I would love to see is Google being specific when they talk.

    For example, I submitted my blog to Google News. I really doubted that I’d get accepted but I wanted to see if I could.

    I got a reply that basically said: Thanks for submitting your source, but at this time we are not going to include it. We’ll keep it for future reference.”

    Fine. But see they can help by saying. We didn’t accept this news source because it was new, because the information was irrelevent, because it’s a spam blog, because the page doesn’t exist, etc.

    I they get specific I think webmasters would be more than willing to fix their errors.

  45. The software pack is a pretty good offer for users, IMO. Although the desktop search tool could be improved a lot. While we’re communicating, I use Google to search for stuff, so that makes me a user. Google could make my life better by creating a decent alternative to Yahoo Stores.

    As a webmaster, it would be nice to see Google do a better job of explaining/debunking whatever goofy theories are running amok in the SEO world. You don’t have to give SEOs a recipe for changing search results, but you can save the newbies from running in circles chasing ghosts.

  46. Communication and more communication, an area where you could enter a url and see if you have any penalties against you and a brief description of how this can be addressed.

    Most webmasters do not try and cheat, they do not do things on purpose that are against Googles ‘rights & wrongs’, whilst some feel they have to make small tweaks to keep up with the ones that are cheating. Like an athlete taking steroids, the only way to beat him is join him?

    Okay nobody expects Google or its staff to inspect every site and every question but surely some automated system can be implemented that says “No Penalties” or a “Penalty In Force” which would at least take the guess work out of some errors?


  47. Solve the email spam issue and be the hero of the world! Honestly, I can’t count the thousands of hours I’ve spent on spam over the last decade and the loss of time has cost me more than I want to think of.

    Specifically, I want to forward my email to Gmail, review it there, download the good and bounce the bad (if possible/necessary). I’ve heard this is possible (tonight!) and will be checking this out. However, it needs to be the best spam filter in the world. Maybe there needs to be a voting system we can all tie into. I’m not the genius on this issue but someone out there is and we need to remove this blight from our world. Just think — if enough people used your system and you blocked the majority of spammers it would reduce their revenue to the point they’d have to get real jobs. Now, that would be a day to celebrate!


  48. I’m not sure what Google considers spam – if this isn’t spam ( then I don’t know what is, really! And these guys are number one for some keywords.

  49. I would like to see Google respond to e-mail (now web-forms).

    I’ve sent dozens without receiving a non-automated reply.

    That tells me that Google is not serious about “Communications/Goodwill.”

  50. Anybody ever play the ‘ I hate game’ ?

    Me first.

    I hate, cats RRRRRsss’s 🙂

  51. I mentioned this in your other post where you have so many outside emails but it fits better here:

    Google needs to stop answering questions on other forums and start their own support forum where everything can be archived and searched. We REALLY need this communication and help from Google.


  52. I don’t know if this counts as communication, but I don’t see anything more appropriate so here goes.

    There’s a problem in terms of interpreting the message that Google is trying to communicate with its webmaster “guidelines”. The problem is that the guidelines use words like “recommendations” vs. “rules and regulations”, creating a grey area.

    Some people interpret this as “Google doesn’t outright say not to do these things, so we still can go ahead”, whereas others interpret it as “we shouldn’t do these things.”

    In other words, make your guidelines more black and white (and maybe call them something other than guidelines, although I don’t know what.)

  53. I think there should be a Google Fish Finder. You guys are the best at searching. Now lets find all those fish! I bet the graphics would look great too.

  54. What could Google do to improve its communication and goodwill this year? That’s easy to answer. Find some way to let webmasters find out if their sites are penalized, if so by what penalties, and how long a penalty will last after the problem is corrected. Without any way for a webmaster to get that information Google promotes ill will by frustrating webmasters… and for every web page there’s a webmaster.

    Here’s another suggestion. Either get rid of the public page rank or make it useful. As near as I can tell search results are not ordered by PR, so what does it mean? Publishing PR only every 3 months makes it mean even less. Does it communicate anything of value or does it just cause confusion?

    Thanks for listening.


  55. There’s already a source code search engine, but Google could make it several magnitudes of order better. Full source search of the linux kernel,, Mozilla, things on SourceForge?

  56. Hi Matt

    Enjoyed the blog for some time – I’m something of an amatuer at this SEO stuff, but trying hard to learn!

    Our site has been around for about 4 years, and as the business has grown, and we have taken on new agents throughout the UK, we have added pages to the site for each region we now cover. We have added links and tried to include the right tags; use Google Webmaster Tools etc. What we don’t understand is why many of our main search terms on Google return a #31 listing. It seems there must be a -30 penalty on many of the pages on our site (but not all – we do rank #1 on some terms on some pages). We know we must be doing something wrong, and our agents are desperate for us to put it right so we can support them in the field with enquiries from our site. But we can’t find out what! Any comments that could point us (and from research many others) with putting right what we have done wrong, and remove the penalty, would be hugely appreciated.



  57. All I wanted to Highly Recomend you Great and Crazy People just keep doing what you do best. BEING TERRIFIC ! I have been using Google ever since it started, and even back in 1980 a smidgen of what Google can do would have been like a Blessing from Heaven.
    Again, I Highly Recomend you Great and Crazy People just keep doing what you do best. BEING TERRIFIC !
    e24c41 a Retired Psychiatric Nurse