Ice-dancing partners... Yahoo and Google?

Nov 2, 2005 at 12:50 PM
The Jagger3 update (final Jagger update - we hope) is supposedly due today.

So is the Yahoo update.

It's just a bit strange to have Yahoo and Google dancing at the same time, during the rush of holiday shopping.

Beware christmas shoppers: you may be able to search for any one of your favorite presents and get exactly the same results for all of them -- Blog spam and spam pages containing mostly question marks.

But the dance should clear up quickly, as has happened a number of times before with updates.

----------
How I define update: the change in algorithm at the SE.
How I define dance: the change in the results due to the update.
----------

It's easy to see how an update improves things for the SE, but how is a dance useful?

Well, the only use I can see is for getting more paid search advertisers to pay more for ads, while the results are unstable. There's no other way for them to be guaranteed a spot on the results page, even if they were naturally in the #1 spot before.

Possible proof: Yahoo didn't say anything about having an update coming up until after forums and blogs started positing that Google was doing so primarily for their own monetary gain. And just after the release of their response to AdSense.

Both Yahoo and Google stand to make a great deal of money from having their search results in flux during the shopping season.

But they ought to realize that they can only do so for so long.

Do you want to know when I switched (years ago, as a pure consumer) to Altavista from Google? When Google was dancing so much that I could never find the results I had seen the last time I searched a term. Altavista appeared, to my completely untrained eye, more stable.

Most untrained searchers will see these dances as signs of instability, not flux. They don't know what the hell is going on -- they just know they can't find the brand of christmas stockings they bought last year from that place that was halfway down the first page of results.

The SEs stand to lose a great deal of search traffic if christmas shoppers get sick of looking at shifty, unstable results pages. They need to knock it off soon, and wait until the first quarter to "improve" their search index quality further. They've already gotten their self-evident goal - skyrocketing keyword prices in the PPC services.