Try searching for UTube ripper! Google buried UTube, the video downloader deep it almost is like Google doesn’t want me to find YouTube video download software program. RIP UTube.
With more than 9 years of e-commerce SEO behind my belt, I tend to think I have some experience in optimizing large e-commerce websites for search engine rankings. In the years at eBay I was busy counting the billions of visits, rather than millions. Mainly due to the size of the website, and maybe a little because of my influence on how the product was getting built.
Now, working for Geeknet, I’m learning new verticals and how to optimize SEO for sites that I’m responsible for. For SourceForge especially there is a lot of opportunity to gain more free traffic through SEO. But stay tuned around that in the coming weeks/months, we have a lot of plans in the hopper.
Although the raw material at SourceForge I get to work with is of high quality, there are other factors influencing my ability to be successful getting more traffic through SEO. In the case UTube outlined below it’s a huge factor: Google Search Suggest.
Google Search Suggest Getting in the Way
While doing traffic analysis for a project on SourceForge, I identified the root cause of traffic fluctuations on the exact match keyword traffic for this project was Google Search Suggest. I’m not the only one who is seeing a decline in traffic due to the Search Interception of misspellings. The Google Support Forums is full of website owners who have seen their traffic decline after the most common misspelling traffic was rerouted to Google suggested search results in “the right spelling“. Let me explain the story that I found…
When searching for UTube, Google automatically suggest the search results for a different query: YouTube. And with Google Instant Search, the results are already displayed on the page, which show YouTube as the dominant website in the top websites ranking. Now I understand the confusion in the Google Suggest algorithm, as YouTube and UTube are such similar queries, and the majority of the users actually misspelled their search for YouTube. (Google even has been sued for driving up the bandwidth cost for the exact match domain UTube.com back in 2006 according to this article on Techipedia).
As you can see, the two links at the top of the results should explain what search results you actually are looking at, and how you can navigate to your original query.
You could argue that the search suggest for UTube is aimed to prevent people in search for online video’s to accidentally take down the server again for UTube.com. However, you don’t have to be afraid anymore the Universal Tube & Rollform Equipment Corporation is going bankrupt on high bandwidth costs. Their original domain is now full with advertising, while the company moved their official website to a new domain: utubeonline.com
Search Instead for…UTube
But what if I did want to search for UTube and I do want to see those results for that UTube query, you would think I just would need to click on that link which says: Search Instead for utube. Wrong…! I tried to navigate through that top link to the right search results for my keyword, but even when the keyword was displayed correct in the link, it failed to serve me the right result set. Multiple times I got different results which did not include the right websites to satisfy my search. The dominant results I got were for the keyword utu with this URL:
Normally, you could claim the changes Google is making here are aimed at providing a better user experience, at least, this is the normal PR talk Google puts forward. This way, people who are searching for online video’s are not ending up on a website of a totally unrelated company because they didn’t know the exact name for The YouTube! This case, the story might have some more to it! And as I’m an SEO, I might be conspiracy theorist:
Thin Foil Hat SEO’s
From the page on SourceForge you cannot really learn a lot about UTube. The project description is very limited, which is one of my tasks to start enhancing in the coming weeks.
About UTube: Utube Ripper is an application written in Gambas that works exclusively on Linux. It’s useful to download and convert Youtube videos in a simple and efficient way.
In other words UTube ripper, the open source software project, makes it really easy for any consumer to download video’s from YouTube. Have you ever wanted to download video from YouTube but don’t know how to? Where would you go to find information on how to rip a movie from YouTube? Right, most people would type in the question into…Google. And who owns YouTube…. Right…Google!!!
There are plenty of people searching for solutions to download a video from YouTube, as Google Suggest is showing it must be a popular query:
For every search I did with UTube in the query, this keyword was replaced for YouTube. Was Google doing this to hide the UTube ripper, so less people would be able to download video’s from YouTube? I doubt it, I rather think that the replacement of UTube for YouTube is a hardcoded query based on the earlier mentioned lawsuit in 2006. The fact that I get search results for a different query when I click on the search instead for… link might be a bug in the system, who knows..?!?
I’m still stuck with a page for which it’s super hard to grow the traffic, as the search traffic, even for branded queries, is intercepted and rerouted somewhere else. Even if I do manage to get the SourceForge page higher up in the rankings, how will I ever be able to stimulate people to search for UTube Ripper, the Open Source Software project which allows you to download video’s on YouTube?
Google killed UTube ability to grow search traffic. R.I.P. UTube, Coldblooded Google Killed YouTube Ripper. R.I.P.