Wednesday, 26th December 2012
GOOGLE SEARCH: IS GOOGLE SQUEEZING OUT ITS COMPETITORS? – I remember way back in the late 1990’s when Yahoo was the dominant force with online search. Their downfall in popularity came to pass for a number of reasons but mainly due to its own arrogance in thinking it was so powerful that it was untouchable. Internet users and website owners put Yahoo firmly in its place when they migrated towards Google.
The rest of the story above is basically history and while Yahoo is still a large company it is a mere shadow of its former glory and
Yahoo’s favor continues to decline as its top management appear unable to understand what the user wants or indeed how to deliver it.
The dominant force online today is Google. Google has grown from a simple search engine to one the most influential internet companies in the world.
Ask any webmaster how they feel about Google and you are likely to get a tirade of expletives, none of which are in any way, shape or form complimentary.
If you are not aware of how Google delivers its search results that you type into the search bar let me enlighten you – I’ll try not to use too much jargon.
For starters each time you undertake a search, Google runs billions of pages through a series of Algorithms, in fact over 200 of them. These are little computer programs that supposedly sort the good from the bad, the useful from the not so useful and this is all done in a blink of an eye. Yes it is pretty amazing. Google uses all these Algorithms in order to produce results that are of most use to you, or what is most relevant.
Unfortunately if you are a webmaster then you have to build each page that will pass through each and every Algorithm in order to get your web page or website delivered in front of the search user.
Over the last couple of years Google has been on the war path by introducing and upgrading a set of algorithms, such as Panda, Penguin, Caffeine and Page Layout, in order to weed out what Google refers to as “Low Quality Content”.
Google openly states that each and every web page must contain ‘Unique’ and ‘Quality’ content for it to deliver that page to the search user.
When you look at the surface of this it does appear to be a really good thing. After all Google is trying its best to deliver high quality, unique and relevant content each and every time someone undertakes a search.
Unfortunately, for many webmasters, Google’s continuous tweaking and upgrading of its algorithms appear to have a more sinister tone to them and indeed it wasn’t long ago that a number of companies complained to the EU and US Fair Trade Commission to investigate Google’s practices in delivering search results that appeared to be favouring Google’s business over its competitors.
Google has openly announced that webmasters should not worry about trying to engineer a web page so that it obtains high rankings but rather concentrate on producing high quality unique content for the site visitor, and that’s a fair statement, after all we should want to deliver great content in order to keep our visitors happy and returning for more.
This would be a good idea, however without a decent ranking for any particular page then it is unlikely to attract the volume of visitors required to make commercial sense in producing a page. Google states that its algorithms are now smart enough to determine the content of the page, how much of it is unique and whether or not it is useful to the visitor. I find this all a bit worrisome and the question I have to ask is what gives Google the right to determine whether what I have produced is useful or not – surely that should be the decision of the people visiting the page?
One thing Google does not like is content that is copied from another website. This is referred to as Farmed, Scraped or Duplicate content. The algorithms severely penalise any website that engages in such practices, unless your business happens to be Google.
Google recently came under attack from the News Industry, with two well known news agencies, one in Germany and the other in France. Both took the position that Google News was doing rather well in Google Search, that is Google News appeared at the top position for almost any news related article and yet Google News has zero unique content, it was all Farmed, Scraped and Duplicated off of the world’s largest news media corporations.
The result of this was that the two news corporations in question asked Google to either pay for the content they use for Google News or cease and desist from using the content – it is after all copyright theft.
We can see from this instant that Google really doesn’t produce any, rather it crawls the web scraping and farming content for its own financial gain, even Google Search is compiled from farmed content, while the rest of us are left with having to continually waste time and effort in trying to compete with Google for a search position.
Yesterday I decided, after reading about the problems that many “HOW TO” related websites are having – that is Google is penalising them to such a degree that it could mean the demise of many of our favourite websites, to do a little research on Google Search and see how Google is displaying its results.
I searched 100 pieces of information, anything from How to Hang Wallpaper to How to Do the Dishes and in over 80% of my searches the website that consistently appeared on the 1st Page and 1st Position, and often taking 2nd and 3rd Position as well, was none other than YouTube.
Now this all may seem fair and above board, I mean YouTube is a pretty cool site, but who owns YouTube – Ah, yes that would be Google. When you look carefully at any page on YouTube you have to ask yourself; ‘Where is the Content?’ Now you are probably thinking that the content is video and you would be perfectly correct, but Google Search Algorithms cannot determine what the content of the video is, it can only read the title of the video – therefore the only useful content on that page is a few words that title the video.
I guarantee you that if I placed a video on a web page with zero written content then Google’s Algorithms would penalise that page to a point that it would probably never get indexed, let alone any decent position where search users could find it.
It just appears to me, and many other webmasters, that Google is simply trying to remove any of its competition by continually tweaking, upgrading and developing new algorithms that will penalise a particular web page or even an entire website while Google happily goes about its business of scraping, farming and duplicating content for its own financial gain without even a hint of a penalty by the algorithms it imposes on everyone other website.
The question remains… Is Google, and all the websites it owns, bypassing the algorithms to ensure its websites retain maximum exposure? Google vehemently denies this but for many it seems implausible that sites like YouTube would get any traffic, due to the lack of content on the page, if the search system was not being manipulated.
Yesterday I took the decision to turn off Google. That is I deleted my Google Plus One Account, Gmail, Chrome and all my other Google products. I simply do not want to be part of Google’s ever extending reach that is manipulating the internet for its own greed and while it happily goes about putting millions of websites out of business.
For me, Google will eventually go the same route as Yahoo. Things are already getting to a point where webmasters have to spend more time complying with Google which in turn prevents them from having the time to create more great content.
One thing that is perfectly clear, and that is Google are not playing on the same level playing field as the rest of us, and while it continues to impose its algorithms on website, it will eventually remove all other websites from its index which will leave the user no other content other than that owned and operated by Google. Google Earth? Maybe that’s what we could be looking at if Google gets its way.