I read a book called “The Search” by John Battelle that explores how Google and its rivals rewrote the rules of business and transformed our culture. What really caught my attention was Chapter 7 titled The Search Economy. It related how a small e-commerce store got yanked by the short-hairs when Google made an unexpected algorithm change in 2003 virtually wiped out their business.
Google did this again in late 2005, and continues to tweak the desktop and mobile search index every year since then.
Google Giveth, Google Taketh Away
Those of you who are webmasters already know how this happens. The eager beaver group of Google engineers lay waste to thousands of mom and pop businesses by tweaking Google’s indexing algorithm. These businesses depended on their Google listings for their income and livelihoods. Google giveth and Google taketh away.
Knowing that the Google paradigm will always change puts you ahead of the pack; not putting all your marketing eggs in one basket will keep you there. Your unpaid or “organic” rankings in search engines are free. But how many times have you heard the axiom “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.”
Starting to get the picture now?
Google Still Likes Links
I’ve been getting tons of automated requests for two-way and three-way linking. I can’t believe what these people are thinking. The rules are displayed in black and white on Google’s web site. Allow me to paraphrase “Build pages for users, not search engines.”
Here’s a typical email I get every day:
I’m mailing you for exchanging three-way link with your site. Though we are accustomed with reciprocal link exchange, the fact is that three-way link is always better than reciprocal link exchange, as all search engines give more attention to three-way links.When search engines can’t trace a link back from one site to another it thinks that site is very important so other site is linking to it just like we use google or yahoo in our website.
Do these bozos really believe this?
Fact of the matter is you should link to a website that you believe will be of value to your website viewer’s. That’s it. No schemes, no tricks, no 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 way linking. Provide your visitors good content and good links. Period.
Vertical Channels and Directories
Web sites like Global Spec (for engineers) and Find Law (for lawyers) are quasi-vertical advertising channels and global directories. Vertical marketing is a great way to target business in the same genre that you practice and participate. It’s also a great way for regional companies to inexpensively obtain entry into new markets or regions.
For web guys like myself, there are similar verticals or directories. But here’s the rub. These directories have an unfair advantage in the linking scheme of Google. But who said life is fair.
Directories have “muddied the Internet waters.” With so many links from so many sites across so many states, it is the equivalent of being a 500-pound linking gorilla. I keep hoping that the next Google dance will place these linking monsters accordingly, but that has yet to happen. Once everyone catches onto this flawed “link ranking” scheme, a search for any term or phrase in Google will provide you nothing but a page full of directories.
This leads to my next point. Say I have an xyz disease (God forbid). If I search “xyz disease nutrition” in Google, I want to find web sites about xyz disease nutrition, or battling xyz disease with proper diet and so on. I don’t want to see a directory full of re-packaged information, filled with ads, newsletters and other useless directory fluff.
I want my search engine to emulate the Library of Congress. Let’s say the librarian says, “Books on xyz disease nutrition are located on isle 700b” on row 3. I stroll over to 700b row 3 and pull out a book that systematically lists all the books on 700b, row 3. Wait a second! This isn’t a book about xyz disease nutrition, it’s a “directory” or reference book that belongs in the “reference section” of the library.
Are you listening Google?