A look back at Google search brings me to a book I read a book titled “The Search” by John Battelle. The book 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 refers to how a small e-commerce store lost their 1st page ranking on Google when Google made an unexpected algorithm change in 2003, virtually wiping out their online business.
Today continues to tweak their desktop and mobile search algorithm each day to a lesser or greater extend. In addition larger algorithm changes are made every few months.
Google Giveth, Google Taketh Away
Those of you who are webmasters already know how this happens. And sometimes the tweaking Google’s indexing algorithm lays waste to thousands of mom and pop business websites. These businesses depended on their Google listings for their income and livelihoods. Furthermore many of these small business cannot afford on improving SEO results every time Google implements a change.
Knowing that the Google paradigm will always change is reason enough not to put all your marketing eggs in one basket. Your unpaid or “organic” search rankings are free. But how many times have you heard the axiom “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.”
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; “Build pages for users, not search engines.”
Here’s a typical email I see 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.
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 multi 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 Google. But then again, 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 update 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 directory websites.
Improving Google Search
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.
In other words I am looking forward to a time where Google levels the playing field. Perhaps they will separate large directories under a Google search tab titled ‘Directory Search’. Additionally this will give small business websites a fighting chance for being found and clicked on in a Google search.
Are you listening Google?
Also see: Directories dominate over small business websites on Google