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Archive for the ‘Google Search’ Category

Great article that I spotted from an associate on LinkedIn, and a really important reminder about how quality content is more important than ever in SEO.

The article (http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2164438/Google-Cracking-Down-on-Unnatural-Links-Deindexing-Blog-Networks?goback=%2Egde_102662_member_104140400) details how Google has once more fired a warning shot across the bows of what it considers are unethically optimized websites. In particular the focus here is upon automated link building practices.

Quick and the short of it – Google has started to “take down” placement value of several websites that it feels have employed any form of electronic or automatic (as they refer to it, “unnatural”) link building. As with most Google moves like this, it is reactive to what Google has decided in Google’s own world and it is up to the general public and Internet Marketers to de-engineer the cause of the raucous.

Automated link building has been used by thousands of businesses and web enterprises around the world for as long as the tools to perform that task have been available. Everyone who understands what is required to achieve great Google page ranking also understands that incoming links to a website are one of the more valuable assets. We also know that dozens and many times hundreds of links are nt going to achieve the level of rank increase desired; most times it takes thousands in a highly competitive market.

I’ve been selling the opportunity to build inbound links to my clients for years, and always with the caveat that the process we employ requires manual creation of the links, anchor text, and content. It is slow and, if considered for the level of links required competitively, sometimes quite expensive to build out enough links to add some real value for a client. It always pays off over time, but it is not quick, cheap, or easy. The advantage has always been that the quality of fewer well placed links far outweighs whatever value comes from quantities of poorly placed links, though now that “natural” advantage takes on new prominence.

In a world where headlines win out over material, instant beats out long-term, and quantity is more easily recognized than quality, it appears that Google is trying to take us all back to a more “refined” view of the written word. And while it might be a pain and somewhat annoyingly secretive how it is accomplished, the simple fact is that content remains king (or queen).

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The US Federal Trade Commission is trying to corner all of the good properties on the Monopoly board before Google can buy them up, metaphorically speaking.

Google’s latest expansion of its search algorithms to modify search results in favor of Google Plus tags is seen by many to be just one more step in guaranteeing that those who master Google’s own toolsets will be able to benefit most from Google search.

In a nutshell, the recent changes to Google rules with result in SERPS (search engine result pages) showing content based upon a combination of the searcher’s criteria and the activities of the social network (within Google’s world) of that searcher. If I have many friends and business associates related to me through Google+, and those social connections have preferences for particular entities or businesses relative to a search I am conducting on Google, those preferences will be a factor in my SERPS. You like funnypets.com (via a Google+ like), and you are in my Plus network, then funnypets.com becomes a more likely result for me in searches related to pets and fun.

This is all great in a world where the only type of searching you do is as part of a community. But how many of us really want to be influenced by others in what should be simple research? I mean, if my Google+ friend likes some really stupid websites, should those preferences play any role at all in my online search for related content? My friends on Google+ have their own preferences for many things that are part of my world; however, I can contact them directly if I want their input.

These Google+ influences on search bring us into a party-line mode of Internet search. For those of you who don’t know that reference, a party line used to be a situation whereby multiple people would have access to the same general circuit on the phone, thereby making it all too possible that someone else could accidentally or purposely listen in our your calls. I think most of us would agree that this is not a situation we would like to return as part of our phone networking, so why would we want to make it part of our online search?

As an Internet Marketer I have both this personal stake in what Google is doing and a very important business stake. How do I control the external influencers, the social networks, of my clients’ potential connections? Making yourself visible in a top position in Google search is hard enough. Trying to get a first page listing when you have this vast unknown of Google+ connections that are influencing the search results of people looking for your services or products will be many times harder.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not afraid of hard work. Don’t necessarily like it, but not afraid of it. Hard work will not overcome something over which I have no possible control. If Google decided that all SERPS would be presented in Russian by default, I could learn Russian and I could help my clients learn Russian no matter how difficult that might be (Это нет обвинительного акта русского языка!). Yet if Google decided that every time someone uses their search tool, Google would no longer pick the best public resources available for that search result but instead selected something only they could find, there is little I could do to control the results.

By the way, that is what they are doing.

No big conspiracy theories here. I hope the FTC can “guide” Google back to open search with a little prodding. Whether Google’s move is malicious or not, the end result is a more self-centered, niche world of search. People spend enough time now narrowing their filters on things they do, read, watch, listen to, or research; taking away the last opportunity for people to accidentally stumble upon someone else’s world view on the Internet may make us more comfortable in our own little cubicles, but it does nothing for expansiveness of thought.

The promise of the Internet has always been the free and unfettered access to information. If I want someone else’s opinion about what I want, I’ll ask them for it. Right now it’s more like that old saying: If I wanted your opinion, I’d give it to you.

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An interesting post from MindShift this past week that summarized best practices advice from Google’s Daniel Russell, relative to how people using Google search can best find the results they want from the results that Google provides. Follow the link for the details on this advice, but it basically covers all of the keyboard, browser, and Google shortcuts to refining search results. A how-to guide of search within SERP.

It struck me as fairly funny that we have someone at Google trying to explain the basics of standard search on an electronic page, as a tool set for people using Google search to help them isolate the search terms or definitions they were seeking when they performed that Google search in the first place. Not very different from a  scavenger hunt when you think about it. Search, find a clue wherein you will start a second search to find the next clue, etc.

I’m not offering a solution to Google here and not because I am hording solutions for later resale. The fact is I understand what Google is trying to accomplish with this helpful hints list. People turn to Google to provide them with the fastest and best search results for whatever it is those people are searching. The problem is that those same searchers often have no idea how to frame their search request in the first place – that’s probably why they started the search.

Hey, if I’m looking for the whose-a-mijiggy that stops the whatchamacallit from doing that thing it does now, how the heck am I supposed to frame that question? After all, I am not the engineer who designed whatever it is I am looking at, and I more than likely don’t have the user manual anywhere around. So I start searching for “bathroom item in toilet stops running”. If I were Google answering that search, I’d more than likely tell me to go call a plumber and leave us alone!

What we have here is the age-old issue of having a technology that is so far ahead of the lower life forms using it. The best hope is that no one gets hurts in the use. Ultimately the only way Google or any other search engine will ever be able to completely avoid “bad” search results is for the entire human race to suddenly stop having mind dumps at their search screen. Or to be able to read the minds of the searchers, a prospect that I am sure Google is working towards but not something I look forward to happening.

As I mentioned, I don’t have the answer to minimizing the distance between search and answer. Maybe you can find it on Google.

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