Is now time for Google to address their own problem?

by Peter Young on May 28, 2010 · 3 comments

I read with interest a number of posts published by Malcolm Coles following Matt Cutts interview over at Digital Inspiration. In the interview a number of points came out of particular interest:

  • Google would appear to be penalising/considering penalising high authority sites who have offered links in exchange for cash. This was further to the recent incidents pertaining to the Express.
  • Nofollow links should all contain nofollow.
  • Fresh Content isn’t a ranking factor
  • Guest Blogging isnt actively encouraged – rather build quality content on your own site (the usual Google rhetoric)

There are a number of issues raised during the interview – some more thought provoking than others, however one thing struck me whilst reading both the original article and Malcolms review of the events. We as web publishers appear to have changed many of our traditional digital marketing strategies to deal with issues pertaining to the inadeqacies of the Google algorithm, and to deal with a problem that Google itself created.

Don’t get me wrong, I want my results to be clean, relevant and not tainted by unscrupulous web publishers. However it would appear we have got to the point of no return where many traditional techniques are frowned upon. Further to that there seems to be an inconsitency in the advice often provided by Google themselves in terms of best practise

Further to this, I have been very interested in the impact of recent forays by the traditional offline publications into the online arena.  The Telegraph, Johnson Press amongst others have all entered into the advertorial market and seen Google recently cracking down on these practises. However one has to sympathise with the newspapers, with significantly reduced offline revenues and the paywall/no paywall argument still raging, newspapers are still caught in a limbo situation. Further to this, such advertorial opportunities are the mainstay of many offline publications and this would to a certain degree appear to be a natural extention of those offline offerings.

However there has been a backlash both from certain sections of the SEO community and from Google itself. However one has to ask yourself how and where we go from here. The link is now a commoditised, and more and more webmasters are aware of not just the value of a link in terms of SEO but increasingly of the financial remuneration that can by webmasters willing to offer paid advertising on their sites. Further to that, this isnt a problem that we made, unfortunately this is a problem Google themselves are responsible for having made links such a fundamental part of their current and previous algorithms. Add to that the increasing popularity of SEO as an integral part of many organisations marketing frameworks, and all of the sudden you have  a hotpot where there is an increasing priority for your site to be number one, and a decreasing opportunity to deploy unpaid and ethical resources to acquire recommendations/references/citations to your site within existing quality guidelines.

I thus can’t help thinking (and this is already happening), that Google need to move away from what has been the focal aspect of their algorithm almost since day 1.  Where else have the rules of an entire platform been almost single handedly rewritten for one participant, albeit a very big one.  However that would appear to be the route we are taking, with Google increasingly dictating the way we act and react with the web.

Is it time thus for us to stop working our entire web framework around the requirement of one singular search engine and instead push Google to find a solution to a problem all of their own making? However looking at respected sites such as David Naylors tackling this issue already, it would seem that this is a problem already having far reaching impacts

[This article is the thoughts of Peter Young solely and do not necessarily reflect those of his employers]

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Directory Sieve June 3, 2010 at 4:20 am

yep, read that post on labnol, for some reasons best known to labnol, my comment there was never approved…

anyways, most answers there were either already known and well predicted while others were a bunch of contradicting statements… like guest blogging is not encouraged? why not? how is quality content on my site different from quality content done by guest posting? how does that matter, atleast to google… well, we all know though, how it matters, after all guest posts provides links and that is what google does not likes…

anyways, i agree to your points, google should look to de-value link in their algo, that’s the best way to solve this whole paid-links thing,

Adrian Land August 20, 2010 at 11:18 am

I do think we all shape our strategies and action plans to make Google like us. But the holistic approach is to balance that up with your real customers in mind and an eye on Conversion. Unfortunately, sometimes there is no point considering on-site conversion if you don’t have traffic to monetise.

The good news is that with recent patents and things I have seen, if we all go “back to basics”, and develop quality and useful sites then we should win. But we may have to play the game alongside the Long Term plan.

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