Saturday, April 07, 2007

Poisoning Google

Having a high ranking on Google can get your website lots of visitors and most importantly, make millions dollars.

People use Google because distills the best of the web for any topic you pick out of your head. When I first used Google I experienced one of those spine tingling moments where technology comes closest to pure magic - the best of the Internet was /finally/ at my finger tips!

Google's search results have degraded somewhat from the early days. Search engine optimisers (SEOs) have started to work out what makes Google tick and have crafted webs of websites within the web, designed make their websites /look/ plastic-surgery-super-model-attractive to the Google's search spiders, unfortunately they read like super-high-dumb-bimbos.

This upshot is that Google finds it difficult to differentiate between those websites which users will genuinely find interesting and those which it's search engine believes is useful for the user.

This, as you can imagine is a major headache for Google, the whole point of Google is that it filters out the spam, marketing, ad driven websites and only leaves the truly useful ones for you to browse through. In fact if Google couldn't filter out the dross from the genuine article it would lose most of its competitive advantage.

Google of course has been taking evasive action and has been stamping out on such "black hat" (from their view) SEO operations. They even have a blog up and run conferences specifically aiming to coax SEOs into more cooperative behaviour; they would like to convince SEOs that it's impossible to use covert methods to boost your ranking, and that user focused websites are are the only way to go.

Fundamentally Google is wrong (however they obviously have enough cash to make it complicated (and expensive) to use covert methods successfully).

Google are continually trying to refine a mechanism which will rank websites higher if (and only if) webmasters create better content for Internet users; i.e. there's no point trying to trick the search engine into it giving higher rankings, it will spot your tricks, and maybe even knock you off the ranking completely.

Economists have long known that it is always possible to manipulate all but the most simple mechanisms. I.e. it will always be possible for webmasters to undermine Google's endeavors to make sense of the web.

Does that mean you should sell or even short your Google stock anytime soon?

Probably not. Google has a lot of cash, and has been sinking wads of it into refining results in order to make successful hoodwinks very difficult (and expensive).

The problem for Google is: the better the quality of its results, the more users trust it; which drives up the value of those top ranked search positions, making it more temping for smart people to enter the SEO industry and create search engine optimisation algorithms which can systematically outfox Google and stay one step ahead.

[This article was part of my inspiration for this post]

1 comment:

Denica said...

google is truly a life saver :) and i hope it will always be there for people in need and frustration esp students.