Tips, tricks and all things web

Is Google Eating Itself?

Written by Fraser Hannah on Wednesday, 17 August 2011. Posted in Search Engine Marketing, Internet

Content, content, content are Google’s watchwords. Create great content that users want and you will rank well in the search results.

It seems straight forward – Yes?

NO - far from it

Google appear to have thrown all that to the wind. For some time now I have noticed the huge rise in directory listings within the search results. I understand that directories have a place, but if I am looking to find a builder through Google, I want to find a builders website, not a directory listing this builder or that builder.

If I wanted a directory I would have typed Yell, Thompson or another such company into the search box.

Search for “builder in Glasgow” and when I eventually find the organic non-paid search results I find that seven out of the top ten results are directories. Lists! Just lists of builders, with no actual content anywhere to be seen on the page.

builder in glasgow 1

It gets worse!

I have to troll down through all of Google advertising and their Google Map Promotional /Adds before I get to the organic search listings. What is even more astonishing is that they appear below the fold, on a 1440 x 900 screen resolution, meaning I have to scroll down before I get to the results I was looking for.

builder in glasgow 2

Google maintains that a website has value if the area of ads is less than or equal to the area of content. On that basis it looks like Google are breaking their arbitrage policy in regard to content versus advertising.

To check if your website is compliant with Google’s arbitrage policy they recommend you do the following.

  1. Open the site in a new browser.
  2. Expand the browser to a minimum of a 1024 x 768 pixel display.
  3. Make sure you have minimal browser menus and your font is set to medium or normal.
  4. Scroll to the very top of the page, as evaluation is based on what appears above the fold.
  5. The site is considered compliant if the area of ads is less than or equal to the area of content.

Perhaps the search giant should practice what it preaches as it is clear they are not following their own standards. Could it be that after year on year growth things are starting to slow so Google are looking to maximize advertising revenues?

The recent Panda update was supposed to specifically target content farms and scraping sites, who use low grade and copied content to sell links and advertising, Google Adsence advertising. But it looks like Google has missed the mark again.

Take a look at the way Google dismissed the webmaster from justanotheripadblog.com, after producing over a hundred quality articles for his blog each month, he found himself ranking below content scraper sites that were using his content to generate funds from Google Adsence advertising.

He naturally complained to Google, and they informed him that he was the one with duplicate content. Despite overwhelming evidence in the form of his copyright statements appearing on several of the copied website Google did nothing. They would not even let him take Adsence advertising as they kept saying his content was not original.

Justanotheripadblog has been taken down and the webmaste has now set up a new website, but I am appalled that he had to do so – for those interested you can see the story unfold here.

I know Google is big business; they have shareholders to please and are driven by the bottom line. But if they truly believe that quality content is what the majority of their users, you and me, are looking for then they need to concentrate on what they do best. Search!

They should be independent honoring originality and penalizing those that scrape content for profit. My original content should stand just as much chance of ranking highly as big corporate organizations with deep pockets. Otherwise we will end up with a two-tear web where the big corporations will pay handsomely to get whatever message they want across, whether right or wrong regardless of the truth.

About the Author

Fraser Hannah

I am the Admin Director and SEO consultant at Wombat. My day to day activities include managing the admin side of the business lots of Search Engine Marketing research.

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