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December 18, 2011

Is Google’s Advertising Destroying the Sanctity of Search Results? – A SPN Exclusive Article

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A few months back, I wrote an article titled Google’s Panda Update: Haters, Cheaters and Consequences. The article was my defense of Google’s constant algorithm changes. In that article I naively wrote the following:

“Unlike a lot of cynics out there, I believe that Google is trying deliver the most relevant and useful search results possible.”

Well, I’ve always been a big enough man to admit when I’m wrong. And I was wrong about Google. Dead wrong. Like so many others, I too was fooled by Google’s clever sleight of hand. Let me explain.

Google’s Clever Sleight Of Hand

Over the years, Google has had numerous algorithm changes:

* 2003-05-01 “Fritz” update
* 2003-05-16 “Florida” update
* 2007-01-25 Googlebombs “defused” update
* 2009-02-20 “Vince” update
* 2010-05-01 “Mayday” update
* 2011-02-24 “Panda” update
* 2011-05-10 “Panda 2.1″ update
* 2011-06-16 “Panda 2.2″ update
* 2011-07-23 “Panda 2.3″ update
* 2011-08-12 “Panda 2.4″ update
* 2011-09-27 “Panda 2.5″ update (Source: ToddNemet.com)

Obviously, with so many major updates, it would be reasonable to assume that Google was working hard trying to deliver a superior product – provide users with a better search “experience.” It would be reasonable to assume that, but it would be the wrong assumption.

Show Google The Money

Why? Because Google has strayed far away from its original search roots. Today’s Google is first and foremost a greedy corporation – a powerful advertising company that generates 97 percent of its income from its advertising programs – namely Adwords. And while Google may have made its name in search, it made its fortune from advertising.

And when 97 percent of your income is coming from advertising, guess what your overriding priority is going to be? That’s right… how to make more money from your advertising programs!

So how did it come to this? How did Google lose its way?

In a word…greed. Google makes a lot of money from online advertising. How much is a lot? In the twelve months ending June 30, 2011, Google made $33.3 billion in revenues. Of that, 97 percent ($32.2 billion) was from advertising.

You Gotta Pay To Play

WordStream, a provider of software for keywords and pay-per-click marketing campaigns, has done research to discover which keywords receive the highest costs per click (CPC) in Google AdWords. Following are the top 20 keyword categories that fetched the highest costs per click:

1. Insurance – $54.91 per click
2. Loans – $44.28 per click
3. Mortgage – $47.12 per click
4. Attorney – $47.07 per click
5. Credit – $36.06 per click
6. Lawyer – $42.51 per click
7. Donate – $42.02 per click
8. Degree – $40.61 per click
9. Hosting – $31.91 per click
10. Claim – $45.51 per click
11. Conference Call – $42.05 per click
12. Trading – $33.19 per click
13. Software – $35.29 per click
14. Recovery – $42.03 per click
15. Transfer – $29.86 per click
16. Gas/Electricity – $54.62 per click
17. Classes – $35.04 per click
18. Rehab – $33.59 per click
19. Treatment – $37.18 per click
20. Cord Blood – $27.80 per click (Source: PracticalEcommerce.com)

Can you believe the cost-per-click of the top 20 keyword categories? Not only is Google thumbing its nose at searchers, it’s also kicking small advertisers to the curb as well. The same small advertisers who helped Google become the dominant advertising force that it’s become. At those prices, it’s impossible for small advertisers to compete. The playing field is tilted decidedly towards the side of big business.

One Man’s Rant?

So, is this article one man’s rant, or do others feel the same way I do? I can assure you, I’m not the only one condemning Google for its irresponsible actions and greed. Here’s what SEOBooks’s Aaron Wall had to say in his article Forget about SEO. To be visible in Google today, try Adwords.

“Some of Google’s new search results look quite alarming in terms of every single link above the fold is either a paid ad, or links to yet another Google page wrapped in ads.

I have a huge monitor & it is impossible for me to click *anywhere* above the fold on some search results without going through Google’s toll booth or clicking off to yet another Google ad wrapped page.

Those who coddled Google & gave Google the benefit of the doubt now have egg on their face, and the industry as a whole is poorer for their poor judgement & lack of stewardship.”

And here’s what NetSpeak Solutions Stephen Dow had to say in his article Google Panda: Hurting SEO and Search Results for Increased Ad Revenues?

“All during the ‘Panda mess’ one thing has been positive for Google, their ad revenues! They’ve grown to record levels (especially this last quarter). Why? I believe it’s simply because desperate business owners (and SEO marketers) don’t have sure answers to make-up for lost rankings and traffic. So, they decide to ‘punt’ by using more paid advertising – even going as far as pointing ads to home pages (now that’s desperation)!

As Google continues with its Panda ‘search engine redesign,’ let’s all just sit back and watch them continue to mess up organic search and the Internet marketing industry.”

So, am I and others criticizing Google unfairly? Or, am I right to ask the question: Is Google’s Advertising Destroying the Sanctity of Search Results?

What do you think?


David Jackson is a marketing consultant and the owner of Free-Marketing-Tips-Blog.com – Powerful, free marketing tips to help grow your business! http://free-marketing-tips-blog.com

30 Responses to “Is Google’s Advertising Destroying the Sanctity of Search Results? – A SPN Exclusive Article

    avatar Wilson Translation says:

    I completely agree and the only companies able to pay the bill for advertising and make a profit in our industry are those that are operated overseas but disguised as U.S. companies.

    avatar Mohammed ALAMI says:

    You’re right and I think you say out loud things that most of us keep inside. Appreciated also sharing of Aaron Wall’ article. Since we accept they hide keywords and petition even signed by Danny Sullivan can’t make them move,, we know there’s no bargain with Google !

    avatar Fred says:

    As much as we hate to admit it, Google is the “Big Dog” on the internet today, and as such, can do pretty much as they want. The people that are attempting to use the internet simply to supplement their income, or to make a livable income online really don’t have much of a chance.

    avatar paul says:

    Have you been living under a rock?

    This is the way its always been. the only different now is they have junked up the home page with results from “different” Types of content and pesky map overlays over advertising.

    Everything about what google does with the organic results drive the entire internet economy. They have to keep changing it just to keep everyone on their toes.

    The only mistake that I could see them make here is to take $ to place on keyword terms in organic pages like AOL did.

    Major contenders would be some of these traffic giants creating a better mouse trap and providing a better search algorithm .. Good luck with that.

    avatar amy says:

    Reasons Google is “greedy” according to this article

    Advertising accounts for most of its revenue (it’s a SEARCH ENGINE, how else should it be making money- charging for use?)

    Its most competitive terms are expensive on an auction model (see: definition of auction. see also: this has ALWAYS been its model)

    It has made several updates to Panda (….)

    If you wanted to factually discuss something like ad real estate today compared with 10 years ago, that might be an interesting article. But none of this is supporting evidence for why Google might be unethical, and slapping subjective and pseudo-slanderous phrases throughout the article (greedy, thumbing its nose at, kicking small advertisers to the curb, irresponsible actions, lost its way)doesn’t make the case your lack of data failed to make.

    avatar Romi says:

    IT’S TRUE. I’ve seen “cost per clicks” skyrocket while conversions crash to the ground.

    Google today is like Microsoft in the 90’s.

    My husband has been an internet marketing consultant since Google was “GoTo.com” – we’ve seen the changes over the years. Impossible for the small business/website owner to keep up or be effective. And if you don’t know what you’re doing with CPC – well, you’ll feel better just throwing money out the window while you’re driving through town – at least you’ll feel like somebody worthwhile might be benefiting.

    Without a good SEO or PPC consultant, most website owners are screwed – and those services don’t come cheap. The cheap ones are just that – cheap, and can end up hurting you in the end.

    Oh, but Google DOES have a program where “google-ites” can be certified and charge a premium for their consultation services.

    Amy, I never used the word “unethical” in my article. And the title asks the question: Is Google’s Advertising Destroying the Sanctity of Search Results?

    And the conclusion of the article again asks the question. People have serious questions, viewpoints and opinions about the purity of Google’s search results. It’s a hotly debated topic online. The purpose of this article is to debate the topic further.

    avatar connie says:

    Often Google’s page 1 search results today are almost all advertising. What’s wore, the ads bear little or nor true relationship to the search terms.

    I’ve had readers of my blog comment that they searched over an hour before finding my information which was exactly what they were looking for. Even though my website where that blog is located is quite high-ranked by Google for my SEO search term, so the blog IS high on Google’s radar screen.

    Of course it’s money-driven!

    avatar Pierre F says:

    Of course it’s like that, and it has always been… After 12 years of SEOing, the BUSINESS side of REALITY has never done things differently. The only surprise to me here is that you’re just AWAKENING to GOOGLE’S BUSINESS REALITY -it’s IBM- Internet Business Model.
    WoW, for a business person like yourself to just awake from that coma is revealing. What other major thruth/trend are you blind on?

    SITEPRONEWS, you call yourself?
    That’s no news. Very Old Stuff, in fact.

    I’m even more surprized that you haven’t seen or commented on GOOGLE’S FREE billion-dollar-worth of GIVAWAYS in AdWords 75$-100% FREE ADVERTIZING CARDS blown in the wind for anyone and everyone to use and get hooked on.

    Now, there’s a NEWS ITEM that is current. I have 50+ of those FREE ADWORDS ADVERTISEMENT CARDS staring me in the face, just for being a GoogleEngage Agency. Hey, That’s another news item!

    I can’t give them away anymore. Everybody has some filling-up their drawers, and you can une only one per URL… of course, just to get hooked.

    Anybody doing SEO on your planet? Or just looking over your shoulder through the rear-view mirror? Things do show up smaller and further than they might be, seen through that wrong side of the telescope.

    Good article, by the way. Just 6-8 years late.

    2012?

    Pierre

    avatar Michael says:

    Unfortunately, I feel David is misguided and misinformed about this. First of all, for some reason (which I don’t agree with), Google displays customized search results for each person. For example, when I do a search on my main keyword (executive coaching), my website (http://www.michaeljbeck.com) appears on the first page. However, if I go to someone else’s computer and do the very same search, I am on page 3, 4, or 5.

    Secondly, we live in an economy of supply and demand. I agree that the CPC of the top 20 keywords is outrageous, but the only reason it stays there is that the advertisers are willing to pay that price. If those advertisers used other forms of marketing instead of Adwords, the CPC would drop.

    It’s no different than an advertiser paying sky-high rates for a Super Bowl ad.

    Google isn’t the bad guy here.

    avatar PE Cure says:

    It is about time that someone spoke up! Yes BG is making money but for them to steamroller over the little guy is just disgusting.
    I am an IM newbie and have struggled for MONTHS to get even one site on page 1. What I have noticed though is that being no.33, the sites above and below me get reasonable traffic.
    Another thing I noticed recently is that the guys sitting on the first 5-6 spots on page one are NOT getting the traffic that they should be getting:– what gives??
    I am a 60 year old guy with no prospects for a J.O.B. due to where I live in the world, and saw an opportunity to make a living on yhe `net; well, have been at it for 11 months now and am still waiting for dollar 1!!
    The problem I think is that the BIG companies are totally GREED driven, and to hell with the little guy.
    The other thing that drives me absolutely MAD is the “intuitive” part of google`s search, pointing me at local crap, when I am searching for international sites.
    As has been said by others here, we have no choice but to use G as marketers, but when I search for my own pleasure I use dogpile or safe search.
    Some guys are knocking your article and calling it “x years behind the times” but it is CURRENT!
    Thanks!

    avatar Admin@Eufreeads says:

    I thought I am the only one angered by the way Google has turned however, that is not strange because money is in question and therefore anything can be expected.

    History is once more repeating itself, in this case with Google. As soon as any person sees he is the most powerful, he begins to do things at will. Did I say “Internet Dictatorship”?

    History has as well taught us that nothing is eternal. There must come an end or another “something” to take Google’s place as Google displaced Yahoo a few years ago. I would very much like to witness that.

    By the way, wonderful article.

    avatar ChrisCD says:

    “So how did it come to this? How did Google lose its way?”

    As Amy pointed out and asked, how is a search engine supposed to make $, if not advertising?

    I have been affected by Google’s updates so “no love lost” there. But unless you are willing to pay membership fees for a non-advertising platform, what do you expect?

    Sadly, when something has to make money, other considerations are given priority, but they have to be.

    And yes it is a fine line. They could make a mistake and market share shift to Bing, but then do you really think they would “Behave” much differently?

    There is Blekko and Duckagogo, but what happens when “overuse” starts to crash their servers? They would turn to advertisers. And round and round we go.

    cd :O)

    avatar Jes says:

    Yes, I am in complete agreement that “Big G” is now only interested in money, and there is nothing wrong with that since they also have bills to pay. But the problem is, for us small internet marketers, that “Big G” likes “Big Money” better than it used to in past years. It’s like the old “Bait and Switch”. They sucked us in at low ball prices in the early days and now they switched. The thing to do, in my opinion at least, is to forget “Big G” and work more with other Search Engines until they also switch on us. And make no mistake, they will switch. They have to because of the MONEY!

    avatar Anonymous says:

    As much as I hate to admit it, the article is correct. I’ve been in the online business since the early 90’s, ie: Before Google (BG) and I have watched our site appear all over the place; from the first line on page one to somewhere on page 7 — what Google is really doing is playing a game of round-robin with sites to maximize THEIR revenue; while dangling hooks for advertising dollars — this is the “evil” or “greedy” nature of any ad business. But until someone else comes along that does things better, we are stuck funding Google.

    Respected industry experts used to praise Google for its search results. Many of those same experts now have grave concerns about those results. Like me, many people feel, Google has indeed lost its way.

    Truth be told, I don’t have a problem with Google making as much money as it can. After all, we live in a free-enterprise society. Supply and demand and all that jazzz…yada, yada, yada.

    But when people see Google making record profits in the midst of deteriorating search results, they have every right to question Google’s motives.

    “To whom much is given, much is expected.” As the most powerful search engine on the planet, people expect much more from Google. Fair or not, that’s just the way it is.

    avatar Charlie says:

    Yeah…I think we all knew that Google’s antics really were and are about more money. And, I do agree that that kind of search engine strategy surely does influence what gets “top billing” on Google’s pages. Once again, money…and the love of it…is proving its ability and power to corrupt “The Truth”, in actuality.

    Whoever pays the most money for particular ad placement pretty much gets the most attention from users, because most users don’t click beyond a couple pages when doing general searches. So, “The Truth” might really be on page 7 or 8 or any other place, if it is not in a “paid placement” on page 1 or 2.

    This is not to say that quality, non-paid content and sites cannot be on Google’s first pages, because there are many factors which play a part in Web searches, including content structure, relevance, freshness, and others that most users don’t even know about (including myself).

    I guess if users are ‘aware’ of how advertising money influences what their search queries will bring up in the first pages, they’ll likely begin to “bypass” some of those, if they learn that the real “Truth” might actually lie somewhere beyond the “money pages”. Then, the strategy will have to change yet again. Hmmm?…I’m just sayin’…

    avatar Derek says:

    Totally agree and as far as I can see it is the fact Google are now part public and have to run in a divi for the shareholders that is profit motive. See the aticle I worte on our blog that gives an actual example of a “Panda outcome” for one of our affiliate sites. Sadly Google does seem to have a critical mass in search, but change can happen. And if people become aware of how badly “stilted” the Google search results are, then perhaps over time we will see a drift away from them. Perhaps, as small marketers, it is our calling to keep spreading the word and make it happen. After all, this is the Internet and there are other sites with similar powerbases to big G these days!

    avatar Adrian Head says:

    Absolutely correct in every respect in my opinion. Every time Google announces an algorithm update they churn out the same reason “to deliver the most relevant and useful search results possible.” Rubbish when anyone with the ability to pay the CPC price can get to the top of the first page results irrespective of the relevance of their site to the search enquiry. Ok, part of that may be due to the advertiser giving Google to much leeway with a keyword using “broad match” options but none the less it deprives searchers the opportunity to access websites which would give them the information they actually want.

    Add to what David has said the fact that now Google is now hiding search terms from logged in Google members, on the dubious “privacy” argument, whilst still providing this information to Adwords advertisers it is clear who is being given priority. Money talks and for all Google may try to convince people that it has the searcher first and foremost in mind it is becoming increasingly clear this is not the case.

    The old adage that “you can fool some of the people all the time and all the people some of the time but you can’t fool all the people all the time” may come true for Google as searchers become increasing discontent with where Google search is leading them and they begin to look for other search mediums where relevance rather than paid adverts really has a higher priority.

    avatar David Berry says:

    Judging from the blog post combined with the comment thread, one would assume I have the most to complain about. Since, I am a small business start up, most would assume that I would have the most difficult time getting to page 1 based on organic results. Compound that with the fact that I’m an insurance agent, you would say I have an impossible feat.

    To that, I say “HA!” Actually, the Panda update seems to have improved my results and money. The fact that I started by writing content for my site could be the reason my site does well.

    Needless to say, I still cannot afford to compete with the biggest players in my industry. However, I don’t have to beat GEICO and Allstate in online insurance marketing. I simply have to be better than my local (statewide) competition.

    Regardless of the system, the number 1 reality is systems evolve and change. We as marketers, have to adapt as quickly as possible. So, as a NOOB insurance agent/marketer on page 1 position 1 for his high traffic, highly competitive keywords, I ask you guys one question, “What’s the big deal?”

    David Berry
    http://www.txinsurancepro.com

    avatar Dating Sites Australia says:

    The most recent Panda update saw my site (linked from my name) drop from rankings entirely despite being used mainly for google adsense.
    Granted the site content is pretty rubbish, but it’s not spammy and it’s not infringing, and it was pulling $400 per month in revenue, so Google must have had good reason for getting rid of it.
    I’m kind of proud of them for it :)

    avatar Nickolass says:

    Well, as was the case with the Vuitton vs Google Case and other trade mark infringement battles they’ve fought in the past few years it has allways been about opening up for more ways to make bucks by letting advertisers compete for the best adspots.

    I have been in the PPC and SEO industry for about six years now, in a small Scandinavian Market – Norway. In the beginning I was doing PPC handling for a small company paying about 20 times less per click than we are doing now on certain key words and phrases. But then we were often the only gamer in the marketplace – and due to lack of competition we could pay very little per click and as there were no visible comeptitor i the Searchspace near us, we had a conversion rate that was 5-10 times better than last year.

    We have gone from no competitors to 30-40 and not only competing against same kind of businesses but also affiliates, groupon ads and local yellowpages ads who spend tons of money just to be shown in the lower parts of the search results. And why is this?
    This is because Google has made it possible to make money on this.

    OK, so what do we do? We change both battlegrounds and tactics.

    After spending 5 years with the same PPC accounts you learn a bit about wich keywords that converts. And then you stop listening to Googles advice on how to get “more traffic”. You could use a PPC system like Wordstream wicj I recommend (if you are not able to make quick decisions on your own here), and then you change then leat converting parts of your product portfolio and focus on products that actually solves peoples problems and makes them wann go “UH, AH” and shout it out loud, so that when thy reach your site after clicking on a highprized as, the land on a wellfocused landingpage that answers all their prayers, and gives all the comfort they need to take a decision. If they then don’t act on this you place a cookie in their browser and hit them one more time with som retargeting also made possible via Google Adwords, and raise the comversion rate on ad number two with 200-300% percent.

    At the same time you start fitting your marketingactions and budgets to other platforms, SMS, email and such as Twitter and Facebook, and start working your niches and your peers hard, though seemingly gentle and thorough.

    No, you can’t compete with the big players in the highprized segments but you can pick you own battlegrounds and “weaponry”.

    I have been a one man consultancy for 7 years and still get my customers mainly via organic traffic from Google, And by meeting people Face to Face. I usually compete with companies 10-30 times bigger than me. It’s a matter of thinking ahead being agile. Watch the tides and spot the trends. Being small often makes you able to move faster and be the first to act on new possibilities. You don’t have to get a go from the executive directors;-)

    If Google can do this, then you can too. Try to outsmart Google and your competitors. Think differently;-)

    We all do what we can to become masters. So do Google.

    But hey I totally agree on the engage programme, but it only makes it even more important to hire and experienced PPC marketer with a bit of SEO knowlegde as well. I have lot’s of coupons as well, but they don’ seem to be that attractive anymore. Lot’s of people don’t think they will work well, and they won’t. Unless the account is handled by experienced people. If so there is still lots of opportunities out there.

    But it’s not that easy at it used to be for those of you who have been in it for a while. Now you just have to start working and thinking a bit more about it than before. Onlye the best plans and greatest strategies win – no matter the size. Just work it in the right way and you’ll see – learn to adapt and you will succeed.

    Greetings from Norway.
    Nickolass Jensen, Nettpilot.no

    avatar David Smith says:

    Answer – If those of us who know the truth about advertising start using the other search engines more, Google will have to change and take more notice of it’s viewers and the small guys but until (and if)this happens Google will apply its trade to the money making big guys – simple as that!

    avatar Greg Cullen says:

    In my industry you typically see the same companies in the top organic spots as the ones with the top three pay per click spots. Those that spend the most get the best organic spots regardless of the seo on the page. That could be the result of other marketing as well but the point is small business owners do not have the time or money to compete with the large companies without working 80 hours per week just to survive. After a very large drop from the Panda update our search volume is increasing, but our bounce rate is up 20% even with more current and relevant content. Like the everything else, it would be nice to give the same breaks to the small guy as the big one, so he can compete more fairly.

    Thank you for your valuable feedback everyone. :)

    avatar Mark D. says:

    Personally I don`t like seeing adds at the top of search results because it interferes with my search. Google had it right before when the adds were placed on the side.
    Now you have to scroll your page down just to see the most relevant results.
    I think having those adds above search results are only beneficial to those companies and Google.
    Just because a company advertizes are their pages supposed to be the most relevant result for every keyword they use for their add?
    To me the search becomes skewed and unreliable just because of this small fact.
    Another thing that irks me is when you see “Did you mean?…” above search results. People type what they mean and if Google adds proper spelling to the mix it takes away from smaller sites who use miss-spelled words just to get a sprinkling of traffic because when they use proper spelling the results is no traffic whatsoever.

    For 10’s of years the small guy had an unbelievable fare chance to beat the big guys online. But instead of investing a little cash into a good website, they were saying “I don’t internet.” Now that they’re trying to catch up, as in everything capitalist, the largest bidder gets the prize (in this case the top position). I don’t know too many mom and pops who can afford advertising on the Super Bowl either. However, I searched “Insurance” and found 5 local companies/places listed on page one, plus larger companies who spent some money on organic search and yes the PPC ads too. Most people’s eyes go right to the organic and local search results anyway.

    $54.91 per click. Wow! We at KO Websites really need to raise our rates! That’s a pretty penny for customer acquisition. I wonder how many people went to go click on those ads after reading this article? ‘Bam, $54 bucks!’ ‘Take that big company.’ ‘I’m occupying your company today.’ No, don’t do it, just kidding.

    No one looks at those PPC ads anyway, so why worry or complain so much about this. If they spent one months’ worth of their PPC dollars on organic search and better web design, they wouldn’t need the PPC. Looks like Allstate did this and they’re probably saving millions per month because of it.

    I agree with your article entirely. I have been doing SEO and PPC since Google started. I used to call Google and within minutes see an adjustment to a campaign or something helpful. Now if you call Google they turn their scrutiny to the rest of your campaigns and how they can get more from you and your clients. One of their first sleights was something called “low volume search” for keywords. This is one way they funnel everyone to fewer keywords driving up bids and increasing revenue. The other sleight happened in Jan 2011 when all of a sudden campaigns in the same account that are like business’s can no longer co-exist together. So, you have to move one of the campaigns to a new account and WALA!, that moved account has to start off as if it’s their first day at school… thereby, driving up revenue. I think all SEO companies should get together and start their own search engine with a board, directors etc… that seeks integrity over greed.

    avatar Rory Roybal says:

    You are absolutely right David.

    Google has gained too much centralized power and is abusing it in the guise of goodness (‘quality’ in this case), which is typical when an individual or company gains ‘absolute’ power.

    If you haven’t already, check out Eli Pariser’s TEDTalk on Google’s ‘quality’ approach to organic search in “Beware online filter bubbles” at:

    http://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_bubbles.html

    Google is using an advertising model for organic search, which is not an acceptable or ethical model. Showing people what they seem to be most interested in (based on the dubious assumption Google can reliably determine that) based on typical behavior might be a valid model for advertising since it would presumably generate the most clicks and make Google the most money. However, search should have an objective, non-advertising model, which is what most people falsely assume they already have with Google.

    At best, Google’s approach reinforces what one already acts like on the web (a loose reflection of what they think), whether it is true or ethical or not. Even if someone is actively seeking a point of view that isn’t reflective of their typical behavior (as Eli Pariser demonstrates in the video referenced above), Google’s current approach ensures that new point of view will never be seen, and the person will not have an opportunity to consider what they were looking for. On a macro level, Googlebot censors out the majority from even seeing opposing minority, non-mainstream perspectives even if those ‘minority’ viewpoints are true or best, and even if people are genuinely be looking for those perspectives.

    The net effect of Google’s new world is that big or popular wins, and small or unpopular is censored out. Truth and ethics often aren’t the most popular or most instantly gratifying (especially on the web where people have short attention spans and are looking for instant gratification), so truth and ethics will also be increasingly censored out from mainstream consciousness.

    My site http://www.miraclesormagic.com has unique, interesting and peer-reviewed content, a little multimedia (podcasts, flash, pictures) a fair number of high page authority backlinks, is reasonably on-page keyword optimized without overdoing it etc., but in Nov. 2011, Google cut my site’s impressions to ~10% of what they were before, they are now near zero, and rankings in organic search are cut to almost nothing for many previously high ranking phrases as well. The position of my site’s content isn’t mainstream, but feedback indicates it has been helpful or at least very interesting to many, although now is largely invisible even to those seeking it since it does not reflect most people’s primary behavior. Whether one agrees with a site’s position or not, should minority opinions be silenced, without most people even knowing about it, let alone being able to control it?

    The effect of this is much bigger than one might think at first glance, since most people get their information and worldview from the web these days, especially young people. Legacy, people-based ‘media’ was far from perfect, but there was at least the acknowledgment of journalistic and ethical standards, and Googlebot has none. How deceptive, and how sad.

    No, Google is going to do something new.

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