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January 26, 2012

Has Google Replaced Content as King of the Web?

content-is-king

While great content will always get you noticed, I have come to the somewhat obvious conclusion that “Content is NOT King, Google is King” on the web. This is a slightly different mindset when it comes to getting traffic and marketing on the net.

This new mindset doesn’t change the fact that you still have to create great content, but it changes the way one goes about promoting that content on the web.

In the last few years, Google’s share of the search market has grown to 65% or much more in most areas of the world. This domination of online search puts Google in control of what content is seen – regardless of its quality.

It plays a major role in your content’s visibility, a role so great that without Google’s approval, your content is not exactly dead in the water, but your chances of succeeding is much less than with a thumbs-up from Google.

Now, the real turning point (light bulb moment) for me was Google’s recent promotion of its own products or data, as in the whole “Google Plus Your World” search results features which were introduced a few weeks ago. Google is actively showing and promoting its Google+ profiles and posts within its SERPs.

Many believe Google is sacrificing both relevancy and quality by only showing its own data (as opposed to Twitter’s and Facebook’s profiles/posts which Google claims it no longer has access to) when Google users are logged into their accounts.

Those same critics also believe Google has stepped over the line and has become too self-promotional in the way it is now handling search. These critics say Google is promoting its other products such as YouTube, Blogger… over other outside entries in their search results.

Regardless of your view on this matter, there’s no denying Google has become much more pro-active in promoting its products. You can now see ads on TV and elsewhere for Google Chrome, Android, Adwords… all promoting Google’s products.

Why is all this important?

Many believe, myself included, that Google is aiming for control of all aspects of the web – not only search, but video and social as well. They want to control what web users search, see and how they socialize on the net. Google wants to be in the driver’s seat – plain and simple.

But Google’s influence will go much further than those three areas; Google probably would also like to control the browser (Chrome) we use, the operating system (Android) and the device (Chromebook) we view those results on. Only Microsoft comes close to doing the same thing, but they have really not presented a search engine which can beat Google and fall short in this respect.

This leaves Google in the Captain’s chair. It now controls what content on the web is seen and viewed. While this control is not complete, it is growing stronger month by month, year by year.

What is extremely troubling and a little hard to understand, Google is now JUDGING your WHOLE site instead of just the webpage/ content in question. This new attitude is reflected in the recent Panda Series of updates which was supposedly aimed at removing duplicate and low quality content from the web.

However, if a webmaster or site triggers just one of Google’s new rules… their whole site is lowered in the rankings, including their perfectly good high quality content. It is like saying you can’t have visitors into your house, because you have an untidy attic. Your visitors will never see the attic, but Google as Gatekeeper of the web, with the Panda Updates and other restrictions, makes sure your rightful visitors don’t even make it to the door.

This absurd, arbitrary ruling by Google is extremely hard to understand by small web site owners and businesses who don’t have the resources/manpower to re-design their sites at a drop of a hat. Whatever happened to Google’s motto of “Don’t be evil” or “Do no evil” when it comes to judging and penalizing WHOLE websites, instead of the pages in question. Many webmasters would be satisfied with “Don’t be cruel” when Google is ranking their sites.

Likewise, Google is rolling out another rule which states webmasters can’t have too many ads “above the fold” or their whole site will be penalized, not just the offending page in question. Ironically, at the same time, Google is actively telling webmasters to place Adsense above the fold… but they have no problem with placing their own ads above the fold.

What does this all mean?

To put it bluntly, you must make sure your content passes ALL of Google’s hurdles if you truly want it to succeed on the web. The long series of Panda Updates really pointed this out to many webmasters who failed to jump a few hurdles and saw their rankings drop from sight in Google.

To put it even more bluntly, webmasters and marketers must please Google if they want their content to have the best results. While quality content is still important, without Google’s approval your great content will go nowhere fast.

In addition, webmasters and marketers must optimize their content not only for Google search, but also for other Google products such as Google+, YouTube… and they must make sure their content displays properly in the Chrome browser because Google is taking data from these users to rank your content.

Quality content is no longer king of the web, Google is king of the web and you better play by Google’s rules or you might as well take your ball and go home.


All views, opinions and conclusions are solely those of the author, who is a full-time search engine marketer. He runs numerous niche sites, including two sites on Internet Marketing. To get valuable marketing tips for free click here: internet marketing tools or here: web marketing tools. Titus Hoskins Copyright 2012.

14 Responses to “Has Google Replaced Content as King of the Web?

    avatar Tony says:

    “Only Microsoft comes close”

    And Apple..?

    avatar local small business websites says:

    I speak from first hand experience. I’ve looked after about 65 websites over the last 2 years, and yesterday received notice from Google that my ENTIRE adsense account (not just the errant websites) had been disabled! What a heavy handed approach! No warning. No indication which sites were involved, or which of their policies had been “violated”. While I’ve filled their coffers to an extent, my share of the advertising revenue has gone up (no payout) in a puff of smoke. So not only do they play King, the are the Mafia too. I think they’ve grown a little too big. I’d be first to throw my weight behind a class action suit brought about by small businesses. Talk about cruel, uncompetitive practices. Are they too big to fail?

    avatar matt says:

    This article is right to the point. Google is KING! I myself got my website slapped with my first penalty in 5 years. Ranking dropped because of the ‘ads above the fold algo’. Visitors went from 26.000/day to 4.000/day. That is hard! Escpecially because I don’t think I’m overdoing the ads above the fold theory. But ok, who am I. I will have to build new layout for my website and wait how they (google) respond to it. Hopefully I will get my rankings back (soon). Even if you are doing your best not to upset google sometimes you miss things and get slapped!!! Good luck to everybody!

    avatar Andy says:

    Good article, and quite revealing! It’s a classic case of ‘Do as I say, not as I do’. Trying to monopolize the whole of the Web will only intensify the battle with Microsoft (and as Tony says, above) maybe Apple too. That could be good, or bad, for Web users. If Google want to be seen as the very best solution for experienced and newbie online businesses/users alike, they should publish an easy to read and understand ‘User’s Guide’ as to ‘how to follow the rules, and enjoy the success you deserve online’.

    avatar Source Pig says:

    As an internet marketer, it’s now more important to utilize Google’s various services to drive traffic to our own sites.

    avatar Annett says:

    Thank you for this post. I have been noticing the same thing. I also believe that Google’s current strategy is not a good one and that there will be a back-lash. If you just promote your own content and products, big players in the industry will put the foot down at some point… just a matter of time. This would be a great chance for Bing to step up to the plate. Let’s see how it plays out.

    avatar Meta Bee says:

    I couldn’t agree more with this article. I’ve watched my sites zoom up and drop down and zoom back up again. Because of this, I don’t worry about duplicate content any more. I want my good content everywhere on the Internet it can possibly be where real people might read it without spoiling it by spinning it. Can you think of any downsides to this?

    avatar Tereza says:

    Well, at least we still have ourselves and sites such as this to comment on. Thanks to all.

    avatar Tom Grimshaw says:

    Good article! Seems like one way to describe it is, “Great, unique content, packaged, presented, hosted and appropriately accompanied acceptably to Google, get’s you in the Google game.”

    Which makes Google the Traffic Gatekeeper.

    Wasn’t there a movie about a piece of software called Gatekeeper?

    I was looking up the definition of the word tyrant after the NDAA was passed:
    Tyrant: A sovereign or other ruler who uses power oppressively or unjustly.
    Tyrant: An absolute ruler who governs without restrictions.
    Tyrant: An absolute ruler unrestrained by law or constitution.

    Seems like Google’s actions, on the surface at least in the cases of some commenters (local small business websites), are tyrannical.

    Tyrannical does not align with do no evil. Seems they are off their own stated purpose.

    avatar Dusan says:

    Right to the point!

    In my opinion there is one even more menacing consequence of such a monopolistic outrage.

    As more and more real business literary depends on the performance of their online presence, Google is more and more in the position to directly influence it, or even devastate it.

    As we increasingly rely on getting the information about products and companies/brands on
    Internet before we choose to buy or get in touch with some business partner, Google starts to be not only the promotion platform, but the substantial part of the business strategy for those businesses.

    I can see the day in short future when the avalanche of legal cases will be launched on
    Google by organised groups of business against this obvious monopoly, and if and when it happens,
    I am sure the Google want be spared.

    I think the most helpful thing that Google could do for website owners and webmasters ans it’s users is …

    At least, put together a better support system to help these same people correct what Google views as problems within a website, so that those people could have an opportunity to change the things that Google doesn’t like.

    Which would do exactly what they have been trying to accomplish, to provide a better user experience.

    But penalizing those people without identifying what or where the problem is, IS JUST PLAIN WRONG.

    I’m sure if Google would do a better job of helping website owners, they would be more than willing to fix any problems within their sites.

    Google is taking the time to evaluate their site away, surely they could take an extra minute to help those people identity what they see as a problem with a quick email to the site owner.

    But as I said, penalizing people AND leaving them in the dark about where the problems lie, serves NO ONE, and actually just hurts site owners livelihoods, and fails to provide the best user experience for their searchers.

    I would have no problem with Google penalizing website owners who would fail to correct the things that Google would point out as problems, once they were informed about it.

    That would be fair, and the site owners fault if they didn’t correct it.

    Surely, with all that Google’s engineers have been able to do and accomplish over the years, they could come up with a better support system that would provide a win,win,win situation, for the site owner, Google and the searcher.

    They seen to want to improve everything, why not that part?

    This would be a much better way or system, than just blindly penalizing and hurting people.

    avatar Matteo Wetler says:

    In my eyes google is killing the web as a place of the free. Too much control in one hand for my taste and definitely time to do something to change this situation. Working with the web for over 10 years now, it makes me really sad seeing how the big chances this medium once offered to every single person on this planet is recently sacrificed to the power and greed of few companies that increasingly try to push each of us in their dependence.

    avatar Troy Johnson says:

    We all see what is happening but there is nothing we can really do about it. Google talks about original content. I’ve ad content I’d PAID to have produced only to be out ranked by scrapper sites (like wn.com) who copy just a paragraph of my content?!

    Google also out ranks my content with more salacious content. I’ll have page for an author which includes a bio, original video, a list of books with links to original book reviews and Google with put a page which includes two sentences about a scandalous tweet that author made. I noticed that Bing does not do this, but Bing does not have enough market share to make a difference.

    I’ve written a lot about this subject here is one article: http://aalbc.it/googlebad

    Good luck everyone and try not to get on Google’s bad side today :-)

    Google is KING! I myself got my website slapped with my first penalty in 5 years. Ranking dropped because of the ‘ads above the fold algo’. Visitors went from 26.000/day to 4.000/day. That is hard! Escpecially because I don’t think I’m overdoing the ads above the fold theory

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