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August 4, 2010

Google’s New Search Engine: YouTube!

Only half joking when I say Google’s new search engine will be YouTube, because there are many strange things happening in Googleland. As a professional search engine marketer I have to keep my eyes glued to what is happening with Google, the most dominant search engine in the North American marketplace, if not the world.

Since my livelihood depends achieving high rankings in the search engines, you more or less become conditioned to jump every time one of them makes a move, especially Google. Recent changes within Google with the Caffeine and the May Updates (we won’t even mention the WonderWheel) had a few of my profitable keyword rankings in Google jumping all over the place.

Well, things have calmed down and everything has fallen back into place and traffic to most of my sites are up. However, even before the dust has settled on those changes, Google is on the move again. There are rumors that Google is developing a Facebook killer, its own social networking site that could compete with Facebook.

Can this be true?

Only Google knows for sure but there are some other concrete changes which already have been made by Google which keeps one wondering. For example, Google has moved the enormous list of YouTube users into its Google Accounts system. You can no longer log into your YouTube account with your old username and password, users must switch and log in through their Google Account.

This is somewhat curious because ever since Google bought it in 2006 for $1.65 billion, YouTube has kept its own brand. Why consolidate it with Google Accounts? Could this move have something to do with the endless stream of data and content which is flowing into YouTube every second? More importantly, does this change now make the handling or manipulation of this data easier for Google to incorporate into its search engine rankings?

This has to be questioned because there are other recent changes within YouTube which are also curious. Users can no longer rate videos on a five star system but must now use a thumbs up for like or a thumbs down for dislike. A much more “Black and White” rating system which is more in line with the one used at Facebook.

Forget the Bing/Yahoo union which has already begun, Facebook is becoming Google’s biggest competitor when it comes to online search. Facebook is showing the traffic and numbers which can make a one-trick pony like Google more than a little jumpy. Google has to compete with Facebook, not only for the attention of the majority of web users, but also now when it comes to online search.

Granted, Facebook is still in its infancy when it comes to search, but its “Like” rating system and search box must have Google paying attention. Keep in mind, Facebook’s Open Graph Protocol doesn’t rely upon keywords but lets users rate the webpages which are most popular or liked. This grass roots consumer or user ranking system will grow in importance as the general surfing public becomes more aware of just how “fake” or “manufactured” organic results are in the major search engines, including Google.

Link buying and selling, keyword positioning, fake software generated content… all are making it hard for search engines to return valid organic results to web users. One obvious solution is to draw more of your organic results from real live voting users who actually rate the content or webpage. These kinds of ratings are much more harder to manipulate by the big multi-national companies who have suddenly realized the pure economic generating power of getting top rankings for lucrative keywords in the search engines.

One would expect the importance of old style backlinks to be replaced by more valuable social bookmarks, such as how many Diggs, Tweets, Facebook and YouTube Likes… will determine what rankings a piece of content receives in the search engines of the very near future. And in the process, one would also expect the already massive corruption of organic search results, to become much more democratic and truly reflect how web users rate content on the web.

Most savvy webmasters have already made it easy for their visitors to bookmark and rate their content by displaying handy social bookmark logos and buttons on their sites. This is probably a wise route to take as the search engines, especially Google, will probably place more emphasis and value on user generated ratings supplied by such sites as Facebook and YouTube.

All views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the author Titus Hoskins, who is a full-time online marketer. To find out more about him and his sites, just Google his name.