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The Rise & Fall of Google in My Life

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Photo Credit: Carlos Luna via flickr

“I am an atheist – I don’t believe in Google”

I start this piece with a tongue-in-cheek reference to the one deity which has most affected my life for the last ten years – Google. Like many of you reading this, Google has had a direct influence on all aspects of my life, and that influence has grown so strong and powerful, Google has taken on a mystical, almost God-Like presence in my daily life.

Forget Big Brother, Google has far surpassed that label or status in the eyes of many and has become one of the driving forces in our daily routines.

Quite frankly, I can’t imagine my day without Google in it. I use so many Google products in my personal and professional life it’s not remotely funny. While I have been gradually weaning myself from Google Search, I still use Google Analytics, Google+, Google Alerts, Adsense, YouTube… and the list goes on. As much as I dislike the idea, Google and its many products have become heavily woven into the very fabric of my life.

Google has been my muse, savior, mind-reader, educator, nemesis and generous benefactor. There is simply no other company I have followed so closely for the last 10 or 15 years.

Please don’t get me wrong, my feelings for Google are evenly divided – I love and hate it with the same passion that scares the bejesus out of me sometimes. Those mixed feelings have evolved over the years mainly because I owe so much of my current life and lifestyle to Google. Like many online marketers and site owners, Google has had a direct correlation to my very livelihood.

Directly and indirectly, Google has contributed to my online earnings over the years, and they still send me the occasional check. I run several sites and free Google traffic made those sites very profitable. Like many site owners and online marketers, I know the power of Google when it comes to getting free organic traffic. It was only a couple of years into my online endeavors when I truly fathomed just how powerful and lucrative receiving targeted keyword traffic from Google is for any site – especially when it comes to affiliate marketing.

My Google traffic numbers kicked into high gear after I started writing simple viral articles which were rapidly picked up and displayed on other related sites on the web. These articles had links back to my sites in the resource box. At one point, my Google traffic was worth 2 or 3 million a month if I had to pay for that traffic through a PPC (Pay Per Click) system. Needless to say, that kind of traffic means big affiliate checks and site revenue.

For years, this targeted traffic flowed freely until Google introduced the Panda and Penguin Updates starting in 2011. Panda didn’t affect my traffic that greatly, although article marketing sites did take a hit, and many were considered to be content farms by Google. However, Penguin spelled the end of much of my free organic traffic from Google. Suddenly, instead of being a vote for content, articles and article links, were considered spam by Google.

Unfortunately, my articles were viral, meaning I gave webmasters who found my writing and content to be worthwhile permission to display my content on their sites or blogs. I still have articles being picked up and displayed and I still consider this to be a vote for the quality of my content. Google, however, does not. I totally disagree with this. Ironically, many of these articles were written about Google. For example, one of my most popular earlier articles was entitled “Three Ways To Index Your Site With Google Sitemaps [Difficult, Hard, And Easy]” and still gets picked up today.

I even received direct feedback from Google that one of my articles picked up by a PR7 site was considered spam because the link in the resource box was “unnatural” and manipulating rankings. It was at this time (the launch of Penguin) that I lost all respect for Google as a determiner of quality content on the web. Penguin was simply wrong and cut at the heart of the Internet – link building and the sharing of quality content. Webmasters became so fearful of Google and the harm it could do to their sites that they were even afraid to link to their own content on their own sites. To make matters worse, following Panda and Penguin, Google penalized a WHOLE site, if it triggered a filter, which made other perfectly superior quality content on the site invisible in Google.

With the release of the Hummingbird update, my respect for Google eroded even further. In my heart of hearts, I strongly believe Google is gradually reducing/eliminating its main competitors – other websites on the net. If Google can display content or answer questions directly on its site via Knowledge Graph or other means, then visitors will stay and only use Google. It simply means that visitors have more time to click an ad and earn revenue for Google. I also believe Google would be more than happy to deal with ONLY 1,000 or maybe 10,000 sites in its index – dismissing all other sites to the disposal bin.

While Google strongly denies it, it is also my belief Google de-ranks sites which depend upon affiliate marketing. Google says it is the quality of these sites which has resulted in lower rankings. Still, one can’t help but wonder if it’s the competition Google is targeting here because if brand name companies can get their sales/leads from affiliate marketers, they don’t need to spend big bucks on Google Adwords. Likewise, if these brand name companies can get their sales/leads from SEO, they don’t need to spend big bucks on Google Adwords.

Google is a fierce competitor, and it goes after its competition with a vengeance. When Facebook knocked Google out of the top spot on the web, it created Google+ to compete and get its traffic numbers back up. Just examine other areas where Google has taken on the competition – Chrome vs Internet Explorer, iPad vs Chromebook, Android vs iPhone… and with free products like Google Hangouts and now Google Helpouts, there is direct competition with countless software programs and services around the world.

“In ancient Rome emperors were so powerful, they were considered gods – does the same faith await Google?”

Google has come a long way from that timid backrub between two Stanford Graduates Larry Page and Sergey Brin in a Menlo Park garage back in 1998. Today, its share price has surpassed $1000, and Google is one of the richest companies on the planet. The company is now venturing from the virtual world into the real world with products like Google Glass, Chromebook, and Android Devices. And, the list will only get longer. There is no topic or problem Google won’t tackle, from patenting a lie-detecting wireless electronic neck tattoo to overcoming death with the Calico project. Talk about being a god. Don’t laugh, the first church of Google is rumored to be floating in San Francisco Bay.

However, all is not turning out as planned. It could be just me, but it seems Google is really starting to tick a lot of people off mainly due to its privacy policies. They recently settled a privacy lawsuit (dealing with tracking customers in Apple’s Safari browser) with 37 states and the District of Columbia for $17 million.

In addition, Google’s recent move to marry Google+ with commenting on YouTube videos was the last straw for me. It has really turned me off Google. I have a Google+ account and like it, but I don’t want to sign over my soul or my name to Google in order to keep using it. On second thought, that boat has probably already sailed, but I have to try and keep some self dignity.

Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, YouTube and Privacy Changes… for me and for many former loyal Google followers, it seems like Google has abandoned all reason or has shown blanket disregard for how webmasters, site owners and surfers feel about all these changes. While Google’s head apostle Matt Cutts has been the most outspoken in telling us that Google really does care – for the most part, that argument has fallen on deaf ears, mainly because there is a widespread perception that Google has nothing but contempt for its users.

Sadly, Google has let a lot of people down (myself included) – not just let them down gently but thrown them off a cliff. It’s like suddenly discovering your favorite mistress has a thing about bunny rabbits and boiling pots or like finding out your best friend has suddenly turned into your biggest bully.

For me, it feels as if Google has turned into this monster bully who simply must have its way. Get rid of your SEO or else, accept our privacy policies or else, use Google+ or lose YouTube… and the demands go on. As a former teacher, I know a thing or two about bullies and Google should be careful of all the negative press coming its way. Bullies get their way for a little while, but they harvest resentment which lasts for years and never really disappears.

Google should also realize bullies like empires fade away, and no one is immune to this fact. Who really knows what the future will bring?

Besides, one sure way to defeat a bully is to take away their playground. In the web of the future, who is to say there will even be an Internet or at least the “www” version most of us are now using. There is a strong possibility Google will tick so many people off, it will not only ruin its own brand but will also seriously sour the Internet as a whole.

In the minds of many, Google and the Internet are one. Maybe it won’t be Google that falls but the Internet itself. Fear of Big Brother, real or imagined, will be the motivating force behind these changes which could prove fatal for major data collection agencies like Google. Human nature may prove to be Google’s biggest foe which no amount of payout can defeat.

Led by rebellious youth, (where all true revolutions start) there may be a strong movement away from the present day Internet into the deep web, where all roads are made of silk and there’s not a googler in sight. Google may be rendered obsolete on this brand new web unless, of course, Google does reach divine status. Then, all bets are off.

About the author

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Titus Hoskins

Titus Hoskins, a former artist and teacher, is now a full-time web marketer who regularly sells 1000's of dollars worth of affiliate products/services online each day. He owns and runs numerous websites, including two sites on Internet Marketing. You can contact him thru his main website - www.bizwaremagic.com

61 Comments

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  • Absolutely spot-on Titus,
    Google have morphed into an arrogant monster and I decided the other day I’d had enough of their hubris.
    Turned off google search and switched to Bing. I now get a massive speed uplift simply because Bing isn’t trying to analyse my movements and feed me their version of targeted ads. I’m one of those that only reads ads when I’m searching FOR something. Otherwise they are 100% avoided. Bing is clean, quick and does what we need of a search engine. Google is NOT allowed to enter my house any further…and regardless of any fantastic thing they might do in the future…I care not one whit.Cocky sods.
    I still dream of an OS Firefox search engine.

    • Titus is absolutely correct. Google’s Panda update targeted not content mills but THEIR COMPETITORS. I wrote about that in Feb 2011 in Google Farmer Update aka Panda Slaps Google Shopping and Google Maps Competitors. They hide products from small businesses in their own shopping site and favor big brands (as their CEO has been quoted). They’re going to “clean up” the Internet “cesspool” by favoring big brands.

      I encourage people to do some research into what Google owns and patents. There are a couple very interesting videos in my Google really is Evil post at growmap.com/google-fairy/

  • In ancient Rome emperors were not considerd gods, that was in ancient Egypt, and ancient Egypt was never as great as Rome was. Egypt never invade other territories, it was, instead envaded by Rome.
    Universalism of Rome was based on not to erase the local culture, but absorbing it.
    Like the Borgs.

  • Google updates the algorithm indeed some effect on the majority of websites in Indonesia are also affected. Just how we will address a wide variety of algorithms provided by the giant company as big as Google’s

  • I agree wholeheartedly with the article, but at the moment where is the competition? If I want to place a comment on you tube I have to comply with the new and stupid (IMHO) method. I have switched to start page for search, but substitutes for docs, email, etc, I would welcome ideas from people more savvy than I!

    • Get an email address on your own domain. If you use Windows, get Time and Chaos Intellect to manage your contacts, calendar, meetings, and email. (It is the best – as much as I hate Windows I’m buying a laptop just to run that one program.)

      Use Trello instead of Google Docs. Use DuckDuckGo for search.

      Be aware that Google will be getting rid of most of our sites, so be saving URLs (and ideally IP addresses in case they remove us from domain name servers).

  • Hello Titus,

    Good article – completely agree. It’s the hypocritical stance that I can’t stand. Have a look at Matt Cutts own blog:

    http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/webmaster-feature-requests/

    How many links with exact match anchor text do you see in the first two paragraphs? If it wasn’t Matt who wrote this it would be deemed spam by their own filters!

    Still, you could always “try something new for thirty days” – try Bing (sorry I couldn’t resist!). I think you’ll be quite surprised as it performs how Google used to before they ruined the serps with Penguin. i.e. The organic search results are actually useful as opposed to full of review sites and Wikipedia junk. I suppose it’s one way of increasing the ad revenue by making the organic results worse than the paid search…..

    You’re right about privacy too – try installing Picasa. What’s the first thing it wants to do before it will install? Yep, you guessed, access the net. Then it will scan your whole PC if you let it and try and synch online. Talk about presumptuous at best! At worst a data protection breach. Worse still it scans you photos, identifies faces and ask you to fill in the names of these people! I’m not sure about the legalities of that but common sense says that this can pose a risk to some people if you allow a name of say a police officer and their face to be uploaded to Google, which potentially could be used to identify them and possibly cause them harm. Is this right? I don’t think so.

    Chrome is just as bad. Talk about invasive – it’s like having someone follow you around all day and noting down what you’re doing, when you’re doing it and how often you’re doing it. GO AWAY – it’s like electronic stalking.

    The other thing I can’t stand about Chrome is the sheer number of “free” software that tries to install it such as Avast and CCleaner etc. I get why they do it – it’s because Google pays them to do it, but isn’t this a bit like buying links? or likes? And isn’t it a bit like manipulating the browser market in their favour which if you were to do the same with your website by buying links they would penalise you for?

    Not to mention, why hasn’t anybody challenged this behaviour? I seem to remember Microsoft trying this on with Internet Explorer with claims that it couldn’t be uninstalled from the operating system. Sort of like Chrome and Android then?

    Then there’s security issues (lot’s of them). I’ll bet most people here don’t realise that all Android devices will store your wifi password on their servers without your permission. You can turn it off – but then I’ve heard that before. As far as I’m concerned all Android devices are a security risk and they won’t be on my network.

    Personally I think Google has just gotten to big for it’s own boots. Once people start to wake up to the idea that they’re only being used then they’ll start to switch to other products.

    • Spoken/written from my heart!
      I’m never logged into my Google account, I only use my Google account in an extra browser (IE), which I otherwise don’t open. Instead of Chrome I have “SR Iron” to test Chrome features on my websites, and the first things to go on newly bought computers are all the Google “goodies”, like toolbar, Chrome, etc.

  • Good article & sums up how many webmasters feel right now. Google have gone too far, will Joe Public realise that before many good small sites are out of business? Or will it be the high street all over again dominated by big faceless corportations who leech all of the ££££ & pay no tax?!

  • 2Titus Hoskins, a former artist and teacher, is now a full-time web marketer who regularly sells 1000’s of dollars worth of affiliate products/services online each day.”

    You poor soul. Thousands have actually lost their jobs because of Google and many more have seen a meager income compared to yours i.e. enough to put food on the table, reduced to zero because of the almighty GOOGLE (Or is it God’s Own Online Greedy Little Experiment to teach us all a lesson).

    • Spot on Grey, and imagine only how many life’s will vanish if for any reason Geogle says: we are closing. They have power that non of the company should ever have…

  • Great article. I confess to harboring many of the same feelings in my heart. I recall Microsoft being slapped with an anti-trust lawsuit for providing IE bundled with the Windows OS. What Google is doing seems far more anti-competitive to me. My pet peeve is Google’s hitting sites with ranking penalties for “unnatural links.” While some of these links really are spammy, many are legit and all of them appeared because Google rewarded them handsomely with improved rankings. Now Google has created a different incentive, one that rewards people who practice negative SEO on their competitors. An increasing amount of our business is now helping people who have been harmed in this way. Google needs to get out of the business of being judge, jury and executioner. Despite what Matt Cutts says, Google hates anyone that cares enough about their organic search traffic to want to improve it.

  • I still prefer Google & have never had problems with them however you are right that I get way too many messages in my spam folder that shouldn’t be there but that still havent beat yahoo on the spam lol so I do not think any one will ever be perfect on that. I think Google is way better than lame Facebook and have no idea why people prefer FB but my favorite is actually Twitter because of the reach and they are not as money hungry as FB…

  • What an excellent post and read. Nail, Head, Hit!

    As an online marketeer and SEO specialist, I agree with many of your points. Google has simply become the master of all websites! just one giant website!. No longer do we need to visit companies websites and browse for products, we simply use Google shopping, who dictate what we are presented with based on those companies paying for the pleasure. Whether it be translation, information, exam research or shopping – we use Google and Google present what we see. And obviously people and companies are paying hard cash or with our personal data for the pleasure of making Google the ultimate master website on the planet. Google decides what we see, by the highest bidder, on Adwords, Google Shopping etc etc. It is even mooted that using Google+ will give you head start on natural ranking results! But wait, doesnt natural mean without any influence??? So if Google+ has a factor in rankings then surely ‘Natural Rankings’ is dead? Theirs nothing Natural about them! Everybody needs to come to terms with the fact that Google is no longer a search engine! Its the MOTHER of all ecommerce, info and brochure websites… its the KING of Commerce. Freedom and freedom of choice has gone. Freedom to compete has gone, unless you pay for the pleasure!

    Who has the right to decide where we shop? or decide what information is presented to us? Google is NOT a level playing field anymore and it will be their demise. You may laugh.. but believe me, Google have forgotten the people who made them, they have forgotten that Google Adwords is so complex that companies need to employ the experts to manage these accounts – yet what will happen when they piss these experts off, when they piss the SEO gurus off?? (which they are doing in droves) the ones that they are targeting with new updates to algorithms that are aimed at one thing , making it so difficult to gain rankings that you have to PAY Google for the pleasure… A bidding war erupts, as first page Ads are essential and Google makes even more money.

    Believe me, the last people Google want to be pissing off are the experts that manage PPC accounts and SEO campaigns, the people who without, they wouldn’t be where they are. When SEO experts recommend not to use Google, when Adwords experts decide to put clients off using Adwords as its not an even playing field and too costly for the average business.

    When users and advertisers finally realise that web traffic is down, because no one needs to go to your site anymore, because Google are providing the info or the product. Unless you of course pay Google to have your site advertised.

    Freedom of choice – when you charge or pay – freedom is lost.

    I know people and especially marketeers will pounce on this article and say otherwise – the pro Googler’s who will say, just write content blah blah blah… but again their just slaves to Google and you will most likely need to pay for that pleasure in the future too… with Google of course. They will say use BING, Yahoo etc… but until Google loses its 80=% of the market, this is not a viable solution. Or until the next BIG, NEW Level playing field comes to town… we are lumbered with being held to ransome

  • It’s refreshing to read an honest and truthful opinion about Google and its quest for complete and utter world domination on a site like this, rather than the usual benign and pandering twaddle I see so often.

    Everything you have said is, of course, absolutely correct. Many seem to think that Google is “nice”, that it couldn’t possibly be acting against users to gain more power. The truth is that Google is a corporation, and all corporations thrive on being soulless machines, ruthless in their marching, never satisfied with the power it has, always greedy for more.

    The fact that Google has shareholders is all anyone needs to know. Even if the machine was being controlled by ethical and moral people, the beast simply HAS to have MORE, it’s legally required to grow for those profits and those shareholders.

    Google is trying to destroy the web in order to replace it. This is clear. It wants to be the only provider of information, stealing your content to display as its own, giving you nothing in return. Search on a quote and it’ll tell you without offering a site, search on a definition and no clicking other than “go” is needed, search for a famous name and voila, a profile appears, search for an image and it’ll grab it for you, math equation? No problem, Google can do that for you…

    But it is relying on all the sites out there to gain this information, and it has reneged on its deal with us as webmasters.

    Google has forgotten one important thing; it became what it is through the direct support of webmasters. The only thing that made Google what it is today was the support of those signing up for Analytics and other webmaster services. It was the first to do this, and so the webmaster supported it. That was when the deal went both ways, we got something back for what we put in.

    Google has moved the goalposts, it has destroyed the partnership, and it’s time people started fighting back against this.

    Revolution is indeed needed.

    The question is how and where this will begin. Personally, I believe that a strong message is needed. Blocking Google would be a brave move, preventing it from crawling and then requesting the removal of content from their indexing. It survives on stealing our work and presenting it as its own, it’s attacking content creators and increasingly offering nothing in return for what we feed it.

    I haven’t used Google search for about a year, and I’m happy to have left it behind. I long for the day when this monster is taken down and we have a level playing field. No single corporation should ever have the level of power and control that Google now has.

    Thanks for the refreshing article, once again it’s great to read something honest, rather than the pandering mess of what I like to compare to local businesses excusing the protection racket of the mob.

  • Great article! The problem is, Google is a hard habit to break, since as you say, it is so ingrained in our lives nowadays. Because a lot of the unhelpful changes they have made over the years have been small though, they’ve not been enough to cause people to notice and go elsewhere.
    The one that is REALLY GETTING MY GOAT at the moment is this stupid captcha that comes up if I type too fast (or I think that’s why it is) into the Google search box – it was annoying enough before, but they’ve now made it redirect to Google homepage with a blank search box, so you have to type your search in again. I really am going to switch to Bing.

  • Excellent article! I’m a graphic and website designer, and I totally understand the feelings expressed in it, and also in the comments.

    I’ve got a client who had the top ranking non-pornographic website that has over 200 pages. They publish coming out and relationship books for women and have been online since 2001. I had over 1,000 quality inbound links coming to the site from other non-porno websites, which took around 7 years to gradually acquire. In 2010, Google desided to blacklist the words Lesbian and Bisexual, and those Inbound links dropped to 300 in Yahoo and only 7 in Google! Many of the links I used to have pointing to my client’s website are missing because those businesses are no longer online, and my client is now about to go bankrupt too. Their website is still listed if you know the company name, but if you are looking for keywords, the company is nowhere to be found in related searches in the US. My client still gets hits from some countries in Europe.

    Does anyone have suggestions on how I can help this company that has been unfarily penalized? Google sure did hurt them, and I really could use some suggestions on what to do when words like Lesbian and Bisexual are being blacklisted as being pornographic on a non-pornographic website.

    Or does anyone know who to contact at Google? I’m almost afraid that they might totally ban my client’s website altogether, but after three years of struggling with this, I really have no idea what else I can do.

  • I’ve noticed that searches on Google have become more limiting (more so in the last couple to few years) which has been frustrating to deal with and I have been going to yahoo, Bing and my old pal, Dogpile.com… Especially, when I’m trying to obtain an accurate comparison of a product I want to purchase over the internet – in order to get the best price from a Seller who has a good reputation. Just 3 to 4 years ago I could ask Google for a search of xyz product and get a plethora of comparisons to choose from but now when I do the same search, I get mostly the big sellers (listed 2/3 times each) of the product with not much variation in their pricing…. And, before I would get the big sellers (once, maybe twice) and the independent or small retailers on Google but not very often, now. So, I have been weening myself off of Google and searching the sites I’ve mentioned before to buy where I want to buy and NOT where GOOGLE wants ‘me’ to buy because their Ad Buyers have purchased a huge part of the top 20 spots (2 plus pages worth) of Ads…!!

    John Q public, Please tell me what you think the best websites are to search for any product on the internet?
    Thanks, Nick

  • Wow! In reading your post, it was like reading my own history with google except that where Panda didn’t hit you so hard, I got clobbered by both Panda and Penquin. I didn’t even hear about Hummingbird because I stopped paying attention after Penquin.

    I have a health and wellness portal and it is 99% my original content and research. To have adsense earnings drop so drastically when Panda hit and then all but disappear after Penquin, I saw the writing on the wall. Google is NOT about original content. It’s about advertising money, as you said. If the only thing that shows up on a google search is health and wellness sites that pay to be there, then all is good for googledom.

    I also have quite the love/hate relationship you mention. In fact, I could have written the same article, our experience is so parallel. In any case, I appreciated the affirmation this morning. I’m not the only one. Thanks.

  • Everything you have said has gone through my mind, and I saw this coming the day they removed web design companies from the local listing years back, the very companies who put them in the mainstream, I would not mind if Google went overnight, the world would be a better place without them.

  • Right on!!! Let’s not lose site that General Motors used to have the slogan that, ‘what’s go for GM is good for the country’. And, remember how once IBU, Kodack, etc etc were all king of the hill. And, these companies didn’t piss off Hundreds of MILLIONS of people each day.

    The only problem is that the days are so much shorter now, and in the long run we are all dead!

  • It is everyone’s responsibility to let everyone they know that there are better alternatives to Google. Bing, DuckDuckGo, Blekko… these are great competitors who can’t seem to make it because Google became too strong of a household name. It’s time that ended.

  • I have to say that this is one of the most intelligent posts I have seen in awhile! Thanks for speaking your mind. The algorithms have sapped the strength of home-grown entrepreneurs, and the best defense is to go to the other side!

  • I have been reading comments that SEO is already dying. It isn’t dying, it’s already dead. We are being asked to accept whatever’s left of it as SEO but it no longer is, it no longer is organic, no longer natural – without us noticing it, Google has redefined our online marketing paradigm and we did nothing about it.

    1. It used to be that Organic was a good choice over PPC. It was less costly, it was long-term. Today, it’s no longer true.
    Check out the sites appearing in the SERPs, these are big companies who can afford to spend money on article marketing and link-building.
    Why? Because Google has placed a premium on off-page efforts and has given less importance to On-page factors. Why do I say this? Try setting up a site and implement your on-page optimization. Do not do any link-building efforts. See if your page will rank and if at all, where. Used to be pages whose on-page are well-optimized will come up in the rankings. Now, you are lucky if they will. It’s a case of Google shooting down its own rules. Ideally, if it’s really organic you are after, links should come in only when those who have seen your page will refer to it. With Google’s current algorithm however, Google isn’t just encouraging unnatural linking, it is requiring it of sites, it has given off-page efforts more weight than the on-page. Isn’t it counter-intuitive? How does it expect sites to get natural backlinks when it won’t even be seen at all if it starts off with on-page optimization alone? It’s like a catch 22 situation. If you go the natural way and wait for links to start coming in after you polished your on-page optimization, it won’t happen. You need to jumpstart your SEO with link-building and article marketing eforts for it to rank first, then that’s the time it will be seen in the SERPs. It’s like going the opposite way, the natural order of things. Used to be, the natural way meant: rank in the SERPs first, then you’ll earn links.

    Second, not only is it unnatural, it is also temporary. Try stopping your social shares, your article marketing, your link-building efforts, your traffic will be greatly affected. Nowadays, you no longer get the assurance that SEO will give you long-term results. Off-page having a large bearing on the results, it has made PPC a more viable option for merchants. PPC gives faster results, SEO does not. PPC results are temporary, SEO results now are, too.

    Weighing both options now, SEO’s turning out to be more costly – you have to pay for article writers, for link-builders, for on-page SEOs… For what? For results that will plummet when your article writers stop. For results that depend on links which are unnaturally gathered and are in danger of being penalized any time Google tries to change its mind.

    2. Used to be Google just served searchers/surfers the data that they surfed for. Now, it’s different.

    Try to search for this keyword: spolling.

    What do you see?

    Showing results for spooling
    Search instead for spolling

    What did I look for? SPOLLING.

    Why didn’t Google give me the results for that word first? Why did it push on me the results for the word it thinks I misspelled?

    I intentionally misspelled SPELLING.

    But the intention was to show what’s currently happening to BRAND searches ( brands which are wordplays).

    The intention was to show the behavior of Google now. It no longer gives you what you ask for, it thinks it knows what you want better than you do, and gives you what IT THINKS you want before it asks you: (Search instead for spolling)

    If you remember, its manner then was to give the results of your actual search first before it will suggest what it deems is the correct word.

    What if Spolling was a brand, what if I was indeed looking for that brand?

    Google’s no longer a non-partisan tabulator of data, no longer is it giving us the data we are asking for – it has shaped the spectrum in such a way that it is now dictating how we ask for data (type questions in the 4Ws and H question format) and how we serve it (article marketing, social shares, link-building, rich snippets – all under the umbrella of SEO). It has gone as far as assuming it knows what we are looking for better than we do.

    3. How many sites have webmasters who are implementing Google’s rich snippets? How many webmasters are using microdata? Who is gonna benefit from this? This is supposed to be the internet’s (read: Google’s) way of tailoring our optimization to make the results more targeted but where is the effect gonna be felt? I can’t see it in the current SERPs, results are way, way better in my searches before… If we talk about the merchant/webmaster side, surely not for SEOs who are just seeing “not provided” instead of keyword search results. PPC then, but who’s earning from it? Google. You have to pay for webmasters who can do the schema so Google can improve on its PPC algorithm. You pay, Google benefits.

    Where does that leave SEO now?

    How much were you spending on SEO before?

    How much do you need to spend now?

    Given the options, what has now become the quickest, more surefire option?

    PPC.

    Google’s bread and butter.

  • Daniele:

    The Romans NEVER had Emperors. Octavianus Augustus, the first “emperor” called himself CAESAR, in deference to his uncle Julius Caesar. Caesar was the one who dismantled the Roman Republic and assumed the role of DICTATOR.

    Augustus was called GOD, indeed. He was granted by the Senate the status of TRIBUNE, in addition to PATRICIAN — hence Octavianus was considered a god. The irony was that Augustus considered as the most difficult task for him to accept the sacrifice of a goat in deference to his status of GOD! O tempora! O mores!

    Titus:

    Great article, indeed. I did start my loud complaining against Google (I granted them the title of Dracgoogla!) beginning with the Florida Update (2004). After Penguin, I’ve gone berserk! I am glad to see other Internet people have the courage to stand up to Dracgoogla, as the vampires they have become…

  • I’m glad someone mentioned the “florida” update. Does anyone recall Matt Cutt’s saying Google would do everything to avoid that in the future? Then what happened? Panda, Penguin & then humming bird (which is more like steaming TURD-yep, Google have shat on those that got them there!). One thing is for sure, they do not care what so ever for small players. Their own greed will be thier downfall. It WILL happen. Sadly it will be too late for many but from the ashes it will all start again. Only that time I hope we all go in with eyes wide open & don’t give our data away to the big freindly “do no evil” corporation! It smacks of a land grab come scorched earth policy right now. The are grabbing what they can before the bubble bursts.

  • Excellent post. Well said and thorough.

    Having been involved with the web since ’96, and actively marketing, designing and developing for the web since ’99, I’ve seen many trends and fads come and go over the last decade and a half. None have been as pervasive as Google and many have died an untimely death in the interim.

    What seems to wow many Googlers today, existed long before Google jumped on the bandwagon. For instance, Hangouts, their video communication platform, is old news. Unlike Google, however, they didn’t have the eyes, the hundreds or thousands of developers at hand or the dollars necessary to keep them afloat. Slowly, they fell by the wayside or were bought out only to be dismantled or forgotten.

    What many seem to forget as well are all the failed attempts by Google to produce viable products. For instance, the social arena has never been the company’s forte. Some may remembers Orkut, still maintaining a presence in… Brazil; Dodgeball, decimated after 4 years; OpenSocial, which never gained ground as the biggest player, FB, never jumped on board; Jaiku, which was released to the wild; Wave, which washed away; Aardvark, which has become extinct. And the list goes on and on and on and…

    And as you’ve alluded to in your article, the “evolution” of search. To many, this has become a form of censorship – only displaying what it believes people should see (or “want” to see as they put it) while destroying whole niche industries overnight. Suggested search? Please. Knowledge Graph? Riiiight. Not to mention the incessant shifting sands/moving goal posts of the Webmaster Guidelines. Build links good, now bad (supposedly). Content marketing, only to leave a wasteland of spun articles. Social signals,… read above paragraph.

    Much like everything in the universe has a lifespan, so does Google. Even star systems and their progenitors die. As some have already alluded to in previous comments, we built the beast, and collectively, we once again have the power to undo the damage wrought. Remember AllTheWeb, Altavista, Infoseek, Teoma, Webcrawler, et al? Thought so.

  • This is a great article. I have fallen foul of Google and lost rankings owing to being a keen article writer for links. Content is king but if so why do poor, keyword laden websites keep ranking above mine? I just can’t figure it out.

  • Russ, I see the same & can only conclude they are making the SERP’s crap so people click on Ads. Also, if you had a great business that used to rank well & this is taken away what can you do? Buy Ads to survive? I for one say **** you Google, I’d rather gamble on the horses than play your games any longer.

  • I completely agree!! Google is forcing us into buying ads to survive, and doing so on a huge scale. It is clear that they want every dime that the SEO industry has been making over the past decade, plus more. We helped them build up and clean up the internet, now just like they have done with other industries, they are taking over and kicking us aside. This giant needs to be taken down and broken up. It is the scariest monopoly ever conceived. Eventually Google will use its multiplied billions to buy and control all media, and politicians, too. It is like a black hole, sucking in everything in its path.

  • Google has clearly lost its way, and is now an evil company that does massive damage on several planes.

    Let’s not just complain about Google, as if that will do any good. If Google cared about quality content, its SERPs would be very different from what they are today. So they don’t care and no amount of complaining will fix that.

    However, we have the power to do to Google what they did to us. And I don’t mean just making Google irrelevant to your business model. I mean actively advocating for its competitors.

    While Google has trashed its search engine, both Bing and Yahoo have upped their game to provide users with an excellent search experience. What are YOU doing to get the word out?

    This forum is great, but let’s not just talk among ourselves. You can advocate for Bing and Yahoo in your newsletters, on your site(s), when talking with customers, and at various other opportunities. All it should take for a reasonable person to switch AWAY from the evil corporation to a competitor is to try the competitor. Except for the dedicated Googler zombie types, this is a case of a product selling itself–you just need to get people to try it.

    A cultural shift that leaves Google in the dustbin of search engine history could happen very quickly. But only if we get others to try the (far) better alternatives to Google.

  • As modern history has shown, business tends to run towards monopolies, and it seems that the first one to make it big, just gets bigger. I mean look at Wal-Mart. Its up to people to choose quality over convenience or even the mass-mind, “google-it”. Sometimes the road more traveled, just gets deep ruts, keeping the wheels locked down that path.

  • Superb article. My pet hate is the way Google now penalises backlinks it considers spammy or doesn’t like. So now a competitor can send tens of thousands of spam backlinks using an automated spambot and I get penalised! What’s that got to do with me?

    What’s wrong with Google just giving neutral value to backlinks it doesn’t like instead of negative? That way there’s no incentive for a competitor to attack my site with bad links. So now, to get a better ranking it’s easier to send spammy links to your competitors than it is to build high quality links to your own site.

    Yes, that makes great sense. The sooner Google are consigned to dustbin of internet history the better.

  • The answer is simple but it will take a while to affect the almighty Google.

    1) STOP using Google.

    2) Advocate on your websites and blogs to use other search engines.

    3) NEVER click on any PPC ads. It just delivers money directly to Google.

  • Wow! Sometimes I think everyone is too afraid to tell the truth about the big G(od). I’m really happy to see all this courage (the article and the comments) in one place. It is a hopeful sign that the Google Trance is not universal, even if way too pervasive. Nobel prize for Titus? Okay, maybe not, but at least we need to find ways for class action suits to teach them manners and make them play fair again. Any lawyers out there ready for a REAL challenge? By the way, I believe the readers of this post might also like a very relevant (I promise) article here: Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Google, Privacy, and Anonymity

  • I agree entirely with this article and all most of the comments as well. The problem is we are in the business, so we recognize what Google is and has been doing. The problem is that the ordinary man in the street, brought up with “Google it” rather than search for it has yet to realize they are being conned by Google search results.

    They are no longer getting the best products or services but the ones who have paid Google to be on the top of the search results and as the color has faded away for the paid adverts at the top of the page it’s very difficult to tell where ads end and organic results, if there is any room for them on page 1, begin.

    Somehow the message needs to be got over to the public that Google search is no longer providing best results but just results from the highest bidder on Adwords. When the public stop clicking on the ads that provide Google with its billions of income each year then we may see a change in attitude or I would like to think the demise of Google altogether.

  • Emperors rule only for their lifetime. Even they will die and fade away, becoming a distant memory, or perhaps some few pages of their history will be recorded on pieces of parchment left behind in some bottom drawer and forgotten about. My feeling is that we, in our generation, will see the end of Google, and witness the rise of some other equally narcissistic ruler, either on the ‘www’ or some other device of communication.

  • Great Piece of Article. Well I will say that each of us SEO have different kind of experience with google regarding the rankings and traffic and still we are trying to be friends with google 🙂

  • Google and its petting zoo is the tip of the problem. Look at the shenanigans Amazon and ebay are doing to limit affiliate revenue and the games paypal is playing with their customers to trick them into paying with the paypal credit card, which is almost impossible to pay off without funds in your paypal account or paying $5 for a funds loading card, they are quick to drop a late fee and charge a fee to talk to a human being about it.

  • “NEVER click on any PPC ads. It just delivers money directly to Google.”

    Google already has the money before you even click. Better advice would be to click away, the advertiser will then realise Google PPC is useless & only lines Google’s pockets. We have the power to take them down, like every revolution it takes enough of the people to make the stance & take action. Forget playing by their rules, make links if it works for your USERS. Think OUTSIDE the box & forget the Google brain washing. If you haven’t been affected by them YET & still think Google is great dream on. They WILL catch up with your industry & destroy it.

  • Having been hit by Google updates not all of which were publicized I am now beginning to recover. How? By posting in a forum and deleting any article on my blog that can be construed as being promotional.

    Presumably that is what pay per click is for!

    Article marketing by means of guest posting has almost been killed off. If someone is going to write an informative article then to include a promotional link is fair enough otherwise there is no point in anyone providing the information.

    This leads to issues around linking, if you allow a link to be followed you could say goodbye to your site. Unfortunately guest posting sites insist on a do follow link which is why I no longer accept guest posts unless they not directly promotional and accept a no follow link.

    Google is killing off the very thing they claim to be trying to achieve to improve the user experience by providing high quality information.

    Google has forced me to look for alternative traffic flows from social media and other search engines based on content and its working.

    Why? Because the results you get on Google are inferior.

    Having broken the Google habit and succeeded what Google says or does is irrelevant.

  • Great post. While I agree that Google is on the path to world domination in other forms of business. Not just search. It is not a product based company (less a few technical products like phone that just are so it can continue to dominate and get search advertising revenue).

    Even better yet it will almost never enter my company’s field as sex toys are still shunned from corporate America’s shelves. Amazon who does sell ALOT of sex toys (and really does want to take over the world) doesn’t even actively promote the category.

    And yes I love this.

    Nathaniel
    PinkCherry.com

  • Great article, well thought out! Bearing the cross of many who are disgruntled with the unfair power and influence that Google wields over our lives, our future and our potential income.

  • Hi all, I’m totally on board with what’s said. I lost interest in Google quite aa while ago, although must confess still using some of it’s freebies like Maps, Gmail and stuff. To start with, why can’t we put up a simple one-page website with a powerful but short and simple enough message for an average user to understand what Google is really about. Next step is to set up an “anti-Greedle club” and display a some kind of logo on participating websites? That will spread the message much more quickly and I think all competing SE will be eager to promote that as well.

  • Totally agree. I’m fairly new to affiliate marketing, but have realized that Google has made it more difficult each year to get ranked.
    Marketers ARE getting a lot more devious – white hat, black hat, grey hat, etc.-a lot of this is SEO doing the Google dance to keep up with their changes.

  • I think Google has made small business websites a thing of the past. Whats the point of building a website since it wont be found now that Google wants people to jump through hoops. It’s become too complicated for ordinary mom and pop stores and soon the store owners with out EVER CHANGING skills or money will disappear. Google screwed the small business and I hope in the long run them selves. I hope people will lose interest in Google and another search engine will realize that small business owners can’t keep up with this Google game and build an engine that is logical and not set to make web owners fail.

  • Mine was one of the first sites on the web. I sometimes feel like the old man of the internet. Since 1996, I’ve seen many things on the web – many good, many not so good. The worst thing I’ve seen is the change in Google. “Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive” said Sir Walter Scott; what would he have to say about the tangled web Google has now woven us at their website…

  • Your article is bordering entertainment although the actual subject is quite serious. It’s true that the natural development of the web has thoroughly affected by the so called penguin updates.

    Where a good author like yourself would naturally rise and become popular by people SHARING your stories by other people re-publishing and linking to you – this is now deemed illegal and a way of cheating.

    The underlying excuse is that you interfere with the way their algorithm works and the output of their search engine which seems to be best one at the moment.

    On the other hand its also an admission that maybe their search engine is not as good as they claim it be – in that – web developers have to develop content according to Google’s internal policy or it does’nt work for Google.

    The sad thing is that W3C offer no protection for this kind of behaviour at all. Meaning they write the rules and when they make them public – they have to get Google’s rule book foregoing what they preach.

    The rules on this page start by banning a whole business opportunity, then freedom of trade, use of technology and finally bans any large scale marketing companies.

    So “how to make money online”. The answer is simple – Google that – they will get paid by PPC.

    Google are breaking what used to be a perfect search engine and unfortunately there is no alternative at the moment.

  • @Ken, I’m using duckduckgo since more than 3 months, it’s pretty good but at the moment it lacks of features as autocomplete which prevents searches on misspelled expressions, a news section and internationalization.

    Also I noticed very bad search results on ddg after hummingbird for a while, so I suggest that the use google results too. I read ddg is making use of the yahoo-api. Does it even have an own spider? I’m not so shure. But if they would evolve the market is there for ddg to get a serious alternative for google sometimes.

    At least Matt Cutts suggested duckduckgo ; ) on a video.

    best regards

  • I used DuckDuckGo for some time after I became disenchanted with Google, but I must say that I prefer Bing. I’ve written a bit about this at my own site but the skinny is I believe Bing cares about its users in a way Google demonstrably does not. I also think that if Matt Cutts suggests anything, for all his talent, one must ask what his motive is; since Google is punishing people now for doing what it suggested people do in the past, one should not do what they suggest without a very good reason and a demonstrably reliable exit strategy.

  • Yes DuckDuckGo does have its own spider, it showed up at my site on two different days about 10 days apart late this past summer, coming out of Paoli, Pennsylvania where their headquarters are located. I have not seen them before or since.