A very interesting series of thoughts came to miy mind yesterday, that I thought must be shared with readers. Its surrounded on one idea (that may sound very impossible)
Google Search does have an Achilles’ Heel !!
While Page Rank and the Google indexing algorithm was powerful and unique enough to catapult it to a plane way above all the other search engines in the Web 1.0 world – and effectively destroy each of them with one fell swoop… I don’t believe this is going to hold up in the coming years of the Web2.0 world.
To understand my argument – I assume readers are familiar with what Page Rank is and how Google goes about indexing pages and listing them during searches.
Ok. lets go back about 10 years. It was easy to game the engines them (called spamdexing) and anyone with a little bit of commensense could easily get listed high on top. Infact, if they wanted to spam th eengine and be listed 10 times on the homepage – it was easy. I listed one of my clients on top of Infoseek within 5 minutes flat for their keyowrd.There was a fierce war not only amongst around 10 several search engines (Google had not arrive to the party as yet) but a bigger war brimming underneath between Webmasters and Search engine logic coders… in which each of them were trying to out-do and out-smart the other. Engines would change their algorythm, tweaking it to counter clever search engine marketers / webmasters who learned how to dominate them for any keyword. It was all too easy. There were softwares like Web Position Gold that helped anyone achieve top ranking – guaranteed!
So, these 2 guys had a brainwave and it was a clever one. Since it was NOT easy at that time to get backlinks and get on to a large number of sites to point to your site – getting over the Page Rank algorithm – or gaming it, was not easy … if not impossible.
But ofcourse, some people learnt this (and still are) – calling them Search Engine Marketing specialists. So, they claimed that they can list you on top of Google or alteast o nthe first page for $xyz – or your money back. Its not rocket science – and if one wants to master the art of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – one can read some of the professional ebooks aavailable and even adopt some guaranteed systems like SEO Elite – that tend to piggyback on “copying” what your competition is doing and then go do it better to outrank them.
This is where the danger lies.
In the Web1.0 world the Google secret soup will work – becuase Social Media and Sharing has not taken off yet. So, fooling Google with fake / self posted inbound backlinks to your site pages – was not easy to do. You had to wait for Portals and Media house reviewers to write about your site and link to it – to get a lot of Google love. Blogging was not so popular and neither was ReviewMe or PayPerPost concept. So, getting a high Page Rank meant you had to rely on other people to point to your site.
Other than PageRank Google also uses basic onpage optmization factors that consider (using basic semantic concepts) the relevance of your text content and keyword things like density, postion, size etc. On page optimization can easily be gamed. Leaving, only the Page Rank hurdle.
Now, with Social Media happening all around ANYONE can use mass submission tools or even manually go to several sites (countless infact) and submit links to their pages. The SEO tricks to be listed on top of Google for specific keywords are being shared by SEO specialists and is coming out into the open. Although, Google keeps tweaking the specifics and various weightage factors in their algorithm and they keep coming out with updates – I believe the SEO specialists have the upper hand here… and they too quickly react and change their search optimization bag of tricks.
Thats not at all healthy for Google.
It will kill the effectiveness of the Google Page Rank and Search Algorythm, as more and more people LEARN how to “game Google” using the power of the Web2.0 and Social Media and Social sharing phenomena. This is already happening with popular keywords. Just go to Google and type in a popular keyword that has a high popularity (that is number of searches). You will see that the listing you get does not necessarily list the best sites on top. The sites on top are sites that have mastered the SEO trick and cracked the code. They dont necessarily have the best content.
Wow. Think about that.
Although, I believe this situation is currently only true for popular keywords. But it will and is moving slowly towards rare keywords and specific keyword searches – that is, “long tail” keywords.
It may never apply and happen for long tail keywords – which is a sigh of relief for Google… but there is a strong possibility that it may just start proliferating into the long tail keywords area – as SEM people realize there IS also a lot of money to be made with these long tail keywords… by setting up splog sites and dummy pages which are populated with Google Adsense ads themselves… and eventually lead the searcher to one of the sponsored / advertising links.
So, that means we can see a future where you search on Google… goto a site high up in the Search Result… see that its crappy… click on a Google Ad on that site… and get to a better site (assuming that there is some truth in the fact that people who can afford to advertise and pay for a click – probably have a site up which has value and good content).
So, Google wins again (because of growing ad revenues) even though its search system fails.
Or, perhaps, Wikipedia wins this race?
But, hold on. Don’t get carried away too far just yet…
There’s a concept thats pioneered byTim Bernes Lee – the creator of the WorldWideWeb (don’t we all know who he is). Its called Semantic Search. Google currently uses only basic page content semantic analysis.
And if Google plays its cards right – the power of Semantic Search CAN save them… atleast for another 10 to 15 years, until a group of “Semantic Search Optimization” specialists are born… 🙂