The Monster That Google Created

in Local SEO Google Organic Search

When the original founders of Google left Yahoo, they left with a big idea that would literally change the world-wide-web. The simplest thing in the world - seemingly - left in its wake a huge path of destruction. If you're wondering why Google is changing their algorithms it's simply a matter of looking at the beast they created. I'm am one of those beasts. : )


Before Google, ranking on the web was simply a matter of guessing what popular search term you should rank for and using it over and over on your web page. Now that had it's own problem. As people started to realize the commercial value of showing up in the search engines, the games began. In these early days, if you wanted to rank for "plumber in Dayton Ohio", you just did this at the bottom of the page (sometimes the text was the same color as the background so you couldn't see it, but it was there:

plumber in Dayton Ohio, plumber in Dayton Ohio, plumber in Dayton Ohio, plumber in Dayton Ohio, plumber in Dayton Ohio, plumber in Dayton Ohio, plumber in Dayton Ohio, plumber in Dayton Ohio, plumber in Dayton Ohio, plumber in Dayton Ohio, plumber in Dayton Ohio, plumber in Dayton Ohio, plumber in Dayton Ohio, plumber in Dayton Ohio, plumber in Dayton Ohio, plumber in Dayton Ohio, plumber in Dayton Ohio,

Now, it would be funny, but unlikely that this page shows up for that term but you get the point. 


Well, once that tactic became known, the search engines had to find another way to determine the real content and value of a page. One way was to look at metatags (the code underneath the page that wasn't so easy to edit). And that worked OK for a time.

The GOOGLE guys came up with a great idea. What if you let other people tell you how great a web page was? That's a lot harder to fake. So Google birthed the concept of ranking a page based on its inbound links. After-all, the web was all about hyperlinks. If you link (using a hyperlink) to a page - this>>: The Best Search Engine, you are telling Google that you think the destination of that link is "The Best Search Engine". If enough people did that, they page would rank high in the search engines for "The Best Search Engine" (in this case). 

Well, guess what? Everybody started creating links! 1000's of directories sprung up. Article sites were flooded with less than stellar writing all for the sole purpose of getting links. Social media sites and bookmarking sites followed suit as the go-to place for more links because they were free and easy. Ultimately you can imagine the mess. And a lot of this garbage is still out there. The tragedy is that some of it is NOT garbage but it get's literally buried.


So fast forward to today. I'm sure you've heard about all the Google updates (PANDA, PENGUIN, PIGEON etc). Google has gotten a LOT smarter and the computer power has afforded them a lot more ability to read your website AND make value judgements based on the content. That's not to say that linking isn't important, it still is. So are reviews and testimonials on other sites but you can see where this is going. It all can be faked for the simple purpose of increasing your own sites visibility in the search engines. And by the way, sites that get caught faking it get penalized. The only problem is that determining intent is not a science and a lot of good sites get buried in the scuffle. What you won't do however is bastardize your own website content for the sake of ranking. After-all what good is showing up high in the search engines if the content you're giving to the potential client is just crap for the sake of ranking!


Google is focused again on content and authorship. It's time really to back off the whole SEO concept as a cat and mouse game. If you spent the same amount of time and money working on your website, guess what? IT WOULD RANK QUITE WELL! Do you need to be doing stuff "off-site"? The answer is yes. But the reason is simply that your website is not going to be the only thing that your customers find. We spend about 20% of our time optimizing Google MAPS and prominent third party directories and citations. If your prospects visit the BBB, you need to be in that directory. Same with YP, Yahoo, Bing and all the other prominent local directory sites (if you are business interested in local products and services).

Be aware of how Google measures value and page quality - it might not be what you think. Yes you have to pay attention to things like H1, H2, H3 header tags, keyword usage and such but think about this. If Google sends someone to your site and you have a 2 minute video on the page that is engaging and informative, what does that say to Google? Two minutes is a long time to spend on a webpage. So the time spent on a page after Google sends you there is a value indicator. At the end of the day, all you need is a "good result" and you do that by creating inviting, interactive and creative content for your website visitors. And truth be told, that's a lot harder to do than SEO.