We are all aware of Google’s “Penguin” and “Panda” algorithms. We are also aware of how these algorithms affected a whole bunch of websites. Each website’s search engine ranking drops are, in theory, a part of Google’s ongoing efforts to provide a quality search experience
In Formula One racing, nearly every year there are some rule changes. The teams that best adjust to the new rules are successful–much like the case of search engine optimization where companies using last year’s SEO guidelines will likely get penalized.
For small businesses specially, “Penguin” and “Panda” updates were a traumatizing occurrence. Google’s unpredictable definition of what is right and wrong recently labeled many small businesses “Black Hat SEOs” their ratings plummeted.
The moral question that is propagating on the internet these days is: “Does Google have the absolute authority to penalize some websites simply because Google does not ‘like’ them?”
The truth is that the internet is bursting with crap websites, full of crap content, that are selling crap products. When you search for something, you want to find appropriate and useful results. You do not want to wade through badly spelt articles from India or low quality lead paint covered toys from China.
In a perfect world, the first result on the list would be the most apt result followed by the next less perfect result and so on. Yet, we all know that we are still a long way off from this kind of technology.
Google knows very well that there are a lot people out there who wants manipulate the system, instead of plain using it for research. This can be likened to someone who does 160 mph simply because he or she can while the speed limit is 60mph. This speed racer is not just risking his own life, but also those of all the other car drivers. Google uses a bunch of endearingly named algorithm updates as a traffic police. They are trying to prevent that a dishonest black-hat SEO practicioner robs your website from its rightful traffic.
If we look at it like this, then clearly Google is doing a good thing. But what if yours is one of the websites that got “Pandalized”? The cute little black and white creature knocked the ratings right out of your website, and now even the guy across the road can’t find you. What about those guys?
You can bet your bottom dollar that the majority of the websites being penalized by Google’s algorithms did not knowingly or intentionally employ black hat techniques.
Going back to Formula One racing, each team is warned beforehand which rules have changed and how. They are also informed what the implications are. It would be ludicrous if the teams were not informed and they had to decipher the rule changes as they race.
We all want a better search user experience and we appreciate that Google is trying to give us that with their algorithm updates. SEO is already a fact of life. If website owners and SEO-ninjas were aware of what exactly Google likes and dislikes then it would be a win-win situation– a level playing field! No longer will black hatters be exempt from fault either because they knew exactly what they were doing. As it is currently, they could have seriously not known the rules or consequences. Neither did we!
Imagine a world where Google offers a clear definition of how they rank sites: what is important, and just what will impact your rankings negatively.
Lastly, Google might need to be reminded that the only Monopoly that has gone unchallenged in the history of mankind has been the one where you collect $200 every time you pass “GO”.