With the recent round of updates to Google’s PageRank, some of the more notable venues on the web have taken a sizable hit in their rankings. And while Google has left it to those affected to speculate, I suspect it’s Google’s way of trying to suppress and then kill off a web trend they can neither full control or monetize…
When websites and ‘blogs like Copyblogger, ProBlogger and even Forbes take a kickin’ for not fully adhering to Google’s law-like guidelines, you know something’s not quite right.
Yes, we can accept that even the big boys slip up once in a while, but the list of big ticket websites and ‘blogs to be dealt a bad hand by Google is just too many and too notable to be the byproduct of Google’s hopefully and supposed even-handed metering out of their web law.
I suspected as much recently when Google’s clumsy update to their search algorithm looked suspiciously like a very public doff of their cap to the media moguls, and a slap in the face of the 99.999% of the businesses in the world.
The same businesses who are now tumbling across this decidedly uneven playing field we call the Google SERP (Search Engine Results Page), not quite sure what’s the best policy for their search strategy.
Google running scared from Social Media
Google isn’t so much penalizing Copyblogger, ProBlogger, Forbes et al; they’re trying to stave off Social Media. Why? Because while people like you & me are finding stuff on Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit and del.icio.us, we’re not searching for stuff on Google — and that attacks at the very heart of Google’s revenues.
Instead of ‘Googling’ for something, we find stuff being sent to us as emails from friends, in our profiles, in a friends’ lists of favourites, or any number of user-generated websites, ‘blogs, RSS feeds, Social Networks and Social Media portals.
While we’re busying ourselves voting and commenting on this stuff, we’re not using Google’s search algorithm, and we’re not clicking on Sponsored Links, either.
As an example of Google totally dropping the ball, they’ve let Microsoft buy a stake in Facebook — the very worst case scenario realized.
So when Google went toe-to-toe with Microsoft over Facebook, Google blinked first. And with respect to Facebook, Google had much more to gain than Microsoft had to lose:
“If you’re looking at this from Google’s perspective, Facebook has the bigger social footprint, when compared to their Orkut. And for Microsoft, it’s maybe a chance to wrong-foot Google and snatch an important player in the nascent Social Network market, seen from a business perspective … So there’s obviously a good, solid business angle to all of this Social Networking malarky. As you can image, the prize for Microsoft is to interweave the Social Networking hooks & barbs of Facebook into their enterprise offerings.”
A chance missed for Google and Social Media
Let’s face it, it’s not like Google hasn’t had the chance to make Social Media their own. With their tool bar, Google could have quite easily been where StumbleUpon is right now:
“When I look at what StumbleUpon is doing, I see a missed opportunity for Google, who have much the same infrastructure in place (i.e.: a tool bar), but with a much, much bigger audience. Problem is, Google just don’t get social media at all. And rather than consolidate their own search assets, they’ve effectively given over to a third party to add the real value…”
If I’m right, Google has compounded their missed opportunity with Social Media by letting their company politics seep into their PageRank update.
If that’s the case, not only does Google lose a huge amount of face and standing, they could possibly cede control of the chance to make Social Media a genuine part of their business, which will not serve them well over the next 5 years…