Recent Panda related changes to Google have left web managers upset and searchers lost. I have owned www.clearthedancefloor.com for about 4 years. Up until recently it had several years worth of blog content on it – until I decided to do a spring clean and accidentally deleted the lot. It always ranked top, in part because it’s my alias, I own the domain and it has lots of sites pointing to it with the text Clear the Dance Floor. Now I am ranked #5, which is a shame considering it’s my f*&$%ng name!
So what are these changes to Google?
- Ranking their own services over everything else!
Youtube and Google+ are the worst offenders here. For my “keyword” (although it’s not technically even a keyword) I am loosing out to Youtube videos. To be precise, Cascade – Evacuate the Dance Floor. This song is over two years old but due to the changes to Google it is now deemed to have a higher value than my little old website.
Google+ has created two major changes to Google search. The first being that “brand” pages are ranking highly in a short amount of time for general search. More disturbingly, if anyone in your circles refer to a subject, they then become the authority on it in Google’s eyes. This level of personalised filtering creates further changes to Google as it now replicates the experience of asking your mate down the pub.
- Greater emphasis on high ranking domains
Amazon is an authority in terms of consumer goods. If you search for a book or album, it’s likely to be on Amazon. What would happen if Amazon were to offer hosting where I could get something like awooga.amazon.co.uk? My search rankings would go through the roof as I would get at least some of the prestige from being on that domain. This is what’s happening with all the blogging services and anyone that offers a form of user generated content hosting on their domain. I have particular problems with Podomatic giving me unneccessary competition in terms of search. Yet they are small fry in comparison to popular blogging services, leading many organisations to host their blog on these services for this very reason. Also I should mention, the recent changes to Google add greater emphasis to it’s own blogging service.
So why are these changes to Google bad?
- It brings inconsitencies to search results for end users
The changes to Google means that people will be getting less accurate search results, precisely the problem that Google originally set out to fix.
- It devalues their services and open them up to search marketers
Why did every brand rush out their to establish their presence on a social network with few active users? As they blindly assumed it would cause changes to Google search, and they were right. This means that Google+ will mainly feature search marketers and brands rather than genuine users. Additionally promo videos specially tailored for search will start cropping up more and more. Ultimately these changes to Google will put people off using them for search, video and social networking.
- There is no room for the little guy
Favouring high ranking domains takes out the little guy. Fact. This goes against everything that the internet use to be about.
Why can’t I use these changes to Google to my advantage?
Like previous changes to Google and trends in wider search, people become aware of it very quickly and so does Google. We see periods of a particular technique being done to death, quite literally. These technqiues are often an irritation to regular users by sending them to an irrelevant websites or to websites that solely exist to boost search rankings. The emphasis on Google’s own services means it’s even easier to game the system, not harder. As a result more crap content will be filling your screens.
Right I’m off to update my Google+ and put a promo Youtube video before there are any more changes to Google.