Has Google Replaced Content as King of the Web?
While great content will always get you noticed, I have come to the somewhat obvious conclusion that "Content is NOT King, Google is King" on the web. This is a slightly different mindset when it comes to getting traffic and marketing on the net.
This new mindset doesn't change the fact that you still have to create great content, but it changes the way one goes about promoting that content on the web.
In the last few years, Google's share of the search market has grown to 65% or much more in most areas of the world. This domination of online search puts Google in control of what content is seen - regardless of its quality.
It plays a major role in your content's visibility, a role so great that without Google's approval, your content is not exactly dead in the water, but your chances of succeeding is much less than with a thumbs-up from Google.
Now, the real turning point (light bulb moment) for me was Google's recent promotion of its own products or data, as in the whole "Google Plus Your World" search results features which were introduced a few weeks ago. Google is actively showing and promoting its Google profiles and posts within its SERPs.
Many believe Google is sacrificing both relevancy and quality by only showing its own data (as opposed to Twitter's and Facebook's profiles/posts which Google claims it no longer has access to) when Google users are logged into their accounts.
Those same critics also believe Google has stepped over the line and has become too self-promotional in the way it is now handling search. These critics say Google is promoting its other products such as YouTube, Blogger... over other outside entries in their search results.
Regardless of your view on this matter, there's no denying Google has become much more pro-active in promoting its products. You can now see ads on TV and elsewhere for Google Chrome, Android, Adwords... all promoting Google's products.
Why is all this important?
Many believe, myself included, that Google is aiming for control of all aspects of the web - not only search, but video and social as well. They want to control what web users search, see and how they socialize on the net. Google wants to be in the driver's seat - plain and simple.
But Google's influence will go much further than those three areas; Google probably would also like to control the browser (Chrome) we use, the operating system (Android) and the device (Chromebook) we view those results on. Only Microsoft comes close to doing the same thing, but they have really not presented a search engine which can beat Google and fall short in this respect.
This leaves Google in the Captain's chair. It now controls what content on the web is seen and viewed. While this control is not complete, it is growing stronger month by month, year by year.
What is extremely troubling and a little hard to understand, Google is now JUDGING your WHOLE site instead of just the webpage/ content in question. This new attitude is reflected in the recent Panda Series of updates which was supposedly aimed at removing duplicate and low quality content from the web.
However, if a webmaster or site triggers just one of Google's new rules... their whole site is lowered in the rankings, including their perfectly good high quality content. It is like saying you can't have visitors into your house, because you have an untidy attic. Your visitors will never see the attic, but Google as Gatekeeper of the web, with the Panda Updates and other restrictions, makes sure your rightful visitors don't even make it to the door.
This absurd, arbitrary ruling by Google is extremely hard to understand by small web site owners and businesses who don't have the resources/manpower to re-design their sites at a drop of a hat. Whatever happened to Google's motto of "Don't be evil" or "Do no evil" when it comes to judging and penalizing WHOLE websites, instead of the pages in question. Many webmasters would be satisfied with "Don't be cruel" when Google is ranking their sites.
Likewise, Google is rolling out another rule which states webmasters can't have too many ads "above the fold" or their whole site will be penalized, not just the offending page in question. Ironically, at the same time, Google is actively telling webmasters to place Adsense above the fold... but they have no problem with placing their own ads above the fold.
What does this all mean?
To put it bluntly, you must make sure your content passes ALL of Google's hurdles if you truly want it to succeed on the web. The long series of Panda Updates really pointed this out to many webmasters who failed to jump a few hurdles and saw their rankings drop from sight in Google.
To put it even more bluntly, webmasters and marketers must please Google if they want their content to have the best results. While quality content is still important, without Google's approval your great content will go nowhere fast.
In addition, webmasters and marketers must optimize their content not only for Google search, but also for other Google products such as Google , YouTube... and they must make sure their content displays properly in the Chrome browser because Google is taking data from these users to rank your content.
Quality content is no longer king of the web, Google is king of the web and you better play by Google's rules or you might as well take your ball and go home.
Originally published here
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