Behemoth Google

July 7, 2009 | 1 Comment

Category: Society, Web

I’ve been a search engine optimization professional since 1999.  I get paid more for this than anything else I specifically know how to do.  It requires no tech savvy (I am technologically impaired) but primarily an awareness of pattern, the implication of those patterns as regards to strategy, and flexibility of behavior.

Muddling through how Google works for a decade, I’ve made discoveries, changed my behavior and watched the results.  Google responds to changes that optimizers make.  Optimizers modify their behaviors.  Over the years what I do to make possible high rankings for my clients, and my own sites, becomes more and more limited to what I believe Google will not penalize in the future.  Often, behavior that Google rewarded at one point in this evolution Google turned around and penalized at a later time.  Though I am very good at what I do, much continues to confuse me.  I have concluded that Google uses random variables in its algorithm to make its behavior less predictable.  That’s what I would do.  I continue to make discoveries regarding what works best, often by accident.  I notice a site doing particularly well, a site subject to some particular linking strategy, traffic pattern, coding anomaly or other effect.

It fascinates me how this process influences search, this process involving two very large groups of people competing to achieve complementary, yet often competing, goals.

We are only at the beginning of search technology.  The process unfolds in the larger context of the horizontalization of society and the amateurization of a number of professions.  As barriers collapse across society, search offers us access to information formerly available to select groups of individuals.

Consider all academic text, all papers and journal contributions available for anyone to browse.  Optimizers like myself might be hired to make available to the public at large, amateurs everywhere, information formerly available only to an academic subdiscipline.  How a web page is coded and linked may influence the following a particular theory might accumulate.  Battles for academic supremacy might spill out into the Internet instead of taking place exclusively on journal pages, at conferences and in departmental political debates.

In other words, I am hired by firms seeking to make money by having their websites achieve high rankings.  In this new world we are entering, consumers may be joined by human beings with particular ideas and aesthetics with specific goals. Those creative individuals that are able to use search to promote new ideas and works of art may find that their ability to achieve rankings for their productions may deeply influence the acceptance of what they produce.

Whereas at this time Google seeks to mitigate the impact of optimizers that make adjustments to achieve a particular client-based goal, how does Google adjust to the disappearance of all search barriers, opening up the Internet to intense competition in art and ideas?

At this time, Google is deciding to place heavy emphasis on widely accepted, large corporations when weighing which of several sites to rank highest.  Regarding the world of ideas, to engage in that same process would serve to stifle the new life and new ideas that will emerge.

What can Google do to encourage innovation?  Right now it seems to be leaning toward protecting established conventions.

I don’t have an answer to this.  But, if Google stays in the business of tearing down barriers, then perhaps it will learn how to encourage the emergence of the wholly new.


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This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 7th, 2009 at 7:36 am and is filed under Society, Web. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
1 Comment so far

  1. Mark S on July 12, 2009 1:07 pm

    Anti-war slogan coined, repurposed and Googlewashed … in 42 days

    “Although it took millions of people around the world to compel the Gray Lady to describe the anti-war movement as a “Second Superpower”, it took only a handful of webloggers to spin the alternative meaning to manufacture sufficient PageRank™ to flood Google with Moore’s alternative, neutered definition.”

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2003/04/03/antiwar_slogan_coined_repurposed/

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