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Josh Bachynski's Commentary/Rant about Google

 10:42 am on Jun 25, 2014 (gmt 0)


When a webmaster argues to Google that he/she has their own limitations, that they simply cannot afford the $5k per month ridiculous marketing budget to buy advertising and magazine level content for their plumbing business, and instead had to go the $500 per month buying links route to compete in their chosen niche because that’s the money they had, and that’s what everyone else had done, these limitations do not morally indemnify the “black hatter” in Google’s eyes...



 1:53 pm on Jun 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

Anybody else remember what it was like doing SEO BEFORE google became the prominent search engine?

I do.

It sucked.

Trying to SEO for yahoo and the plethora of small search engines was maddening.

If anyone wants to block google and try and seo for the remaining search engines, be my guest.

Quite simply, google was THE BEST THING that happened to my small, family owned business (and by small, I mean my wife and I and two employees).


And personally, I think that Panda and Penguin should be MORE PUNITIVE than they are, not less. If I were searching google for a service / product / information, as a user I don't want to see a bunch of results that were ranking in the top based on a bunch of spammy techniques (whether spammy links or spammy content),


 2:03 pm on Jun 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

What Google cares about:

What Google doesn't care about:


 2:29 pm on Jun 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

Anybody else remember what it was like doing SEO BEFORE google became the prominent search engine?

Yeah, I do extremely well, in fact I worked with AltaVista and several other start-ups before being sought after by Google to help with their algo etc.

One must remember that no such thing as a search engine really existed before The Net, nearly everything we did was purely experimental, sure it was possible to write programmes for small sets of data but for the amount of data that was being uploaded every day from the mid 90s onwards was quite unbelievable.

AV unsuccessfully tried to monetise it and it took Google, in reality, years before they were reasonably confident to start charging advertisers for ads.

And don't mention Yahoo!, they charged a ridiculous fee for a single page link and if one didn't continue paying it was immediate deletion...and they wondered why people moved in their droves to G?

Everyone knows I am not a G-FanBoy for some of the very bad things they have done but at the same time they have also been of extreme benefit to most of us. Sure we can all complain when things are not how we feel things should be in Google however it's a fair bet that for most things that Joe Public doesn't notice or even care.

Netmeg summed it up well:-)


 2:30 pm on Jun 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

What Google cares about more recently:


What Google cares less about more recently:

Anything else


 3:19 pm on Jun 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

The point of the article was moral obligation e.g building a lake, watching the lake gather a large population on its shores (dependent on its water) and then restricting access to the water without any consideration for the consequences to those people. It's a relevant analogy and the current situation is having drastic consequences for people and businesses. When you have the power to destroy lives on a whim, responsibility has to apply on some level.

The article also speaks to Google's public relations which claim it is doing no harm when it is blatantly exercising punitive measures against people and tactics it courted in the first place. So, it's about hypocrisy as well.

Yes, I remember what it was like before Google...before the lake appeared...but now that it's here, does that mean the lake's creator can just dump poison in the water and indiscriminately kill anyone and everyone who dares to drink from it?

And netmeg doesn't have it right or at least didn't cut to the core of the matter.

Google cares about profits.
Google does not care about the consequences of its actions.

If Google could make profits without users and advertisers, you'd see them treated the same way publishers and webmasters are being treated right now. It's just that webmasters and publishers have served their purpose. We built the Internet (not Al Gore) and now that it has more content than any one entity can hope to have at its disposal for monetization purposes. We are not important. The advertisers and user are still important but only in that they are the source of the income. The Internet now belongs to Google and it can do with it what it wants. Didn't everyone here get the memo?


 4:19 pm on Jun 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

I don't entirely agree. I think Google genuinely does still care about users and user experience, even if it's only because it's the long road to sustainable revenue.

They're not particularly prone to forgoing short term revenue to make webmasters or publishers happy, but they certainly will do it to keep advertisers and users happy.


 4:44 pm on Jun 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

Wow, what a lot of filler in that article! The only thing that stuck with me is Cutts and the apparent moral dilemma regarding the knowledge graph and considerations of compensating for use of that information. One word? Wow. I often consider myself stupid, but in this case, it sounds like I have an accurate take on where this invasive practice is heading.


 5:06 pm on Jun 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

Seems that the essay clearly polarises people into Google realists and Google fanboys/fangirls. The Google of today is not the "don't be evil" organisation that it once was.



 5:41 pm on Jun 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

I can best summarize what I see happening. Everything is being built on somebody else's information and content. That's how search started and was before. It was a partnership. Was. Think about it. Most of what Google is offering is from what you provide. Photos, videos, articles (coming soon), etc. How about traffic data? Yeah, that too.


 5:53 pm on Jun 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

Seems that the essay clearly polarises people into Google realists and Google fanboys/fangirls.

You've forgotten the people at the other end of the spectrum: Google-haters. "Google realists" are those who approach Google without bias.


 6:17 pm on Jun 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

One can approach G without bias and still arrive a conclusions that might make your stomach do a cartwheel. It's not biased to say that when something becomes as powerful and seemingly all-encompassing as Google has become that some checks and balances would be a good thing. We can debate whether or not there's a moral compass in Mountain View and/or whether it's actually being paid attention to but there are social ramifications to what Google does at this point and to say so (or ask for a bit of accountability) isn't biased, it's prudent.


 6:29 pm on Jun 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

OK, here's a proposal that should make every legitimate site owner or SEO happy. When Google detects a violation of its Webmaster Guidelines, it will send the site owner a message in Webmaster Tools that says something like:

"We've detected a violation of our Webmaster Guidelines on your site, and we've temporarily removed your pages from our index. If you'd like to remain in our index, please [clean up unnatural links or whatever the solution might be] within 30 days and indicate your desire to have your pages listed in Google Search by clicking the checkbox below."

This "opt in" feature would put the decision to be indexed and ranked--and to comply with Google's guidelines--squarely in the hands of the site owner.


 6:35 pm on Jun 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

In order to make a 'proposal' to web masters wouldn't you need to work there or have major influence? Interesting...


 6:44 pm on Jun 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

Anyone can make a proposal. Webmaster World members are constantly telling Google how to run its search engine.
When one sees people of limited intellect being confounded by relatively simple problems (to webmasters), it is hard not to do so. :) "Unnatural links", "Knowledge Graph"/Wikipedia scraper etc. In engineering, you don't make excuses - you fix the problem.



 6:45 pm on Jun 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

Sorry ED, that makes too much sense.

And you bring up another point. G operates from a stance that it has the right to index anything it finds unless there are instructions on the site (robots.txt, etc.) telling it not to. That's implied consent, not explicit consent. There is no contract between the SE and the site (given the absence of robot instructions) so does G have the right to take what it wants in said situation, just because I didn't explicitly deny it and do whatever it wants with it?

Doesn't the copyright statement on the bottom of a webpage mean anything any more? Just asking. Maybe I should just remove it because it's taking up bandwidth.

Everything is being built on somebody else's information and content. That's how search started and was before.

Search results in the good old days were based primarily on meta-data e.g. information summarizing the content on the page and intended specifically for robotic consumption. Now search results are the actual content of those pages. That's a huge difference. Started with little snippets of text but hasn't stopped there and is getting more invasive by the day.


 7:01 pm on Jun 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

@web, truly the key word (no pun intended) is invasive. It's predatory in nature. It knows no better.

I know this topic is about the article. It's a lot to digest but as I've said, the most interesting part is actually have Cutts on record (was it really on record?) about the information being used in the knowledge graph.

Relating it to webmastering and rankings (to stay relevant to this forum) it's obviously a game of guessing. As in trying to figure out what can't be lifted off a page that can be supplied in whole on a page other than your own.

So if anyone is like me asking about the "middle man", aka the webmaster, it appears that Cutts is asking himself the same question. In a sense he can perhaps see that his own usefulness is dwindling. It's not about finding the best page and ranking it, it appears heading towards finding the information people want, and then providing that information on Google's pages. Isn't the relevancy of the algo or importance of it dwindling each day? Yeah it is. As I've said previously, today I used one less link in the SERPS to get what I needed. Tomorrow it will be two less links or websites that I need to visit. Fast forward and you have Cutts in a situation where his role is meaningless. Not his fault. I give him credit though. Clearly he has a conscious (is this the right word?). To me that's be biggest take away from the entire article.

The greatest product you could have in the world is one that you could make money from, yet not have to pay to have it produced. If you could run a radio station and not pay for music, isn't that in a sense where search (not just Google) seems to be headed? Wikipedia is amazing right? Free information that can be used to populate a database that people use and while using it, they might buy a coffee or a cookie!


 7:32 pm on Jun 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

Honestly all google cares about is their Shareholders. They are a publically traded company and ALL they have to care about is stock prices for them going up.


 7:39 pm on Jun 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

Relating it to webmastering and rankings (to stay relevant to this forum) it's obviously a game of guessing. As in trying to figure out what can't be lifted off a page that can be supplied in whole on a page other than your own.

There are many, many articles and other documents that don't lend themselves to being scraped for the Knowledge Graph.

Take something like instructions on how to reach downtown Chicago from O'Hare Airport. A Google SERP might say "CTA Blue Line, trains every X minutes, fare $5," but many users want far more information than that. They want to know where to find the trains at the airport, how to pay the fare, whether there's space for luggage on the trains, where they can get off downtown, etc. That kind of information is the "value add" that distinguishes useful pages worth visiting--and worth ranking-- from pages that contain little more than the public-domain facts in Google's "Knowledge Graph" box.

Side note: Simplo made a great observation in the "Is Google invading your content..." thread. Here's part of what he said, edited for brevity:

This isn't going to affect anyone that has deep content....Google has been telling us for years that we need to have meaningful content. Knowledge graph is something to open your eyes and see the type of generic content you should avoid.


 8:17 pm on Jun 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

I have thought about this article and the example. The dam is the internet which produced this pool of information to accumulate. I feel the land owners are the webmasters and the owners of the companies. Some how Google is in control of this pool of knowledge at this time. But it all comes down to people. Google is people, the webmasters are people, the owners of the companies are people. The moment people take the gloves off and we get out of this cyber environment, things change and possibly very rapidly.

I think you are seeing something right now. The blurred lines between WH and BH are fading. Years ago would an article about how NSEO works even appear on this site? Google will face a huge issue when people realize it doesn't pay to play nice anymore and a lot of this is being caused by Google. They are cleaning up while many of are struggling even though we feel we played by the rules.

Google today reminds me of the US Post office and Pitney Bowes. I used both of these for close to 20 years and they both basically had a monopoly on the market. I had one simple issue with both and they blew it off as trivial and they were too big to address my issue, I left both companies. I have never returned. I was the largest shipper in my town and even though it is difficult at times I refuse to work with these companies. When a company gets to the point where they say I am a multi-national company and I don't have the time to help you is the time a company usually starts to fail. Google is at that point. I read posts where people say Google helps those that advertise on Google. Not me. My few thousand a week I paid them wasn't enough.

I do get Pitney Bowes and the US Post Office trying to get my business back. The USPS has had people come from 2 1/2 hours away trying to meet with me so they get the business back and they failed. Businesses succeed by developing relationships of trust and loyalty. Once that trust and loyalty is broken it is almost impossible to regain that business. Google are you the next USPS, Pitney Bowes, IBM (Microsoft is a result of their poor planning and thinking we are too big to mess with PC's).


 8:40 pm on Jun 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

"When a company gets to the point where they say I am a multi-national company and I don't have the time to help you is the time a company usually starts to fail. Google is at that point."

Just so I understand: You are predicting that google will be going out of business soon. Is that right?


 8:48 pm on Jun 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

Just so I understand: You are predicting that google will be going out of business soon. Is that right?

Didn't sound like a prediction. It sounded to me like a warning that history repeats itself. Rome didn't last forever either. Entropy is alive and well in this universe. Ticking off the Vandals can have grievous consequences for the powers that be. Nothing new there.

NOTHING IS TOO BIG TO FAIL! Only question is, how many peons get wiped out in the process.


 9:01 pm on Jun 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

USPS, Pitney Bowes, IBM and even GM are all still around but none control the market share they once did. Much of that is due to advances in technology and poor customer service.


 9:26 pm on Jun 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

So the problem is Google, not the people who try to manipulate Google's search results?

It seems to me that, if we're going to talk about morality in search, we should be addressing the question of whether it's moral for people with SEO training, the money to hire SEOs, and/or a willingness to practice blackhat tactics to have an advantage over people who don't.


 10:01 pm on Jun 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

So the problem is Google, not the people who try to manipulate Google's search results?
I don't know if you've ever run a search engine. The problem is with Google. It was innovative when it started out but it has aged badly. Rather than innovating (scraping Wikipedia is not innovation), each new twiddle is a sticking plaster on a slashed carotid artery. Rather than being careful about what it spiders, Google uses the infinite monkeys approach and spiders everything hoping that its algorithm will make sense of it all. The result, is GIGO. It is all too easy for people to blame Blackhats but the problem is Google.



 6:54 pm on Jun 27, 2014 (gmt 0)

Lost me at "money-hungry, grubby, capitalistic monopoly that, even worse, like all fascist tyrannies before it, wishes (of course) to claim they are not.".

Moreover, all I read were complaints - no solution suggestions.

I would suggest that Josh attempt to displace Google with his own search solution adhering strictly to his vision and see how it goes.


 7:42 pm on Jun 27, 2014 (gmt 0)

My fear with google is much much worse. In the long term I fear google will become like the computer called Mother in the movie Alien. Mother can not be overridden and is controlling the android in secret. For me it is a sinking ship really and my attitude is to see if I can make a few more dollars to buy some acres of land and get back to the good old ways. I have become borderline Amish in attitude. There is no way I will be able to survive in the long run in web. It is just going to be a few big players in the end and ultimately it is about saving ourselves before it is too late. I will try a few things like I have a plan to build a links directory of some very special resources. As a webmaster it is my belief that it is important to add links to the very best resources on the web. Not like the old link exchange pages but proper resource pages. There is no way an algorithm can compete with quality links pages made by niche experts. I was even thinking of putting some resource links directly in the footer of pages. I mean the most evolutionary resources available. (I am actually planning to find these resources from webmasters and ask for trafficed links in exchange for sharing their nominations.)The thing is tho people have got lost with all sorts of worries about no follow tags and how google will react to them linking out. Mostly I think something has to be done and fast to get traffic flowing where it needs to be flowing. It is like how facebook became popular. All they needed was support from a few people in the right places. If the site had been set up in a different state you would never have heard of it. At the end of the day all of this is just fun and games compared with how bad this could all end up. Personally I did suffer a lot because of panda. Lost the love of my life at that time and went a long time in a state of apathy. I find many similarities between modern life and what is said in survival videos like Bear Grylls or about climbing Everest. People die on Everest because they fall into an apathetic state. I can't say I am blaming google for all this but I blame the whole system including myself who I push hard to overcome because like I say it is really a survival situation.

[edited by: iammeiamfree at 8:08 pm (utc) on Jun 27, 2014]


 8:07 pm on Jun 27, 2014 (gmt 0)

How about a user submitted search engine? Based on an imgur type script whereby it is the users through their upvotes or downvotes that decide which sites make it into the directory/search.


 8:24 pm on Jun 27, 2014 (gmt 0)

I think it has been considered but for some reason does not exist as such. At the end of the day tho I find it would make a lot more sense if people worked together to make just one resource for each subject. What exactly is the point in reinventing the wheel over and over


 8:43 pm on Jun 27, 2014 (gmt 0)

Honestly all google cares about is their Shareholders

Sorry to contradict but, no, they don't. The shareholders are pretty well disenfranchised. All Google cares about is Google.

There is no point though in complaining about that. We are all in business and what we have to do is recognise the environment that we inhabit and work out ways of profiting within it. Appeals to Google to act 'ethically' (whatever that means) are a waste of time, space and bandwidth. Letting off steam may be satisfying but it's completely non-productive and personally I'm getting a bit impatient with all these so-called gurus who spend so much time moaning about how badly Big G behave but so little time in suggesting ways of profiting from it.

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