I have been thinking a lot about google recently especially when I become frustrated when I can not find the right results for my search query. I am a new father so I have been searching often for father related articles and I am finding myself frustrated at many of the results I see causing me to dig deep into the pages of google results. Here are 7 points I feel can really improve google as someone speaking who has done SEO and internet marketing for over 14 years and an every day searcher. I am sorry if this is not the appropriate place for this, feel free to move it if so.
1. Stop trying to be rid of paid links.
As long as links play a major role in the ranking of a website for a given term or terms, webmasters will buy links any way that they can. This is such a bad system because not all paid links are bad. For example, if I have a quality website, and I contact a popular blog to inform them of my website and ask to do a review, and pay them for taking the time to do so, should this really be considered a bad link? If the blog owner feels blogging about this site would add quality to its readers, and accepts a payment for its time and expedition of the review, and the review is accurate and offers something to their readers, why should this kind of thing be frowned upon? Google needs to focus on bad links, not all paid links, because when it comes down to it, most links are paid. The quality of a backlink should be much more important than how that link came to be. Which leads me to my next point.
2. Focus on devaluing bad links and link schemes.
Google has made great strides in recognizing spammy sites and removing them from the top results. However, spam sites still rank. Made for adsense still rank and thin affiliate websites still find ways to sneak through. They can better tackle this issue if they tackled suspicious backlink profiles. For example, why should a made for adsense site rank top 10 if 95%+ of its backlinks come from blog comment spam? Google needs to do a better job at recognizing this. Article submissions, directory submissions, social bookmarking is all fine if they are not making up the majority of the backlink profile. Quality links will come from a related website/webpage and be within an article that is related to that website. I see too often websites ranking high and have no backlinks coming from any websites in their same industy. Why in the world would a golf website ever want to link to a lingerie website?
3. Less brand power.
Lets face it, brands rank for anything. I dont mind big brands ranking high for their relevant keywords but it has gotten to the point where they are starting to rank for terms they should not rank for. For example if a major brand focuses on selling widgets, offers nothing for free, why should they rank #1 for free widgets and all free widget related terms? All because they have on their homepage "sign up for free". Google sees this as a major brand, and the word "free" so it decides they should rank for free widgets. This is a major flaw in googles algorithm and should be corrected to get the searchers to the most relevant website possible. If someone is looking for something that is free, there should be no shopping cart, ecommerce related websites in the results.
4. Reduce the weight that backlinks have.
Links are king. You give me the worst site with the worst content and if it has the right backlinks to it, it will outrank everything. Google has a problem with webmasters manipulating their algorithm through paid links, one way to help combat that is to not put as much weight on backlinks. Google is using the same kind of ranking system that search engines have been using since before google even existed, and its time we put more emphasis on quality rather than the backlinks a website has. Which leads into my next point.
5. Make bounce rate a stronger ranking factor.
What better way to know if you're showing relevant results to searchers than to find out whether or not they return to the SERP's after clicking on a result? If 80%+ of searchers search for something, click the top result, then click back, then obviously that number 1 result is not the best match for that search term. Let visitors determine the most relevant results, not backlinks. There has been discussion that this can be manipulated, but if google is able to tackle click fraud with adwords, why cant they come up with a stable system to determine legit bounce rates? I am not saying bounce rate should contribute heavily to the ranking factors, but a number around 30% should be effective. No 1 factor should make up more than 50% of the calculation for ranking such as backlinks has now.
6. More manual reviews.
For highly trafficed search terms, google should manually review the top 10-20 results to make sure they are returning the most relevant results. This can be especially important for ranking trends such as during the holidays to make sure popular seasonal related search terms are returning the results the searcher wants. If a visitor searches for "buy christmas tree online" they should see websites that sell christmas trees and not results that are filled with how to buy christmas trees online, or what a christmas tree is (thank you wikipedia). If a popular search phrase is showing that searchers often get to the deep pages of the results such as 4-5-6-7 etc then a flag should let google know maybe these set of SERP's need to be adjusted.
7. Don't be just another search engine.
Google is just another search engine. They just so happen to be the most popular one right now. If you do the same searches in bing or another independant search engine, you will see very similar results. Google right now is just another search engine using the same base calculations that other search engines have been doing for over 15 years. It is time they changed the game and make a drastic change, otherwise google become the next internet explorer and fox will enter the industry backed by tech savvy engineers who can draw the interest of the younger upcoming generation of tech savvy computer users.