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Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Birth of SEO Under the Dark Shadow of Google

Saturday, February 19, 2011
Dark Shadow of Google
Right from the transitional phase of Web 1.0 to Web 2.0, we seem to have embarked upon a false journey of search engine marketing. Thanks to Google for creating a ‘false illusion’ of SEO, a phrase that has become so popular that every online business seems to be talking about. While some are Google frenzy, many bake their ‘cakes’ to ensure top results on Google SERP without laying emphasis on enhancing users’ experience. To them, the significance of SEO is even higher than enhancing users’ experience. Who is to blame for over-crowded cheap and low websites studded with crappy contents? It’s none other than Google itself.

The ‘archive-oriented’ algorithmic program of Google has set a ‘rage race’ that the online business across the world has embarked on. From the age of taxonomy to tagging, the world is gaga over securing top SERP on Google. The ‘rat race’ thus gave birth to many flourishing SEO businesses and agencies. They keep Google on top while optimizing a site rather than users. The blame goes to Google for its automated archived algorithm.

If you ask Google, which do you value most – SEO or Users’ Experience? The answer would be obvious. But this is a ‘business trick’ of Google. Had it been emphasized more on users’ experience, it would not have become ‘FAT’ via AdWords. How do you define users’ experience? Objectively, there is no definition. Users’ experience is subjective in nature that never gets fit into Google’s algorithms. For any broader key-phrase, for instance, the result will be Wikipedia. This itself shows Google looks at the content through traditional glasses. Though Wikipedia is a brain child of Web 2.0 contributed by users yet it nowhere verifies that the content is great and enriches users’ experience. May be, some other contents from experts or research papers would be a great experience to explore rather than having a glimpse through Wikipedia page. Then why Wikipedia’s result for any broader key –phrase is always on top? Is it just due a treasure of traditionally written content presented in digitalized wiki form? Many researchers and academia don’t rely on them.

It appears to me that Google, in an attempt to promote its engine, has coined the term ‘SEO’ to set a ‘rat race’ to garner its business. If we retrospect the last two decade, the Google’s success is Google. With Web 2.0 on high and social networking gained momentum, the company experimented with whole lot of products only to bite the dust. Confused over social media and content syndication for links, the engineer at Google is unable to revamp search engine in a social and semantic way. Instead, they create a separate product –Google Real Time’ (Clandestinely tied up with Twitter for revenue sharing, I guess!) to get twitter updates rather than real time updates from online communities.

Thanks to Eric Schmidt for monetizing Google and taking the company to the next level. Mr. Schmidt considers Web 2.0 as a marketing term. He has reason too -the reason for his company’s failure to revamp the engine to Google 2.0. Mr. Schmidt, more than a marketing term, Web 2.0 is a way of life now. It is more refined way to seek information, communicate and create WOM. 

Indeed, the burgeoning popularity of Facebook, blogs, twitter and other social networking sites seem to have taught Google a lesson about users’ experience. Since then, the company is talking about users’ experience. The recent change in algorithm to challenge the business model of content farms is the first major implementation in true sense that Google has taken to enhance users’ experience. Let’s hope, this will really help us seek quality information.

To me, Google is not very clear in its preference between a SEO friendly site and a great User’s experience website. SEO is not all about great users’ experience and vice versa. There exists a paradox. As an SEO by profession if you ask me which one I value, I value a site that enriches my experience rather than an optimized site. Google has to update its algorithm more towards quality websites instead of SEOed websites. Well, if this happens to be true, the so-called SEO will be replaced with User’s Experience Optimization (UEO). It’s time to correct the digital industry with right phrase and with right strategy, and yes with right algorithms!      


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