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Google and the Fear of Retribution

fish-retribution.jpgHave you worked hard trying to woo Google to your site? Have you studied Google’s webmaster central pages and the often referred to, Webmaster guidelines to no or little avail? Have you been the victim of a Google slap? Have you put faith and trust in Google guidelines only to find all your hard work and late nights have not only been in vain but in addition, your site(s) have been thrown to the dark and mossy caverns of Google’s supplementary Index (SI)? Has the (superfluous) term ‘over optimized’ (Oop) been blamed for your reduced pagerank and loss of traffic? Oh…such a tangled web we weave…

Here’s a light hearted look at Google.

Give me a break! Forget placing Google on a pedastol and following it’s algorithmically led army of self centered robots and self glorified spiders! It’s a search engine with some clip on services (all be it some good services). But that’s it. It doesn’t own or run the internet. We do! Yes… the people who buy through it. The people who research through it. Communicate through it. Be it artistically or via a message etc. In most cases you’re really seeking traffic for your site if you own one. So focus on that. Google is just one of thousands of sources of traffic. Besides, people most often only search through Google.

Web 2.0 is here. This essentialy means people are back in control of what is perceived as quality again. Not unlike how things became popular before the introduction of the internet. People’s votes will always override algorithms. At least they will for a long while anyway. Your site might get pulled down for saturating the content with too many keywords (like the word Google in my first paragraph). Don’t get hung up on whether the search engines will slap you or tickle you for this or that. Try your best to contribute good, quality, original and relevant content over and over and as we say in Australia – she’ll be right mate! In the end, your audience the readers will make the decision.

Some actions result in more traffic than others. Recently the famed John Reece  re introduced to his subscribers the old 80/20 rule. Which some people just don’t get and I’m not going to explain it here. However, it’s a rule that you should look at and ponder over. If you’re putting a lot of work into any one thing, it best be reliable, transparent, constant and worth the time. i.e. Should you place ALL your time trying to rank well with Google?

  • Is it reliable? No! It changes its algorithms regularly which can and does affect the ranking and positioning of sites based on the finding of bots not humans. It has good reason to but the answer remains the same.
  • Is it constant? No! For the same reasons mentioned above.
  • Is it transparent? No! You only have to consider the Adsense payment program, or Matt Cutts video on Oop to answer that one.
  • Is it worth the time? No! You should never place all your time on any one source. Things change. If you have been loyal only to Google despite being slapped and dropped from a great height into the pits of the SI – it’s time you gathered yourself & embraced the original goal of quality targeted traffic again.

Of course, if you have been a naughtly little boy or girl, you perhaps may have deserved your Google kick in the teeth. However, there are some questionable things occuring which may open yours eyes a little wider.

Recently, Oop (over-optimization) has been blamed by some as the reason many sites have been penalized and nudged off the park bench. To start with, anyone who uses a term like over-optimized should know that it’s a tautology. You can’t be over optimized because that means the same thing as not being optimized. It also sounds a bit like a license for Google to say any thing they like about events they can’t explain or don’t want to explain. Matt Cutts of Google fame makes an interesting comment on a video by basically dismissing any detailed information by saying something like ‘That’s about as much advice as I can give I’m afraid’ providing the broadest of reasons without having said anything explanatory or helpful at all as far as I could tell. No wonder webmasters, internet marketers and small business owners get frustrated and give up. The lack of distinct (distinct being the keyword here) guidelines, transparency and direction is disappointing and I think unprofessional.

Again, let me remind you that you are after targetted traffic. Read that last sentence again. It’s just a search engine – that’s it! It won’t be long before another search engine moves to higher ground. What will you do then? Swap allegiances and start all over again? You might have difficulty optimizing for every search engine out there but by using the 80/20 rule, at least cover your bets with MSN and Yahoo.

I was recently approached by a subscriber who has worked hard for two years on producing quality, original content for her site. She tried to do everything right. She refused to buy in to any ‘black hat’ short cuts, produced hundreds of lengthy articles andsingle-parent-children.jpg advice for her readers. Her site was and still is extremely sticky. A reasonably large subscriber base lives in her server… and by the way she has few people unsubscribe. That alone tells you that she must be producing quality something. She has just one product for sale and it’s refund rate is a decimal measurement (hardly any refunds at all). Just before writing this, she was dropped from a page rank of 4 to zero. That’s not all, the whole site has been dumped in the waiting rooms of SI. For the record, she’s a single mom. She thought she’d done her share of struggling and now she’s back where she started. Needless to say I told her what I’m telling you here. Spread your traffic generation activity and you will survive and hopefully prosper. She doesn’t want to be mentioned for fear of retribution as she builds stock again. Think about that – she’s now in fear of a search engine. I think that’s another story on its own. Since this story, I have now heard two similar stories.

It’s of course wise to take stock of the fact that Google gets the lion’s share of the search market. But hey…that’s just the search market, not the referral market nor the social market nor the blog market, nor the affiliate market. advertising market, article marketing etc. must I go on…I’m sure you get my drift.

Then there was a previous slap where well known blogs and sites were being down-sized in rank and some had substantially reduced traffic. Word was, this was due to link-text advertising era. The jury is still out on whether it’s right or wrong. As I see it, it’s wrong if you are wooing Google because they don’t like it. Otherwise I can’t see anything wrong with it. One high-end player made humble mention about the down ranking and how he could see no cause for the penalty in a post on his site and within days that site was back up to where it was previously. Do you think it was the considerable power behind the readership consideration which helped that outcome? Hmmm!

Give people what they want. Use Web 2.0 properly and with care. If you’ve really got something to offer that’s worthy of the masses, work on getting traffic from people, not courting any one particular search engine and you will eventually see traffic – permanent traffic.

Of course, it would be remiss for me not to say that all of this is simply my opinion… because of fear of retribution…LOL. If you’re not living in fear of retribution, leave a comment and spill your colorful disgust below. Alternatively, you can be polite and socially correct and leave something defensive of Googles search engine’s position too! Either way, try and make it a contribution… Cause’ you never know who might read your comment…right?