Sunday, April 29, 2012

Why Google Sucks And What Can You Do About It?

Google is a powerhouse. They are a monster. They are extremely powerful and control the fortunes of many people and companies around the world. How many companies do you know where people say just "Google it"?

If you are priveleged enough to be in Googles good graces, they can make you rich. If you do something that they consider wrong, they can cut your legs out from under you with a swift cut of their blade of traffic. I have experienced both parts of Google. I have had success generating traffic and income via google for a long time. More recently though I have started noticing changes. What you might even call a trend.

You see in the old days, things were more or less even for all people/companies/websites. Anyone could succeed or fail based on a fairly level playing field. But lately I have noticed that Google is giving more and more "preference" if you will to the larger companies and corporatacracies and less "preference" and even a squeezing out of the smaller guys and smaller companies. This makes sense as Google is a giant corporation that cooperates with other giant corporations in the domination of markets and profits being generated from those markets.

As they aggregate all of this power into their hands by controlling what people find when they search the internet, they are able to funnel traffic and profits where they see fit. They don't answer to anyone and their "rules" are made by them and not to be questioned. Recently, they decided to ban advertising for some all natural dietary supplements that they determined were not something they wanted advertised on Google. They didn't ask anyone, they just did it, like the good old Nike saying. When asked how come, they only give vague answers that don't give you any real insight as to why, and even more appalling is that they really don't care what you think. They are Google and if they make a decision about the content on their search engine, then you must just live with it.

Recently they de-indexed some of my sites. They sent a message to me on Google Webmaster Tools saying that they detected some "un-natural linking" to my sites. Then, the next thing I knew, my sites were taken out of the search results entirely and my revenue dissapeared overnight. This is pretty scary stuff. One day you can feel confident that you have built a long term business over time and the next day, your traffic can all be gone. What I recommend is if you are doing really well and driving large amounts of traffic to your sites from Google is to sell your sites while you can as you just don't know what Google may do from one moment to the next.

So what can we do about it? How can we take steps to lower our reliance on Google? These are hard questions. One step is to use the only competitor in search that is left standing, Bing. Bing is powered by another behemoth, Microsoft Corporation. Bing also powers the results for once independent search giant Yahoo! I used to feel that Microsoft was the big bad giant destroying machine but Google has taken over that title and I feel strongly that we need choices and not just one place to go when searching the net. So I have started utilizing Bing search 1st and then moving to Google if needed. It is interesting to note that the same dietary supplements that Google decided that you shouldn't see when you search, when you search for them on Bing, you will actually find what you are looking for.

Why is Google deciding what we can and can't see in the search results? What effect does this have on our lives. Sure it is their search engine, but their power comes from us. If we didn't search on Google, what would they have? Nothing. They would be worthless. Google is at a point where they are starting to piss off alot of people. When you piss off a lot of people, sometimes you can create a sea of change and in one swift movement, the people that used to support you turn on you instead. At this moment, you will find a new player who comes along and becomes the new dominant force.

Remember when MySpace was all the rave? Everyone was on MySpace. But then something happened, Facebook came along and Myspace effectively died overnight. Google recently aquired Picnik which is a photo sharing, cloud application that my teenager and her freinds all loved.  But for my teenager and her friends, the picnik is over.  Why? Well as my kid told me, "I hate Google". "All of my freinds hate Google now too!" Why? Because they bought our favorite site Picnik but instead of letting us keep using it, they closed it down and are trying to force us to use Google Plus. "I hate Google Plus".

Is Google getting to the point when they are just buying up more and more companies and technologies so they can just wipe out all of the competition? Are they consolidating so much power that people will start to revolt? You never know, but I would suggest that we all look for ways to utilize other online sites and businesses that will free us from the shackles of the ever growing presence of the Google Monster.

So I was just looking around and I found this article on the latest Google update to their rankings.  Funny, I had never seen this until right now. But apparently Google has once again pissed off alot of people and they seem to be returning less relevant results than ever with their latest tweak to their algorithm. For example, most glaringly, Google fails to list the official Viagra site in the top results, something that Bing gets right.

It seems that I am going to be moving more of my attention and searches to Bing and utilize Google much less. Remember, a snowball starts with one snow flake.