Google Really Does Hate SEO (And This Shouldn’t Matter to You)

When I was a kid I had a friend. His name doesn’t really matter to this story, so we will call him Gary. Gary was one of those kids that would always come over to the house to play with toys or on the Atari and would be very pleasant while he was at the house; he would say very nice things, eat my Twinkies and other such pleasantries.

Gary is Google and Google is eating your Twinkies

Over time, though, I started hearing rumors that Gary was doing and saying not-so-nice things about me when I wasn’t around.

Of course, as time went on this started to irritate me more and more. I liked Gary. He had things I liked and needed from time to time and was always a good source of information and stories. So I continued to hang out with Gary because even though he was kind of an asshole, the relationship was mutually beneficial.

Which, I know, kind of makes me an asshole too.

But such is life.

After a while, however, Gary just got ballsy.

He started to do and say things contrary to his original nice guy stance right in public. All the while still telling me he thought I was swell.

This is a completely true story. In fact, the kids name actually was Gary. And we have all known a Gary in our lives. Truth is, we probably know one or two right now.

And you know where I am going with this, I hope.

Gary is Google and Google is eating your Twinkies.

This has been going on for some time. And while many of Google’s updates and general doings are mostly good for the end user, many are so blantantly self-serving or anti-SEO that you’d have to be a complete idiot to think their monicker “do no evil” really holds any water within the company.

From their addition of Google + results into the search results without including other social networks with the same amount of face time (which it sounds like they are now pulling back on) to the more recent addition of Gmail in search results (which is just idiotic, even if it is only if requested) the Big G is showing more and more where its interest lies as a company…itself.

Truth is, I don’t hate Google for any of this. Contrary to what most of us think, Google is a business and in business you are going to look out for numero uno.

And that’s cool, man. It’s cool.

What irritates me is the utter lie Google as a company perpetuates that this is not the case, when many of the things they do show the complete opposite.

And they do the same thing with the SEO industry.

In Matt Cutts recent Keynote address at Search Engine Strategies San Francisco, he once again repeated what we have all hear on several occasions; Google doesn’t hate SEO.

Simple.

Once again, however, I read something just yesterday that completely contradicts this statement. In his article, Google Rank-Modifying Spammers Patent, Bill Slawski writes about a 2010 Google Patent which highlights how the search engine may respond if it feels a website use utilizing spam to enhance its rankings.

While I agree with all of the highlighted areas which are referred to as spam, such as keyword stuffing, meta tag stuffing and hidden text, what I don’t agree with is the shady way in which Google is dealing with it or the fact that it makes no exceptions for solid SEO practices.

Example:

Let’s say you are trying to rank for the term “Puppy Kisses”. Good solid SEO would state that you create a website around the subject matter. Create highly relevant content related to that term, add and optimize images and video content so that the search engines can read them properly and optimize the meta title and description tags to help entice users to click on your listing.

I mean, there is a whole lot more to it than that, but in a nutshell…yeah, that’s what you would need to do.

So let’s say a month down the road you are ranking in the 7th position for that term and you would like to make a couple changes to my listed page to maybe bump it up a bit to get more visibility. So you maybe change my title tag a bit, or change your on-page content slightly. By no means keyword stuffing, but maybe making the page a little more relevant to the term based on your competitive research of those in the top positions.

You check a few days later and my page is now on the bottom of the second page in the 17th position.

“Holy crap!” You say to yourself. Did you do something wrong? Should you change those things back to get back to the 7th position and try again?

Nope. That’s just Google screwing with ya!

See, according to the patent…and it has been something I have noticed over the past couple of years, Google saw you make those adjustments and went ahead and dropped your page just to see if you would take those adjustments away so they could label your practices as Spam and penalize you.

The problem is what you did was not spam it was good SEO.

And this is where it becomes apparent that no matter what Matt Cutts or the rest of the Googlers say, they hate you. They don’t want you to improve your site so you can improve your business.

And I am not talking about spam here. Spam is bad. I am talking about SEO.

And guess what? Google didn’t invent SEO, so I have never and will never take their word on what is best for my site and visitors.

I will read the webmaster rules and I will do my best to adhere to them. But I’ll be damned if I am going to tiptoe on eggshells to make something happy that only cares about its own self interest.

And you should do the same.

Truth is, all spam is is something that was okay a few months ago.

Like link building.

And what I am guessing will happen to Pinterest…or content development.

They will all become spam techniques as soon as Google feels people are abusing them.

Whether they are or not.

So, what can you do? How the hell can you overcome something which seems to inherently hate the things you do?

Stop caring about them.

Some of the best SEO advice I ever received was this (and I wish I could recall where I heard it):

Promote your website like Google doesn’t exist.

What would you do to get your website noticed without Google? Networking? Utilizing social media? Building your brand presence so people just know who you are?

Do those things. And build your website to be the best it can be for your customer-base or visitors.

And stop caring what Google thinks about you. Because it’s when we do that we spend too much time trying to beat the system.

And it’s when we try to beat the system that we screw up and the system hates us.

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14 Comments

  1. Posted August 18, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    What I find most irritating about Gary, is that he defines what it and what is not spam but never defines ONE hint about the so called quality content. Well, this was like this until Gary came up with the Gary Quality Graph, in which Gary displays so called quality content but denies authors the pursued and many times needed pageview/adprint.

    I Myself didn`t get any email from AdGary saying that I should place his ads on the upper left corner of my site. Looks like AdGary and Gary are not speaking much one to each other.

    Thank you Loquist

    Klaus

    • jeff loquist
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

      It’s true, the Goog has historically been very tight-lipped about what actually constitutes “quality content”.

      Honestly though, I don’t really think I want Google telling me what counts as quality for the visitors to my site. They can definitely set up rules on what they consider bad and won’t allow on their website (the search results), but I’ll be damned if it’s okay for them to tell me these elements are what I have to have in order to be considered “quality”.

      Want to talk about monopolization? That just seems like a line that doesn’t need to be crossed.

  2. Posted August 20, 2012 at 12:56 am | Permalink

    As a Newbie, I am always searching online for articles that can aid me. Thank you

  3. Posted August 20, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Like the analogy with Gary… I would say, they are making their own rules as a monopoly. It is our decision to play by them or to bend them in our favor whenever possible.

    • jeff loquist
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the comment Samuel.

      Totally agree. I don’t know if I would seriously call Google a monopoly at this point, however.

      All said, a monopoly is when a specific entity is the only supplier and there is no room left for anyone else.

      By the true definition Google is by no means a monopoly. People have the right to choose Bing or Duck Duck Go or any other search engine. Google simply in the past has done it better.

      This may not be the case moving forward.

      • Wala Wala King Kong
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 8:56 am | Permalink

        “a monopoly is when a specific entity is the only supplier”

        Google is the only viable supplier when it comes to the areas that really count (i.e. where money and markets are at stake): search advertising, and being an advertising partner.

        I’m afraid you are a bit blinded here exactly by Google’s BS: the competition is just a click away. Yeah, sure, that’s true for users of the free service who are NOT clients but ingredients to Google’s money-making products.

        Is the competition just a click away if I want to switch from AdWords to another online ad system that will give me the same coverage? There is no such an alternative in sight, especially not internationally.

        Is it just a click away if I want to ditch AdSense for another ad publishing option with the same coverage? There is no such an alternative in sight, especially not internationally.

        So sure, Google is not a monopoly for all those billions who do not contribute sh.t to their bottom line. It’s only a monopoly for those who make the company’s multibillion-dollar profit each quarter possible.

        • jeff loquist
          Posted August 21, 2012 at 11:16 am | Permalink

          You are absolutely correct, but I don’t believe I am “blinded here exactly by Google’s BS”. I am by no means a fan of Google’s practices.

          It is difficult to switch from adWords to another online supplier. It may not be easy to switch from adSense. These things are not easy to do because nobody has been able to step up to the plate.

          This is not, however, a monopoly. Google is not stopping other companies from doing these things or making it impossible. If you wanted to go out tomorrow and build a search engine and offer people services through said search engine you could one day compete with and possibly dominate Google and all the others. There is nothing stopping you from doing this.

          Is what Google does shady? Absolutely; but this is not a monopoly, this is capitalism.

          90% of the time when I choose to search I choose Bing. I find their search results page more pleasing to the eye and my sensibilities. You have that choice as well. And if more people made that choice, the idea of Google being a monopoly would go away because they wouldn’t have an audience.

          Calling Google a monopoly is just misguided anger.

          • Wala Wala King Kong
            Posted August 21, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

            Both your original definition (“only supplier”) and the Wikipedia entry on “Monopoly” (which your definition echoes) validate Google as a monopoly.

            From the point of view of an AdWords buyer or an AdSense partner there is no other supplier who can provide even the approximate equivalent of Google’s product (“lack of viable substitute goods” in the Wikipedia article).

            This means that to reach the online audience one needs to play along with their quality scores in AdWords (which, on the one hand, proves that they “have the power to raise prices” and, on the other, acts as the very tool for it).

            Or, in the case of AdSense, their payment model accomplishes the same in inverse, by giving them the option to unilaterally (and stealthily) lower payments anytime they deem it expedient.

            So, to make my point clear, for the economic harm, look no further than the quality score and the non-transparent revenue share, both of which are dictatorial methods through which this particular monopoly exerts its monopolistic power.

            Whether the monopolistic state of affairs is down to the “evilness” of the company or to the incompetence of its so-called competition is irrelevant from the point of view of those who suffer the negative consequences of it.

          • jeff loquist
            Posted August 21, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

            Yep, you caught me. I mirrored a definition from Wikipedia.

            Still going to disagree with this being a monopolistic state of affairs.

            There are other providers offering similar services. Google has just done it better as of yet. All we have to do is stop using them as much.

            It is still capitalism.

  4. Posted August 21, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    “Gary is Google and Google is eating your Twinkies.” Awesome analogy!

    • jeff loquist
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Cleofe! Though, every time it is mentioned now I get hungry for Twinkies :)

  5. Posted August 27, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Excellent observation. Like most friends sometimes the friendship sours. Usually through no fault of your own. Lately I’ve been hearing more people bash Gary about his own self-serving attitude. Maybe if enough people complain things will settle down?

  6. Posted August 27, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    these guys are underestimating Facebook extremely badly. Google’s IPO was called overvalued and overhyped at time and those investors ended up eating their own words within a month

  7. Posted August 27, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    Agree with you totally Jeff, the best advice is to ignore the Search Engines (esp. Google), and optimize your site for people, doing this, should lead you to really think about the content you are putting on the site.

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