Nowadays, it has become increasingly difficult to ignore search engines, particularly Google. Such is the might and influence that this search engine giant now possess that, when it comes to online visibility, failing to keep an eye on one’s website status, rankings, traffic etc. is tantamount to signing your very own death warrant. In recent months, social-media sites have been awash with news of various high-profile manual penalties imposed by Google on popular websites. Perhaps the most recent victim being Ann Smarty’s MyBlogGuest (MBG) which was probably one of the most influential guest-blogging network on the Internet. The fact that Matt Cutts made the announcement himself, on Twitter, implies that Google wanted to cause the maximum possible effect and they couldn’t have been disappointed by the reaction. There are even reports that several other blogs and websites associated with MBG are also being penalised as a result of their perceived connections.
To Follow or Not To Follow
Unfortunately, these actions can only do one of two things; increase Google’s credibility or alienate users. While it is not yet completely certain, current evidence points toward the latter. Indeed, many SEOs, content writers and influential digital marketers who have spent all their lives preaching white-hat web optimisation techniques have been taken aback as they fall victim to Google’s manual action. Perhaps, if the “all powerful” search engine did not place so much emphasis on backlinks in its search algorithm, we wouldn’t have this problem. This, however, begs the question if backlinks Google were to “disavow” backlinks, what would the spammers target next? But then again what if backlinks remain ever so crucial, how many genuine website owners will be punished by Google before it goes into oblivion, as more and more users are turned away? It’s like a vicious circle, ‘confused’ Google going round and round in circles. Ban followed links! Make all links nofollow! Don’t ban all links! Maybe, just maybe, the inevitability of a seismic algorithm change is upon us.
The Alternative to Google
If there is one thing modern internet technology has taught us in the last 20 years, it is that change is the only constant thing online. It’s only a matter of time before webmasters and SEOs become tired and frustrated by the apparent lack of direction currently shown by Google’s Webspam team. The result of which could be mass defection to an alternative or indeed the next big thing. But then again, what is the next big thing? Who has the might to take on Google? I have already seen Ann Smarty mention Bing. Really??? Bing? Yahoo? Bing???? Can Bing take full advantage? Believe it or not, there is already a urge for a powerful alternative to Google. It is now up to an existing search engine such as Bing to come up with something innovative like an alternative algorithm that is not so backlink-dependent. This is probably a unique opportunity but unfortunately, such is the size and power that Google holds today that I doubt even Bing would be able to pose any meaningful threat. The solution however, appears to be social media. Indeed, social-media sites, particularly Facebook, appears to be the natural heir to Google. However, can and will social media take up the challenge? Only time will tell.