by Alan Rabinowitz
Every once in a while, marketers may become critics, and this post would be just that. Most of the time, this blog has been informative, but after being involved in search since the late 90s, and seeing so many algorithm changes and so many different Search Engines, I think it’s nice to make a few comments that are meant to be 100% constructive criticism. That being said, here you go…
I would not call the US government spammers the way I would with some of today’s price comparison tools that buy millions of paid text links, but I do believe that both of these types of sites are over-emphasized in Google’s results. Also any Authority domain in any industry, and those that are considered general industries, are given too much power. Its almost like Search Engines do not trust their own results that they fill them with popular news sites, wikis, government sites and price comparison sites. That’s all fine and dandy, but I think we’re getting to a point where people are tired of finding the same sites dominating every industry and a lack of original and relevant results.
For instance, type in “email” into Google and look at how contacting the House of Representatives, Congress, and the White House all come in the top 20 results. These even overpower known email applications like Eudora. Wikipedia also has a Top 10 ranking – how unusual.
In real life, this would never be the issue, but because Search Engines lack human interpretation and judgment, they fail to determine accurately, especially if the accuracy is based primarily on popularity and NOT on relative content. To go further: Type “New York Marketing Company” into Google (no quotes). Holy cow, is this wrong. The New York Times classifieds ranks with the terms “New York” and “Companies” (the semantic result for company), but not once do we have marketing, instead we have “Job Market,” and the “Market” here adds up to Marketing via Google’s Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI). Ouch! Is this really relevant? Not in real life, but when you factor in the following order: Link Popularity, Domain Popularity, LSI, and the additional algorithm factors, you get The New York Times Job Market page as a New York Internet Marketing Company. Top that off with Google local, and the Bank of New York is now another candidate. As a matter of fact, I counted 2 companies on that page that had anything to do with marketing in New York. That’s 2 out of 10 or 20% accuracy from LSI and over-emphasis on Authority domains.
First off, let’s discount the local results. Those only work on a few searches and are generally the worst results for any search. Currently, that has a 0% accuracy for that term and should be eliminated, but we’ll save that opinion for another day.
Here’s where I really want to get to the heart of why the emphasis is on authority websites and relevancy is getting thrown off from the power of the Authority mixing with LSI.
Sure, we can go on and on and find good quality results in Google. After all, Google was originally known for relevancy, but that is not the point. The point here is that the emphasis that Google gives to Authority domains seems unrealistic. Why do I need to find a Wikipedia encyclopedia page in the top 3 of almost every search I do? Time to put it up top next to Answers.com as a side reference.
I expect one day soon, we will see more relevancy on-page becoming important rather than an over-emphasis on popularity, authority domains, and poorly handled LSI. Or perhaps Google’s quest for a spam-free web will just filter out related websites in favor of trusted sites.