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Monday, November 19, 2007

Google Dance – But Who Pays the Fiddler?

November comes around and once again we all get our annual unwanted invitation to the Major Google Dance. It doesn’t matter if you had intended to join in the festivities or not as for all indexed websites; attendance is mandatory

The term Google Dance refers to a period of time when the algorithms are fine tuned in an effort to allegedly give a better result to searchers. As of late I am not so certain that this is the reason behind the updating. Prior to this last major GD the previous one brought us something Google likes to term “Universal Search”.

Universal Search, this was supposed to be something that was going to improve the quality of the results as it brought more options to the results such as Maps, Books, Video and the like. Interesting thing though is that all of these so called enhancements were nothing but a thinly veiled attempt to force feed us more of Google’s products instead of actually giving us results that we were looking for. Sure these things are all good and fine if you are actually looking for News, Books, Videos or Maps when you started your search but if you weren’t then these things are just in the way of you finding what you want.

Anyway, this latest Google Dance seems to be concerned with visible Page Rank. There are a lot of theories as to what the point is behind the down grading of the PR. Some folks think that it has to do with devaluing paid links in an attempt to quash the link economy while others think that this move was geared towards transferring Page Rank into something called Trust Rank.

Seeing as sites can easily influence search rankings through links the whole PR model is kind of useless so the theory is they changed it over to Trust Rank. Sell or buy links and guess what, you loose your trust rank. If you loose your trust rank well then you can’t affect other sites with your links. Problem is, how do you filter out the links on a website as paid links; who makes that decision and what if that person is wrong? The whole theory smacks of censorship to me

Regardless of the theory that you are following these days it seems that Google is up to something once again and as usual, we are supposed to accept it and for the most part it seems most of us do.

Over the years I have watched many a Google Dance unfold and as the dance continued to drone on, I would often go into the posting forums to read the threads concerning lost rank and SERPs. As I read the posts I always sat and marvelled at the fact that while Google was pounding out the tempo for their dances; it never was Google’s algorithms that were dancing, it has always been the webmasters who were the ones actually doing the dancing as they tried to stay in rhythm to Google’s cacophonic beat.

The only real question is how long are webmasters going to let this massive corporate entity rule their businesses? Google doesn’t care about your business short of wringing out as much money as they can prior to bleeding them dry. If Google was concerned about what actual people were searching for they wouldn’t force their products upon us with their Universal Search, they would let us look for what we want on our own instead of telling us what we want.

There is another rumour floating around out there regarding this latest dance, it has to do with how Google actually has to resort to hand editing the PR of sites that they suspect of engaging in the link economy. If this rumour is true then it should go a long way to discredit their so called “better search engine”. Strange how this better search engine can easily be manipulated through linking and the only way to fix it is by hand editing the results to weed out the paid linking dance crashers.

I don’t know about you guys but to me it seems that the Emperor is having a garage sale and we are all buying his “Used” New Clothes.

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