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I Agree, Seth Godin… Google Makes the Web Stupid

17th February 2015

I’ve written this blog post in response to Seth Godin’s epic blog post that shows you how Google’s mighty hands crush the web and help in making the web… stupid.

What kind of stupid? Let me ask you this question: How many times do you watch funny pet videos, fail videos and other silly videos compared to watching useful videos that add value to your personal and/or business life?

I’m sure so many people consume so many content that is not only in bite-sizes, but also for-entertainment only.

To clarify, I’m not against bite-sized content. In fact, one of my websites Biz Epic, was established under the notion that business updates in bite-size will cater busy businessman who just want to get some inspirations, ideas, tips on the go and only have a minute or two and move on to the next content elsewhere.

But to be honest with you – with the oh-so-many fail, pranks, weird and similar types of content out there on the web – I have to agree with Seth Godin: The web is becoming stupid, and looking back, Google takes part in setting this trend.

But why?

Google algorithm updates turn both budding and surviving webpreneurs to social media for traffic. One way is by posting for-fun-only viral content. This trend has raised a big question: Is Google making the web stupid? But why?

There are some theories and personal observations that suggest Google has to improve their algorithm, which has brought the world of SEO and website ownership into chaotic state, because of the pressure for them to show more profits.

As Google’s cash cow is its ad platforms, they need to make more from ads. One way is to make sure that the top results on Google search engine result pages (SERPs) are obtainable via paid placement, instead of organically.

Losing your Google ranking? Just use AdWords to get your business back on top. That’s the whole idea that people suggested – and I have to say that I’m inclined to agree with them.

Google justifies their algorithm updates by arguing that what they do is to improve the quality of their index.

Again, to clarify, I’m not against what Google does. Google search is Google’s remember? They can do whatever they like to keep their business objectives being met.

If I were Google, I would do the same. Nothing personal, it’s just business.

No ad spending, no rank

But what about the website owners who don’t have the budget to either trying to fix things up or use AdWords to keep their rank high on SERPs? We basically have two choices: Give up (and rant about it) or try other ways to drive traffic and promote brands either via non-Google tools (e.g. Facebook and Twitter) or via non-conventional methods.

Laugh-Out-Loud Cats funny SEO

photo credit: Adam Koford / Flickr

Using social media for driving traffic via content marketing is a great idea. But, unfortunately, using “non-conventional” methods for driving traffic has a wider implication, namely:

  • We try to use provocative, controversial, or even outrageous headlines to attract clicks.
  • We even lie in our headlines to get clicks, only to trick people to read irrelevant content – and hopefully click some ads.
  • We showcase – and cherish – people’s silliness so that our content can get viral.
  • We even showcase X-rated or borderline (e.g. sexy pictures, etc.) to attract content views.

No wonder Seth says this epic statement from the same blog post I mentioned early in this post:

“…content publishers are moving toward social and viral traffic, because they can no longer count on search to work for them. It’s this addiction to social that makes the web dumber. If you want tonnage, lower your standards.”

Some thoughts on long-form content that Google (presumably) loves

What about long-form content – those extra-long content that has 2.000+ words on it? It’s said that Google loves long-form content as it demonstrates authority, expertise and insights (or it should be demonstrating that…)

I agree that longer content is suitable for us who want to seek a deeper look about a particular topic. But here’s the thing about long-form content: There’s no guarantee that it will impact your Google ranking. What’s more, publishing long-form content for the sake of Google ranking is not ideal for many of us; it’s no use publishing lengthy talks on whatnot but containing too little substance, or too obscure to regular readers.

All in all, those are not adding value to some of us. And in the end, those long-form content is also polluting the web with impractical words and advice. This will cause yet another problem that Google will need to face in the future, in my humble opinion.

Just tell me. Is this Seth Godin’s post not authoritative? http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2015/02/how-we-watch-a-video-now.html

It’s just 300-ish word long, yet one of the best posts I read today.

Just like what I’ve said before, brand reputation triumphs content length, even quality – a sign that indicates Google’s favor toward big brands.

Takeaway

The web changes. Google has their part in it, but every one of us shapes the culture of the web – for better or worse – with the help of social media. You have two choices: Responding to the changes or avoid them and keep on doing what you have been doing for years.

I suggest you to do the former. The web won’t stop progressing for you and me. It will progress and transform according to the culture created by the users, whether you like it or not. You may or may not want to follow the changes, but you can choose to agree to disagree by responding to them.

Let me end this rather long post with a question: Are you still creating content for pleasing Google and Googlebots?

Ivan Widjaya is the owner of AsepOnde.com, as well as the founder of several online businesses: PrevisoMedia.com, Noobpreneur.com and Uptourist.com. He runs his business from anywhere, anytime he wants.

Cute business woman

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