Friday, March 11, 2011

Google Search Algorithm Controversial

The biggest news regarding the world of internet search this year has been Google's search algorithm change. Recently, Google revised its secret search sauce in an effort to provide ever-improving quality in its search results. Google's goal appears to be to elevate, original fresh content and devalue stale content lifted from other sources or sites that are simply not updated frequently. A warning to those like myself to get back to blogging and create some new content.

As reported by Paidcontent.org, some early results are in. Traffic has surged on content rich premium sites as well as local entertainment/sports sites. What constitutes high quality content as opposed to low quality content is an issue of debate. But, it looks like content remains king at Google and large doses of fresh and original content is the surest way to assert natural search dominance.

I suspect the quality of in-bound links is playing an elevated role as well. High numbers of links from low quality sites and link farms will likely be penalized. It may get harder to game Google's system and employ black hat search engine marketing techniques such as those employed by JC Penney recently. JC Penney employed such black hat techniques and was punished by receiving a de-listing from many search results where it had previously ranked one or two.

Smaller companies may be having a tough time coping as reported by the Los Angeles Times. Such companies have likely invested thousands to millions of dollars in search engine marketing techniques and in-bound linking that may now be obsolete or worthless.

I wonder if this change will lead to better search engine real estate for large corporate entities. One of the endearing and enduring qualities of the e-commerce revolution has been its democratizing effect and promotion of main street businesses to new heights. That may change now - or it might not. As an internet attorney, I am left to ponder how this will affect areas such as trademark rights, cybersquatting, paid search, affiliate marketing and search engine optimization. Will this lead to a new land grab for domains and/or increased trademark right enforcement by large entities? Will this be a boon to paid search marketers as companies who have lost their natural search positions scramble to make up for that loss by buying top positions on keywords. Does this signal a shift toward the interests of large corporations and away from the mom and pop main street vibe that has previously populated many search results. Answers to such questions should become apparent relatively quickly.

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