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Stephen Logan

Is Government Regulation Really the Future for SEO?

13th Jul 2009 SEO 2 minutes to read

An article appeared today on TechCrunch pouring scorn on the domination of Google as well as the world of SEO and Search Engine Marketing; suggesting the time may have come to have Government regulation to oversee the entire industry.

Would this work? No. Would this be possible? Probably not. Google and their search compatriots wield a lot of power. They can wipe a website off their pages for the merest breach of regulation. There are also many SEO companies that still inexplicably espouse the idea of guaranteeing top spot.
Would clipping the wings of search engines really help though? Can you stop people trying to game the system and ruining clients or their own sites? Probably not. By pushing search engine marketers into the role of rogue outlaws, that’s what they would surely become.

Small businesses and upstarts that need to gain an online presence have no other choice but to go to a Search Engine Marketing company. Because of the immaturity of their site and the need to optimise it throughout, slow and steady progress is often the best hope. They just won’t be able to compete with huge multi-nationals who have held the same domain for over a decade, that’s how search engines work.

Without some help from professional agencies, these businesses would struggle to get anywhere. Consumers have chosen the search engine as their tool for locating the information and services they want, that won’t change. By preventing search engines from stopping corrosive SEO practices, then you diminish the quality of the search results.

Should they be allowed to unceremoniously drop a company that has had a disagreement with them? No, of course not. But that’s probably the only area you could begin to consider regulation; even then, I’m sure loopholes will be in place to see that they get away with it.

Competition within the search industry could well be its saviour though. If Microsoft, Yahoo or another new site were to really challenge Google’s supremacy, such occurrences would never happen. Search results would almost certainly improve too. But in the meantime we all have to work to Google’s beat.

Increased consumer awareness and a willingness to do proper research into the services you utilise will help break those SEO companies that still offer no value on service. Here are just a few things to look out for:

  • Promise to make you top of Google rankings – as impossible as it is unlikely
  • Lack of experience or genuine clients – suggests they could be unable to provide the service they claim
  • Unable to provide client contacts for reference – suggests worse

There are some excellent SEO agencies, like Koozai, who can genuinely help improve you search engine visibility. It may take time and it will be a process of trial and error (everything is), but that is often what’s required to get noticed in this over-crowded marketplace.

The requirement for regulation is a long way off and I think the article on TechCrunch was quite a good distance wide of the mark with this hypothetical argument. There were good points throughout, but unfortunately it read more like an attack on Google than a genuine call for regulatory controls by the Government (which Government for a start?). What do you think?

Can SEO companies, small businesses and Google (or Bing or Yahoo) all work in harmony to create the very best search results for visitors? Is it more a question of better education and understanding across the board?

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