Alec Sharratt

Why I Occasionally Hate Google

1st May 2012 Uncategorised 5 minutes to read

Google ScreenThis isn’t going to be a rant about how my rankings have dropped since an algorithm update or a rant about Google are shifting goal posts… No, to be honest I haven’t been negatively affected by Google in this way. Nonetheless, this is still a rant, but one with a little more merit than just simply moaning about poor results.

Tell Us the Truth Google

I recently attended a seminar at Google HQ in London where I was privy to some presentations by Google employees and after was afforded the opportunity to ask some questions. Although there were some interesting points in the presentations, the dominant feeling I had on the way home was disappointment. It seemed that whenever a difficult question was asked, the answer was “thanks for your feedback”.

We heard this statement repeated an uncountable number of times throughout the couple of hours of questions. Also at BrightonSEO, where Pierre Far attended a discussion on stage, we were once again confronted with the statement “thanks for your feedback”…

My Solution…

I can appreciate that this is amusing the first couple of times, after the 10th time I heard this statement I thought “just answer the damn question”!

All You Need is Good Content

The company line seems to be “just create good content”, a quote from one of the speakers was “rather than spend £1000 on link building, spend it on a piece of journalistic content”… Hmmm. Might I draw your attention to reality for just a moment please Google! Do a search for “Payday Loans” and click on the first organic result and let me know if this is the best content on the net for that topic. Is it? No. Has it got a dump load of links pointing at it? Yes. Furthermore the domain was registered 25 days ago! I will touch upon black hat and negative SEO later, but for the time being I think it can be demonstrably proven that link building is more effective than unlinked-to great content.

My Solution…

Get good content AND good links.

Just Be the Best!

We were given the analogy of a kebab house in London, which sells the best kebabs in London… This parlour of culinary kebab excellence is located in someone’s basement and consequently no-one visits it. As time goes on people start to spread the word about the kebab house and it eventually becomes very popular and is able to acquire a better premises.

OK, so firstly this entire concept, beautiful though it may be, is fundamentally flawed because it is dependent on the business being the best at what it does. Working for an agency we cannot say to potential clients “unfortunately you are not better than all of your competition so we cannot help you”. Equally unless you are alone in your industry, only one business can be the best or have the best products.

My Solution…

Be the best you can be at what you do and hire an agency that is the best at what they do to manage your SEO. Google – Just admit that the best business isn’t always the highest ranked result.

No Such Thing as Negative SEO

Well, what with recent events like SEOMoz and Dan Thies getting hit by negative SEO attacks, it is fairly clear to most SEO’s that this is a real threat. We have seen this kind of attack on sites within an industry recently; where everyone on the front page for a certain term was hit. Google deny that it even exists, yet they simultaneously admit that buying links for YOURSELF can result in a penalty, but that buying links for your competitors will not work.

They fall short of backing this up with any evidence to suggest that the algorithm is capable of determining who bought what links and for whom. This is fast becoming one of the most contentious points in the search landscape today as we see an emergence of techy SEOs capable of damaging competitor websites.

Google have even implemented a “reconsideration request” within Google Webmaster Tools, so that should you buy links or be the unfortunate victim of such an attack, you can report said dodgy links for review.

My Solution…

Do not penalise websites for dodgy links, just do not reward them. Thus there would be no advantage to getting them but no benefit from buying them for the guy ranked above you in the SERPs.

Not provided

This is another fairly recent issue which is the result of Google trying to protect the privacy of their users by not providing keyword data within Google Analytics for users signed into Google. Of course this data is present in AdWords, should you want to buy your traffic, and hence doesn’t affect the privacy of those valued “commodities”, erm sorry, “customers”. They have also decided to provide us with the “not provided” data in Webmaster Tools, although it is wildly inaccurate and does not tally with either AdWords or Analytics.

My Solution…

Provide the DATA!!!

Google Places

This is a great tool but I, among many others, have suffered from other people closing competitor Google Places accounts. There is a very simple option to click on if you would like to inform them that a place is closed, someone even did this to Google’s own Google Places account to prove the point but it seems they were “grateful for the feedback”.

This kind of negative marketing is very damaging, especially for small or local businesses and is very easy to solve…

My Solution…

Simply contact the Google Places owner and confirm whether they are in fact closed, if there is no response within say 30 days, then close the account.


For the most part Google provide an exceptional service and one that underpins the entire SEO industry, but this doesn’t mean that a few simple tweaks and a more honest approach wouldn’t be very much appreciated.

If you have any gripes with Google, we would love to hear about them please leave a comment in the box below.

Image Source

Google screen via BigStock

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