The 7 Most Pressing Reasons to Control Google & Search not SEO
Google? "City gate, Dali" is a Creative Commons licensed image by Alexandra Moss
A recent anonymous posting on Techcrunch proposes the regulation of Search Engine Marketing and SEO. At least in the headline. Actually the article deals with the urgent need to regulate Google and proposes radical open source like transparency as a solution.
Do we need to regulate SEO?
No. We really have to regulate Google though. The normalization of the currently "dark arts" of SEO will follow once the Google black box becomes transparent.
Google is a dangerous global monopoly.
Currently Google is in control of most of the global search market and thus the access to most of the information available (or not) on the planet.
At the same time Google supports suppressive dictatorships like the murderous one in China where just recently more than 150 protestors have been killed by security forces. It's time to regain the control of our information.
There has been another article on PC World this week that deals with the unavoidable regulation of Google. It's more aptly titled "Does Google Know Too Much About You?"
In this post I want to summarize the 7 most pressing reasons to control Google & search not SEO:
- You can never know for sure how Google is deciding what sources will end up on top. Approx. 70% of Google users just click the top 3 search results. The other results barely exist. Most people fail to attract search traffic without the assistance of an SEO company.
- Google knows everything about you due to a multi-channel data collection infrastructure. Google search, toolbar, Analytics, ads, DoubleClick are just the most obvious data collectors out there. They can profile you far better than the NSA.
- Google is not about the free market, it's about a dominant market position. In search Google is a monopoly in most countries around the world. Even in the US Yahoo, Bing etc. are just small players when it comes to organic search.
- Changes in the Google algorithm as well as ranking factors sometimes are random and there rarely is a disclosure. Sometimes Google even discontinues support for certain features it introduced to webmasters itself in the first place (like the nofollow attribute) without notifying them.
- Google is a US based company but it decides on the whereabouts of the global information resources. There is no real accountability to entities outside the US. So basically most countries in the world give away the access to their information to a foreign company.
- Google China is just the most obvious example of censorship. In other countries search results disappear as well and we never know which ones or why exactly. Google shies away from fighting against censorship requests due it's for profit business set up. Even teenagers manage to force Google to remove content from its properties.
- There are seemingly no ethical standards for search engines. Google itself does not adhere by any standards whatsoever besides the anecdotal "Do no evil" that has been rejected by Google CEO Eric Schmidt as a myth. Only webmasters have to adhere to the fuzzy standards devised for them by Google.
Google is a global super power. It controls the world's information. It's the ever present gatekeeper. It would be insane to give away the keys to the knowledge of humanity to a solely profit oriented multinational corporation like Google. We need democratic control of this behemoth.
Disclaimer: While you might assume hat I'm a paranoid Google hater, I'm not. I wrote this on Google Docs. I use several other widely known Google services. The reasons above are just common sense.
Exactly due to the fact that I use so many Google services along with Google search it is important to make Google transparent, democratic and accountable.
I don't want to wake one day up and realize that Google has become too powerful to make it adhere to a code of ethics. With power comes the abuse of it.
The simple fact that the TechCrunch article has been posted anonymously out of fear for retaliation from Google shows how far the situation has spiraled out of control.