Nobody’s perfect and no service is perfect, especially in the tech world where new services and offerings are a regular occurrence. Some launches are downright awful – others are groundbreaking. And even the groundbreaking ones were once a work in progress. It’s not uncommon for an Apple product launch to be riddled with issues including battery problems (exploding ones), buggy software, AT&T, The Newton and even the latest Apple maps fiasco. But the company pulls through relatively unscathed.
Google has also done a great job. It’s a great foundation product even with a few hiccups along the way (Google Wave anyone?). I’m very reliant on G and follow it closely. It’s brought a lot of value to our client websites and businesses and continues to be successful. It’s tough to imagine another Search Engine gaining their search share which stands at around the 60% mark.
But I have some serious concerns. The (not provided) initiative is infuriating. Google determined that for privacy purposes, anyone logged into a Google account would have their search referrals hidden from website owners and marked (not provided) in analytics. However, this doesn’t apply if you click on one of their ads. Curious? I think so. With some profiles showing (not provided) referrals at over 40%, it’s getting pretty ridiculous. Is this a deliberate push towards Paid Search?
And then there are slips like this:
We’re seeing legitimate websites pinged for negative SEO and yet a hacked website remained on the SERPS for over 3 weeks. Not easy to explain. How about that website that has thousands of spammy incoming links and has been ranking above yours for months? Can’t explain. Or the website with 1 or 2 incoming links, a crappy site that hasn’t been updated for a couple of years, but has an exact match domain and is ranking above yours? Not entirely sure.
I’m not overly sold by the Bing v Google challenge where they tested searcher satisfaction and Bing beat Google by a ratio of 2:1. But there does seem to be a growing backlash against G. I don’t want to be one of them but they’re not making it easy.
Now, there’s the new pay-to-play Google Shopping offering that reeks of Yahoo’s slightly deceptive paid inclusion program that Google used to complain about. I’m certainly not naive enough to suggest that satisfying your investors is unnecessary but it feels like they’re taking over their raison de l’autre more and more. And now we hear that Google may (or may not be) closing feedburner adding more fuel to the fire. Many of us are reliant on several of Google’s services (gmail, analytics, apps) but each of these missteps has the effect of driving more and more users away.
It’s not uncommon for an SEO to have their rant against big G. There’s definitely a love/hate thing going on from both sides but while Dinkum has moved on to embrace holistic Internet Marketing, SEO (and Google) is still a very important component of what we do and an incredibly valuable business resource. We make recommendations to our clients based on what is best for their business and many of Google’s offerings continue to be among the strongest. But even with the growing discord around our circles, the sometimes deceptive activities, the problem search results and ongoing privacy issues don’t seem to have put much of a dent to its reputation in the grand scheme of things. And right now, their share price is humming along…probably more important anyway right?
Photo Credit: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1287369