My problem with the Penguin update is that it’s simply a way to encourage people to engage in Google Bowling. That means that we can expect to see more negative SEO efforts and more sites being deindexed for no reason other than that Google can’t figure out how to stop spam without penalizing thousands of useful websites.
Why Google Did This
I get why Google has been trying this idea. I mean, let’s face it – SEO methods have become ever slicker and they wanted to stay ahead of the game. They were determined to try to make sure that we couldn’t game the system too easily using tools like SENuke X and Magic Submitter. Instead, they wanted us to build links which were real and which had real value.
Actually, they ideally wanted us to build links which were built by somebody else (i.e. through link bait). They really don’t happen to like the whole SEO scene at all and if they had their way, most of us would probably not be around or would have much more limited jobs to do than we currently have available to us.
However, I really do feel they may well be pushing people away from their listings by using their latest updates and trying to stop people from gaming the system. The Penguin update was not a good idea and I imagine that Google will be getting rid of it soon.
One of the questions that some people are asking is whether or not Google has been doing what they’re doing because they’re afraid of the threat from Facebook. After all, they need to be concerned that people spend lots of time on Facebook as opposed to hanging around the Google homepage and as such, they may be trying desperate moves.
It doesn’t help that Microsoft recently introduced a deal with Facebook to link Bing search results with your Facebook friends, meaning that in essence, you are getting the best of both worlds when looking for specific pieces of information. After all, if you can get the Facebook listing on your search results, then you’re much more likely to hang out at the search engine when you need to search for something as opposed to doing either or.
Now I know that someone out there is going to start telling us all about Google + and how Google is hoping to make Google + into the Facebook killer, but let’s face it – a lead of nearly a billion members is an awfully big lead to get past and I really don’t see Google + gaining all that much in the way of traction when compared with Facebook.
Now that they are pushing this new Penguin update, I think that Google, even if they are worried about Facebook may well be trying to kill their business rather than help their business.
Maybe they’re Trying to Push Semantic Search
I read an interesting article a while back where someone claimed that Google’s ultimate plan was not to have real search results at all but instead to try to use semantic search to figure out what people want to know and to simply provide them with the answer. The idea was to keep you on the page that much longer.
You can see an example of this by entering a question like “how tall is the Empire State Building?” While they do offer search results as well, they also offer up a specific answer to your question. The idea is to keep you on their page that much longer and thus gain more advertising dollars from you and your eyeballs.
The theory goes that Google has been doing this Penguin business as a way to help them to build up Semantic search. According to this theory, they really don’t care how bad their search index gets because they care much more about being able to mine information from the web and keeping people on Google properties.
I personally don’t buy into this theory for one simple reason – Google still makes the majority of their money from Adwords and to destroy their search results, even if it’s in the service of creating semantic search results would be a terrible idea. I mean seriously – if people start abandoning Google’s search results for a competitor, it won’t matter that Google has the semantic search results.
Maybe They’re Not Trying to Kill Themselves At All
According this theory, Google simply made a silly mistake and didn’t think it through about the fact that their new update would encourage the return of the Google Bowling of a few years ago. The theory goes that Google’s people simply goofed and didn’t realize that they would be encouraging so much spam to be created all over the web.
Personally, I don’t buy this theory either. I mean seriously, they have some really smart people out there at Google and they know exactly what they’re doing. While they could make some mistakes on occasion, this would be a colossal and very obvious blunder which anyone should have been able to foresee.
Instead, if this theory is true, I think they must have realized what would happen but would have decided to try to simply go for it anyway and decide to take their chances. I mean, it’s not like they’re not actually allowing for review of people’s websites when sites get deindexed. So maybe the theory is that they simply believe that they’ll be able to handle the cases of Google Bowling that happen to come up.
Google is still a powerful company and they are not likely to simply disappear even if they do happen to be making a big mistake with the Penguin update. However, I also believe that they need to reconsider the whole thing because they are definitely making a huge mistake with this new update.