Has Google lost its edge? A lot of geeks (including this one) seem to think so. But what seems to be the problem? The Guardian (UK) puts it well: “Google faces its next big challenge: ridding itself of the spammers it created”.
Google created an entire industry – Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – geared towards improving a website’s Google rank. SEO practitioners use a variety of techniques, some less savory than others. One such technique is the creation of spam blogs (or “splogs”), filled with scraped content, and designed solely to attract Google’s crawlers (“mesothelioma” seems to be a popular keyword). As things stand today, Google does not seem to distinguish between a publisher offering original content, and a splog.
This will surely change, and quickly. The net is already ablaze with anti-Google sentiment. Even though it has close to 90% of the search market share, Google is too smart to rest on its laurels. The competition isn’t idling, either. Microsoft (and its Bing search engine) seems to be mounting a quiet offensive. Every single one of my many websites (even the most obscure ones) gets daily visits from Redmond.
Meanwhile, if you are in it for the long haul, there’s nothing to worry about. Offer original, relevant and fresh content, and your customers will find and follow you. The search engines will, too.