Pop goes the Google

With Google’s recent decision to remove categories like SEO from its local business listings, is this the beginnings of Google’s vision of the web, or a first step that will ultimately reduce Google impact on the world?

Google fantastic
Google has always promised internet nirvana by the lure of free web based services and applications, but in recent time this free lunch has always been accompanied by an expensive hangover.

When Google offered the chance for all websites to be listed on their monolith of a search engine, they unleashed the horde known as SEO, which ultimately ensured either website owners employing the services of specialised companies to promote websites or for companies to go through hoops to do the same.

Even today SEO can be a lucrative revenue stream for those companies who offer that service.

Every time Google release an update to its search engine, there is ‘gold rush fever’ to update or promote your site in the latest way, to ensure front page exposure.

The internet has always been full to the brim with free information, but due to it collaborative nature, often means what’s online is taken to be verbatim, rather than someone opinion, which in turn means there is little vetting on the websites accuracy.

Big sites do not mean better information
Even bedrock websites like Wikipedia have suffered problems in the past, and there are well documented cases of ‘tampering’ with Wikipedia content to satisfy political agendas. One particular case actually prompted Wikipedia to overhaul its procedure to verify accuracy of content.

Just think how often you may have researched something on the web. How often do you take the first answer?

Due to Google’s secret algorithm, more than its fair share of all internet content revolves around promoting websites. As with Wikipedia, how sure can you be of any information on the net. Quite often someone will float an idea on how to improve your websites rankings, people take what’s written as verbatim and jump on board. Within weeks everyone is doing it, with little regard to its actual effect.

The Google way or no way
Google have been aware of this problem for as long as it has been a problem, and now have documentation and tools which help webmasters to get their sites listed. But although this should kill SEO companies, it has the opposite effect, because all SEO companies shout ‘I can get you on the front page of Google’, it is believed without question.

Google have said they want to list all websites, but only if they have unique and interesting content.

So for lazy webmasters trying to make a quick buck, they will always be searching for the SEO techniques that lay the golden egg. But for most companies who follow Google’s own advice they should get their websites listed without issue.

Local jobs for local people
Google realising that the internet is the centre of most people’s life, have accepted that it is valid for businesses to raise their brand, and with this in mind launched Google Local Business Centre, this free service allows for all business to list themselves for free.

For most local businesses this can provide a valuable stream of web clicks and traffic without having to result to SEO or paid directory listings.

Recently Google has decided to remove SEO, from the company types who can list.

Google’s final solution
Has Google gone mad, or has it taken the next step in the Internet evolution?

It is certainly a bold step to filter the information it presents to the world, but it’s been a road Google has been on since its inception and will continue to be on.

If Google remove more categories, a couple of things could happen.

Google will find additional way of extracting money from these excluded categories, in the form of premium listing or the like.

With enough content disappearing from Google, other search engines who don’t take this attitude will gain market share.

Is it truly possible to have free speech when Google controls what you see?