There appears to be a trend in Google’s actions towards publishers and the digital marketing industry that has me a bit concerned. It seems the company has become less and less transparent with publishers over the last couple years — and frankly, it has me a bit uneasy.
Now, there have always been bones of contention between Google and the SEO community; some believe that Google hates SEOs, while others believe that Google actually needs us.
I was always in the camp that thought Google knew they needed the SEO community because they cannot control the end product. No matter how great the search results, the end product is still the website. If the websites returned by Google are not very usable or relevant, then people won’t use Google to find them.
This has made the SEO industry an almost necessary go-between, giving Google a fairly direct method to affect site quality by getting SEOs to communicate their rules to publishers.
However, in light of Google’s recent actions — such as bypassing standard SEO industry channels to announce major changes and representatives telling us they know five percent or less of the algorithms — I think we need to consider the possibility that they’ve begun to care much less about transparently communicating Google’s website guidelines to SEOs and publishers.
Of course, those of us who spend our lives immersed in these algorithms know that is not likely to be a successful strategy. No matter how many helpful Webmaster Guidelines you put out, the average site owner will still never understand the intricacies of what makes a good site without help from a knowledgeable SEO practitioner.
It will also do little to stop spam, as spammers represent money, and money can always get around Google. However, for the rest of us in the industry, SEO is starting to become a painful process.
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