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Can Google Kill Off SEO?

We all know Google hates SEO. They used to express it openly, before they were a BigPublicCompany. Then they branded it, with the “black hat” references. Now they are quiet about openly opposing SEO, although with each new “advance” of the Google “algorithm” they try and kill off what is commonly understood to be Search Engine Optimization (SEO). They do it by trying to make it irrelevant, or at least trying to make it appear that way. They do it by taking away the signals that suggest a need for SEO, one at a time.

Now they have added a great SEO tool “Unavailable after” while at the same time increasingly removing one of the best signals of SEO problems, the supplemental label. I don’t often agree with Michael Martinez, but this time I love what he says over at SearchEngineLand (bold added):

But I am increasingly concerned about the message coming from Google regarding Supplemental Results pages. Simply removing “Supplemental Result” from the SERP listings won’t change the fact that Google only partially parses and indexes the Supplemental Results pages (a fact Matt Cutts confirmed at SMX Advanced 2007 in Seattle). If Google does not begin fully parsing and indexing the Supplemental Results pages then they need to keep the designation visible so that users and Webmasters alike know there is something different in the data they are seeing. Otherwise Google will be engaging in a deceptive trade practice by deliberately and intentionally misleading people regarding the way they process and present Web data information.

Just removing the label hurts SEO practitioners and end users interested in web site performance. It does nothing to improve the algorithm, and actually hurts the promised mission of making the world’s information accessible. I think Michael’s being a bit wishful with that corruption allusion, though.

They’ve added “did you mean” which reduces reliance on some aspects of SEO. They’ve integrated some aspects of Universal Search, which effects some of SEO negatively. They say that underscores will now parse just like hyphens, which takes away an SEO task (or seems to). Underscores are always ripe for SEO services, as coders love them.

But what do all this adjustments really do to SEO? They help SEO. You see, SEO is about competition, not marketing. Google is a marketing company. There is only 1 #1 spot for every search, and Google can never change that until it ceases to be a search destination and traffic referral source. Sure, it can become a portal like Yahoo! and eliminate the need to appear #1 (I lost track of the location of the #1 organic search resulton Yahoo! a while ago… let me know if you find it). But as long as Google wants to be TheSearchEngine, it will have organic results. As long as it has organic results that matter, SEO will survive. As long as Google makes it harder to SEO, SEO will thrive. Just ask Ask… the only way to kill off the SEO incentive is to remove organic results from the first page – LOL.

So keep trying, Google, because it feels good. Less pressure on us SEOs for short term results because you are making it obvious that it takes time to beat Google at it’s own game, and you are making it obvious that in order to beat Wikipedia, the regular webmaster needs more than just a $29/month SEO services package from Network Solutions’ overseas affiliates. What’s that you say? Is there anything else you can do to help us SEO blokes? Sure! How about raising those PPC minimum bids again? I don’t care if you do it by “adjusting” the “quality” requirements or by outright demand, just do it, ok? It’s GREAT for business!


  1. Craig wrote:

    Wow, if ever there was a “nya nya nya nya nya, sticks and stone will break my bones, but adjusting search algorithms will never hurt me” post, this was it! Sorry, I’m in the “build something worth my attention and I will find it” camp, not the “I’ll look at your site if you pay someone enough money to throw some bones and manipulate the SERPs for short-term gain” camp. Either ya got the content I wanna see, or ya don’t, and if I figure out I’ve been tricked into visiting a site that doesn’t have what I was searching for, the back button it is.

    Friday, July 27, 2007 at 10:07 pm | Permalink
  2. I don’t think Google hates search engine optimizers. My perspective is that a good number of us are evangelizing practices that make it easier for search engines to decipher the topic of a page and then to rank that content appropriately. We’re free labor for Google. In exchange for that free work Google has to put up with attempts at manipulation, but as long as their results are mostly good, they’ll do just fine.

    Saturday, July 28, 2007 at 8:45 am | Permalink
  3. Jill wrote:

    I agree that Google hates SEOS.

    But I also think it’s a good idea for them not to label the supplemental results. I can’t believe it took them this long. Maybe we can stop getting all the stupid “why are my usless pages in the supplemental results” questions over at my forum…

    Saturday, July 28, 2007 at 1:17 pm | Permalink
  4. Ex-NetSol Guy wrote:

    I got started in SEO doing it for Network Solutions and just to clarify– we weren’t offshore resources :) We were located in the heartland– and I knew enough before I started to realize that what they wanted us to do was not SEO. I am not exactly sure what it was. Your 29.99 a month or whatever got you 1 hour consultation and if you were lucky enough to get it with me I had package as useful of an hour as I could get. Though, frankly, people were always highly upset when I told them they needed to change things on their site. People paying NetSol for SEO didn’t want SEO they wanted magic.

    Saturday, July 28, 2007 at 11:41 pm | Permalink
  5. Anne Zinta wrote:

    I don’t think Google hates SEO infact they are the first search engine people to clarify some of the facts pertaining to gaining positive results in SEO process.

    Monday, July 21, 2008 at 4:23 am | Permalink