John Andrews is a Competitive Webmaster and Search Engine Optimization Consultant in Seattle, Washington. This is John Andrews blog on issues of interest to the SEO community and competitive webmasters. Want to know more?

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Google Content Widgets, by Family Guy Guy

Google desperately wants you all to create unique, original content. It needs the ad real estate, but perhaps even more it needs the continuous expansion of creative content to feed the growth of the ad business. Everything we’ve seen out of Google for over a year reflects the Goog’s serious commitment to advertising over search. About a year or so ago, from my own perspective, the sensibilities shifted to a more overt recognition that it was ad space, not accuracy, that mattered most to Google search. Trust, freshness, historical significance.. all of these things mattered most to advertising. Even as search industry TalkingHeads debated how these “signals of quality” led to better SERPs, we repeatedly saw how they directly led to increased ad revenue to Google not as much through more ad impressions as through more commitment from advertisers to the Google platform.

Cloak it any way you like, but the message was less fraudulent clicks, more lock-in of users about which we know more than ever. So even if stalwart historical journalsitic sources generated reams of spam pages deep within their domains, it was “quality” and it ranked because it was good for “economic expansion”. An advertiser branded with the idea that The Denver Post was a quality advertising avenue back in the day, would not object to a large presence of ads on the online Denver Post, even if they were mostly spam pages.

The cloud is coming. Trust me, I don’t write Apache directives and rewrite rules because I enjoy it. I write them because it enables me to profit from my work without sharing 90% of the monetization with Google. I used to configure web servers pro-actively, as a means of publishing on the web. Now, thanks to Google, I write those arcane scripts as a defensive measure, protecting my revenues. One day we will look back at how silly it was to host our own content, and how unbelievably brutal and greedy it was for Google to step in an scrape it all into a private cloud long before the PublicCloud was available to us.

Now we see Google sponsoring development of unique, creative content, Hollywood style with the signing on of the Family Guy guy Seth MacFarlane. Expect to see search talking heads proclaim Google is able to be television if it wants, Google is going after Hollywood when it’s ready, Google is replacing newspapers with classified ads and now cartooning, blah blah blah. But the truth is, Google needs unique creative content and knows how to position it. This is a comic widget. Google knows that Widgets work. Facebook works. LinkedIn works. Dilbert works. Copyright is a problem, webmasters who want to fight over their nickels are too much work given the big picture of creative content driving the expansion of the web, and perhaps most seriously… anyone can build a search engine.

I wrote about this last week… you only own what you control. Google may have grown as a robber baron, but it intends to stick around as the industry matures, and apparently this is a good time to test the waters of sponsored creative content before inflation kicks in. Even the best companies suffer when their activities fuel inflationary fires, and this will fuel inflation. Watch how rich this Guy gets. If you think giving away free CDs hurts the recording industry, wait until Google decides to sponsor music videos. Let’s just hope Google has better taste than those conservative families that bought up all of the FM radio stations back in the eighties. I still can’t believe they play 4o year old “classic rock” all day long on so many FM radio stations around the country even today…with ads of course.

Yahoo has acknowledged the importance of TheCloud, and obviously Google knows TheCloud is coming. Trust me, I don’t write Apache directives and rewrite rules because I enjoy it. I write them because it enables me to profit from my work without sharing 90% of the monetization with Google. I used to configure web servers pro-actively, as a means of publishing on the web. Now, thanks to Google, I write those arcane scripts as a defensive measure, protecting my revenues. Web publishing (separate from content creation) has gone from the profit side of the enterprise to the expense side very, very quickly. More quickly than IT, even. One day we will look back at how silly it was to host our own content, and how unbelievably brutal it was for Google to step in an scrape it all into a private cloud long before the PublicCloud was available to us. Until then, what choice do we have?

I can’t stand to think of the future in the SEO world, where we will no doubt see a new generation of poets and copywriters proclaiming that SEO is simply “unique creative content” but at least they have one aspect of that correct. Content means a helluvalot to Google. In fact, I bet in many cases your content means more to Google than it does to you. Think about that… one man gathers what another man spills.

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One Response to “Google Content Widgets, by Family Guy Guy”

  1. Paul Bliss Says:

    John –

    I was at a small gathering about 6 months ago where the big three all presented, and Google was the only one who presented themselves as an ad agency –

    As far as creating original and unique content, that’s most likely the only way to get any leverage on Google – they have the exposure, but the creator has the “stuff” Google wants.

    now if I could only get that scraped stuff into my MFA sites… ;-O