Skip to content


Content Pollution May be the Ruination of Google

There is a huge discussion going on across the web in recent weeks about how Google search results and relevancy are under attack, at risk and possibly declining. This is very relevant to librarians, our users and especially in the development of our information literacy and transliteracy training development.

In this post I’ll provide you with some links I’ve collected in recent weeks that you can read and inform yourself on the issue.

For starters, check out the SpamClock from Blekko:


http://www.spamclock.com/

“Every hour, one million spam pages are created. That’s a stat that start-up search engine Blekko has now put out — complete with a new “Spam Clock” showing a count-up of spam pages created since the first of the year.”

To learn more about the dangers of trusting the search results too much, follow and read these citations below. Many have some good examples of sites and searches that show the impact of overly or overtly influenced search results that could be readily adapted and used for training sessions.

Every professional librarian should be able to speak knowledgeably about consumer search engines the dangers of content farms, black hat SEO, SMO, GEO-coding, information clutter, relevancy gaming, and and more.

1. Google’s decreasingly useful, spam-filled web search

2. Trouble In the House of Google

3. Why We Desperately Need a New (and Better) Google

4. Dishwashers, and How Google Eats Its Own Tail

5. Content Farms: Why Media, Blogs & Google Should Be Worried

6. On the increasing uselessness of Google

7. Google’s “Gold Standard” Search Results Take Big Hit In New York Times Story

8. How The “Focus On First” Helps Hide Google’s Relevancy Problems

9. What Is Search Engine Spam? The Video Edition

10. Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide (32 page PDF)

11. Google’s Search Algorithm Has Been Ruined, Time To Move Back To Curation (GOOG)

12. Blekko Launches Spam Clock To Keep Pressure On Google

Three things we know:

1. Google alone makes ~$1 billion profit per month and tries to serve it’s primary customers well – those who pay.
2. Licensed databases in libraries and their search results are never tied to the needs of commercial or special interests.
3. Google is not unassailable and new search options can displace it at the head of the pack as Facebook already did in 2010.

Users are well advised to maintain their wits and credulity about the results they get in the ad-based, free consumer search space and know when it is appropriate to use each option. Google and other ad-based search offerings have their place and their strengths but they are not a perfect solution without clay feet.

Happy reading!

Stephen

Posted on: January 14, 2011, 6:16 pm Category: Uncategorized

3 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

  1. Stephen, I recently wrote about this over at Library Journal: http://blog.libraryjournal.com/tennantdigitallibraries/2011/01/04/how-google-is-creating-a-web-of-spam/ and about the motivations that make it so: http://blog.libraryjournal.com/tennantdigitallibraries/2010/12/27/google-and-the-magical-money-machine/ . It is indeed a big problem, and growing. I’m not sure that Blekko is it, but whomever solves this problem may finally be able to take the web search crown from Google.

  2. Roy: You’re right. It’s a huge worry and I hope that part of the solution is that libraries position and differentiate themselves in the Q&A, search and research space better and not just ‘me too’. Stephen

  3. As some WordPress bloggers may be aware, there was a huge outcry discussion in their forums on the reblogging feature in WordPress which allows content scraping without any source trace or breadcrumb.