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:
“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.
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.