This morning the Guardian UK published a scathing analysis of Google, SEO and the launch of Cuil. In his article, Chris Williams claimed that the greatest threat to Google is spam. No argument there.
But Williams takes the argument one step further and states:
Plenty of digital ink has been needlessly spilt this week over the launch of the suicidally-monikered new search engine Cuil.com. But the only threat to Google is itself and, in a roundabout way, the legion of spammers and “search engine optimisation” (SEO) consultants that buttress its dominance.
It’s clear that Williams is crying over “spilt ink.” He’s right in saying that Web sites have adapted their design and structure to accommodate Google.
But Williams would like to think that all companies – including competing search engines – are in the business of “reverse engineering” Google.
The people at the vanguard of reverse-engineering Google are not its jealous search rivals. They’re the spammers and SEO consultants. They have driven an ever-closer relationship between the quirks and whims of Google’s algorithms and policies, and the structure and content of the web. It’s a feedback loop that was unavoidable once Google’s early rivals proved unable to respond to its better search results and presentation.
He feels that techniques such as “adding needless internal links, creating PageRank-friendly URLs and distorting normal grammar” are all widely deployed with varying degrees of dastardliness.
While grammar may be distorted, the fault doesn’t lie with SEOs but with writers lacking sufficient command of the English language.
Somehow Williams connects Google’s share of searches with SEO efforts, rather than user preference. If that’s the case, then SEO must be producing superior SERPs.
Williams writes, “Thanks to the mutualistic process driven by spammers and SEO consultants, that dominance is only going to increase, and it’s the only ‘Google Killer’ on the horizon.”
Williams envisions a future “when the favours spammers and SEO consultants have been doing for Larry and Sergey will become dangerous, anti-trust style.” He believes regulatory intervention now seems the only bar to a complete Google autocracy over the Web economy.