Google doesn't hate you, it's just business

Google's "war on content farms" has many on the Web up in arms, but it is just business as usual for the search giant.

Move along folks. Nothing to see here.

The Web seems to be in some sort of an uproar over Google's recent changes to search results. The so-called "war on content farms", is really just business as usual, though. It is not the first time that Google has tweaked its algorithm, and it won't be the last.

Trust me. I have been a slave to the whims of Google searches for about eight years now. Ever since I began writing as the About.com guide for Internet and Network Security, I have been compensated at least in part based on the amount of traffic generated by my writing. And, at least once a year during those eight years there has been some sort of change or update to the Google algorithm which has led to plummeting traffic...at least for a while.

There didn't seem to be nearly the backlash or outcry a couple months ago when Google tweaked the algorithm to weed out bad businesses. Apparently, it is OK to filter out businesses that try to game the system with negative feedback, but it is not OK to filter out websites that try to game the system with repetitive content that doesn't provide any unique value for Google users.

In the last quarter of last year, my traffic plunged to a fraction of what it had been. My PCWorld posts -- which generally get indexed by Google News and garner at least some attention on the Google News Sci/Tech page -- were virtually non-existent to Google. Various parties worked diligently to try and identify the root cause and make corrections, but nothing seemed to work.

It got to the point where I began to craft conspiracy theories that Google had somehow black-balled me because I wrote unkindly about the search giant. Thankfully, an issue was finally identified and resolved before I graduated to full-on tinfoil hat status. Now my posts are no longer invisible to Google.

And that brings me to the moral of the story. Google doesn't exist to generate traffic for me -- or for the content farm sites on the Web. Google exists first and foremost to generate ad revenue and create profit for its shareholders. Its secondary purpose -- which drives the primary one -- is to provide value for users. The more you focus on delivering value for users as well, the better your sites will perform on Google search results and everyone will be happy.

Rest assured, though -- Google will continue to update, tweak, and improve the search algorithm to adjust to changing business needs, technologies, and the evolution of the Web. Your site that is ranked so highly today may not even show up in search results next month, but if it provides reasonable value it will bounce back eventually.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Googleinternetsearch engines

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tony Bradley

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?