Saturday, April 10, 2010

The big online push and ever increasing content pollution

From my previous blog, you now realize that Google and Yahoo had created this completely new venue for advertisers.  This new arena was not limited by the hours of the day, or the pages of a magazine/newspaper.

There are two ways a potential advertiser can make money.  They can either pay Google or Yahoo directly to show up for terms the advertiser believes will transact to a sale of their product, or they can try to show up organically (i.e. for free) on the search engine results.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the goal of having one's website rank well organically for terms the owner of the site is interested in.  A whole cottage industry has grown around this.  As search engines like Google and Yahoo continue to optimize their search algorithm to be more effective at showing relevant results, SEO experts are backward engineering the algorithm and teaching people how to optimize their site to beat the system.  This never ending cold war continues through today.  As SEO experts find new ways to game the system, these search engines continue to modify their algorithm to either punish or compensate for those that try to game the system.

In many ways, this war is very similar to the never ending battle between computer virus and anti-virus software companies.

One of the commonly agreed upon holy grail of SEO is unique content (the other is back links, which I will talk about some other time).

Unfortunately, a byproduct of both companies and individuals who are continuously optimizing their site through the creation of more content is content pollution.  Because no current search algorithm can ascertain the value of an article (as far as the algorithm and the Google bot is concerned, text is text), people have begun to hire very unqualified individuals to blast the search engines with hundreds of thousands of "unique", but very poor quality content per day.  Writers are now paid "by the word" and often times just either summarize someone else's article or paraphrase them completely.  When one article is created, 100s of similar, but not duplicate content based on that one article is created as well.  These new crop of freelance writers have neither the experience, training, or the knowledge to write.  Because of this, their articles often lead to very misinformed users.

This has led to millions of sites that have unique content, but add very little value to the user experience.  In fact, many of these sites are written by individuals who may not even speak the language they are typing.

Heck, they even allow me to have a blog!

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