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Google, search engine tips for the future

By Malcolm Pugh
Posted Tuesday, July 6, 2004

Where there was once a myriad of ways to confuse and manipulate Google, one thing is now becoming apparent. The aim of Google is to present a fair and unbiased return for your efforts, genuinely rewarded whether large or small, wealthy or poor. The aim is to eradicate any form of cheating and manipulation, in favour of pure results which reflect genuine attempts to put your infant website on the adult web.

By and large, and much to Googles credit, this goal is being achieved, step by step, yard by yard. Meta tags are now all but redundant, multiple repetition becoming useless. We all know the scams and the tricks, and we all know they are becoming less effective.

I was a systems programmer for many years, quite a few of which were in designing and building efficient indexes for huge concerns. Armed with this perspective it is easier for me to see where Google is headed in the long run, their ultimate goal being a real index for real people with real websites, I think a very laudable concept in a very monetary world, where they are no doubt deluged with offers of remuneration for consideration.

The good news for all of us out here with a semblance left of fair play and level playing fields is that ultimately this should lead to two factors becoming predominant. The first will be content, pure and simple, so if you can take the time to actually write about what it is you sell, enjoy doing, wish you were doing etc, then the chances are you will be heard. The more interested you are in your subject, the longer the missive, and the more likely it is you will be judged as a real and actual site rather than a manufactured effort to manipulate the ether in your favour. Content will be practically all, and that is how it should be in my book, so if your website strays off your said concept to include a can of worms on many other subjects thrown in, expect no mercy.

Also the secondary concept will be twofold, in my opinion. The relevant data still has to be sort of prioritised in order to sift the best from the worst of valid sites, so to speak. This is where it becomes a little more of a grey area. One mans meat is another mans poison, and who is to say what is predominant and what is somewhat downgrade. I would suspect actual surfing behavior will govern how this comes out, the rule of the majority. The more hits a site gets, once all the tweaking mechanisms are weeded out, the higher you will go in the rankings. Many search engines are already incorporating this idea via the Alexa toolbar, and it makes a lot of sense. After all, you cant really tweak content too much, and content will be very heavily scrutinised, and you cant really tweak the surfing behavior of trillions. Also I think categorisation and Regional grids will be imposed so as to limit searches either Geographically or scalewise as is required.

I had envisaged writing my own online real time search, front ended with Perl, accessing live sites via the IP address bands of websites, and returning the first ten to twenty hits encountered. This being a more live exercise on current data without missing out on sites created since Googles last run, which was then a five weekly cycle. Thankfully they have addressed this problem too, in an also very fair way of intuitively guessing which sites are genuinely being worked on and are real and viable, via currently experimental algorithms which seem to me to favour the real over the imitation. So I will hold back on indexing live data, probably indefinitely, in deference to their having pretty well plugged an annoying five week wait hole.

Through all of this I think we should applaud the whole Google operation for being so resistant to the obvious temptation to placate the rich and the powerful at the expense of the whole internet, and the integrity of the whole internet. They are now firmly in the driving seat, and are there because they are fair, an unusual trait in an otherwise somewhat shoddy world compared with today and its values. I used to do deals on handshakes, I would shake Googles hand today for putting content over profit, and people power over consortiums.

Malcolm Pugh October 2003.


About the Author
I am English aged 51 and live in Birmingham. I am an ex Civil Engineer, and ex systems programmer and ex alcoholic chain smoking gambler.


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