Updated: July 18, 2014
Normally, I do not pay any great deal of attention to the assortment of Google's search algorithm changes, called Panda, Penguin and alike. After discovering my own truth, fighting the policies of a profit-oriented corporation is pointless.
However, I did read some on the recent update in May 2014, and came across a number of articles that mentioned a few things that piqued my interest. Then, I browsed through my Webmaster Tools account, and saw something even more intriguing. Hence, this article. Prepare your expletives shields.
SEO & Authorship
My Webmaster Tools account shows the following statistics under the tab slash option labeled Authorship. Zero articles with proven authorship. Zero. To be a little more precise, it reads:
"This page shows search statistics for pages for which you are the verified author. Learn more about verifying authorship."
Please note that the word 'you' links to a Google+ account. Then, reading all those articles that talk about SEO, they mention the importance of authorship, and how one should strive to establish authorship over their Web work. This made me write this article.
First, for any piece of original text written by any person on this planet, there's automatic, implied copyright that ties the text to the author. Hence, the establishment of authorship is not required in any form.
Second, Google+ is not an established, recognized international body for copyright claims or any kind of verification of said copyright and authorship. It's a social media network. Third, Google+ has been around for much less than Dedoimedo, by a handful of years, which means that even if I wanted, associating my original work with Google+ would require backlinking hundreds of articles long before Google spawned their bullshit equivalent slash answer to Facebook, yet another social media network.
Third, over the past eight years, I have written more than 1,000 kickass articles on this domain, plus a number of guest appearances, with a very distinct and easily recognizable style. I have my name plainly written on the About page of my site. Therefore, my authorship is clearly established.
However, it would seem that Google denies all this and only counts articles linked to or created on a social media platform, which they are trying to push on the world with quite a bit of zeal. You can't post on Youtube if you don't use Google+, and now this.
In polite words, how can I put it?
Assumption of guilt
Another thing that gently pisses me of is the assumed guilt in all the articles apologizing for Google's actions. You should cleanup your links and such shit, they say. No. First, it's Google who changed the algorithm, they should clean up. Second, changing the way you work means something is wrong, and suddenly, on a twice-a-year-basis, Google aligns you to their standards. Fuck that shit. Who are they to tell anyone how and what to write on the Internet?
Freedom of information, online as well as everywhere else, means that it should not be biased, beyond its initial character, as molded by its creator. Beyond that, all extra manipulation is just bland corporate fascism in one form or another, serving a political, economical or ideological agenda. The original message loses sense and meaning. Worse, it pollutes the Internet, and you end up with 140-character posts, thrill memes, and talk about who had the biggest crap in the morning, with 65K likes. Idiocracy, much?
Now, if you had any doubt, take a look at this search term: 5 best free games of 2010. Back then, my article on the topic would feature as the top search entry, roughly in the period of 2011-2012. Now, this is what Google gives back, it's almost all mobile:
What has changed in retrospect? Nothing. You can't change the past. But out of roughly thirty search result, most are iPad, iPhone, Android. How come? Why? You morons. I have run this search using Windows 7 desktop. Why the fuck would you give me 90% useless mobile shit? Why? Is that your glorious update? Is this value you bring to your users?
They have every right - and you?
True, it's their search engine, their rules. So all this whining is pointless. They can do whatever they want. But you should remember that it's about money. They make money by shaping traffic how they see fit. And social networks, especially on mobile devices, are the leading money making segment. Which is why you shouldn't be surprised if your socially not so cool sites focused on the desktop are taking a hit. You're not making money for Google.
But you should also ask yourselves, why did you get into the Web game in the first place? Is it to make money only, regardless of the means? If so, please do make your changes as Google dictates. However, if you're in the game for other reasons, to state a message, have fun, enjoy yourself, or just try to do some honest good, then under no circumstances, should you surrender to Google and their algorithms. If some company out there can make you change what you do, then you've lost.
The big problem - Google's competitors
Ideally, you should stop using Google's products really. But I'm the biggest hypocrite, and I'm going to tell you that it's not quite possible. Because Google's rivals are worse still, in quality of service delivery if not in the intentions. Overall, on the whole, as a platform, Bing sucks. Likewise, Yahoo sucks. The alternative solutions are still not good enough to allow you to replace Google's mail, search and other products. Even their advertisement platform is so much more convenient than most others. That's the big problem.
While I'm doing my ranty spiel here, you should remember that I keep using a bunch of Google's services, and in a way, I feel trapped. That will change one day of course, but for now, I'm waiting for some other company to come up with a great search and mail, so that we can say bye bye to the new Silicon Valley bully. I don't think the existing cast can do it, but if I have to put my money on a future player, I'd say Amazon. Disclaimer, I do have some of their shares, but I believe they have the technological edge to pull it off, something that Microsoft, Yahoo and friends have long lost. In the search space, DuckDuckGo is a good option, and it's an excellent start. But we need more.
If you're all about money, this article hasn't given you one ounce of good advice. But if you believe in your work, your passion, your words, then I beg you, do not let the corporate morons out there reduce you to the lowest common denominator. Social shit and mobile shit and cheap, cheap content that leads to highest conversion rates for Google and friends. The authorship thingie, the algorithm thingie, it's the conteporary dross. What remains is your own integrity, your talent, your passion. They can't take those away, and don't let them. Do not lend your hand to moronity and crap. Be brave.
Just to highlight how Google's algorithm works, take a look at my 2011 update, the copycat crap that persisted for about six months, and then the sudden reversal of how Google scores and penalizes sites in the second annual algorithm refresh. Then, take a look at the 2013 update. In all cases, I haven't done a single thing to change my work. Once, it's valued highly, another it's penalized and word-for-word thieves given priority over my original work. That tells you all about authorship, honesty and how these things work. You may dispute my interpretations of the reality, but you cannot doubt the facts, the screenshots and the search results. That's the company that wants you to open their social network account so that you can link your articles to prove you're the guy who made them. Food for thought, fellas. Food for thought.
Now, seriously. Do you have suggestions for ultra-high-quality products that can wean one off the long legacy of use of Gmail and such? Don't send reactionary, emotional responses please. I want real strategic solutions. Not for me. For everyone.