11/22/08

Google's New Editable Search Tool: An Optimizer's Nightmare

Google added a new search results feature to its search results page: ranking, deleting and commenting on search results. Now, thanks to the brilliant folks at Google, ( you can read more about it on their blog), all the hard work that your web team has poured into your search engine results will be all for naught, if the search engine user doesn't like your site.
See, thanks to a nifty new tool next to each site on the search result page, a searcher can either delete a site that shows up in the search engine results or push his preferred site to the top of the search engine results. The searcher can also comment on a search result, indicating that site is "super cool" or "not so hot". These comments can either be made private on a personal Google Search Wiki, or made public on a public Google Search Wiki. True, Google makes it clear that a searcher's modifications are only viewable to his own personal Google account. But since these preferences are set in the searcher's account, no matter how well you optimize your site over his preferred site, your fully optimized site will never top his preferred site. The searcher's ranking will forever skew the search results for him. Which only forces the sponsored links and non-organic links to get even better billing. Of course, Google doesn't mind; they get to make more money. Yes, these selections only appear on a searcher's personal search results but you can't tell me that Google isn't measuring these deletions and rankings so that if everyone starts deleting spam farms, Google might drop these sorts of pages even lower in the rankings. Conversely, if everyone is picking the same site over and over again for a search, I could only imagine that Google would give this site higher preference. So the Machiavelli in me thought, "I'll show them! I'm going to delete all of our competition from our target search terms! Then I'm going to select my site to the top result. Ha!" But I refrained. Perhaps to my own detriment, because I know that there are others out there who are not so nice. I envision that people are going to abuse this feature. Call me a cynic, but mark my word . . . Now I have to worry about yet another factor when optimizing our site. Bother.

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