Why No One Should Rank #1 On Google

Matt Cutts of Google says he wants to ‘level the playing field’. Well here’s a way they could do that with no one getting hurt.

Google is constantly amending their search algorithms in a bid to make the results more and more relevant – in theory anyway. In fact, these changes have been so frequent and powerful lately, that Cutts has recommended that you don’t try to follow the changes at all, but instead just follow their ‘direction’ by trying to produce quality content.

This sounds all good and well – of course Google should be trying to pair visitors up with quality content and they should be trying to give visitors the most relevant and interesting articles to read when they search for something. But there is a subtext here if you want to be cynical – and Google think they know what it is precisely that constitutes a quality website. By ensuring that you see only ‘quality’ results, Google basically is saying it knows what’s good for you and that it knows what you want. And that does start to sound a little bit like playing God.

The Direction of Google

The direction of Google has been to favor original content over spam and ‘over optimization’. However, this has also punished some websites that have been entirely conscientious and well meaning in their attempts to get to the top of the SERPs.

At the same time this has resulted in some rather dubious results making it to the top spot. While the new algorithms might be slightly better, the simple fact that so many websites have been de-indexed or ranked down has lead to some unusual ones making it to the top.

Each time this happens, it affects the livelihoods of real people. Every single one of those websites on the SERPs is someone’s baby, and someone has worked tirelessly to get it to the top only to see it slashed down with very little warning. Google has deemed their site as ‘unfit’ for whatever reason, and their techniques as spammy (even if they left their SEO in the hands of a third party service) and as a result they might have very well lost their largest source of traffic and therefore revenue. Surely there’s a better way?

An Alternative System

Well as it would happen, there just might be, and one interesting alternative could be to introduce an element of ‘random’ into the proceedings. We’ve all see websites that let you navigate their content at random, and we’ve all seen sites that let you land on random pages throughout the web. How about a search engine that was so flexible it would show slightly different results each time you typed in the same query?

Let’s imagine you searched for ‘Toronto Plumber’ – you’d have hundreds, if not thousands, of options coming up that all would provide essentially the same service for visitors. Now one might decide to spend a lot of money on SEO and build lots of inbound links, and in the past the one that worked the hardest and spent the most might make it to number one. However, there is no really ‘reliable’ way for them to do this now. Where do they turn? They could spend thousands building links only for Google to decide that their methods are no longer valid and then find themselves penalized or completely de-indexed. And why should a company like Google decide what plumber you use?

An alternative then would be to take these top fifty results, or even these top three hundred, and then show them in a random order each time? It would be just as fair and it would provide visitors with some variation in the sites they saw. They could do the same search again and find different things they were interested in, and Google would be taking a back step from interfering with, let’s face it, all businesses and allowing a more natural selection to take place once again.

So why aren’t they doing this? Well, one answer could be that it would take away their supreme authority over the web. Another could be that it would take away from their AdWords service – because after all, if SEO worked too well, and if there were one reliable system for getting to the top – then people wouldn’t need to shell out on advertising.

This post was guest blogged by Jitendra Agrawal of Get Links Pro.

22 thoughts on “Why No One Should Rank #1 On Google”

  1. I like this post !!!! 😀

  2. I like the image used in this article, its simply awesome 🙂

    1. jeffreyskang says:

      was i the only one that immediately checked to see if anyone registered booble.com after seeing the image? it was going to be a search engine for boobs… oh well.

  3. Adam says:

    Excellent post. This would be a great way to make things fair and I am sure that SEO experts will find a way to get ranked higher but that will take a little bit of time.

  4. fas says:

    Again having random results wont serve the purpose much.

  5. Bruce Barker says:

    Jitendra…well thought out post. Of course the best way to stop Google playing God would be for some real search engine competition… It would soon change then. The market and the consumer[us] would win!

  6. Swimwear Man says:

    Whatever Google does, there would be many who would be interested in breaking the system.

  7. dimitri says:

    makes a lot of sense

  8. Interesting post but I’m not too impressed by the ‘even if they left their SEO in the hands of a third party service’ comment. I’m sorry but that is completely irrelevant.You get the final say in what is done regarding your business, if you do not act diligently then that is no-ones fault but your own. If you file taxes and they aren’t right then it is your responsibility not your accountants, why? Because you sign off on it!

  9. It is good as it is, good content shall rank high and not those who pay the most for an SEO firm or sponsored links.

  10. Ayush says:

    I think new changes are good, because I have very less backlinks to my site and I am on 7th position for a particular keyword and on 2nd page 3rd position for 2 different keywords.

    These new changes will seriously kickout blackhatters….

  11. Awesome post!! If only a search engine worked like that!!

  12. Helen Neely says:

    Just like your bricks and mortal shop, the best thing to do is vote with your feet. Just stop using Google and try some other search engines.

    In fact, most of my traffic come from Bing – so that’s where my focus has moved to.

  13. In the case you talk about here, I heard Angie’s list is really good at this. And I’m not sure I like the idea of random results for the same query under the same circumstances. But I do agree that webmasters & bloggers need to focus on quality original content versus ranking.

    As you told me before, you were not affected significantly with the recent changes so that is a perfect example of keeping up with producing unique content and letting the value show for itself.

  14. David says:

    In Europe Google is still the standard and most traffic comes from there. So every SEO guy is trying to get you on top there.

  15. Great post very interesting we should now be aware of over optimization!

  16. Chef says:

    Are those algo changes about relevance or about them making more $?

  17. I’m tired of hearing what Google are doing and frankly their updates have done more harm than good, that’s just my opinion. If everyone built a monster email list and dominated in social media and worked towards getting more traffic from referral sources, and only relied on a small percentage for search engine traffic the world would be a better place. Google thinks they own the web, but who would they be without us…

    1. Seems to mee that those that get harmed by their updates are usually the same people trying to ride down easy street. I think websites that pretty much “forget about Google” thrive consistently even during the updates. And while you’re right about where would they be without us… you must wonder where would we be without them. Despite many attempts by competitors, G delivers the best results all the time.

  18. The fact of the matter is that relevant content is king. If companies want to compete in the online world, they need to make themselves relevant by providing quality original content.

  19. Dess says:

    The idea may be good – presenting quality content for visitors- but we are dying here bro. Like the post stated that the blogs are everybody’s baby, we spend too much time building them and they are gone in a day!!! who will lend me some cash so I may go for paid advertising? SEO really sucks.

    1. But your last post on your blog is from September…? SEO should not be your business model. Sell something that people want.

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