The New York Times ran a disturbing article the other day with serious implications for this blog:
Google said late Thursday that it had made a major change to its algorithm in an effort to improve the rankings of high-quality Web sites in its search results — and to reduce the visibility of low-quality sites. (Emphasis added for dramatic purposes).
Ahhhh, shit. You know what this means. The party’s over. Basement Life has always relied on Google’s obliging promotion of lesser known websites to boost traffic. Web visits, accidental or not, are what maintains the fragile ego and quenches the vanity of today’s inept and shiftless blogger. Now, how am I supposed to attract the naive, bored or easily manipulated to my blog if Google starts weeding out low-quality sites from its searches? Or am I overreacting?
Google updates its search algorithm 500 times a year, the Times reports, so it’s nothing new and most of these are minor tweaks that nobody notices anyway.
But this one’s a major change.
Jacquie says it’s likely that Google didn’t even have Basement Life in mind with this particular tweak. But that kind of thinking just strains credulity. I mean, this Google blog post quoted by the Times practically mentions me by name:
This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites (Editor: my ears are burning) — sites which are low-value add for users (Guilty, your honor; but hey, they get what they pay for and they like it just fine), copy content from other Web sites (So true. But I can’t very well copy and paste from actual books, newspapers or magazines, now, can I?) or sites that are just not very useful (what does “useful” mean?)…At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites — sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.”
The truth is, though, Google hasn’t specified what content the updated algorithm is targeting. There’s speculation that it’s meant to reduce hits from “content farms” like eHow and Answerbag which “generate articles based on popular search queries so they will rise to the top of the rankings and attract clicks.”
Wait, I thought they wanted to promote quality websites, not hide them under a bushel. What’s the matter with eHow? Talk about useful. I’d be lost without eHow. It’s instructed me in so many things, from boiling water, to glomming new stuff from companies by pretending to be a consumer disappointed in their products, to how to give myself a fabulous haircut with a Flowbee, the revolutionary home haircutting system.
Now if something that useful is getting the bum rush from google, what chance does Basement Life have?