Thursday, March 30, 2006

Should Google manually intervene with its blessed algorithm?

GoogleLet's get one thing on the table. Google's brilliant. Larry Page and Sergey Brin came up with a genius idea and executed it well. I can't wait to see others trying to muscle in when their patent expires in 2011. However, the aggregator sites seriously obstruct the search results in many cases.

I'm doing a simple and quick search engine optimisation exercise for a legitimate traditional small business in a small UK town. When I enter the town and the nature of the business into Google, the first actual business returned isn't until page 3 of the returns. The rest are aggregators. Now, if a listing adds some value, then I don't have a problem, but they seem to solely exist to extract money from the likes of my client. Google seems to have overcome any possible ethical problem with tampering with results, so I wonder how much of an effort it would be or whether there would be legal consequences from disrupting the aggregators' business.

It leaves me wondering where Autonomy are with their Baysian search engine. They have their IDOL search product, but aren't really there in the consumer web domain. It could be really handy at times like this to have something which 'understands' context. Although I guess as soon as people know the rules, they apply them to their own ends.

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2 comments:

Wossername said...

agregator?

ClickRich said...

I mean listing sites. Many or most are trying to offer a legit service. The best known is perhaps Yell. However, you get so many that play aggressive search engine optimisation games and takeover the main search returns. Very difficult to break through.

An example. If I wanted to find a driving school in your local town, Ilkley, and a driving instructor in that town had their own website, I'd like my search engine to show me it. Instead, when I enter 'Ilkley driving school' the rest of teh domains listed in this comment are on the first page because of clever optimisation (often lists of UK towns on the home page).

There are 3 broad categories.

1. Clever optimisation alone. None of these sites are actually contain Ilkley driving school details:

learnerdriver.com
ufindus.com
learnerstuff.co.uk
one2onedrivingschool.com
ukwhatsgoingonguide.co.uk

2. One, city-visitor.com, only has 'real' content because the driving schools have had to 'pay' for it.

3. Some just regurgitate listings. You just get layer after layer of reused content to sort through. Near.co.uk actually refers you to listings on yell by using (abusing?) Yell's sitebuilder feature.