Every media that has come and gone has died for one of two reasons, either a failure to innovate, or an incapacity to control the signal-to-noise ratio. In Google’s case the signal is really great search results on page one and the noise is the useless search results that infiltrate and contaminate those top positions. Google would not be the leading search engine if they weren’t so careful about their signal-to-noise.
Lately, Google has been very active banning thousands of AdWord accounts run by direct marketers and dropping the hammer on content farms, those websites that host reams of shallow, low quality content that tell you little more than you already knew in the first place. This is great news for people who rely on Google for fast, in-depth research and this move is in step with Google’s announced plans for 2011.
Google is making the right moves to innovate and maintain the signal-to-noise relevance that has made them the dominant search engine. Large content sites who have based their business model on AdWord traffic probably had it coming to them. The quality of the content just isn’t good enough. However, many legitimate businesses also get caught in the cross-fire of the war against content spam, and your site may be one of them. If your rankings have taken a sudden drop, it may be just a settling of the dust, but it might also be a signal that you need to provide more value to your readers.
With the elimination of spammy AdWord accounts, Google is forcing a shift in the social media space. The current buzz among direct marketers is that the gold rush toward Facebook is starting, and search is playing into their hand. As Google continues to innovate, they will be giving more search engine credit to public Facebook pages, which is where direct marketers will build new launchpads for product offerings and affiliate links.
If your business uses social media in your marketing mix, keep an eye on what these “get-rich-quicksters” are doing and make sure your presence looks nothing like what the direct marketers are doing. Most importantly, stay vigilant on your Facebook business pages because you will see a significant upswing in other businesses posting to your page as direct marketers exploit every opportunity to be more visible in the social media space. Don’t let your own signal-to-noise be compromised. Use a monitoring program like HyperAlerts to stay on top of your page when you don’t have time to stay connected on Facebook.
For more information on Google’s recent shift, read The Wall Street Journal’s “Google’s Search Cleanup Has Big Effect.”