The video below is of interest to SEO’s, webmaster’s trying to create their own informational websites, and the Indieweb. The video, featuring Rand Fishkin, is 32 minutes long but packs a lot of current information. I agree with Rand through the first 2/3rds of the video where he is making his case. I disagree with his conclusions in the last third because I’m not an SEO, I don’t have clients that are trying to sell things and I’m not trying to sell things.
Why this matters to:
- The Indieweb: Rand touches upon the social network silos, and how they are increasingly not linking out. They want to keep your content within their walled gardens. Google is now doing this too, especially in mobile search. This is not by accident but by design. This is why I keep hammering away that Google is one of the the bad silos that the Indieweb should be concerned about, especially with Google controlling 90% of search traffic. When the social network silos implode we will still be left with Google as the Gatekeeper.
- To Content Websites and Webmasters: we see in the video, that on the mobile SERP, Google is just posting their own information or information scraped from our sites and reused as their own without providing any click through links to the originators. eg. weather, celebrity news, sports, travel and tourism, food and dining via Google maps, accommodation etc. and its growing. Commercial content websites which rely on ads to pay the bills are not getting many ad impressions if Google borrows their content or or otherwise fails to provide click through traffic. As Rand points out the tacit agreement with search engines (I call it the Search Contract) is that in return for providing content and letting search engine crawlers use our bandwidth to index our sites, the search engines supply traffic.
- Commerce Websites: This is where Rand and I part ways. His conclusions are probably realistic if you are trying to market a product because Google, the social networks and Amazon are all putting you in a squeeze play. It’s the money making sites that hire SEO’s and good SEO’s have to do what is in their client’s best interest. In this instance you have to play the game, when your business depends upon sales, it is probably not the best time to launch an anti-Google crusade.
ConclusionsWatch the video, you will learn something even if you are not an SEO and don’t care about search engines. Rand’s presentation and the slides are telling. Or at least watch the first 2/3rds until he gets to the recommendations for SEO’s.
robots.txtBTW Rand mentions one clear solution for content sites early on: if, over time Google is not sending you traffic, bar Googlebot via robots.txt. Give Bing and the smaller search engines an exclusive, if they are smart enough to take it. If Google is not sending traffic you are not out anything. I say this as someone who has just launched a web directory. I don’t know how Google treats web directories anymore and I guess I will find out. But if after a year or two, I’m not getting any traffic or appear to be penalized by Google, I have no problem barring Googlebot from the site.
This was also posted to /en/indieweb.