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Search engines and online publishers don’t have to run an arms race

Google’s attitude and posture toward web publishers is not exactly friendly. Google’s default position seems to be that online publishers are out to game the system so as to get gobs of free yummy traffic from Google. As a result, it rolls out update after update all in the pursuit of that very elusive, highly subjective beast: ‘quality content.’ To make matters worse, Google seems to operate with an assumption that web publishers shouldn’t make money or, at the very least, the publishers shouldn’t recoup their content investments too quickly. Considering this hostility, it isn’t surprising why Google is locked in a search engine version of that classic carnival game ‘Whack a mole.’ As soon as Google cracks down on certain practices, new practices pop up and shady or low quality sites still manage to rank well in Google’s index. Google wisens up and cracks down only to realize that another practice got pioneered. Considering the huge amount of money involved, this isn’t surprising at all. As long as there is an incentive involved, people will continue to game the system and cut corners.

There is so much money to be made from gaming search results that Google spammers have resorted to all sorts of sophisticated software, outsourcing, and other resources to game Google. As a result, Google’s search results are always under assault from low-quality sites trying to claw their way up. Google’s attitude has produced an adversarial situation where web publishers aren’t feeling trusted and Google is feeling besieged. I am sure Google’s staff is smart enough to figure out that this ‘relationship’ cannot be maintained for the long haul. I am also confident that they are clever enough to realize that there is a solution-make web publishers Google’s partners instead of its enemies.

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