Is Google Elitist?

First thing to note: I’m still a Google Fan.

But to place anywhere in the SERPS for anything remotely competitive, you need masses of inbound links. Some webmasters choose to build their own linking networks (now you have costs for domains, hosting, scripts, etc.). And some prefer to buy text links.

The most links in wins.

Who said Google’s organic search results are free? πŸ˜†

Link exchanges cost zip, zero, nada, but how effective are they? You need to spend a lot of hours building up enough links to make a difference. Then you have to monitor your exchanges to ensure the other webbie doesn’t pull them, monitor the links to ensure they aren’t scripted or blocked by java script or blocked in the robots text, monitor the sites you exchange with to ensure they don’t sneak a flip to porn or a link farm, or or or …

On page SEO can help, but it’s not necessary. Take a look at the now infamous SERPS for miserable failure:

Miserable Failure

Can you find ‘miserable failure’ optimized on page for the top 3 results? Anywhere? It’s all done through the power of IBLs.

So who’s cashing in on Google’s SERPS?

Those who have established (and pay for) large linking networks
Those who have established (and pay for) text ad placements

What does this mean for the average webbie?

You’re left out unless you play (and pay). No matter how useful or beneficial or better your site may be.

I think a combination of linking power and pagerank (and its potential dilution) has seriously affected how, if and when a webmaster will link to another website. Some webmasters simply won’t – unless there’s something in it for them (a fee, a link exchange, barter, etc.). Or if they do wish to share a great resource for their visitors, some will cloak the link first (to prevent PR dilution), this gives no SEO benefit to the site being linked to. It’s no longer a simple matter to link to another website. First you have to make sure the site isn’t deemed a ‘bad neighborhood’, banned or penalized by Google. And goooood luck trying to get a free, no strings attached one-way link from a PR 6 or higher site.

You’ll still hear comments of: “Build your pages for visitors, not for engines and you’ll do well”. That’s simply not possible for any monetized term or competitive niche because of the power of the IBL.

Truthfully, for my commercial sites *why would I* link to other sites so I lose my visitors (and potential buyers)? If I’m sending my visitors anywhere, it will be to pages that I can earn a commission off of. And I certainly can’t expect another webmaster to link to my commercial site for the same reason. And herein lies the problem – if Google won’t rank your site unless you have numerous IBLs, and no one’s linking to each other because of potential monetary loss, PR dilution, etc. – who can show up in the SERPS?

Those who have established (and pay for) large linking networks
Those who have established (and pay for) text ad placements

Somehow I don’t think this link hoarding or position buying is what Google envisioned when they first launched. Or maybe I’m too naive. Sometimes when I’m surprised by finding a really *great* site through word of mouth or by skimming link partner pages, I do a search for it in Google and see that it’s just flat out nowhere.

Today it’s a sad reality: A great, original, fresh 50 page website just can’t compete with a 6,000 page scraped site – unless they buy their inbounds. It’s really too bad.

And I don’t want to talk about the ‘Cheese Pages’ specifically built for Adsense and link schemes that are showing up in the SERPS. You know the garbage I’m talking about. I can’t believe we’re reduced to this mess.

A brighter note: Yahoo’s new results boosted me to position #3 for one of my aff sites. I seem to be top 20 at least for most of my websites and their search terms. MSN is great to me as well.

Yahoo!

πŸ˜†

But I’m still nowhere in Google – for everything. I’ve decided to move on from Google. I don’t have the resources or the connections to build link networks or pay for IBLs. Google’s just not in the cards for me – and that’s ok. I’ll still pay for adwords campaigns on a limited level because the traffic quality is great, but I’ll focus on optimizing for MSN and Yahoo and also encourage more use of other search engines that can provide some competition to Google.

I’ll watch and keep my eye on the Google happenings, but bottom line is:

Why promote use of an engine that caters to the ‘Paying Elite’ that benefits them and not me? This isn’t bitter – it’s just being smarter.

Note to self: Remember to switch the default search page on the computers at work to MSN.

πŸ˜†

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I've been trying to find my way online for more years than I care to admit.