Strange statement to make but I’ve seen a few trends so thought I would report on it.
Here’s a great article to start “Why Google won’t survive Facebook”
I know several top teir IM gurus that have in the last couple years sold all their SEO sites, given up on Adsense, and some are making $6k-10K/day without google and even without facebook.
Why? because SEO is dying and things are moving over to the social graph.
A social graph is fancy way of saying, a place where people know and like each other hang out. People have relationships to other people, and other things (interests, products), this can be described by a system of nodes and links, like:
or better yet
If you imagine this web, tugging on one ripples through the rest. Do it correctly the social graph carries the message farther.
The trends on why this has come to be is interesting, and I don’t think it’s going away. Which is important if your business is based off the internet.
Google is screwed
As the internet became the new gold mine and search the road to riches, everybody is trying to game it. I know a few in the SEO game, people with 10K+ sites they run for the purpose of backlinking, and even non-IM upto 300 primary sites to target different terms, with content factories, outputting heavily spun content. Meaning these single people have the same pull online of a small city.
The game of “king of the hill of backlinks” will never end, as there is always someone hungrier, and a way to automate better . Every year the tools get more sophisticated, so we are seeing an arms race, between google, and people marketers using SEO as well as marketers between themselves.
It can’t easily be fixed, as the substrate of the internet technology that was never meant for this sort of problem.
The SCALE of this gamed content is a beyond a tsunami. As well there is another tsunami of just more normal people getting connected to the net and capturing their thoughts, via text,photos, video, positions 24/7…like my former roomate who would continue to talk even if noone was listening, without ever reaching a point, I shudder to think what would happen if she ever gets a smarthphone.
To make matters “worse” with syndication tools everybody has a megaphone and their voice echos on many different sites, that has to be sorted out by search engines.
To make matters worse both tsunami’s are growing exponentially. Google can’t keep up.
Also Google is a for profit business.
Google wants quality results else they lose you the reader and the advertiser, but that is both expensive and intractable, so they either cut ends or don’t do it.
For awhile they had human reviewers cultivate what’s relevant (thus the many google slaps), but they can’t scale those people as fast as the content is coming in. As far as I know they’ve let most of them go as they are too expensive, and there is simply too much content, and even the humans could be gamed (cloaking or just posting at “off” hours).
To cut down on the noise…they started generating their own content, and guess who they favor in the search engines?
To increase profits and sidestep the game, they show special search results at the top…with their affiliate links. Which they said they wouldn’t do, but did they have a choice?
Both indexing pages (trying to understand the contents), rank against all the other pages, for all the other terms, and finding the right one during search are very expensive operations. While I have no doubt that they have some super genius people with some algorithm to stop spam, cure cancer etc, they can’t afford to actually run these. As it is google has to negotiate with cities to get enough power for the massive data centers, and watch carefully how much power + heat these algorithms run so they don’t burn up.
This is why social graphs are winning, they are cheaper and more explicit to what users actually want…to find friends, friends of friends and what their friends like. If we are introduced to a mystery person, and find they are good friends with 2 pigs and 1 bad wolf, we have a good idea of what the mystery person might be into.
It’s cheaper, much of the overhead on indexing, and search goes away, as these relationships are already described by the graph data rather than having to be discovered in the noise.
As the graph represents real people (typically) with real reputations/identities to protect, it’s less likely to change and be gamed.
The “place where people hang” out is where people live. People don’t hang out at grocery stores, it’s not fun. I use google but I don’t have a relationship with it like my friends.
Is your business prepared for a world without google?
This is not to say that google isn’t massive and a viable business, and this change will happen tomorrow. Still, if you are in this for the long term. Are you prepared for a business without google?