Google's Secret

By Catherine Parker on 2004/09/06

I've got a piece of groundbreaking news about Google that trumps even knowing their algorithm. It's so classified, even GoogleGuy doesn't know. It hasn't even been made known on any other forum or SEO news site, let alone Google's Webmaster Guidelines. So what do I know that everyone else doesn't?

Google is a female.

It's true. All the signs are there.

On the one hand, she's smart and capable. She has a pleasing exterior, and she can multitask (what with all those millions of searches conducted daily). On top of that, she can raise a family too! Just look at all those kids she feeds: AOL Search, Netscape, Lycos, Hotbot...

On the other hand, she tends to get a bit emotional and slightly tempestuous every now and then. After the most recent Google update, webmasters are reeling over Ms Google's latest tantrum. Google is now showing a whole different set of backward links that weren't there previously, and a lot of these backlinks are from sites with a PageRank of lower than 4! Webmasters who have optimised their site using these criteria do not know whether they're coming or going. "What is going on with this latest update?" they scream. "This wasn't in the guidelines! This doesn't make any sense!" they rant. Well neither does the link: command, but she didn't tell you that either.

Google has her reasons. And because she's top of the pile of search engines, she can pretty much do what she likes. She's also allowed to change her mind on a regular basis about the things she likes in a website. First it was the meta description and keyword tags. Then it was the alt tags. Then it was reciprocal links. These days, she's a fan of one way inbound links.

And of course, there's nothing like a woman scorned. All you have do to see evidence of this is to talk to the guys over at a certain high profile search engine marketing company or their poor unsuspecting clients. This company (and its clients) has recently been kicked off Google for using spammy doorway pages to cheat the algorithm and rank highly on results pages. Because of their spam tactics, they've been punished, and I suspect it will take a very long time for them or their clients to get listed again, let alone climb the rankings.

But underneath all the tantrums and apparent irrational behaviour sits a young lady who's yearning for something quite simple. All she's really looking for is a stable, long term relationship with a nice guy. That nice guy of course being a useful, relevant website with loads of scintillating, informative copy and some great inbound links. (This would assume of course that websites are males, but that's another story altogether).

So you want to be liked by your favourite lady? Then don't be a player. Don't use underhanded tactics and try and spam your site to climb the rankings. And don't cheat on her by setting up link farms and running off with every other bad guy on the block. Be nice, and be decent. Give her what she's looking for in a long term relationship - a stable, meaningful site with a lot beneath the surface and someone who's in it for the long haul and for the right reasons. Because when Google smiles on your site, the rest of your target market will smile too! And of course, you'll have one smart girlfriend...