Internet Search Engines are by far the most popular method of researching information. Unfortunately, discovering in depth information is becoming harder. Information produced by experts is becoming convoluted (in the Search Engine results) with opinion based blog postings. The reason this is occurring is that search engines reward websites that produce volumes of content around any given topic. Companies and Websites must churn out information (regardless of quality) to rank well for their industry terms. This reward system hurts internet users (consumers of information) and weakens the search engine results in general.
Blog Accuracy, Uniqueness, Sensibility or lack thereof
Blogging is a great concept, but the reward of higher rankings regardless of a post’s accuracy, efficacy, uniqueness, or sensibility runs counter to the intent of the search. In truth it’s all about where the key words and phrases appear … and how often. Google, Yahoo and Bing all try to uncover fresh information in a search, but they can’t tell if it’s primarily information or just the same information worded in a slightly different (or less useful) way. There are even automated tools that simply mix up the words and sentences of an article so that they can be reposted and appear like new content, thus improving the sites rankings … “Content Regurgitation”.
Example: Recently I decided to try to improve the search engine ranking for my software development company. I probably reviewed 200 different websites to discover the best methods (and I still might not have the answers). This information could have been consolidated into 10 postings. Here are some generalized findings, based on my research:
- There is a tremendous amount of repetitive content within websites and blogs, making it more difficult to find detailed useful information
- Some information is inaccurate or out of date
- Some sites give no information at all. They just throw around keywords to improve their own SEO, without ever offering solid information.
- Everyone feels they are true experts. However, most SEO authors do not appear at the top of their search rankings. (Crazy, right?)
- There is no easy way to validate the accuracy of information.
- The most useful content might be in position #732.
In many cases the layman’s writings often appear higher in the rankings than that of the experts. The qualifications of the author and/or the real value of the information presented have nothing to do with the rankings found in search engines.
Quality of Information on the internet is slowly deteriorating
My thinking is that the practice of rewarding the sheer “volume of content” rather than the “quality of content” is flawed. Content should be evaluated based on its informational merit and the writer’s credentials … and somehow be quantified within Search Engine Results so a level of applicability can be determined. It should in all cases be categorically separated from social and/or opinion pieces. “Quality of information” should be rewarded with improved rankings, but only when it is actually helpful and authoritative (rather than the current word/phrase search parameters).
Concepts like voting on blog postings are currently being utilized within individual sites. But a universal system needs to be established that will apply equally to all indexed websites. Search engines need real data analysis capabilities rather than simple word search tools.
The best method is clear. Information that satisfies user interest should rise to the top. Consumers need real information … not just “Digital Graffiti”.