Quality Over Quantity

05Sep11

Last spring, Google made the famous (or infamous) change to its search algorithm that created a dramatic shift in website hits. Some sites that had worked hard to make their sites easily searchable by creating relative content and increasing the number of site hits, have seen their traffic suddenly diminish, while others that are able to keep viewers on their page the longest have skyrocketed to the top of the Google search.  

Google’s goal is to bring up fewer low quality sites and focus on where viewers are spending the most time on average.  To most of us this is great – we find what we are looking for faster, and figure these sites are the most credible.  But to businesses that have seen their site  hits plummet in a matter of days (and in turn negatively affecting their income), this is a disaster. 

So is this a good thing for internet search, or just another Google change for the sake of change?  People today are expected to always be connected and up to date, and with all of the information floating around out there, who has time to sift through it all to decide what is credible and what is junk?  Therefore, we trust the judgement of others before we trust the information itself.  Google has created a way for the whole internet community to become their own gatekeeper of good information, and let’s us decide. 

Customer opinion something businesses and website owners are going to have to get used to.  As mentioned in “Media Work,” by Mark Deuze, successful media companies are “bringing people together to trade, communicate, interact, and exchange knowledge, information, goods, and services (Media Work, p. 35).  Sites such as Amazon, eBay, and Wikipedia allow website users to check customer’s ratings (eBay and Amazon) and check out who has done edits in information (Wikipedia).  Google has caught on to people’s desire to have say in what information is conveyed.  They want quality, credibility, and the ability to communicate back with the company.

Google’s approach to internet search has given businesses an ultimatum: give your customers quality, and do what you can to keep them on your site longer, or move on down to the (God forbid) 2nd or 3rd page.

By Stephanie Smith

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