Archive — Search engines
The future of SEO has never been clearer (nor more ignored)
I don’t always pay attention to SEO stuff, but I found this analysis of trends in search interesting. It seems that search engines are sending less and less traffic to websites. It’s interesting to compare this trend to the original Google ethos, which was that wanting to keep people on your own site was crazy. But that’s where Google seem to be now.
Much like how today I’d take 10 email subscribers to my newsletter over 1,000 Facebook “likes,” I think in the future, we’d all much rather have 10 Google searches for our brand name than 1,000 Google searches for phrases on which we’re trying to both rank and compete for a click against Google themselves.
“Google was not a normal place”: Brin, Page, and Mayer on the accidental birth of the company that changed everything
Fascinating article about the early days of Google. One eye-popping section recalls how they originally tried to sell their technology to other search engines, only to be knocked back.
I remember going to this one meeting at Excite, with George Bell, the C.E.O. He selects Excite and he types “Internet,” and then it pops up a page on the Excite side, and pretty much all of the results are in Chinese, and then on the Google side it basically had stuff all about N.S.C.A. Mosaic and a bunch of other pretty reasonable things. George Bell, he’s really upset about this, and it was funny, because he got very defensive. He was like, “We don’t want your search engine. We don’t want to make it easy for people to find stuff, because we want people to stay on our site.” It’s crazy, of course, but back then that was definitely the idea: keep people on your site, don’t let them leave. And I remember driving away afterward, and Larry and I were talking: “Users come to your Web site? To search? And you don’t want to be the best damn search engine there is? That’s insane! That’s a dead company, right?”
How much would I have to pay you to quit Facebook?
Many people may feel like they are addicted to Facebook. But it’s amazing to see just how little people actually value it.
Economists have been carrying out experiments to see how much people would have to be paid to do without certain types of websites. By this measure, social media appears to be the very bottom of the pile — worth almost 60 times less than search.
Their rough-and-ready conclusion is that the typical person would have to be paid about $17,500 a year to do without internet search engines, $8,500 to abandon email and $3,500 to quit using digital maps. Video streaming through sites such as Netflix and YouTube is worth over $1,150 a year; ecommerce $850, and social media just over $300.
If Google wanted to get found in Google
If you ever have to say you’re simple, you’re not. Because if you were truly simple then you wouldn’t have to waste time telling people you are. You’d just be simple. Only those with complexity syndrome feel the need to explain that they are simple. The more you have to write about how to use your product or service, the more you have failed as a designer.
Google memory loss
This is interesting. It appears as though Google is losing older documents (such as 10-year-old blog posts) from its index.
I’m in two minds about this.
On the one hand, Google has long been something other than a mere web search engine, and rightly so. They want to get you relevant answers to your query. And old blog posts will rarely be the answers to many people’s queries.
But on the other hand, someone ought to be indexing the web. And if Google can’t (or don’t want to), who can?
My mental model of the Web is as a permanent, long-lived store of humanity’s intellectual heritage. For this to be useful, it needs to be indexed, just like a library. Google apparently doesn’t share that view.