Your site just did the Google Dance — and your partner seems to have stepped on your foot. Today the giant information engine company downgraded several blogs with high PageRanks (PR) – the jury is out on why those sites were demoted. Among them ProBlogger, who has upward of 34,000 RSS subscribers, Copyblogger who has upward of 26,000 RSS subscribers – two among my favorite sources of good content written intelligently.
As Andy Beard wrote in his post on Digg favorites slapped by Google, this might be related to blog network interlinking. A civil discussion ensued in the comments of all those posts, dozens and dozens of them. Or does this mean that Google no longer values blogs as highly as it once did and is scaling back its authority accordingly?
If you remember, about a year ago Google divorced blogs from other news sites in its search results. Does this represent a continuation of that process?
In its corporate information page, Google characterizes its utility and ease of use as two of the reasons that have made it one of the world’s best-known brands almost entirely through word of mouth from satisfied users.
Maybe your PR7 site is now a PR4. It remains to be seen exactly why these sites were demoted or how people will now view the authority of toolbar PageRank. But the question begs to be asked: what of it? For that matter, how important to you is Google, really?
As a business, Google generates revenue by providing advertisers with the opportunity to deliver measurable, cost-effective online advertising that is relevant to the information displayed on any given page. This makes the advertising useful to you as well as to the advertiser placing it. We believe you should know when someone has paid to put a message in front of you, so we always distinguish ads from the search results or other content on a page. We don’t sell placement in the search results themselves, or allow people to pay for a higher ranking there.
Google is a machine – a very smart machine, but a machine nonetheless. We are not machines. In practice, Google has been teaching bloggers to think like machines, not people. Most bloggers have no need for Google insofar as traffic goes. Yes, Google search results will bring some traffic to the PR0-PR6 sites, which make up the vast majority of the blogosphere. Whether this traffic is of value to the blogger is another question altogether.
Pro blogs and conventional commercial sites do need Google. Numbers matter in the sale of advertising and in click revenues. These sorts of sites also tend to post frequently on a wide variety of topics, which makes them attractive to Google’s spiders. Consider, however, a hypothetical PR4 or PR5 blog. We’ll say it’s about marketing and social networking. How much traffic will Google really bring them — 200 visitors a day? Probably less.
Let’s go with 200 Google visitors a day, though I think most bloggers would be delighted with this number. Of this 200 visitors, 30-40% will bounce off the site immediately, not finding what it is they are looking for. Up to 50% the remaining 130 or so visitors will look at one page and leave forever. Of the 70 or so who are sufficiently engaged to read more than one page, perhaps 2% will actually comment or subscribe a blog’s RSS feed, which is the primary goal of most non-pro bloggers. Thank you, Google, for 1.4 quality visitors per day.
Are you writing for Google or for your readers? If your business plan relies or depends solely on other companies and people for your success, you need to rethink it. You may not understand why they do what they do in their model, but I surely hope you decide why you do what you do in yours.
Valeria Maltoni • Conversation Agent • Philadelphia, PA • www.conversationagent.com