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Gadgetry and IT

Google does not want structured points of reference on the web

I just had a rant on Webmasterworld. Someone asked if it was a good idea to publish press releases – would Google index them? Don’t get me started. OK, do get me started:

As someone whose sites contain tens of thousands of press releases, painstakingly compiled over seven years, who then found some of the sites unceremoniously dumped from Google this summer, for a while at least, I’d say …there’s no point any more.

Never mind that all of the press releases we’d brought together and categorised in one place had become an essential industry resource. Never mind that we’d hired some of the best-known editors in our sectors to put these resources together. Google decided, in its infinite wisdom, that because we just published the unvarnished facts (i.e the original press releases, modestly edited into house style), we weren’t deserving of a place in its index any longer.

Had we added inane comments all over them, we would have met with Google’s approval, because we’d be creating original content. But we thought serious business professionals just wanted the facts.

What you have to remember is that Google does not want structured points of reference on the web. These serve to undermine the importance of a search engine. What Google wants is to encourage pages to be published in the most unstructured manner possible, so that only search engine technology can be used to find content.

To return to the original question, you can indeed re-publish news stories, but even if you’re bringing the press releases together with the aim of creating a genuinely useful resource, you will not get any help from Google, as what you’re doing undermines its aim to control the web. Write any old stuff, as long as it’s so-called original content.

One reply on “Google does not want structured points of reference on the web”

Be prepared to be very annoyed when you look at this page: http://www.google.com/archivesearch?q=worldwide+semiconductor+sales&as_ldate=2005&as_hdate=2005&scoring=t&sa=X&oi=archive&ct=title

I banged in a random search to Google and found it is now doing archived news searches, but mainly pointing to paysites. Yes, you can pay Goliath $10 for the privilege of reading an old SIA press release distributed gratis by BusinessWire.

When I first saw your post, I thought you’d simply been hit by the anti-splogger algorithms. I’m now beginning to wonder whether Google is gearing up to skew its database in favour of certain favoured sites for certain types of business-oriented searching. I can’t see that the company is getting a cut off the analysts right now, but maybe that will be the deal sometime down the line if they see it working.

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