I don’t mind advertising supported content. But I’m sick of the heaping mounds of garbage that clutter the Internet in an attempt to generate “passive income” on 0.000001% click-throughs of Google AdSense ads.
Today I searched for the answer to a question. The top hit was a useful article written by a subject-matter expert. (Good job, Google.) Many of the following hits were a simplistic rewrite of that article that had been search engine optimized, and were hosted on massive “content” sites cluttered with ads.
You can always tell a Search Engine Optimized page. A Search Engine Optimized page reads like it was written by a six year old. People who write a Search Engine Optimized page are sure to include keyword phrases many times so that search engines can optimize the way they find the Search Engine Optimized page.
I’m not saying anything new. I’ve just reached my personal “I want to scream” point.
I’ll give them some credit; Google has gotten better. Now when I search for “hilton fresno” I’m very likely to see Hilton’s official site ahead of the nine-million “I loaded the yellow pages into a web site” sites.
But it’s still out of control. You can’t trust search anymore. It’s why people are turning to social media for links and visiting trusted blogs and content providers.
(It’s good for my business, too: people buy Bible software because they want a dedicated tool and a curated library. There’s lots of free Bible content online, but our users don’t have time to separate the wheat from chaff.)
Google, Bing, and especially Wolfram Alpha are trying to offer more “answers,” rather than just links. But most of my searching is for another site, not just an answer. I want to be sent to somebody’s page – just a real page, not an ad-farm.
There’s an opportunity here to create a web search engine that punishes results littered with ads. Google can’t do it – they live off those ads. A site that took ads but didn’t have an incentive to send you to other sites full of them could offer a superior experience.
And there’s an opportunity for publishers, too, to take their quality brands and build content sites that take over some of what you’d use the search engine for.