I just read an article from SitePro News called “Search Engine Optimization For Universal Search – Back to Square One?” and have some comments to make.
I have noticed a huge trend for Google to move duplicate syndications of articles into their supplemental index at the blink of an eye. This cannot be good for the article directories because, like my own at Moxie Drive Expressions it causes a dramatic decrease in AdSense income and exposure of the article across the internet. My question to Google is, when you go to buy a book or decide it is time to go to a book store to peruse the volumes, do you always go to the same bookstore? The answer to that is no. We probably go to the one that is the closest. If I as an author have published a book, I would like that my readers could find my book in whatever bookstore my reader chooses and I would like it to show up on every shelf in every bookstore in the world scraping google.
Google is not thinking this way. They want one “original” copy, from one article directory showing up in their search engine, and the rest of us with a syndicated copy get thrown in the “Google Dungeon”. This makes room for all of the other “videos, blogs, images, news articles, and other media available online”.
Apparently Google does not see that the article directories still have value with respect to content on the web. At least someone thinks so as scrapers still abound and many seem to be dependent on AdSense as a source of income. The article directory exists for that reason, to make money from Adsense, as well as provide an author’s exposure for their articles. I believe that Google has mistakenly included article directories in the category of MFA web pages (made for Adsense), and that is what has caused the precipitous fall into the supplemental index for all article directories and more.
Matt Cutts says that the solution to this problem is quality content (no duplicates) and back linking. First of all, there is no such thing as an original unless the author submits an article to one and only one article directory. To do this would mean much less “direct” traffic, that is non-search engine related and coming directly from the article directory in this case. This was the original method of getting traffic on the internet before the advent of the search engines. Second, even the author does not have control over which copy of a syndicated article gets chosen by Google to be the “original”. It seems to be random. Go ahead, submit the same article, with the same author’s box, to half a dozen article directories and see if you can guess which one Google doesn’t throw into the supplemental index. Third, How do you get back-links for the thousands of articles submitted to an article directory? Socializing them is a great risk because of what is called “source hopping”. You may not be socializing the “original” copy of the article and subsequently pissing the author off. This will get you banned from the social sites. The only option is to socialize only your own personal content.
As marketers, what can we do? I would say change, but how when it seems unclear what Google is up to? Then we wait and grit our teeth as we watch our content drop into the supplemental index, our Google PR disappear, and our traffic statistics go the way of the dinosaur.
I have a forum friend who has experienced an 85% reduction in AdSense income since this started happening, I say in January 2007. He was making a few thousand a month. This mentor suggests Web 2.0 tactics to boost your readership and increase your visitors for your original content. Swapping original blog posts and articles would also be a great plan.
If Google does not want to cooperate in helping us make money on the internet, and help them make money through their AdWords program, maybe it is time to change tactics. I can’t help but think that they are shooting themselves in the foot. Time to optimize for Yahoo, and MSN.