Is Google Doomed to Become the Search Engine Scrapheap?

The way in which search engines are displaying organic search listings has altered a lot in the last year or so. Google, being the most popular engine is probably top of the list for changing its own format from one of genuine results to a large proportion of paid ads.

Most people of course don’t notice, but with most searches that are likely to have some commercial value (shopping searches, product reviews etc), what used to be a nice clean page with 10 results containing websites that in most cases gave some value to the searcher is now a page full of text advertisements with the organic listings pushed further down the page.

Now before I continue, I should point out that I’m talking about the kind of search results that have commercial value. Information searches that don’t make any money for anyone are generally not included in the focus of this article. Those kind of searches still provide good information and are a valuable research tool. Not knocking that side of search. Only the commercial side of things.

Big Brand Domination

Another big change that again, most people don’t notice is that big brands are dominating the organic listings where smaller, independent sites once provided their own opinions, advice and reviews. You only have to type in a search for a product like a small kitchen appliance, popular toy or some beauty products and you’re going to find under the ads that Amazon is probably the top result, closely followed by the likes of ebay, Sears, WalMart and other big name stores.

On first refection, you might think that’s fine. Let’s face it, if you want to buy something online, chances are Amazon will have it at probably the best price and they will ship it free to most locations now. Why bother with any or the other stores even, let alone all those little independent review sites?

In fact, why bother even wasting a click and a short wait for your browser to load up Google’s annoying paid ads? Just keep Amazon in your bookmarks or favourites and go straight there. Cut out the middleman with all its blatant ads and go straight to the place you want to go to anyway!

By making sure that Amazon ranks top for most product searches, Google has really taken a path that will dig its own grave and bury it.

Google Decided to Wage War on SEO

And in the process, while it was stamping out all the little “work at home mom” sites and destroying the incomes of thousands of ordinary people, it decided to replace their sites at the top of the first page of the search results with Amazon plus a bunch of other big brand names. Oh great, take the food out of the mouths of the little guy and give it to the already uber-rich fat cats. How popular!

Sour grapes? Yeah, of course. A lot of my sites suffered the same fate and I lost some of my online income. I look at these changes from the perspective of a one-man business that once worked very well and now doesn’t. I never used spamming tactics or automation like some did. My content on the web is all original, researched and useful. I built sites that I am proud to show off to anyone who wants to see them. Just what Google said it wanted.

Say What You Mean?

But Google doesn’t really want that at all. Google doesn’t care how much work and effort you put into building a great site with well researched, original and entertaining content. If you want to rank for any term that you can potentially make money from, Google does NOT want your site to rank for it.

Why?

Because you are making money from that search term and Google is not.

Every time a potential customer clicks one of my affiliate banners (by way of thanking me for providing a useful, informative and factual review of a product I hasten to ad), the commission goes to me and not to Google. Google hates that. They want it all. They want EVERY sale, click and cent that is spent online to go into their bank account and NOT into those of the little guy.

Don’t believe me? Like I care.

What Makes Google Tick?

Think about what drives Google. It’s more than just a search index. It’s a multi-billion dollar company that answers to its greedy shareholders who are constantly baying for more, more, more! And in order to give them more, Google has to grab income from every possible source to do it. Hence the proliferation of Google Ads splattered all over their results pages. Hence the all-out war on SEOs who Google sees as taking money out of its pockets.

But maybe this very strategy will be its downfall.

You see, people are not stupid. You can fool some of the people some of the time… and you can probably fool most of the people most of the time. You know where that’s leading. People may become ad-blind after a while, but it’s hearing it from someone I know who doesn’t have a clue about search engines, SEO or search strategies that brought it home to me.

Real People Think Like Real People

She looks at Google to search for a new book or a new toy or whatever. After a while she stops bothering to look at Google. That’s because she’s clicked the ads enough times, not realising they were ads and been sent off to sites that she didn’t want to be sent off to. So now she doesn’t bother even opening Google in her browser.

Nope. She goes straight to Amazon and searches there. Because she knows that Amazon’s search feature will bring up exactly what she wants to see!

Not a bunch of other stores and a crapload of ads that will send her to where she doesn’t want to go.

She is not alone. Lots of people I know are bypassing Google to search Amazon for what they are looking to buy online. It’s sensible, saves a little time and gets them directly to where they want to be. Looking at the product sales page where they can see the price they will pay, product info and they can even read other customer reviews. All on the same page. No being screwed around by greedy Google ads. No wasting time searching Google only to find Amazon is the top result anyway.

Could Google’s own relentless drive for more profit and its destruction of those independent review sites that actually provided people with something they DID want – independent reviews of a product that does NOT come from the store selling it – be the engineer of its own downfall?

I think it just might.

I probably left a lot of key points out of this article, but I didn’t plan on sitting here all day to write an in-dept finger wagging at Google. I just wanted to add my own opinion to the multitude of others and point out that a lot of the little sites that Matt Cutts and his Spam Team squashed actually served a valid purpose.

Independent reviews of a product, when properly done are a valuable resource for buyers not wanting to get possibly biased reviews from the manufacturer or seller’s own site. Sure we make some commission for adding our own affiliate links to the seller’s site. But that’s no different from a big newspaper earning money for writing an editorial about a new product and displaying an ad on the page. Companies pay for promotion and it makes them more sales. It’s a money-go-round that works.

Everybody wins. The product seller makes a sale. The affiliate makes a commission for making that sale happen. The buyer gets the product they wanted after reading a review that gave it to them straight, so they are happy with their purchase.

And it worked very well online too until Google decided to get greedy and suppress it. Bad Google.

Is Wizzley Doomed to Join HubPages on the Search Engine Scrapheap?

Welcome to another new year and a rare update to my personal space on the Interwebs in this here blog with my real name on it. Time to put back on my Internet Marketer’s hat for a wild stab at yet another potential money making idea that is soon to be en expired money making flop. I’m talking about the new Hubpages clone, Wizzley.

I’m hearing a lot of good things about Wizzley and how it seems to have taken over from where Hubpages have left a gaping hole in the SERPs thanks to being unceremoniously shat upon by the Google machine that doesn’t much care for “content farms”. To a point, I actually agree with Google that such pages should not be cluttering up the top pages of their search results especially when the bulk of them are written by people like, well, me who may or may not know very much about the Hub page I created.

In my own defence, I actually did do a lot of research when compiling each Hub page, so the information on them was sound and factual. But what were they, really? How useful were they to people searching out information on a particular topic? In truth, they were just a collection of unrelated pages on a bunch of different topics that I discovered I could make money from by either cashing in on Adsense or grabbing some affiliate commissions from Amazon.

There were and still are many good writers that are still putting out sterling Hubs for no monetary gain whatsoever, but instead are using it as a platform to voice their opinions or show off their skills as writers. It has a great social side and should attract better recognition for that, but unfortunately Internet Marketers out to grab a fast buck did a lot of damage by pumping out pages and pages of little better than drivel to cash in on.

But that is the past. Hubpages were stomped on by Google for being a content farm and despite some panic-fuelled measures by the management of Hubpages to get back into Google’s good graces, the site has lost its authority and you cannot expect Hubs to rank as easily as they used to do.

So that brings us to the alternatives for people on a budget that maybe can’t afford to create and host their own websites, but want to make some money by putting out pages of content using some keyword research in the hope of hitting a lucrative vein of gold. The current buzz name is Wizzley.

Wizzley is another content farm similar to Hubpages. Whatever anyone might say to disagree and paint the site in a totally different light, you can be sure that as far as Google are concerned, its another medium for Internet Marketers to write pages of keyword researched, optimised, barely better than drivel content to make money with. Its a content farm and what does Google think of content farms?

You know the answer to that.

But there are plenty of “expert” marketers out there that think this is something new, different, better than Hubpages or Squidoo or any of the other many free repositories of people’s manic keyword optimised effluence. Those experts believe Wizzley will weather the storm and not be affected by algo changes or Panda updates or whatever search index altering shenanigans Google decide to implement next. People are writing pages of content for Wizzley and yes, some of those avid advocates of “keyword research” are even making some money from it. How long that will last for is anybody’s guess.

It’s my guess that it won’t be very long. Especially as some of the, erm, shall I say prominent or high profile Internet Marketers who are extolling the virtues of this latest money sharing dumping ground for keyword optimized content are being rather vocal about it. I wonder who might be listening other than the hoards of newbies (and some seasoned marketers at that) looking for a way to make some easy Internet bucks? Mmm.

So is Wizzley really doomed to join HubPages on the search engine scrapheap?

Put it this way. If I were the guy at Google responsible for taking a dump on Hubpages and I was hearing all these good things about Wizzley and how people who made all that money with Hubs are now switching to Wizzley to make great money, wanna know what I would do?

I think you know what that would be… 😉

Ouch!

Terry Didcott

Positive Doing

let’s stay positive here and move with this theme I started to look at how thinking in a positive way can equate into many improvements in a person’s life. It might seem like all this positive attitude stuff is more like a daydreamer’s wonted custom to sit in an easy chair and dream of all the things they want without any of them actually materializing, there is more to it. Just thinking is not enough, obviously, because without action nothing of any consequence will happen. So this post is about the next stage of using a positive mental attitude to your advantage by turning thoughts into action. In other words, if you want something, you’re going to have to DO something to get it.

Positive Action

In my last post on positive thinking, I looked at how getting rid of as many negative influences as possible can really help to turn your life around and allow you to really make big improvements in the way things are for you. Well, wanting or desiring something is the first step in acquiring it, but taking the appropriate action in order to create the right situation to receive it is the next.

I want to take a leaf out of author Raymond Holliwell’s teachings here and say that to desire a thing without expecting to get it is just idle wishing or daydreaming. You’ll just waste a lot of mental energy in thinking positive thoughts about what you want without doing anything to bring it into form. But when you expect a thing to happen, then circumstances seem to swing into action to make it a reality. Here’s an example of working this theory backwards.

Have you ever heard people who have just suffered a misfortune to utter the words, “its just as I expected” or “I knew that would happen” or “I expected that”? When you expect a bad thing to happen, doesn’t just come right up and happen? That’s that Law of Attraction working to your detriment. Do you want to know why it works so well when you attract something you really don’t want, yet when you try to wish for something you do want, it rarely ever comes to you?

Its all about the emotive force behind the desire-expectation sent out mentally into the ether. When there’s something you really don’t want, you put a lot of emotion behind it. How about this scenario to illustrate this power.

You’re late for an appointment and you’re driving down the road approaching a set of traffic lights. You really don’t want them to turn red and there’s a lot of frustration energy going behind that thought because you are expecting the light to change to red even though you really don’t want it to. Guess what happens? It turns red!

That happens a lot in everyone’s lives. Me too. More times than I can count. But not so much these days. Why? I learned to slow down my pace and to stop thinking about things I do not want, while focusing on the things I do want.

When “The Secret” first arrived and I saw the movie and read the book, I was fascinated by David Schirmer’s account of how he lined up parking spaces. Here in Fuengirola, especially during the tourist season, it can get almost impossible to find a parking space in the centre of town. I couldn’t wait to give that a shot and was amazed at that more often than not, a parking space would be available near to where I wanted to be! The damn trick works!

It has worked on many aspects of my life ever since, although there is still a very long way to go. I still catch myself getting frustrated at the odd situation that is out of my control, like maybe hitting a traffic jam where there shouldn’t be one. The initial anger wells up like it always used to, but now I can pull myself up and put a halt to it. Its a cool trick and one that works very well. I simply take control of my thoughts and say to myself “NEXT!” I might have to do it two or three times until a happier thought squeezes the anger out, but out it goes and I relax.

If I’m stuck in traffic (let’s face it, a traffic jam down here ion the Costa del Sol is a mere line of a few cars compared to the humdingers I used to have to suffer on the M25 around London, or worse, in town itself) I just take a few deep breaths and start thinking about how nice it is to be able to take a short break from driving and take a look out the windows to admire the scenery. We have some damn fine scenery down here! That’s usually soon followed by a sudden freeing up of the traffic and I’m on my way again. Calmer and more relaxed than most of the other drivers stuck there!

That technique, and using my thoughts to think about the things I do want and avoiding thinking about the things I do not want are all positive action. Its all mental, but its still action of sorts, because it takes effort to do it and has measurable results.

Positive Physical Action

With many situations in life, taking positive mental action to bring about an internal change that is conducive to a more healthy, calmer and more stress-free life is a great breakthrough in working towards a better way of life. But there are situations that also require some form of physical action to bring certain things into physical form. Take earning money as one example that will be on most people’s minds right now.

You can rock in your chair all day and dream about winning the lottery and all your problems will be solved, but come on! Is it really going to happen? The chances are astronomical! Why put all your mental energy into something like that, when you can use it much more constructively to make yourself enough money so that you have no more financial worries? That would be a little like winning a smaller but still substantial lottery, wouldn’t it?

Well, this can happen and I know for a fact, because I’m living proof it works. When I first read “The Secret”, I was broke. Working as a musician in a gigging band didn’t exactly bring me in a fortune and while it was enough to feed me, it didn’t stretch to much more besides that. By this time, I had moved in with my partner on the coast and left the mountain farm to be used as an occasional retreat. That meant I needed to have some income to help pay the bills and living expenses. I applied for a bunch of really crap jobs and did some things I would never have done in other circumstances.

Like telesales, selling vacation plans which are frowned upon by many as being little better than timeshare. I worked as a removal guy for a haulage company and was lucky not to put my back out permanently on one occasion. I worked as a gardener and then as a builder’s labourer. I worked as a house painter and often found myself up on scaffold four storeys up in a strong wind. Not for the faint hearted! The only decent job I ever did (that paid a decent wage too) was as a short spell as an IT consultant for a small vacation company. That’s where I leaned a lot about the modern way of building websites, a little php and mysql programming and linux hosting. I found out later that I only got the job because the boss thought I was very confident and very pushy! In fact, I was going through a “positive phase” and was a little out of character. But it didn’t last and I believe one of the reasons it didn’t last is because my confidence waned and I became less positive and even more negative.

That was all before I got hold of “The Secret” and started to see where I had been going wrong all those years. And I mean all my life up to that point! It had all been driven by negativity and a thought process that was toxic and self destructive. Like most people!

So back to the physical doing bit.

I knew I had to break out of the place where I was taking crap jobs just to make money to help pay bills. But changing life habits, especially mental ones is bloody hard! It was and still is hard, although now I’m a lot better at it. It started to happen after I decided to have a go at writing a book. I had tried this a few times before and never managed to get past the first few chapters before giving up. This time I had some money in the bank left over from that IT job so I was good for a few months and so I wanted to try this. I also started looking at the Internet to see if there were ways to make money online.

I got several chapters written but again, I gave up! I found some ideas online and started to pursue them. But nothing seemed to be much use and there were (and still are) a lot of scammers out there who will take your money and deliver little more than thin air. I was several months and not much in the way of productivity before I read “The Secret” and started to put some of the ideas into practice. It wasn’t long before I suddenly found ways of making decent money by writing paid posts on blogs. It was 2007 and it had become very fashionable for SEO’s to be buying links for their client’s websites. It was a time of very good money and it enabled me to buy some domains and set up some websites for myself.

I was much more positive in my thoughts and really believed that there was a way to sustain this online income. The way came from an unlikely source. Don’t they always?

I was contacted by one of the companies that were brokering links who were looking for content writers to write a lot of reviews on online casinos. I sent in an example of my writing and even though there were probably hundreds of applicants, I got the gig. It was about this time that Google were stomping on people writing those paid links blog posts anyway, so as that door closed, the online casino door opened.

I wrote a huge number of articles for the company’s affiliate website and that led on to writing for another branch of the same company that runs an online ecommerce program that is very successful. I don’t think its appropriate to name names here, suffice it to say the guys are in Australia and I say a silent “thank you” to them every day. That’s not just for the long term writing gig they gave me, but the opportunity that income gave me to branch out into learning and practicing SEO with my own ever growing stable of websites.

Other unusual things have happened along my own online journey to self sufficiency. Meeting up with certain people online has been an incredible part of it as each has been instrumental in getting me to think of things or change my mind on ideas for better ones that have resulted in more income for me. I give something back by running my forum at thehonestway.com for free and helping anyone who wants to learn how to do what I do. That forum has attracted a great group of people, some more knowledgeable than me in certain areas and all coming together to create a mix of ideas and solutions that is pretty explosive.

This has all happened because, instead of sitting on my arse bemoaning my lot, I got up off that arse (well, actually I sat down on that arse at my computer, but you know what I mean!) and took some risks, worked damned hard to learn and then put into practice what I learned and for the last few years I have made a decent enough income online to not have to worry about anything of a financial nature.

This stuff works and it works for anyone willing to make it work for them. It doesn’t stop with “The Secret” but that’s where it just happened to start for me. There’s a ton of information on this idea of positive thinking and self improvement out there and I’m busily studying this not only because I know it works but because I want to make sure it sticks in my mind and I never forget any of it. I have two books that right now I’m reading and re-reading.

One is Raymond Holliwell’s “Working With the Law” and the other is Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich.”

These books are not so much about making money (although its a part of it) but about personal growth. I learned about them through Bob Proctor’s teachings and in fact I have some audio files of Bob and Mary Morrissey that I spend a half hour listening to every day. They are so inspirational and the information in there and those two books combined is just mind blowingly powerful. Not just because its fascinating stuff, but because I know it works!

So if you’re stuck in a rut, be it a physical one or a mental one (hint: physical ruts are caused by mental ruts) then you might want to check out those authors or get hold of Bob Proctor’s stuff. You might dismiss it as bunk, but if you set aside your critical mind and allow yourself to try and stop questioning it all and just accept it for what it is, your life can change for the better too. In fact, I’m going to be monumentally cheeky here and actually give you a live link to where you can buy one of those books online:

Think and Grow Rich

What have you got to lose? “NEXT!” That’s negative. Better: “What have I got to gain?”

Written by: Terry Didcott