If you have ever complained because of seeing poor quality web sites listed in Google, be aware that they are hiring actual humans to help improve the SERPs.
For example, you could apply for the currently open position of “Search Quality Evaluator” if you live in Mountain View or want to move there.
“We can’t tell how much this helps Google with its search results. But it is clear that some problems are still better handled by people.”
New York Times
Or, you could apply to become a Google Linguist and help analyze the content that Google indexes. Incidentally, the fact that Google is hiring linguists coupled with the fact that they are currently scanning and indexing thousands of college library books (and have been doing so for some time) should really drive home the importance of writing web site content for humans, not robots. That Google is doing this indicates that they are improving the ability of Googlebot to recognize normal human speech and language patterns. Translation: pages that are written for robots will probably soon be dropping in the SERPs. Write for humans.
You could even apply for one of the many temporary positions such as Google Quality Rater.
It is nice to see Google trying to supplement their Search algorithms with some actual human interaction. Too many times, it seems that quality web sites are penalized for some obscure, unclear violation while spammy, made-for-adsense sites flourish.
I was somewhat surprised at what I read when I came across a post by Scott Buresh on Search Engine Guide. The title is A Slippery Slope: Google Owns a Search Engine Optimization Company.
“What does this mean for those hiring other companies and looking for great search engine placement? We will just have to wait and see.”
Scott’s article elaborates on the fact that when Google purchased DoubleClick earlier this year, as part of that package they also got the SEO company Performics, who was a wholly owned subsidiary of DoubleClick.
I had certainly heard of Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick and the similar purchases made by MSN (they bought Aquantive) and Yahoo! (they bought Right Media and BlueLithium).
Google’s ownership of an SEO company has been discussed on other sites as well. And many of those discussions point out that it is a somewhat odd (some say unethical) partnership, which is the point that Scott was making in his article. It seems questionable to me on two fronts:
- It seems that Google could be accused of playing favorites to Performics and that could give them a definite advantage over other SEO companies. After all, if you wanted to have the best chance of a successful SEO campaign, wouldn’t you hire the SEO company owned by the most popular Search Engine? Even if Google comes out and states that they are in no way helping Performics with any “insider” information, just the fact that Performics is owned by Google would seem to give them some serious clout in comparison to other SEO companies.
- Everyone is interested in ranking on Google because it is the Internet’s most used Search Engine (check out the Flash graphic in the sidebar at the right to see their current market share). However, Google is interested in selling PPC advertising to companies who want to achieve high rankings. They want companies to setup Adwords accounts and then pay to be listed in “Sponsored Links” section of the SERPs. So when a company ranks well in the free organic results, Google does not get paid. Until now, it would appear.
Earlier this year, Scott wrote an article on Medium Blue’s web site which gave more perspective on the blurring line between Google’s PPC listings and the organic listings.
Well…. kind of. They are running an experiment which allows you to play around with the search results by moving individual ones higher or lower in the list or even removing them completely.
Now before you decide to move your site above you competitor’s, you have to be signed in to your Google account to participate. That means you are only manipulating the search results as they are displayed to you personally.
I would imagine that Google is paying attention to the selections that participants make. Hopefully, if searchers come across some blatantly spammy pages, the individual searcher will hit the delete icon. If a particular site gets enough deletes, it will probably mean something to Google and might alert them to do a manual review on the site. After all, they want webmasters to rat out other web sites that are displaying paid links.
Shout out to Haochi from the Googlified Blog for giving the details on the Google search experiment.