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Who You Gonna Believe?

Who are you gonna believe? Me or your lying eyes? Anymore, it’s hard to say.

Rightly or wrongly, many have claimed since its inception that all the facts on the internet are wrong. Of course, that’s an overstatement, but there are those who are not only questioning the internet’s veracity, but investigating it as well.

New research out of Germany claims that Google is search declining due to spam. If you didn’t know, Google is the world’s largest search engine. The fact that the second largest search engine is YouTube – which is owned by Google – doesn’t exactly inspire much confidence.

With increasing frequency in recent years, Google has come under fire for manipulating search results by how it applies its terms and conditions, or by outright bias, or by, as one critic puts it, “favoritism toward Google-owned properties.”

Many web purveyors and experts have raised flags over Google’s recent "helpful content" update. Google states that its “helpful content system generates a signal used by our automated ranking systems to better ensure people see original, helpful content created for people in search results.”

Critics disagree claiming that the new algorithms give preference to “AI generated crap” and that “Google is apparently forcing publishers to generate AI spam or die.” It’s true that AI is making it a lot easier to produce content with little or no consideration for relevancy or accuracy.

This is consistent with an issue we raised some time ago. Historically, sound marketing dictated that companies generate content with their customers (or target audiences) in mind. In recent years, that approach has surrendered to the concept that the number one audience is Google and its algorithms to ensure high search engine optimization (SEO) results – especially higher rankings.

Hubspot – a developer of software products for marketing, sales and customer service – notes that the phrase “Google is getting worse is almost a meme at this point. Go into any forum or sub-reddit that mentions search results, and you’ll find someone complaining that SEO has ruined Google Search.”

Perhaps the real meme should be a turn on an old phrase: searcher beware.

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