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The Google Shaped Web

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Slides from my talk at SAScon 2014 about Google, cats, and parasites.

Published in: Internet, Technology
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The Google Shaped Web

  1. 1. The Google-shaped Web POLEMIC D I G I T A L A Tale of Cats & Parasites Barry Adams Polemic Digital June 2014
  2. 2. POLEMIC D I G I T A L About Barry Adams • Freelance SEO consultant  Polemic Digital (July 2014) • Dutch (yes, really) • Twitter ranter: @badams • Lecturer on SEO & Digital Strategy • Editor & blogger for StateofDigital.com • Also blogs at PolemicDigital.com
  3. 3. POLEMIC D I G I T A L In The Beginning...
  4. 4. Web Search’s Symbiotic Contract “We scrape your content, you get free traffic.” POLEMIC D I G I T A L Source: http://xxtremorxx.deviantart.com/
  5. 5. POLEMIC D I G I T A L Google’s Version “We scrape your content and if we like it enough, we’ll keep your traffic too.” Source: http://revafallarts.deviantart.com/
  6. 6. POLEMIC D I G I T A L How did we get here...? • Google was the first truly dominant search engine • As a result, webmasters do whatever they can to get in to Google’s good graces • Google realises that this can be used to its advantage...
  7. 7. POLEMIC D I G I T A L “Power corrupts. Absolute power... is kind of neat.” - Donald Regan, US Chief of Staff, 1987
  8. 8. POLEMIC D I G I T A L WWGD –What Would Google Do?
  9. 9. POLEMIC D I G I T A L Google recommendations Stuff Google likes:  Optimised titles & meta  Unique, plain text content  Human-readable URLs  Responsive websites  XML sitemaps  Structured data  Nofollowed links  Disavow files  SSL  ... Stuff Google dislikes: × Bog-standard content × Shockwave Flash × Content embedded in images × Active link acquisition × Separate mobile sites × Unrestricted linking × Content in (iPhone) apps × More than 3 ads on a page × Spam (whatever Google says it is) × ...
  10. 10. POLEMIC D I G I T A L UX vs GX User Experience <> Google Experience • Most of Google’s recommendations are good for UX too • But some are purely for the benefit of Google • And these latter ones are becoming more frequent
  11. 11. POLEMIC D I G I T A L Google decrees Stuff Google likes:  Optimised titles & meta  Unique, plain text content  Human-readable URLs  Responsive websites  XML sitemaps  Structured data  Nofollowed links  Disavow files  SSL  ... Stuff Google dislikes: × Bog-standard content × Shockwave Flash × Content embedded in images × Active link acquisition × Separate mobile sites × Unrestricted linking × Content in (iPhone) apps × More than 3 ads on a page × Spam (whatever Google says it is) × ...
  12. 12. POLEMIC D I G I T A L The inevitable end result... Rather than Google adapting to the way the web is evolving... ... the web is evolving the way Google wants. The free & open World Wide Web is becoming the restricted Google-Shaped Web.
  13. 13. POLEMIC D I G I T A L Wait, It Gets Worse
  14. 14. POLEMIC D I G I T A L First, a biology lesson
  15. 15. POLEMIC D I G I T A L Toxoplasma Gondii “A convincing body of evidence now exists to indicate that the ubiquitous protozoan Toxoplasma gondii can cause permanent behavioral changes in its host...” “Such behavioral alterations appear to be the product of strong selective pressures for the parasite to enhance transmission from its intermediate host reservoir, primarily rodent, to its feline definitive host...” Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2526137/
  16. 16. POLEMIC D I G I T A L In layman’s terms 1. Toxoplasma gondii infects a rodent and alters the host’s brain patterns & behaviour; 2. The rodent becomes more active and prone to exploring open areas; 3. As a result of this behaviour, the likelihood of the rodent being eaten by a cat increases; 4. When a cat eats the infected rodent, Toxoplasma gondii infects the cat – its definitive host.
  17. 17. POLEMIC D I G I T A L Sound familiar?
  18. 18. POLEMIC D I G I T A L Google has infected the web • Google is both parasite and cat;  Google’s recommendations are memes it uses to infect us • We are altering our behaviour to make our information more easily accessible to Google • This enables Google to prey on our business models and take over profitable niches
  19. 19. POLEMIC D I G I T A L
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  23. 23. POLEMIC D I G I T A L
  24. 24. POLEMIC D I G I T A L “Good artists copy. Great artists steal.” - Pablo Picasso
  25. 25. POLEMIC D I G I T A L To end on a cheerful note... “Toxoplasma gondii is the most common protozoan parasite in developed nations. Up to 80% of the population may be infected, depending on eating habits and exposure to cats.” “When infected human adults were compared with uninfected adults on personality questionnaires or on a panel of behavioral tests, several differences were found.” Source: http://schizophreniabulletin.oxfordjournals.org/content/33/3/757.full
  26. 26. POLEMIC D I G I T A L
  27. 27. POLEMIC D I G I T A L
  28. 28. POLEMIC D I G I T A L Thank You barry@polemicdigital.com www.polemicdigital.com twitter.com/badams

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