Google Search Results
How Google ranking ruins the search for knowledge

Searching for information on Google may not be as reliable or satisfying as you thought. If the blog/article is ranking on the first page of search, it may not be informative enough. And if its informative – it may not turning up on your search at all.

Some years ago, I attended this excellent workshop on Blogging and how you can make it work for you. It cleared up a lot of doubts and answered a lot of questions I had about managing content to rank as either the first or at least on the first page of Google search.

The answer it seemed was almost too simple. Just figure out your keywords and then Bam! Follow a set formula and you can soon be right up there, ranking Number 1, 2 or 3 in relevant Google searches. Most of the guidelines made perfect sense. Keep your sentences short. Give your paragraphs relevant/appropriate sub-headings. Meta descriptions need to be optimised. All images need Alt description. The list goes on and on. There was however, one pointer that made perfect sense but did not sit comfortably at all.

This jugaad ruins the search for information

Once you have a keyword, google it and check out what the 1st 3 articles/blogs have to say about it. Then write your blog by including all the content found in these 3. So far, so good. As a Digital Marketer, blogger or online seller – your job is done.

Now look at it from the readers perspective. You go to an ancient historical site (Like the Bhimbetka caves). Once there you want to know more and your guide is mouthing an inadequate script and is refusing to answer your questions…what do you do? Turn to Google of course. If you are lucky someone has gone to the trouble of filling out a Wikipedia page and someone else (presumably an expert) has gone through the trouble of updating and adding all the information you want there.

Poorly paid content writers or trainees are your source of information

Some digital marketing trainee picked the top three blogs and wrote a synopsis. then a poorly paid content writer took the same information and re-hashed it for another site/blog. Bu, even that would be fine. But what actually happens is that several dozens of Digital Marketing writers and bloggers had the same idea. So the first few search results basically give you the same old information – re-worded. And since the content management writer/trainee is rarely an expert on the topic – what you get is definitely neither reliable nor adequate.

Now if a professor (say a reputed archeologist) writes a blog on the topic of your interest, s/he is not a digital savvy expert. That naturally means s/he misses out in writing the keyword an optimal number of times or putting them in the H1 tags. They also cannot be bothered with adding back links and internal links. Leave alone knowing what to do with the Meta Tags or improving page speed.

So what that means for seekers of information on Google?

I would say it means that the information we seek is buried in page 2 or worse, page 3 of Google search. And everyone knows – murderers hide dead bodies there. Because no one ever goes there.

It also means that there is a lot of information out there that has been written not with the aim of providing information. So, if its knowledge that you seek search for research papers or better still visit a book shop or library.