I noticed someone arrived to my blog yesterday after they searched for what’s better than pepto-bismal. Curious, I entered that phrase in Google to see what happens.
Page two of Google’s results for those words currently turns up my previous post, E-Prime works better than Pepto-Bismol. While I did mention a stomach ache and Pepto-Bismal, my post had nothing to do with upset stomachs; I only alluded to them as a segue into using e-prime to improve my writing.
I had no intention to hijack key words or game Google to corner the search market on people with tummy aches. But my accidental rise in Pepto-Bismal ranking brings up a more serious problem. Google and other search engines give prominence to pages produced by content farms. These links, to quote Mathew Ingram in a recent post at GigaOM, “… are in many cases virtually unusable, because they are filled with keyword-riddled ad content disguised as helpful tips.”
At the moment, a search for “writing in e-prime” brings up my previous post on Google page three. Not bad considering I posted it three days ago. But all this makes me wonder how much of what people really want to find gets forced to the back of the Google results bus because of articles crammed with key words on eHow.com and similar sites. You used to Google something and find exactly what you wanted. Not so much lately, but that could change.
I recommend you read all of Mathew Ingram’s post, Why Google and Demand Media Are Headed for a Showdown. If he’s right, Google results could get better and people with tummy aches might find what they really want.