Allow me a moment on my soapbox here: My website AtDesignRemodel.com has been very effective at engaging visitors and getting business for my company. More so then any other marketing efforts. I have gotten many compliments about my website from people who have found my very small company by searching online. It's interesting, fun to read, lots of pictures.
It takes a ton of work to create and maintain a relevant and interesting website and in doing so, my website would often show up on the top pages of Google when people were searching for remodeling services in my area.
So we had a kind of a deal Google and I. I would provide a website that has relevant content and be useful for anyone searching for the services I offered. They would find information and tips about remodeling and I would post on my blog REAL content. In turn Google would display my website on the first page of search results for keywords like Bath Remodeling Falmouth or Kitchen Remodeling Mashpee and so forth.
I would also refrain from trying to game Google by not loading my website with keywords and content that would make no sense to anyone but a Google Bot. I would avoid creating false back links to fake websites in an effort to boost my website's "Popularity"
So this deal worked really well until recently, when Google changed the rules again and now my website is now showing up on page 15 of most search results. And page 15 might as well be page 15000 for all the good it will now do my business.
Now on many search results, you see directory listings from yellow page style sites or paid and gamed landing pages that really are paid advertising pitches. Real People with real information are been pushed to the back of the pack by these type of results.
Google can really be Godzilla at times, cluelessly rumbling around downtown killing small business.
Do I think it's intentional? NO. However, I think that the problem is that Google places too much reliance on software to decide who and what shows up in search results.
With that in mind, here is a suggestion for a new service for Google. Google VERIFY. This is a paid service offered by Google that uses a real live person to review and verify the relevance and usefulness of a website by pre-set standards. A Google stamp of approval if you will. Now, this service should not come cheap and any website that gets the stamp of approval will be subject to an audit at anytime with automatic banishment for any website violating the terms of approval.
Any website with a Google VERIFY Stamp of Approval will automatically show up on page one of Google results. I would suggest however that they limit the number of keywords that can be used to avoid any one business dominating.
Now there is immediate benefits in Google offering such a service.
Spam or gamed results are banished. Web Searches become more useful and relevant faster. Revenue is generated and jobs created as Google will need to hire lots of people to review websites.
In the end, customers of small businesses will benefit because they will be able to use a tool like Google VERIFY to connect with providers of the products and services they need quickly and efficiently.
I'm posting this in hopes that someone at Google takes notice and ACTION.