Google’s patent filing started the inevitable process of Google being more transparent in the way it conducts its business. Slowly but surely Google is beginning to help web developers to produce sites that help Google to do its job, namely indexing the internet. The Google Sitemaps site describes clearly what Google would like you to do. After modifying a config file, a bit of root access and a cron job you can be there in minutes.
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I personally think that helping web developers to produce sites that are friendly to what Google is trying to do is good for all parties including customers.
It is good for Google because:
They can concentrate more on producing relevant results from consistent data
Gradually they will be able to quickly and easily discount sites ‘optimised’ by unscrupulous SEO firms trying to circumvent protocol.
It is good for web developers because:
The ranking process begins to become more transparent.
As dynamic sites grow and change Google is updated automatically.
Building a site to W3C standards and using Google sitemaps *should* give you a good start in terms of the algorithm looking at sites.
It is good for customers because
As the process becomes more transparent it becomes clearer that rankings are based on defined criteria rather than Chinese whispers.
Site content can respond to poor rankings.
Rankings can potentially be an indicator of business drivers and failings.
Google states in its company overview that its goal is to ‘organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.’ My theory is that for that really to happen you have to tell people submitting the information how information is being organised. Once both sides are transparent (it will not work otherwise) it becomes a case of letting user choice and the information do the work. Of course the process will be dynamic and both sides will need to adapt over time but simply speaking transparency is key.
Google Sitemaps is a good step forward to get away from the cat and mouse game that has been going on between web developers and Google. I hope too that in the strategic corridors at Google HQ they are coming round to the idea that transparency is good for business. It would make everyone’s lives a lot easier.