Saturday, February 26, 2011

What Really Is Hurting Google: Social Search

Google's latest decision to change its secret algorithms to reduce the rankings of trashy websites is a long overdue and important step to improve the company's core product: search. But the bigger problem with Google is not how spammers and low-quality web publishers have figured out how to game Google's search results, something I wrote about in August of last year in "Google? Where Are You?" and "Bing vs. Google: Guess Who Wins?"

What has really eroded the company's dominance in search is good, old fashioned competition from new innovative rivals.

Social search, in the form of Facebook, Twitter, Stumbleupon, Reddit, Business Exchange, etc.,  has significantly and steadily diminished the relevance, value and usefulness of Google search results. All of these web enterprises have used social curation as the killer algorithm to make Google search less competitive. What your offline and online friends recommend to you is far more valuable than what an impersonal, mathematical equation spits out. This remarkable development isn't only important to users of search; it's a highly valuable insight to anyone in the high-quality content game.

My own experience with a now six-month-old website, PoetsandQuants, clearly demonstrates the power and the superiority of social search over Google's gamed algorithm approach. As readers of this blog already know, PoetsandQuants is devoted to the coverage of graduate business education. The stories on the site are substantive and thoughtful. They tackle all the meaningful issues confronting this business, from the impact of globalization to the value of an MBA. They provide highly useful and relevant information to help people make an important decision, requiring an investment of more than a quarter of a million dollars, in their professional lives.

So what does six months of traffic data at PoetsandQuants tell me about Google? The results are not merely shocking--they are nothing less than an indictment of Google's effectiveness in search, clear proof that Google is living off its earlier laurels that allowed it to become the world's preeminent search engine.

* Facebook, with fewer than 500 active monthly users on our P&Q page, has referred 12 times the number of visitors to PoetsandQuants than Google in the past six months and is gaining more ground--not less--as a key referrer in the past two months.

* Twitter, with 2,000 followers on the P&Q feed, has referred nearly 10 times the number of visitors to PoetsandQuants than Google over the same period.

* Business Exchange, a social curation product I helped create at BusinessWeek, has referred nearly 11 times the number of visitors than Google.

* Even more damning, the number of referrals from Google during the site's first six months is only 25% more than two press releases we've published on PRWeb.

What has happened to Google is an all-too-familiar problem that plagues so many companies that become big and successful: Awash in cash, they begin pursuing all kinds of other opportunities, neglecting the core product that established their greatness. Those opportunities ultimately become distractions that lead to a company's serious decline. Competition emerges to take advantage of the neglect. The incumbent pretends all is well and benefits from both the dominant lead is already has and the long lag time that it takes more nimble and innovative Davids to slay the Goliath.

We are seeing the early stages of this battle which has been in force for at least five years. The Davids have been hitting the Google Goliath on a fairly consistent basis, shots to the body that bruise but rarely penetrate. This Goliath is still on its feet, but Facebook and Twitter have scored such big hits over the past three years that the giant is beginning to sway and stumble.

17 comments:

  1. Well put. Recommendations are more powerful then algoritmic search that is derivative. Watch google split its search engines to compete. And to improve it's natural language parsing a la Watson to improve search.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Rob. That's a damn good prediction!

    ReplyDelete
  3. John, very interesting indeed. Facebook may pose the greatest long-term threat to Google. And it seems that Microsoft has a much deeper relationship with Facebook than Google has...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow! So how do we take advantage of this trend? (Topic for your next article?) I'm in the "small biz B2B" realm. My targets are business owners with a handful of employees. This seems like a tough target to define or attract via Google search. The P&Q approach should be much more effective for those like me. Where are the tutorials?
    Mike Van horn

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is one of the most superb posts that I ever seen; you may include some more opinion in the same theme. I�m still waiting for some good-looking opinion from your side in your after that post,.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Dit kan een goed gemaakte post, als misschien alle schrijvers aangeboden exact dezelfde waarde van de inhoud zoals u, zou het internet een veel betere locatie zijn. Zorg ervoor dat je keep it up! serum korea | Kaminomoto | pembesar payudara kitchen set murah | obat gemuk | magic plus white cream | cream walet | penghilang bekas luka | sabun susu beras | pemutih wajah
    perawatan rambut | minyak bulus | produk kecantikan

    ReplyDelete
  7. The post is written in very a good manner and it entails many useful information for me. I am happy to find your distinguished way of writing the post. Now you make it easy for me to understand and implement the concept. kosmetik online frutablend kaminomoto harga glutera serum korea serum gold produk kecantikan

    ReplyDelete
  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank you for sharing with us. I found this site fascinating and educational to me to get her really useful and I think, know-how in the situation.www.practicalenergylaw.com |

    www.additionsports.com |

    www.derekscomputersolutions.com |

    www.usatravelhotel.com |

    www.ldptransportes.com |

    www.collegehorse.com |

    ReplyDelete
  10. So when you went external regarding sausage additionally another person was stop there setting up a chicken wings, it had been fully physical to be able to pluck your tote regarding sausage away on the lockup additionally torment the brother digital tickets maker online coworker in the hazels. It turned out a new surprising sport, besides this did hardly tighten my intestines versus my nutbag.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Wonderful post. I am searching awesome news and idea. What I have found from your site, it is actually highly content. You have spent long time for this post. It's a very useful and interesting site. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  12. GRIMES, IA, June 20, 2008 - Anime producer and mega-online anime retailer Right Stuf, Inc. is pleased to welcome John Thomas - the translator of Dark Horse's Blood+ novels and the media columnist for Portland, Oregon's Yuuyake Shimbun newspaper - to episode 69 of ANIME TODAY.

    ReplyDelete
  13. In line Coach Outlet Online is bringing Michael Kors Outlet unique Coach Factory Outlet to a Toms Shoes USA shoe for Cheap Jerseys Spring/Michael Kors Outlet 2014 Coach Factory Outlet, and this Coach Outlet, it’s a Coach Outlet. The Coach Outlet Sale Sandal Giuseppe Zanotti Outlet.Supermodel mom Coach Factory Outlet was Coach Factory Outlet Online being all kinds of hot this weekend Coach Factory Outlet she Coach Store Online out in a Michael Kors Outlet-turning, Celine Outlet I did, I was Celine Bags possessed by Fitflops Flipflops suit madness.Fitflops USA-there string Michael Kors during Michael Kors Store vacation in Tomss Hoes Bahamas. Fitflop Footwear by her family, the 40-year-old looked happy and relaxed - Fitflops Outlet, uh, did we Fitflops Sandals super hot? - as she Giuseppe Zanotti by the pool.I've Giuseppe Zanotti Designer making my own vanilla extract for years. I love it! It's cost-effective, and in my opinion, Vanilla extract is also (easily) the most used extract in my Prada Outlet , sort of pretty (although it kind of looks like spiders too) tastes way better than imitation vanilla extract.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoyed every little bit of it. I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff on your post.www.rn-ds-partnership.co.uk |

    www.prepaybank.co.uk |

    www.calleija.co.uk |

    www.dontdothedodo.co.uk |

    www.intelligentformulation.co.uk |

    www.caphe-vn.co.uk |

    www.futrets.co.uk |

    www.auction-expert.co.uk |

    www.sail-lizziemay.co.uk |

    www.dubai-realestate.co.uk |

    ReplyDelete