When you think back to those high school days, it is amazing how no one actually listened to the kids who had something to say or were actually knowledgeable on a particular matter; kids were drawn to the “popular boy” or the “popular girl” and would only listen or take advice from them. I am not criticizing, I was actually more playing the popularity game myself… but then I grew up and faced the real World.
When it comes to looking to the web for knowledge, the easiest and best option is of course to go for a search engine and there is no more popular search engine that our beloved Google. But let’s take a second look at how Google identify and ranks the results to our precious searches.
By relevance? Yes of course, but this is not the main criteria for results to appear at the top of the result page or even on the first or first few results pages.Google has chosen to go for site popularity to rank its results and listings. What defines a site popularity is mainly the number of external links to this site from even more popular sites… Where am I going with this? Well, the most popular sites are of course social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter and these are themselves driven by their members popularity… So in a nutshell, you could be searching for the truth on a matter or detailed explanation of something and end up scrolling through tens or hundreds of popular link mentioning the topic you are after but will think to have had an answer by Google page 2 or even will be discouraged by Google page 3 before hitting the real gem, the real answer, the actual information and facts you were looking for which timidly showed up on page 6 or 7 of the listings returned by Google.
Of course, this led to the emergence of whole new industry and of Web Public Relations agencies who will create Facebook profile, Facebook pages, Twitters, mySpace, blogs and god knows what for their customer to get the new gold, the new grail, to appear at the top of Google’s listings. This in itself is not bad at all, it forces companies to redefine their marketing approaches and communicate to the internet community to become their customers or prospects popular buddies and in the end to get closer to their marketplace and for their market place to get closer to them.
But please let’s take this with a pinch of salt and let’s hope that Apple will come up with a search engine, a search engine that will focus on ergonomics, relevance and functionality… Of course they have to announce their tablet before that, but maybe one day.