An article that was run at SiliconValley.com (which is part of the Mercury News) has opened up the latest can of worms of a website (and in this case a large network of websites) feeling mistreated by Google. Their cause has been picked up by antitrust attorney Gary Reback (hmm, I see a dotted line connection here, what about you?).
The initial site in question is ShopPaloAlto.com along with a few others and there are claims that it has been unfairly judged by Google in the SERP’s.
ShopCity, the parent company of local sites such as ShopPaloAlto.com, ShopMountainView.com and ShopPleasanton.com, says Google provides it an unfairly low ranking, especially since those sites have the backing of groups such as the city of Menlo Park, the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce and the Palo Alto Weekly newspaper. A search for “Palo Alto restaurants” on Google this week didn’t reveal a ShopPaloAlto.com result until the seventh page of results, while the site ranks at the top for identical searches on Yahoo (YHOO) or Microsoft’s Bing.
First of all, just because a chamber of commerce is involved it doesn’t give a business a free pass on quality. I have seen a lot of bad chambers and even worse chamber members in my time.
Secondly, I am not quite sure when having a search result show up in Bing and Yahoo (the same search engine, by the way) is any indicator that it should be number 1 in Google as well. Aren’t the engines trying to differentiate themselves in order to get more people to use them because their results are better etc, etc? But hey, what do I know?
Here’s what we are proposing for you, our expert SEO readers, to consider. Rather than let lawyers and just one search engine expert (Danny Sullivan is the only industry voice in the article) determine whether these sites have anything to complain about, we wondered if our experts, our readers, would make the case for or against ShopPaloAlto.com and the over 8,100 sites that are just like in this network. Here’s what we would like you to do:
- Read the article to get as much background on the situation as most people would have (including lawyers, judges, politicians and anyone else who might get into this ruckus)
- Take a look at the SEO fundamentals of the sites and other related sites
- Determine whether these sites have leg to stand on from the SEO community’s point of view
- Voice your findings and opinions in the comments here (and maybe even argue your point a little )
We are finding that more and more, SEO battles are being played out in the courtroom rather than in the SEO community. The value of these sites and their arguments for whether they are treated fairly are often determined without the input of true experts, SEO’s. We would like for you, the experts, to put your two cents into this discussion, if for no other reason than to have a forum for your own expertise.
So what do you say? Interested in giving your two cents worth regarding why or why not a site should be treated as it is in Google? Now’s your chance. I bet more people are waiting for your opinion than you might think.