Google’s Anti-SEO Ad: A Wake Up Call

by Gary on December 13, 2011 · 1 comment

in News

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With Aaron Wall sounding more and more like an anti-Google evangelist each day, I have become even more careful in sifting through what I read as I try to maintain neutrality. Neutrality, which I believe is important in order weigh the best options for SEO clients each day. This means neither bashing Google just for the sake of it nor kissing their behinds in an effort to win their favour.

Reading Aaron Wall’s post (via Gianluca Fioreli) about Google bashing the SEO industry over at with ads appearing with the following copy for the search term SEO: “Olvidate del SEO, para aparecer en Google hoy prueba, Google AdWords”, served as a rude wake up call though. Using Google’s own service, Google Translate, here’s what the ad says:

Forget about SEO, Google today to appear at trial, Google AdWords.

As you can see on the image above, the ad is no figment of the imagination.

I would like to believe that something as flagrantly wrong as this could have been an oversight and caused by some overzealous copywriter at Google Spain, but then again you would have to wonder how such a thing could escape their attention. What’s even more disturbing is not just the ad per se, which by the way has been taken down as of two days ago after Matt Cutts’ “bus meeting” with his colleagues, but the realization that Aaron Wall’s rants might not be that much of an overreaction after all.

I have recognised time and again that Google has indeed been showing much bias towards brands and their own paid advertisers, but to undermine an entire SEO industry built upon their user’s faith in the organic search results is just too much. Unfortunately, this is another case when there’s very little we can do beyond spreading the word and helping people realise that Google is indeed a corporation. Yes, search is supposed to be about the user, but at the end of the day it is Google the corporation, and not Google’s passionate search engineers that make the decisions. And since corporations will always put their clients’ interest first (after their stockholders that is), then users and SEOs will be on the losing end in this equation, because we have to face it that it is the advertisers, and not the users, that are Google’s clients.

Whatever happened to the “Don’t be evil” motto? As Gianluca Fioreli said, “Google, why do you want me to hate you?

Images via ToonRefugee, I Love SEO

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Optilead December 22, 2011 at 6:39 pm

Google’s motto of “Don’t Be Evil” was naive, and built on a lack of power.

Once you have power, being immoral is much easier, and can sneak in in the gaps where you think you’re doing your best work.

I think Google might be a little blinkered at the moment, but hopefully its experience in China will serve as a wake-up call. One of these days. When it realises what it did.

Thanks for an interesting post!