29 May, 2011, 15:49 PM
Is Google's "quality" micromanagement killing originality?
I had this thought while writing something the other day, and again today while reading about how Google might determine quality of reviews.
All these new rules about what constitutes quality are beginning to seem like algorithmic micromanagement of what people may or may not write like. There are things which are "banned", things that are discouraged and things that are encouraged, and they are being determined by an imperfect dispassionate algorithm that, still not being a living being, just cannot detect and appreciate the subtleties and deviations that a human being can.
When I was thinking about "quality content", and as a result welcoming Google's apparent drive to reward quality, this isn't quite what I had in mind. What I consider to be a crucial part of "quality" is honesty and passion that shows through writing without regard for a minefield of rules that may break your writing flow. What Google seems to be encouraging is just another variation of old tactics like keyword stuffing, where we're compelled to write for the engine instead of for the people.
For example, look at those Inverse Document Frequency (IDF) values from a linked article. An algorithm deciding what is a high value term based on frequency in which it might appear in an article. I have trouble imagining a SEO aware writer trying to please an algorithm pegged in this way and actually write his/her content "naturally".
This seems to stifle a creative process, which requires some level of disregard for rules, and may have an overall reduction of originality as a result.
Yet another reason why I'm attracted to social media marketing more and more. Compared to post-Panda Google, social media marketing actually seems more democratic (even with Facebook's platform dominance) and more conducive to creativity, originality, innovation and true quality.
What do you think?
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