Does it ever feel like the internet is getting worse? That’s been my impression for the last decade. The internet feels now like it consists of ten big sites, plus fifty auxiliary sites that come up whenever you search for something outside of the everyday ten. It feels like it’s harder to find amateur opinions on matters, except if you look on social media, where amateur opinions are shared, unsolicited, with much more enthusiasm than they deserve.
Good article. It’s long but there are a lot of moving parts that need to be explained.
My conclusion: Google has a near monopoly on search. It’s algorithm has to make judgement calls on which sites rank higher. Google favors commercial sites and popularity. This has a tendency to warp the web towards commerce and monotony. Remember: Google’s ranking is only their opinion (based on perceived popularity.)
Because there is little real competition there are no checks on Google. Moreover, Google is really an advertising company. They are going to favor corporations that spend money with them and that ain’t the gal on Neocities. Word.
SEO’s don’t care, they just want sites to rank so their clients can sell more product. If Google is the only game in town then they game Google.
I think this all underlines the need for many major search engines. These search engines should not try and clone Google’s SERPS but should find their own algorithms. Some will be better at long-tail, smaller sites, some commercial but with criteria different from Google. (eg. Mojeek is fairly good at this right now. Will it continue to be good at it as it grows ever bigger?)