For some small businesses, a Google search results page is like the shelf of a supermarket. Companies are always trying to find ways to make their product stand out amidst the plethora of brand names with similar products. To get to the top of a Google results page requires the content of a website to be relevant, and to feature words, or words similar, to the searched terms, especially with the use of tags. However, in an effort to reduce spam, Google released an update in their search result algorithm, but this new update can have severe effects on website discovery and their businesses that rely on this system.
In an article by PR News, the new algorithm is said to focus on new and fresh content. This can have a serious effect on news websites who rely on using recycled content. Websites that aggregate news content from other sources, such as from the Associated Press, may find it more difficult to reach the top of the results page as the material can already be found elsewhere either in whole or partial form. For small businesses, this means that press releases must consistently find new ways of spreading their messages, which can be difficult, especially for much smaller companies that do not have much news happening.
Google says that it is using this update as a tool to fight spam and low-quality material in their searches. While it may motivate individuals to provide higher-quality material, it also prevents people who are incapable of consistently creating their own content from being found. Most small businesses do not have the budget for a dedicated public relations agent who can focus on the distribution of content, just as news websites do not have the budget to send out a reporter for every story.
As mentioned in the same article, this forces businesses who cannot afford their own public relations to purchase advertisements on Google to become more visible, a move that some businesses may not even be able to afford. Is this move by Google beneficial for searchers who want more relevant results in their searches, or will this hinder the visibility of smaller websites?