Google & Matt Cutts Get it Wrong: First Priority Should Be Webmasters
While Matt Cutts promised us that his recent post would be “boring”, I believe that it actually raised one of the most important questions regarding search ethics:
Our highest duty has to be to our users, not to an individual webmaster.
Unfortunately, Matt and the Googlers get this one very wrong. All relationships require some form of give and take. For a relationship to be properly functioning, it requires that consent be a prerequisite in that give and take.
The balance of give-and-take between users and Google is heavily tilted towards the user. In exchange for the possibility of me clicking on an advertisement at some point, with no promises, I can use Google’s search. The goods being exchanged here are search results and advertising.
The balance of the give-and-take between webmasters and Google, however, is heavily tilted towards Google in a non-consensual method. Theoretically, in exchange for the possibility of a user finding my website, I give Google access to my content. However, this is not actually a consensual relationship. Webmasters must take steps to prevent this transaction from occurring. Unless a webmasters knows of and actively employs the correct tools, tags, and code, this relationship will be formed without his/her consent.
Now Google has the audacity to consider taking even further control away from the webmaster by crippling the NOINDEX tag such that results still appear, sans description or title, in Google’s results. Webmasters would be forced to use Google’s proprietary tool set to exclude their URLs from the search engines.
What Google fails to recognize is that while they continue to rape and pillage webmasters and their content, the blackhat movement grows steadily behind the scenes. Google is making reasonable requests require unreasonable efforts. The more Google treats webmasters as second-class citizens, the more webmasters will ignore Google’s pleadings to use white-hat methods.
Making Webmasters a first priority would be quite simple, and would hardly impair Google’s ability to serve users.