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Danny Sullivan Highlights 6 Huge Publisher Fears at Google Ranking Fair

danny sullivan google

Google’s Danny Sullivan shared details of an internal Google event called, Ranking Fair. Googler’s share suggestions about the search results.

Sullivan shared the top concerns that trouble web publishers. And the web marketing community approves.

Sullivan Stands up for Publishers

Sullivan tweeted about Google’s ranking fair:

Sullivan states that he shares web publisher concerns with Google in many ways.

Webmaster Ecosystem Concerns

Sullivan shared top publisher concerns that make publishers feel that Google is breaking the implicit terms of the relationship between Google and publishers.

Google’s success depends on publishers continuing to create quality content.

Publisher success mostly depends on Google rewarding quality content and an excellent user experience.

An online business can do well without Google. But Google cannot succeed without the publishers.

This is what the concept of the Google/Webmaster Ecosystem is all about.

Top Publisher Concerns Communicated to Google

Sullivan is officially the liaison for Google to web publishers. The definition of liaison is,  “Communication or cooperation which facilitates a close working relationship between people or organizations.”

Facilitating cooperation from Google with publishers appears to be a major concern for Sullivan. His entire presentation was focused on getting Google to see how it’s behavior is viewed by publishers.

Voice Search

A top concern is Google’s voice search. Google has not communicated how voice search will benefit publishers.

No responsible business creates a service that will lose money. Google must have a path to monetization but it’s not sharing it with publishers.

That leads to speculation that Google will benefit from sales of IoT devices while publishers create content for diminishing returns on investment.

Publishers believe that Google intends to play the role of the hero for bringing free content to those who purchase it’s devices while publishers earn less and less and less from creating that content.

Web publishers are not stupid and they are aware that voice search does not have a clear path to monetization. This part of Sullivan’s presentation was designed to communicate that concern.

Webmaster Control

Publishers expressed their dissatisfaction with big brands displaying more than two pages in the search results.

Sullivan shared this tweet by an in-house SEO:

Failure to Link & Give Credit to Content Author

Of special concern is certain SERPs that display helpful information taken from a website but with no obvious way for the user to click through to the original site to learn more.

This is an example how Google will use content from a website but not provide a link back to the site where the information came from.

I’m certain that most publishers will agree that giving credit to the person who created the content is satisfactory, even if only a few people click through to their site from a position zero or rich results listing.

Failure to give attribution/credit to whoever published the content, while using the content, is unacceptable to many publishers. Google needs to come clean about how these kinds of results may benefit users in the future (because they are not benefiting from them in the present.)

Fear of Organic SERPs Disappearing

Sullivan labeled this as fear of disappearing. What he meant is the fear of having the organic results pushed down by ads, featured snippets, People Also Ask and other “helpful” Google features.

There are good reasons to show featured snippets that provide users with information from news sites and videos. But combined with ads and other features, web publishers become upset because there is no hope that a user will find their listing and click through.

Screenshot of part of Google's Danny Sullivan presentation to Google

Sullivan calls this the fear of being buried. This is a reference to being pushed down in the SERPs so that a user would have to scroll to see the organic search results.

Positive Response from Publisher & SEO Community

The response from the publisher and SEO community was positive.

Many were grateful that Sullivan is at Google to communicate how web publishers may respond to Google’s new features and what seems as disregard from our point of view.

Screenshot of tweets with positive response to Danny Sullivan

Images by Shutterstock, Modified by Author

Screenshots by Author, Modified by Author

Category News SEO
SEJ STAFF Roger Montti Owner - at

I have 25 years hands-on experience in SEO and have kept on  top of the evolution of search every step ...

Danny Sullivan Highlights 6 Huge Publisher Fears at Google Ranking Fair

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