Google Flaws and Fixes
There have been many criticisms recently of Google and it’s page rank algorithm. First, to the criticisms of Google itself. Has anyone noticed that Google currently indexes 4 billion odd web pages? Very few of us had the time to trod through Google’s white paper, but those who did, noticed that 4 billion is Google’s upper limit on the ability to address or identify and rank web pages. Basically, Google is full.
I noticed the problem when my site: www.rankyouragent.com wasn’t getting visited very often and wasn’t being indexed properly. If you have a new site, Google appears to be very slow in adding it and noticing the new sites that link to you. Don’t take my word for it, feel free to Google search: “google broken” (feel free to note the irony).
Technical problems aside, there is a broader algorithmic problem inherent to the page link algorithm. The basic tenet is that a link from one site to another is a vote for that site. Regrettably that algorithm is only valid in an internet where that algorithm isn’t public knowledge. Of course, everyone and their grandmothers know how Google Page Rank works.
As a result we see link spam. Competitors to www.rankyouragent.com such as: http://www.mostreferred.com/ have created thousands of different domain names that point back to their bread and butter main page.
They list 6100 backward links, some of which from similar web domains like: newfoundland.mostreferred.ca/. This link spam is insurmountable for a new site with anything less than a gigantic promotion budget. As a result many people are denied a shot at viewing the competitors website.
In another example, this time one that happens to work for me, I am also an amateur mathematician. I have a prime number theory published at:
http://members.rogers.com/mwiner/primes.htm . I decided to try and list it in DMOZ, Google’s open directory. Much to my suprise, one day I typed “prime twin proof” into Google and my site showed up as the #1 result! I’m an amature mathematician and I was flattered, but I quickly realized that what had happened was DMOZ is copied by every content provider under the sun in one form or another. Thus it seemed to Google as though thousands of pages were pointing to my page, indeed they were, however, they were all clones of one another.
Despite all that I’ve said, I like Google. The alternatives are pure rober-barons. I just hope that they address their technical and semantic issues such that we maintain an impartial ‘world superpower’ search engine.
My suggestion to Google? In the Google toolbar, allow HUMANS to rank webpages by relevancy, content, etc. DMOZ (Google’s open directory, already human edited) is a good first start, but the editors seem over burdened and unmotivated to add new sites quickly (rankyouragent.com is yet to be listed after several months). Adding rating capabilities to the Google toolbar, would add a vast pool of human editors to the Google engine. Provided Google makes the interface quick and simple to provide ratings, people will be willing and able to help.
Martin Winer is an entrepreneur who owns www.rankyouragent.com and would like to see fixes made to Google to help it improve it’s already great status.