Thanks to my nifty NSA-Lite smartphone app, I was able to record the following conversation between two Googlebots as they set about reviewing and reorganizing the books at my local library.
(Don’t worry, after this short, light-hearted detour I’ll get back to my usual posts on writing for the web and freelancing next week. And yes, for the technically minded among you, I do know the Googlebot doesn’t judge the quality of the web pages it finds and indexes. Poetic license.)
Googlebot 1: Unbelievable! It must have been literally months since anyone last checked out the contents of this library.
Googlebot 2: I hear you dude. How can they possibly maintain quality without checking for what’s new at least once a day?
Googlebot 1: Agreed. The whole place looks like a pretty sad dump to me. Anyway, let’s get started. Here’s a dusty-looking volume: 1984 by George Orwell. What have we got on this?
Googlebot 2: Wow. Published in 1949!
Googlebot 1: Ouch. That doesn’t sound good. How about this George Orwell guy?
Googlebot 2: Let me see. Well, for one thing, he’s dead. So he doesn’t have a Google+ profile, which is a definite black mark. Whoa, George Orwell wasn’t even his real name! His real name was Eric Arthur Blair. Sneaky dog, trying to trick us with a pen name. Mega black mark for that!
Googlebot 1: Any social signals at all?
Googlebot 2: Not really. A few people mention it here and there. But nothing trending.
Googlebot 1: Doesn’t sound good at all. How about updates? Anything fresh about it? Maybe some new chapters? Photos of squirrels? Video clips?
Googlebot 2: Nope. It’s 100% old. 0% on the fresh-o-meter.
Googlebot 1: Pathetic. OK, into the garbage bin.
Googlebot 2: Hmmm…here’s one: Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. It’s a “play”. No idea what that even means.
Googlebot 1: And?
Googlebot 2: Pretty much the same as the Orwell dude. This guy is dead too. Nothing on social. Nothing new. Nothing fresh. No multimedia.
Googlebot 1: Anything to recommend it?
Googlebot 2: I don’t think so. Actually, it’s even worse than the last one. For a start, it’s short, less than 100 pages. And it just goes on and on, without chapters, headings or subheads. No page breaks at all. One dude says one thing, another dude says something else and it’s like that from beginning to end.
Googlebot 1: Am I hearing skinny content, hard to read, no multimedia, no social signals and just totally old?
Googlebot 2: That’s about it.
Googlebot 1: OK. Garbage. Next?
Googlebot 2: Hang on, I’m just chucking out a ton of other authors who fail miserably for all the same reasons. Plato, Aristotle, Shakespeare, Emily Bronte. Oh boy, I can’t believe all this junk is still on the shelves.
Googlebot 1: Sounds like we got here just in time.
Googlebot 2: You got that right. Wait a sec, this looks a little more promising. Until the End of Time by Danielle Steele. Seems really popular. It’s long too, over 300 pages. Tons of reviews. Published in January 2013. It’s fresh, baby!
Googlebot 1: And what about the author?
Googlebot 2: Super-prolific. Consistently creating fresh content. Reasonably connected through social media. Seems to be hot in Pinterest and Twitter.
Googlebot 1: Popular?
Googlebot 2: Totally! Over 800 million copies of her books sold! Plus a ton of movies!
Googlebot 1: Well, 800 million people can’t be wrong.
Googlebot 2: Agreed. I’m seeing fresh, easy to read and massively popular. The readers have spoken!
Googlebot 1: Finally we have a winner. Let’s pile them up high on that table by the front door.
Googlebot 2: Another good day’s work, dude.
Googlebot 1: Absolutely. Done no evil here!
About the author: Nick Usborne is an online writer, copywriter, author and coach. Read more…
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