RANT: Two Reasons Google Irks Me This Month

Sometimes, Google just gets my goat and annoys the heck out of me. Here's the latest things Google has done that has gotten me bent out of shape.

Google Annoyance #1:

Google recently told all Adsense publishers that they had to have privacy policies that had to meet certain Google requirements, but they couldn't actually spell out those requirements. Ok, fine, we all scrambled and did our best to try to comply with the vague new rule, and in my case, it meant spending an entire day dealing with all my various sites that serve Adsense.

Now, just a mere few weeks later, we're told we have to change our privacy policies yet again, this time to include a list of linked URLs that lead to all the 3rd party ad suppliers that Google has contracted with. But wait, not only do we have to link to these 3rd parties, but that list could change at any time. So, I assume we are supposed to constantly check Google's list, and constantly update our lists whenever Google's list changes. And again, Google is vague about what exactly will be acceptable to comply with the new ruling. Why should we have to deal with this? Why not just let us link to Google's list? Then, when it changes, it won't affect us at all. But Google is good at doing things without thinking them through all the way. (I generally believe it's because their uber-smart geeky employees are too smart to think of the common-sense things, but that's just me).

Google Annoyance #2:

Googlers seem to "guess" at why someone is having a problem or has been penalized. I've personally seen this happen before, and the Googler's guess turned out to be wrong (which he admitted to at the time). Still this can be even more confusing than having a slew of SEOs guess at reasons for penalties. The latest is a Googler I totally respect that I am assuming is guessing (I could be wrong) at the reason for a penalty, and I am assuming has gotten it wrong (again, I could be wrong). I make these assumptions, because frankly, if the Googler isn't guessing, or isn't wrong, then Google is more f'd up than I've ever imagined. Here's the scenario.

A blogger blogs. The blogger occasionally uses images to illustrate his blog posts. The blogger sometimes takes screenshots to back up his statements. For example, the blogger is discussing something he sees on a site. To prove that what he sees is actually there (and to ensure that any future changes to the site don't obscure what he saw at that point in time), he takes a screenshot* of Google's cache of the page. I think we could all agree that this is a perfectly legitimate way to use an image (a screenshot) to back up a statement made on a blog post, and I assume we could all agree that this is "good for the user" and not in any way, shape or form something that is against any Google guideline, right?

At some point, the blogger notices that absolutely none of the images in his Images folder are indexed by Google. Curious, he asks why in a Google Webmaster Groups thread. Now, here's the part that irks me. A googler tells him that the screenshots of the Google cache pages aren't images that Google would want to index. He then tells the blogger to "fix the problem", by moving them to a noindex folder or using some form of preventing them from being indexed, and then filing a reinclusion request to have the rest of the images indexed.

WHAT???!!!! Wait a minute. An entire folder of images has been PENALIZED because Google doesn't want to index a couple of screenshots? You've got to be freaking kidding me. Wait, wait, wait. You mean, every time a blogger posts, and uses images in that post, the blogger has to stop and think about whether or not Google might or might not want to include that image in its index...and if the blogger thinks it might not want to, then the blogger has to stop and do something special with that image to avoid having ALL of his images penalized? Again, you've got to be freaking kidding me. The blogger has done NOTHING wrong. The blogger has concentrated on creating useful content, and using images and screenshots to help his users understand that content. And the blogger gets penalized?????? And is expected to "fix" things???? And then is expected to ask for forgiveness???? YOU'VE GOT TO BE FREAKING KIDDING ME!!!!

Ok, deep breath, Donna. Surely, the Googler is just guessing at why the images folder isn't being indexed, and surely, that guess is just flat out wrong. Right? I mean, surely, the above scenario couldn't possibly be true or accurate. Surely, no one at Google actually thought it would be a good idea to penalize an entire folder of images, because there were one or two LEGITIMATE images that it didn't feel was necessary to include in its index. Surely!

But either way...if the Googler is right, and Google's penalty is absolutely INSANE, or the Googler guessed, and guessed wrong...I'm annoyed. I like this particular Googler, btw, which is why I'm not mentioning his name. But if he is "guessing" (and guessing wrongly), doesn't this just make things worse for the poor, confused blogger? And what does that say about the Google algo, that even the Googlers don't have a clue what is going on? And if the Googler is right, well...the Google algo should be put out of its misery, because it has jumped the shark.

*Correction: My bad... Apparently it wasn't a screenshot, but a re-creation of the page - an actual "cache" of the page, clearly marked as a cache, in the same way Google clearly marks a cache it creates. Still...whether an image or not, it served a purpose to the user for clarification of a post. I can see no reason to penalize an entire folder of images for this. Makes no sense whatsoever.

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