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Don’t Be Evil!

As lead SEO of Juicy SEO, I have been reporting each month since 2010 I have been creating the popular 2 minutes read monthly SEO Report. Each month I highlight the important changes search engines make which will affect how your website performs in the search results.
I keep the report down to 2 a minute read, as, well, we are all busy. If you haven’t signed up to our SEO Report Newsletter I encourage you to do so.

Over the years – well really since 2018 – I have noticed a shift in direction from Google, and sadly it isn’t a good shift. Whether the changes are due to the founders leaving the company, shareholders piling on the pressure for the company to make more money or just a planned change of direction, many do not heed to Google’s original company statement of “Don’t be evil”.

Since Google has now removed their company slogan of “Don’t be evil” from their offices I have decided to create a list of things I think Google and other search engines are doing which I think are close to being Evil.


Notes about the list

A quick run down on what I consider Evil – in terms of SEO and online marketing not taking over the World. As Google is by far the largest search engine it will obviously be included more than smaller search engines. This does not mean Google are worse than other search engines.

I will try and keep this list up to date, but, things change at a vast rate so some items might be out of date as the platform have changed. If you see an entry that is out of date please let me know.


The Don’t Be Evil List

Aug 2018
Featured Snippets Uses Your Content
Many search engines now use Featured Snippets to help answer your search query. Featured Snippets are small segments of content lifted from your website and displayed directly within the search results.
Why should this be an issue?
If the searcher finds the answer to their query from your content within the search engine they will not click onto your website.
Although search engines like Google say this change will more than often increase traffic to your website, time has shown this is not the case.
Quite simply search engines are using your content on their website to keep people on their websites for longer. Remember the more people on their website for longer increases advertisement revenue.


Nov 2020
Google Featured Snippets to Include Links
It has been reported that Google is testing search results featured snippets that include links.
Now, that might not seem too unexpected if the original content had the links already in place. But, these links were added afterwards by the search engine and they could take you to someone else’s website.
Why should this be an issue?
The content you wrote is being used by another company and then could send the reader to one of your competitor’s websites. This is evil.
In the future, there could be an option in the search engines advert service for you to pay to add a link to your website into one of these featured snippets.
I’m not saying this is the case now – I am sure it isn’t – but like many new services from platforms they tend to make small changes over many years and before you know it…
Source: Brodie Clark Twitter

**Update** We have been told that this was for testing and not in production and has been removed. Well, for now.


AMP Stories/Web Stories

Back in 2018 Google introduced us to AMP stories whereby publishers using the AMP website format can create Stories similarly seen on other platforms like Facebook.

In May 2020
Google renamed AMP Stories to Web Stories but still powered by the AMP format you can now add these stories to any website using a simple iFrame.
Google created AMP and essentially control the direction/management of the format. In the past, they encouraged webmasters to create their websites using AMP and in return get a little help in search results – this is not the case now.
Just like the entry in this list for links in Featured Snippets it has been reported that links have been added to the AMP version of your website by Google (however, can not find proof of this).
Why should this be an issue?
If this is rolled out in the future we could see links within your website to your competitors.
Source: Twitter Thread

**Warning** As I mentioned I have not seen this for my own eyes so it might not be true. I will monitor and update if I see.