Bad Google! Naughty Google!

This is interesting; apparently The Complete Review has fallen foul of Google’s revised search algorithm:

Apparently the complete review is exactly the kind of “low-quality site” that is “just not very useful” they were targeting, as search result positions have plummeted for most of the review-pages at the site.

I do have some sympathy with Google; providing good search results would be a very difficult problem even if there weren’t a lot of people trying to game the system. But The Complete Review, far from being a content farm, is one of the best literary resources on the web, particularly for translated literature. So the system is not working properly in this case.

The problem is that Google provides such a huge chunk of all traffic around the web, so anyone who runs a website is at their mercy. And while they don’t seem to abuse their position too much — they seem to approach the business of providing search results in an honest and well-meaning way — they still have a great deal of power and no accountability.

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