How Google fails at SEO, and why it doesn’t matter

The search engine’s objective is utility, not page views, and it is structured and functions accordingly.

Google’s homepage is simply dreadful in terms of search engine optimization.

In a search for “search engine”—and there are about 6 million such requests each month—Google appears way down the list on the second page of results. Alta Vista (the king of search engines in the mid-1990s) appears third overall. Google, it would seem, is doing a lot wrong.

SEO experts tell their clients that Google loves content. Well, not on its own homepage it doesn’t. Last time I counted there were 39 words on the entire page, and the phrase “search engine” is not there. It gets worse. If you look at the title tag for the Google homepage, it says “Google.” That’s all. Just “Google.” That has got to be one of the worst title tags ever written.

In the SEO world, Yahoo has a much better homepage. It has hundreds of popular words and more than a hundred links. Search engines just love Yahoo. So, why is Google so appalling at search engine optimization? It doesn’t need it, you might say. It’s Google. Yes, but Google wasn’t always a giant. It was started by two students, and from the very beginning it had a really simple homepage.

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