Well, I must say that was very well explained. Unfortunately for me, you are probably correct. A few saving graces. Google does not currently maintain ownership of data to answer all of our questions on a single platform. If they did, they would not link off their site at all. Fortunately, they are forced to link off, and will continue to link off for many years to come.
I understand that running a search for “clothing stores” should show actual stores first (before my directory of stores). However, if they want to give a user a good experience, my list of stores may actually be better (not saying it is, but potentially could be). For example, we can find stores alphabetically not based on “big” companies that may buy more advertising, social media signals, etc. It is actually yet another example of Google, assisting larger companies and harming the little guys. I bet if you run some sort of retail query, you will find a well-known (money backed) retailer and not the trendy mom & pop specialty store. Is that really a fair search?
Other searches do not have a specific destination that Google should list. For example, stores. Fine, they can link to actual stores. I understand them not linking to my directory on the first page. But what about something that is not that cut & dry. For example, I have a section for fashion relevant terminology. My section ApparelSearch.com/terms/ would be a very appropriate match. However, I just looked and cannot find on Google search for “Fashion Terms”. Yet, they will show info about peoples legal terms and conditions from tiny fashion sites.
In my opinion, Google’s results have gone significantly downhill the past two years. It is not that I fear Google not linking to anyone, I am concerned that they are not currently linking to the best results. No matter how we cut it, if someone types “apparel industry” in Google’s search and they cannot find Apparel Search it is a poor user experience. I am not saying that because it is my site, I am saying it because I know the apparel industry and I can see what other sites are coming up for that search term. Please understand that I am not talking about not showing up on the first page of results. I can look at many result pages and still Apparel Search is not to be found when searching for Apparel Industry or anything else similar. Basically, to find my site in search I literally have to type “apparel search” as part of the search query. Even then it is difficult to find my site.
The reality is that I know the difference between combed cotton, carded cotton, ringspun fabric, open end fabric, but Google engineers do not. Sure they are dissecting books, and will own all data, but they still cannot have computers create the best ways to display the data better then millions of unique “humans” can do it. Humans create directories and guides to industries. It is wrong for Google not to appreciate the efforts of the directories.
It is a hard pill to swallow to come to the thought that I do not have a fighting chance because Google wants to put small companies and directories out of business. Oh well, guess that is just the way of the world.