Friday, May 18, 2012

What Google can learn from Buddhism

Buddhist Love
Having been brought up in a very Catholic / Roman Catholic surrounding being Italian and all I initially found it very difficult to understand how other cultures / religions could fit into society. In fact I never understood how people (non Italians) could do things other than:
  • Watch the Pope give sermons at the Vatican
  • Support Ferrari
  • Eat Pasta
As an Italian catholic boy that's what I was lead to believe was the essence of living.

As i started growing up I started becoming interested in more and more of life's GREAT cultures and religions and started realising that there was more to life then being Italian... This brings me to my story for the day, "What Google can learn from Buddhism". To be more specific what Google and their linking algorithm's can learn from the Buddhist way of life...

The Yin and Yang of Love

The Way of Love and Affection

(This is an extract from Humanistic Buddhism, a Blueprint for Life)

 "In terms of marriage, the marriage of man and woman is the elevation, perfection, and unity of love. However, love is not a one-way street; love means that people should try to understand one another and to take the love they feel for a person and broaden it to include all sentient beings..." furthermore it states, "Love is reciprocal. True love means helping and blessing the beloved. Love is not owning, but rather offering. Small love means loving that which is related to oneself; great love means loving that which is related to others. Love others as thyself; lead thyself by following others".

What can Buddhism teach Google?

Well, for those who are newcomers to SEO, companies/websites that would like to rank well in search engines rely heavily on something called a link building. For those who want to read more on this, check out SEOmoz -

Back when SEO was still all about on page optimisation and sharing links with other people, Google relied heavily on something called "Reciprocal link building". Things changed, and over time Google realised that people were using this method of linking to boost their rankings. Quite easily. The method people used was to build a relationship with another website owner. Tell them they loved their site added a link to their website and asked the website owner if they would return the favour.

This is a mutual agreement and something I would refer to as link love. I love your site, you love my site, let's link up.

Google thought better of this and decided that this was way too easy for people to cheat the system and then told everyone that reciprocal links no longer worked. They were crap and that everyone had to now go an get one way links if they wanted to rank well.

The problem with one way links

With this great update that Google brought upon the SEO world along with it came SPAM. Web spam of a form that not even Google predicted would happen.
  • Massive link networks started popping up
  • Social media sites were spammed into oblivion to the point that some of the BIG social media, bookmarking sites are only used for link spam these days
  • PR sites were spammed beyond belief, some of the PR sites i worked with were recieving on average 2000 PR articles an hour (for links)
  • Big corporates started realising that their business models could change and began selling links on their sites for REDICULOUS amounts (Ask what is costs for a banner on the home page). In fact better yet, ask what it costs for a link in the footer of their site.
  • Small SEO companies offering link building services popped up quicker than Jamie Oliver could could a plate a pasta.
  • Every company on the WEB started hiring link building companies to buy 1 way links
This lead to such a massive increase in web SPAM, rubbish sites ranking for irrelevant terms, and worst of all a REALLY REALLY bad user experience on Google.

Ultimately this lead to the Google PANDA & PENGUIN updates! This I believe all could have been prevented with SOME RECIPROCAL LOVE!


Google, read this, read the passage that the Buddhists so brilliant put forward. Love is reciprocal, love is not a one way street. As a webmaster of many many sites, we ALL know that irrelevant links to irrelevant sites is bad not only for SEO but for user experience. Myself as a webmaster would never link to someones sites if it wasn't relevant to my readers and my viewers.

If someone links to me and I link back to him, that's reciprocal love and a mutual agreement that says, "Your site is great man, thank you for linking to me". That is good for EVERYONE.

Yes, filter out the SPAM. Yes filter out the irrelevant content. Yes drop all the crappy sites out there.
BUT, bring back reciprocal link love with a more advanced algorithm, you have all those engineers, maybe you should look at hiring some monks...